Bad Publicity, BBB Complaints Causing AT&T To Reconsider Metered Broadband?
from the people-speak-up dept
In the US, there’s been an ongoing battle by a bunch of ISPs who want to implement metered broadband as a way to increase revenue. While they’ve been spinning this as getting heavy users to “pay their fair share” you’ll note they never promote any plans to drop prices for the person who barely uses their internet connection. But one thing that has become pretty clear is that consumers absolutely hate metered broadband — not just because it can increase fees, but because it changes the way they use the internet. Rather than being free to just use it and experiment, suddenly you need to keep track of all that usage (without any kind of reliable meter). This introduces amazingly annoying transaction costs that lead people to just not want to use the internet as much — decreasing the value of the connection, even as the price is increasing.
A year ago, after a ton of bad publicity around metered billing, Time Warner Cable backed off plans to implement it on a widespread basis, and now it looks like AT&T may be recognizing the same thing. AT&T, of course, has been running a few small scale tests, and it’s been pissing people off so much that they’ve been complaining to the Better Business Bureau, which isn’t making AT&T happy. For now, the company has stopped signing new customers up for the metered trials and has said that the “experiment” will end on April 1. Whether or not the experiment ending means no more metered broadband… or more widespread metered broadband, remains to be seen. But large number of complaints being filed should make AT&T think twice before deciding to roll this out further.