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Frontier: 10M Americans must not watch TV over the net
Thursday, 15 April 2010 11:36

Wicked-WitchIn an almost unbelievable move, Maggie Wilderotter of Frontier has threatened to shut down the DSL connection of any of her customers watching more than 30-90 minutes of regular TV a week over the Internet. Frontier asserts "A reasonable amount of usage is defined as 5GB combined upload and download consumption during the course of a 30-day billing period." I'd like to introduce them to what comes out of the rear end of a male cow. The average use in the U.S. today is over 10 gigabytes, based on Cisco data. SD TV requires 500 megabytes/hour or more, HD TV 1.5-2.5 gigabytes and is becoming increasingly available. Assuming light usage of other services, that means you're over the limit watching 30 minutes of HD or 90 minutes of SD each week.

      DSL Reports has a letter from Frontier demanding people pay either $99.99 or $249.50 if they use more data. Maggie earned the picture at left when she told the NY Times she was proud they had the highest broadband prices in the country. They charge $39.95 for service that Verizon or AT&T offer for $20. They have now raised those prices.

     There's nothing wrong with a bandwidth cap or charging for data used, as long as the price bears a reasonable relationship to the costs incurred. My Net Neutrality friends came down on me hard for writing Comcast's fair 250 gigabyte cap, but bandwidth isn't free. It costs a carrier with good fiber connections to all exchanges 4 to 8 cent/s gigabyte. Frontier's $99.99 price represents a markup of 1500% to 3000% over the costs at a competently run carrier the size of Frontier. 

     Julius Genachowski, if he has any courage, will "just say no" to the Verizon-Frontier deal. 

If he doesn't fix problems like this, I hope someone laughs out loud next time he talks about affordable broadband.


From DSL Reports, this letter from Frontier. I've asked them to get back to me on deadline if it's not accurate.

Dear [Customer]:

Frontier is focused on providing the best possible internet experience across our entire customer base. We bring you a quality service at a fair price, dependent upon an average monthly bandwidth usage of 5GB. Over the past months, your account is in violation of our Residential Internet Acceptable Use Policy.

Our policy states that Frontier reserves the right to suspend, terminate or apply additional charges to the Service if such usage exceeds a reasonable amount of usage. A reasonable amount of usage is defined as 5GB combined upload and download consumption during the course of a 30-day billing period.

We realize there are times when our customers use the internet for services such as video and music downloads, however your specific usage has consistently exceeded 100GB over a 30 day period.

We would like to provide you with the option of keeping your Frontier internet service at a monthly rate of $99.99 which is reflective of your average monthly usage. Please call us within 7 days of the date of this email at 1-877-273-0489 Monday - Friday, 8AM - 5PM CST to review your options. If you do not wish to switch to this new rate plan, you can have your service disconnected. If we do not hear from you within 15 days, your internet service will be automatically disconnected.

We continue to manage our network to ensure all of our customers have equal access to the internet and the ability to enjoy all of its available content, at our committed level of service quality.

Sincerely,

Frontier Communications


Frontier doesn't say anything about the cap on the two pages on their web site that describe their DSL service. This is an obvious violation of the Four Freedoms "Freedom to Obtain Service Plan Information. Fourth, consumers should receive meaningful information regarding their service plans.... ensure that broadband consumers can easily obtain the information they need to make rational choices."


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Last Updated on Thursday, 06 May 2010 17:44