Frontier Communications told me today that it will delay launching consumption-based broadband plans until at least 2010 due to the “current economic environment.” “We know everyone is looking at value and trying to stabilize their current budgets, so we felt it would be best to hold off and evaluate those plans in 2010,” said Stephanie Beasly, a spokesperson for the regional telecommunications company.
The economy may have played a role, but the fact that Frontier has seen an increase in the number of customers signing up in its Rochester, N.Y., market after rival Time Warner Cable last week named the city as a trial market for its own tiered broadband plans, also likely played a role, notes StoptheCap.com, which broke the story about Frontier’s delay. In February, Beasly told me the ISP would introduce its caps in August. Not much has changed since then, except for the outrage over the TWC caps. This goes to show how important competition is when it comes to getting ISPs to behave in a consumer-friendly manner.
Beasly noted that Frontier still defines a mere 5 GB per month as a capacity limit in its Acceptable Use Policy, but said, “We’re not even tracking it. Five GB is not a high usage.” She said that when bandwidth hogs are noticed, Frontier reaches out to negotiate a “more appropriate package,” but she couldn’t tell me how often that happened or what would constitute a hog-like amount of activity. Given that the average Frontier consumer downloads 1.5 GB per month, my guess is the network won’t be overrun anytime soon, but the lure of additional revenue from tiered pricing plans may return as soon as 2010.