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Data Plans: Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated: April 2016

  1. What is "Internet usage"?
  2. What is my data plan?
  3. How much can I do with my data plan?
  4. What happens if I go over my monthly data plan?
  5. How can I increase my data plan? Are there unlimited data plans available?
  6. Why doesn't Suddenlink offer its Unlimited Data Plans in my community?
  7. How can I monitor my usage or change the email at which I receive usage notifications?
  8. I have usage measuring software and it reports a different number than Suddenlink reports. Why?
  9. What causes high usage?
  10. Will un-used Gigabytes roll over to the next month, like un-used cell phone minutes?

1. What is "Internet Usage"?

Internet 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.) The data travelling through a cable modem is measured in Gigabytes (GB).

2. What is my data plan?

Consistent with our Acceptable Use Policy and Residential Services Agreement, Suddenlink has applied monthly data plans to certain residential Internet accounts in most of its service areas.

To determine if there is a monthly data plan associated with your account – and what that plan is – please log in to your online account. If you don’t yet have an online account, visit Suddenlink.net and follow the registration instructions there; then choose "My Services.&quo

3. How much can I do with my data plans?

Our monthly data plans cover 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 below the corresponding monthly data plan.

MONTHLY ACTIVITY EXAMPLES & DATA PLANS 250 GB 350 GB 450 GB 550 GB
Send or receive one-page emails 12,000 24,000 36,000 48,000
Upload or download medium-resolution photos 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000
Download MP3 songs 700 1,000 1,300 1,600
Hours of Streaming Video (SD) 325 455 585 715

Examples in this table are estimates, based on typical file sizes and/or the typical duration of a file transfer or streaming event; SD = standard definition; if streaming all online video in HD (high definition), the total hours per month per data plan (in the context of the chart above) would be approx. 75, 105, 135, and 165, respectively. The video streaming calculations are based on this source: https://help.netflix.com/en/node/87.

4. What happens if I go over my data plan?

When data plans (excluding Unlimited Data Plans) are applied to customer accounts, the primary account holder can monitor the account's data usage through an online usage summary, available at Suddenlink.net.  See the related instructions under the question “How can I monitor my usage or change the email at which I receive usage notifications?

Additionally, when an account exceeds its monthly data plan, the company will publish a related note on affected customers’ bill statements. Suddenlink will attempt to further notify customers: (a) when data usage on an account exceeds the monthly data plan, and (b) after the first overage, when data usage exceeds more than 80% of the monthly data plan.  These supplemental notifications include:

  • Email notices, which are sent to all customers for whom we have an email address and have not opted out of receiving emails; the online usage summary at Suddenlink.net offers customers a convenient way to indicate a preferred email address for these notifications
  • Browser notices, which offer an "opt out" alternative to customers who do not wish to receive them
  • Outbound phone calls to customers except those on our "Do Not Call" list

Customer accounts will not be billed for exceeding a monthly data plan until the third overage. On the third and subsequent overages, the monthly plan will be increased in installments of 50 GB at a cost of $10 per installment.  Charges for supplemental data are billed 1 cycle in arrears.

5. How can I increase my data plan? Are there unlimited data plans available?

Suddenlink customers in most markets can choose from a variety of data plans including, in many markets, our Unlimited Data Plans.  To learn more about your data plan options, call customer service or go to My Account and click on Update Plan.

6. Why doesn't Suddenlink offer its Unlimited Data Plans in my community?

Some of our systems are located in areas where bandwidth into that market is limited and upgrades to those circuits are currently not economically viable; thus these systems cannot support our Unlimited Data Plans.  Please call customer service or go to My Account and click on Update Plan to find out whether your cable system offers Unlimited Data Plans.

7. How can I monitor my usage or change the email at which I receive usage notifications?

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 "My Services," then "Online Tools," and then "Data Plan Usage." If you don’t yet have an online account, visit Suddenlink.net and follow the registration instructions there. Then choose "Online Tools" and "Data Plan Usage."

Note: Only the primary account holder has access to the "Data Plan Usage" summary, where available. If you do not see a link or icon for "Data Plan Usage," it means one or more of the following conditions apply: (a) you are not the primary account holder; or (b) we have not yet introduced this resource nor data plans in your area; or (c) the summary has been taken offline for maintenance. We will not count the prior day's usage when an online usage summary is not available to the primary account holder.

Finally, where the data usage summary is available and monthly data plans have been established for residential Internet accounts, those customers can visit their data usage summary page to enter or change an email address at which they prefer to receive usage notifications. See related information in the question, “ What happens if I go over my monthly data plan?

8. I have usage measuring software and it reports a differnt number than Suddenlink reports. Why?

Our current counting technology employs advanced, state-of-the-art hardware and software and 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 data plan 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."

9. 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 data plan?"

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 and consider occasionally updating your password.
  • 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 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 consuming data without anyone benefiting from it.
  • 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.
  • Also, some online video sites provide options (e.g., under “Playback Settings” and/or “Preferences”) to either automatically or manually download episodes in a series. If set to automatically download, the service could be downloading content even when you’re not watching. Check and update these options accordingly.
  • If you've shared your Suddenlink Internet user ID and password with someone you suspect is causing you to exceed your monthly data plan, consider changing your password.
  • Some peer-to-peer file-sharing programs 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 data usage. Check your file-sharing program preferences to make sure the upstream Internet is limited accordingly.
  • If you use a news reader, 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.

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

Not at this time. Data plans are reset each month, for each billing period.