At AT&T, we want our customers to have the information they need to fully understand and enjoy the services we offer. To help keep consumers informed about our broadband Internet access services, the AT&T website (www.att.com) describes the wireless and wired services we offer, and we make copies of our Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy available online.
- For more information about our Terms of Service, please click here.
- For more information about our Acceptable Use Policy, please click here.
This page provides additional information that the Federal Communications Commission has identified as useful to consumers and to the providers of Internet applications and content used by those consumers. Specifically, we describe the network practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms applicable to our mass market wired, mobile and Wi-Fi broadband Internet access services.* We encourage all consumers and other users of our network to familiarize themselves with this information, and to provide AT&T with feedback about our broadband Internet access services so that we can continue to provide the best service experience possible.
AT&T has long been committed to maintaining an open Internet that provides consumers with competitive choices, and access to lawful websites and information when, where and how they want it. As we approach new Internet-related business opportunities, design new services, and manage our network, we are guided by and comply with the FCC’s Open Internet Order, Net Neutrality rules, and our own core standards for addressing the needs of our customers. These standards are:
- Freedom – Consumers should be able to openly exchange ideas, content, and information across the Internet.
- Innovation – Consumers are entitled to a robust and secure network that enables new services, applications, and devices.
- Competition – Consumers have the power to choose the best possible services and innovations.
- Transparency – Consumers should have clear and concise information about speed, cost, and traffic management.
For more information about our Open Internet Policy, please click here.
How does AT&T manage congestion with respect to its broadband Internet access services?
We want to provide a high-quality Internet experience for all of our customers. Our wired, mobile and Wi-Fi broadband Internet access services are provided over networks that support millions of customers at the same time. With this volume, congestion may occur when a large number of customers in a particular area access the network at the same time or when some customers consume a very large amount of network capacity during busy periods, such as at stadium events or during early evenings.
To address potential network congestion, AT&T has been investing billions of dollars to add more capacity to our broadband networks. We also have developed data plans for our wired and mobile broadband Internet access services so that our customers' rates better reflect their usage levels. The vast majority of our customers will not incur additional usage charges based on the data plans. For more information, please click here.
AT&T provides usage calculators and other tools for our wired and mobile services to assist consumers in estimating their anticipated usage levels. We also send notices to our customers when they are approaching the applicable usage thresholds for our tiered wired and mobile services. For more information about these tools and notices, please click here (wired) and here (mobile).
For our mobile broadband services, we've also developed a process to reduce the data throughput speed experienced by a very small minority of smartphone customers who are on unlimited plans. As a result of AT&T’s network management practices, customers on a 3G or 4G smartphone who have exceeded 3 gigabytes of data in a billing period may experience reduced speeds when using data services at times and in areas that are experiencing network congestion. Customers on a 4G LTE smartphone will experience reduced speeds once their usage in a billing cycle exceeds 5 gigabytes of data. All such customers can still use unlimited data without being subject to overage charges, and their speeds will be restored with the start of the next billing cycle. We will notify customers before the first time they are affected by this process. Customers on a tiered data or Mobile Share plans are not subject to these network management practices. For information about this process, please click here.
With the ever increasing growth in smart phone and tablet usage on our networks, and the substantial increase of video downloads, AT&T has deployed a reasonable network management video optimization technique in our mobile data network. That technique employs Buffer Tuning (or Just in Time Delivery), which delivers recorded video to the user's device in a "just in time" fashion. Buffer Tuning only applies to internet browser traffic (HTTP, port 80) for recorded video downloads, regardless of the source (including AT&T branded and 3rd party content), and does not affect real-time streaming video. Without Buffer Tuning, video content may be completely delivered to the device and charged against the user's data plan regardless of whether it is viewed. With Buffer Tuning, a sufficient amount of video is delivered to the device so that the user can start viewing the video, and the remainder of the video is delivered just in time to the device as needed for uninterrupted viewing. This optimizes the user's data plan consumption. Additionally, this frees up network resources for all users. Buffer Tuning does not alter video content and does not directly introduce any adverse impact to the viewing experience.
When AT&T launched FaceTime over Cellular in September 2012, we announced that we were doing so gradually to ensure the service would have a minimal impact on the mobile experience for all our customers. Thus, to address potential network congestion resulting from FaceTime usage, AT&T initially enabled FaceTime over Cellular only for Mobile Share customers, and those with an LTE device on a tiered data plan, while we evaluated the impact it had on the Cellular network. Based on on-going testing, we have enabled FaceTime over Cellular at no extra charge for customers with any tiered data plan using a compatible iOS device. Thus, iPhone 4S customers with tiered data plans can make FaceTime calls over the AT&T cellular network. FaceTime over Wi-Fi remains available for all customers who have a compatible iPhone or iPad device.
Does AT&T favor certain Internet applications by blocking, throttling or modifying particular protocols on its broadband Internet access service?
No, AT&T does not favor certain Internet applications by blocking, throttling or modifying particular protocols, protocol ports, or protocol fields in ways not prescribed by the protocol standards. However, in response to a specific security threat against our network or our customers, AT&T may occasionally need to limit the flow of traffic from certain locations or take other appropriate actions. For example, while extending IPv6 capabilities through a software update made to U-verse gateway devices, we discovered an issue with the software code that temporarily prevents us from continuing our IPv6 deployment for those devices and may disrupt third party IPv6 tunneling capabilities for some U-verse customers until we are able to update the software. Our IPv4 routing is unaffected and the deployment of IPv6 functionality will resume as soon as the corrective measures have been deployed. For more information about IPv6 and how it affects you, visit http://www.att.com/ipv6. In addition, we prevent the use of certain ports on our wired and Wi-Fi broadband services to protect our customers and network against malicious activity, as discussed below.
What types of security practices does AT&T use on its network?
AT&T takes the security of our customers and our network very seriously. We proactively monitor our network to guard against a wide range of security threats, including viruses, botnets, worms, distributed denial of service attacks, SPAM, and other harmful activity.
If we detect a security threat, we will typically attempt to isolate that threat and prevent it from spreading across our network. We may use a variety of security measures to prevent the spread of a threat, which may include temporarily limiting the flow of traffic over some portions of our network or taking other actions to address the threat. We attempt to limit those actions to the specific portions of our network or customer base impacted by the security threat and for only as long as necessary to mitigate the threat. In addition, consistent with recommendations from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for guarding against SPAM, AT&T prevents the use of Port 25 for sending email on our wired consumer broadband Internet access services. For more information regarding the FTC's recommendations, please click here.
For our Wi-Fi services, which are accessible in a wide range of commercial establishments and public venues, AT&T prevents the use of certain ports that are commonly used to spread malware and engage in other malicious activity. For more information about our Wi-Fi security practices, please click here.
Does AT&T restrict the types of devices that customers can use with its broadband Internet access services?
AT&T customers may attach 3G- or 4G-capable devices of their choice to our wired, mobile and Wi-Fi broadband Internet access services, so long as the devices do not harm our network or other users. AT&T will not activate 2G-only capable devices. The devices must also be used in a manner consistent with our Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy.
For our mobile services, consumers will need to ensure that the device they wish to attach is FCC-approved and compatible with the technology used in our mobile network.
What factors affect the performance of my broadband Internet access service?
Your broadband Internet access service performance can be affected by a wide range of factors, many of which are beyond the control of AT&T. The capabilities of the server with which you are communicating, the capacity of the network to which that server is attached, the distance and number of routers (or "hops") between your device and the other Internet end point you are contacting, and general congestion on the Internet are common factors that can affect performance, regardless of your service type. Other factors include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Wired Services. Service performance may be affected by the wiring inside your dwelling, the distance between your dwelling and an AT&T central office, the capabilities of your computer, and the applications you use. In addition, to provide our U-verse customers with a consistently high-quality video service, the speed of AT&T U-verse broadband Internet access service may be temporarily reduced when a customer is using his or her U-verse video service in a manner that requires high bandwidth. Please click here for our U-verse High-Speed Internet Access Terms of Service.
Please press play for a video explaining the various factors that can affect your wired service.
- Mobile Services. Service performance may be affected by your proximity to a cell site, the capacity of the cell site, the number of other users connected to the same cell site, the surrounding terrain, use inside a building or a moving vehicle, radio frequency interference, the capabilities of your device, and the applications you use. In addition, AT&T has designed its wireless services to ensure that our customers receive a high-quality voice experience during simultaneous voice and data sessions, which may affect data performance, including but not limited to a temporary reduction in data throughput to minimize the likelihood of dropped calls.
- Wi-Fi Services. Service performance may be affected by your proximity to a Wi-Fi hot spot, the capacity of the Wi-Fi equipment at the hot spot, the number of other users connected to the same site, the composition of the building where the hot spot is located (wood, concrete, etc.), radio frequency interference, the capabilities of your laptop, netbook or other Wi-Fi capable device, and the applications you use.
Where can I find information about the speed and latency of my broadband Internet access service?
Because of all the different factors that can affect the performance of your broadband Internet access service, AT&T does not guarantee specific levels of speed or latency for our mass market services. We will provide you with the best available performance from our network. The performance you can expect to receive from the services we offer is described below.
The term "speed" is commonly used as a shorthand way to describe the capacity at which a particular broadband Internet access service can transmit data. This capacity is typically measured in the number of kilobits or megabits that can be transmitted in one second (Kbps or Mbps). Some applications like email or basic web browsing do not require a substantial amount of speed to function optimally, while other activities like transferring large data files can be performed faster with higher-speed services.
- Wired Service. AT&T offers mass market wired broadband Internet access services in discrete speed tiers. This means that our wired broadband Internet access customers should expect to see Service Capability Speeds within the speed tier of their service plan. For example, a customer with AT&T's High Speed Internet Elite Service should expect service capability download speeds between 3.1 and 6.0 Mbps. Please visit www.att.net/speedtiers to learn more. To find out which speed tier is well-suited for the types of applications you use most often, please click here.
- Mobile Service. AT&T does not offer mass market mobile broadband Internet access service in different speed tiers. Instead, our mobile broadband Internet access service is designed to provide customers with the highest speed available from the network on a given device at any given point in time, subject to the many different factors discussed above that can impact wireless network performance. For our High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) services, typical download speeds range from approximately 700 Kbps up to 1.7 Mbps, and for HSPA+ typical download speeds range from approximately 2 Mbps up to 6 Mbps where AT&T has enhanced backhaul connections in place. For our Long Term Evolution (LTE) services, typical download speeds range from approximately 5 Mbps up to 12 Mbps in most markets. For more information about the capabilities and performance of our mobile broadband Internet access services, please click here.**
- Wi-Fi Service. AT&T's Wi-Fi broadband Internet access service is designed to provide customers with the highest speed available from the network at any given point in time, subject to the many different factors discussed above that can affect network performance. AT&T's Wi-Fi services generally support the 802.11b/g standards, with some AT&T locations also supporting the 802.11n standard. Although the 802.11 b/g/n standards have theoretical maximum speeds ranging from over ten Mbps to several hundred Mbps, actual Wi-Fi speeds are likely to be substantially lower than the theoretical maximum speeds. In addition to the factors discussed above, the actual speed you experience over Wi-Fi will depend in part on the speed of the connection between the Wi-Fi hotspot you are accessing and the destination you want to reach on the Internet, which may be significantly below the theoretical maximum speed of the service. For more information about AT&T's Wi-Fi broadband Internet access service, please click here.
Latency, also known as delay, is the amount of time from when a data packet is sent to when it is received. For broadband Internet access services, latency is usually expressed as the round-trip time in milliseconds that it takes for a data packet to travel between two end points on the Internet (from point A to point B and then back to point A). Some applications, such as email, can tolerate a substantial amount of latency without any noticeable impact on the application's performance, while other applications, such as real-time video conferencing, require lower latency to function properly.
Though latencies can vary due to several factors, including some beyond AT&T's control, our customers can typically expect the following round-trip latencies when accessing the Internet:***
- Wired Service: approximately 30 to 55 milliseconds
- Mobile Service: approximately 115 to 270 milliseconds for HSPA, approximately 110 to 170 milliseconds for HSPA+, and approximately 35 to 90 milliseconds for LTE
- Wi-Fi Service: approximately 50 to 250 milliseconds
Where can I find the prices and other fees that apply to AT&T's mass market broadband Internet access services?
Descriptions of the prices and fees applicable to AT&T's mass market broadband Internet access services are available on the AT&T website. For more information, please see the following:
Rates and Data Plan Pricing Information
- Consumer Wired Rates and Data Plans
- Consumer Mobile Rates and Data Plans
- Small Business Wired Rates
- Small Business Mobile Rates and Data Plans
- Wi-Fi Rates
Early Termination Fees
- Consumer Wired Early Termination Fees
- Consumer Mobile Early Termination Fees
- Small Business Wired Early Termination Fees
- Small Business Mobile Early Termination Fees
Where can I find the Terms of Service and the Acceptable Use Policy that apply to AT&T's mass market broadband Internet access services?
The Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy applicable to AT&T's mass market broadband Internet access services are available on the AT&T website at the following links:
Terms of Service
Acceptable Use Policy
Where can I get assistance if I have a concern or need more information about my AT&T broadband Internet access service?
If you have questions or concerns about your AT&T broadband Internet access service, please contact us at www.att.com/econtactus.
Where can application developers and device manufacturers get more information about developing applications or devices for use on AT&T's mobile network?
If you are an application developer or device manufacturer, AT&T has a wide range of tools and resources available to help you design, test, and market your applications or devices. Please click here to visit our website for application developers, and click here to visit our website for device manufacturers.
*The mass market broadband Internet access services discussed on this web page are designed for consumers and small businesses. If you are a school or library interested in obtaining enterprise-class wired broadband Internet access services from AT&T through the Federal Communications Commission's E-Rate program, you can get information about the network practices, performance characteristics, and applicable commercial terms for AT&T's enterprise DSL service by clicking here, and for AT&T's Managed Internet Service (MIS) by clicking here. If you are a school or library interested in obtaining enterprise-class mobile or Wi-Fi broadband Internet access services from AT&T through the E-Rate program, the discussion of network practices and performance on this web page also applies to those services. For information about the commercial terms applicable to AT&T's enterprise-class mobile broadband Internet access services please click here, and for enterprise-class Wi-Fi service please click here. To learn more about the E-Rate program and E-Rate eligible services offered by AT&T, please click here to visit AT&T's E-Rate website.
** Sources: HSPA/HSPA+ - Third-party drive tests; LTE - AT&T analysis of network performance.
*** Sources: Wired — AT&T analysis of SamKnows/FCC data; Mobile — Third-party drive tests; Wi-Fi — AT&T analysis of network performance. One-way latency for these services is typically one-half of the round-trip latency.
Last updated: March 29, 2012.