Since May of 2011, AT&T has announced an intent to data cap their DSL subscribers. However a year later this policy has only been implemented in specific "test markets" and not universally . Rates are set at 150gb/month and U-Verse at 250/gb a month with additional overage fees of $10 for every 50 gigabytes beyond the limit. A direct link to their current corporate policy and videos on this can be found here . However it's not what they cost now, it's what they can cost later and what's already happened to countries that have allowed caps to become mainstream.
*AUP in the above image stands for Acceptable Use Policy. Instead of automatic system-enforced penalties, the companies only enforce their policies when they call you up.
Known regions confirmed to be affected by AT&T data caps to us are locations in the southeast US , the midwest , and some specifc areas like Georgia and Las Vegas. Caps have suspiciously been instated first in areas with weak to no competition, while there remain "implementation problems" in others.
An AT&T subscriber discovering that his meter has finally been turned on
The fact that caps have not been implemented universally is a form of price discrimination especially for regions that have been unfortunately singled out as test markets while others continue without the expense. Why should certain towns, cities or states be paying overages for up to a year to date while others do not? Several other providers have also begun following the trend including Suddenlink , Cox, Commspeed , Charter , Comcast(first offender from 2008), and Centurylink , the latter of which is conveniently exempting their own video content from such caps.
Update (3/1/2012). Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffett wrote in a research note to his investor clients “Over a period of years, as the market becomes more accustomed to (usage-based pricing), we expect these plans to become the rule rather than the exception,” . Time Warner Cable was also one of the original attempters of an internet overcharging scheme in 2009 in Beaumont, Texas before local residents and StopTheCap put an end to it. They have not been named in the above image because they haven't followed suit....YET. The time to act before it's too late is now.
Another problem is that while attention is focused on mobile unlimited throttling, relatively little attention is being paid to landline caps spreading across the country. However many smartphone users already know to save money by using data on wi-fi whenever possible. However that "saving money", may soon end up costing far more than what mobile fees currently are when that wi-fi data starts putting every landline connected wi-fi router into overage territory too.
The World Broadband Foundation in collaboration with local consumer group Stop AT&T from Bandwidth Capping are also leading an open investigation into which regions have already been capped, and most importantly are without options. We are calling for information and submissions to help build a comprehensive picture of the problem and if possible stop the spread of metering any further. Caps are not just bad for the American quality of life, they are also bad for the American economy. They will affect the ability of Americans to execute on their ideas, and the ability to continue to out-think and out-compete the rest of the world.
We also join the New America Foundation and Public Knowledge along with musicians represented by The Future Of Music in asking the the FCC to investigate caps further and support revised renewal of the anti-metered billing bill introduced two years ago.
Petition to Stop Bandwidth Capping on change.org - http://www.change.org/petitions/stop-data-capping
Stop AT&T from Bandwidth Capping, a Facebook Consumer Group - http://www.facebook.com/groups/186439608067383/
The US Data Cap Investigation Project - http://www.worldbroadbandfoundation.org/content/us-data-cap-investigation