Suddenlink Adds Unlimited Data Plans

Suddenlink, the MSO now owned by Altice, is the latest MSO to introduce unlimited data plans for its broadband service, making that option available to customers that subscribe to its two fastest Internet service tiers in a given market.

Suddenlink’s new policy, reported on earlier by Stop The Cap!, takes effect today.  

The policy will vary by market amid ongoing speed upgrades. Suddenlink noted that the top speeds currently offered are 100 Mbps and 150 Mbps; 200 Mbps and 400 Mbps, or 200 Mbps and 1 Gbps, depending on the market.

New customers on those speedier plans and existing customers who upgrade to them will be automatically enrolled in the unlimited plan at no charge the first year, an added $5 a month after 12 months, and an additional $10 per month after 24 months, Suddenlink said.

Customers currently subscribing to Suddenlink’s fastest local broadband offerings also have the option to retain their existing usage-based plans or upgrade to an unlimited plan, the MSO said.

Suddenlink’s legacy data-usage plans charge extra ($10 for an additional bucket of 50 Gigabytes) when customers exceed their monthly limit a third time. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said this week that the commission would continue to look at ISP data caps and usage-based policies.  

Suddenlink has been expanding the rollout of a DOCSIS 3.0-based 1 Gbps (downstream) residential offering. Under the current plan for Suddenlink’s Operation GigaSpeed initiative, recently committed to by the MSO’s new owner, the operator intends to offer 1-Gig to more than 250 communities in its footprint, or more than 60% of its high-speed Internet sub base, by the end of 2016. Suddenlink has also committed to have speeds of 400 Mbps or more available to more than 70% of its Internet subs by year-end.

Suddenlink, which ended 2015 with 1.22 million residential broadband subs, is the latest U.S. MSO to add an unlimited data option for broadband service. Earlier this week, AT&T added a $30 per month unlimited plan for subs who get standalone U-verse and GigaPower service, but drops that charge if the customer is bundling U-verse TV or DirecTV service and paying on a single bill.  Comcast is trialing an unlimited plan in several markets that costs an additional $30 to $35 per month, depending on the market. 

“The unlimited data plans are one new step toward making our high-speed broadband services widely available to customers while making a quality Internet experience possible over the many devices they use to consume the incredible variety of media now offered over the Internet,” Suddenlink co-president and COO Hakim Boubazine, said in a statement. “As noted before, we are fully committed to moving full-speed ahead with our network investments for our Operation GigaSpeed project and to bring innovations, new technologies and faster Internet speeds to the U.S. market, and making them widely available and accessible to our customers.”

According to Suddenlink’s FAQ on the topic, “relatively few” customers exceed their monthly data plans. Currently, Suddenlink does not let subscribers roll-over unused data to the following month. “Data plans are reset each month, for each billing period,” the FAQ explains.