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Suddenlink’s Magical Mystery Meter: Records 12GB of Usage Even During Power Outage

Phillip Dampier July 9, 2012 Data Caps, Rural Broadband, Suddenlink (see Altice USA) 1 Comment

Easy as counting in the dark.

Suddenlink customers in West Virginia who have been dealing with the aftereffects of a damaging derecho for a week found a nasty little surprise from their cable company when the lights cut back on — gigabytes of usage recorded on the company’s suspect “usage meter,” despite the fact customers were without power for up to a week.

Broadband Reports readers have begun to check back in after extended downtime to report Suddenlink is racking up usage whether customers are using their broadband connection or not:

  • “Tylr” reports he was without power for two days but Suddenlink’s usage meter kept the party going, recording 12GB of phantom usage during the two days the customer was without service;
  • “Jdmm72” found exactly the same thing, shocked to discover he racked up 10.8GB of usage on a day when he and his fellow neighbors in Nitro, W.V., were completely in the dark.

Suddenlink’s usage meter is not verified by any third-party or government agency to ensure its reliability and the company is under no obligation to change this policy. But customers are expected to cover any overlimit fees Suddenlink imposes for “exceeding your allowance.”

Does the company need the extra money? Not really, according to Suddenlink president and CEO Jerry Kent, who earlier admitted the days of expensive system upgrades were over and it was now time to rake in profits:

“I think one of the things people don’t realize [relates to] the question of capital intensity and having to keep spending to keep up with capacity,” Kent said. “Those days are basically over, and you are seeing significant free cash flow generated from the cable operators as our capital expenditures continue to come down.”

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