Month: March 2011

Drilling Through the Caps

With news about AT&T’s announcement last week that they will be imposing caps on their ADSL and U-Verse VDSL customers, we have received a lot of inquiries about whether or not this will affect customers, and whether we plan to follow the lead of Comcast and AT&T. We are also being asked why AT&T is imposing caps, and about the $10 per 50GB for overage charges. Is it congestion, pricing fairness, or just more revenue?

To be clear, has no plans to impose usage caps on our customers.

Our DSL customers are in two categories: those served on the AT&T ADSL1 DSLAMs via our wholesale line sharing relationship with AT&T, and those on our own equipment which serves the Fusion ADSL2+ Broadband & Phone platform. On our own Fusion network, we have absolute control over policies such as usage caps or bandwidth management.

For our customers on the AT&T wholesale network, we have a contractual relationship with AT&T to deliver broadband service to our mutual customers. I do not expect any near term changes to the policies and terms of that relationship.

In Canada, incumbent telephone companies such as Bell Canada have been working to lobby for legislation that would require all ISPs to charge for usage, including those who obtain wholesale access from Bell Canada. This usage based billing (UBB) legislation has become a political hot potato, with sites like and carrying the fight.

As for the reasons for the push for usage based billing, Bell Canada CEO George Cope has said, “…as we see a growth in video usage on the internet, making sure we’re monetizing that for our shareholders through the bandwidth usage charges”. concludes that the caps that Comcast imposes and which AT&T is launching are “solely designed to cash in on Internet video – while protecting TV revenues.”

This is okay, it is clear, and it is reasonable that Comcast and AT&T should push customers toward their television services.

But here at, we have a different business model. If you like it, be sure to check for Fusion availability in your area.

Fusion Price Drops … Again!

We have just reduced the price for many of our Fusion services, again! This is the fourth major price reduction for our Fusion product line. (See related articles at the bottom of this post for previous reductions.)’s innovative Fusion Broadband + Phone service delivers the fastest possible Broadband, plus land line telephone service, all for one low price.

In this round of changes, we dropped our prices by $10 to $30. Here are the new rates:

Residential Fusion Broadband + Phone:

  • 1 phone line, up to 20Mbps: $39.95 (was reduced in December)
  • 2 phone lines, up to 40Mbps: $79.95 $69.96

Business Fusion Broadband + Phone:

  • 1 phone line, up to 20Mbps: $60.00 $49.95
  • 2 phone lines, up to 40Mbps: $120.00 $89.95

I hope you like the new rates. I’m particularly excited about the two line bonded service. It delivers twice the speed by using two lines, and new lower prices make it a much better value than ever.

As before, residential service includes unlimited nationwide calling, and business customers get low 1¢ per minute calling, across town or across the country. All the features you need are included, like caller ID, voicemail, call waiting, and for businesses with two lines, hunting/rollover. If you’re not already a customer, check for service availability and sign up today!

Existing customers will automatically see the new rate reflected in their bill shortly. I really appreciate your selection of Fusion at the previous price, and I know you will like it even more at these new lower prices.

As I’ve previously written, these price changes are part of our commitment to continue to improve our flagship Fusion service. We would certainly appreciate it very much if you’d tell your friends (online and offline), neighbors, blog this, Tweet/Facebook it, post Yelp/DSLReports reviews, etc. Your positive endorsement is the best way for us to grow. As you can see, we’re passing along cost savings as rate reductions to you!

This new rate applies to Fusion Broadband + Phone. If you have an older Fusion “Standalone” service that doesn’t have voice, you can retain that product at your current rate. If you would like to take advantage of the new rates, you will need to activate voice. If you’d like to do this, please call us now to start the process. You can reach our customer service group at 707-547-3400.

We have decided not to add voice automatically for these legacy customers for a number of reasons. First, we can port a number from another carrier for you, or let you choose a new telephone number, and we would like you to make this choice. Second, there are taxes and fees associated with voice, and we’d like to assure you understand them. Estimated voice tax and fee information is available, listed by city. Third, Fusion Broadband + Phone requires a credit, debit or pre-paid debit card for payment, so we need to collect that information if we do not already have it on file. Finally, and most important, we must validate that your physical address is accepted by the 911 system when we activate voice.

I continue to be blown away by the customer reaction to our Fusion products. The great feedback we have received from customers all around the Bay Area has been amazing. Thank you! Please keep spreading the word!

Related articles:

Why U.S. Broadband is So Slow

Cheap, Ultrafast Broadband? At Least Hong Kong Has It. By Randall Stross.

Today The New York Times wrote about Gigabit fiber broadband in Hong Kong, which is available there for only $26 per month. The article includes mention of, and the Google fiber project.

In the article, author Randall Stross wrote,

“In the United States, we don’t have anything close to that. But we could. And we should.”

Here is why we don’t:

In 1996, the US Congress kicked off the broadband revolution when it passed the Telecom Act. The 1996 Act created a level playing field for competitive carriers, and brought about widespread deployment of DSL and other broadband technologies.

Then in 2003 and 2004, the then Republican led FCC reversed course, removing shared access to essential fiber infrastructure for competitive carriers and codifying instead a policy of exclusive use and “multi-modal competition”.

This concreted our unique US duopoly: cable versus telco, the two broadband choices that most Americans have today.

In exchange for a truly competitive market, the US received promises of widespread deployment. And, to some degree this has worked. Unfettered by significant competition or price pressure, broadband in at least in its most basic form can now be delivered to most homes in America, albeit at a comparatively high cost to the consumer.

What was given up in exchange for this far-reaching but mediocre pablum was true competition and innovation.

Elsewhere in the world, regulatory bodies followed the lead of the US Congress and separated essential copper and fiber infrastructure from the services and providers who used them, and the result has been amazing. In Asia and Europe, Gigabit services are becoming common, and the price paid by consumers per megabit is a tiny fraction of what we pay here at home.

I won’t deny the innovation that has occurred in the telco/cable duopoly. They’ve got TV, Internet and telephone bundles designed to serve up prime time network shows in over-saturated HD glory, with comparatively middling Internet speeds, all offered with teaser rates and terms that would baffle an economics professor. The clear value of the bundle is to baffle, and pity the consumer who wants to shed a component. At least during the intro periods, it’s often cheaper to take the whole package than just a component or two.

For cable companies, the entrenched interest in the television entertainment portion creates a clear conflict: why should they offer an uncapped broadband connection that can deliver enough video entertainment to allow consumers to cut the TV cord? And if you do drop the TV, up goes the price for even this slow and capped Internet connection, so you pay more either way. And now that telcos have gotten into the television business too, their interest in slowing the pace of increasing broadband speed is aligned as well.

This has yielded a competitive truce in America.

In a slow tide, back and forth, cable delivers a slightly better product, then telco slightly better again, all at the highest possible cost. It is iterative, not innovative, and Americans deserve more. After all, we invented the Internet, right? can reach nearly half of the homes and businesses in the Bay Area today with our Fusion Broadband + Phone service. Fusion offers the latest ADSL2+ broadband, with speeds of up to 20Mbps per line (with two line bonding available if you want to double your speed!), plus home land line voice with unlimited calling, all for $39.95/mo for one line, or $69.95 for two.

Fusion is innovative technology and innovative pricing.

This is possible because the skeleton of the 1996 Act, copper lines, are still available as a shared resource for all competitive carriers. But the reach of copper is limited to just a couple miles. (You can see if Fusion reaches your location here.) This limited reach creates islands of competition around the old telephone exchanges.

For the rest of you, a bit over half of the households in the Bay Area who are located too far from the shared telephone offices, I am afraid you are out of luck for now. We must build new fiber all the way to your home, passing by along the way the idle fiber infrastructure that the FCC set aside nearly a decade ago.

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