It's time to install a meter on your broadband modem.

AT&T (NYSE: T) nixed unlimited data plans for new smartphone subscribers last year, and now it appears to be closing the data smorgasbord for its DSL business. Broadband Reports is confirming that DSL customers who routinely consume in excess of 150 gigabytes a month will be hit with overage charges.

One could argue that 150 gigs is plenty. Even a modern-day Brady Bunch-sized family would be unlikely to hit the cap. AT&T claims that just 2% of its users are currently over the new cap.

But things will get hairy if Web-served video -- a monster data hog in high-def -- continues to grow in popularity. Netflix has been championing the streaming revolution. It may stand the most to lose if its own unlimited streaming service takes a hit from usage caps.

Will other broadband providers follow suit? It's eerily convenient that many of the leading Internet providers also have interests in cable. This wouldn't be a response to the growing number of consumers who are replacing cable and satellite television with cheaper streaming alternatives, would it?

Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) got back into the acquisition game, snapping up lubricant giant Lubrizol (NYSE: LZ) in a $9.7 billion deal.
  • Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN) Kindle is now the equivalent of a Happy Meal toy in the United Kingdom. Wireless retailer Carphone Warehouse is offering Kindles as a freebie when customers buy phones with two-year plans.
  • Broadwind Energy (Nasdaq: BWEN) isn't just blowing in the wind. The wind-tower maker saw net sales soar by 48% in its latest quarter. The nuclear-reactor disaster in Japan also has investors buying into alternative-energy sources.
  • Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) inked a cloud-computing deal. Whew! For a second, I thought Mr. Softy had sweet-talked another fallen tech darling into giving up its core business to promote Microsoft's wares.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

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Berkshire Hathaway and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Berkshire Hathaway and Netflix are Motley Fool Stock Advisor choices. Motley Fool Optionshas recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He owns shares of Netflix and is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.