Score one for the data hog

I understand the costs associated with having one super user customer use way more than resources allotted. I understand the impact on the business serving that customer and the impact on the other customers, but according to a small claims court in Simi Valley California unlimited still means unlimited. Thanks to Ann Higgins for the heads up on the story.

Bloomberg Businessweek reports on one user who fought his broadband provider on the practical definition of unlimited and won. Apparently Matt Spaccarelli is a big Netflix user. He uses AT&T, who usually charges $50 for 5 gigabytes a month, but he has been grandfathered in with an unlimited plan. He averages about 10 gigabytes a month and one month topped out at 18 gigs.

According to the article…

In December he realized AT&T was throttling his download speeds—a policy it uses to punish the top 5 percent of the heaviest users. “Netflix and streaming audio became impossible to use,” says Spaccarelli, 39, who once drove the Planters Peanut hot rod in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. After a phone spat with customer support he decided to sue. On Feb. 24 a small-claims court judge awarded him $850—the estimated value of the data he can’t use over the final 10 months of his contract. The judge ruled “you cannot tell someone they have an unlimited plan and not provide them with unlimited data,” says Spaccarelli.

This entry was posted in Policy, Vendors by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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