Throttling makes it into the news again as U.S. telecom giant AT&T admits slowing service for ‘unlimited’ smart phone data plans.
As an American expat, I’m consistently flabbergasted at cellphone rates and service here in Canada. Sorry, but I fail to understand why my $60 Canadian plan has never, ever resulted in a $60 phone bill.
But for once, I rejoice that Canadians aren’t getting the shortest end of the cellphone service stick. Today, that’s AT&T customers.
On Monday, the hulking telecom giant announced it will limit data for the top users on its “unlimited” data plan in an effort to force customers to move to its tiered data plan.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports AT&T has instituted the throttling policy in the last few weeks, much to the chagrin of customers. Smart phone users on the unlimited data plan (they pay $30 a month) are subject to slowed Internet service if they meet the seemingly ambiguous criteria of hitting the top five per cent of data usage in their area.
But, according to anecdotal evidence, that data ceiling could be 2.3 GB of data, or it could be just 1.5 GB, depending on the customer and usage area.
The throttling cuts Internet speed by 99 per cent, which translates into a web page taking two minutes to load when it would normally take a second. Your expensive smart phone is rendered useless except for phone calls and texting.
Throttling was in the news recently in Canada as Rogers, another company allegedly guilty of the infuriating tactic, vowed it would stop limiting its Internet services. The announcement came after the CRTC released preliminary results from its investigation into the Toronto-based company’s practice of throttling online games such as World of Warcraft.