Cybertelecom
Cybertelecom
Federal Internet Law & Policy
An Educational Project
Tiers / Data Caps / Zero Rating
Dont be a FOOL; The Law is Not DIY


Derived From: FCC Annual Video Competition Report 2013

"Some ISPs, including MVPDs and wireless providers, have initiated bandwidth caps or usage-based price tiers, using a variety of business models. During the first half of 2012, most major MSOs formalized bandwidth caps or usage-based/metered pricing. They generally adopted thresholds that exceed typical traffic and chose either to cap usage or to implement overage charges for customers who exceed the limits.

Carrier
Data Caps
AT&T imposed a monthly broadband data cap in May 2011, limiting legacy DSL subscribers to 150 GB and U-Verse customers to 250 GB.
  • Merger Conditions
    • AT&T / DirecTV 2014: "Recognizing that AT&T is the only major ISP that applies “data caps” across the board to all of its fixed broadband customers and that this merger increases the incentive of AT&T-DIRECTV to use strategies that limit consumers’ access to online video distribution services in order to favor its own video services, the Commission requires AT&T-DIRECTV, as a condition of this merger, to refrain from imposing discriminatory usage-based allowances or other discriminatory retail terms and conditions on its broadband Internet service."
  • Application of AT&T Inc. and DIRECTV For Consent to Assign or Transfer Control of Licenses and Authorizations, Dkt 14-90, Memorandum Opinion and Order (2015), para. 205 (discussing applicants incentive to use data caps, and merger conditions) Para 210 (We note that today AT&T imposes usage-based data caps on its wireline broadband customers and is alone among the major ISPs in imposing such data allowances for all subscribers.)
  • FTC v ATT Mobility, 9th Cir. Aug. 29, 2016 ("Through a practice referred to by the Federal Trade Commission as “data throttling,” AT&T Mobility LLC intentionally reduces the data speed of its customers with unlimited mobile data plans.1 A throttled customer receives data at a substantially reduced speed during a given billing cycle once the customer’s data usage during that billing cycle exceeds a threshold determined by AT&T. Unlimited data plan customers are throttled without regard to real-time network congestion.")
  • Netflix Data: AT&T Caps Not That Generous After All, Gigaom 5/20/2011
  • Want Better AT&T Cell Service? Now You Can Buy It, NYT 3/26/2010
  • AT&T Again Hints At Bandwidth Crackdown - Peak, off-peak broadband minutes?, dslreports 9/16/2008
  • Is AT&T Doing Bait & Switch On Broadband Caps?, Techdirt 4/21/2009
  • AT&T's New 18Mbps U-Verse Tier - New tier likely 18Mbps/1.5Mbps for around $65?, dslreports 10/15/2008
  • AT&T Jumps Into The Metered Broadband Game, Techdirt 11/5/2008
  • AT&T Tries On Data Cap, Ecommerce Times 11/5/2008
  • AT&T tests limits on subscribers' Web use, CNET 11/5/2008
  • AT&T, An Update for Our Smartphone Customers With Unlimited Data Plans (press release), July 29, 2011 (announcing reduction in speeds for smartphone customers with unlimited data plans who exceed certain bandwidth thresholds);
  • Julianne Pepitone, AT&T Raises Limit for Smartphone Data Slowdown, CNNMONEY, Mar. 1, 2012, (visited Dec. 21, 2012)
  • AT&T, AT&T Gives Customers More Choice With New Shared Wireless Data Plans (press release), July 18, 2012
  • "We note that today AT&T imposes usage-based data caps on its wireline broadband customers and is alone among themajor ISPs in imposing such data allowances for all subscribers." AT&T / DirecTV Merger Order, at 210 (2015)
  • " AT&T imposed a monthly broadband data cap in May 2011, limiting legacy DSL subscribers to 150 GB and U-Verse customers to 250 GB." FCC Annual Video Competition Report 2013
  • "in July 2012, both AT&T and Verizon Wireless announced plans to facilitate customers' sharing of data across smartphones, tablets, and other devices.936 The new shared data plans charge a monthly fee for each device and then charge for a shared pool of monthly data transfer ranging from 1 GB to 20 GB.937 Early evidence suggests that consumers materially increase their data consumption when upgrading to Long Term Evolution ("LTE") devices" FCC Annual Video Competition Report 2013
Cablevision as of 2012 had not established formal limits.
CenturyLink imposed tier-based usage caps. Verizon, which relies on fiber-to-the-home architecture, does not impose bandwidth caps or usage-based-pricing.
  • CenturyLink Follows Comcast, Begins Charging Overage Fees by Karl Bode DSLReports Jul 19 2016 ("CenturyLink has begun notifying customers in select areas that it will soon begin implementing usage caps and overage fees. The company already imposes usage caps ranging from 150 GB to 250 GB depending on the speed of your line, but until now had avoided charging users overage penalties. That's about to change.")
Charter

offer data tiers, tying caps to the speed of Internet service that consumers purchase.

Comcast In May 2012,announced that it is experimenting with different approaches to data caps and usage pricing through trials in some markets but for all markets raised the existing data cap from 250 GB to 300 GB per month.932 In the markets where Comcast is not experimenting with usage based pricing, it has suspended enforcement of its data caps.
Cox
Frontier
Suddenlink offer data tiers, tying caps to the speed of Internet service that consumers purchase.

Time Warner Cable

(TWC acquired by Charter in 2015)
offers voluntary opt-in limits in exchange for a $5 discount on monthly charges across its Texas footprint, and
T Mobile
Verizon

Major wireless providers also have begun to impose data caps.935 For example, in July 2012, both AT&T and Verizon Wireless announced plans to facilitate customers' sharing of data across smartphones, tablets, and other devices.936 The new shared data plans charge a monthly fee for each device and then charge for a shared pool of monthly data transfer ranging from 1 GB to 20 GB.937 Early evidence suggests that consumers materially increase their data consumption when upgrading to Long Term Evolution ("LTE") devices.938

930 See Stacy Higginbotham, Which ISPs are Capping Your Broadband and Why?, GIGAOM, Oct. 1, 2012, (visited July 5, 2013). 

931 Ian Olgeirson and Mari Rondeli, HSD Subs Tilt Toward Premium Tiers; Usage Constraints Gain Broader Foothold, SNL KAGAN, July 19, 2012. See also Netflix Comments at 7-8. Public Knowledge states that by some estimates, more than half of the United States' 75 million fixed broadband subscribers are already subject to some kind of usage cap. Letter from Michael Weinberg, Vice President for Emerging Innovation, Public Knowledge, to Marlene H. Dortch, Secretary, FCC, (Aug. 9, 2012) ("Public Knowledge Aug. 9, 2012 Ex Parte") at Attach. 1, Andrew Odlyzko et al., Know Your Limits: Considering the Role of Data Caps and Usage Based Billing in Internet Access Service, Public Knowledge, May 2012, at 4-5 ("Public Knowledge UPB White Paper"). Google states that in contrast to some broadband service plans criticized by Netflix in its comments, Google Fiber's service plans are not subject to data caps. Google Reply at 4, n.16.

933 Ian Olgeirson and Mari Rondeli, HSD Subs Tilt Toward Premium Tiers; Usage Constraints Gain Broader Foothold, SNL KAGAN, July 19, 2012.

934 Id.

937 John Fletcher, Bring on the Expensive Dumb Pipes, SNL KAGAN, Aug. 14, 2012.

938 William Densmore and Michael Weaver, U.S. and Canada Second-Quarter 2012 Wireless Metrics: Data Strategies Diverge, FitchRatings, Sept. 27, 2012, at 2.

Data Consumption Rates

"Light users subsidize heavy users"

Peak / Non Peak Rates the solution

See also

Zero Rating

Statistics

Papers

News

© Cybertelecom ::