Suddenlink to cap residential Internet use

By Melanie Torre - email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Some East Texas Internet customers are not too pleased with a new announcement from their Internet service provider.

This week, Suddenlink mailed letters announcing plans to put a cap on how much Internet residential customers are allowed to use each month. The company says it's a move that will better 99% of their consumer's Internet experience.

But, as some people shared on Facebook, they're just not buying it. "I am disabled and pretty isolated by most people's standards. If I watch just one movie a day then I will go over the limit," says Kelly Anderson.

Jennifer Hand says, "I have a good grasp on what this means to the general user who realizes how much data we transfer a month. We're not to the limit yet but I have friends who are."

In the letter from Suddenlink, customers are told, depending on their current Internet plan, they're only allowed to use so many gigabytes each month. If they go over, there's a fee.

"Putting a data cap on it makes you have to start counting your minutes and think, 'if I watch this, then I can't do that,'" says Suddenlink customer Craig Gilley.

For example, the less than 10 megabytes per second plan, allows consumers to use 150 gigabytes of bandwidth each month.

To put that in perspective, in one month, you could do all of the following:

  • Send or receive 6,000 one-page emails without attachments
  • Upload or download 2,500 Facebook photos
  • Watch 600 one-minute-long YouTube videos
  • Download 600 songs to listen to on an MP3 device
  • Watch 100 hour-long TV shows
  • Stream 30 standard definition movies
  • Stream 10 high definition movies

"That's one of the reasons we're confident the allowances we've established will be more than sufficient for more than 99% of our customers," says Suddenlink Vice President of Corporate Communications Pete Abel.

Craig Gilley says he'll admit the allowances are high, but he says he's exceeded them  before with multiple people living in his house. Suddenlink explains the problem with a traffic analogy.

"Imagine there are 100 drivers on the road and 99 of those drivers have vehicles that are pretty close to average size and one of those vehicles is 16 times bigger than the average. There's a pretty good chance that one driver is going to cause problems for all of the others," says Abel.

But, Craig sees the problem differently.

"If TxDOT came out and said, well, to alleviate highway congestion we're going to limit you to 250 miles on the road every month and after that we're going to tax you, because you're using more than your fair share. That doesn't solve the problem because if you have a truck driver, who is driving 10 hours a day, but he does it in the overnight hours, then taking him off the road after 250 miles doesn't do anything for rush hour," he says.

Craig says it's a frustrating change, that leaves him counting his bits and bytes and hoping he stays within the constraints of a ticking clock.

Suddenlink says they anticipate very few of their customers actually exceeding the usage allowance. But, if they do, customers will first receive warnings and eventually be charged ten dollars for every fifty gigabyte overage.

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