Last Updated: October 2013

Allowance Plan: Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is "Internet usage"?

2. How much usage am I allowed on my Suddenlink Internet account?

3. Why has Suddenlink established usage allowances?

4. How much can I do with my usage allowance?

5. How many customers exceed their monthly allowance?

6. What happens if I'm one of the few who exceeds the monthly allowance?

7. How can I increase my monthly allowance?

8. How can I monitor my usage or change my future notification options?

9. I have usage measuring software and it reports a different number than Suddenlink reports. Why?

10. What causes high usage?

11. Does Suddenlink offer any plans with higher allowances or unlimited usage?

12. Will un-used gigabytes roll over to the next month, like un-used cell phone minutes?



1. What is "Internet usage"?

Internet usage - also known as "bandwidth usage" - refers to all of the traffic or data that travels through a customer's cable modem. (Traditional cable television does not travel through a cable modem.) Much like electric usage is measured in kilowatts and water usage is measured in gallons, Internet usage is measured in gigabytes (GB). Using a single GB, someone could send approximately 50,000 single-page emails, without attachments.


2. How much usage am I allowed on my Suddenlink Internet account?

Consistent with our Acceptable Use Policy and Residential Services Agreement, Suddenlink applied the usage allowances detailed below to residential (non-business) Internet accounts in most of its service areas between late July and early October 2013.

If the maximum advertised download speed is...

The monthly usage allowance will be...

Compared to an average monthly usage of...

Less than 10 Mbps

150 GB

24 GB

10 to 30 Mbps

250 GB

45 GB

Greater than 30 Mbps

350 GB

117 GB



Mbps = Megabits per second; GB = Gigabytes; average monthly usage based on a March 2013 company-wide sample of Suddenlink residential (non-business) customers; usage is not considered over until it exceeds the relevant allowance plus 2% of that allowance, i.e., 153GB, 255GB, and 357GB respectively.



3. Why has Suddenlink established usage allowances?

Allowances are one step among several that will help us continue delivering a quality Internet experience for our customers. Other such steps include the sizable investments we’ve made – and will keep making – to provide greater downstream and upstream system capacity and more bandwidth per home. Even with those investments, a few customers (less than one percent) consume a disproportionate amount of bandwidth, which can negatively affect the Internet experience of those who consume far less. That’s why, as a complement to our network investments, we’re establishing allowances. They are a fair and equitable approach to helping us make sure the overwhelming majority (99-plus percent) of our customers are able to fully enjoy their current online activities.


4. How much can I do with my usage allowance?

The allowances we have established allow a significant volume of activity. We've provided some examples in the following chart. A customer who completed all of the activity listed in one column should be well within the corresponding monthly allowance.

MONTHLY ACTIVITY EXAMPLES

150 GB

250 GB

350 GB

Send or receive one-page emails

6,000

12,000

24,000

Upload or download medium-resolution photos to/from Facebook

2,500

5,000

10,000

Download MP3 songs

600

700

800

Stream one-minute YouTube videos (standard quality)

600

700

800

Watch hour-long TV shows online (high quality)

100

175

250

Stream full-length movies (standard definition)

30

60

90

Stream full-length movies (high definition)

10

15

20



The examples in this table are estimates, based on typical file sizes and/or the typical duration of a file transfer or streaming event.



5. How many customers exceed their monthly allowance?

Very few. Based on historical data, we estimate our monthly allowances will be more than sufficient for 99 out of every 100 customers.


6. What happens if I'm one of the few who exceeds the monthly allowance?

Before the current plan is applied to a given area, customers in that area will be set to zero overages. These procedures will then be followed for the very few who go over their allowance plus 2% of that allowance.

  • After the first overage, the customer's Web browser will be directed to a Suddenlink notification page. The customer will be required to read that page, select how he or she wants to receive future notifications (by email or Web browser), enter the 16-digit account number, and then save the information. (Note: Customers who change DNS servers to something other than Suddenlink’s servers will not see the first notification by Web browser. They will, however, receive a note on their bill statements, indicating that the first overage occurred and that the relevant charges were waived. They can then visit their Internet usage summary page at Suddenlink.net and change their future notification preference to email. In addition, customers who indicated a preference for email notifications under the previous program will receive an email after the first overage under the current program.)
  • From that point forward, future notifications on this subject will be sent after an account uses more than 80% of its monthly allowance and again after it exceeds that allowance. Those notifications will be delivered through the means selected on the first overage, unless customers change their notification preference by visiting their Internet usage summary page at Suddenlink.net.
  • Customer accounts will not be billed for exceeding their monthly allowance until the third overage. On the third and subsequent overages, the monthly allowance will be increased in installments of 50 GB at a cost of $10 per installment.



7. How can I increase my monthly allowance?

You may wish to consider one of our higher-speed, higher-allowance packages, if they are available in your area and you have not yet subscribed to one of them. See the chart provided earlier -- in answer to the question "How much usage am I allowed on my Suddenlink Internet account?" -- or visit our contact page to interact with one of our agents by phone, email, or chat.


8. How can I monitor my usage or change my future notification options?

If an Internet usage summary page is available in your area, it can be found by logging in to your online account at Suddenlink.net, choosing "My Account," then “Online Tools,” and then “View Internet Usage.” If you do not yet have an online account with us, visit Suddenlink.net and follow the registration instructions provided there. When complete, choose “Online Tools” and then "View Internet Usage.

If you do not see a link or icon for "View Internet Usage," it means we have not yet introduced this resource in your area or the summary has been taken offline for maintenance. Importantly, we will not count the prior day's usage when an online usage summary is not available.

Finally, where the usage summary is available and a monthly allowance has been established for residential Internet accounts, those customers can – after receiving their first overage notification – change their future notification options by visiting their Internet usage summary page.


9. I have usage measuring software and it reports a different number than Suddenlink reports. Why?

Our current counting technology, which employs advanced, state-of-the-art hardware and software, has been reviewed by NetForecast, an independent, expert third party. NetForecast found that our current technology accurately reports usage within plus or minus 1% of actual usage. In the interest of fairness, we doubled that margin of accuracy for the purposes of this program, which means we do not consider an individual account as over its allowance until the measured usage is more than 2% over. For instance, customers with a 250 GB monthly allowance would not be counted as over until their monthly usage exceeded 255 GB, as measured by our technology.

Differences greater than 1 to 2% could be caused by a number of factors. For instance:

  • Our technology counts all data transmitted through the modem, from all devices connected to and using that modem. Consumer technologies might count only the usage from one of the connected devices.
  • Our technology maintains a continuous monthly log of usage. Consumer technologies might reset to zero on certain occasions, such as when they are powered off and back on.


For additional information on this topic, please see the section of NetForecast’s assessment titled “Useful Information if You Want to Do Your Own Testing.”


10. What causes high usage?

Activity drives usage, such as sending and receiving emails, downloading and uploading files, etc. See the sample chart provided earlier, under the question, "How much can I do with my usage allowance?"

Granted, some activity might be happening without your knowledge. For instance: a virus or "spyware" application might have infected your computer and started transmitting data without your knowledge. Or someone else might be using your Internet connection without your permission. To help guard against these and other potential causes of high usage, please consider the following steps.

  • If you have a wireless router, you may have unauthorized users logging onto your account. Ensure that your router is encrypted or password-protected by visiting the website of your router's manufacturer.
  • Viruses and spyware applications can, without your knowledge, generate excessive Internet traffic. Install and regularly update your computer's security software to minimize the risk of your Internet connection being used by an outside party for unauthorized purposes.
  • Install software to limit or eliminate the volume of spam you receive.
  • Check with other members of your household regarding their Internet activities. For instance, someone in your home might leave a streaming video player running while they're away doing other things. During that time, your account is using bandwidth without anyone benefiting from it.
  • If you've shared your Suddenlink Internet user ID and password with someone you suspect is causing you to exceed your monthly allowance, consider changing your password.
  • Some peer-to-peer file-sharing programs (e.g., Bit Torrent, Shareaza, etc.) may upload shared files, by default, to others as fast as your connection allows. This activity is often invisible to you, but it can result in significant usage. Check your file-sharing program preferences to make sure the upstream Internet is limited accordingly.
  • If you use a news reader (e.g., Usenet), make sure that it is not set to automatically download message bodies for groups to which you subscribe. Otherwise, you may download a significant volume of material that is of no interest to you.
  • Some online video sites provide options for limiting the amount of data transmitted from those sites. You may wish to check your favorite online video sites to see if they offer such options.


11. Does Suddenlink offer any plans with higher allowances or unlimited usage?

The only residential plans we currently offer are outlined above. These plans should be more than sufficient for 99 percent of our customers. Customers who require more bandwidth may wish to consider upgrading to a commercial account, where available.


12. Will un-used gigabytes roll over to the next month, like un-used cell phone minutes?

Not at this time. Usage allowances are reset each month, for each billing period.