Frontier Online, an incumbent carrier with service in 23 states, updated its acceptable use policy last week to reflect that it now has a 5 GB data cap for its DSL subscribers (hat tip to DSL Reports). Before we all cry foul, however, Frontier wants us […]

Frontier Online, an incumbent carrier with service in 23 states, updated its acceptable use policy last week to reflect that it now has a 5 GB data cap for its DSL subscribers (hat tip to DSL Reports). Before we all cry foul, however, Frontier wants us to know that with that cap, we can each send half a million emails and download about 1,250 songs from iTunes. Of course, the picture’s less rosy if you’re like me and love Hulu, since then you’re looking at only 10-15 hours of “30 Rock.”

The efforts are in line with those of other ISPs trying to cut down on bandwidth hogs by offering different tiers of service. Time Warner Cable is testing a 5 GB service tier delivered at 768 kbps in Texas, but Frontier doesn’t seem to have an offering with a larger data cap. Granted, a Comcast spokesman told me earlier this year that the cable company’s average broadband subscriber only uses 2 GB per month, but as more and more content goes online, a 5GB cap seems like a recipe for customer loss.

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  1. Jesse Kopelman Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    5GB is pretty unreasonable, even for 768k. Consider that if you downloaded continuously at 768k for 30 days, you’d use 237GB! Capping someone at 2% of potential usage doesn’t seem like a good value. Also, what’s the point of having a cap but no provision to allow people to spend money to raise it? Maybe Frontier needs to have a meeting with AT&T and TW, as their caps are an excuse to raise rates, not lower traffic.

  2. Noticed this last night. No notice to customers, I found out via RochesterHDTV.com. Frontier, however, had no issue emailing to let me know that they were now offering a co-branded Frontier/Yahoo toolbar for IE. Thanks a lot Frontier. Cancelled my DSL service today. Absolutely ridiculous.

  3. Wow, 5gb that is minuscule. Just think of it this way, if you download the HD version of most podcasts you will hit that limit in a single day. For example, the latest Totally Rad Show from Revision3 was 1gb. They put the show out weekly. So, you are looking at 4gb worth of bandwidth for a single show.

    One of the best things about US broadband has always been that it is uncapped. We may not have the fastest speeds around, but we can use all of the bandwidth available. Now these stupid ISPs are getting greedy and putting caps on our bandwidth.

    These companies state that they are trying keep their network running because bandwidth hogs are ruining it for everyone else. All that tells me is that they don’t know how to run the network. If they don’t have enough bandwidth to keep the networks running then they need to get more.

  4. The issue for existing customers is that it can be such a pain to switch ISP, especially if you have used your ISP provided e-mail address to register for online and offline services.

    As far as caps go, we live with caps where I live. I figure if the service wasn’t capped, I’d be paying more because of the power users guzzling bandwidth.

  5. aha!

    a plan to have people pay for/trade bandwidth.. i’ve never downloaded movies…, although i do sometimes listen to streamed radio…

    now if i can convince the ISPs to allow this kind of marketpalce to be implemented, particularly across networks!!!


  6. Yo FCC. You Doing Anything About Metered Broadband? – GigaOM Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    [...] instance, Frontier, a smallish telephone company that has operations in upstate New York decided to impose a 5GB bandwidth transfer limit on some of its DSL offerings. As my dear friend Dave Burstein pointed out earlier today, their main [...]

  7. Phillip Dampier Thursday, July 31, 2008

    Frontier customers have a way out of the usage cap if they are under one of those early cancellation penalty contracts. Details and lots more insider dirt at http://www.stopthecap.com

  8. It may be a recipe for customer loss, but here in Atlanta, I have only two options – Comcast Cable or AT&T DSL. Both companies are considering download caps. So do I really have a choice???

    Also, paying $35-45 per month for average 2GB of traffic seems like a total rip-of to me! Those people consuming only 2GB per month should pay way less!

  9. I Always Feel Like My ISP’s Watching Me – GigaOM Friday, August 1, 2008

    [...] doing online, but it does track how much you’re doing online as part of an effort to stop bandwidth hogs, destroy web video or possibly increase revenue at [...]

  10. New Report Says Tiered Broadband Bad, but Unlikely – GigaOM Thursday, August 7, 2008

    [...] but usage isn’t growing as fast as we’re being told. So when I view efforts such as Frontier’s 5 GB data cap or Bell Canada’s usage pricing for smaller carriers using the Bell Canada network, and [...]

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