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Oregon ISP Now Forcing Cordcutters to Sign up For TV to Avoid Caps (dslreports.com) 175

An anonymous reader writes: Oregon ISP BendBroadband has revised its usage-based broadband policies to favor customers that subscribe to TV services as well. According to a blog post by the company, Bend is deploying a number of new speed upgrades, including new Ultra 50, Ultra 100 and Ultra 300 Mbps speed tiers. The company is telling users on its Bronze and Silver Internet plans that they should be eligible for a free upgrade later this month. But another post adds a different wrinkle: Bend says it's removing its current usage caps if you bundle TV and phone service. These caps have historically ranged from 150 to 500 GB. "Customers who subscribe to Bronze or above internet (including Silver, Gold and Platinum) and Essentials or above TV (including Preferred, Preferred Plus and The Works) are no longer limited on data usage and will no longer pay overage fees," says the company.The report cites similar practices by other ISPs, suggesting that it's quickly becoming an industry standard.
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Oregon ISP Now Forcing Cordcutters to Sign up For TV to Avoid Caps

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  • Pretty much like thousands of other ISPs, not ideal for the customer, but pretty common none the less.

    • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Funny)

      by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Friday May 13, 2016 @11:02AM (#52104885)

      Don't worry, you can just go to one of the other cablecos in your area for a better deal.

      Competition FTW! ;-)

      • If only I had mod points for Funny/Dark Humor

      • Don't worry, you can just go to one of the other cablecos in your area for a better deal.

        Competition FTW! ;-)

        Exactly. I'd have no problem with bundle pricing if there were competition for each bundle element, but when there is a monopoly on one or more elements, then there can be abuse. In this case, cable co's can create a big disadvantage for IPTV competitors like SLING by making it cost a lot more for you to use your internet for IPTV alone.

        I have less of a problem in general with those who use more data paying more, but don't tie that to cable content where there is a monopoly on internet access.

        • It's not just IPTV that can be affected. If your cable ISP all but forces you to get TV service from them along with your Internet service, what is the likelihood that you'd pay for satellite TV as well? This is abusing one monopoly (Internet access) to gain leverage over competition in another market (TV/Video services).

          • Exactly. My cable TV bill was going up by too much, so I went with satellite TV, except the sat provider didn't offer internet at the time. Sadly, as the only cable co. in town, my ISP decided that having internet without TV will saddle me with a $15/month surcharge. Of course, on the record they spin that as me losing a $15/month discount. Now that my contract on the sat TV (which has also gone up) is just about finished, I'm not quite sure what we're going to do.
            • except the sat provider didn't offer internet at the time.

              And even among those that do, such as Exede, the price per gigabyte is comparable to that of cellular Internet.

    • If the net neutrality regulations missed this loophole, then they really screwed up. There is a clear tie between service limitations and preferred content.
      • I'm shocked. Shocked that legislation would have loopholes in them that could be done through incompetence. Normally, those loopholes are due to lobbyists.

        Shocked.

      • If the net neutrality regulations missed this loophole, then they really screwed up. There is a clear tie between service limitations and preferred content.

        This has nothing to do with net neutrality. The ISP is not favoring any type of content, nor are they limiting your service in any way. Without the TV you will pay more after the data cap is exceeded. For people that want no data cap, they are offering a different tier of service if you buy a bundle rather than al la cart; it is the inevitable response to the threat of cord cutting costing them revenue. The upside, of rme at least, is I now pay less of more services and no cap than I did before with a cap.

        • For people wanting a faster Ford Mustang they are offering a deal where you can bundle a 75 Chevette.

          Is basically saying the same thing. It's clear abuse of their monopoly position. You'll notice that Comcast isn't capping customers in areas where even minimal competition exists. That won't last though as the natural oligarchy behavior of a single competitor will just have that competitor introduce Caps as well. Not like you could switch to something without Caps.
          • It's clear abuse of their monopoly position. You'll notice that Comcast isn't capping customers in areas where even minimal competition exists. That won't last though as the natural oligarchy behavior of a single competitor will just have that competitor introduce Caps as well. Not like you could switch to something without Caps.

            Competition is good but the natural inclination off all competitors in this market is to hang on the the cable side as well an not simply be a dumb pipe; thus as you point out the market will gravitate to this model unless a new computer comes in and focuses only on the ISP part. Ideally the technology would get to the point where you don't need to run fiber to get high speed access and be independent of existing mobile operators.

        • This has nothing to do with net neutrality. The ISP is not favoring any type of content,>

          Its all in the eyes of the beholder, but in a world where tv content can be delivered via cable broadcast or IPTV, it certainly becomes a content centric difference. If I want my TV delivered via internet from SlingTV, I have to pay more for my internet than if I want it delivered by the cable company via STB. It is not restricting bandwidth, but it is favoring one content delivery provider over another by charging more for the same service.

    • Pay the overage fees as protest !! Let them know that you are fed up and won't take this anymore !!!

      My cell company keeps trying to get me to upgrade to a bigger better plan (which actually will cost me more for less). But I either stay below my cap - or pay the cheaper overage fee that this plan has.

      Currently usage caps haven't come to my local Comcast/XFinity - but I dread the day it arrives.

    • Plus utterly predictable. The people that thought they were going to beat the cable companies at this game were hopelessly naive. The companies were always going to fix things to keep getting exactly as much money out of you as they wanted.
  • Irony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stealth_finger ( 1809752 ) on Friday May 13, 2016 @10:54AM (#52104821)
    The country with the actual claim to inventing the internet has one of the shittest internets. If any ISP around here even thought of having a cap on anything but the most basic of service they'd be laughed right out of business.
    • I don't even know where you are (anywhere but the USA or Canada) but I bet your basic service would still have a pretty decent monthly cap too.

      • Couldn't be Europe where I had a 100Gig cap and then price charged increased by 3 times and I got charged for any the monthly overage in 1Gig chunks. They were better than some of the companies in the USA because I would get a warning at 90Gig telling me that pirating is bad and if I did not pirate material I would not be downloading that much material.
      • by Geeky ( 90998 )

        Caps are still pretty common in the UK, and many ISPs offer several tiers of capping, up to unlimited. Most "uncapped" services also have "reasonable use" restrictions - you might find there is a hidden cap if you're using your full bandwidth 24x7

        Uncapped works when most people only use the internet for a few hours here and there. What will be interesting is how ISPs handle peak requirements as more and more people switch to streaming TV - there'll be virtually no bandwidth needed most of the day and then i

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      The country with the actual claim to inventing the internet has one of the shittest internets. If any ISP around here even thought of having a cap on anything but the most basic of service they'd be laughed right out of business.

      USA is amazingly backward in oh so many ways... except the military. Great military, shitty everything else.

    • Internet service sucks here because most of the local governments here decided to award monopolies to Internet service companies. No competition or reduced competition (1 cable company vs 1 DSL company) means high prices for crappy service. This is one market which is overregulated, to the detriment of consumers.

      (To be more precise, the regulation was needed only for stringing up physical cables. The utility poles look much cleaner with only a single data cable, instead of dozens. But the monopoly co
    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      I think it was the pendulum swinging. Here in Norway I remember we used to pay per minute for dial-up/ISDN and were so envious of the US that generally had a flat rate for local calls. When there was a shake-up with DSL and we got flat rate connections it was like "Overage fees? Caps? Fuck that and fuck you." Didn't matter if the rates were good, the caps were reasonable, how a few were hogging the bandwidth and that the great majority was subsidizing a few hogs.

      Any kind of restriction was the touch of deat

  • ATT UVerse doe this as well. It makes cord cutting less attractive since what you pay for the bundle could be less than Internet, excess use fees and al la carte access to programing.
  • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Friday May 13, 2016 @11:07AM (#52104961) Journal

    This pretty well seems to be the cable business response, to the Internet business making cable well obsolete. They went around and used their rights of way to make sure they were the Internet providers so they could make sure to get you coming or going.

    Boy howdie did the telco industry really drop the ball. They should have aggressively laid fiber on their rights of way and brought out speeds coax cable was never going to compete with and priced them competitively. Hindsight is 20/20.

    However the public sector really dropped the ball here too. High speed internet access is basically noncompetitive in the US because cities though it was a good idea to trample private property rights and grant rights of way to private companies. eminent domain should NEVER be used to give land to private enterprises. Its not right or fair. When it comes to things like fiber, telephone wires, electrical lines local governments (maybe counties for long haul lines and stuff) should build them and lease them out; or maybe decide not to build them if existing resident land owners want to vote to discourage development in certain areas.

    • Boy howdie did the telco industry really drop the ball. They should have aggressively laid fiber on their rights of way and brought out speeds coax cable was never going to compete with and priced them competitively. Hindsight is 20/20.

      Verizon started to do that with FIOS. Then, if I recall correctly, they had a change in management and the new managers decided not to spend money on laying fiber (in the hopes of long-term gains) when they could just sit back and make money short-term with wireless. So all

    • This pretty well seems to be the cable business response, to the Internet business making cable well obsolete. They went around and used their rights of way to make sure they were the Internet providers so they could make sure to get you coming or going.

      It's also, frankly, NOTHING NEW. I recall signing up for cable internet 15 years ago and it was $10/month cheaper to get a "bundle with basic cable" than to get internet alone. That was true in at least one local cable market for quite a few years. Gradually, as I recall, the "basic cable" with that bundle gradually dropped channels, going from maybe 50 or 60 channels to only about 15 channels, and eventually the extra fee was dropped for some reason so internet alone was no longer more expensive.

      But "

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Yep, I remember cable companies charging more for Internet service only. :(

  • You have to pay extra for the unlimited bandwidth and get a worthless trinket (i.e. TV) as a free gift.

  • My in-laws had their cable and Internet service through BendBroadband. They are light users and were still getting overage charges for using to much bandwidth to the point that they had to regulate their usage. I called up BendBroadband and they basically told me "we are a small company so we can't do anything about it". They have about the worst channel selection guide I have ever seen and their DVR is even worse. (Possibly the worse DVR implementation I have ever seen.) I had my in-laws switch to DirecTV
  • This is PROGRESS! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sloppy ( 14984 ) on Friday May 13, 2016 @11:36AM (#52105205) Homepage Journal

    Wow, they're not even hiding it or lying about it anymore. Remember when the caps used to be about "congestion?" Now the truth is explicitly admitted. Everyone, before you lose your cool over this, think. This really is progress. We've reached the point in "LA Story" where the someone is politely told, "Hi. My name is Bob. I'll be your robber." No subterfuge, denial, etc. It's out in the open.

    • The nearest I can come up with for logic on this one is that perhaps ISPs assume that anyone subscribing to TV will use their Roku less frequently, relieving their networks of 4-5Mbps of streaming (1080p) data at peak times.

      Roku, Amazon Stick, etc, are all being pushed as ways to cut the cord, so there may be some logic there.

  • Despite having many assassinations, car accidents, or robberies they do not become legal. Time for a class action?
    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      The outcome ought not to be about money. The outcome ought to be a ban on clauses giving one company a monopoly in an area and a blanket allowance for local governments to set up municipal broandband if they want to.
    • What BendBroadband is doing is dirty, but it's hard to say if it is illegal.

      If a monopoly holder forces a consumer to buy a second product in order to get what they want, in this case buying cable TV service if they want broadband without a data cap that is Unlawful Tying and is a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. But who knows? The devil is in the details, and those details would have to be worked out in court. I'm guessing the question would hinge on whether or not BendBroadband is the only broadban

  • My cable company (Armstrong) bases your cap on a combination of your service tier and your other services, and has for some time, so this is nothing new.
  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Friday May 13, 2016 @01:23PM (#52106181)

    The incumbent cable company is the only broadband choice for many people in the US. Cable companies that adopt this policy are in violation of US anti-trust law.
    Cable companies that use their monopoly status to harm competing video services should be held liable for the damages caused to the competing video services.

    Microsoft tried this with a web browser and operating system years ago - and it tied them up in court for years.

    Obama, are you listening?

  • This is the first unlimited residential internet service they've ever provided. Providing it for people who subscribe to their TV service is a good first step... Their email server has been down for days while they switched email over to their new parent company, TDS Telecom. Their internet has been up and down for months for DOCSIS 3 hardware and firmware upgrades. I think this has put a black eye more than providing the first unlimited service to their customers.

    • Not to mention, their previous top package, 100x5, is better understood to be the Unicorn tier. You'll never actually see those speeds. If only the local wireless company had caps more than 200 gigs... ;)

  • You're being protected from digital dysentery; with the boob tube, the BS flows practically only in a hydrating direction, not a dehydrating one.

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford

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