Bandwidth Caps

A DSL Modem
Image via Wikipedia

I received a call the other day from AT&T.  They want me to drop my cable Internet service and switch to their DSL service.  “Twice the speed,” they say, “and bundled with your existing phone service it’s almost free.”  Naturally, I had a few questions, one of which was about bandwidth caps.

The sales rep had no clue what I was talking about.  After a 30 second explanation about them, she denied that AT&T ever employed them.  Frankly, I don’t think I’d come close to the usage where many of them (including AT&T’s) kick in, but it was a good test to understand what HER bandwidth cap was.

You see, everyone has them.  There is only so much you can take in, synthesize, and spit out, whether you’re dealing with your personal or professional life.  Having gone from an organization where I could delegate tasks for which I had limited or no bandwidth to a far smaller firm where either I dealt with it or it didn’t get done, I’ve learned a lot about what my bandwidth cap is and how better to prioritize how I employ resources to stay within it.

I wonder how many of you have taken the time to figure out how your personal and professional caps are configured?  Usually one can get a sense of when an organization has reached one.  Lots of things fall into cracks, the execution of basic tasks starts to get sloppy, and people’s moods tend to be a lot snarkier than usual.  You know the feeling of it personally – you’re tired, you’re angry, and the words “I can’t stand it” seem to apply to lots of things.

If any of you have thoughts on DSL vs. cable as an ISP, and on AT&T in particular, I’d welcome them.  My bandwidth isn’t great enough right now to investigate this fully but I hate to make a decision just based on price.  If I can help you with your bandwidth in return, I’m happy to do so.  And if you or your organization are at your cap remember – you can always buy more bandwidth by hiring folks like me or turn off something that’s draining your capacity.  Whether we like them or not, seen or unseen, bandwidth caps are out there!

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1 Comment

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One response to “Bandwidth Caps

  1. Personally, I know a very limited amount about bandwidth caps and wish I could offer some insight.

    The most pertinent response i have comes in the form of blog post from Mark Cuban about quality driven customers, who are willing to pay more for not being capped (from a speed not quantity perspective.) From the article, it sounds like this is not an issue that will affect you in your office, however; for the consumer as a whole, it’s an interesting post to take into account.

    http://blogmaverick.com/2009/04/21/a-note-to-cable-companies-regarding-bandwidth-caps/

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