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Summary:

AT&T rolled out its bandwidth caps this weekend, which will result in additional charges for customers that use more than 150 GB per month. How close are you to those caps? Check your AT&T or Comcast bandwidth meter and let us know in our survey.

ManyMeters

AT&T instituted its new broadband bandwidth caps Sunday, limiting DSL users to 150 GB of bandwidth and U-Verse customers to 250 GB per month. Customers who exceed these limits have to pay $10 for every 50 GB of additional usage. Which got us wondering: How much bandwidth do you, dear reader, use each month?

AT&T is making a bandwidth meter available to all of its customers to track monthly usage at Myusage.att.com. There are numerous reports of customers who haven’t been able to access the meter yet, but others have been more successful, and customer representatives have reportedly said the meter should be available to everyone by today. Once it’s available, it will also display usage from previous months, giving customers an idea of what’s in store for them.

We want to use that data for an admittedly completely unscientific survey. Here’s how you can help: Are you an AT&T DSL or U-Verse customer? Then please do us a favor and go to Myusage.att.com, check your meter, and let us know how much bandwidth you’ve been using.

Of course, you can also participate if you’re not with AT&T. Comcast users, who are subject to a 250 GB cap, can find details about their bandwidth consumption after logging in to their Customer Central page (select “users and settings > view details > my devices”). Finally, some routers and router firmware distributions also support bandwidth metering. Check your device manual for details.

  1. That so many responded “don’t know/don’t have a bandwidth meter” is ridiculous. Anyone can see their usage by opening the Residential Gateway’s administrative interface and looking at the use stats on the “Broadband” tab: http://192.168.1.254/xslt?PAGE=C_1_0 . You don’t even need to log in. Reset the meter monthly on your billing day and you’ll have accurate stats.

    I have a Python script that pulls down the stats every hour. If you want a copy, write me.

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    1. Karl, would be interesting to see how these numbers compare to AT&T’s official meter…

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      1. I'mInterestedToo Monday, May 2, 2011

        I suspect the numbers will be rather close as AT&T registers EVERY bit of data transferred on the wireless side as usage regardless of if you’re actually downloading or if the device pings to receive downloads. In the future, this may become an Exchange ActiveSync nightmare for heavy enterprise email users.

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    2. You assume everyone has the same premise equipment and the same installation configuration.

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      1. True and fairly stated. Looking at some of the DSL gateway emulators for AT&T users shows some are particularly lacking this feature.

        A workaround: see the Slashdot article, http://alternate-u-verse.blogspot.com/2011/05/tools-to-track-at-gateway-usage.html, which recommends putting another router/gateway behind the AT&T gateway/modem, and tracking all traffic through it.

        My setup uses the AT&T gateway as a “public” network. The private network hides behind it. I monitor the AT&T gateway (see below).

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      2. Crud, sorry. Had the wrong in the cut/paste buffer. Here’s the right one for Slashdot.

        http://ask.slashdot.org/story/11/05/02/1636246/Ask-Slashdot-How-To-Monitor-Your-Own-Bandwidth-Usage

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    3. This is true, but this is not the way AT&T is telling us to check data consumption. When my meter didn’t work this is exactly what I did, but a lot of people don’t know about this feature and AT&T doesn’t care to point it out to users.

      Besides, without access to AT&T’s meter we can’t know if the usage stats match (as Janko and others point out).

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  2. I am at one gig a day, but what is critical is I do NOT use Netflix or Amazon Video on Demand.

    I know people who are heavy Netflix users, watching two or three movies every day, but that ends today. They will be getting a nasty overage charge of ~$100 at that rate.

    Thanks to all our apathy, we let Net Neutrality die on the floor of Congress, so AT&T can now discriminate against Netflix and Amazon VoD, and push their own U-verse VoD “won’t count against your cap!”

    Evil.

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  3. Stats from the DSL router aren’t going to be very useful if AT&T is anything like Qwest. My (Motorola 3374) router hangs at least once every week, forcing a reboot that clears all the stats.
    Waiting to see if CenturyLink implements similar caps when they finish getting rid of Qwest’s “Spirit of Service”…

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  4. Okay. Scripts are zipped up with some documentation. Find them with a sample report at

    http://alternate-u-verse.blogspot.com/2011/05/tools-to-track-at-gateway-usage.html

    These tools run under Ubuntu Linux and require Python and MySQL.

    Paul – a cron job calls the script to pull down stats hourly. A gateway reset won’t lose data.

    Everyone: enjoy.

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  5. The web link listed in the article does not work with my ATT login. If I click create an account it says for Uverse users only.

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  6. Check This Out! “AT&T’s Mark Siegel proclaimed that it (a cap)is what the end user had asked for” http://www.neowin.net/news/att-our-users-wanted-data-caps
    This is May 5th and the cap went into effect on May 2… Since I received this message when trying to check my usage, I have absolutely NO FAITH in the accuracy of AT&T’s meter.
    “My Usage Details: AT&T is not able to capture usage data on all of its customers. Customers whose usage is not available for viewing should not be concerned about their usage patterns for billing purposes.”
    From dslreports.com: “AT&T Says They’re Working On Meter Accuracy
    Insists They’ll Work With Users On Problems”
    http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/113370

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  7. With these new caps it makes Netflix 5 times as expensive once the DSL bill comes

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  8. I had two AT&T representatives come to my house today and try to sell me U-Verse while claiming that the AT&T download cap does not exist. I told them they needn’t come back until they offer me that assurance in writing.

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  9. With all the rate increases of late and now are we supposed to accept limits placed on our usage?

    “More than 98 percent of DSL users will not experience any change as a result of this updated policy because the current DSL plans offer far more bandwidth than the average person ever uses.”

    Might I suggest that IF this is the actual case that 98% of AT&T customers aren’t fully utilizing what they are paying for. Many people pay for DSL only to browse the web and send email. Wether this is a good reason to pay for broadband service judge for yourselves. Internet usage will always increase because the of the number of ways the Internet is being used and the number of users and bandwidth requirements are expanding all the time. For those who may not use the Internet much now, would you like the freedom to find new ways to enjoy it in the future? Might I suggest that everyone, especially those in the alleged 98%, use as much of their 150GB that they are paying for as they can before AT&T decides to take more away. AT&T may have some suggestions on how you can use the Internet more here: http://www.att.com/esupport/internet/usage.jsp

    “We made this change to help balance demand across our network, as a small group of customers consume as much as 19 households worth of usage. That level of activity can create congestion and affect the service levels for all customers.”

    This is nothing more than divide and conquer. Congestion is caused when lots of users are using the service at the same time, not how much they use it. We are all limited as to the speed we are allowed to use. Make no mistake this has nothing to do with the quality of your service but everything to do with saving AT&T money. If AT&T’s service is suffering it is because they are over subscribing without upgrading their network. Might I suggest for those who don’t have the choice of a better provider that there is no longer any reason to pay for anything more than the minimal service. Even with the lowest tier of service you can still use 150GB per month.

    I have also heard that many have called and successfully demanded a lower rate. There may not be a lot we can do as customers of a monopoly but these suggestions may help send AT&T a message.

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