Consumer Complaints About Broadband Caps Are Soaring

Megalith

24-bit/48kHz
Staff member
Joined
Aug 20, 2006
Messages
13,003
This article shines a light on Comcast, which is being accused of protecting legacy TV revenues from Internet video with its new pricing plans.

Consumer complaints to the Federal Communications Commission about broadband data caps rose to 7,904 in the second half of 2015 from 863 in the first half, notes a new report by the Wall Street Journal. The Journal filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the agency to obtain the data on complaints, which have spiked as a growing number of fixed-line broadband providers apply caps and overage fees to already pricey connections. According to the Journal, the FCC has received 10,000 consumer complaints about data caps since 2015.
 

jpcahn1

Weaksauce
Joined
Apr 17, 2014
Messages
66
Just as this was becoming a problem for me ATT went and installed Gigabit in my neighborhood. It does have a 1 TB cap normally but if you get a double play they waive the cap completely. They also gave me a three year guarantee on the price while only locking me in for the first year. I am not a huge ATT fan in general but the gigabit is great and saved me from Comcast.
 

TechLarry

Can't find the G Spot
Joined
Aug 9, 2005
Messages
30,478
I started with CrashPlan this month and so far have moved 4TB of data. Oh, my LOL
 

DukenukemX

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jan 30, 2005
Messages
5,927
The 2.5GB cap on my T-Mobile plan also sucks. I always eat it up, and even though it's unlimited the bandwidth is super small.
 

Krab

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 26, 2015
Messages
231
The 2.5GB cap on my T-Mobile plan also sucks. I always eat it up, and even though it's unlimited the bandwidth is super small.

That's not really what this is about. Mobile data caps make some amount of sense. Physical line data caps do not.

This is all about forcing people to use Comcast's own on demand services because it does not count toward your data cap. It's anti-competitive in a world where they already face little competition.
 

Geef

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 5, 2009
Messages
338
The ISP I use has a 300GB cap but something happened a while back that increased it a bit for me. I upgraded my service to a higher speed for a month until I saw the price of the bill for that month so I had them downgrade it back to what it used to be. But the guy who downgraded it forgot to remove the free 200GB per month that the higher speed service had. So now I get 500 for no extra charge. :)
 

FireBean

Gawd
Joined
Apr 12, 2010
Messages
994
I use Cox here in Kansas and I never gotten a letter about my usage yet. Maybe its on file that I'm a cord cutter and that they are being lenient on me but I'm regularly using 1+TB a month and peaked at 8TB one month. (Hosted a LAN Party and everyone needed everything).
 

Zepher

[H]ipster Replacement
Joined
Sep 29, 2001
Messages
19,031
I use Cox here in Kansas and I never gotten a letter about my usage yet. Maybe its on file that I'm a cord cutter and that they are being lenient on me but I'm regularly using 1+TB a month and peaked at 8TB one month. (Hosted a LAN Party and everyone needed everything).
What plan do you have? 150/10 gives you 700GB, and 300/30 and Gigablast have 2TB.
We have 150/2 and seem to always go over the cap, a couple of years ago we used to get emails about the overage but they didn't do anything.

This was last month,
cox-data-usage.jpg
 

FireBean

Gawd
Joined
Apr 12, 2010
Messages
994
What plan do you have? 150/10 gives you 700GB, and 300/30 and Gigablast have 2TB.
We have 150/2 and seem to always go over the cap, a couple of years ago we used to get emails about the overage but they didn't do anything.

This was last month,
View attachment 2285

I do have the 150/10 plan and I never got contacted about my usage. Ever. I think Cox only contacts you if they're are having congestion issues for a node that you're part of. Now, I did noticed that my Gateway IP to Cox changed a few times, so I was probably load balanced to a different node. Ping times increased but not by much. I cannot wait until Gigablast is available here. I saw them running the fiber around town 6 months ago but it still not available.
 

Quix

2[H]4U
Joined
Jun 12, 2011
Messages
3,710
It's funny to see you guys (Americans) go through the same problem we had up in Canada when they tried this same thing here in Canada starting about 10 years ago. The caps started high and unenforced and as bandwidth needs increased the caps stayed the same. Line speeds increased but caps did not. It got really bad, but by now the big providers have been forced by competition with smaller ISPs and line re-sellers to provide plans with higher caps or no caps. Although as far as I can see you guys don't have the legal requirement that companies that take public funds for infrastructure have to resell access at market rates so you could be in for a bumpy ride.

The providers like bandwidth caps because they're very profitable. They sell overage at 100x or more the price they pay for bandwidth. The whole thing is essentially a scam and it will take public outrage and government intervention (which I think is less likely in the US than it is here) or actual competition (which again is less likely in the US than it is here). I'd say the best thing you guys can do is scream about it as much as possible and if you don't like your ISP's tactics, switch to another one if you can. That's the only thing they care about.
 

westrock2000

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 3, 2005
Messages
9,312
We just got an email from AT&T saying that the datacaps for U-Verse were going to be increased. To be honest though, we have had Netflix exclusively for 4 years now and I have never gotten anything about hitting a datacap, so going from 250GB to 600GB seems pretty substantial. Although most of our programing is either cartoons and anime, which can have much lower bitrate requirements. But regardless, we probably stream 3-6 hours of shows every day.

uverse_datacap.jpg
 

kbrickley

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 13, 2012
Messages
7,514
If they have only received 10,000 complaints that isn't that many considering that there are probably millions with caps. I still think that caps are just a temporary thing as the cable providers make the switch to being internet providers. As cities continue to add more ISPs to their competitive landscape, and as the former TV providers identify new revenue streams, we should see caps gradually go away completely, except possibly for mobile.
 

Skripka

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
10,792
If they have only received 10,000 complaints that isn't that many considering that there are probably millions with caps. I still think that caps are just a temporary thing as the cable providers make the switch to being internet providers. As cities continue to add more ISPs to their competitive landscape, and as the former TV providers identify new revenue streams, we should see caps gradually go away completely, except possibly for mobile.


LOL. Want a bridge?
 

Zepher

[H]ipster Replacement
Joined
Sep 29, 2001
Messages
19,031
If they have only received 10,000 complaints that isn't that many considering that there are probably millions with caps. I still think that caps are just a temporary thing as the cable providers make the switch to being internet providers. As cities continue to add more ISPs to their competitive landscape, and as the former TV providers identify new revenue streams, we should see caps gradually go away completely, except possibly for mobile.

Cox has been an internet provider here for 15 years or so, and there are no other ISP's in our city. How long do you think till the caps go away? 20 years?
 

kbrickley

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 13, 2012
Messages
7,514
How long did nights and weekends minutes last before virtually all phones switched to unlimited calling. There isn't an exact timeline on these things. I am in a city where Comcast lists a cap but doesn't yet enforce it. There is still a limit on infrastructure capacity for hardlines (the limit is just much higher). I wouldn't have a problem with caps if there was a capless tier for an extra $20 or so. Given that the demand for internet greatly exceeds the supply (until we add more ISPs) our prices will always be higher and there will be use regulators (like caps or speed governors). However, I don't expect this supply and demand problem to last forever. Eventually it will end either through increase competition or government intervention. At that point then caps should either become a thing of the past or only for the lower cost ISP tiers.
 

Skripka

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
10,792
How long did nights and weekends minutes last before virtually all phones switched to unlimited calling. There isn't an exact timeline on these things.

....Apples and Oranges. When nights and weekends minutes were the thing.....talking is how you communicated on your PHONE. Now smart"phones" are seldom used as phones-it is all data and sms---well all data. What is going to replace data? Seriously. They aren't going to make data unlimited unless people stop using it and start using something else a hell of a lot more.. Just as internet surfing and SMS supplanted voice-talking as the main smart"phone" use types. And as far as landline phones go-you have to give the service free to people for them to want it, now.


And this ignores the point that the OP article was about landline data capping...not smartphone datacapping.
 

kbrickley

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 13, 2012
Messages
7,514
....Apples and Oranges. When nights and weekends minutes were the thing.....talking is how you communicated on your PHONE. Now smart"phones" are seldom used as phones-it is all data and sms---well all data. What is going to replace data? Seriously. They aren't going to make data unlimited unless people stop using it and start using something else a hell of a lot more.. Just as internet surfing and SMS supplanted voice-talking as the main smart"phone" use types. And as far as landline phones go-you have to give the service free to people for them to want it, now.


And this ignores the point that the OP article was about landline data capping...not smartphone datacapping.
I was referring to land line capping. Even a land line still has a limit (it is just an order of magnitude larger than a mobile line). We have many tiered services in the USA (flying, cell phones, insurance, etc) and I don't see why internet service can't operate the same way. I used to buy internet access overseas in tiers with minutes (no cap on usage but when my 100 hours were up they were up). To give the consumers maximum choice we should have low speed tiers with limits that are very cheap. We should then move up from there to high speed tiers with and without data caps. For a cord cutter with high internet usage a $100/month service with no limits doesn't sound that unreasonable.
 

Skripka

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
10,792
I was referring to land line capping. Even a land line still has a limit (it is just an order of magnitude larger than a mobile line). We have many tiered services in the USA (flying, cell phones, insurance, etc) and I don't see why internet service can't operate the same way. I used to buy internet access overseas in tiers with minutes (no cap on usage but when my 100 hours were up they were up). To give the consumers maximum choice we should have low speed tiers with limits that are very cheap. We should then move up from there to high speed tiers with and without data caps. For a cord cutter with high internet usage a $100/month service with no limits doesn't sound that unreasonable.

Why would ISPs move to tiers and no caps? Why? It makes zero profit sense for them. They don't care about consumer happiness or quality of service, they have captive subscribers with no choice and they know it. The "market" has things exactly the way it wants it.

BTW why on Earth is $100USD/month reasonable...when that is 2X-3X what people elsewhere in the world pay for the same service?
 

Wierdo

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Messages
1,817
Caps disappear pretty quick when competition shows up, somehow these so called "expenses" disappear when you have to sell double speed for half price.

If the FCC had line sharing required then we wouldn't be stuck with this bs, but I guess that's not gonna fly considering how hard of a time they're having already dealing with telco-fed congress cattle.
 

Krab

Limp Gawd
Joined
Sep 26, 2015
Messages
231
You guys with 700gb to a couple terabyte caps are lucky.

I would love to have that much.
 

Uvaman2

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
3,143
We just got an email from AT&T saying that the datacaps for U-Verse were going to be increased. To be honest though, we have had Netflix exclusively for 4 years now and I have never gotten anything about hitting a datacap, so going from 250GB to 600GB seems pretty substantial. Although most of our programing is either cartoons and anime, which can have much lower bitrate requirements. But regardless, we probably stream 3-6 hours of shows every day.

uverse_datacap.jpg
what bullshit is this? i just got a note of no increase (250 for me) in data caps but announcing the fees per 50gb and wahtever. you must heve more than one other option or a better one than att (mine is worse)
 

westrock2000

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 3, 2005
Messages
9,312
BTW why on Earth is $100USD/month reasonable...when that is 2X-3X what people elsewhere in the world pay for the same service?

Elsewhere in the world is referring to Asia and Western Europe? Population Density. Americans don't live on top of each other outside of a couple metropolitan areas (who do pay less then us Great Plains residents).
 

Uvaman2

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
3,143
Elsewhere in the world is referring to Asia and Western Europe? Population Density. Americans don't live on top of each other outside of a couple metropolitan areas (who do pay less then us Great Plains residents).
no. Americans do not have a free market based solution. a lot of that population argument is negated by the fact that much of that investment was socialized... ironically that socialist investment to me is even more reason to open up the lines to competition these things being in the interest of all while giving the government a direct controlling interest via the investment. but hey corruption... supposedly we rank low in corruption (industrialized non third world countries im talking about) ... probably becuasenwe legalize shit so many countries have outlawed, and then of course its more cases of corruption.
 

Skripka

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
10,792
Elsewhere in the world is referring to Asia and Western Europe? Population Density. Americans don't live on top of each other outside of a couple metropolitan areas (who do pay less then us Great Plains residents).

Paying more for landline is about price-gouging and milking their monopolies than building networks out or maintaining them. Most places that are ever going to get landline internet have got it already in the plains barring public utility projects (that Time Warner shut down). If you too live out here....then you should know that you cannot pay $100/month for landline internet even if you wanted to in most of the Plains (like most of the area of Nebraska). The ISPs are mostly coasting and not building or activating new infrastructure unless they have to. You see it in places where Google Fiber moves into town, suddenly Time Warner or Crapcast double your bandwidth for free.

But don't worry, the ghost towns in the Plains are on the rise, eventually no one will live out here. To even go to high school you have to cross county borders to the tri-county middle/high-school that is in one building and serves 200 kids across 3 counties. Any of those kids that want to go to college leave and don't come back as there's no work. Most of those towns have an American Legion outpost, a post office, a historical landmark, and a gaggle of retires or ex-farmers.


Outside the medium sized plains towns the only service you're going to get via landline for internet is dial-up. Which, fun fact Verizon has LTE everywhere in the Plains nowadays.

no. Americans do not have a free market based solution. a lot of that population argument is negated by the fact that much of that investment was socialized... ironically that socialist investment to me is even more reason to open up the lines to competition these things being in the interest of all while giving the government a direct controlling interest via the investment. but hey corruption... supposedly we rank low in corruption (industrialized non third world countries im talking about) ... probably becuasenwe legalize shit so many countries have outlawed, and then of course its more cases of corruption.

Private ownership and operation of infrastructure that is built out by private corporations is socialism? You have a hilarious grasp of governmental theory, mi amigo.
 

westrock2000

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 3, 2005
Messages
9,312
Paying more for landline is about price-gouging and milking their monopolies than building networks out or maintaining them. Most places that are ever going to get landline internet have got it already in the plains barring public utility projects (that Time Warner shut down). If you too live out here....then you should know that you cannot pay $100/month for landline internet even if you wanted to in most of the Plains (like most of the area of Nebraska). The ISPs are mostly coasting and not building or activating new infrastructure unless they have to. You see it in places where Google Fiber moves into town, suddenly Time Warner or Crapcast double your bandwidth for free.

I agree, they COULD do more, but doing the minimum is par the course in this country. When most companies have the choice of "generous" or "fuck it", they choose "fuck it".

*Numbers in the following paragraph are made up and may not depict actual numbers in practice*
But my point is more along the lines of laying a copper or fiber optic line might cost $2M. In most of America that might get 100 households. Where as in China, Japan, Germany, etc, that same cost could get 500+ households. The amortization of that cost is recovered quicker in the higher population density. These companies are not giving us the Internet between it's for the common good. They are doing it to make money like everything else. You have to give them a reason to accept the risk. I have to assume that even Google is doing this for something other then being kind to humanity.

Outside the medium sized plains towns the only service you're going to get via landline for internet is dial-up. Which, fun fact Verizon has LTE everywhere in the Plains nowadays.

They do, but the caps are cellphone levels. My parents had it in Kansas and it just couldn't deal ($$$ wise) with Windows updates and streaming. The connection itself was fine, but they got slammed by caps a couple times. So now they are doing some community based thing where they have a directional antenna on top of their house and basically beam wi-fi to the next node (like a mesh network). It's not as fast, but it's much more affordable.
 

westrock2000

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 3, 2005
Messages
9,312
what bullshit is this? i just got a note of no increase (250 for me) in data caps but announcing the fees per 50gb and wahtever. you must heve more than one other option or a better one than att (mine is worse)

Unfortunately, I do not. The cable company neglected to run a cable line into the middle area of our neighborhood, so non of the interior houses can get cable. And apparently none of the techs ever report this back to the cable company because once a year I will get a technician knocking on the door asking to see if I have a hub in my backyard. And I have to tell him that he is not going to find one anywhere in the row of houses.

None of the houses in red have cable hookups.

no_cable.jpg
 

Skripka

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
10,792
I agree, they COULD do more, but doing the minimum is par the course in this country. When most companies have the choice of "generous" or "fuck it", they choose "fuck it".

*Numbers in the following paragraph are made up and may not depict actual numbers in practice*
But my point is more along the lines of laying a copper or fiber optic line might cost $2M. In most of America that might get 100 households. Where as in China, Japan, Germany, etc, that same cost could get 500+ households. The amortization of that cost is recovered quicker in the higher population density. These companies are not giving us the Internet between it's for the common good. They are doing it to make money like everything else. You have to give them a reason to accept the risk. I have to assume that even Google is doing this for something other then being kind to humanity.



They do, but the caps are cellphone levels. My parents had it in Kansas and it just couldn't deal ($$$ wise) with Windows updates and streaming. The connection itself was fine, but they got slammed by caps a couple times. So now they are doing some community based thing where they have a directional antenna on top of their house and basically beam wi-fi to the next node (like a mesh network). It's not as fast, but it's much more affordable.

It is a chicken and egg problem. There's no service because they see no customers. There's no customers because there's no service. Same thing happened with electricity back in the roaring 20s. Westinghouse (AKA Edison and his cohorts), built out electrical grids in cities such that there was tremendous falloff over distance traveled. Result? You drive/travel 3-5 miles outside a major city and there was no electrical lightbulbs for love or money, because there was no electricity. Only reason rural America got electricity was because of the Rural Electrification Act.

And we stupidly did the same exact thing. We told a bunch of vulture capitalists to build out landline internet...and they self-servingly only built where they could make the quickest buck and break into the black the fastest-leaving everyone else high and dry. Which is exactly what they did. And then we were stupid enough to give private corporations that screwed us sole ownership and use and operation of the infrastructure we paid them to build. Now wonder of wonders, the vulture capitalists screwed us and continue to screw us. We also did the same thing with cell towers. We are really frigging dumber than a bag of hammers. You'd think seeing the same thing happen 3X easy in the same century we would have learned.
 

Samson4EiT

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 11, 2008
Messages
1,503
Damn sucks for most of you posters so far. I live in a smallish city ~65,000 people, TimeWarner has always been uncapped here as far as I know. Max is 50/5 $65 right now, while Uverse has 75/10? with a 250gb cap for $75*+modem fee.
 
D

Deleted member 126051

Guest
This is why I'll happily pay more for a business-class connection.

No caps. And I won't hear anything out of Comcast unless my bandwidth utilization is absolutely nuts.

Moreover, the people doing business support are generally a better class of technician (at least that's been my experience).
 

bertkelmer

Gawd
Joined
Apr 18, 2016
Messages
786
Data caps are such a rip off. I'm an engineer by any means but how can a network be congested? It's airwaves isn't it? I read up on it, and someone used the water in a funnel example, but that's a physical example. How does that apply to airwaves and such?
 

Uvaman2

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
3,143
Unfortunately, I do not. The cable company neglected to run a cable line into the middle area of our neighborhood, so non of the interior houses can get cable. And apparently none of the techs ever report this back to the cable company because once a year I will get a technician knocking on the door asking to see if I have a hub in my backyard. And I have to tell him that he is not going to find one anywhere in the row of houses.

None of the houses in red have cable hookups.

no_cable.jpg
jeeez that suuucks.. however i dont think att goes so far as to check services for individual houses probably the area in general.. its clear they the game is different.. I'm assuming its depends on competition.. my letter was just a reminder to keep Vaseline handy.
 

Wierdo

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Messages
1,817
Federal regulators allow Charter to move ahead with its massive takeover of Time Warner Cable ... Looks like the FCC is taking a shot at data caps. The Charter merger will prohibit them for 7 years.

This is good news only if:
- FCC actually enforces these restrictions effectively, based on past results, good luck.
- Merger gets split after 7 years.

Yeah not excited about this. Only hope left may be municipal broadband surviving the rich telco lobby's assault.
 

Uvaman2

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 4, 2016
Messages
3,143
This is good news only if:
- FCC actually enforces these restrictions effectively, based on past results, good luck.
- Merger gets split after 7 years.

Yeah not excited about this. Only hope left may be municipal broadband surviving the rich telco lobby's assault.
plus cut those 7 years to five since they can go begging then... nothing about key aspects of this stuff such as whats their cost per gb of data things like that... typical token shit. like att whrn they merger with dont remember they had to offer 10$ hs Internet... they did, un advertised anywhere, can only sig n up online in a secret page.
 

westrock2000

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 3, 2005
Messages
9,312
Data caps are such a rip off. I'm an engineer by any means but how can a network be congested? It's airwaves isn't it? I read up on it, and someone used the water in a funnel example, but that's a physical example. How does that apply to airwaves and such?

The signals still have to go through a tower of some kind which needs to communicate through a bus...that bus has limits. If every cell node is downloading at 2-4MB/s, how many concurrent connections can the router in the tower actually handle? And then if you upgrade the router, what kind of cable does it use to get the main pipeline? Does the cable need to be upgraded? If you can reuse the cable, do you have to upgrade the router at the pipeline end?
 
Top