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Frontier’s 5GB Cap is Back & Now Includes The Ultimate in Internet Overcharging – $249.99 A Month for 250GB

Frontier Communications has quietly begun testing an Internet Overcharging scheme in Minnesota designed to charge confiscatory prices to residents who exceed the company’s usage allowances, demanding customers pay up to $249.99 a month to keep their broadband service running.

Stop the Cap! has learned Frontier has begun measuring customers’ broadband usage, and for those in Minnesota who exceed 100GB of usage during a month, Frontier is dispatching e-mail messages telling them they’ll have to agree to pay more — much more — or their service will be cut off in 15 days.

Two e-mail messages are being sent to customers who break the 100 and 250GB usage barriers.  Both reference Frontier’s 5GB usage allowance that Stop the Cap! has strongly and repeatedly criticized the company for implementing in the first place.  Using that usage allowance as a baseline, Frontier calls out its customers using more demanding they switch to a higher priced service plan if they want to continue service with the company.

  • For those achieving 100GB of usage, the new monthly rate is $99.99 per month
  • For those achieving 250GB of usage, the new monthly rate is an incredible $249.99 per month

Sources tell Stop the Cap! the Internet Overcharging scheme Frontier is running is an experiment to gauge customer reaction.  If the furious customer e-mail reaching us is any indication, it’s another public relations disaster for Frontier Communications.  One customer didn’t even realize there was a 5GB usage allowance to begin with, much less a vastly higher new monthly price if he wants to stay with Frontier DSL.  He’s not.

"You can earn this much money just from overcharging Minnesotans for their Internet service!"

Ironically, the experimental pricing plan comes at a time when Frontier is still trying to get state regulators to approve its deal with Verizon to assume control of landline and broadband service in several states.  Residents in West Virginia and a dozen other states might be a bit concerned that their unlimited Verizon DSL broadband service, often the only service provider available, could be replaced with a company that is willing to punish its customers with $250 in monthly charges once a customer hits 250GB in usage.  Even worse, Frontier takes the overlimit penalty concept to a whole new level, telling customers that new high price represents their new monthly rate plan, not just a temporary penalty.

To add insult to injury, Frontier continues to mislead its customers about the experimental pricing on its own website.  As of this writing, Frontier’s Acceptable Use Policy still states:

Customers may not resell High Speed Internet Access Service (“Service”) without a legal and written agency agreement with Frontier. Customers may not retransmit the Service or make the Service available to anyone outside the premises (i.e., wi-fi or other methods of networking). Customers may not use the Service to host any type of commercial server. 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.

For customers receiving Frontier’s Scare-o-Gram, it sure sounds like they made up their minds… to charge a lot more for the exact same level of service.

For state regulators, watching Frontier charge ludicrous pricing for broadband service that would make most providers blush should be more than enough evidence that approving Frontier’s plans to take over Internet and landline service in their state is not in the best interests of consumers.  For many, it saddles them with a broadband provider that can charge these kinds of prices knowing full well many customers have nowhere else to go.

Copy of E-Mail Sent to Minnesota Customers Exceeding 100 GB of usage a month [emphasis in bold is ours]:

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

Copy of E-Mail Sent to Minnesota Customers Exceeding 250 GB of usage a month [emphasis in bold is ours]:

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 250GB 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 $249.99 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

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Currently there are 24 comments on this Article:

  1. Ron Dafoe says:

    That is outrageous and they deserve everything that they are going to get.

  2. DTK says:

    I can’t see any human being agreeing to pay $250.00 a month for internet access. People will simply cancel their accounts and go without internet.

    • dch says:

      >>People will simply cancel their accounts and go without internet.

      Which is probably what Frontier wants. They want low-impact customers who don’t push into Frontier’s profit margin by actually making use of their service.

  3. Tim says:

    Wow, I highly doubt Frontier, that it cost you even near that for people that download that much. Frontier, here is hoping you freaking go bankrupt…

  4. Roger says:

    WoW! So that means if you stay under the 5GB cap you only pay $5/month? I am SURE they price it like their other $1/1GB plans…

    • Yeah, not so much. In our latest update, you’ll see Frontier already charges more for less service than cable competitor Mediacom offers, at least in Mound, Minnesota where the experiment seems focused at this stage.

      That’s the fiction of usage-based billing. If you don’t use the service, or consume less than your allowance, you never get to say “no charges this month” or pay less than your current monthly price, which often used to get you unlimited service.

      Even Canadian providers who gouge their broadband customers don’t dare to come close to what Frontier is trying.

      Frontier couldn’t have made a dumber mistake than this.

  5. John Smith says:

    There all ex verizon guys running this provider is verizon Next ? fios with a 5gb cap hahaha one other thing is that 250$+ the 40 $ net fee ?

  6. Smith6612 says:

    I wrote up my own little blog entry on this matter and linked to this article, so if a pingback is supported on this article I presume it should show up shortly. None the less, I’ll mention what I wrote.

    I seriously cannot believe that after the Time Warner capping incident and many failed experiments with capping on other larger companies that Frontier is trying something like this. Forcing people onto a more expensive plan with higher data usages, more than likely the same speeds will definitely not fly with many people. I can see them losing many people especially as the rise of streamable HD movies and Video-on-demand for satellite services starts to be pushed over the Internet. Games, YouTube, and everything else included. Add in a family and it just starts to add up, just like those pennies you collect when you find them on the ground.

  7. Bounce977 says:

    As a stockholder this makes me pleased

    • It probably shouldn’t. In an effort to drive more revenue from existing broadband service that is incapable of competing with most cable companies, Frontier will successfully drive more customers away from their products with schemes like this.

      Make no mistake — in every known survey the overwhelming majority of consumers hate usage caps, even if they don’t hit them, and more than 50 percent will change providers based on the fact their provider has them.

      Frontier’s stock is boosted by their paying more out in dividends than the company often earns in revenue — always a dangerous proposition for the long-term.

      The track record of every company that has taken on Verizon’s castoffs is a trip to bankruptcy court resulting in shareholders like yourself being wiped out.

      Just review the stories of FairPoint Communications, Hawaiian Telcom, and Idearc. Frontier could easily be next in line.

    • Tim says:

      Then here’s to seeing you go broke..

    • Michael Chaney says:

      short-term gains for long-term loss….not such a smart investment model

  8. JoeBob says:

    Competitors of Verizon FiOS and Frontier around the country thank Frontier for their good, hard work securing financial stability for their competitors.

    Why would anyone still have DSL anyway?

    • Aaron says:

      Some people have DSL because that is all that’s available. The only real ISPs in my area are Verizon and Time Warner.

      I chose the lesser of the two evils and went with Verizon. If the deal goes through and the cap is put in place then I’ll have no choice but to drop both phone and internet.

  9. Bob Fahey says:

    I swear to fucking GOD, I will move to some area of the country where people have NEVER HEARD of Frontier. What a bunch of ASSHOLES.
    My bandwidth up here in NORCAL has been broken for 4 years and never has been stable enough to watch NETFLIX and barely good enough to watch youtube.

  10. Karl says:

    While it is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE for them to consider a 5GB cap as enough for “acceptable use,” I equally have no idea why people are complaining that they have to pay extra for downloading more than 10GB every day, seven days a week. That’s 2-3 DVD-quality movies EVERY day. They need to get a life and maybe, you know, get outside and take a walk.

    I also personally have no problem paying extra (maybe not $99) for up to 100gb/month, especially since, with that much internet, I can get rid of television cable because I *do* have a life.

    If you want unlmited minutes on your cell phone, you pay more. If you want five DVDs at a time from Netflix, you pay more. If you want HBO and the NFL channels on your cable, you pay more. If you want an apartment with central air instead of one with room air conditioners, you pay more. If you want all-you-can-eat pasta instead of a single entree, you pay more. Why is it so objectionable to people to, essentially, want all-you-can-download internet instead of just-email internet as many older people have, who have been paying the same amount?

  11. Justin says:

    They sent these out recently in the Elk Grove, CA area too.

  12. Jim says:

    I live in Elk Grove and received a letter also. I don’t want to go back to dial up but just might.! I have had Frontier DSL for the last 7 years and have downloaded and uploaded to my hearts content, never worrying about bandwith. I can appreciate their message, somewhat, but without some warning earlier than 7 years later, this is a slap in the face. I am looking for another DSL provider and think I will force them to drop me. I have another year on my contract with them. What they are saying is that if you stream Netflex to you TV you will wind up paying through the nose.







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