Data Plans: Frequently Asked Questions
- What is "Internet usage"?
- What is my data plan?
- Why has Suddenlink established data plans?
- How much can I do with my data plan?
- How many customers exceed their data plan?
- What happens if I go over my monthly data plan?
- How can I increase my data plan?
- How can I monitor my usage or change the email address at which I receive usage notifications?
- I have usage measuring software and it reports a different number then Suddenlink reports. Why?
- What causes high usage?
- Will un-used Gigabytes roll over to the next month, like un-usage cell phone minutes?
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).
To determine if there is a monthly data plan associated with your account – and what that plan is – please set up or log in to an existing online account. See the related instructions under question #8.
Consistent with our Acceptable Use Policy and Residential Services Agreement, Suddenlink has applied monthly data plans to residential Internet accounts in most of its service areas. Data plans are one step among several that help us continue delivering a quality Internet experience for our customers. Other steps include the sizable investments we’ve made and continue making to provide greater downstream and upstream system capacity and more bandwidth per home. Even with those investments, a relatively few customers use a disproportionate amount of data, which can negatively affect the Internet experience of those who use far less. That’s why, as a complement to our network investments, we’ve established data plans. In short, we want to help make sure the vast majority of our customers continue to have a great Internet experience — and that the relatively few who consistently use much more data than normal have a choice: either use a little less or pay a little more. We believe that's a fair and reasonable approach.
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.
Relatively few. Our monthly data plans have proven to be more than sufficient for substantially all customers.
When 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 question #8
Suddenlink will attempt to further notify the relatively few customers affected: (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.
The primary method for such notifications will be an email message sent to an email address the customer has provided Suddenlink. The online usage summary at Suddenlink.net offers customers a convenient way to indicate a preferred email address for these notifications. If Suddenlink does not have an email address on file for a given customer, the company will attempt to notify that customer through other means (e.g., post card or voice message). In addition, after each overage, the company will publish a related note on affected customers’ bill statements.
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.
The residential data we offer should be more than sufficient for the vast majority of our customers. The relatively few customers who desire more may wish to consider upgrading to a faster speed with a larger data plan, where available, or purchasing one or more supplemental data packages. Our agents are available to discuss which option may be best for you.
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."
Note: Only the primary account holder has access to the “View Internet Usage” summary, where available.
If you do not see a link or icon for "View Internet 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 usage summary is available and monthly data plans have been established for residential Internet accounts, those customers can visit their usage summary page to enter or change an email address at which they prefer to receive usage notifications. See related information under question #6.
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."
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.
Not at this time. Data plans are reset each month, for each billing period.