Drilling Through the Caps

With news about AT&T’s announcement last week that they will be imposing caps on their ADSL and U-Verse VDSL customers, we have received a lot of inquiries about whether or not this will affect Sonic.net customers, and whether we plan to follow the lead of Comcast and AT&T. We are also being asked why AT&T is imposing caps, and about the $10 per 50GB for overage charges. Is it congestion, pricing fairness, or just more revenue?

To be clear, Sonic.net has no plans to impose usage caps on our customers.

Our DSL customers are in two categories: those served on the AT&T ADSL1 DSLAMs via our wholesale line sharing relationship with AT&T, and those on our own equipment which serves the Fusion ADSL2+ Broadband & Phone platform. On our own Fusion network, we have absolute control over policies such as usage caps or bandwidth management.

For our customers on the AT&T wholesale network, we have a contractual relationship with AT&T to deliver broadband service to our mutual customers. I do not expect any near term changes to the policies and terms of that relationship.

In Canada, incumbent telephone companies such as Bell Canada have been working to lobby for legislation that would require all ISPs to charge for usage, including those who obtain wholesale access from Bell Canada. This usage based billing (UBB) legislation has become a political hot potato, with sites like stopusagebasedbilling.com and stopthecap.com carrying the fight.

As for the reasons for the push for usage based billing, Bell Canada CEO George Cope has said, “…as we see a growth in video usage on the internet, making sure we’re monetizing that for our shareholders through the bandwidth usage charges”.

DSLReports.com concludes that the caps that Comcast imposes and which AT&T is launching are “solely designed to cash in on Internet video – while protecting TV revenues.”

This is okay, it is clear, and it is reasonable that Comcast and AT&T should push customers toward their television services.

But here at Sonic.net, we have a different business model. If you like it, be sure to check for Fusion availability in your area.