Netflix Makes AT&T's Data Caps Painful - The UpStream

Netflix Makes AT&T's Data Caps Painful

posted Saturday May 21, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Netflix Makes AT&T's Data Caps Painful

According to a Sandvine report, it turns out that Netflix has become the largest consumer of Internet bandwidth. Formerly the position was held by BitTorrent and the fact that this trend has ended indicates that legal, paid content is becoming the norm instead. How much bandwidth is used by Netflix?

On average, a Netflix user will use 40GB of bandwidth each month watching videos on their computers and televisions. If you separate the Xbox 360 users, they consume about 80GB each month just for Netflix. This does not include all of the other data usage for the console, including Hulu Plus, game and demo downloads, the Zune Marketplace, etc.

How does all of this affect AT&T users? Hit the break to find out.

AT&T's new data caps have started rolling out and they turn out to not be as "generous" as AT&T spokesperson Mark Siegel indicated. Imagine you are on the 150GB throttled plan and you own an Xbox 360. Now, consider you are one of the 33% of Xbox 360 owners who use their console for Netflix, at an average of 80GB per month. If you never played a game online or watched Hulu or any of the other wonderful features of your 360, your have used over half of your bandwidth for the month.

This is going to definitely become a problem for those afflicted with the "generous" bandwidth limits. If you combine Netflix with general Xbox Live usage and BitTorrenting, you could easily use your bandwidth without ever even signing onto Facebook or checking your email.

More importantly than how you're going to go over your limit is why you even have a limit. AT&T has really provided no evidence that these limits are necessary at all. My guess is that they don't want to improve their infrastructure, so they have decided to limit the usage on the existing network. What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

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