AT&T not only bringing caps but also threats to cut service to harassers

We first let you know about the upcoming data caps courtesy of AT&T back on March 13, 2011; well, the notifications to customers have started to go out and there’s an added bonus.

As part of the data cap roll-out AT&T has also updated, or rather made a major change to its DSL Terms of Service that all customers have to agree to. Along with that the company has also created a broadband usage FAQ in order to explain why AT&T is instituting these caps:

AT&T has experienced a dramatic increase in the amount of data that is sent and received over its wireline broadband networks. This dramatic increase is driven primarily by a small fraction of our customers. In fact, the top 2 percent of customers use about 20 percent of the total capacity on our network. A single high-traffic user can utilize the same amount of data capacity as 19 typical households. Lopsided usage patterns can cause congestion at certain points in the network, which can slow Internet speeds and interfere with other customers’ access to and use of the network.

That bunch of malarkey is all well and fine but the real killer here is hidden in the new Terms of Service.

You see under the new terms AT&T is reserving the right to cut service to any customer who they deem to be “repeatedly harassing or abusing our employees”.

Of course there is no baseline here of what will constitute harassment or abuse of AT&T employees which means that even registering a problem could be taken as harassment, depending on how bad that employee’s day is going I guess.

It’s one thing to screw your customers when it comes to their broadband access but another matter altogether when you threaten a customer’s access based on what is their constitutional right.

There is no talk of what recourse there is should a customer’s service be cut because of this new addition to the AT&T Terms of Service but if I was an customer I’d be doing whatever I could to find an alternative.

Sorry but in this case I really believe that AT&T is stepping over the line.

via Ars Technica