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All Across North America: Usage Meters Still Don't Work
U.S., Canadian Regulators Fall Asleep at the Switch
by Karl Bode 10:46AM Thursday Feb 02 2012
With ISPs so relentlessly eager to move from flat rate to usage-based billing, you would think that they would have made sure they had the technical skills to do so first. Again and again however we've noted how U.S. and Canadian ISPs that implement usage meters simply aren't tracking and billing for usage accurately. In the States AT&T has stumbled through metered billing implementation, as customers continue to note AT&T's meters don't match customer router totals.

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In Canada, customers of Canadian cable company Cogeco consistently complain of accuracy issues that appear to have persisted for more than a year, while Cogeco has busily started handing out bills for thousands of dollars in overages. Users are forced to install third party router firmware if they want an accurate picture of their usage, but even with evidence of problems ISPs aren't heeding customer complaints.

Bell customers in our forums continue to complain about meter accuracy, and in one instance a nuclear engineer struggles with overage billing confusion -- making you wonder how normal users fare. Rogers users in our forums also continue to complain about meter accuracy, noticing that some months the meters just stop working entirely:
Just got off the phone with their CS, they are having network-wide problems with their "monitoring" tool on MyRogers. (mine hasn't updated my usage since last week). He told me to continue using my internet as usual, and when they finally fix it (expected by end of this week), and if my usage is above my limit, that they will credit me any overage charges since I was not able to monitor it! He even told me: "enjoy it, go crazy and download stuff!"
Says another user:
The same thing happened to me a few months ago. I got the 75% notice, stopped using almost all internet, next day got the 100% notice anyways, then got overage charges. God damnit. Then I upgraded my internet package. You can get 20GB extra for $5 a month if you don't want to actually upgrade to the next package (at least, when I sign in online with my Express internet it gives me that option for purchasing more data).
I harp on this a lot but it bears repeating: not only are these limits unnecessary and anti-competitive, nobody, anywhere, at any level of U.S. or Canadian government is working to ensure that ISPs are metering usage accurately. ISPs for years insisted that they should be able to bill broadband like a utility, yet fought tooth and nail when it came to having their meters regulated like a utility. While an entirely new system of unreliable usage-based billing spreads across North America generating millions in new revenue, no regulator, anywhere, has deemed double-checking meter accuracy worthy of their time.

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Premium,ex-mod 01-13

4 recommendations

usage meters aren't intended to work

Usage meters are not intended to be accurate measures of actual, you know, internet usage. They're a PR construct to allow increased billing. Like "extra whiteners" in laundry detergent.
hey Dale