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CommSpeed: Yesterday’s Internet, Tomorrow — Another Internet Overcharging Scheme

Stop the Cap! reader Davey in Arizona was displeased to receive notification his Internet Service Provider, CommSpeed, suddenly announced an Internet Overcharging scheme that limits customers to two levels of service: a basic $40 plan with a ridiculously stingy 10GB monthly usage allowance, or a more generous (and double the price) $60 plan that comes with a 200GB usage cap.

Davey is particularly upset the company plans to punish customers who exceed the allowance with a stinging $2/GB overlimit fee.  It will not be difficult for customers to blow past  CommSpeed’s standard 10GB plan limit if they discover file backup, online video, or downloading.  If they do, CommSpeed’s overlimit fee will be coming soon to a bill in their mailbox. For those who use the Internet to watch television and movies, the only real options are to watch less or upgrade to a more expensive plan with a more realistic usage allowance that can accommodate high bandwidth applications.

CommSpeed claims their “advanced 4G network combines the best features of cellular, cable modem & DSL, and Wi-Fi networks, without the inherent limitations associated with these legacy systems.”  The company brands itself as “Tomorrow’s Internet Today.”

What they don’t mention is today’s wireless ISP’s are increasingly challenged by the growing usage demands consumers place on providers.  CommSpeed’s claim that their network “was designed and built, from inception, to deliver a full range of broadband content and applications” flies in the face of their 10GB usage limit. Fiber, cable broadband and even telephone company DSL has a better track record handling increasing usage demands, as long as providers maintain investments in their respective networks.

CommSpeed’s usage cap tells the real story — their network may not be able to handle the growing traffic from customers in their northern Arizona service area.

“The Internet has seen tremendous growth in total usage over the last year. New applications are being developed everyday and these applications are causing an ever increasing demand for bandwidth. Quite simply, the content of the Internet has evolved,” CommSpeed explains on a page dedicated to explaining their new caps.

Unfortunately for wireless, until more spectrum and better technology is available, usage limitations are an increasing reality for customers stuck using these networks. It’s why Stop the Cap! rarely recommends wireless broadband as a primary Internet service except as a last resort, when other choices simply are not available.

Still, we’ve seen much worse from other Wireless ISPs.  CommSpeed’s 200GB limit on their $60 tier is more generous than average.  Plus, the company takes the limits off during the overnight hours of midnight to 6AM.

We also think the company’s usage guestimates are a more honest approximation of real-world usage, not the ridiculous “send 10,000,000 e-mails and download 500,000 songs” reassurances we usually see from Internet Overcharging ISPs:

Average user with a 10GB allowance
Total Gigabytes Used = 9.9GB
Actual internet consumption may vary.
Per Month Total Bandwidth Consumed
General Internet Browsing 100 hours 500MB
Email Communication (total sent/received) 400 emails 20MB
Internet Phone Service 500 minutes 1.1GB
Music Downloads 100 Tracks 600MB
Movie Streaming 3 movies 6GB
Online Gaming 100 hours 1.5GB

CommSpeed’s old plans ranged in price from $34.95 for basic 768kbps-1.5Mbps service to $54.90 for 1.5-6Mbps service, depending on the technology in use in the area. The new plans bring a $5 rate hike and usage caps — just two reasons why customers like Davey are so upset. They’ll be even more upset if their bill also include overlimit fees. Stay tuned.

[flv width=”608″ height=”380″]http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/CommSpeed 4G – Tomorrow’s Internet Today.flv[/flv]

CommSpeed heavily promotes its newer 4G wireless broadband service, claiming its great for online video, downloading, gaming, and more, as long as you don’t use it too much.  In 2012, CommSpeed throws up limits on their wireless experience.  (3 minutes)

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  • Andy: They hiked the legacy ELP internet from 19.99 to 24.99 in november 2018. It used to be 14.99. The only reason these Charter spectrum effin ass holes a...
  • Frank D: Second Spectrum $20 price hike within a year. Signed up as $99/mo with time warner cable triple bundle. That became $130/mo after promo ended. Earli...
  • Dylan: Look at their prices. Absolutely ludicrous compared to many companies, especially Charter Spectrum. I pay $60 a month for 100/10 with unlimited data. ...
  • Paul Houle: For a long time communities have been frustrated in that they don't have any power to negotiate with cable companies. This town refused to enter into...
  • Ian S Littman: To be fair, you aren't wrong. Spectrum likely knows it won't have any competition for years in Lamar, so they'll quickly get take rates of >70% (re...
  • Ian S Littman: Are you in an area that can even get Spectrum service? Because in areas where they actually have to compete, they're actually pretty decent now. Yes,...
  • Ian S Littman: A more odd entry in that list is Chattanooga. The entire area has FTTH via EPB. Yet apparently folks can't swing the $57/mo starting price for 100 Mbp...
  • Ian S Littman: The issue here is that the NY PSC's threats have no teeth because, well, who will take over the cable systems if Spectrum is forced to sell? Either Al...
  • Bill Callahan: Phil, National Digital Inclusion Alliance just published interactive Census tract maps for the entire US based on the same ACS data. Two datapoints a...
  • Carl Moore: The idiots that run the cable companies must be also using drugs...a lot of people are cutting their cable services because of the higher rate and inc...
  • EJ: This will require a New Deal approach. Municipals need the ability to either be granted money or loaned money for broadband expansion. Until this is d...
  • Bob: I also got $1 increase for my 100/10 internet from Spectrum. A rep said it's for the speed increase that's coming in 2019. I complained that I was pro...

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