Utterly Boring dot com

BendBroadband is Giving You More Speed...

...but at the price of bandwidth caps. It appears that starting in July, BendBroadband Internet customers are going to be saddled with bandwidth caps. For most people, not a big deal. But for bandwidth-heavy geeks like me (and I'm sure I'm not the only one), it is, even if I were on the highest plan.

While I'm sure they've always internally had these caps, and I applaud them for actually making them public, they don't seem very generous and they're forcing users into more expensive plans to make sure they have breathing room.

The biggest problem for me is my nightly online backups, not only to my house but from my house. I have software that backs up local data nightly to Mozy servers and I also have a 400GB file server in my home office that backs up data from the servers in my Sunriver office on a nightly basis. I also download large torrent files of DVD disk images, software patches, midget porn etc... . I can all but guarantee that I'd hit the bandwidth cap pretty much every month (probably every couple weeks).

But the reality is that most of my heavy bandwidth usage is in the middle of the night (between 10PM and 7AM, after which the connection to my server in Sunriver severs as the office is opening back up), where it's not going to screw with the bulk majority of folks. So should I be penalized when I'm not going to be affecting 95% of folks?

As it stands right now, their page to check your usage doesn't work, but let's hope that's up long before they roll this thing out.

I know Comcast, a major, national cable provider, has these sorts of caps, but I was hoping a local, home-grown company wouldn't have to resort to this, especially without an option for an unlimited plan (depending on what source you read, Comcast's cap is between 90-200gb, which is quite a bit more than BendBroadband's limit, even on the high end).

While BendBroadband has been a long-time advertiser on this site (my agreement with them allows me to editorialize all I want about their service), and I've constantly recommended their Internet services, I might have to shop around for DSL services unless some clarification can be made for hardcore geeks (and long time customers) like me. It's late, and I'm tired from watching all the basketball today, so maybe this has me more riled up than it should, but in this day and age where bandwidth should be getting cheaper and cheaper (and generally it is), it irks me when my ISP for nearly a decade decides to cap it on me.

Update on 4/4: Some good discussion below in the comments. Here is the spreadsheet that one of the commenters put together to show how this can really cost you.

Update on 4/7: Forgot to post this last week: BendTel doesn't think putting caps on Internet use is moving people in the right direction for utilizing the Internet. I tend to agree (and I like the folks at BendTel, having used their services in the past at my office).

Update on 4/10: This story has now gone national. Feel free to digg this.

Posted by Jake on 03/21/08 @ 11:38 PM
Posted in Local, Moronic | 142 Comments | Permalink



4 Trackbacks

BendBroadband Makes Gizmodo With Their Bandwidth Caps from UtterlyBoring.com on 04/09/08 @ 10:54 PM:
Quite the discussion has come about from BendBroadband's annoucement that they're going to start capping bandwidth on residential plans (no word on their plans for their business plans, which really... (Read More)

On A Lighter Note... from UtterlyBoring.com on 04/10/08 @ 11:44 PM:
With all the hullabaloo about the BendBroadband mess, some times we all just need to take a deep breath and have a laugh. And web design and SEO geeks will... (Read More)

BendBroadband Bandwidth Cap Update from UtterlyBoring.com on 04/16/08 @ 11:17 AM:
If you haven't been following the drama and the outcry surrounding BendBroadband's latest pricing changes, let me sum up what's been going on the last few weeks:BendBroadband announced they were... (Read More)

I'm Back -- What Did I miss? from UtterlyBoring.com on 08/25/08 @ 10:05 AM:
So I haven't gotten online once since last Wednesday after a small trip to the coast for the weekend to help build a deck at my grandma's beach house. Among... (Read More)

142 Comments

Mark Turner said on 03/22/08 @ 01:11 AM:
This may have farther reaching impacts from people like me that use BB for both my employer and my home.
When my ISP starts to put caps on my home line it makes me want to take a nice hard look at the corporate line to consider other options. Who knows what they may want to charge corporate customers soon...

I don't know how they think that 50gb is enough for their high-end users. I have been pulling around 39-40gb/month over the past two months, but the couple before that was well into the 50's.

But with a 12-16mbs connection I will hit 50gb for sure. This is pissing me off.

I feel like they are trying to nickel and dime their customers.. but they are trying to hide it with faster speeds. Man... BendTel is looking better every day.

John Farwell said on 03/22/08 @ 07:18 AM:
I wanted to respond to a couple of the questions posed here:

Residential customers will see bandwidth usage for 3 months prior to the start of the new program.

New Business HSI plans are currently in development and will be announced in the near future.

We do not currently have usage caps.

Thanks

Jason Carr said on 03/24/08 @ 02:16 PM:
Jake,

Just so you know, I forwarded your concerns to Amy Tyekson, the CEO & President of BendBroadband. She serves on the Economic Development for Central Oregon Board, and I see her at least once a month.

I'm not much of a tech person, so I don't really understand how this stuff works. Amy is great to work with, and she has always told me to give her feedback about stuff I hear throughout the community.

Hope this helps.

Jake said on 03/24/08 @ 10:30 PM:
Thanks, Jason. I guess my biggest issue is their low cap. I guess maybe if they're throttle it a bit or something instead of just shutting it off outright, or not counting bandwidth between certain hours or something. All bandwidth isn't created equal, and my moving a crapload of data in the middle of the night really shouldn't penalize me.

Verizon FiOS needs to start up here (though I don't see it coming soon). Competition always breeds better service/prices and is always better for the consumer. Right now, BendBroadband has no real competition for TV (thanks to the local channel monopoly) and nobody comes close to the speed they're pushing (copper just can't cut it compared to what they can do with their fiber and coax).

John Farwell said on 03/25/08 @ 06:39 AM:
Jake and Jason,

I just wanted you to know that we at BendBroadband do very much appreciate and review all customer concerns. In fact all senior managers have access and regularly review our daily on line feedback as well as reviewing comments that come from our customer survey following an install or service call. In fact I had already copied Amy on this thread prior to Jason's input.
Best, John

Jake said on 03/25/08 @ 01:30 PM:
Glad to hear it, John -- and this is why I like dealing with small local companies, as they have a tendancy to listen.

And you guys are an advertiser here, so you obviously value input from the folks on this site.

Jason Carr said on 03/25/08 @ 01:33 PM:
Jake,

Not a problem! BTW, I already got a response back from Amy this morning thanking me for forwarding your concerns to her.

John,

Didn't realize you worked for the company. Thanks for also listening to Jake and taking his comments to Amy. For me, the customer service end of things says a lot about how Bendbroadband is managed.

Joe B said on 03/29/08 @ 11:50 AM:
Glad to see this thread. I just sent a letter to the Bulletin with the suggested headline "Is a $1,000 Bendbroadband bill in your future?"

After doing the math, it is easily conceivable for some unsuspecting parent to receive a bill for over $1,000 if their teenager has peer to peer going 24/7 and the parent is unaware of it through ignorance or not understanding the full impact of the new billing scheme. The billing plan has no maximum charge outside of the number of hours in a month. The theoretical maximum bill for the top tier is over $3,700 a month.

I would remind Bendbroadband that 2% of their 30,000 or so internet customers that fall outside all caps is still 600 people. If even 2% of these get a $1,000 bill, that is still 12 bills. That would seem like a national story and not a particularly positive one.

I would also like Bendbroadband to let us know about FUTURE usage cap plans. What happens when internet HD TV gets going THIS YEAR about the same time as the caps kick in and Bendbroadband customers find they are left out because their bill will go through the roof. The billing stuffers talk about current use not affecting too many customers based upon PAST usage and how many low def movies and TV shows they get. The stuffers are mysteriously missing future use where hidef will be the norm and which would affect a lot more customers.

Bendbroadband used lots of PR stating how they spent loads of money increasing capacity over the last several years while at the same time killing analog TV to give more bandwidth. Now it is going to charge a whole lot more if you want to use any of this extra bandwidth.

50gig TOP tier??? That isn't the future of the internet, that's the past. That's about 5 hours of HDTV. I can only guess what Bendbroadband wants to use all that extra bandwidth for, but it sure isn't for end user internet if this is the billing plan of the future.

Kumo said on 03/30/08 @ 10:02 PM:
According to a Slashdot article last month (http://apple.slashdot.org/apple/08/02/05/1322213.shtml) Time Warner cable is planning on the same thing, at an even lower 5GB per month max for their basic plan. A new trend in the cable industry perhaps? A conspiracy against iTunes and new media or simply additional revenue generation?

I work with large geographic data sets and do Linux development on the side. The new BendBroadband pricing structures will be forcing me to move to DSL. Unfortunate, as I've been a longtime customer. In the current economic environment, an extra $20 a month adds up.

I have to wonder with increased Net bandwidth applications like HDTV, how many BendBroadband customers (whi have never even heard of BitTorrent) aren't going to be all that happy having extra bucks added to their monthly bill from "normal" Net usage. But maybe people won't care and just go along for the ride. Maybe not though, with increased pressures from rising gas, food and health care costs coupled with a recession...

UndeadBeav said on 04/03/08 @ 09:37 AM:
Does anybody know how long it would take to burn 10 GB of bandwidth at 8Mbps? I ran some numbers:

Speed = 8Mbps
Bandwidth Cap = 10 GB
Estimated Peak Speed = 512.0 KB
Hours of Peak Usage Before Cap = 5.7 Hours

And what about 12Mbps?

Speed = 12Mbps
Bandwidth Cap = 30 GB
Estimated Peak Speed = 768.0 KB
Hours of Peak Usage Before Cap = 11.4 Hours

And 16Mbps?

Speed = 16Mbps
Bandwidth Cap = 50 GB
Estimated Peak Speed = 1,024.0 KB
Hours of Peak Usage Before Cap = 14.2 Hours

How in the world can we expect to take these caps seriously? I'm aware that more and more ISPs are instituting caps, and I'm not totally against them, but the lowest cap I've seen so far (besides BBB) is 50 GB.

BBB's usage stats must be old, and I would say anything older than six months is too old.

UndeadBeav said on 04/03/08 @ 09:40 AM:
That's Estimate Peak Speed in Kilobytes Per Second, by the way, and it's figured at half the advertised speed due to overhead (so 8Mbps = 4Mbps = 512 kilobytes per second).

JoeB said on 04/03/08 @ 11:20 AM:
Actually, the burn factor would be even faster, since there is also the UPLOAD component which is another 1 to 1.5 mbs (128Kbytes or 186Kbytes). You are also being generous. If the actual speed is the max, your times would be less than half, so about 3 to 6 hours before you pay. Another interesting thing to calculate is the maximum possible charge in a 30 day month if you run flat out 24/7. This gives maximums in the $2,700 to $3,900 PER MONTH range. I can send you a spreadsheet showing my calculations and assumptions, if you like. A further calculation is the cost per hour after reaching the cap if you use max speed. This is anywhere from about $3 to $6 PER HOUR! These are costs from 20 years ago!

Shane said on 04/03/08 @ 12:39 PM:
Another nail in the coffin for Bend. Let's face it, it's just a grab for more money now the economy is getting tighter. I'm with Mr. Turner above. I'm going to be taking a long, hard look at my clients who use BB in their businesses. Unfortunately, not having a 'phone landline at home my ISP options are pretty limited.
A 10GB cap for almost $40 is also ridiculously overpriced. I could understand offering a low level service for customers who do little more than use e-mail and a little web browsing on their accounts. We have that type of service back home in the U.K. and it costs around $12 a month.
Also, is the ARP broadcast packets that constantly eminate from BB going to form part of the bandwidth cap or are they finally going to configure their routers correctly? I know; flap, flap, oink, oink.

Jake said on 04/03/08 @ 12:56 PM:
@JoeB: If you send me that spreadsheet, I'll post it up here on the site.


@Shane: You're right: I completely forgot about those broadcast packets (and there are a TON of them that keep my router flashing constantly). And I agree: 10GB for $40 is steep. For folks that just want email and basic web browsing (like my in-laws who are on dial-up because of locally over-priced broadband), $40 is far too much.

UndeadBeav said on 04/03/08 @ 01:26 PM:
While reading recent news stories about bandwidth caps and the exponential growth of Internet usage expected in the coming years/months, it is clear that the caps have come about as a response to the growth, not in spite of it. In other words, instead of widening the information superhighway to allow more traffic, ISPs are deciding to leave the highway alone but add toll booths instead.


UndeadBeav said on 04/03/08 @ 01:43 PM:
I would submit that the hardest hit customers will not be techno-geeks (like your truly) that are bandwidth-aware and will therefore take precautionary steps to protect their bill (such as using my neighbor's unsecured wireless router! I'm joking! His router sucks!).

The hardest hit will be parents with teenagers. As was touched on in earlier comments, parents aren't always aware of (or can't comprehend) what their kids are downloading/uploading on the "Inner-nets". And, as was previously calculated, taking a few days to notice the bandwidth usage might be too late.

Fortunately, only 8% of BBB's customer base falls here so no worries, right?

Frank said on 04/03/08 @ 04:42 PM:
All,

I'm chipping in with John from BendBroadband as I also work there.

NonGeek Portion

The key is fairness for the residential product ... there is a small minority of users driving consumption growth for the product. We at BBB do not feel it is right for a large majority of users (92%) to fund the consumption behavior of a minority. Plain and simple!

Metrics show that 98% of the users, with a simple move of tiers, will fit within our new residential product structure.

Also, we are in Bend, Oregon ... we have to bring bandwidth from the major Tier1 providers here over diverse fiber paths. We are not seeing a $/bit reduction over the last 2 years. It appears that the data transport market has settled down after the .com boom and has now settled down to a brick and mortar reality.

Geek Portion

IPDR (IP Protocol Data Record) is being utilized to record session traffic (read ipdr.org). This is collected at the multiple broadband routers (very, very large routers) at the BendBroadband operations center where regional fiber terminates.

DOCSIS is a layer 2 protocol. ARPs are used to find your layer 3 connections (e.g. router) as you leave your layer3 netblock. Broadcast traffic in your broadcast domain do generate IPDR records.

Usage associated with tiers are based on up do date records with the March announcement and are trended for July launch.




Frank said on 04/03/08 @ 04:45 PM:
Correction!

Never type at an airport ...

In the geek portion ... broadcast traffic does NOT generate IPDR records as they do not traverse the router. ARP broadcasts are used in your broadcast domain to find your gateway.

Frank

JoeB said on 04/03/08 @ 06:15 PM:
I would like a little more information on BendBroadband's "fairness" argument. If fairness is the issue, how does the billing scheme address this????

First 10Gig = $45
First Additional 20Gig = $8
Second Additional 20Gig = $10
Third and all further 20Gig = $30 each

This looks like a pretty regressive pricing structure. If the issue is backbone access, it would appear based upon the tier pricing that the cost to obtain a reasonable profit is between $8 and $10 for each 20 gig pricing tier. Why that would skyrocket to $30 after any cap just doesn't make sense.

Perhaps Frank at Bendbroadband can tell me what I'm missing since he says prices haven't gone up for bulk transport over the past two years (see NonGeek Portion from Frank above) as to why it should be regressive to the end user for use above the tier cap and as to why slower tiers should pay the same incremental overage rate as faster tiers. The pricing scheme seems quite arbitrary to me. Fairness would be the water sysem method. X$ to connect and X$ per unit of usage with a different rate structure for a different size of pipe (speed cap). As it is, all excess usage is charged the same regardless of the size of the pipe.

frank said on 04/03/08 @ 06:39 PM:
Joe,

The goal was to provide 'fairness' for the majority ... this means that we don't desire to create a burden for the majority of users to have to worry about usage. The tiers were specifically based upon current consumption/mo and trending.

92% of our current customers will never notice a difference. 6% can adjust to a tier that matches their residential bandwidth usage.

This keeps is simple for the majority of customers with appropriate tiers that match their monthly consumption (98%).

Frank

JoeB said on 04/04/08 @ 07:28 AM:
Frank,

Thanks for the prompt reply.

I'll be looking forward to seeing what business internet charges will become. That seems to be the missing key for us geeks.

Joe

UndeadBeav said on 04/04/08 @ 09:51 AM:
"Our website tool will be available no later than April 4th."

Why am I not surprised?

Jake said on 04/04/08 @ 10:17 AM:
Frank: While we're asking questions, does traffic between two BendBroadband machines count here, since it doesn't leave your network? I occasionally do remote access and file sharing between a co-worker's computer and my home office here. The traceroutes show that it never leaves BendBroadband's network. Does IPDR count that?

JoeB said on 04/04/08 @ 04:07 PM:
Well, the Bendbroadband prior use screen now works. It only shows 3 months use and doesn't give much of chance to catch hogs on the fly since it is refreshed only daily after the fact.

It is really rather lame, since it is for an entire month as a lump, giving no further consumption pattern. I guess this is in line with the comment from Frank about making it simple. For me, it doesn't give me enough information to make an informed decision and a real pain to monitor on a regular basis. Pretty poor design.

I wonder if they plan on giving anything further for the people it effects most or any tools to keep from getting caught by a land mine. If nothing else, being able to subscribe to a daily consumption email broadcast when they do the usage refresh would have been a whole lot more helpful than what they have now.

My usage bounced from 1.3G in January to 27G in February and now at 3.1G for 3/4 of a month in March.

I expect there are going to be some very surprized people out their, even if they are in the minority. My 17G over cap would have cost me an extra $25.50, but going to the second tier would have only been useful for a single month with the other two months unused capacity equaling out the extra usage.

I guess they want me to plan my activity since I don't see any point in paying extra for service I would rarely use. As an option, I could also change tiers on a monthly basis. Let's see, they would get $8 extra to pay for the extra capacity for a month AND pay the service people to update my records at the beginning of one period and then at the beginning of the next period for me to save $17.50 while sitting on their phone line for 10 minutes (or more).

In my specific case: THIS NEW SCHEME STINKS!

Frank said on 04/04/08 @ 04:40 PM:
Joe,

We appreciate the comments! The intent, at first release, was to:

- Allow 3 months for customers to view consumption data.
- To have the past quarter displayed and the current month up to date.

The goal is to keep this simple for the large majority of residential users (98%) after tier adjustment in which no changes are made. 92% will require no change to stay under current tiers.

I advise reviewing http://www.bendbroadband.com/residentialservices_08.cfm for further information.

Take care,

Frank

Frank said on 04/04/08 @ 04:41 PM:
Jake,

Transport between 2 systems on our network, from a layer 3 perspective, will count for US and DS.

Frank

Jake said on 04/04/08 @ 11:31 PM:
Uploaded your spreadsheet, Joe.

JoeB said on 04/05/08 @ 12:05 AM:
Just as a follow-up, I received a couple of very frustrating and useless replies to questions about prior and current usage I sent using the feedback screen on the Bendbroadband website. Bendbroadband states that it is "not able" to provide information past 3 months old and wants me to believe checking a couple of times during the next few months will give me all the information I need.

I sure hope they don't do capacity planning the way they want me to!


JoeB said on 04/05/08 @ 08:10 AM:
Additional follow up on the new Online Usage Summary:
I have turned in a couple of trouble tickets already on this screen. It appears that Bendbroadband has a less than stellar QA group for testing their website.
1. Display doesn't print correctly in either Firefox or IE7. The graphic usages don't print.
2. There is no Data Refresh Date for the Current Billing Cycle box making the data of minimal use.
3. The Tab title displays "BendBroadband Extra Digital Set-Top Orders"

The display also started out with different from and to dates in the bill range that was magically changed later in the day. This appears to be is a work in progress.

I sure hope they test the new billing scheme better than this before they send out the new bills in July! This could get ugly if they use the same people to test the bills that tested the website.

Bendbroadband is asking us for a high level of trust that has yet to be earned in this case. Their agreement has a clause that essentially says you agree to pay whatever they bill you with no recourse:

(a) Charges. You agree to pay all charges associated with the Services. These
charges may include but not be limited to installation charges, monthly service charges,
charges for the use of BendBroadband Equipment, charges for service calls, and other
charges.


JoeB said on 04/05/08 @ 04:14 PM:
And a further update.

Some good news about the usage screen from technical support:

"As it was explained to me it pulls that data dynamically. For example this morning when I checked my account it was 19.9 Gbytes. this afternoon when I checked my account it was 20 Gbytes. Showing the usage on my account had increased as the day progressed."

This will be a whole lot more helpful for looking at usage.

Spence S said on 04/07/08 @ 01:43 AM:
hmm.... for a while now BBB has been on thin ice with me for a multitude of reasons. This is just one more BS tactic to screw us out of our money for mediocre service at best. I have live here for over 30 years and i have watched as BBB would repeatedly drag it's feet to give consumers what they want and then only at a premium price but when it comes to charging more and more and more and more and more they are right there to take your money... perhaps that is just how they do things over there... redneck biz... I can see it know BBB execs scratching their heads as their customer base migrate to alternatives to their overpriced under featured services... DishNetwork and DSL looking better and better by the minute... Better rates more channels and no crappy COCA ads (some of the most aesthetically challenged ads in our little market)... I know that when i transition over they will loose about $3000 a year from the 3 accounts that i currently have with them now (2 biz 1 res) whatever....

John Farwell said on 04/07/08 @ 06:34 AM:
Spence,

Having worked at BendBroadband for close to 10 years, I can only comment on this portion of the last 30 years. Like any company, BendBroadband is run by humans, and as such is not perfect. However, being straight here, I believe your post is a mischaracterization of the company's values and operating principals. BendBroadband was the first to launch high speed service in Oregon and we have not increased our prices once in over 10 years. The new pricing plan preserves that same base price while doubling speeds. The plan has just been announced and we are closely monitoring customer feedback to see if any tweaks are needed. We care about and closely watch all customer input. With respect to the video service, it is true that the analog line up lagged other companies 70 channel basic cable. This was done both to keep cost down and, more importantly to preserve bandwidth for advanced services. This has paid off now in our ability to launch HD channels, positioning us as one of the top 2-3 cable companies in the US with over 50 HD channels. In fact our HD product compares extremely well with satellite and we are one of the few in the country to keep up on this important service. Of course D and DTV have some creative claims - with both saying they have the most HD channels (someone isn't telling the truth) and with counting of E and W coast feeds, PPV HD, regiona sports, etc to pump up the figures. I With our digital product we now offer pretty much everything our friends in the sky offer (a couple of exceptions on the sports programming with DTV's exclusive NFL ST and the cable industries refusal to cow to the NFL channel's demand to be carried on "basic"). With respect to pricing, I personally completed a recent analysis comparing satellite to BendBroadband using regular prices, and including all costs. Guess what - our prices were the same or lower when you factor in 3 TV's per HH. Got to do apples to apples and not their "get them in the door special prices". Our price increases in recent years have been very small - basically just passing on programming cost increases. Thanks again for your feedback.

Regards
John Farwell

JoeB said on 04/07/08 @ 07:18 AM:
An ongoing update to this saga:

Apparently the technical staff at Bendbroadband were given incorrect information by whoever designed and implemented the usage webpage. I did about 800mb of traffic in a short period yesterday. The info given by the technical staff about dynamically updating usage is incorrect. This usage was not reflected until the next day.

With the higher speeds being handed out and inadequate tools to monitor usage, Bendbroadband is setting us up for some big surprises if you don't use a personal usage monitor on your own PC.

I am VERY disappointed in both the bad information passed out by the technical staff and the very poor tool provided to monitor usage.

Frank said on 04/07/08 @ 12:15 PM:
Joe,

I have forwarded your concerns on the Online Usage Summary to the web development team. We appreciate your input!

For note, IPDR data aggregation transpires nightly for the past day.

Take care,

Frank

Mark Turner said on 04/07/08 @ 05:29 PM:
I made my mind up today. I will be moving away from BBB as my ISP. I don't see how the heavy users are causing increased costs for BBB to cover, especially if the majority (98%) of their customers are relatively light users.

Plus.. how many of you actually get the speeds advertised? I know that I don't and a lot of my associates don't, it usually 50% - 70% of the down speed advertised.

The equation is simple, if they are having trouble covering their costs (which they are not) they should just bump the price up a little, not completely change the billing methods and cause a lot of users to have to worry about "overage" charges. We have to worry about that enough from our cell companies. Like I said before... they are trying nickel and dime their customers.

This disappoints me as I have been a pretty big BBB fan. But I guess if comcast can get away with it, they assume they can too.

Its been a good run BBB, but expect a call from me in a few days to cancel my internet service.

Frank said on 04/08/08 @ 08:57 AM:
Howdy Mark,

5% of residential customers are consuming 50% of the resources with .5% consuming 18% of the resources. This drives capital investment with in the entire ecosystem from the last mile through our multiple Tier 1 connections.
The tiers were constrcuted to protect the customer experinece of the majority and to create fairness ... we do not think it is fair to raise prices for the majority of our customers to subsidize the consumption practices of a small minority.

98% of our customers fit within the defined tiers with a majority of the super users on the bubble out of 50GB close to 50GB.

We desire to maintain the same price since the product was introduced in 1997. I wish I could say the same for the gas for my car!

These tiers are not 'light users' ... the 50GB tier accomlishes covering the consumption of up to the top 2% of residential usage (review our FAQs).

Take care,

Frank


Robin Welsh said on 04/08/08 @ 09:17 AM:
I'm a hardcore gamer. I've got every system, I play online for at least a few hours a week.

Last week, I talked with Kelly, the director of customer service at BBB. When I mentioned that when I download a FREE game demo from Xbox Live, Playstation Network or any random site like gamershell.com, demos range from 600MB to 1.5GB.

She was genuinely surprised that these demos were so large. When she tried to counter with the fact that speeds were increasing, I told her that gamers typically don't care about download speeds. We care about latency first and foremost, and we can get good latency almost anywhere as long as it's not satellite.

Clearly BendBroadband is nowhere near being in touch with their consumers. Sad, because I'm sure several of their own employees in the NOC could probably set the execs straight.

I've cancelled my cable TV and I'll be cancelling my internet once I've found the best solution.

There's competition for broadband in Central Oregon, BendBroadband. You're just too cocky to realize it.

JoeB said on 04/08/08 @ 10:54 AM:
I agree with Robin Welsh. Since Frank is making the "last mile" case now rather than talking about backbone costs, perhaps BBB should be looking at some additional billing options to relax the demand on the last mile. I would gladly settle for HALF the speed and double the cap or QUARTER the speed and no cap. The last time I had a speed increase from 2mbs to 4mbs I noticed no difference outside of an increase in the billing cost. I made an irreversable mistake since the Internet Lite option disappeared. I expect to see absolutely no difference with an 8mbs speed except that now I can't leave my PC on overnight for fear of excessive use.

I would expect NONE of the 91% of the users who fall into the "don't use it much" catagory care about twice the speed and will notice no difference in service. The last mile issue relates to maximum overall peak bandwidth usage at any particular moment, not how much a particular person uses in a month. 50Gig at 1mbs does not have the same impact as 50Gig at 12mbs. Considering BBB is now offering the full boat HD digital cable with on demand movies and full analog channels while doubling speed caps, the last mile argument doesn't hold water. Analog goes away 6 months AFTER the speed increases releasing even more capacity for digital use.

Finally, sorry, Frank, you HAVE raised rates: $33.95 Internet Lite is no longer available as a floor.


JoeJibber said on 04/08/08 @ 04:41 PM:
I'm not offering much new here, more or less just noting my distaste for Bend Broadband.

Being a small business owner that "lives" and works online, this was a huge kick in the nards. I was a BBB customer for over 6 years, and once I got the letter in the email I canceled all my services.

Furthermore, all clients that I interact with... all friends who might be considering Internet options will be warned of this ridiculous pricing scheme.

One could only wish that there was some fair competition in this space in Central Oregon (outside of DSL and wireless options) that might keep business decisions like this in check.

As for the fanboys defending their corporation... have another cup of koolaid kids!

UndeadBeav said on 04/08/08 @ 05:08 PM:
I agree with JoeB on settling for less speed if it meant more cap. Also, if BBB is going to start metering usage like a cell phone company, why not differentiate between peak & off-peak usage (nights, weekends, etc.)?

Essentially, what BBB is trying to do here with caps is try to keep "hogs" from tying up the bandwidth 24/7. What's the harm in telling them "You can use all you want but only from 11PM - 4AM." or something like that? So what if we cut into somebody's porn time?

The one problem I could see here would be legitimate after-hours data jobs for businesses, but BBB's justification has focused almost entirely on combating residential bandwidth abuse.

Any thoughts?

Sam Handelman said on 04/08/08 @ 07:34 PM:
An Open Letter to Bend Broadband

I am disappointed with the new Bend Broadband billing method that penalizes customers for their Internet use. One reason I moved to Bend was because they had high speed Internet service. I use the high speed Internet to its fullest. I download media content through my wireless TIVO interface for viewing on my TV, I stream Internet music through our stereo, and I use Skype to web cam my friends and family. Isn't this exactly the type of usage that Bend Broadband fostered with their TV and print ads?

According to you, most Bend Broadband customers (91%) use less than the 10GB per month. However isn't the trend towards greater usage? Aren't the people that are simply surfing the web and reading their emails likely to start using newer media services? I believe that while I might be "pioneering" uses for the Internet, I am not that far ahead of the majority of customers. Isn't this a step back in technology? Will customers be discouraged from trying new non-Bend Broadband services for fear that they will overuse their service?

Now that you are moving to digital TV, why shouldn't I be concerned that you will put bandwidth constraints on TV viewing? In the future, will I need to pay more for watching TV more than the average?

Is bandwidth a problem for Bend Broadband? If so, now that you are throttling usage of your top 9% customers, why haven't you reduced the price for service to the remaining 91%?

Is this new pricing scheme just a method to raise rates? Is it a method to control media to homes, so that your Pay for View service is the only viable method to get digital media? It appears that you are one of the few ISPs in the nation to cap Internet usage.

I understand if you need to control the top 1% of customers that you say use 33% of your bandwidth. But instead this appears to put the kibosh on all proponents of broadband and the next generation of users. Please review your new pricing scheme and let us enjoy the excitement of the Internet without concern that our $47 a month fee is not enough!

Sam Handelman
Technology Aficionado


Roger S said on 04/08/08 @ 09:08 PM:
I am currently on the lower tier using 30GB/mo according to BBB. Personally I could live with less bandwith without caps as I am in no real hurry and could wait it I need a larger file. What this capacity limitation scheme sounds like to me as is a technique to reduce competition from the movie download and rental business which is growing rapidly and I am sure it is impacting BBB movie on demand business now and even more in the future. Wondering if their are any legal arguments since BBB basically has a monopoly in this market.

Frank said on 04/08/08 @ 11:12 PM:
Folks,

To summarize ... when explosive consumption growth of a small minority (2%) drives the costs of investment of the product ecosystem ... what should be done?

- Subsidize the usage of 2% with 98%
- Apply value to the 2% to help keep pricing of the 98% the same.

We feel that application of tiers brings fairness to the residential product. We appreciate the input above and are reviewing product options for the residential 'superuser' that does not reside in the 98% majority in the current tiers that keeps with our statement to promote fairness.

Other answers below:

- Why not reduce the price for the majority. To reduce the price would require raising the price for overage for the upper 2% beyond the current tiered model. I do not think that the palatability for this would fly based on the discussions above.
- Digital TV Tiered?. Digital TV is a digital broadcast that utilizes a separate suite of spectrum from the DOCSIS product and is not tiered.

All great points! We will be back with more information in a bit.

Frank

Mark Turner said on 04/08/08 @ 11:43 PM:
Frank,

BBB's site claims that 91% of their customers use less than 10GB of bandwidth. BBB then claims that 98% of users are using less than 50GB.

So based on my simple math there is a 7% user base that should fit in the non bronze tiers and a 2% user base that will exceed their allotted bandwidth for sure. This seems like a lot of work over 9% of the user base that is just using the services that they pay for.

What I think is going on is that BBB wanted to increase speeds to stay competitive, but had to find a way to convince Amy that the increased speeds can extract higher profits... and I am sure that the conversation turned toward tiered service fairly quickly as they will always get the baseline price of service but now there is the potential to extract additional income from 100% of the user base... but more than that there is a 2% user base that will automatically see a potentially large increase in their bill. Bad for the customer... good for BBB.

If anything the higher speeds will just make it that much easier to see a "return" on the "investment" they made in increasing speeds. I fully agree with Robin Welsh, BBB is not in touch with their customers at all.

I also wonder how far back they looked at consumption rates? Was it only 3 months? 6? 12?

Oh well, its not my problem anymore. Another ISP is scheduled to come to my house in the next week and hook me up. BBB has already lost Instanet customers from this and I am sure that I'm not the last.

-Mark Turner

Frank said on 04/09/08 @ 12:11 AM:
Howdy Mark,

The intent is not to generate additional margin but to ensure that we can continue to provide a product that protects the experience (price and performance) of the majority of users.
Over time we will demonstrate this by raising the tiers as residential consumption habits change.

The open question left is that we are reviewing product options for the residential 'superuser' that does not reside in the 98% majority in the current tiers that keeps with our statement to promote fairness.

On the other questions:

- We have reviewed over a half year of consumtion data and trending.
- We felt that we wanted to provide the most value possible to the customer with inclusion of higher speeds and a fully featured portal experience.

Frank

Sam Handelman said on 04/09/08 @ 07:30 AM:
Frank, I appreciate your willingness to represent BBB on a site that is less than happy with BBB's latest pricing scheme.

You state, "when explosive consumption growth of a small minority (2%) drives the costs of investment of the product ecosystem ... what should be done?"

However what about the remaining 7% of your customers that are looking at a $100 to $200 annual increase in rates? If BBB has a cost issue with the top 2% (and BBB has never defined why or how this top 2% IS is a cost driver) why is BBB extracting additional money from their leading 7% users?

Sam

Frank said on 04/09/08 @ 07:54 AM:
Sam,

Good morning!

I think your statement in itself describes the answer. Picture three different performance characteristics in the consumption curve:

- 91% follow a linear fit
- 7% above the 91% have consumption usage that is a factor of up to 10 times above the majority residential 91%
- 2% above the 98% follow polynomial fit for growth over time.

Based upon this, it is reasonable to charge the 7% a value that presents value as their use is historically subsidized by the 91% majority.

The big challenge is the top 2% above 50GB. We appreciate the input above and are reviewing product options for the residential 'superuser' that does not reside in the 98% majority in the current tiers that keeps with our statement to promote fairness.

Frank


JoeB said on 04/09/08 @ 08:00 AM:
I'll be really interested to see what the response is to the large byte user billing issue. It appears BBB did not consider that many big eaters don't care when or how fast they eat, only how much food they get. I wonder who they talked to see who would USE an even faster speed on such an infrequent basis as to be able to stay under the low caps.

As to the comment "Over time we will demonstrate this by raising the tiers as residential consumption habits change." Will that be before or after lots of people raise the roof over a several hundered dollar internet bill and then drop your service?

Frank said on 04/09/08 @ 09:14 AM:
Howdy Joe,

As to the comment "Over time we will demonstrate this by raising the tiers as residential consumption habits change." Will that be before or after lots of people raise the roof over a several hundered dollar internet bill and then drop your service?

The change would be when the percentage customer mix in the tiers move. For example, if approximately 90% no longer fit in the bronze tier and 8% no longer fit in silver and gold we'd adjust.

Frank

Sam Handelman said on 04/09/08 @ 09:28 AM:
Frank, I sense a inconsistency in your logic. You state that, "The change [in tier pricing] would be when the percentage customer mix in the tiers move. For example, if approximately 90% no longer fit in the bronze tier and 8% no longer fit in silver and gold we'd adjust. "

Let's follow that concept. Assume I am a "normal" user. I start downloading movies from the Internet using Amazon.com or Netflix.com. I reach my 10gb limit in the third week of the month. Now what happens? Do I get an email from BBB telling me I have exceeded my limit, and I no longer have Internet access for the remainder of the month? Do I get a $9 or $18 surcharge at the end of the month? If yes to either of these. I will learn not to exceed my monthly limit.

Thus I suggest your new rate structure will ensure that the tiers will not change!

Josh Sullivan said on 04/09/08 @ 09:35 AM:
hey everyone,

i just received a response from BBB in regards to the complaint letter i wrote. thought i'd post it here for everyone to see. not good news, for sure. looks like i'm switching services.

=-=-=-=

Dear Joshua Sullivan,

Thank you for taking the time to write us with your feedback. We understand your concern and frustration, but we will not be changing this policy. We were aware that when we made this change there would be a small amount of customers that would be faced with the choice to either pay for the additional bandwidth, or switch to another provider. We do hope that you will reconsider your decision to switch to another provider.
Our goal is to continue to monitor and assess our Internet speeds, usage tiers and pricing policy, and should the majority of customers behavior change we will consider adjusting the caps. As stated in the customer letter, our goal is to balance the needs of all customers Vs the cost of bandwidth, network infrastructure, staffing and other business expenses. The proposed new service model is designed to maintain cur rent pricing for the typical user while those that have a need for higher data usage pay an added charge for that service.
The letter does stated that the remaining 2% of our customers consume 33% of the overall bandwidth and on the average consume over 50GB per month. We have Idetified that 98% of our customers use less than 50GB per month, meaning they will be able to either stay where they are at, or upgrade to the Gold tier, and not have to pay for any additional bandwidth.
We will be offering special promotions to new and existing subs on July 1st on the new products, so if you feel you need a higher tier stay tuned for those promotional rates. Also, our top two tiers will come with a virus package provided by F-secure free of charge for 3-PCs in your home.

I do want to also not that the pricing struction for our business product is different than residential, so I would recommend contacting our business department regarding any questions you might hav e on their service.

Thank you again for taking the time to write us with your feedback.


If you have additional questions or concerns, simply follow the link below:

I have more questions!

Or feel free to call us at 541.382.5551 durring the hours of M-W&F 8a-9p,Th 9:00a-9p,Sa 9-6

To help us to better answer any of your additional questions, please include the original ticket number (listed below) in the description field of your new request.

Thanks,
BendBroadband Support Team

Frank said on 04/09/08 @ 01:06 PM:
Sam,

You will service will not be effected, but you will pay an addition $1.50/GB for overage with the tier. A customer must choose a plan that meets the majority of their consumption needs.

I must admit my logic is not the best at the wee hours of the morning.

Take care,

Frank

Sam Handelman said on 04/09/08 @ 03:35 PM:
Hey Disgruntled BBB customers,

I just spoke (actually texted) the Qwest rep. Since They are offering a DSL package that includes a free modem, 7M d/l and 900k upload for $39.99 per month FOR LIFE. The only caveat is that I sign-up for a 2 year stint (refundable if I move to a non-serviced area). They are also offering the services of TrueSwitch.com for assisting in the email forwarding when I change addresses.

Am I missing something?? This seems like a better response to BBB than complaining on a blog site!

fooinbend said on 04/09/08 @ 03:52 PM:
i dunno on that ... was reviewing the contract for qwest residential dsl ... it states an allowance but i cannot find what the tiers are :{

Traffic Allowance. Traffic limits are located at http://sitecontrol.qwestoffice.net. If you exceed your traffic allowance, you will be charged a traffic overage charge depending on the resources utilized, and you may be given the option to either (a) reduce the resources used to an acceptable level, or (b) upgrade you Service to a higher priced plan.

Jake said on 04/09/08 @ 03:55 PM:
Agree with fooinbend: Qwest would be one of the last companies I deal with (having had many issues with them in the past). Even so, the best DSL I can get where I live is 3 mbps.

fooinbend said on 04/09/08 @ 04:00 PM:
i had to give up ... i could only get the 1m service ... and it ran at best 700K ...
i think i qualify for the 7m service now ... but i have doubts on speed ...

water was unmetered when i first came to bend too ... but now there are more folks consuming the same deschutes ...

my usage seems to ride up and down of the 10 gig range with appletv ... i'll just keep an eye on my usage

i think it is the way of the rest of the world and is finally coming here

no more free lunch

UndeadBeav said on 04/09/08 @ 04:07 PM:
Sam,

Where did you see that deal? I looked at Qwest's web site and saw that 7Mbps cost $41.99 and that it only lasts for 12 months ($54.99 thereafter). I think that the "Price for Life" feature only counts for bundled services.

Another problem for me is that I use Packet8 (VoIP) for my land-line phone. In fact, I just paid for an annual subscription that started around the same time I received notice from BBB of their intentions. Nice. Anyway, I don't have Qwest phone service so I would have to pay extra. From what I can tell from their web site it would only be an extra $5 per month, so maybe that's still an option.

Is the deal you mentioned maybe only available if you call direct? If I could get even 1.5Mbps for $35 per month I would do it.

Sam Handelman said on 04/09/08 @ 05:24 PM:
The $40 per month forever deal from Qwest was available at https://myaccount.qwest.com/MasterWebPortal/residential/internet/fastest after typing in 97701 as the zip. I do get a whopping $2 a month savings for having a Qwest land line, otherwise it is $42. It appears you don't need a land line to get the deal for life. But you do need to be so many miles from the CO, etc.

Look I am not saying Qwest is the best, or DSL is the best, or anything else like that. I liked BBB and if I'd keep it if I could. But even if I pay BBB $45 or $55 a month and kept using BBB for my TV, I still might end up paying some very hefty premium at the end of the month for my bandwidth overrun. I just don't want to have to worry about an uncontrolled expense. The Internet is important to me - I don't want to change the way I live to satisfy some wonk at BBB corporate.

FooinBend, I am checking the contract verbiage about Traffic Allowance in Qwest's contract. A Qwest rep is researching it. In talking to them, this is a corporate clause. In fact a residential user cannot get into the site that they mention in the contract. As the rep said, if you have a price for life, that is it.

As far as Qwest themselves, I have had their phone service for 8 years without a hitch. No utility has great customer service. I'd rather stay local but again my choices are limited.

Mark Turner said on 04/09/08 @ 10:20 PM:
Well... It looks like this problem hit Gizmodo...

http://gizmodo.com/377955/the-future-of-broadband-were-totally-screwed

BBBLame said on 04/10/08 @ 07:44 AM:
Time to get organized on this one folks!

boycottbendbroadband.com

Old Porsche Racer said on 04/10/08 @ 07:48 AM:
I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere here. We use DirecTV for our TV access, so the only account we have with BBB is for cable internet. We will be charged an additional $10 per month because we have no other services through BBB. To me, it's just another way to put the screws to loyal customers.

I'm retired, but do use the internet for a side business selling on eBay. Additional usage charges will severely cut into (if not eliminate) any profits I will see from eBay sales.

Something else I find very puzzling... My usage for the previous 2 months show usage of 3.8 and 3.9. I haven't changed my bandwidth usage habits at all this month, and I'm already up to 3.9; and it's only April 10th. If I'm not downloading/uploading significantly more than in the previous 2 months...why is my bandwidth usage so much more thus far this month?

In plain and simply language: THIS SUCKS!!!!!

Robin Welsh said on 04/10/08 @ 11:05 AM:
Hey, just thought I'd point out that the Gizmodo article is on the front page of Digg.

Enjoy, BendBroadband.

Robin Welsh said on 04/10/08 @ 11:18 AM:
Here's a direct link to the Digg article:

http://digg.com/tech_news/The_Future_of_Broadband_We_re_Totally_Screwed

and the front page:

http://digg.com/

Frank said on 04/10/08 @ 12:20 PM:
Folks,

We appreciate the input above and have reviewed product options for the residential 'superuser' that does not reside in the 98% majority in the current tiers that keeps with our statement to promote fairness.

We have introuduced a Platinum package that provides a tier to support up to 99.5% of our residential customers. The plan is as follows:

- 100 GB/mo
- 8Mbs/1Mbs
- Free Virus Protection
- $64.95/mo if bunded or $74.95/mo if standalone.

Based upon this:

- 91% follow a linear fit
- 7% above the 91% have consumption usage that is a factor of up to 10 times above the majority residential 91%
- 1.5% are residential 'superusers' with an average consumption that is 25 times higher than the majority 91%.

Again, thanks for the constructive input!

The bottom line is that this provides options that meets the usage of 99.5% of our customers while providing fairness to the majority of 91%

Take care,

Frank




Justin said on 04/10/08 @ 01:06 PM:
Yo, this is Justin who contacted Gizmodo. You can find my original post in craigslist as well. In any case, I'm trying to organize a movement to fix this issue. You can find the details at http://fixbbb.com - I also would like to thank Jake for this fantastic article. I have added his site and info to my page as well.

Justin said on 04/10/08 @ 01:19 PM:
Wouldn't it be cheaper to get DSL 7mbit service with no cap than to pay 64.95/74.95 for 8mbit service? I would only get platinum if it was 16mbit, static IP, and 100gb. Even then, some of us rely on having no cap from time to time for legit reasons.


Mark Turner said on 04/10/08 @ 02:06 PM:
$64.95 for 8Mbs/1Mbs and 100GB/mo wow...

No thanks, I will just pay my new DSL isp the same and have no cap and a static ip.

-Mark

IHateToBurstYourBubble said on 04/10/08 @ 03:23 PM:
This reminds me of when Microsoft started charging $275 for their O/S, with no new compelling features. Just a straight up money grab. They did it cuz they could.

But BBB is NO monopoly, and there are PLENTY of competitors that will easily beat BBB's price/value proposition, despite it being a pain in the ass to switch.

Note that local BendTel hopped all over this, got a piece in the paper, and will probably take BBB out back for a spanking.

This is a strange strategy for BBB: AOL was small potatoes, till they went unlimited usage at a flat rate. BBB is going backwards, and will feel the backlash on this. You think this will alienate a "small" number of customers? Check how long this thread is...

Robin W said on 04/10/08 @ 03:49 PM:
Frank,

Stop pretending you know what we want. The principle is this: with a usage cap, there is always the potential to have a nasty bill. We don't want that potential. And we've said it before, 98% of your users don't take advantage of the bandwidth nor do they care about the rest of us.

Myself, I'm between 6-20GB monthly depending on what game releases/demos/new content come out. Last month it was 5.5GB. But this month I've downloaded the Army of Two demo (1.4GB), and I started working from home (you figure out the usage from streaming radio 4-6hrs/day, uploading PSD files, graphics, etc while constantly refreshing pages).

We're going to cancel if you don't present an option without a cap. Please. Your service has been fairly reliable (except for today, and you know what I'm talking about).

Let us keep the existing standard Instanet service 4MB down, 1MB up, uncapped for 45/mo (1 service) and let your customers decide. If speeds are that important to them over latency and quota, then they'll still pay your ridiculous prices instead of switching to BendTel or Qwest like the rest of us will do if you continue down this ludicrously self-destructive path.

Sam Handelman said on 04/10/08 @ 04:50 PM:
FooinBend,

I spoke to the supervisor at Qwest, the "Traffic Allowances" in their High Speed Internet Service Agreement is for Businesses. Her statement was that there are no bandwidth limitations to the Qwest DSL service for residential users.

At least for me this means there is a real alternative to BBB. For $40 a month and some initial change-over hassles, I get a modem, 8M d/l, .9M u/l and a guarantee of no rate increases.

I do believe that this new BBB rate structure will negatively impact the business environment for new technology entrepreneurs considering moving to Bend. It was a condition for my move here in 2000 to have affordable high speed Broadband. Thankfully for some we still have this resource, it's just not BBB.

JoeB said on 04/10/08 @ 06:13 PM:
I am thrilled to see BBB is moving. At least the are listening and taking some positive steps addressing high end users.

I would now like them to tackle a second issue that has been questioned by a number of folks, including myself. That is "straddle" users who don't consistently fall into any one particular tier. It is not in my nature to pay for something I don't use regularly except for insurance because the consequences are to great for self insuring. What BBB is currently selling is "insurance" against the $1.50 per gig overage charge based upon a guess as to what I might use. If they would roll the "Platinum" tier into the "Bronze" tier to create a "Plastic" tier at $26.95 (their current teaser rate for a year) that has a 4mbs data speed with the first 5gig free, then next 100gig @ 25 cents each, the next 100gig@ 50 cents each and any further at the dreaded $1.50 a gig, that might make sense.

If BBB is telling us they really want "fairness", how about ACTUAL usage billing that has AUTOMATIC tier adjustment on the fly, leaving line speed the same, as tier usage is exceeded during the month that AUTOMATICALLY drops to the lowest tier at the beginning of the next month? That way everyone starts at the "fair" rate and only those who use larger amounts are charged for them, BUT ONLY WHEN THEY ACTUALLY USE IT. You could leave the higher cost tiers as a starting basis for users who think they would actually want the faster line speed.

Nameless One said on 04/10/08 @ 06:22 PM:
For the low low price of $74.95 you now have a 100gb cap... You only get the 8mbps service, not the 16mbps. However, if you want to pay for business service which is $149.95 for 8mbps you can have uncapped downloads and uploads. Keep in mind, this isn't just downloads. It's uploads to. TOTAL BANDWIDTH. Send 5gb and receive 5gb you are at your 10gb limit on the basic plan. I've been a long time user of this service...

Aaron F said on 04/10/08 @ 06:32 PM:
I agree with Robin W's last post.

I live in a house with 3 roommates. We all have our own computers and we all do various things on the net, including gaming, downloading demos, watching videos on YouTube. 4 PCs add up quick. So we may be in that "1% top tier" of users only because we have 4 people sharing a single connection. Maybe that makes us the bad ones. All four of us game online which would chew through the Platinum plan in notime.

If BBB were wanting to create a structure for the TRUE "power users" they need a cap-less service plan. Even a low-to-midrange 8-10Mb downpipe with no cap for $99/mo or something in that range would be something I would consider paying for because I LIKE BBB as a service.

Even having a 100Gb caplimit with these increased speeds is ridiculous. A couple days of watching YouTube videos combined with active chat and forum posting would even eat through that in very little time.

"You are so much faster but you cant use it very much" seems to be the overall feel I get from it.
As it stands, they will be losing us as customers come July, and I've spoken with many others who are just as upset about it. As previously mentioned, parents with kids who game, chat, watch internet TV, etc. Digital media is becoming more prominent, not less. HD broadcasts over the web are pushing into the mainstream. Streaming radio is popular. MySpace even, with all the pictures and videos people like to share. These are being used MORE and MORE as people become more web-savy. BBB seems to have blinders on and thinks that these things are not popular. The data these things consume add up fast and the only thing I can keep coming up with is that BBB is ignoring the fact that these trends will continue and will start to cause more customers headache as time goes on.

This will simply not work. Obviously BBB is sticking to their belief that this will only affect "2%" of their customers. I think they will find out the hard way in the long run when people start abandoning ship for other options that will not break their bank. Half the time, people dont even know what a Gigabyte is and wont know when they go over. There are going to be a lot of really irate people calling come July.

Robin W said on 04/10/08 @ 06:44 PM:
Aaron, I think if they wanted to offer uncapped service they should start it at $40/mo. for 4mb down, 1mb up. That's comparable to what I can get from Qwest if I call them up right now. Then they could add capped speeds starting at $25/mo. for the Bronze tier. Something like this:

Bronze Uncapped: $40/mo 4MB d, 1MB u
Silver Uncapped: $55/mo 8MB d, 2MB u
Gold Uncapped: $70/mo 12MB d, 3MB u

Bronze Capped: $25/mo 8MB d, 2MB u, 10GB cap
Silver Capped: $40/mo 12MB d, 3MB u, 20GB cap
Gold Capped: $65/mo 16MB d, 3MB u, 40GB cap

or WHATEVER as long as a reasonably priced uncapped option is available. We're talking $40 or less because I can get nearly the same service I have right now for that price.

I'll say it again. BendBroadband, YOU HAVE COMPETITION and you are LOSING.

Aaron F said on 04/10/08 @ 07:31 PM:
Robin, as nice as that is, the reality is that you may pay for those speeds from Qwest, but unless you live very near the C.O. you wont get them (see the article in the Bulletin re: BendTel).

My whole point is that cable gives you near-guaranteed speeds whereever you are located. My personal reasoning is that I would be willing to pay for that convenience at a power user level with NO CAP. If they gave me 10Mb d, 2MB u for $99/mo with the stable and consistant speeds (that I pay to receive) I would *consider* it opposed to other service options.

I just cant fathom paying their insane overage costs when I am not "alone" in causing them in this particular household.

When you consider cell-phones, I can get a "total unlimited" service from Sprint for $99/mo.
- Even cell minutes have overage costs under normal plans, but it's easier to control how much you talk.
- Broadband intensive services are all over the web and require more than what BBB is trying to claim as "normal use"
- BBB keeps pointing to the "top 2%" as being the whole problem but I have a hard time beleiving an "average" family with 2 teenagers being within any tier plan other than *possibly* Gold while "only" considering the following:
- MySpace
- YouTube
- iTunes
- XBox Live/PSN/Wii
- Shoutcast/Internet Radio
- World of Warcraft/CounterStrike/MMOs/Games in general

Can we say goodbye 50Gb in a month?

BBB either doesnt have a clue, or they dont care. I'm opting for the latter after the letter posted from the BBB Support with the "We know and we arent changing" mentality.


Justin Moravetz said on 04/10/08 @ 07:59 PM:
So, I'm going to hold a public protest on Saturday, May 31st. You can find the details on my website at http://fixbbb.com - I wanted to have enough time to rally up as much support as possible. This should be great.

Frank said on 04/10/08 @ 08:10 PM:
Aaron,

We do care ... we live here too (and are following blogs) and responding when needed.

My advice is to verify your consumption over the next few months ... I have most of the above, multiple teenagers, network intensive consoles, gamers plus AppleTV. I'm also have a few Linux, Windows and Solaris systems. I usually stream music at night, load game samples and trailers for the PS3 when available and watch 4-8 IP purchased moves, 2 seasons worth of CSI and YouTube with the fam about an hour/night a few nights a week.

I run between 10 and 20GB/mo so would most likely get a Silver package. No opinons ... I have consumption data to demonstrate my family usage.

We will adjust tiers to match majority residential behavior over time. The current metrics and aggregate trending are based on nearly a billion data points over the customer base.

We did expect disagreement from the small percentage of users who had to change plans to match their consumption habits ... but feel that we are protecting the experience of the majority of customers. That stated, a simple understanding of historical consumption over time will allow selection of the correct tier.

When a small minority drives the bandwidth growth who should pick up the check? I'd like a bottomless tank of gas for my car too with a once a month fill :}.

Take care,

Frank




Aaron F said on 04/10/08 @ 08:41 PM:
Frank, it's great that BBB is keeping tabs on this, but it just seems to me that the backlash is a lot more than "a small percentage". Everyone in my large circle of friends who are on BBB are unhappy with the new system. Most of them dont even come close to my level of use.

Since you are already playing devil's advocate for the new system, would you share your consumption data for your family's use?

I'm curious to see the hard facts from BBB employees.

Myself: After a power outage yesterday, I am showing 1d7h uptime on my PC and I have 260Mb downloaded and 50Mb uploaded (rounded off for easy use) on THIS PC ALONE.

This has been virtually nothing but a few program downloads for my new pocket PC, some emails with attachments, a few software trial downloads for friends and a lot of forum browsing and posting, along with some light video viewing on YouTube and such. Almost NOTHING by many people's standards

In less than a day and a half I have amassed 310Mb combined data.

If I keep the math at a stupid level, I'm at an average of 10Mb/hr x 720 hrs in a month = 7.2Gb
That's doing virtually nothing on a single PC.

I am curious to see your usage with 4-8 IP movies + everything else you and your family do (including the upload data for the gaming you say happens) that keeps you and your entire family within 10-20Gb.

When a game demo download can run 500Mb - 1.5Gb and a streaming full movie can (according to iTunes/MovieLink/Amazon UnBox/Etc data I just pulled up) be 1.7Gb depending on quality, how does your claim work?

4 movies potentially puts you at nearly 8Gb alone. If you say that it isnt that much because you get a lower resolution video, then why the heck would we pay for the faster service only to be "forced" to stick to lower quality in order to protect our wallets? If I pay for highspeed data, I want to get what I pay for and get a high quality movie

Your claim simply doesnt seem to add up, but I'm certainly willing to listen to you and other BBB employees *prove* otherwise. It's easy to say "we have data" without showing proof.

Frank said on 04/10/08 @ 08:56 PM:
Sure! I we were out of town for 2 weeks in the Feb cycle. Looks like we are on track to hit above 10GB again:

Current Billing Cycle

Billing Cycle: Sunday, March 30, 2008 - Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Current Cycle Usage: 2.3 GB

Previous Billing Cycle
Billing Cycle: Friday, February 29, 2008 - Saturday, March 29, 2008
Cycle Usage: 2 GB

Previous Billing Cycle
Billing Cycle: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 - Friday, February 29, 2008
Cycle Usage: 11.8 GB


Frank said on 04/10/08 @ 08:57 PM:
Err .. out two weeks in the last cycle for Spring Break and other travel in March.

Frank said on 04/10/08 @ 09:04 PM:
Aaron, I'll be back with iTunes 'HD' movie data. I did not reverse engineer the MPEG-4 stream to look at the streaming rate and actual encoding but was suprized at the quality of the mix to size ... I think size of a move came out to 1.5 GB.

Definitely was not the size of a 1080p feature with Blu-Ray streaming rates.
Good 'double pass' transcoding from Apple.

Bottom line is that even 'Bronze' would support an HD rental a weekend plus some serious YouTube watching and leaving enough bandwidth for 2,000 youtube clips.

JoeB said on 04/10/08 @ 09:35 PM:
I've been researching Qwest. I just don't see it as a viable alternative in my case since I'm at the fringes of the Central Office (C.O. above) for Qwest where speeds drop off dramatically when you get a few miles away. I live in DRW (Deschutes River Woods) which Qwest only offers "up to" 1.5mbps. I may try it out for their 30 day trial if I can get the necessary used modem and filters on ebay. If I do, I'll post results from Speedcheck.net. I rather expect speeds will be less because of the old wiring and connection box in the house which is 30 years old.

Quest wants $31.99 per month, which would be fine if I ran the 27gig showed in March, but BBB would be OK at $36.95 for the extra speed if I run at the less than 10 gig in February and April.

I like having land line and internet on separate wires and am willing to pay extra for this. I am a bit leary of letting either Qwest or BBB have all of my communications filtered thru them since cell phones are in a dead spot where I live. If either gave me fiber to the house, I would have a different take on the matter.

As it stands, I'll probably just take the bottom tier and time any large downloads to straddle a billing period. As an alternative, I'll change to a higher tier for one month and switch back at the end of the month. Why they can't get a billing structure that does that automatically does this is a mystery to me. I wonder how BBB will react to bouncing back and forth between tiers: Platinum 1 month, Silver 1 month, Bronze 10 months? I guess it goes with their "simple" strategy: "simple" but expensive vs complex but "fair".

Too bad they don't recognize in their billing system that slower speed transfers don't impact their system as much as high speed transfers.

Let's look at the BOTTOM end of the transmission speeds, which don't impact overall network performance, yet meet the megauser issue:

1mps down, .5mps up = 486 Gig per month
2mps down, .5mps up = 810 Gig per month
2mps down, 1mps up = 972 Gig per month
4mps down, 1mps up = 1,620 gig per month

Let's make the assumption BBB needs $36.95 per month to meet their basic costs, regardless of transmission speed. (Too bad they don't let us know what the REAL issue is, PEAK or OVERALL, so we can assist in coming up with a workable billing structure)

If the issue is PEAK (as it seems to be with the new "Platinum" tier), why not offer a superuser speed of 2mbps down and .5mps with no cap at $36.95??? The impact on peak bandwidth would be minimal (1/8th of Gold and 1/4th of bronze and Platinum) and the available download/upload amount would probably meet the needs of the largest user (810 Gig/month).

If the issue is OVERALL use, I'd suggest that BBB look into buying some dedicated OS3 lines if the "middle mile" is the problem, though I can't imagine they aren't already leasing these. If the "last mile" is the problem, I'd suggest they got cheated on their infrastructure upgrades of the past few years and look into firing whoever authorized the inadequate upgrades. I can't imagine the management at BBB being caught by an OVERALL use issue. It just doesn't make sense, since the BBB people who have responded to this thread seem knowledgable.

I see the problem as offering base service at different speed levels, not one of offering premium tiers based on the assumption that everyone wants higher speeds, though that sounds better for marketing. I base this on believing BBB's real issue is PEAK usage not OVERALL usage, since data has no incremental cost on a leased line.

How about it BBB? Can we have some tiers that DOWN speed with no caps? I'm already willing, and do, pay your base fee of $36.95 for what has been very good service at 4mbs down/1mbs up, but I am willing to dink around to avoid additional costs for usage based service I won't use. 2mbs down with .5 mbs down uncapped would be fine with me at $36.95 (note this is $3.00 more than I paid a few years ago for the same service).

Frank said on 04/10/08 @ 09:37 PM:
Aaron ... one more thing and I'll get back to work and leave you at this blog alone.

The 'scaling' between bronze average usage, silver/gold and platnum is
- 10 times more with silver/gold than bronze
- 25 times more with platinum than bronze

With this scale I have doubts that you'd be in the top the top 1%.

Frank

Frank said on 04/10/08 @ 09:58 PM:
Joe ... okay ... I know I promised to leave ya'll alone but:

- I worked, as a representative of Central Oregon folks with COTEL, in helping bring Senate Bill 622 dollars ($120 million) to Central Oregon and other Oregon areas in Qwest territory to fund broadband
- The state helped fund your remote terminal in DRW and the DSL in Central Oregon in early 2000

BBB built the Cablemodem service the old fashion way with tens of millions in capital investment and will continue this investment.

You are right ... the speeds close to downtown are at the 'slowest' cable speed but as you head out they quickly taper.

The message here is that the residential economic model for the bandwidth in rural Oregon does not follow economies of scale found in urban areas ... we have to bring the pipes here over hundreds of miles of fiber. Qwest required millions in state funding to even pencil to enter the DSL market. Bandwidth and associated transport through the ecosystem is not free and is capital and operations intensive.

Frank

Aaron F said on 04/10/08 @ 09:59 PM:
I wish it were that simple Frank.

If I were alone, you're right, I would be. But as I mentioned before, I'm in a household with 3 roommates who are all "power users" sharing our one dedicated cable modem. We're on your deluxe plan currently and it suffices quite nicely in terms of none of us feeling "slow", but our overall use varies from just over 100Gb to 200Gb+ for all four people.

We have 4 desktops, 2 laptops, multiple consoles and schedules that all overlap at different times so useage is almost constant with gobs of "power" gaming and video/radio streaming. I still hold that BBB doesnt realize how common that is.

Your platinum service doesnt even come close to filling our needs. You have absolutely NO plan that we can realistically afford. We are left with no choice but to change services.It's a shame, as we've all seperately been with BBB constantly for at least 8 years, but we're essentially being forced out because unless we all stop doing anything "fun" on the web, we will exceed even the Platinum service every time according to our usage statistics. We're the evil 2% because of a crowded household.

I would, as others mentioned, be jsut as content with the "slow" 6mpbs service we have now with no cap or a "ultimate" plan for a premium price (100/mo?) on the top or near-top speed with no cap. There is no alternative for my friends or I.

JoeB said on 04/10/08 @ 10:08 PM:
Thanks Frank!

I would still be interested in a downspeed, higher cap tier. Rural is a bummer!...and I do appreciate the service BBB provides!

Joe

Frank said on 04/10/08 @ 10:09 PM:
Aaron,

That unfortunately puts your consumption up with the top .5% according to residential consumption records.

The unfortunate truth, as I wrote above, is that a 'high consumption' residential model in Central Oregon is a tight business model as we pay a premium price to bring the big stuff to Bend and then funded the last mile ourselves. Qwest required entry capital of millions in order to enter the market at all for residential high speed internet and had amortized their copper plant over decades.

We appreciate your comments and candor.

Frank

John Farwell said on 04/11/08 @ 06:39 AM:
I see that Old Porsche Racer made the comment noted below. I wanted to clarify that the higher rate for people who do not take another BBB service is not new - you are already paying this. You can either move your TV service or land line phone to BendBroadband and receive the $10 bundling discount on HSI service. Bundling discounts are a standard practice with all providers of multiple services.

"Old Porsche Racer said on 04/10/08 @ 07:48 AM: I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere here. We use DirecTV for our TV access, so the only account we have with BBB is for cable internet. We will be charged an additional $10 per month because we have no other services through BBB. To me, it's just another way to put the screws to loyal customers. "

Teresa said on 04/11/08 @ 09:10 AM:
Really the 'cost' issue goes both ways. Yes, you get a discount of $10 on the internet service but then you have to pay for $20 or $30 for phone or television services. So if you want the internet, just get the internet. It will be cheaper in the long run.

Robin W said on 04/11/08 @ 11:44 AM:
Teresa,

While there is a discount, DSL is cheaper and depending on where you live, a better deal than cable. For example I can get 3 meg down, 1 meg up service from Qwest for 41 a month. That's their single service price. If I had a phone line it'd probably be 31 a month. That's 5 dollars cheaper than BendBroadband for a comparable service.

To all those who are upset with BBB but don't live close enough to the Qwest office I'd suggest Yellowknife Wireless -- ykwc.com. They're jacked into BendTel's network. Spendy setup costs but reasonable monthly. Check it out!

Scott said on 04/11/08 @ 04:20 PM:
I live four miles from St Charles. No Bend Cable, No Quest, No BendTel .... Might as well be in Brothers.

We went with Yellowknife wireless and after a very spendy initial installation cost it is $50 a month. We have had great service for over a year and they don't seem to cap downloads. I have heard from others that they are starting to complain about usage to some customers though. Seems like these sevices could clean up with the mess that BBB has made. There are alternitaves to BBB. I was with BB for over 15 years and saw it decline from a great local company to what it is now. Don't be wishing one of the big boys would buy them out though. Could you imagine Comcast???

bill said on 04/11/08 @ 10:25 PM:
Scott,
Some people that live a few miles from BBB headquarters can not get service. To give people a idea of Bend Broadband's tactics, check out this:
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6493717.html


Mark Turner said on 04/11/08 @ 11:17 PM:
Thanks for that link bill... It's nice to know how BBB treats competition.

John Farwell said on 04/12/08 @ 08:37 AM:
Bill and Mark,

I wonder if you fully understand the rational behind Amy's stance on this issue? Should the government be subsidizing private enterprise in areas where there are several competitors, or dedicating taxpayer dollars to more rural areas were there is no competition? BendBroadband is not taxpayer subsidized. Amy's point is that the government program has gone awry and the funds are not being used as originally intended. If you dig into this further I think you will understand the legitimate concerns expressed by Amy and others. BendBroadband has no issue with fair competition. I'm sure she would be more than happy to provide additional details on her position on this matter if you are interested.

fooinbend said on 04/12/08 @ 09:00 AM:
yeah give me some of that government welfare cheese .. lets also subsidize our medicine, power, gas, educashun (sp) ...

last time i checked government pork gave us the bill

fooinbend said on 04/12/08 @ 09:03 AM:
don't get me started on iraq ... 500 billion and counting that my generation gets to pay for ... with money and dead peers ...

Mark Turner said on 04/13/08 @ 03:08 AM:
Point taken John.

Andrew Moore said on 04/15/08 @ 11:01 AM:
My name is Andrew Moore, a reporter at the Bulletin looking to do a follow-up story on this. Please contact me at amoore@bendbulletin.com or 617-7820 today (Tuesday) if you wish to air your concerns.

UndeadBeav said on 04/16/08 @ 10:11 AM:
My usage is stuck at 115.7 GB! It's been stuck there for a few days now. I know I've downloaded/uploaded more than a gig in the last 48 hours.

Anybody else having this problem?

Old Porsche Racer said on 04/16/08 @ 03:12 PM:
Yes, I am having the same problem. My usage amount hasn't change one byte for the last 3 days; and I have been d/l quite a bit lately.

Leon said on 04/17/08 @ 11:46 AM:
It is good to see two of the BendBroadband vice presidents are active in this forum. John Farwell and Frank Miller are VPs of BendBroadband.

I'll be changing to Dish and Yellowknife after over 21 years with BendBroadband. It isn't not due to the bandwidth caps (which I am opposed to but probably would not encounter) but with BendBroadband's attitude, constantly declining customer service and continually increasing cost. As someone mentioned above, the cost has increased, the cost structure has changed in the past. I have also had to buy four different cable modems since I had internet from them. It seems that they tout leading edge for the prestige in the industry not for the customers benifit. If only 2% of the users are causing the issues, I'm at a complete loss as to why they can justify changing the entire pricing structure for everyone. The speed changes will not benefit the 98% the way they use the internet today and when they discover sites like hulu and the network sites to watch content, they will start exceeding their cap.

I fear that the only way each one of us can influence this is to vote with our pocketbook by switching to other providers even though it feels like shooting your favorite dog because he has started chasing the cows, you have to do it even though it hurts.

I know that this was a rant, Bendbroadband's actions and attitude has caused me to switch providers.

Sad to see that the spirit of the old Central Oregon Tek is truly dead.


bill said on 04/17/08 @ 11:53 AM:
Hmm ... you won't know you are approaching or exceeded your cap until days later with the tools provided by BendBroadband. Seems like this could be a way they could increase profits.

Maybe Leon is right, time to shoot the dog.

UndeadBeav said on 04/17/08 @ 12:12 PM:
Has anybody else noticed that it seems like the only ISPs moving to institute usage caps are cable companies?

Also, has anybody else noticed that as soon as Hulu.com became publicly available, BendBroadband decided it was time to implement caps?

Leon, your point about customers discovering and using high-bandwidth content is entirely relevant, and the cable ISPs know it. As the Internet threatens more and more to replace cable TV, caps become inevitable.

Stephen said on 04/17/08 @ 01:35 PM:
BendBroadband is a business and the only objective of a business like Bend Cable has become is to increase return on investment.
Amy, John and Frank wouldn't be doing their job if they didn't do everything possible to improve the bottom line. BendBroadband isn't here to do anything for the community, internet advancement, leading edge joe-123Gig or even their highly touted fairness. At the end of the day, the measure of the performance of the business and executive team is measured in dollars. The proposed changes will have a positive impact on the profitability of BendBroadband, the executive compensation and the value of the company to outside entities. As I understand it, BendBroadband is a privately held company making the sale to one of the biggies a constant and viable possibility. The better the value of the business the more the executive team stand to gain, both as a separate entity and when it sells.
Bandwidth caps are simply good business, like ATM fees and the plethora of service charges we all now pay.

No matter how much everyone complains BendBroadband will do what is best for the business, including charging for everything they possibly can and the 98% of the sheeple will not question it. The remaining 2% is just noise.

Bill said on 04/17/08 @ 02:02 PM:
Don't know where to post these questions but I'll start here.

In The Bulletin article Frank Miller is quoted as saying "BendBroadband has spent plenty in the last decade to build out its network and maintain it. He said the company pays 40 percent more than urban Internet providers because of the physical costs of transporting Internet traffic to the relatively remote High Desert but at the same time hasn�t raised rates on its basic cable Internet service since introducing it a decade ago."

Has anyone verified the 40% cost over urban Internet providers figure? A major western US fiber backbone with quite a few dark fibers goes right through Bend with a POP here. The infrastructure expense for the fiber that BBB put in between Bend and Black Butte Ranch was BBB's enterprise for their profitability and wouldn't have anything to do with the service to Bend. Also the infrastructure to the home would cost the same for Grandma reading her email and the guy that was at 151Gig. The implication that the 151Gig guys using 65% of the bandwidth increases the infrastructure cost does not seen correct. Perhaps misleading.

Also he states that the basic internet service fee hasn't changed since its introduction. There are a couple of posts that indicate that this is not true as Bend Cable eliminated it's lowest tier at some point in the past. Can anyone verify that?

Thank you,

Matthew said on 04/17/08 @ 03:22 PM:
Leon said it right. As a long time customer I also have to walk away. What they are doing may have very little effect on me but the truth is that the great little cable company "Bend Cable" is gone. This new Bend Broadband has replaced the great customer service. They used to answer the phone with a real person and you could count on having a really polite and considerate person come out to your house. And for those of you thinking that was years and years ago, it really wasn't. It was about 3 or 4 years at the most. I am guessing that the people who knew how to run that show have left and now we are stuck with people that keep trying to tell us what we want. Sorry Bend Broadband, I don't want what you are offering, and I am moving on along with all those people that used to make you great.


JoeB said on 04/17/08 @ 03:31 PM:
Bill,

As far as eliminating the lowest tier, I'll be glad to fax you a copy of one of my old bills showing "Res Hi Speed Internet LT $33.95" that will verify that this indeed did exist.

Joe B.

Bill said on 04/17/08 @ 05:22 PM:
Thanks for the confirmation JoeB. I'm sure that I can dig a old bill out of the attic if iit comes to that. That confirms that they have increased the basic service price about 10%. This calls into question the veracity of BendBroadband and their spokesman. Also the thoroughness of the Bend Bulletin journalist.

Has anyone else noticed that their new Platinum plan for the superusers with a 100G cap only as the upload and download speeds of the basic plan. You get a additional 50G for ten bucks more than the Gold plan but only at half the upload and download speed, the same speed as their bronze plan. It all doesn't fit.

That clinches it for me, Yellowknife's install and equipment fee is outrageous and i'm to far away from a CO for DSL. I think Leon is right, time to switch. Stephen''s cynical comments are sadly true also. RIP Bend Cable

Brian said on 04/17/08 @ 08:47 PM:
Recently re-located in Bend, I signed up with BBB because I believe in supporting local businesses. However, local business must compete.

Compared with my previous probider, BBB has fallen way short on tech support. Now the issue of bandwidth -- naturally not mentioned when I signe up even though it must have been 'in the wind'.

IMHO a company calling itself BroadBand should provide whatever bandwidth is necessary for its customers to have unlimited access to the web. Anything less is unacceptable.

Having once had a longterm running battle with an ISP that tried to charge me a massive sum for exceeding my 'download limit', I do not plan to repeat the experience.

If BBB goes through with its plan to limit my access to the web, I will immediately consider alternatives that don't.

And, incidentally, I'm still thinking about tech support. This should be expert and round the clock. Anything less and not competetive.

Frank said on 04/17/08 @ 09:38 PM:
Bill,

The fact for living in Central Oregon is that you must pay for the bandwidth at a good peering point (we use Salt Lake and Portland) and the transport to get the bandwidth back to Bend.

I have been working with broadband transport and regional issues with Central Oregon since 1991 for large public and private data centers.

Over the years we have been fortunate in that we have redundant fiber options to hook Bend ... WilTel, BPA and Qwest.
But you still have to pay for the mileage over these fiber builds to bring the Gigabits here.

My big hope is that the transport providers become mileage insensitive in Gigabit size transport into Central Oregon. The timing of this to me is critical to passing on the savings to our customers via tier adjustments .. and that this timing is ahead of technology innovation.

I see this coming ... but the bad news is removing mileage can break the business model of some of the folks who make a living charging us a rural fee to bring the big bits here.

Lets cross our fingers for the Tier1 folks (Level 3, Qwest, etc) to bring the big pipes here at the same price as PDX.
I think it will come ... and will come in time to meet innovation.

Frank

John Farwell said on 04/17/08 @ 10:38 PM:
Regarding Lite. No one is trying to pull anything here. The Lite product was not part of the original HSI product offering. It was introduced years later and then around 2-3 years ago was discontinued. At that time we grandfathered the existing Lite subs but, when a Lite sub moved we required them to convert from the discontinued product to the existing Classic or Deluxe. As a result of this and natural churn, the number of Lite subs has steadily declined over time to a small % now. With the relaunch we are completing the process of removing the discontinued Lite product and these subs can choose from the current offerings. The prices of the only two current products, Classic and Deluxe have never changed in 10 years and that is all we have been saying.
Regards, John

Time said on 04/18/08 @ 12:47 AM:
If you want a better program to monitor your bandwidth usage for your local PC go to www.paessler.com and download PRTG Traffic Grapher. It's a pretty non-resource intrusive and uses SNMP to gather the bandwidth info on your PC. It's alot more accurate than the tool BBB uses.

JoeB said on 04/18/08 @ 07:21 AM:
I guess at this point it would be useful for Frank Miller or John Farwell to give us a look at the business pricing scheme that is coming. This could either convince the high end users to stay or confirm the decision to move to other providers. If the business pricing model doesn't change, the Business Internet Lite with the slower speed but no cap and no TV service requirement makes better sense than Gold or Platinum at $52.95. Unfortunately, we've been warned business rates will be changing, but are still to be announced. The marketing folks sure missed the boat by not announcing both at the same time.

JoeB said on 04/18/08 @ 07:36 AM:
The usage summary wasn't updated last night. This is a chronic issue that I have reported again and again to them.

How does Bendbroadband expect us to monitor usage when they can't even keep what little they provide up to date?

Old Porsche Racer said on 04/18/08 @ 07:37 AM:
It doesn't appear that the usage tool that BBB uses is updating as it should. For three days I showed the same usage of 4.6. Then suddenly (overnight) the usage jumped from 4.6 to 20.1; and I KNOW I didn't do any more downloading than usual between April 16th & 17th. Then, again, this morning my usage is "stalled" @ 20.1. What gives???

How can BBB expect us to accurately assess our usage if they don't provide us with a proper tool?!

Stephen said on 04/18/08 @ 08:44 AM:
If everyone on this forum that says they are leaving BBB leaves, heck - let's say 200 customers leave, that is less than 1% of the customer base and BBB is still ahead by two hundred grand a year (if the numbers bandied about on this site are accurate) Much more in following years when people discover and start using high bandwidth content. Leaving may satisfy your need to protest but BBB won't change anything because you left.

It's the wave of the future, I'm nostalgic for Copeland Lumber, Bob's Sporting Goods, Dotsons Photo and Wetle's --- Bend Cable as a local company no longer exists.

Aaron said on 04/18/08 @ 12:14 PM:
Stephen, you are right. It'll be a small amount of people at the start who are knowledgable and know what is coming. There are too many people here who wont know what is being said when they are told "You have a 10Gb limit per month". Aall it is going to take is a surprised parent who's kid discovers BitTorrent or gets hooked on YouTube, etc that will switch after they get a shocking $300+ cable bill.

I still think it's going to happen more than Frank and the other BBB beancounters think.

Bird in the hand...

Time said on 04/18/08 @ 12:48 PM:
Like I said above, if you want a better program to monitor your bandwidth usage for your local PC go to www.paessler.com and download PRTG Traffic Grapher freeware version. It's a pretty non-resource intrusive and uses SNMP to gather the bandwidth info on your PC. It's alot more accurate than the tool BBB uses.

Leon said on 04/18/08 @ 01:02 PM:
Frank and John,
Have you considered "capping" overage fees. Rogers in Canada caps them at $25.
You could then structure your tiers based on speed, reduce the number of tiers saving administrative costs. This addresses the concern that little Johnny will leave bit torrent on or a virus causes a issue. Then you could then use your marketing prowess and focus on the 4% to entice the bandwidth hogs to move to a business plan or away from your service.

Also what is your response to the fact that users are going to move away from your cable TV content and to bandwidth intensive content like Hulu? This will push many people over their limit in the future while reducing your advertising revenue.

Frank hinted that the tier structure would be adjusted based on usage and if the "big pipes" eliminated their mileage fees. Would you actually reduce your fee or adjust the caps if the center of the bell curve moved to 110G a month, or your cost to transport content was reduced?

I appreciate your participation in this forum.

Matthew said on 04/18/08 @ 01:39 PM:
Regarding the usage monitor, how can we possibly think that BBB is accurately measuring our bandwidth usage for billing purposes if they can't give us a tool that accurately monitors the usage? We simply have to believe them when they tell us that we went over the cap. I know that I can monitor this myself with a different tool, but if BBB is using their own tools to monitor this for billing purposes, we are all in trouble. This is exactly why I will not use BBB for telephone service. They cannot get their own phones answered over there, so why would I think they could provide me with a good telephone service for my home?

And finally, good luck to all of you with teenagers out there. BBB picked a pretty poor time to launch their caps, just as all the kids are out of school and at home filling their iPods, and so on. Maybe they are just trying to get us to let our kids run around in the sunshine this summer and not be holed up in front of a computer or XBox.

Renee' said on 04/18/08 @ 01:44 PM:
John,
If you offer a lower cost plan making it attractive to my aunt who only checks email and looks at the weather. Then require her to upgrade her plan when she moved to Tumalo. Isn't that increasing the price? Her usage wouldn't have increased. The effect here was that she chose not to have BBB at all. Seems like this would be the type of customer you want, low maintenance, low bandwidth usage, always pays on time.
To her you increased your price so she chose a dish and no internet at all. Your product became to costly and now this money goes out of the local economy.
As a side, she still thinks that your service costs more in Tumalo, your customer service people did a very poor job explaining why the price went up.

Also, I really hope you fix your current billing issues, I and some of my neighbors haven't received a bill in two months, when I called to see why, they told me that I wasn't a customer! It took them 10 minutes to figure out that I was and still no answer why no bills. I hope we wont have to fight late fees.

John Farwell said on 04/19/08 @ 06:20 AM:
Renee,

Thanks for your comments. I don't want to split hairs on the Lite discussion as I think it misses the larger point - but I understand what you are saying. I appreciate your input on the idea of a lower priced plan and this is something we continue to assess.
Please accept our apology for the issues you have experienced with the conversion of our billing system. This was a huge and very complex project and, as with any project of that magnitude, there were a few unexpected customer impacting issues. As you can imagine it was quite a strain on our customer care team, as they had to continue to answer the phones while learning a new system and for a time were working in both worlds. We anticipate it will be about the end of May or mid June before we have completely worked through this. Thankfully this is a change that won't happen again in decades. Again - our apology for this!

UndeadBeav said on 04/20/08 @ 06:09 PM:
From BendBroadband's online usage summary page:

"Please be aware that we have discovered a software bug in the bandwidth usage calculation. We are working with the vendor to resolve this issue which is affecting a small percentage of usage records. In order to provide customers with the maximum amount of time to monitor their usage, we are leaving the tool up during this time. Usage billing will not commence until July 1. Please be assured that we will not proceed with actual usage billing until we are 100% confident that the measurement is accurate. "

This just keeps getting better and better...

TimE said on 04/21/08 @ 11:12 AM:
If you are wanting to change providers I would stay away from Clearwire and Yellowknife. Yellowknife is based off of 802.11 technology using Motorola Canopy harware while Clearwire is based off of a pre-certified version of Wi-Max. So far the best players for the rural market are going to be either Webformix or Community Broadband who is a Wi-Max provider but they are basing their hardware off of what is going to be certified.

Old Porsche Racer said on 04/27/08 @ 11:32 AM:
Does anyone have a suggestion for a free easy-to-use bandwidth usage tool that a non-geek can use?

JoeB said on 04/28/08 @ 07:53 AM:
There are three that I looked at.
Bitmeter II http://www.softpedia.com/get/Network-Tools/Bandwidth-Tools/Bitmeter-2.shtml

ShaPlus
http://www.shaplus.com/bandwidth-meter/

Net Traffic Meter (version 2.1.2567) DON'T get Version 1.4 or 1.5 statistics display has been crippled in the newer versions
http://www.softpedia.com/get/Network-Tools/Bandwidth-Tools/NET-Traffic-Meter.shtml

All three are free, I would suggest ShaPlus may be too limited for your use.

Each only take a minute to install or uninstall, so try all three.

Also, I have XP, not Vista, so I can't say if they work on Vista.

JoeB said on 04/29/08 @ 07:21 AM:
Yesterday's (Monday 4/28/08) Bend Bulletin had an article about Qwest being in the process of upgrading their DSL in Bend to speeds as high or higher than Bendbroadband with no caps and prices that are comparable or lower than the capped plans of BBB. Competition is good for the soul!

Aaron F said on 04/29/08 @ 07:46 AM:
and the pocketbook

ATB said on 04/29/08 @ 02:44 PM:
I am more than frustrated. I've been a BBB subscriber for over 20 years, and have had my moments with their bad service, but this is putting me over the edge.

I seriously don't see myself as anything BUT a typical internet user--we subscribe to Netflix, so we download a few movies a month. We watch YouTube, music, etc. Yes, I have teenagers too. So--I go and see my usage, and I am close to the edge of silver, making me think that I would get creamed if I went with the silver tier---ie, it's now going to cost me $20 more per month for internet. Are you kidding me?

Gas is going to be $5 a gallon by this summer, and if we can save money by staying home and watching a movie, then we should be entitled to that.

I really have serious reservations that 98% of BBB users are in the 10GB tier. Bull, if we are at the top of silver, I'd say it's more like 30 is typical.

Just another way for BBB to get more money with no service---so, now we get to decide if we cut off our noses to spite our face. Fwiw, I am cable/phone and internet--which will be $120 or so out of their pocket when I leave.

Everyone I work with is furious about this too---And as usual here in CO, most people aren't paying attention. Like when the schools all went to early release on Wednesdays? A few of us protested--and then it got implemented. I wondered why no one else was commenting--that was because they weren't paying attention. When it happend the first day, there was a hue and cry.I see the same thing happening here--no one understands this until they get a $250 bill in July, and the crap is going to hit the fan.

I hope more people read of this and understand it--and maybe the powers that be will reshuffle their tiers, or just leave well enough alone instead of going for the almighty buck.

I truly see this biting them in the butt--they aren't the only game in town anymore, and they WILL lose customers. I am already looking for a replacement.

TimE said on 04/29/08 @ 11:51 PM:
The problem with the Qwest service above is that it is listed as being in BEnd but they have all year to implement it. What sucks with the service is that for those of us that rely on both upload and download speeds, the service will only provide 768 upload even though it offers 12 and 20Mbps download speeds....would expect more out of ADSL2 and Fiber.

JoeB said on 05/02/08 @ 08:41 AM:
Just noticed the message on the usage screen changed to state:

"Please be aware that we have discovered data collection and daily update issues with the usage tool. We are working with the company that developed the tool on a resolution. We are leaving the tool up during this time to allow users to become familiar with the data presentation.

In the near future we will need to take the site down to implement the software fix and to allow for additional testing and certification. Please rest assured that the presentation of accurate data via this tool is a top priority for BendBroadband. The launch of usage billing will not begin until we have thoroughly validated that the usage data is correct.

Thank you for your patience. "

Seems more than a "few" were affected. I certainly would like to know the agency that will perform the "certification". Hopefully it won't be the people who performed the "certification" on the original programming.

Matthew said on 05/02/08 @ 08:59 AM:
When it was Bend Cable I heard that they liked to develop their tools for this kind of stuff in-house so they wouldn't have to rely on an outside vendor. So the company that developed it is either BBB and they don't know what they are doing or they had to go an outside company for something that they should have been able to build in-house because they don't have anybody left working there that knows how to do anything like that. It makes them look bad either way. Kind of like they are so quick to make the extra money that they throw stuff at consumers without waiting to see if it is going to work.

Tim said on 05/02/08 @ 10:23 PM:
What gets me is that companies like Cox, Comcast, Time Warner and other large cable companies are already preparing to roll out DOCSIS 3.0 service later this year and Bend Broadband is just now getting around to rolling out DOCSIS 2.0 service WITH CAPS. Personally I believe that there is some mismanagement of network bandwidth as they could easily detect who is using their bandwidth and throttle that users connection down to low speeds so as not to affect the rest of the network. The caps are just plain retarded.....kind of like the person that thought them up and is implementing them.

TimE said on 05/06/08 @ 07:20 PM:
Here is an article about how Comcast is toying wit hthe notion of caps but their caps are at 250GB per month...Bend Broadband could take a page from their book when it comes to bandwidth caps..

http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Comcast-Considering-250GB-Cap-Overage-Fees-94185

JoeB said on 05/10/08 @ 09:23 AM:
Just to let you know BendBroadband still doesn't have their usage screen fixed and it tracks far into their favor. I have a network monitor that tracks all traffic on my PC, not just BBB and it shows 74Gig for the month beginning April 13. Their usage shows 95.5Gig. I wonder what recourse I will have when it comes to arguing over who is right. Looks like I might be getting business service or Qwest when they get around to implementing their caps.

ATB said on 05/10/08 @ 06:15 PM:
I will be switching to RIO Networks for phone and internet. No BS for usage, but since I can't use DishNetwork without losing local stations, I'll stick with Bend Broadband for my cable tv.

Other than that, the price for RIO is reasonable:

$44.99 mo for 5 mbps down, 1 up
$54.99 for 12 down, 2 up
(residential)

add $10 on for phone. Even with my large amount of long distance, I'll still be where BB is for cost, without their stupid tier system.

I think that when people become aware of this shameless money grab, BB is going to find they have lost a lot of customers because there IS an alternative.

I think they're idiots--and they haven't heard but a fraction of complaints until this implement this and all the people who've been asleep at the wheel get their bills--then it'll hit the fan big time. So glad i have somewhere to take my marbles when BB institutes the tier system (no way am I paying them an extra $20-30 a month for my downloads)

Eric Ozrelic said on 05/14/08 @ 03:41 PM:
Just wanted to chime in and let everyone know that Webfomix provides a cost effective alternative to cable or DSL with no contracts, caps, or hidden fees. With a 30-day MBG, low setup fee of $150 or less, and monthly rates starting at $20, this service is available in almost all areas throughout central oregon.

Take a look at our available services and coverage area here

ATB said on 05/15/08 @ 08:00 AM:
well, in light of today's news, BBB have bought themselves a stay of execution from our house and triple package.

I am pleased they listened and ditched the caps--for our household, a usage of maybe 30 GB, it was the difference between leaving or paying $20 more a month. so, thank you for listening.

I know this doesn't solve everyone's issues, but for many of us, I think it's a step in the right direction. I really would bet that many if not most of their customers fall in the 10-50 GB catagory.

I do like the idea further down the road of no caps for high users, but speed reductions and off time use hours.

JoeB said on 05/15/08 @ 11:16 AM:
I can live with 100Gig per month, though, as last month proves, I could get mighty close unless I watch my use (97Gig). I used bittorrent to get some new linux distros and other junk. It added up in a hurry, especially using the basic bittorrent courtesy of 1 to 1 up to download ratio. I can monitor and postpone to the next month to stay within the 100Gig limit.

It answers my concerns about usage that bounces all over the place with 97Gig last period, 5Gig the period before, 27Gig the period before that and 1Gig the first period they started reporting. It also answers my concern about the granularity of the monitoring tool. According to the tool I use on my PC, I used 15Gig in the heaviest day, which will work fine with the BBB daily tool, with the 100Gig limit. With the 10Gig limit, I would already owe money before I even was aware of it.

Thanks for listening, Frank. I'll leave it to the really big users to figure out they should be looking at the business plans. $16 for an extra 50Gig ( $53 - $37 cost between bronze and business) isn't bad. Unlimited business at $150 at least puts a top cap on max cost.

fred said on 08/21/08 @ 04:44 PM:
BBB is being sold. You saw it here first. Letters went to employees today. Makes all of the comments above seem silly.

Tim said on 08/21/08 @ 04:47 PM:
Sold to whom??? It makes what you are saying more credible if something solid is posted.

Moop said on 08/30/08 @ 12:54 AM:
I heard that the brooklyn bridge was resold for a profit fred!

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