AT&T Stop Metered Internet Trial

In Reno, Nevada and Beaumont, Texas, AT&T has run a trial to charge DSL customers $1 per every gigabyte they exceeded their plan’s usage cap. However, they recently announced that their cap and additional usage charges were no longer being implemented. This is the second trial of usage-based broadband charges in the US, and the second to be abandoned, leaving no ISPs pushing the idea of metered broadband services at this time. Time Warner Cable also ran a trial of capped and metered internet charging in Beaumont, but abandoned its plans to extend the trial to other cities after a strong backlash from campaigners and politicians.

You can read more about the story here and here.

The interesting thing about the trial is that AT&T dropped it back on April 1st, but without making any public announcement or even telling customers. This may indicate two things: that metering internet usage is unpopular in general, and that targeting extra charges at the ‘bandwidth hogs’ is not cost-effective. Why should people in revenue assurance care either way? Because the flatter charging is, the simpler it is, and the less likelihood of error. On recent evidence, customers are pushing harder than ever for simple flat-rate tariffs, especially where they are already accustomed to getting them. Simple unmetered tariffs will suit those who feel the first goal is to ensure accuracy and please customers by making it easy for them to understand what they pay for, but may not suit those in RA who secretly want complexity because that gives them more problems and issues to untangle and makes assurance harder to do.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.