So. Suddenlink has turned from a pretty good company once upon a time (and a number of name changes/mergers ago) to an evil one today. I got back from a work trip to find a nice little note from them. They are implementing Internet usage caps.
The argument that such companies use, that their caps are so much higher than typical usage, is — pardon the expression — bullsh*t. Unless they guarantee their caps will rise at the same rate (percentage-wise) as typical usage, then it’s both a trap to eventually squeeze more out of consumers and an anti-competitive action. (Hmmm. I wonder if the anti-trust laws apply.)
Why? Pretty simple, actually. First, it’s a trap because video (Netflix Instant, Amazon Prime library, and Hulu Plus are three good current examples) consumes a lot of bandwidth. HD video consumes even more. And where is video increasingly moving? To the Internet. So your usage may look like it’s currently well under those caps. But give it a couple of years. It won’t be any more. I can guarantee that your bandwidth usage is much more today than it was three years ago. And work from home much? That’s also going to significantly increase your usage. Right now, even on a heavy usage month, our home doesn’t reach even their lowest cap. But I know how rapidly usage grows as the Internet grows and offers ever more.
Second, it’s anti-competitive because Suddenlink’s phone and cable service isn’t counted against those usage caps. If their customers choose to use nothing but Suddenlink services, they get effectively unlimited, uncapped usage. It’s only when they use competing products over their Suddenlink Internet connection that those other services are capped.
Of course, I have the misfortune of being represented by Michael McCaul, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, and John Cornyn. They are little more than corporate shills, lock, stock, and barrel. They have absolutely no interest in enforcing such things as anti-trust laws and protecting the interests of those they represent. It’s sad, but there aren’t very many in Congress anymore interested in actually representing and protecting the interests of the common American. It’s as bad now as it was during the Gilded Age, and it might even be worse.
I’ve long been a faithful Sprint customer, through their ups and downs, and I will remain so at least as long as they can hold out against the pressure and continue to offer unlimited data access with their premium cell phone data service.
As far as Suddenlink goes, though, I’m no longer a faithful customer. Instead I’m a trapped customer looking for the first opportunity to escape. AT&T (the old Southwestern Bell) is even more evil and is currently my only viable alternative. But the moment I have another option? I’m bailing on Suddenlink. They are ‘on notice’ as far as I’m concerned. You want to be an evil company? Fine. But don’t expect your captive audience to stick with you any longer than it takes for technology to give us an out. I’m only your customer because Southwestern Bell (SBC, AT&T) was the original evil empire in your sphere. I abandoned them as soon as it was possible to get all my services elsewhere. You, Suddenlink, were the eventual beneficiary. But I’ll happily do the same to you.
It might take 3-5 years, but in the not too distant future, I’ll have other choices. And I’ll remember this action. I will ditch you. And I will never return. And I will tell everyone I know to avoid your service if they have any alternative. The real thing you’ve accomplished with this move? You’ve turned at least one formerly loyal customer into an enemy who considers every month he has to write you a check another month of indentured servanthood.
Way to go.