Usage Graphs, Plan caps or limits

usage graphUsage Graphs

We recently added usage graphs to the customer invoices.   We have added the graphs for a couple of reasons:

  • We want our customers to know how much data they are actually using.
  • We want you to be able to tell when your usage has changed significantly.
  • It makes it easier to compare services with other technologies such as WiFi hotspots.
  • New service plans may have data limits.

It’s very difficult for most customers to understand how much data they are using.  The units vary and there is considerable confusion concerning speed (how fast you can transfer data) in Megabits per second and usage (how much data in a time period) in Mega Bytes.

Cell phone and Cellular data plans normally have limited data usage .   Typical data plans have 5 to 10GB per month of data before additional costs are incurred.

Our typical home Internet customer uses 41GB of data a month.  15% of the users exceed 250Gb, and 1.5% are over 500Gb.

Are usage limits coming?

Not on the existing plans.  We anticipate that any new service plans will have usage limits.

Why is Amplex considering usage limits?

We want to offer higher speed plans to our customers.   With our newest equipment we can offer much higher speeds, but we need some type of usage limit before we can do so.   Our current highest speed plan is 9Mb/1Mb.  We would like to increase the speed on our existing plans, and offer higher speed plans up to 25Mbps.

With our current plans, a customer maxing out the service for an entire month generates a economic loss – the data consumed exceeds our costs.  Our current plans at 3.5 or 5Mb limit the losses on any given customer, simply because the customer can’t download enough data to cause a major problem. This changes if we offer higher speed plans with no usage limits.

We have not decided on what the new plan speeds or limits are going to be, though the FCC has established a minimum usage of 100Gb/mo for a plan to be considered broadband.   Our service plans will be at least 100Gb, and probably far higher.

Can I keep my existing plan?

Yes (seems like there is a Obamacare joke here somewhere….).   We may discontinue the existing plans for new customers, but will continue to offer the current plans if you want to stay with them.

New Webmail Software!

We have just rolled out a new webmail package based on the RoundCube software. We hope that this new interface will be faster, easier, and generally a better experience for everyone.

Why the sudden change? We have relied on the horde software for many years now to deliver a consistent webmail interface to our users, and it has served well. However, the version of Horde we have been running all these years is long out of development, new features are not being developed, security issues are not being corrected, and the entire platform relies on version 4 of the PHP scripting language, which is long out of date as well. Because of all these issues, we have had to maintain a webserver running antiquated software, for the sole purpose of keeping horde running. These issues, and many more have caused us to decide to retire horde over the next few weeks.

We evaluated several new webmail packages, including the newest release of Horde itself. Consistently, people preferred RoundCube by a wide margin. If you have any question, don’t hesitate to contact us via email at support@amplex.net.

Migrating Address Books from Horde to Roundcube

Since we are about ready to take the new webmail service live, I thought it best I detail out the procedure for copying your address book from the old webmail service, over to the new one. Unfortunately, since horde will only export to CSV (comma separated values) format, and roundcube will only import from vCard format, an intermediate step is needed. Follow these steps and you should have no trouble:

1) Get the data out of horde.

You will need to login to the old webmail service first, which has been moved to: oldwebmail.amplex.net

Sign in as you normally would, and go to the address book. Click on “Import/Export” at the top, and the very bottom of this page is a button that simply says, “export.” Click it, you will be prompted to download a file, this is your contacts list. Save it someplace where you can find it, because you will be opening it in a bit.

And you are done with old-webmail, you can sign out at anytime.

2) Convert the data to vCard format.

This file contains your address book in CSV format, but we need it to be in vCard format for the new webmail software. First you need to open this file, I recomend using notepad to open it, but any text editor will do.

Open the conversion tool in a new window by clicking here.

You want to copy the entre contents of the file and paste it into step 1 of the conversion tool. If you are using notepad you can click on edit, then select all, to highlight all the data in the file at once. Once you have copied all the text, paste it into the conversion tool, step 1.

Click on Step 2, you probably won’t have to change anything here, I didn’t.

Click on step 3, the text you see should be your address book, converted to vCard format. Highlight all of it, and copy it. Open a new text editor window, and paste all of the data inside. Save this file as something you can find easily, because next you will upload the list into the new webmail system.

3) Important to Roundcube

Now you should have the data in a format that the new webmail software can understand. First you will need to login to the new webmail software by clicking here.

Click on Address Book at the top, then select the import contacts icon, which should be the forth one from the left at the top of the address book page. Browse for the new file you have created, and click import. With a little luck, you have just moved your address book over to the new webmail!

4) Issues?

Having trouble? Please feel free to send a support request to support@amplex.net, asking us to try to migrate your address book for you. Please understand, we expect to get a lot of these, so it may be several days before we can complete your request, please be patient.

Update on new tower sites

Seems like projects always take longer than they should.   In any case…

The Gibsonburg site is up and running.   I am not completely happy with the coverage area we are getting from the 2.4Ghz sector at the site but the 5.7Ghz transmitter is working very well.    As soon as we have the funds we will swap the 2.4 for a couple of sectors which should improve coverage in the area.

The Dirlam Road site just east of Bowling Green is up and running – we will be converting many of the 900Mhz customers south of SugarRidge and/or north-east of the Bays Rd tower to the new site over the next couple of weeks.   This will result in a significant performance increase for those customers.

Rising Sun is on the back burner for the winter – I do not expect to have equipment at Rising Sun until spring 2010.

The North Baltimore / Hoytville site is a project for late December or early January – funding and weather may delay this though.