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Frontier Officially Abandons Usage Caps, But That’s Old News to Stop the Cap! Readers

Phillip Dampier April 16, 2009 Issues 9 Comments

Frontier Communications officially put to bed the notion of its 5GB usage cap in an interview with the Associated Press yesterday, but that’s old news for readers of StoptheCap! Sources told us on April 5th that Frontier had elected to drop its usage cap and would begin a marketing effort to recruit disaffected Time Warner customers upset about the company’s bandwidth limiting plans.

“We have gotten hundreds of calls from Time Warner customers into our call centers,” said Ann Burr, the head of Frontier’s Rochester unit, in an interview with The Associated Press. “I guess it’s been a public relations crisis for Time Warner.”

FrontierNo kidding.

Now the DSL provider is signing up customers faster than it can send out the equipment.  Our DSL self-install kit here at StoptheCap! is now nearly a week overdue.  Customer service representatives told me last night they are being flooded with calls in the greater Rochester area and have been working at full speed to process orders from customers dropping Time Warner.

Frontier is currently the best option available for broadband customers in the Rochester metropolitan area.  It offers speeds of “up to” 10 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads, but real world experience reported by readers indicates the actual speed is closer to 7 Mbps and around 650 Kbps for uploads.  Additional information on plan pricing and terms can be found in our Alternatives section. Unfortunately, DSL service is not available in all areas where Time Warner provides service, due to telephone equipment limitations, and in areas where another telephone provider may not be able to extend service.

Frontier Communications and StoptheCap! have had a contentious history.  This website was launched last summer when Frontier was seriously contemplating a bandwidth usage cap of 5GB per month, an extraordinarily low amount more commonly found on wireless data plans offered by cellular providers.  Consumers throughout Frontier’s service areas in multiple states joined forces with StoptheCap! to reject the usage caps, and the company eventually backed off, leading to a de facto truce last fall.

The specter of the 5GB usage cap lives on in the Acceptable Use Policy of Frontier, although company officials have publicly stated they will not even consider enforcing a cap through the end of 2010.  The company reserves the right to revisit the need for usage caps, but customers can sign up for two or three year term “price protection agreements” which have been exempted from any cap imposition for the length of the contract.

From the Associated Press:

Dave Burstein, editor of the DSL Prime broadband industry newsletter, said the Obama administration is also likely to be tough on metered billing. Traffic limits of 10 gigabytes or 40 gigabytes like the ones Time Warner Cable is testing aren’t justified by the cost of providing that data, he said.

“Anybody who thinks that’s not an attempt to raise prices and keep competitive video off the network — I have a bridge to sell them, and it goes to Brooklyn,” Burstein said.

Currently there are 9 comments on this Article:

  1. yorg says:

    I wouldn’t mind DSL speeds of 7/650!

    That’s a higher upload than my cable and a over twice as fast down as our only DSL provider, Verizon. The highest speed they can give us is 3/768 and as a former customer, I can confirm their equipment at the CO is shoddy and constantly needs fixing.

    • Smith6612 says:

      Verizon is doing 7.1Mbps/768kbps now for residential should you be in range of that. If you do get DSL from either Frontier or Verizon, I do help out at DSLReports.com ‘s Verizon and Frontier forums many times, and we can pretty much find out what’s going on with lines.

  2. Mazakman says:

    I can confirm that where I live I saw better speeds than that from Frontier last year when I had them as a provider. From the sounds of things, I had better get my name on the list at Frontier ! ( and Frontier better start upgrading to deal with the hundreds of new subscribers )

    • Smith6612 says:

      Frontier has been upgrading things for a while, really. I’m sure you may recall what happened in my area and they had gotten everything fixed up (service works like a charm now!). Also take note that I also did find that Frontier has new backbones out in Rochester that I’m being routed through as well (some new Gigabit links and some SONET links). If they cleaned up the bandwidth issue in your area you shouldn’t have much of a problem. But hey, if it really matters I would personally take varied and crappy service over a capped service.

  3. Dan says:

    How do I tell how fast my thing is going? I was downloading using a download manager the other night and it got up to speeds of 1 MB/sec. But is that the max speed of my modem or just the website? I don’t think I’ve ever seen any other downloads move faster, but I wasn’t really keeping track. I wonder if I’ll lose any speed with Frontier.

    • James says:

      The best way is with a speed test dan. And frontier offers one on their website.

      http://www.speedtest.frontier.com/

    • Smith6612 says:

      Run a speedtest and see what you get. Just take the Kilobits results you get, divide it by 8 and that’s how many KB/s you can download at. If you run at 10Mbps with Frontier, at best performance you should get roughly 1280KB/s or 1.28MB/s download, and with the upload should get about 128KB/s of upload. Keep in mind though that with speeds like this, you may need to tweak your PC’s receive window so that it can reach the higher speeds. Also, if the receive window is too small and a download manager is making multiple connections, then you’ll get higher speeds. So yeah.

  4. Dan: Frontier is not a shared line in the neighborhood, but is shared in the CO. My rough guess is that a CO will serve from 10k-30k homes. So instead of sharing with 4-5+ other homes in your area on a single line going to TW, you’ll be sharing a MUCH bigger pipe, which should keep your data throughput more constant.

  5. Anon says:

    “Customers must comply with all Frontier network, bandwidth, data storage and usage limitations. Frontier may 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. The Company has made no decision about potential charges for monthly usage in excess of 5GB.”

    http://www.frontier.com/policies/residential_aup/

    http://www.frontier.com/5GB

    Accurate as of 4/17/09 @ 8:27AM EDT

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