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Suddenlink Usage Meters Still Don't Work and Nobody Cares
Unregulated Meters Still Causing Major Problems
by Karl Bode 08:13AM Thursday Aug 23 2012 Tipped by Gaff See Profile
Last October we received early word that cable operator Suddenlink was going to start capping users and charging overages, a leaked memo highlighting that the effort was only "equitable." After apparently needing some time to get their billing and metering systems in order, Suddenlink started imposing the limits on all users this past Spring. An e-mail sent out to users informed them that to "further enhance your experience, a monthly usage allowance will be put into place for all residential (non-business) Suddenlink Internet accounts" starting this summer.

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You can just spend a few minutes perusing our Suddenlink forums for a quick look at how Suddenlink's efforts are going. There are countless threads popping up where users say their ISP-provided usage meter doesn't match their router logs, or that they were billed for over-usage at times when they weren't even home.

More than a few users are complaining that the company has even been consuming numerous gigabytes of data during times when they had no power whatsoever due to storms. Despite the fact that nobody appears to be listening to their complaints, users keep tracking the discrepancies, and tracking just how inaccurate the meters can be:
quote:
So I have been keeping tabs on Suddenlink's usage meter (I think it's a repugnant money grab that needs to be regulated by the state or federal government, but that's neither here nor there) and noticed a gigantic issue a couple of days ago.

For the most part it has been accurate to what my router (WRT54GL running Tomato 1.28) has told me, except for 8/18 where Suddenlink believes I used ~23GB and my router confirms I only used 2.22GB (a difference of 936%).

And also on the 18th, there was a gigantic thunderstorm here that knocked the cable out (both TV and Internet) from around 5:00pm - 11pm. I can only assume that this outage somehow negatively affected their meter and is the source of the problem.
Virtually every ISP we've seen implement meters has had a very hard time measuring usage accurately, yet regulators continue to ignore the problem Consumer advocates have so far avoiding this as an issue that needs championing -- but there's several hundred threads in our forums that prove it certainly does.

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88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

I'm sure all 12 customers care

well maybe 15 customers
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL

Re: I'm sure all 12 customers care

You underestimate how many customers Suddenlink has. You'd probably underestimate even if you weren't being facetious. The company has 1.4 million customers total, and of those my bet is that nearly a million, if not more, have HSI through SL because they're faster than the alternatives (U-Verse, CenturyLink, Verizon DSL).

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

1 recommendation

Useless Government

I would hope that people who have alternatives with no caps, or more reasonable caps, can seek those out. But again I ask, where is government here? Companies that provide metered services are supposed to be regulated so that said metering is done in a fair manner. Why should ISPs be exempt from this?
--
Romney/Ryan 2012 - Put a couple of mature adults in charge.
iansltx

join:2007-02-19
Austin, TX
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL

1 recommendation

Re: Useless Government

If the ISP has crappy meters, and they're billing according to those meters, they should absolutely be held responsible for fixing said meters.

It's not like it's difficult to make a meter work correctly. Mobile providers have done things correctly for the past few years. Comcast seems to be doing a reasonable job, albeit at a lower resolution than I'd like to see. Time Warner Cable is actually doing a better job than any other wireline provider; usage is measured down to the hour in markets where they'll discount your bill $5 in exchange for $1 per GB overages above 5GB (I'll keep my unlimited plan, thank you very much).

Suddenlink, Cogeco and AT&T on the other hand apparently don't know how to measure usage on their own networks, and as a result shouldn't bill anyone for overusage. Until they fix their meters, anyway

I wonder what Suddenlink would measure my usage as, these days. I've used 41GB according to TWC since the 15th; if I kept that up on Suddenlink I'd end up well under their cap for their $100-or-so tier. Unless of course their meter was broken...

skeechan
Ai Otsukaholic
Premium
join:2012-01-26
AA169|170
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Clear Wireless
·Cox HSI
·Verizon FiOS
Simple solution to all billing problems: Statutory penalty for overcharging a customer is 1000X the amount of the error just like a merchant gets 3X the face value of a bad check.

ISPs would have the problems fixed tomorrow and customers would be checking their bills VERY closely. It doesn't matter that it would be hard for customers to prove...merely the CHANCE that some nerd will do it and get $25K will get them in line.

Imagine...would you speed if the ticket minimum was $100K? No, probably not. $150 it's worth the chance, $100K...it would be ruinous so you don't chance it.
InfinityDev

join:2005-06-30
USA

lawsuit

I predict a nice beefy class action suit will make this an important issue and will at first make the ISPs try to self-regulate with a not-really-independent standards body to come up with working meters.

This will probably happen before the State governments get involved because so few people understand how the internet data flows and metering work.

The strike against self-regulation is that it would probably still be ineffective because they wouldn't want to open up their network operations methodologies and tactics to any party, no matter how thin the wall between their engineers and the standards body engineers would be. It would still be a matter of "trust us, it's working fine".

Self regulation doesn't work, though.

Really, every customer should get on the phone with their state elected representatives to put pressure on getting regulations passed. More calls from more people over time will make them eventually take notice. Nothing else really will, I think.

axiomatic

join:2006-08-23
Tomball, TX

DU Meter

These customers need to use Hageltech "du meter" and keep busting Suddenlink in overcharging. Nothing embarrasses a company in to action like actionable proof.

gatorkram
Need for Speed
Premium
join:2002-07-22
Winterville, NC
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Suddenlink

Re: DU Meter

said by axiomatic:

These customers need to use Hageltech "du meter" and keep busting Suddenlink in overcharging. Nothing embarrasses a company in to action like actionable proof.

The problem with du meter, and programs like it, at least from way back when I was using du meter, it only ran on 1 computer.

I still think the best advice at this point is custom firmware running on your router. I don't know how many consumer level routers these days have traffic logging in them by default.
--
What the heck is a GatorKram? »www.gatorkram.com

axiomatic

join:2006-08-23
Tomball, TX

Re: DU Meter

Agreed completely as I use pfSense running off an ESX VM to run the network in my house. I was just trying to suggest something most people have heard of that has a trusted meter.

moldypickle

join:2009-01-04
Haughton, LA
kudos:3

Re: DU Meter

And then you'll suggest next that SL will take your word over their own and refund you the charge for overusage? Being unregulated they can quite literally charge you whatever the hell they want.
jdmm72

join:2002-02-12
Nitro, WV
Reviews:
·Suddenlink

Fixing it

Buy a cheap REAL Cisco router on ebay (851/871 etc) and configure netflow to log to a computer in your house that runs 24/7. Install PRTG and monitor the traffic across the router, you will get an accurate count at the tap, as all traffic across that router goes to the ISP.

franknalco

join:2005-01-27
Littleton, CO

grass roots

Since it appears that nothing will be done by the FCC, I would hope that nothing protects these companies from state or local criminal investigation. Tampering or designing a meter that rips off customers is still fraud. NY has successfully gone after many financial services companies. Maybe there is hope that an attorney general in Boston or NY will see going after the big cable company as a winning political stance.