AT&T patents new way to squeeze money out of its customers

Because data cap overage fees, early termination fees and administrative fees apparently aren’t enough, AT&T has patented yet another creative way to squeeze more money from its customers every month. A recently published AT&T patent that details a system aimed at the “prevention of bandwidth abuse of a communications system” that singles out certain types of traffic as potentially “abusive” bandwidth-intensive activities. 

A patent application by telecoms giant AT&T details a traffic management system set to add a little more heat to the net neutrality debate. Rather than customers using their Internet connections to freely access any kind of data, the telecoms giant envisions a system in which subscribers engaged in “non-permissible” transfers, such as file-sharing and movie downloading, can be sanctioned or marked for increased billing. When a consumer subscribes to an Internet package, either at home or on a cellphone, it’s generally accepted that he can use it for whatever applications he likes, whether that’s web browsing, sending or receiving emails, watching video, or listening to music.

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