While Data Caps have flooded the FCC complaint box, AT&T launches Internet Access Program for Low-Income
Comcast customers are non-too happy with data caps and they’re letting the FCC know about it in rising numbers. In the second half of 2015, there were 7,904 complaints about data caps, up from 863 complaints in the first half of the year. As of April in this year, the total was 1,463.
According to the WSJ Monthly limits by home Internet providers like Comcast and AT&T force people who stream Netflix or Sling TV to ration Web use.
Rodger Rice spends several hours a day—10 hours some days off—streaming movies and television shows from Amazon.com and Netflix over the Internet.
But at a point each month the 51-year-old, who lives in a downtown Memphis apartment, gets a text message from Comcast Corp. saying he is approaching his data limit. He then turns to cable TV, where he has recorded shows such as “NCIS” and “The Good Wife” to keep him entertained until the calendar brings a new allotment of data. “I wouldn’t have regular TV if not for the data cap,” he says. “Comcast has got me by the throat.”
One thought comes to mind, regardless of data caps, these people really need to get out of the house more!! Find a hobby or go old school and start reading some books.
In this age of ever increasing Internet consumerism, how much bandwidth is ever going to be enough?
The demand for bandwidth is surging, particularly as people watch more movies and live television streamed over the Internet. Time Warner Cable says the company’s average household usage in December was 141 gigabytes a month and has grown about 40% a year. More than two million Comcast broadband customers use more than 300 gigabytes a month, the company says.
In the meantime, AT&T offering $5 internet to low-income families. Any home where at least one person receives food stamps will be eligible for the new program, called Access from AT&T. Similar to the Internet Essentials program already available from Comcast.
One key way in which AT&T Access differs from Comcast Internet Essentials has to do with eligibility: While Comcast says any household with at least one child getting free or reduced school lunch is a qualified low-income household, AT&T is instead using SNAP (food stamp) participation as their benchmark.
About 22 million households nationwide were participating in SNAP as of the most recent data (January, 2016), so any of those households in the 21 states where AT&T provides internet access are eligible.
Access from AT&T will offer 3Mbps connections for $5 a month, and faster 5Mbps or 10Mbps connections for $10 a month. All installation and equipment fees will also be waived. People don’t actually get to choose their speed; they’ll automatically be assigned the fastest available where they live. There will be data caps for people using the program, up to 600GB a month, and overage charges for anyone who uses more.
I realize there are a lot of skeptics out there, particularly in the US, when it comes to both data caps and low-income broadband. I believe the industry is trying to come to terms with an ever-changing playing field. How should Broadband and Telecom companies price their services?