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Old Jul 30, 2008, 11:38 PM   #1
LizKat
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Frontier DSL deems 5Gb "reasonable" usage per month

Frontier updated its acceptable use policy on July 23, 2008 without any fanfare whatsoever. It now states that 5Gb a month is "reasonable" usage of a residential DSL account.

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/F...-For-DSL-96546

Wow, so much for renting a few movies or buying TV season passes. One TV show runs half a Gb and movies around 1.5Gb or better. I don't know when Frontier was going to tell me about this, short of just mailing me some kind of warning letter sometime, like maybe it's in the mail right now?

There is no mention of an excess usage rate or package, so I guess the point of the policy change is to prune out real bandwidth consumers and get back to making a buck off grandmas emailing their kids once a week and not noticing if it's way slow. Has it occurred to them that Time Warner Cable serves quite a few of the same suburban and semi-rural areas? Maybe they don't care and their focus is just on reducing costs. The fewer customers one has, the less upkeep there is on the equipment.

Well, I can revive my dial up account that I used to maintain as a backup with one of Frontier's 56k competitors. I can walk to the mailbox for Netflix movies, and surf text-based news on a dialup. To heck with Frontier, and I am certainly not going to sign up for some cable package now, because all those guys are looking at caps as well.

Brick and mortar libraries and book publishers might get a little bump in biz from this! I will sure God miss the iTunes Store though.
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Old Jul 31, 2008, 12:51 AM   #2
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Well that blows, tome for you to get a new DSL provider then. I'm on 512kbps DSL (rubbish i know but UNLIMITED downloads, and I have been known to Download more than 5GB in 1 morning, My router updated/reset itself 2ish hours ago and I've already used 1.72GB Download and 0.44GB Upload
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Old Jul 31, 2008, 07:09 AM   #3
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We're on an "unlimited" service with BT and it's going good so far. We were on an identical service with Pipex too and we go through a lot of data. 2mbps connection with 4 computers (1 gaming quality), 4 consoles and an iPod Touch using it. We get through 2gb per day!

5gb is ridiculous, anything you can do?
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Old Jul 31, 2008, 08:25 AM   #4
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Sure: for openers, find out when my current package with Frontier ends, I think it's the end of September or early October. They have my landline local and LD as well as my DSL... but after my package date passes then the LD part can go away and so can the DSL. The only message any of these outfits understand comes from customers' wallets, not from calls and letters.

The only serious letters I'll be writing will go to the PSC, which is not completely dead yet in New York State, and as a formality to my congressional reps, who no doubt all got campaign contributions from Frontier and so are hopeless, but they might at least pass the info on to Ed Markey.

I cannot abandon a landline yet because this area is still dead to cell phones with a few exceptions. Any alternate dialup outfits with local numbers are going to be shelling out part of what I pay them to Frontier, but at least Frontier is not going to be getting all the money that I was paying them for the DSL and LD portions of my alleged service.

Anyway I have a little time to shop around like mad for better-than-56k options. I will find out if anyone around here uses satellite internet and what they think of it.

Until about five months ago I still maintained (as a backup) a 56k dialup account with LogicalNet who had bought out a local dialup outfit. They are doing cool stuff with WiMax for last-mile highspeed up near Albany. Eventually WiMax tech advances will make it possible for rural USA customers to become as wired as Pakistan is right now, eh?

It's clear that the telcos and cablecos are all going to go for caps, they are getting nothing but a green light from the Bushackery.

But really, 5Gb per month is an insult. It's not a cap, it's a message, and the message is "We don't like having to bother maintaining this stuff, we'd rather you use your DSL the way you used dialup from an old 300bps modem because that way you won't notice we don't maintain squat around here or buy enough bandwidth to support what we sold you all."

For now, I will just see if I can revive my 56k LogicalNet setup for now, as fallback to avoid going over 5Gb on the Frontier DSL (which would usually take me what, a week when I'm too busy to go to iTunes Store?) and at least until October keep my DSL with Frontier and spend my magnificent monthly 5Gb allowance on the rest of my one current TV subscription and a few songs. I might fall behind with my season pass downloads if I get carried away and rent a movie...

I'm going to call Frontier customer service today and inquire about the change in terms. I will open with a start-off-politely remark that it wouldn't hurt them to let us know about the capping directly. It's not like most people hang out in broadband trade press territory or go looking up their Acceptable Terms of Use on a regular basis. So was I supposed to find out about this when Frontier warns or just drops me? I will be polite because for all I know some webmaster posted the change before he/she was supposed to. Or Frontier wants to test the waters and CLAIM that's what happened if there's an outcry.

Hmm, think I should have a cup of tea with some sugar in it before I call them. I don't want to lose my account for calling some poor customer service rep a mofo when it's Frontier's honchos whom the juvenile part of me wants to insult.
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Old Jul 31, 2008, 09:32 AM   #5
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Ya for Cox not caring!

They never seem to mind my Dling and Uling bandwith.
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Old Jul 31, 2008, 11:16 AM   #6
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Same here. I'm pretty sure I've uploaded upwards of 10gb in a month, and nothing from them.
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Old Jul 31, 2008, 11:20 AM   #7
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I'd dump Frontier DSL ASAP and send them a message.

I use Comcast and while they do have some quirks I regularly listen to Hober radio every morning for a few hours and that is probably close to 5 GB itself.
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Old Jul 31, 2008, 12:51 PM   #8
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5GB not 5Gb.


I thought 'holy crap!' when I read the title. 5GB really isn't much, though.
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Old Jul 31, 2008, 12:57 PM   #9
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There is an article about this in the May issue of PC World. I read it last night and everytime I hear about this stuff it just makes me mad. I can easily go through 5GB in one morning.
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Old Jul 31, 2008, 04:43 PM   #10
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Next billing cycle, cut a check for less that what you owe, and attach a note that says it's a 'reasonable' amount of money to pay for their service.
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Old Jul 31, 2008, 04:46 PM   #11
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What's the limit for most other ISPs over there?
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Old Jul 31, 2008, 04:52 PM   #12
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Ouch.

It sounds like you guys have a Rogers-like company for an ISP.

Maybe they're just preparing for when the internet ends.
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Old Jul 31, 2008, 05:03 PM   #13
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well that limits me to road runner, which I really dont like, oh well.
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Old Jul 31, 2008, 07:16 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by NSNick View Post
Find a new provider.
I successfully revived a prior setup I had maintained for a long time with a 56k dialup provider. Took me longer to find a cord to plug into a powerbook modem and check it out than it took their savvy tech to resurrect the account. Maybe he's getting a lot of practice after Frontier's "policy revision".

So that was easy. A fallback for at least reading the news online is in place for when I exceed my quota during the balance of my package contract w/ Frontier. I figure that and Netflix via mail will do while I scout around and ponder other options for after October.

Meanwhile, when I called Frontier this morning, their customer service rep didn't have a clue about DSL quotas. So I asked for her supervisor. He didn't have a clue either and sounded surprised when I read him the new language in their policy, but eventually got back to me with a statement that they are not "at the present time" checking up on whether residential DSL usage falls within the new usage "guidelines" and so there is currently no risk of incurring a financial penalty or account closure for exceeding the quota.

Sure sounds like the clock is ticking towards enforcement, though, even if they have so far failed to inform MOST of their customer service employees about the policy change.

The quota is far, far too little for what has become normal usage for many families now electing to download movies instead of drive somewhere to rent and return them. One should at least be able to get a couple movies per week!

I'm going to complain to the PSC. When Frontier responded to my inquiry, they did not deny that the quota was 5GB, even though saying they're not "currently" enforcing it. In my state you can't take up a telco issue with the PSC unless you have already spoken to the provider and come away dissatisfied. I'm there, baby, I.am.there right now. I would blow through that quota inside of a week half the time, easily. Then when I need software updates or something like that before my billing cycle ends, ugh... dialup downloads of Mac OS X patches?!

The real problem with this "acceptable use" policy revision is that it's just an opening gambit for tiered content provision on the internet. Looks like the telcos have figured out they can whine about bandwidth hogs or pirates, and so arrive at a rationale for tiers on data transfer quantities as a beachhead, and just leave aside for now the thornier issues of managing internet content in tiers.

Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall listening to ad revenue managers and content providers trying to carve up the new pie of their dreams without giving the carriers too much of a slice. And wouldn't you like to know how they think they can carry this off in an economy that's watching some frikken big chickens coming home to roost, I mean chickens that look like vultures or 747s homing in on us.

In these times, when push is coming to shove for millions of people stuck with driving gas-hog cars to jobs they might not have next month, entertainment via cable or telco service is starting to look a lot more like the luxury it actually is. Wrong time to jack up the price or say there's less candy in the box than we had believed when we bought it!
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Old Aug 1, 2008, 10:02 AM   #15
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There are several important legal reasons why Frontier tells you it is not actively enforcing caps at this time and has buried the language only on their website.

Frontier has tens of thousands of customers on promotional contracts that don't expire for 12-36 months. You only get to preserve your right to opt-out of the usage cap if you pro-actively notify them you don't agree to it. Under their contract, if you follow the procedures correctly, you can then be exempted from the usage cap for the remainder of your contract, or have the right to terminate service without incurring early termination fees.

There are a lot of details about why Frontier is doing this and how you can respond to it, with step by step instructions, on Stop the Cap, which was launched specifically to debunk the arguments being used to implement usage caps, and news about ISPs engaged in them. Frontier is just the first target.
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Old Aug 1, 2008, 10:28 AM   #16
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There are usually many choices for DSL.

If they change the terms, you might be able to get out of the contract. Read the fine prints they send you.
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Old Aug 2, 2008, 12:41 AM   #17
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That's pretty craptastical. My normal usage is probably 200-500mb/day down, assuming I'm just surfing, not downloading anything in particular. Actively downloading stuff I could easily break 5gb overnight. Say no to transfer caps!
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Old Aug 2, 2008, 09:53 AM   #18
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That's ridiculous. That's only equivalent to around 10 illegally downloaded albums per month, a few episodes of Top Gear on Youtube, plus a small fraction of my regular MR surfing and porn watching. How could anyone survive?
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Old Aug 2, 2008, 06:07 PM   #19
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Tell them what you think of the change, and then leave them. Corporations only understand things when you hit them in their bottom line.
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Old Aug 2, 2008, 10:20 PM   #20
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That's ridiculous. That's only equivalent to around 10 legally downloaded albums per month, a few episodes of Top Gear on BBC, plus a small fraction of my regular MR surfing and watching wholesome home videos. How could anyone survive?
Come on man, they might be watching.

On a serious note though, I don't think it is absurd for telcos to charge different rates for people who download less than 5GB a month and those who exceed that rate.
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 01:06 AM   #21
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Update: Well now Frontier is saying ok look we are yeah, maybe going to have some usage tiers, they will start early in 2009, there is no usage cap now, or if there is it might not be just 5GB, and anyway we are not enforcing it yet and no penalty yet and don't worry be happy and blah blah blah.

Also it took me 8 minutes to get a CS rep "due to increased call volume", right... so there is some flak flying around on this cap idea.

I said OK forget the details of the new terms, just waive me out of all new terms for the rest of my contract and everything will be ok. And they said well, no we can't really do that because we don't really have the new terms figured out yet, they are not cast in stone, they are guidelines.

I said well the new terms are in your new policy so they are cast in stone until you withdraw the policy to revise it again. Please give me the waiver or let me out and no cancellation fee for leaving early. Silence. I said,,,, OK? She said well really there isn't anyone who could authorize a waiver of new terms that we don't know what they are yet.

Holy smokin' broccoli. I said ok well i don't accept the new terms no matter what they are, and I want out now with no penalty. Then she gave me over to this corporate relations person who tried to say I am not the target of their new language, their new language is about pirates and illegal resellers and does not apply to ordinary residential customers. That whole story again, right. I heard about that one already. The paragraph in question does not distinguish between illegal resellers and other customers. Everyone gets the cap. It's 5GB.

Honest to God, someone at that company should resign pretty soon and they should reboot the whole thing into a think tank for awhile, starting with what is their mission, to pare down their customer list or to arrest illegal resellers or just make an honest buck. If the last, then why not say so and announce the tiers now and be done with it and let the market decide.

(you need a cap for busting resellers?? just go bust them, it's clear what they're doing when their setup is on fire 24/7 at max available speed, no? unless someone's cat is leaning on the reload button while lying dead there during a family vacation.)

So next week while still in my 30 day window I am just asking Frontier one more time to waive any new terms during my contract period, and then I am just going to cancel immediately and tell them don't be sending me a bill for the early out.

They can define a bandwidth hog as using over 1.5 GB per MONTH in the internet of 2008??? And think they are generous to give a cap of 5GB? I can blow through 1.5 GB renting one movie. So with their cap on the month, I cannot even rent one movie every week.

I looked at just my iTunes, Amazon and emusic purchases for July 16 through August 6, three weeks, it was 6.2GB for about 20 hours of new entertainment, two movies, three TV shows, about half a GB of music, some podcasts, a short flim and a couple of Apple ads. That's like one hour a day of content.

That's without reading any email, paying any bills, surfing even a text-based website, coming here to see what's happening, checking out some fabric vendors for stuff I need, etc. And without my monthly audiobook and three weeks of Charlie Rose audio, because those come down to a different machine.

So I don't know who are these customers of theirs who are dl'g less than 1.5 GB per month and becoming their "average" user, but I did not sign up for "unlimited high speed access" in order to read email faster, that's what I know for sure. I can read email at 56k and re-order my Netflix queue at 56k and read the news or get emailed news at 56k... so they can stick their tiered DSL and their long distance service also, since that is part of my contracted package. I will drive up the hill and use my cellphone or get a card in the wintertime. I am done with them and really ticked off too, can you tell? But I was polite on the phone, I know not to abuse a customer service rep, she did not invent this BS approach to a rate jack.

I'm typing this on a 56k connection and this site loads fine on 56k so what's not to love. Sweet dreams y'all. But poor Steve Jobs, what will he do without all that iTunes Store revenue I was generating, I wonder. I remember downloading music 4MB at a time overnight on a 56k line... not gonna do that, I will have to go back to CDs again!
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 10:24 AM   #22
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What really gets me is that most people who stick with this type of service have no idea that the companies are ripping people off. Quite dishonest really. If only consumers were aware of such things...
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 03:48 PM   #23
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If there are not any enforced caps, I think you are just creating a problem for yourself where there is none. They just state their corporate opinion that 5GB is a reasonable amount of use, but you are free to disagree and use as much as you like. If they start charging more or slowing you down when you go over 5GB, then you can claim that they broke your contract and leave without early cancellation penalty. Otherwise, you just sound like an unreasonable, angry man.
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 05:40 PM   #24
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Holy smokin' broccoli. I said ok well i don't accept the new terms no matter what they are, and I want out now with no penalty. Then she gave me over to this corporate relations person who tried to say I am not the target of their new language, their new language is about pirates and illegal resellers and does not apply to ordinary residential customers. That whole story again, right. I heard about that one already. The paragraph in question does not distinguish between illegal resellers and other customers. Everyone gets the cap. It's 5GB.

Honest to God, someone at that company should resign pretty soon and they should reboot the whole thing into a think tank for awhile, starting with what is their mission, to pare down their customer list or to arrest illegal resellers or just make an honest buck. If the last, then why not say so and announce the tiers now and be done with it and let the market decide.

(you need a cap for busting resellers?? just go bust them, it's clear what they're doing when their setup is on fire 24/7 at max available speed, no? unless someone's cat is leaning on the reload button while lying dead there during a family vacation.)
Piracy is one lousy excuse for implementing caps to develop tiered service plans. Good old corporate greed. Nothing more.

Tell them, 'OK, if I have to deal with tiered service (data limits), then all service must be at the highest speed your DSL network can provide. No exceptions.' Then just sit back and enjoy the excuses.

It definitely seems like it's time to look for a new provider as soon as your contract ends.
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Old Aug 8, 2008, 05:45 PM   #25
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Mmm 5GB for cellular is reasonable as you're not suppose to kill the network with downloads, but on DSL? WTF
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