AT&T Files Patent to Limit File-Sharing Bandwidth

Sean D Knight

This may affect your file-sharing needs

AT&T has developed a Credits System for the purpose of limiting file-sharing bandwidth as reported by TorrentFreak . The telecom company filed a patent on September 12, 2013 that revealed consumers would be given a number of credits to be used when downloading data. In turn, the data would be checked to see if it is permissible or non-permissible.

As to what is considered non-permissible, the patent states, “Non-permissible data includes file-sharing files and movie downloads if user subscription does not permit such activity.  If the data is permissible, the user is provided another allotment of credits equal to the initial allotment. If the data is non-permissible, the user is provided an allotment of credits less than the initial allotment.”

The patent goes on to say that a consumer who uses up all of their allotted credits on an “unacceptable use” of bandwidth could be subjected to additional fees, the blocking of certain services, or even receive incentives to discontinue such practices like downloading or uploading large files.

Recently the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Communications Commission did not have the legal power to enforce net neutrality laws on Internet Service Providers. The ruling has caused concern over potential abuse from ISPs.

Should the Credits System feature be adapted, not just by AT&T but other ISPs, how much would this affect you and your file-sharing practices?

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