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Stop the Cap!

Founder & Editor-in-Chief: Phillip M. Dampier
Webmaster: John Passaniti

  • Contributing Editor & Issues Coordinator, North Carolina: Jay Ovittore
  • Correspondent, Business News & Canadian Affairs: Paul-André Dechêne
  • Correspondent, Consumer Telecommunications News: Gertraude Hofstätter-Weiß

Stop the Cap! is run by consumers, for consumers.  No industry money backs this website, and it has no ties to any political group, special interest lobbying firms, or commercial interests.  It is supported entirely by voluntary contributions from interested readers.

Disclaimers & Use Policies

The content on this site is Copyright 2011, with all rights reserved to the original authors.  Fair use rights are respected here as per our Creative Commons License:

Creative Commons License
Stop the Cap! by Stop the Cap! & Respective Authors are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://stopthecap.com/about-us.

The section above was last updated: February 8, 2011.

Reusing, reprinting, or repurposing content through any manual or automated process (ie. ‘scraping’) for the purpose of monetizing it on an independent website is strictly prohibited.  We will aggressively enforce our rights in this matter.  Please be aware that many images used on this site are licensed by Stop the Cap! for display on this site and may not be reused.  We cannot grant permission to third parties to reuse these images.  All opinions expressed on this site are those of the individual authors and may not represent those of anyone other than that individual.  Product names, logos, brands, and other trademarks featured or referred to within this website are the property of their respective trademark holders.  These trademark holders are not affiliated with, sponsor, or endorse Stop the Cap!

Mission Statement

We are opposed to the concept of a formal usage cap on any standard service tier of a broadband service that relies on cable modem or telephone wiring.  Many companies in the broadband industry are engaged in a high-priced lobbying campaign to manufacture a “bandwidth crisis/exaflood” or “shortage,” suggesting that consumers are abusing their broadband connections at such a rate it threatens the integrity of the Internet and its distribution platform.  Statistics are cited which suggest a small percentage of users are using the majority of a provider’s resources.  But independent verification of the numbers and raw data has been problematic, because most of the companies complaining refuse to open their records to independent verification “for competitive reasons.”

We feel there is considerable evidence demonstrating no justification for usage caps, consumption-based billing, or tiered pricing based on consumption as public financial reports from providers continue to demonstrate resilient profitability for broadband services at current flat rate pricing.  Further, evidence continues to mount showing costs for bandwidth are rapidly declining, and currently available technology already provides inexpensive upgrade paths that benefit both the provider and customer.  We believe the effort to end the flat rate business model is more about increasing profits than notions of “fairness” in pricing, particularly when pricing levels demonstrate provider markup of up to 2000% over cost.  One provider proposed a rate increase of 300% for an equivalent level of broadband service, $50 a month before/$150 a month after.

We feel the current usage caps being considered by broadband providers are unreasonable, some more so than others.  Those below 10GB per month are inconsistent with providers’ own predictions of Internet growth, which will cause customers to rapidly exceed this type of usage cap.  Others which equal or exceed 100GB a month also represent a concern because of the future direction of the Internet.  Consumers who exceed some of the more “generous” caps have faced immediate service termination, lectures from customer service representatives, or greatly overpriced “overlimit” charges for additional bandwidth.  The industry’s marketing campaigns have always emphasized the benefits of subscribing include fast access to streaming video and audio, gaming, downloading songs and video, and other bandwidth intensive services.  It should come as no surprise that customers have used their service  exactly as their marketing intended.

We feel that the “us vs. them” mentality promulgated by many companies attempting to argue for caps and tiered pricing is designed to manipulate public opinion by engendering fictional stereotypes of “bandwidth hogs” and “abusers,” suggesting that some people are unfairly benefiting from overuse of services at another’s expense.  Some providers have admitted that the cost of delivering the service is nearly the same no matter how much bandwidth is consumed, and many companies already offer under-marketed “lite” user plans for those only accessing the Internet occasionally.  Provider bills are notorious for never decreasing, only increasing.  Despite industry manipulation of consumer fears, customers recognize the fact they have never received a cable bill that has “gone down.”  They only go up.

We feel virtually every broadband provider already has adequate language in their terms and conditions and acceptable use policies to control abusive and/or illegal conduct by customers.   We do not support those who are violating acceptable use policies by reselling access, using residential accounts in a commercial environment, operating commercial servers, stealing service or engaging in other illegal activities, or who purposefully engage in activity designed to disrupt or harm the provider’s network for malicious reasons.

We believe historical evidence suggests technological advances will provide realistic solutions for network growth and congestion, and that the companies who have enjoyed handsome profits from their broadband product line must continue to make the appropriate investments in their infrastructure and network.  Instead, in these times of a challenging business climate and underperforming shareholder return, the desire to increase profitability has brought punitive caps, cost cutting of support and infrastructure, and a reduction in services (newsgroups, etc.) with no corresponding decrease in rates.  Such cuts and caps lower demand on that network, allowing for a reduction in infrastructure improvement, delaying necessary and appropriate upgrades.

We fully support Net Neutrality.  The concept of usage caps brings with it some evidence of an end-run around this issue.  As legislative approval has not been forthcoming, a usage cap can provide some of the same benefits to corporate interests who wish to provide enhanced service and exposure to their own content or that of its  partners, and/or limit erosion of their other product lines (cable video packages/Voice Over IP telephony) by accessing content through alternative platforms.  Some broadband providers have contemplated exempting their own content portals from usage caps.  This naturally enhances the value and visibility of content placed there, which can be accessed without eating into a monthly usage allowance.  This naturally damages the independent development of new content and services designed for a broadband platform.  Financing and investor support of business plans without a partnership agreement with a broadband provider will be problematic.  The enforcement of blockades for online access to video for non-video subscribers is also concerning, because video consumption is an argument for broadband usage caps.

We support robust competition in the broadband marketplace, to bring as many service providers as possible into every community.  Where competition is woefully inadequate or does not exist, we support reasonable regulation to prevent providers from only wiring selected neighborhoods, charging confiscatory rates, imposing unreasonable limitations and caps, and providing inadequate service.  We also support local communities having the right to consider and construct municipally-owned and/or operated broadband facilities to meet the needs of their citizens and businesses.  No community should be forced into a broadband backwater at the behest of a monopoly/duopoly commercial provider(s) which refuse(s) to upgrade service.

Consumer protection and pro-consumer actions are a primary focus of this site.  Certain politicians and legislators have a voting record or take policy positions which we may determine to be pro-industry, pro-consumer, both, or neither.  The positions and voting record of these individuals are what counts, not their political party.

We do not have any bias about the technological platform being used to provide broadband service.  This site does not advocate for one technology over another, but we are open to honest, unbiased reviews (pro and con) of individual service providers.

This section last updated: May 10, 2009

Privacy Policy
Last Revised: May 10, 2009

Your privacy is important to us. To better protect your privacy, we provide this statement explaining our online information practices and the choices you can make about the way your information is collected and used.  You can always find a copy of the latest revision of this Privacy Statement in the About Us section of Stop the Cap!

The Information We Collect

Stop the Cap! collects certain non-personally identifiable information when you visit our web pages, such as the type of browser you are using (e.g., Netscape, Internet Explorer), the type of operating system you are using, (e.g., Microsoft Windows or Mac OS), the domain name of your Internet service provider (e.g., America Online, Earthlink), and your general location (town or city), based on the numeric IP address assigned by that service provider used to access our site.

Vistors of http://stopthecap.com, begin their interaction with us by using our “Contact” form, registering for an account, or leaving a public comment within an article on the website.  Stop the Cap! asks participants for the following contact information: a full name, e-mail address, and website, if any.

Visitors may choose to divulge additional information about themselves in their individual comments, such as age, gender, location, and other similar information.  This is strictly optional and at the visitor’s discretion.

Certain ancillary services, such as our e-mail services, may require us to request additional information, such as a first and last name, for the purpose of configuring your access.  We do not verify this information, and we will accept a pseudonym should you not wish to divulge this information to us.

How We Use the Information

We may use the information you provide about yourself to fulfill your request to leave a comment, subscribe to e-mail notifications, or to register for an account on our website.

We sometimes use this information to communicate with you, such as to notify you about the status of your account, provide you with important information about Stop the Cap! and its mission, or to permit an administrator to contact you by electronic mail.

We sometimes use the non-personally identifiable information that we collect to improve the design and content of our site and to enable us to personalize your Internet experience. We also may use this information in the aggregate to analyze site usage.  Certain information is used to provide site security and to limit or prevent unauthorized access.

We may disclose personally identifiable information in response to legal process, for example, in response to a court order or a subpoena. We also may disclose such information in response to a law enforcement agency’s request or where we believe it is necessary to investigate, prevent, or take action regarding illegal activities, suspected fraud, situations involving potential threats to the physical safety of any person, violations of our terms of use, to verify or enforce compliance with the policies governing our website and applicable laws or as otherwise required or permitted by law or consistent with legal requirements.

Although we take appropriate measures to safeguard against unauthorized disclosures of information, we cannot assure you that personally identifiable information that we collect will never be disclosed in a manner that is inconsistent with this Privacy Statement.

Stop the Cap! does not market, disclose, or divulge personally identifiable information to third party companies for any reason.

Cookies & Web Beacons

To enhance your experience with our website, many of our web pages use “cookies.” Cookies are text files we place in your computer’s browser to store your preferences. Cookies, by themselves, do not tell us your e-mail address or other personally identifiable information unless you choose to provide this information to us by, for example, registering for an account on our site. However, once you choose to furnish the site with personally identifiable information, this information may be linked to the data stored in the cookie.

We use cookies to understand site usage and to improve the content and offerings on our site. For example, we may use cookies to personalize your experience at our web pages (e.g., to recognize you by name when you return to our site), save your password in password-protected areas, and help us maintain a secure website and prevent unauthorized activity.

“Web beacons” or clear .gifs are small pieces of code placed on a web page to collect data about the visitors viewing a web page. For example, web beacons can be used to count the users who visit a web page or to deliver a cookie to the browser of a visitor viewing that page. We may use web beacons on this site from time to time for this and other related purposes, but never in a way that violates the terms or spirit of this Privacy Statement.

Collection of Information by Third-Party Sites

Some of our messages contain links to other sites whose information practices may be different than ours. Visitors should consult the other sites’ privacy notices as we have no control over information that is submitted to, or collected by, these third-parties.

Some of the pages on Stop the Cap! covered by this Privacy Statement may use a reputable third-party to present or serve information that you may see on our web pages. These third-party servers may use cookies, web beacons, clear .gifs or similar technologies to help present material and to help measure and research its effectiveness. The use of these technologies by these third-party servers are subject to their own privacy policies and not covered by our Privacy Statement.  However, we do not disclose personally identifiable information to these third parties.

Our Commitment to Security

We have put in place appropriate physical, electronic, and managerial procedures to safeguard and help prevent unauthorized access, maintain data security, and correctly use the information we collect online.

How You Can Correct, Update, or Delete Information

Access to personally identifiable information that is collected by Stop the Cap! is available upon request.

If you request to delete a registered account, all personally identifiable private/profile information will be purged from our records, but certain non-personally identifiable information may be retained for an unlimited period, including logs of activity. Public messages you have written on this site may be retained at our discretion.

Special Note for Parents

Stop the Cap!
is a general audience website.  No personally identifiable information about minors is collected by this site except through the voluntary process of leaving  a comment or registering for an account when we request: a full name, a valid, working e-mail address and website address, if any.  We do not verify the validity of names given, nor do we request a person’s age as part of the registration process.  We do validate e-mail addresses for those registering for an account. We do not disclose personal information about our minor users to third parties for any reason, except for law enforcement purposes as noted above.

Minors are strongly advised not to disclose personally identifiable information to third parties, even if requested.

How to Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns about the online privacy statement for this site or its implementation, you may use the Contact Form for additional assistance.

Updates & Effective Date

From time to time, we may update this privacy statement. We will notify you about material changes in the way we treat personally identifiable information by placing a notice on our site. We encourage you to periodically check back and review this policy so that you always will know what information we collect, how we use it, and to whom we disclose it. This section was last updated June 20, 2012.

Changes Made in the Latest Revision

  • Updated mailing address.

Stop the Cap!
3003 Elmwood Avenue
Rochester, New York 14618-2021

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Contributions:

Recent Comments:

  • Ernesto Honez: Was that a confirmed and signed "contract"? Was it verbal? Was it sent out in a letter as bulk mailing, or with a first class stamp? Was it's delivery...
  • Matt: I just got off the phone with AT&T. I called saying that I found a promotion through Time Warner for $34.99 for 15 mbps and I am trying to cut dow...
  • Phillip Dampier: It first went to a handful of test markets in upstate New York (not Rochester) and then has been redesignated as a feature enhancement in Maxx markets...
  • Steve Rea: Any idea when the new DVR is coming to Rochester? I remember a story you posed over 2 years ago from the CEO of TWC at the time! saying it was comi...
  • AustinTX: James, my suggestion would be to switch to TWC rental modems, and fry 2-3 of them over the course of several weeks by running 24v AC into the coax con...
  • Dragos: For 1Gbps in Romania we pay around 12 EUR (VAT included - 24%). http://www.rcs-rds.ro/internet-digi-net/fiberlink?t=internet-fix&pachet=digi_ne...
  • James R Curry: Hey, Phillip - While not related to Comcast directly -- I rent my modem from TWC, and while I'd rather buy one outright, there's one big factor ...
  • Sean: I believe that there are issues intermixing DOSCIS 2/3 modems on a node. It's been about 5 years since I've worked with a CMTS so I am by no means an...
  • AustinTX: Yep, this isn't about "your old modem isn't capable of the wonderful new speeds we're providing to your service tier", it's about "we know your custom...
  • MJ Lee: This is strange. I did get a letter from Time Warner saying my apartment was qualified for Time Warner Cable Maxx, but when I applied for it, I got an...
  • Tim: You know this is overstating the case ... unlimited data adsl2 plans are available from $60 in Australia. Average price is about $90...
  • Phillip Dampier: I think 10/Gbps is available in the USA as well, on an obscenely expensive metro Ethernet or commercial fiber link provisioned by a telecom company. ...

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