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BendBroadband Introduces New Faster Speeds, But Offensive Usage Caps the Skunk at the Broadband Party

Phillip Dampier September 23, 2009 BendBroadband, Internet Overcharging, Recent Headlines 26 Comments
BendBroadband introduces a new logo and tagline

BendBroadband introduces a new logo and tagline

BendBroadband, a small provider serving central Oregon, breathlessly announced the imminent launch of new higher speed broadband service for its customers after completing an upgrade to DOCSIS 3.  Along with the launch announcement came a new logo of a sprinting dog the company attaches its new tagline to: “We’re the local dog. We better be good.”

What some BendBroadband customers didn’t realize was that dog comes with a leash.

“The new speeds sound great, right until you read the fine print and discover the awful usage allowances they attach to them,” writes Seth, a Stop the Cap! reader.  “That’s Bend (Over) Broadband.”

BendBroadband plans range from 8Mbps service for $36.95 a month ($46.95 broadband-only), 14Mbps service for $44.95 a month ($54.95 broadband-only), and a forthcoming Gold 25Mbps plan for $54.95 a month ($64.95 broadband-only).  The 14Mbps service represents a speed increase for their current Silver plan.  All of these plans have a 100GB usage allowance, with a $1.50/GB overlimit penalty.

100gb

A new Platinum plan will offer 60Mbps service for $89.95 a month ($99.95 broadband-only), yet only incrementally bumps the usage cap up by 50GB, to 150GB per month.

BendBroadband's dog comes with a leash... 100GB Usage Caps

BendBroadband's dog comes with a leash... 100GB Usage Caps

Company officials seemed pleased with themselves.

“Who would of believed ten years ago that we would have these types of speeds available?” said Frank Miller, the company’s Chief Technology Officer. “60Mbps…that’s one fast puppy!”

“That dog (logo) has broadband rabies and needs to be put down,” replies Seth’s wife Angelica, who telecommutes and does most of her work from home.

“Central Oregon can be wowed by the speed, but what good is it if you can’t use it without running into their usage caps and limits,” she asks.

“I’d pay for the premium tiers and get on a waiting list today if they did away with the usage caps.  There is no way I am paying to support a company that sticks usage caps on their customers and makes me waste time doublechecking how much I’ve used this month,” she said.

Seth and Angelica have taken a pass on BendBroadband’s dog show and are sticking with the local phone company’s DSL service until something better comes along.

“The speed isn’t the best, but at least you can use the service and not have to worry about it,” Seth writes.

Currently there are 26 comments on this Article:

  1. Ian L says:

    Devil’s advocate 1: maybe bandwidth is expensive on the provider end.
    Devil’s advocate 2: Bend’s packages are similarly priced or less expensive than equivalent-downstream packages in big cities.
    Devil’s advocate 3: Bend has 150GB caps on all their business-class services, and a 500GB cap on their 60 Mbps business tier.
    Devil’s advocate: Band has competition, though the competition is SIGNIFICANTLY slower and thus Bend can compete on speed and bundle pricing (they have great bundle pricing) rather than data transfer. Qwest tops out at 896k – overhead up…

    That said, Bend’s lack of upload speed on their DOCSIS 3 tiers (1.5 Mbps on 25 Mbps, 2 mbps on 60 Mbps) is rather disgusting, and relatively low caps on business class connections are a problem.

    Anyone want to start a wireless internet provider to beat our Bend’s offerings? Anyone?

  2. DigitalReaper X says:

    Does Seth and Angelica have any idea how much bandwidth they use? It’s extremely likely they don’t even use half of the alloted 100-150GB every month BendBroadband offers. Everyone views the cap as a threat, but in reality it probably effects less than 1% of customers. I stream several hours of Netflix HD and Hulu videos and remote VPN to work nightly as well as weekly game demos and xbox live gaming and the most i have used in a single month is 78GB. 1.5Mbps may be low for upload speeds but that exceeds the competition and will grow larger as time goes. Sounds like Seth and Angelica have there own leash a little to tight.

    • Andrew Madigan says:

      Does the company provide them with tools to find out how much bandwidth they’re using in the current month? How close are such tools to real time?

      If I’m pissed at my neighbor, can I use my DSL line to generate a constant stream of packets that causes them to go over limit? According to their site, both upload and download count against the limit.

      Where does $1.50/GB come from? That’s ridiculously high.

      100GB might be reasonable depending on the capabilities of their network and cost to them, but unless excess bandwidth really costs them $1.50/GB, they should be charging a margin over actual cost, rather than punishing customers for using “too much”.

      • AngelaS says:

        Yes, Andrew. When you log in, you can find out your usage. We don’t bother with broadband from Bend so I do not know how accurate it is. Most people around here never log in to see, until they get a whopping bill from Bend for going over, and then they watch it like a hawk.

        We decided to hold a family meeting and decide together what was more important – speed or the usage cap. It was unanimous for us. We decided it was much more important to not have to worry about everything we do online. As long as the speed could run the videos and the connection was good enough to share in the house, it was much nicer not to worry about a big bill at the end of the month. DSL for us.

        We ran into Stop the Cap a few months ago when we wondered why broadband seemed to be going backwards in this country. No cap before, now a cap and a rate increase. I can understand a smaller company having higher expenses, but these companies never offer a premium plan that takes the cap off and keeps the price reasonable. Their new Platinum Plan is $90 a month if you take cable TV from them, and all they did was chuck another 50GB of allowance your way. Gosh thanks.

        For that kind of money, take the cap off. Or offer a $50 plan at 8Mbps with no cap. I’d gladly pay them $90 a month for a premium plan at high speed, but not with a cap.

        I resent the cap enough to take our family’s business elsewhere.

        I am also surprised by the acceptance of these caps by people here. Is this not a website dedicated to opposing caps?

    • AngelaS says:

      We’d love to know how you stream several hours of Netflix HD and Hulu videos (every night/week/month?) and VPN and only consume 78GB.

      We routinely approach 200GB per month. We have three kids, two boys 16 and 18 and a daughter who is 14. My husband works in an office but routinely takes home work, and I generally work from home and am on the computer most of the day. When the kids get home from school, it’s Facebook, Hulu, iTunes, etc. The router we have tells us how much we consume each month and it has been pretty steady.

      We’re not even close to the worst on the street. A family up the street got a $250 broadband bill from BendBroadband one month when one of their boys ran a torrent client and left it running overnight for several days, and they don’t bother with pay cable because they watch Netflix movies every night instead.

      Anyone who has teenagers can run into trouble fast with Bend and their caps. Every high school student here basically has their own laptop and they are all connected from the moment they get home from school until they go to bed, outside of sports and outdoor activities.

      Between my husband and I, the most bandwidth we consume is from the hard drive backups we’ve done. If it were just us, we’d probably be at the range of usage you do, but we’re three more than that.

      When you compare this kind of broadband to FiOS or U-verse or the other cable options out there, BendBroadband is not cheaper.

    • Ron Dafoe says:

      I call shenanigans on your bandwidth usage. I do all the same, and I hover around 90Gb a month. Right now I am at 87.29Gb, and I havn’t streamed much netflix this month at all. I did download the free DDO game and patches. But I tend to try out at least 1 game a month anyways like that.

      • Tim says:

        DDO? OMG, I can’t even install that game. It tries to install some spyware which won’t run on my system and hence won’t let me download the game.

  3. Hmpf says:

    Sounds like Seth and Angelica need to get a life.

  4. Tim says:

    LOL, sounds like “Bend-over” broadband to me. Once you go past the cap, you better know how to take it because they are going to give you stick with that $1.50/GB. And where do these companies actually get these arbitrary numbers like $1/GB or $1.50GB? Not even premium news servers charge that much for data.

    @DigitalReaper X

    Think that it will always be 78GB bud? Usage is going up not down. These ISP’s know it and want to cash in on the cow. And why would you want a cap in the first place? Do you really want to spend time out of your day monitoring your bandwidth? Not me.

  5. Hmpf says:

    AngelaS … do you think that the kids with the torrent, or the other kids P2P’ing away, are sending legal content or are torrenting off stuff that the RIAA would love to subpoena? Sorry man, I aveage about 60GB at home and use AppleTV and watch a few HD moveis a week along with running a web and SMTP server. Now, when college break comes we watch for the load because lo and behold … the kids torrenting up current movies. I think that the 150GB is so far over the norm that you are hooting about … well … just hooting. I found out the hard way that BendBroadband has a ‘forgive once’ policy as the big bill came in and we had to ask the kids to stop trying to download all the current movies.

    • Ron Dafoe says:

      I call bull when I see it. How many is a few HD Movies a week? Once HD movie from Netflix is about 5Gbs. What is a few? 4 per week? That would be that would be 20Gb per week times 4 is 80Gb per month right there not counting anything else. Either you don’t really stream that many movies, or you don’t really know how much bandwidth your using. In todays day and age, it is not just P2P. Download that Batman Arkham Asylum trailer or demo, see how much that adds.

    • It looks like we are going to pass 110GB for the month of September here. I can easily see Angela’s family going well beyond that with her teens and their family video use. We have two people in this house — one has been watching Stargate, the show that ran for… what 800 seasons? The other (me) has been uploading content, making system backups, and I download out of print music from some of the music blogs (I have musical tastes that are completely contrary to those of my peers). Then there is the 600 megs I download every month from the BBC website (mostly Newshour), all of the online news video and clips, and taking care of this website.

      We never use peer to peer here (I have a newsgroup subscription with Giganews but really don’t have time to use it much). No Netflix or anything like that because I don’t have time to watch much television either.

      Now add kids into the equation and you can get past 200GB easily without torrents.

      My father probably would be the 5-10GB user… he looks at web pages, e-mail, and some online video, but most of his usage comes from Mozy Backup.

      It’s generational and also dependent on how much you know about what’s available on the web. The more you know, the more you are likely to use.

      • Smith6612 says:

        Stargate! :3

        I’ve begun watching Stargate SG-1 again on Hulu, and I finally got around to catching up with the missed episodes of Stargate Atlantis on there as well. I find that each episode in 420p H.264 takes up at least 350MB per episode. If there are any in HD, each would certainly be over a gigabyte. Just wait until Stargate Universe starts airing sometime very soon :)

        My DSL lines are nearing 300GB of usage this month combined, the Frontier line having much of that usage on it.

        • Tim says:

          SG1 rocked and I was dismayed why Scifi, excuse me SyFy, canceled it even after 10 season. It was one of their strongest shows! SGA was ok and it was actually getting good but it too was canceled only after 5 seasons due to Syfy’s infinite wisdom I suppose. Two of the best science fiction shows on TV and they are gone!! Hopefully, SGU, coming this Oct. 2, won’t be a big disappointment. I hope they don’t make it a Battlestar Galactica like show. The characters on that show got annoying after awhile.

          • Smith6612 says:

            You point out a good thing, and ever since SG-1 and Atlantis stopped showing on TV, I haven’t tuned into SciFi “SyFy” or Channel 122 since, or for that matter watched more than an hour of TV a week except when perhaps a local sports team was playing. Bad move in my opinion as I always was looking forward to the weekend to watch Stargate. I already have my DVR (standard definition) set to start recording every episode of Stargate Universe, so I’m hoping it turns out to be good. Perhaps for the first episode I should head over to a relative’s who has FiOS TV less than 5 miles from here and see the show in HD :) It’ll look great given SyFy doesn’t kill the quality with compression :C

            Where’s my non- $1.99 per channel A-la-carte package? ;(

            EDIT: Battlestar Galactica is also a great show :)

            EDIT2: I see SciFi/SyFy changed their name due to marketing and the ability to trademark the channel name. Figures.

            EDIT 3 lol: I did forget to mention that I have some Stargate addons installed in Garry’s Mod, as well as some Stargate mods for Half-life 2 installed. I’m hoping they make a CryEngine 2/CryEngine 3 Stargate mod someday such as how there’s a CryEngine 2 Battlestar Galactica mod currently being made which I will be installing :) It’s always fun stepping through the gate in a video game, especially when the mod makers have a fully functional DHD, high quality textured game with the ripple effect, ZPMs, shield generators, puddle jumpers, drones, maps of Atlantis (!), the SG-1 base, etc. I’ll upload screenshots or videos if you’d like to see them. They’re quite amazing when it comes down to it. Name anything, and I can probably spawn it/screenshot it/record it.

  6. Hmpf says:

    Tim on NetNeutrality … the fricking wireless companies prioritize and block traffic … RIGHT NOW. Bloody apple doesn’t even let you run google voice. And … their caps and overage fees are in the $/MB not $/GB. Where is all the fricking whining about that. Jeez, I want unlimited data wireless service … blah … blah … blah.

    Net N was funded by the idoiots at Google. Privacy, they track your searches, what web page you came from and where you are going, and drop cookies to track uniqeness … to guess your behavior … and SELL it to adveritising. Targeted adveritising is worth 10 times the spray and pray.

    And finally .. Google is pushing to have Verizon pick up the bill on 700MHz spectrum in the C band, stuck in the open codicile, and then didn’t even bid on the spectrum! All they did was create the Android phone and then have OTHERS buy it.

    NetNeutrality protects Google’s business model as they are not carrying freight in their business model for transport for wire and wireless. Think Microsoft was bad … Google is going to try to own the world. They sell your web behavior right now.

    • Tim says:

      I thought most of the wireless carriers, at least in the US, cap their plans at 5GB not 5MB. Anyways, we have detailed articles on this site opposing those caps. But don’t think people are just sitting idly by and doing nothing just because their voice isn’t as loud as it is on the land-line broadband side.

      Google? Google isn’t the only company to benefit from Net Neutrality. How about game companies such as Blizzard, Valve, EA, ect.? How about video rental services such as Netflix or Apple as you mentioned? How about online backup services like Carbonite? How about the next generation on televisions that are coming net enabled and with video download services? You act like Google has some conspiracy in place. Trust me, I think most people aren’t worried about Google taking over the world. And please tell me you are not one of those people that continually attack MS because they are big. Apple is even more restrictive

      The only place Net Neutrality doesn’t benefit, is at the ISP side. They want to implement caps so they can charge you more not less. It is a new venue for revenue and to say it isn’t is being gullible. The ISP’s are making money on broadband now with the current model. People like Kay Bailey saying that the po’ lil’ ISP’s aren’t making money because of Net Neutrality and “the economic downturn” is total hogwash when profits are up. I can see the argument if they were down but they are making mucho dinero off of broadband.

    • We bitch about wireless carriers and data plans here all the time, just this past week.

      I just completed a focus group online about wireless data plans. I was thrown perhaps 50 options and said “not interested” on every last one because they combined high pricing with low caps. When asked why I was not interested, I told them.

      As to Net Neutrality, I don’t understand this Google conspiracy theory stuff. Google is not the primary proponent of Net Neutrality.

      I never had a problem with targeted advertising cookies because it’s not like there is some evildoer sitting there watching me. I have ad blindness most of the time anyway. Advertising, if it means I get it for free, doesn’t bother me either.

      Google pays the freight to host their enormous website(s). They’ve paid the bill. We pay our ISP bill in order to access those and other web services. Why do ISPs feel justified in asking Google to pay for what we are already paying for? It’s not like they are talking about splitting our bill in half to split the difference. They just want to charge us the same amount, and also charge content producers, and pocket the proceeds.

      Google’s dominance in search comes only from the fact they have a useful service. I remember starting with Yahoo, moving to Alta Vista because they did better, and then to Google who did better than them. If someone comes up with better search results with less spam and search result manipulation, I’ll use them.

  7. Smith6612 says:

    Right now on my DSL lines, I’m guaranteed to use at least 1.2GB a day on the download itself. On a good day you’ll be looking around 4-10GB daily with the lines combined, and yes I do seed torrents at night quite frequently, typically the large Linux ISO or something else. Last night I used 3GB of upload bandwidth seeding torrents, with both lines uploading at 390kbps (the fastest each line will go). When new versions of Ubuntu come out, I’m seeding day and night until the downloads slow. Caps aren’t hard to get to at all as stated above, and I am of course against them. Bend Cable’s going to need to have a lot of customer outrage before they see that the caps are not a good thing. I’m sure Bend is paying for their backbones and peering agreements based on megabits per second, rather than by how many gigabytes they transfer. At least all ISPs should be paying like that anyhow.

  8. Tim says:

    This is how ridiculous these caps are. Through my Usenet provider Astraweb, premium account, I can buy 25GB for $10. That is 2.5GB/$1. Or even better, I can buy 180GB for $25 dollars which is 7.2GB/$1, even better. Break it down per GB and it is $0.40/GB for the $10 25GB plan and $0.13 for the $25 180GB plan. Wow, I don’t see how these guys stay in business with bandwidth being so expensive, $1/GB or $1.50/GB. Maybe they could get a bail out too? But wait it gets better!! They offer unlimited too which is what I use. In the 3 to 4 months I have been with them, I have downloaded 700GB or so. And the the thing I found interesting, is that these Usenet providers can track your usage and show it to you any time of day, yet the ISP’s are having trouble giving you that information for some reason. Maybe instead the ISP’s should learn from Usenet and have usage based accounts as well as unlimited based accounts and let the consumer decide if they want a cap.

  9. Shell says:

    At some point companies like Google, Hulu, YouTube, Netflix, etc., MUST jump on the anti-cap bandwagon. And what about all the ads, emailed photos, software updates and other maintenance issues that aren’t taken into account because people are used to the lack of a cap?

    Two years on Wildblue taught me a harsh lesson about caps. I started with 10G a month and we did OK with an occasional throttle, but once they lopped 2.5G off the cap it was insane. There are four of us in the house including two teenagers. I got sick to death of being the “FAP Cop” — nagging not to use YouTube, no downloads over 25MB, unplugging the router, unplugging the modem at night, blocking email that could possibly contain photos or have video attachments. Its a full time job with NO rewards other than a headache! The $70 per month price and the terrible latency that prevented some websites from not loading made it not worth it.

    Right now I’m with Alltel and dreading the final merger with Verizon. I use their aircard, pay $60 a month with minimal latency and NO *@(#&$ cap. We can live without blazing speeds but Verizon’s 5G cap isn’t worth it. I’ll maintain my grandfathered Alltel contract as long as I can but unless an alternative such as WiMax comes through, we’re looking at a life of coffee shop browsing and library lurching.

    Am I last mile, middle mile or underserved? It doesn’t matter, but it irks me to hear complaints from those with +10Mb down with high or no caps at less than $50 a month. I’m not asking for the moon or stars, just reasonable ISP coverage at a down-to-earth price.

    • Alex says:

      Hulu and Netflix are essentially held at hostage of the large media companies, the margins for both products are much much lower than conventional tv. The conglomerate media companies understand that distribution is essentially being undercut through the internet, they understand that there will be an inevitable death in their distribution business model and they will go out kicking and screaming.

      Google can only do so much, if the isps which are essentially regional duopolies with an occasional overbuilder do not cooperate it is the end of the line.

      The isps/wireless telco are terrified of net neutrality, with net neutrality people may be able to simply subscribe to a data service and use a voip service instead of paying for cell phone service.

      The FCC needs to take net neutrality to the next step, they should force companies like Comcast and Charter to count their on demand bandwidth and voip bandwidth if they can count their competitors vonage and directv on demand bandwidth against their cap.

      So until American consumers start to care of course the corporations are going to try to get away with as much as possible. Hopefully there will be a breaking point in the future where consumers will force their congressmen to create some type of regulation, otherwise look to Canada to see our Future.

    • Another example of the Great Limbo Cap Dance. Once they establish them, they find excuses to LOWER them. It happened in Canada when Bell, the dominant national DSL provider, lowered the caps on their service. And you can be sure that won’t stop the next price increase either.

      Satellite is the Gitmo of broadband. Yet many rural Americans are imprisoned with that being their only option.

      Verizon will probably grandfather in your existing Alltel plan. The only restriction will be you are stuck with the same basic features within the scope of that plan. If you change anything major, you can lose that plan forever.

      I am grandfathered on the America’s Choice plan here because it doesn’t bundle as much junk I don’t need or want as their current plans do. I can keep renewing it every two years, too.

  10. B D says:

    Tired of their lousy service over the years. Bad taste in the mouth.
    http://i881.photobucket.com/albums/ac16/dumpit09/bendbroadband-logo-local-dog.gif

  11. brian says:

    Bend Broadbands 100 gig limit is actualy only 93.13 gig, they use multiples of 1000 not 1024

    1024 bytes = 1kB, 1024 kB = 1mB, 1024 mB = 1gB

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