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BREAKING NEWS: Frontier Officially Abandons Caps; Will Go On Marketing Attack to Sign New Customers

Phillip Dampier April 5, 2009 Frontier 16 Comments

exclusiveStoptheCap! has learned that Frontier Communications will officially pull the rug out from under Time Warner and announce it will not be imposing any usage caps or rationing plans in the metropolitan Rochester (area code 585) service area, giving the DSL provider a potential competitive advantage in the area.  The company still reserves the right to revisit the matter should their network be completely overwhelmed, but company officials also stated that they are fully equipped to handle the traffic they are getting now.

A well informed source within Frontier told StoptheCap! a company memo is being circulated to educate customer service representatives about the decision and answer questions from potential customers switching from Road Runner. This may have come in response to a bonanza of new subscribers Frontier is picking up this week from customers canceling Road Runner service. Company officials are internally considering a new marketing campaign to blitz Rochester area residents with information about Road Runner’s punitive caps, and that Frontier will not be imposing those caps on its customers.

There has been speculation that one of the reasons Rochester was chosen as a “test city” for the Road Runner rationing plan was because of last summer’s attempt by Frontier to impose its own usage cap, of just 5GB per month. Rochester is the only major city in New York that is not being wired by Verizon for its FIOS – fiber to the home broadband service, which does not have any usage caps. Time Warner officials may have presumed that with their draconian usage caps, Frontier would be free to reintroduce their own still leaving Time Warner with a market advantage. Frontier’s decision to the contrary is a potential game changer in the Flower City.

But in a move that StoptheCap! applauds, Frontier Communications has decided this opens a unique opportunity for the company to not only regain a stronger position in the local broadband market, but also bring back its important traditional telephone line business. Frontier has reported a growing number of people disconnecting traditional telephone service in favor of voice-over-IP services like Vonage or Time Warner’s Digital Phone service. Most customers who sign up with Frontier for multiple services choose a bundled package including telephone and broadband. The company will also continue to promote its Price Protection Agreement, which guarantees no usage caps or price increases for a term of two or three years, at the customer’s choice.

Frontier has also distributed a memo to employees that the company no longer feels their network is being challenged by ‘overuse,’ but continues to express concern about the potential for deteriorating customer broadband experience in the future. We understand that, and suggest Frontier educate their customers about the impact certain applications might have on their network, such as running torrent servers 24/7, trying to run commercial web servers on a residential account, etc. However, company officials must also be aware that with a flood of new customers will naturally come increasing demand, so they need to prepare now for the potential exodus from Time Warner. It also remains the responsibility of every ISP to recognize the revolutionary growth of the Internet, and continue to make investments in new technology which can deliver more bandwidth.  The cost for that bandwidth continues to decline, so punitive rate hikes and caps are simply not justified. Hopefully, Frontier will make their customers partners in their decision-making, and treat us with the respect Time Warner can’t be bothered with.

Some pertinent FAQ information Frontier has now released to their customer service representatives:

Q: Does Frontier charge for internet consumption?
A: No, Frontier does not charge for usage. Customers pay a flat fee per month that provides them a true High-Speed Internet Connection, up to 10 MB in Rochester.

Q: When does the Time Warner Network Consumption Pricing begin?
A: Like you, we only have knowledge based upon the recent press.

Q: Does this apply to Residential Only, or does it include Commercial?
A: We have not heard them say that anyone was excluded.

Q: What is a “bandwidth cap” and what does it mean for me?
A: Caps are thresholds placed by Time Warner so their Customers will be charged at different levels of usage on their network. Bandwidth caps generally track the total amount of GigaByte usage that is downloaded and uploaded to the Internet by a household during a specific period of time, like a billing cycle. Press reports indicate that Time Warner will charge $1 for every GB above their cap.

Q: Has Frontier changed its Acceptable Usage Policy this year?
A: No.

Q: If I buy my Internet service from Frontier, will the Price Protection include consumption pricing?
A: At this time, Frontier has no plan to provide consumption pricing.

Some answers to questions Frontier doesn’t know the answers to: The official start date for the Time Warner Rationing Plan is November 1, 2009 in Rochester, N.Y.  Prior to that date, you will not be charged for excessive use.  This plan only impacts residential customers.  Business customers are not being metered.  Frontier is legally hedging their bets in the wording of their statements here.  So a few words here and there might appear to be “weasel words” that leave the door open, but that will be for legal reasons.  We will continue to monitor Frontier and keep them honest.  They have had a track record of changing their minds on things.  But if caps are your primary concern, the current best protection you have against them is a Frontier DSL account with a Price Protection Agreement in place.  Please review our article on choosing an alternative provider for more specifics.

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Mazakman
Mazakman
11 years ago

OK, so it all sounds good. So for now, we sit tight here and wait. Time Warner’s response should be interesting. I will refrain from switching back to Frontier until the fat lady sings. LOL. As I said elsewhere, my only complaint about my Frontier experience early last year was the latency that we experienced on the first and second hops when running a tracert. The speed we had was adequate and they had RR beat big time on the upload. I shall not hesitate to call Frontier IF Time Warner insists still on imposing their archaic limits on us.

Jim
Jim
11 years ago

I agree Phil. Here is what I wrote to the execs earlier this morning. I held off a few days to put my thoughts together. I am saddened to have to write this email in the first place, yet here I find myself drafting it on a Sunday afternoon over 13 years first becoming a Road Runner customer during the test site days. I realize that this email will likely fall on deaf ears at Time Warner Corporate, but I am performing due diligence in writing it. I have been a staunch advocate for TWC over the years. I do… Read more »

Matt
Matt
11 years ago
Reply to  Jim

Nice, Jim. That letter hits it on the head.

I’m extremely relieved that Frontier is doing the smart thing here.

Scott Cranfill
11 years ago

Hey, does anyone know how to find out how far it is from my house to Frontier’s nearest central office, or whatever that distance is that would impact my DSL performance? I attempted to find it on their website, to no avail.

Dave
Dave
11 years ago

Just to be clear – this is for the Rochester market only? And as far as is known, they still intend to introduce caps in other markets?

In my area (Eastern panhandle of WV) the only competition at all is Comcast, and that is only around the towns. For most, Frontier is the only wired provider.

Jay
Jay
11 years ago

I also live in Rochester, and I found out some information on the phone when I called TWC last evening to add the MLB package I buy every year. First off, the representative told me the usage caps will be applied to NEW customers who sign-up for Road Runner service only. Existing customers, and customers who subscribe to both cable AND RR, will be unaffected. This is how, I believe, TWC is claiming that “86% of our customers at least have nothing to worry about,” Alex Dudley said, “That’s the percentage of customers that will be left unaffected by the… Read more »

Jeffrey_Bays
Jeffrey_Bays
11 years ago
Reply to  Jay

NO! They are either lying or they have been mis-speaking through their press outlets. In each of the test markets, they will be implementing caps – regardless of how much of their crap service you subscribe to. The only people unaffected will be people that are UNDER A CONTRACT. Even those in promotional deals will be capped.

QUOTE : First off, the representative told me the usage caps will be applied to NEW customers who sign-up for Road Runner service only. Existing customers, and customers who subscribe to both cable AND RR, will be unaffected.

Mazakman
Mazakman
11 years ago

Interesting information Jay. We need to dig this out and find out if this is true or not… the part about the caps only applying to new customers. But even if this is true, this needs to be stopped also.

Danny Gibas
Danny Gibas
11 years ago

Jay, I think you got bad information on that. I have spoken to two reps at TW so far, and both have told me the caps apply to new and existing customers alike. I think they were feeding you a link of crap. Call them back and ask again, see if that answer changes.

Dan
Dan
11 years ago

Clever bumper stickers here:

http://thayerdesign.myshopify.com/products/nickel-dime-warner-sticker

Maybe give the company itself a little more negative PR.

Mazakman
Mazakman
11 years ago

A link posted at DSLReports thread on the caps…

http://www.timewarnercable.com/GoldenTriangle/learn/hso/roadrunner/selectplan/default.html

I think that this is a California RR site ?

Mad Mac
Mad Mac
11 years ago
Reply to  Mazakman

Isn’t the “Golden Triangle” the Beaumont, TX area where this all started?

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