AT&T is testing a new service plan for netbooks that sounds suspiciously like cell phone plans, typically costing $50 for the hardware and $60 per month for service.

Michael Hickins, Contributor

April 3, 2009

1 Min Read

AT&T is testing a new service plan for netbooks that sounds suspiciously like cell phone plans, typically costing $50 for the hardware and $60 per month for service.You get a great piece of hardware for little or no money down, then pay through the nose for broadband every month for the next two years. Early cancellation will cost you up to $175.

In case you haven't done the math (which is what they're counting on), sixty bucks per month times twenty four months is $1,440, or around a thousand bucks more than what a netbook costs off the shelf. And that, my friends, is how you screw the middle class.

But in my opinion, the most abusive part of the plan is that it includes a 200 MB per month limit on downloads -- and this is supposed to be a tool people use almost exclusively to surf the Web. This isn't just a way to screw the middle class. It's a tax on the mathematically challenged.

The terms of the netbook subsidy also include some "extras," but if you don't want them, you end up magically paying more, according to Rik Myslewski at The Register.

Sweetening the deal is the fact that Fast Access DSL adds wired connectivity in subscribers' homes. If, however, subscribers want to skip that service, they can sign up only for the DataConnect plan - but the prices will jump to $99.99 to $349.99 for buy-in and $40 per month for a 200MB plan $60 for 5GB.

If someone in real life pulled something like this, it would be called extortion.

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