AT&T residential DSL usage caps are here

I know some other ISPs have caps, but I don’t care. I’d like to know the actual reason for our current DSL service to require a bandwidth cap. I don’t experience a decrease in speed, unlike cable users who share bandwidth.

If there’s truly a tiny percentage of users that will be affected, I don’t understand why AT&T feel the need to drive another wedge between their customers.

I finally updated DD-WRT firmware from v23-std SP1 (05/16/06) to v24-std SP1. I’ll be able to use the built-in bandwidth monitor to cross-check with AT&T.

With a 150 GB monthly cap, and depending on my monthly usage once the new change takes effect:

  • Large online backups won’t be an option anymore. I’d rather use an external hard drive and synchronize periodically.
  • I might be forced to leave my Netflix account and reduce using media streaming services altogether. Rather than use Pandora at home, I’ll listen to music I already have on my computer(s).
  • I’ll be increasingly selective in uploading full-res photos (to Zenfolio or Dropbox).

A comment from the Wired article, “Shed a Tear: The Age of Broadband Caps Begins Monday – Wired” (April 29, 2011):

I’m going to downgrade my AT&T connection from 18 mbps to 3 [mbps]. This will downgrade AT&T’s revenue stream at the same time. No sense in paying for a fast connection if you cannot make good use of it. (I am Sambana)

This is such a horrible step backwards. We shouldn’t need to throttle ourselves.

On Twitter, I saw that Jim Goldstein switched to Santa Rosa-based ISP, Sonic.net. Surprisingly, I checked availability for my landline phone number here in Temple City (outside Los Angeles), and…

The service number you submitted prequalifies as already having DSL service. The service levels highlighted below are available for an ISP switch.

If that can work out, that’ll be a huge relief. Regardless of my bandwidth usage, I’m pretty certain my days with AT&T residential DSL service are numbered, especially with an awesome and viable option like Sonic.net. If I make any changes, I’ll wait until after finals (first week of June).

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Bryan Villarin

Bryan is a Community Guardian at Automattic. He's also a photographer, card magician, and cat whisperer. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Steve Blythe for the sweet photo!)

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