No meter? No problem. AT&T is still happy to charge you

AT&T implemented a broadband cap a little over a year ago, yet AT&T(s t) isn’t letting all of its customers track their broadband usage — which would be pretty useful information if you’re trying to stay under the cap. For an undetermined number of subscribers AT&T (s t) hasn’t yet provided access to its online data meter, but that hasn’t stopped Ma Bell from implying that customers need to beware of what they download.

AT&T first announced it would implement caps  in March 2011 so its had plenty of time to put the technology in place. A couple GigaOM staffers who subscribe to AT&T’s U-Verse high speed internet service noted that when they tried to access their broadband usage information they instead got a note that read:

Note: Your usage is not yet available for display. You should not be concerned about your usage for billing purposes. AT&T will keep you informed about your data usage via email.

When I asked AT&T why my colleagues couldn’t track their usage a spokesman told me that the meter hasn’t been rolled out to 100 percent and offered me the following statement via email:

All customers will hear from us early and often if they are close to exceeding their data plan. Before a customer’s usage surpasses his or her data plan and an additional charge is applied, we send that customer an alert when they reach 65, 90 and 100 percent of their monthly data plan. And we offer two billing grace periods.

The majority of our customers have access to the tool today and we continue to deploy the needed technology to make the measurement tool even more widely available.

So it sounds like AT&T will send customers letters or emails if they go above the 250 GB cap for high speed users and 150 for DSL users, but they won’t be charged those first two times. However if that customer continues to exceed the cap even without a meter AT&T is going to charge them.