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Cogeco Still Charging Users For Usage When Modems Are Off
by Karl Bode 02:25PM Wednesday Aug 14 2013
As we've noted repeatedly, ISPs are so hungry to cash in on caps and overages, they're rushing toward implementing meters without making sure they work. Canadian cable operator Cogeco has been the absolute worst on this front, implementing metered usage charges back in 2009 -- and four years later still often struggling to measure usage correctly.

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Users continue to argue that Cogeco's meter is inaccurate when users can load it at all, and every so often the meter simply goes mad -- like last year when the meter was horribly confused by leap year. The latest is a user in our forums who claims his parents are getting socked with usage charges even when their modem is...off.

The user's parents kept exceeding their 175 GB limit despite being light users, so he went to investigate:
quote:
(I) re-setup their Wi-Fi with a new password, made sure it was WPA2 with AES, turned of QoS (slight vulnerabilities), etc etc... They planned on being gone this weekend, so on Friday afternoon (around 12pm-1pm), we UNPLUGGED the cable modem. Today (Sunday), I checked their internet usage for yesterday (an entire day of it being unplugged), and they have 4.3 GB down and 300 MB up being recorded as internet usage.
Whatever the cause (MAC cloning is a possible explanation), Cogeco users in our forum say it's not an infrequent occurrence. It's also not exactly uncommon with other ISPs; Suddenlink users recently complained about being billed for usage during power outages, something that forced the ISP to temporarily suspend metered billing. The best part remains that neither United States or Canadian regulators can be bothered to do their jobs and confirm that ISP usage meters are logging consumption accurately.

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Lantase

join:2008-08-16

Crazy usage tracker!

Something similar happened to us, lighting struck the lines and fried the modem but somehow in the 3 days it took to replace the MTA we used 6 GB of data.
Kearnstd
Elf Wizard
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1

Re: Crazy usage tracker!

haha.

Kinda makes me wish they served costal New Jersey here in the US. Because I would love to see how their PR department would spin people getting overage charging when their house was sitting a block away from its foundation for the entire billing period after Sandy.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports
neufuse

join:2006-12-06
James Creek, PA

1 recommendation

starting to think...

even with your modem off, the CMTS is still counting ARP/DHCP/Other traffic it is attempting to send to your offline modem by mac address as "usage" when it's not even on... I get on average 3GB a month of ARP/DHCP and other management traffic that I have no control over from our CMTS and Comcast at least tracks this as "usage" by the user..
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Re: starting to think...

4.3GB down and 300MB up is an awful lot of ARP/DHCP and other management traffic in a single day.

TelecomEng

@rr.com
said by neufuse:

even with your modem off, the CMTS is still counting ARP/DHCP/Other traffic it is attempting to send to your offline modem by mac address as "usage" when it's not even on...

As someone who is familiar with CMTS operations, the answer is suppose to be "No." If you modem is not powered on and registered, the CMTS will not attempt to transmit packets to it. The CMTS tracks the state of every modem and removes the "adjacency" information to it when it is offline. As well, any traffic destined to your IP will be dropped at the CMTS, unless your IP gets reassigned. However, traffic counters are associated to your MAC and not your Layer 3 address, so if your IP did get reassigned, traffic to it would count against the subscriber to whom it was assigned.

Obviously it is more complicated than that, but most people do not know enough about how a CMTS works to get into the details...

jjoshua
Premium
join:2001-06-01
Scotch Plains, NJ
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Measured billing is regulated

At least, in NJ if I read this correctly...

I'd be curious to know if their measuring device has been inspected and approved. I'd also like to know where I can view the inspection sticker.

13:47B-1.5 TYPE APPROVAL
a) All new types of weighing and measuring devices of any description whatsoever and all
devices of older types to which may be added any alteration or new feature intended or
designed as an improvement to such equipment shall, before distribution or installation
thereof in the State of New Jersey, be submitted by the manufacturer thereof to the State
Superintendent of Weights and Measures for inspection and approval of type and operation,
except as provided in (a)1 below.

1)
Weighing and measuring devices approved by the National Institute of Standards and
Technology (NIST), National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) need not be submitted for
prior inspection and approval of type and operation; however, the State Superintendent
of Weights and Measures reserves the right to require the manufacturer to submit a
prototype for evaluation at any time for cause.

b) The provisions of this section shall be construed to include and apply to all weighing and
measuring equipment designed for the determination of quantities in commodities sold or
offered for sale in the State of New Jersey, or for the determination of quantities where
service is sold or offered for sale on the basis of weight or measurement.

c) No weighing or measuring device as indicated shall be permitted to be sold or leased for use
in the State of New Jersey unless submitted for inspection and approved by the State
Superintendent of Weights and Measures as specified in (a) above and any equipment
distributed or installed contrary to the provisions of this section shall be subject to
condemnation.

13:47B-1.16 INSPECTION CERTIFICATES
a) Certificates of inspection issued by any State, county or municipal weights and measures
officer of New Jersey at the time of his inspection of any weighing or measuring devices
shall be retained by the owner or user of said devices in evidence of the condition of the
equipment so inspected or tested.

b) Such certificates shall be available at the place of business of the owner or user where the
weighing or measuring devices are installed or carried on the vehicle on which any weighing
or measuring devices are employed in the vending of commodities.

c) Such certificates shall be considered as the official authority for the use of such devices in
conjunction with the seal applied at the time of inspection.

humanfilth

join:2013-02-14
cyber gutter

Re: Measured billing is regulated, NOT

Last I heard about in Canada is: Weights and measures Canada does not understand bits and bytes and sees no need to regulate a measurement devise that can cause people untold monetary harm when it gets out of whack or was never in whack in the first place.

Weights and measures Canada also consider bits and bytes to be imaginary as they can not be held in ones hand or pumped into ones gas tank, so there is no way of measuring such a thing and usage based billing has never existed so quit asking to regulate it.
Also Mbps is just a suggestion and please pay $70 a month for a 50Mbps service package while only getting 5Mbps because thats an 'up to' amount and "it freaking works, so shut up".

Plus government employees get lots of that free government Internet and please don't even think of requesting how much free Internet they get or what sites they surf all day long when they are supposed to be doing government stuff.
--
Knowledge and curiosity are not crimes and those who are curious should not be treated like criminals.. »www.eff.org/https-everywhere

dhckmpwp

@teksavvy.com

Re: Measured billing is regulated, NOT

said by humanfilth:

...
Weights and measures Canada also consider bits and bytes to be imaginary as they can not be held in ones hand or pumped into ones gas tank, so there is no way of measuring such a thing and usage based billing has never existed so quit asking to regulate it.
...

yet they have no problem regulating electric meters.
TheRogueX

join:2003-03-26
Springfield, MO

Re: Measured billing is regulated, NOT

Well, technically speaking you can hold electricity in your hand or pump it into your gas tank; neither are good ideas, however.

urbanriot
Premium
join:2004-10-18
Canada
kudos:3

Cogeco could easily investigate this & update the thread...

A few helpful Cogeco employees participate in the Cogeco forum and if the anonymous complainant registered, they could easily PM their MAC address to one of those employees to have their claims validated and investigated.
MaynardKrebs
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4

Re: Cogeco could easily investigate this & update the thread...

There are many helpful class-action lawyers as well.

Probitas

@teksavvy.com

guys

We know for a fact that GBs are a finite resource that need to be measured lest we run out of them. It takes time for them to be created by that army of internet hobbits, cut them some slack. It's certainly not about hammering customers with extra fees to protect television revenue. No professional company would stoop to such behavior just to make a buck.

RARPSL

join:1999-12-08
Suffern, NY

How current are figures?

While I agree that something is odd about claiming usage for a modem that is not plugged in, there can be an alternate explanation which could be the source of the usage. This is how current the figures being displayed are. IOW: What time period is being counted and how often is the display updated? If the count is from Midnight to Midnight and the counter is updated at Midnight for the time period two days earlier (That is that at 12:05AM on Friday the update is for usage on Wednesday), when you check on Friday you see usage from Wednesday or before and Sunday's check is for Thursday and pre-Noon Friday usage. You have to check out the numbers for a few days (of non-connect) to see this. For example, if you go away for a week then get the counts before pulling the plug (and leaving) and once you return plug the modem back in and see the numbers.