AT&T Considering Metered Broadband

Bend Broadband, Comcast, Time Warner Cable — they’re all considering or going the route of the tiered (aka metered) broadband. Now add AT&T to that list, according to a report in CED magazine.

“A form of usage-based pricing for those customers who have abnormally high usage patterns is inevitable,” according to an AT&T spokesman, though the company does not yet have a specific plan or policy. AT&T said the Top 5 percent of its DSL customers use 46 percent of the total bandwidth, which is consistent with cable industry experience.

It isn’t surprising — the tiered model for AT&T would help prop up its IPTV effort, U-verse. What is surprising is that company officials, many of them at the senior levels, have made it a point to tell me that unlike cable they had no plans to do any such thing. This news report makes me highly suspect about their past assurances, and the comment to Stacey from AT&T’s spokesperson makes me think it’s just a matter of time before the phone company gets that meter ticking.

We’re always evaluating our broadband plans and services, but have nothing new to announce today regarding our pricing structure. That said, given the usage trends we’re seeing, a form of usage-based pricing for those customers who have abnormally high usage patterns is one of the many options we’ll explore. Usage-based pricing is one way to deal fairly with Internet usage, which is very uneven among broadband users.

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