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Rural America: Welcome to Verizon LTE Broadband – $120/Mo for 5-12Mbps With 30GB Cap

They are coming.

With both AT&T and Verizon petitioning various state regulators for permission to switch off rural landline phone and broadband customers and force customers to use wireless alternatives, getting affordable broadband in the countryside is becoming increasingly difficult.

Last week, Millenicom — a reseller of wireless broadband service specializing in serving rural, long-haul truckers, and recreational vehicle users notified customers it was transferring their accounts directly to Verizon Wireless and will no longer have any role selling discounted Verizon Wireless broadband service.

Reports indicate that Millenicom’s contract renewal negotiations with Verizon did not go as expected and as a result customers are facing potential price increases and long-term contracts to continue their wireless broadband service.

Both AT&T and Verizon have told regulators they can satisfactorily serve rural customers with wireless LTE broadband service as an alternative to maintaining rural landline infrastructure. Neither company likes to talk about the price rural customers will pay if they want to keep broadband in their homes or businesses.

Some Millenicom customers have been invited to preview Verizon Wireless’ Home LTE Installed Internet plans (formerly known as HomeFusion) and many are not too pleased with their options:



Verizon’s overlimit fee is $10/GB for those that exceed their plan limit. According to several Amazon.com reviews of the service (it received 1.5 stars), customers are quickly introduced to “Verizon’s shady usage meter” that consistently measures phantom usage. Bills of $400-500 a month are not uncommon. One customer was billed for 18GB ($180) in extra usage despite following Verizon’s suggestion to stop using the service when it reported he reached 29GB of usage.

verizon bill

This bill includes more than $3,000 in data overlimit fees.

“The bill came with the bogus data charges, and it was twice as much as the meter detected,” the customer reported.

In fact, the phantom usage has become so pervasive, Verizon customers have dubbed the phenomenon “ghost data,” but the overlimit fees Verizon expects customers to pay are very real.

“[It] went out more than my DSL and my first bill from Verizon was $1300+,” reported Jill Kloberdanz. “I want this demon out of my house.”

“According to [Verizon], I used over 65GB in just one week,” reported Aron Fox. “And they want almost $800 for it. My wife and I are two 60-somethings that never game and rarely stream.”

“Definitely stay away […] unless you like to see your data charges skyrocket (in my case more than doubling) when your use doesn’t,” reported Richard Thompson. “I’ve pulled the plug on it — literally.”

“We have the same problem – huge data overages, meter does not match our usage,” writes Heather Comer. “We turn the router off at night and when we check the next morning, it is still accumulating data.”

There are close to a dozen more complaints about Verizon’s usage meter, all stating they were charged for usage even when the equipment was switched off.

While both Verizon and AT&T stand to save millions disconnecting rural landline customers, they stand to earn even more switching rural customers to their more costly (and profitable) wireless alternatives.

Currently there are 17 comments on this Article:

  1. Dekay says:

    I was one of those unlucky Millenicom customers who just had their plan ($90/month) abruptly terminated. To get the same plan through Verizon would cost me $130/month plus taxes. Verizon Wireless is not an alternative to landline broadband, you can barely watch any online video due to the abysmally low data caps which automatically locks us out of many learning, financial, and social opportunities.

    For example; one living out here can’t take online education courses, we can’t skype with family and friends, and we can’t stream games or do LP videos. Verizon can take their patronizing ‘cantenna’ and stick it where the sun don’t shine, I’m getting an unlimited grandfathered plan through ebay and I encourage others stuck in similar situations to do likewise. Don’t play their game.

  2. Ron says:

    Agreed. They should be sticking with the same price or dropping their prices for rural area use. Who goes and deals with wire cables when your getting wireless service. And they just hooks you up with wireless service just once and you never see them again. Bullocks! Don’t play their game. Force net neutrality.

  3. Erik says:

    I am military moving to a semi-rural area in upstate NY where Verizon controls the copper lines. Unfortunately the house I selected (before I realized how screwed I will be by Verizon) was just outside the range of the local cable company.

    My wife telecommutes via the internet and I have 4 kids that are very into their tablets, x-boxes, and Wii’s. Everything in this article I discovered on my own over the last few days researching my available options. Verizon does not offer any type of DSL services, why would they when they can force us to their wireless network and charge us ridiculously overpriced fees as we have zero available options. My wife VPN’s and satellite internet just isn’t VPN friendly. I see a lot of overage fees and ridiculous internet costs in my future.

    I don’t even live there yet but just based on my research it pissed me off enough to write the 21st Congressional District of New York Congressman Bill Owens and complain about Verizon. What motivation do they have to roll out any kind of infrastructure? I feel like my family is going to be disadvantaged educationally and potentially economically.

    I am pretty frustrated with the situation me and my family are moving into, unfortunately we already pulled the trigger on this house and I won’t join my family for a few months as I am currently overseas. Fortunately we only rented this time and didn’t buy so once I get back I will definitely select another home much more carefully based on available services, and I will not do business with Verizon anytime I have an option not to.

    Ironically I am currently stationed in Kuwait and have a 4G LTE plan through a local provider here and pay around 40 USD a month for a 20GB plan, that just throttles once you go over. The same plan through Verizon where I am moving would cost me around 120 USD with the constant threat of overages. So I get better and more reasonable internet service in a Desert in Kuwait than I can get in upstate NY U.S.A. It’s pretty sad when you think about it.

    • Mike says:

      I would consider getting that xbox off your lan…Wii also…some games will kill your data. My college aged son was home for the
      summer and I got hit hard …he has a gaming laptop and an xbox and wound up with a bill topping 600.00 dollars. thats when
      I started doing the stuff in my other posts.

  4. Mike says:

    same issues as reported above…I get less actual usage with this than I did the 20 gb melinicom plan. I used to be able to game
    on melinicom and now I dare not touch anything…My wife is afraid of it and after about 2 weeks I am showing near all 30 gb
    used up. The phantom usage is real and though they claim retransmits are a small amount of usage I dont think they should be charging for it as the retrans could be their own internal problems. We do not stream anything at all no music..no movies no tv.
    I think that the method of calculating data should be investigated. Their usage types are inaccurate for pc’s vs. phones..these
    are the ones that if you drill down on your usage meter and shows you web browsing,email,gaming,video. etc. This makes
    it more difficult for you to figure out what is going on. They are the new AT&T from the days of the longdistance wars. They have
    turned from being a great provider to a monster out to drain us dry. Rural US has 0 good options and we should have the same
    costs as most others or only slightly more. Satelite is just as ridiculous and not good for some things. I would love to be able
    to stream tv and maybe turn off my tv to justify the cost..but not possible…might have to give up on both TV and internet. They
    are definitly theives.

  5. Rebeccs says:

    I too was a victim of the Verizon Wireless Cantenna usage fraud. I had this LTE device installed back in June and had a 30 Gig plan. My family does not game or watch movies so was concerned when Verizon said I had overages. I reached out to them and spent several hours on the phone with them only to here them basically make me feel like a liar. In July me and my family went on vacation taking our only laptop and all cell phones we were gone 15 days and while there I kept getting overage alerts so I called Verizon. Again only to be told the same thing that I was trying to get out of pàying for overages. I finally reach an agent and demanded to have someone come out or to show me what devices were using this data and they said they couldn’t because of privacy. She said she would put me on a parent ticket of individuals that had my same complaint and it was being investigated to see if there was a problem. I have been talking to her every 2 weeks since August only getting the same response that there was no resolution found yet. I finally met a gentleman who had knowledge on how this internet works. He explained to me that generally the homes that are stuck getting this type of internet were located in areas where Verizon services were minimal and that when pulling up data the Cantenna was continually pinging of cell towers which was like uploading the information you are trying to pull up over and over again. This is something I had already asked Verizon because the flights on my Cantenna and motem blinked continually but they said that was normal and that had nothing to do with data usage. The gentleman told me to reach out to a satellite provider toinstall another service to check my data usage and to unplug my modem for Verizon but to leave the Cantenna plugged in. I had Hughes Net installed and waited 14 days before checking data for both devices (Again remind you I had unplugged my Verizon Modem) I had only used less than 1 Gig with Hughes Net and when I called Verizon they told me I had used 20 gigs. I asked the lady had I used data this day and she said yes. I then told her that I had unplugged the modem 14 days prior at the beginning of the month and she said she could see the modem had been turned off back then and had no explanation how data was being used by the Cantenna. She immediately said they would discontinue my services with no early disconnect fees and would refund me the overages this month. I then referenced the parent ticket and asked what and who she was going to reach out to because this was fraud and I did t want others to be taken advantage of with $400 plus internet bills and again like memade to feel like they were lieing when they call-in to question. She told me that I had no reason anymore to be concerned because I no longer have the service. Not to remind her the amount of overage charges I had paid to Verizon over the last 7 months. This is fraud and I don’t know who to reach out to so no one else will be robbed by the Verizon usage/data ghost

    • Juan says:

      Can you please help me with more info on how you did it my 20gb plan started on the 7th of this month and my phone blew up with messages from verizon saying i used all my data not only that but i used 30gb in overages a total of 50gb within like 5 mins. How is that even possible when it takes me more than 40mins to download 1 gb of music or movies..etc

    • Mike says:

      They will tell you all kinds of lies…will claim to investigate and call you back…etc. Basically tthey dont do anything..they dont care and they dont investigate anything that I can tell. My experience detailed above is still going on, but I have it better controlled. You can only do
      basic web browsing without getting nailed…email..just the more mundane things. I do download software but it is for linux systems
      not windows which are not near as large a download. The software is much smaller as I believe that unixes in general use alot more system file calls….might not be the only reason but anyway.. The phantom usage is still there…here is their explanation” the times of
      usage reported by their systems is not accurate, it si PROBABLY previous usage just reported late.” So lagged reporting time..I call
      BS on tha tone too…but then maybe not as the usage itself is inaccurate.

      Another thing I was told by a Call center supervisor, now this is one of the people above the regular customer service supervisors
      at least thats their claim….”A GB ofWireless data is DIFFERENT than hardwired data” well that sent me off the edge a GB is a GB
      it does not matter if it is to your lan…the internet over cable…over wireless..your harddrive…..Basically they just blow smoke at you.
      I have paid them so much money that I could p[robbably get a fractional T1 line if it were not for the installation cost….

      Do yourself a favor and search as hard as you can for another alternative….in the meantime the following is what I have done to
      control this thin a little better.
      1) Purchase a second inexpensive router..
      2)Kill the wireless on THEIR router..you can turn it off insettings
      3) This requires a little tinkering…..set your lan IP to a different Ip than your Verizon router..their router uses network
      set yours to or 0.0 or 3.0 you get it…
      4 set the router you bought to a static address in the network something like the following….. then
      set a route in the old router back to the address to your new lan address.
      5) hook the the wan out to the verixzon router…..
      if the instructions are a little off or confusing there are how tos to do this on line that are probably much more clear than I am.
      6) set the dns in the new router to opendns…they have an excellent blocking service that is free I have used it for years.
      The reason to go through all of the above is to be able to control where your systems go and when…I use a cradlepoint router
      which though not inexpensive works well with opendns. You have to use their dns servers to monitor and block through them.
      7) you want to use the wireless in the new router for two reasons…
      you want to see where your gear is going and you want to control where it goes and who uses it.
      This also gives you only one IP to control and monitor…the only one that exits to the internet is the new router that you added..
      anything else would be the “evil ones” (verizon) router causing it.
      There is not a clear or easy way to change the DNS server in the verizon router I have tried and it does not work. They apparantly dont want you avoiding their dns servers.

      8) Block the crap out of the Iphones they are a data disaster. better not to use the wifi at your home for the phones but if you cant
      remember there is a way to block them.
      9) Use the mac filter on the new router for ALL wireless conections and dont allow arbitrary connections…you know the kid that comes over and wants to ride your wifi. You simply change the mac filter to disallow any unlisted mac addresses.

      I have done some other things to make the 30GB work……no more online gaming so I have two LEGAL game servers hooked up here for everyone to play with they are setup to only work on my lan.
      There could be some less compicated ways to control this thing but not if you are a long time computer hobbyist and been around them since before the first PCXT hit the open market…..
      It is ridiculous that I have to do this stuff to just have a little of the things I used to do without even thinking of data usage.
      These people are crooks.

      If there are any IT admins on this board I am sure that they know of other equipment that would be better than my method but I cant afford any of it, though that doesnt mean that you cant.
      Good Luck with the evil one….lol

  6. Mike says:

    I forgot to mention some of the other things that you can do……if you like a technical challenge…basically you bring the services that you like to use into your lan at home. That is another advantage to isolating your gear from the internet. These things are all free to
    do as long as you have an extra pc or two around. I have done all of the following:
    1) if you like streaming media …music mostly ……there are a number of streaming media servers free to download and install..
    I use ampache as I have a web server running here already. It allows streams to most any device once tweaked properly.
    2) For cloud services I use “owncloud” also requires a webserver running but it installs on apache without any hitches. it also keeps your stuff private. You keep your data at home where it belongs….
    3) If your concerned about backup there is freenas……nas4free…….and a couple of windows ones also…..all free to use…..
    If you want external access you can setup a vpn connection to your lan but remember that will cause data usage when you login to it from remote.

    The real solution is to get the FCC to ban caps on ANY fixed internet services or its going to choke internet businesses off and cause
    losses of jobs sooner or later as the problem gets worse. You cannot even effectivly look for a job anymore without it. Bringing your
    services in house is not something that the average person wants to deal with but it is at least a partial solution.

  7. Betsy says:

    I could have written the post above myself. Exact same experience. I had a Hughes Net competitor for 7 years and rarely used more than 15 GB per month. With Verizon, I go over every month. Not just a little bit…in December it was 76 GB. Verizon has no explanation. We are a household of two people. No streaming of videos or music. No smart tv, nothing. Every time I call I get the same runaround.

    Rebecca, you mentioned some sort of parent ticket. Sounds like a great start to a class action law suit.

    • Scott says:

      Same exact experience as Betsy. Verizon just keeps insisting that I am using the data. I was also with Hughes net for years and never came close to my usage allowance. I am afraid to touch the computer at this point. I have turned off all automatic updates. I disconnected my phones from the wifi weeks ago. Data keeps accumulating. Verizon reps just keep saying if it shows you are using data then you are using data. This is like having a broken power meter on your home. Who oversees these type of disputes? FCC?

      • John Pope says:

        We have the exact same complaint. We have been dealing with Verizon on this for months with no satisfaction. We put in an FCC complaint (very easy to do), and the FCC responded quickly. They gave Verizon 30 days to answer, which they finally did through regular “Postal Service” mail. Why not use the internet I don’t know, other than it makes it easier for folks like us to pass on the information. The answer was useless and did not address the real problem. I rebutted with the FCC and again Verizon has 30 days to answer. Nevertheless, during the next month (January 2016) all was well, then “bam” two periods of time (no more than 4 hours with the system on) with spikes in excess of 4Gb each show up each time. I’ve been on the phone quite often (Verizon phone 800-435-6622, I encourage all to call them), but I just talk to apologists that essentially say “Oh well.” This is a problem that Verizon cares NOT to address. I encourage all to hold their feet to the fire. I am not quitting, I am going to find resolution.

        • Scott says:


          Thanks for the information. I just completed filing a FCC complaint.

          On two occasions, a Verizon LTE Home Installed Internet specialist/technician was to return my call within 48 hours and never did call me. There are also multiple complaints about this issue on the Verizon Community website. The Verizon reps just keep telling me that if the Cantenna equipment says that I am using the data then obviously I am in using the data. They will not even consider that there could be any legitimacy to my complaint.

          • John Pope says:

            For those interested here is the FCC site to file a complaint. Maybe if enough people complain they’ll do something about it!! Also, you can google the site for FCC complaints.


            • John Pope says:

              Thanks Scott. I just filed another complaint with the FCC and gave the FCC site for others to use.

              • Mike says:

                I filed mine just before Christmas someone called me from some cryptic number about the usage and I could not return their call..I did get a chance to discuss it with a female contact who handles these things. The fcc is supposed to contact you after the investigation I have not heard from them., but we need to keep up the complaints….If you look at your usage you will probably
                see the ghost data that occurs when no one is using your internet…they will tell you alot of dumb stuff about turning off auto updates of any machines and things of this nature…I can assure you that it will not stop it as I have no autoupdates on any machine and
                block all phones from the “cloud” services..icloud…For the most part I dont allow phones to use the wifi and force them to use
                their own data plans. I still cant use my internet the way I used to use the 20gb 3G plan that I ha d with Millenicom or Alltel..Verizon
                bought both of them out.(bought segments of Alltels network in this area and scooping me up. I had unlimited which they claimed
                they would honor but throttled my connection to the point of web sites not even loading…Verizon is crap…I am simply having a
                hard time getting away from them as there seems to be no one left in this area but them. If I could get the funding I would start
                my own rural system for this area could probably make a fortune, but the investment would be staggering….shame.

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