Bandwidth caps. We all love ‘em. Wait, no, we hate ‘em. Sorry. But even as AT&T gears up to impose bandwidth caps on its DSL subscribers, it should be pointed out that it’s hardly the only ISP that does so. You might even say that other countries have it worse.
Look at the UK, home to foul-mouthed footballers and giant Michael Jackson statues. BT’s lowest tier tops out at 10GB per month, while its top tier, BT Infinity Option 2, offers “unlimited” bandwidth, but the fine print notes that once you fly past 300GB the company reserves the right to slow down your download speeds.
Virgin has similar plans, but it goes to great lengths to say that it’s unlimited plans are truly unlimited—until you run afoul of its acceptable use policies.
On to Australia, home to perhaps the world’s silliest content ratings board. They’re basically living in the stone age down there. The top tier there taps out at 200GB, and after you reach that you’re connection is slowed down to 256kbps.
“I’ll never use 200GB per month!” you might shout. (Why are you shouting?) And maybe so—for now. All it takes is a few Steam downloads, perhaps a lossless album here and there, and you could very quickly find yourself brushing up against that kind of cap. That’s why Netflix recently lowered its default bitrate for Canadian users, so as to help prevent people from mistakenly going overboard.
You can always stick to shiny plastic discs if all of this bandwidth nonsense has you down.