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Customers Launch Petition Drive With Change.org to Stop Data Capping

David K. Smith February 23, 2012 Consumer News, Data Caps, Editorial & Site News, Public Policy & Gov't 11 Comments

Noted online petitioner Change.org will be promoting a petition to stop bandwidth capping this week.

Perhaps best known for hosting an appeal which influenced Bank of America to drop their proposed $5 monthly ATM card fee, Change.org will be presenting the ‘no data capping’ petition on various social media sites in an attempt to gain signatures.

The petition’s letter, directed to AT&T, Comcast, the Federal Communications Commission, and all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who practice data capping, demands that they return to a billing model of unlimited access for a reasonable monthly fee.  Telecommunication providers have a responsibility to improve service, not lower it, the authors argue, particularly in light of the fact that taxpayer-funded broadband pipelines already exist, which the providers are not using.

Petition author David K. Smith argues that data caps contradict the Internet’s inherent purpose.  In the petition page’s linked article, “Why Data Caps Are Censorship,” he states that as the Internet is exponentially growing, one can always access more information than any data cap could allow, resulting in censorship from “the Big Picture.” The article maintains that exclusion from the total amount of information available results in “leashed” users having an incomplete perspective due to restricted access, and that incomplete, fragmentary information is useless.

“Now is a great time to be signing and sharing this petition,” said Smith.  “We have Change.org’s attention, and more and more articles are appearing to protest bandwidth injustices.  I feel this is a critical fight for our freedom to information.”

Change.org online help assets suggest that one of the most effective ways to gain signatures is for advocates to place a link to the petition under appropriate news and technical articles, along with a paragraph describing its relevance to the subject discussed.

[Stop the Cap! encourages readers to sign this (and other) petitions which declare the practice of Internet Overcharging unacceptable.  Whether it’s data caps or throttled speeds, customers deserve an unlimited, unthrottled Internet experience they pay good money to receive.  As financial reports show, today’s unlimited pricing formula delivers enormous profits to broadband providers, even as their costs to provide the service continue to decline.]

Currently there are 11 comments on this Article:

  1. Bran says:

    Finally, I hope this gets all the attention it deserves.

  2. Bran says:

    So, how is Change.org promoting this exactly? Are you saying they have plans to do so? As of this moment, I see no mention of it on their homepage.

    • David K. Smith says:

      Hi Bran, I was contacted by Change.org representatives roughly a week ago; they asked me to make some changes to the petition letter and suggested reducing the length of the petition body. On Tuesday, I was emailed by a Senior Organizer at Change.org’s Economic Justice section, saying the he would start promoting the issue on social media and see how it did. Hopefully, the more signatures we can obtain, the more attention the petition will receive. I will update this thread with any new information that I receive. Thanks for your comments.

  3. TK says:

    Why only 305 signatures? I just signed this.

    Wireline ISPs are imposing caps to protect cable TV revenue against Internet sources of video. This is a clear conflict of interest due to being in both the TV and Internet business.

    ISPs have a history of providing poor (inaccurate) info on usage, or no meters at all. ISPs should not be able to sell service by data consumption, unless they provide reliable, easily accessed meters that are subject to inspections and regulations related to weights and measures.

    Wireline internet providers do not have the spectrum constraints faced by the cell phone companies and have no reasonable reason to limit or bill by data usage.

  4. Salem says:

    I think there is a relative dearth of people in the U.S. that are aware, or would even believe, of such mafiosi behavior by the major Cable/Telecos. It’s difficult to get a large movement going unless people are being physically abused by violence or starvation. Even Occupy Wall Street is becoming a fading memory, receiving less and less media every day, yet a handful of people keep going.

    I believe, for the most part, that those who are moved to this simple action have either been warned by their provider or ride the line of the cap. Few people will act on behalf of others in this case, just for the sake of keeping these gluttonous companies in check.

    I don’t intend to speak for anyone, as we each have our reasons and understandings, but I will express why this matters for at least one person, me.

    There is one solution for broadband internet in my neighborhood, Comcast. I have an HD webcam setup at my grandparents’ home to watch my grandmother with Alzheimer’s. That camera streams to my household for hours each day in an effort to ease the burden on my grandfather. He watches over her instead of assisted living and various members of my family watch the cam throughout the day. In addition to this, this house streams everything. That includes Steam, Origin, Xbox Live, Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, TED conference talks, occasionally NBC Nightly News, The Daily Show, and random Youtube videos.

    Before I knew a cap even existed, I let the camera stream for the majority of the day. Comcast cut my internet off after 3 consecutive months of averaging 1 Terabyte. I explained my situation and they restored me, but now I have to watch my usage like a hawk, yet I still average 100GB over their limit and really hope they don’t oust me; as I will have zero broadband solutions until AT&T reaches my address. With them scurrying to get their usage monitors up and running, I don’t see what good switching to them would do. Comcast does not offer a solution for users like myself, all residential tiers are capped. I pay $62.95/month for 15/3, more if I didn’t own my own modem.

    • ClaudeA says:

      It may be to your benefit to talk to a state communications rep. If a doctor is involved, go there for pointers. If your dad is a vet, go there. The main thing is to understand that there is no such thing as “too much data use for modern digital traffic pipes. Comcast, as it is clear ALL ISPs do, merely uses this for a wedge to motivate unwary users into higher prices.

      There is a good discourse on this here, plus a link to change.org to amass a nation-wide effort to motivate ISPs to drop their data cap nonsense . . .


      A search for this . . .


      Why the “data cap” is a hoax used to merely induce you to part with cash . . .

      So . . . You might consider a “polite” printed letter that reads a bit like: “To the attention of Customer Relations Office, [Your ISP]:

      The Internet access at my invalid father’s residence was unilaterally and arbitrarily cut during its use to monitor my father, an invalid. The reason for this breach of service was given that an arbitrary data cap was exceeded. However that same data measurement was not provided for me to monitor, and know when to expect it to go over the “cap” that was claimed it did exceed.

      With both u.S. and International Contract Law specifically and explicitly stating that no party to a contract may unilaterally and arbitrarily make any change in the delivery of and maintenance for that contract at any time, I am ready to charge [ISP] in a formal manner with breach of contract, and especially so given the life and death situation involved with the service in dispute.

      I will make all effort to make and keep my good faith in [ISP] lawful delivery of the service that they agreed to, but I and those I appoint for counsel will be on guard for further failure to deliver as the original contract delineates. . . .”

      Competition is not the issue, even for non-medical uses. Like the power and phone services, these Internet access issues are both economic and essentials for competitive existence in today’s market for the individual.

      ISPs are playing a sham – a game to see who swerves first in a head-on dare-devil course. The play their customers like Chess Pawns, and rely on their “Owned Media to NOT make nor allow full disclosure of the ever-changing “rules” by which these “games” are used to confuse and squeeze every last red cent out of your hard-earned bank account.

      To be aware and really AWARE is the point. Phone scammers are routinely audited by those they prey upon, with a given Ph # having a webpage all its own and a search tool, like Google, easily finding it, baring all the gory details of the scammer who calls from that number, or a string of numbers.

      These scammer ISPs need the exact same treatment -their names and where they commit their scam business recorded and readily searchable by ALL who may find themselves the prey of these unscrupulous thugs. Many successful con artists wear fancy business suits, so look directly into the eyes of those who dare play with you and your private business like it doesn’t matter.

      Make it Matter to them!

  5. ClaudeA says:

    The UCC Contract Law makes explicit that one Party to a contract cannot make arbitrary rules or changes, or denial of contract performance. In the case of CenturyLink, as of January 7, 2014, they have shut down my Internet access at will twice, citing that I exceeded their arbitrary data cap, stating that the contract I signed included such language.

    The fact that I asked them to roll my “discounted” entry package over to a second term in the latest entry service package – a year-long contract – that does not maximize their profit is clearly the motivation they have to arbitrarily cut my Internet service, and demand that I buy a premium package.

    This black market bullying is both unlawful in the u.S. and the international market. The Uniform Commercial Code, UCC, and the U.S. Code both make it explicit that contract parties may not, under any situation, make arbitrary change nor interruption of the contract delivery.

    CenturyLink also has to face the reality that I can easily have a contract law legislator and/or contract law attorney directly address their breach of contract as my sole ISP. CenturyLink has no way of knowing if at the moment they suspend my access I am using the Internet for a phone call, medical emergency, or other vital use, and that they shall and will be taken directly to contract law court if such should be the case at the time they arbitrarily cut my access.

    Also NOT in their favor is that they make a vague statement that I am using too much of their service. What makes this particularly asinine is that they do not provide any form of use monitor to me, so I can determine what level of their data delivery I am using.

    Add to this the now publicized fact that their own oversight chief openly states that there is NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH DATA BEING USED BY ANYONE, AND IT IS **ONLY** TO MAXIMIZE PROFIT THAT THE DATA CAP DECEPTION IS USED BY **ANY** ISP!

    Now, if ANY ISP wants to argue about their breaching both international contract law AND common-sense customer safety and health concerns, LET’S GO TO CONTRACT LAW COURT, ISPs.

    YOU *R* W-R-O-N-G. Period.

    • Scott says:

      I’m not seeing a major issue here.

      They’re a private business and an ISP with a acceptable use policy.

      They have a policy stating what they feel is acceptable usage:


      “CenturyLink Excessive Use Policy
      The CenturyLink Excessive Use Policy (EUP) sets download guidelines based on the High-Speed Internet service plan that a customer purchases.

      CenturyLink is committed to providing an optimum Internet experience for every customer we serve. To accomplish this, CenturyLink needs to ensure that customers are on the rate plan that meets their data download requirements. Of the millions of CenturyLink High-Speed Internet customers, less than 0.5 percent are expected to exceed the download usage limits provided with their monthly plan. This small percentage of customers is on the extreme margin, using 30 to 1000 times the monthly volume of customers in the same speed tier.

      It is for this reason that CenturyLink has made the decision to place download limits on residential plans. This policy only impacts residential customer plan download usage; upload usage is not impacted. It does not impact business class High-Speed Internet plans. Residential 1 Gbps plans are not subject to download limits. High-Speed Internet and video traffic associated with Prism™ TV service is not subject to the CenturyLink EUP.

      CenturyLink will not charge a fee for excessive download usage. CenturyLink will weigh variables such as network health, congestion, availability of customer usage data, and the line speed purchased by the customer as factors when enforcing this policy. For those customers who are subject to EUP enforcement, we will notify them up to three times using a mix of mediums including an online pop-up message, email or phone call.

      Customers will be given options to reduce their usage, subscribe to a higher speed residential plan, or migrate to an alternative business class High-Speed Internet service. Our EUP is application neutral; it only considers the total usage (bytes transferred) over a defined period of time independent of protocols, applications, or the content that is generating the excessive usage.

      CenturyLink’s download guidelines are designed to support today’s usage patterns. Our plans include the following download usage limits:

      1.5Mbps plans – 150 Gigabytes
      Plans greater than 1.5Mbps – 250 Gigabytes”

      All ISP’s in the history of the internet, and those I worked at have always enforced policies on disconnecting or requiring users to upgrade their plans from the days of dial-up to high-speed broadband. The difference in the past and now only with a minority of ISP’s is we never had hard stated caps, we only looked at the top 5% or so of users that were abusing the service running commercial servers, or downloading 24/7 maxing out their line in a way that actually cost us more money than we got back from the customers. The reasons internet has been affordable for home users was always based on over subscription, figuring that only a fraction of people would be actively using it at a time and the bandwidth would often go unused.

      I do feel you have a legitimate complaint on that fact that they do indeed seem to be selling their internet as a ‘unlimited’ yet are enforcing a hard cap on usage? If that’s the case then the government dept. in charge of fair advertising should be policing that and requiring them to drop any claims of unlimited usage/internet and state their cap and implement a way for customers to track usage.

      It’s unfortunate, but realistically your only option is to try and find a different provider in your area that offers a more relaxed ToS or a capped provider with a more generous usage allowance such as 500Gb.

      • ClaudeA says:

        Not a problem? Really?

        Then let me ask you how would you take being told you can buy a bandwidth speed of “X,” but since that’s way too high given that the servers you transfer files from are limited to 1/3rd “X” so you go to the ISP and ask for a lower cost bandwidth plan.

        All is good for months. Then out of the blue Mr. Isp shuts your access down and syas you exceeded his arbitrary, AND unadvertized data cap, for which he never mentioned a word about, and for which he made absolutely no effort to assure himself and you that YOU had exactly the same data measuring “scale” as he used to monitor your data amount?

        Then, how would you appreciate it for this ISP to NOT warn you of an impending access denial, and You were depending on his honoring his contract to keep you connected since You also use the service for your vital phone service?

        Then, how would you like for this double-speak rat to “offer” to give you more data amount IF you pay more, which, of course, was never mentioned in any way during the initial contract information?

        You see, “Scott,” it’s real easy for me to see that you are a CenturyLink false-advertising supporter. You did Not address the issues I first raised in the original post, but instead went off on a self-assured rabbit chase talking about things No Honest ISP, or ANY reputable business would even think about trying to get away with.

        Either you have complete contract disclosure, or you do not. Your blind-eye to the lack of complete contract disclosure is clearly an ISP ploy – here – to mitigate a serious breach of contract.

        Kapish, “Scott”?

        Yes, I’m blunt. I don’t like dishonest business, and especially so when that business holds a near monopoly.


        • Scott says:

          If you look around on the site here I’m a regular visitor and commenter that has worked in the industry early on. I don’t work for CenturyLink or any ISP/Cable Co.

          I’m very against data caps, there’s no legitimate reason for them other than profiteering and abuse of monopolies by providers that have virtually exclusive territories leaving them as the only viable ISP like CenturyLink in you case.

          As I said above, I was being _realistic_ that your options are very limited and threats of going to court wouldn’t go anywhere. Best case if you had been automatically charged for overages it may be worth to contact the BBB in the area and the attorney general then spend the next 2-3 months keeping up on that for reimbursement if they don’t just cancel your service and tell you to go elsewhere. I’ve gone through that myself with ‘cap overage’ fees that were never disclosed by my local cable co, going through the BBB to get the charges dropped and I changed my service to our local Telco. If you have thousands of dollars for court costs and the time to chase after something like this with no damages to be recouped, I’m not seeing the benefit. The majority of the time they’ve covered their asses enough to where as in any case you need to be the one to ask about the fine print before agreeing.

          I truly do think you have a case for misleading advertising and deceptive business practices. Given what you just replied with they clearly are enforcing a set amount of usage that’s hidden in the fine print and then looking to charge extra after cutting service for overages. That should be disclosed in their advertising and when they sell the service, but our government has always been lax with things like that not enforcing it or protecting consumers as well as other countries do. ISP’s have also gotten away with the ‘unlimited internet’ claim for a long time which is now abused since most providers do have caps.

          Obviously your upset and feel the need to vent but the only immediate resolution we have as consumers or customers of these providers is to vote with our dollars, if possible find another provider that is truly unlimited. Posting your experience too at least may help others that are considering signing up for CenturyLink.

          If you want to get political you can thank the republican party for further stripping your rights to class action status in most cases like this, and for undermining the efforts of Obama to setup a consumer protection bureau.

          • ClaudeA says:

            The Truth, exposed, makes thugs -RUNNN!

            That goes for political tugs, like nobama, et al. The Bush family include “Bro” NO-Barrack, since he’s a second cousin by his mom’s blood.

            Pul-eeze, Scott! The banksters own and run enslaved We the Sheeple, and they use Hegelian tactics by appearing to give two and ONLY two, political parties to “choose” as “elected” “government.

            1. There is NO elected government – that’s a sham easily resolved by watching and comparing the Book, “1984” to today’s America, and,

            2. There is not a single court resource that is not owned by 10 Downing Street, City-state of London, England, a sister state to Washington, D.C. and the City-state of The Vatican, Rome, Italy, which oversees both daughters.

            This is not to say all is hopeless. Like I said, Exposing thugs, like every crook in power anytime and place through history, causes them all to RUNN!:-))

            This Internet is a property of banksters. Look behind the “Google Curtain,” where the Bilderberger Group member who is CEO of Google takes his orders, and where your dear thug, nobama, gets his.

            They all FEAR Truth that is made public, but, again, use Hegelian warfare tactics to obfuscate and disseminate conflicting information to keep their prey confused. The poor customer rep handling calls from us who care and have facts at hand know a few upline admin to pass our feedback to, but the reality is that it takes our resolve to expose corporate deception at its most vulnerable point – where breaching and – or arbitrary change to a contracted service can harm the unsuspecting prey, AKA “Customer.”

            Do tune into the bankster ploy to make politics look legit, but actually use these slime to slither undetected into every facet of life to effect rule by tyranny with a blank face.

            Truth only sets free those who take the time and effort to uncover the lies covering it.

            Let’s keep active public comment about data caps, and all things commercial deception, including the undermining of sustainable moral ethic life standards as banksters desperately try to reduce world human population, while stealing all resources Little Earth has to offer. The Internet plays into their grand plan as a key tool in that effort., but it also affords Truth-seekers a measure of communication until that is yanked out of their hands by nobama, et al, their true goal for the bogus “Net Neutrality,” Deception.

            It’s all a play on words . . .


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