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In UK, Broadband Limits Confuse Nine In Ten Users 217

Mark Jackson writes "ISPreview reports that 86% of UK broadband users don't understand the usage limits on their service, and nearly one million have reached or exceeded their ISPs limit in the last year. This is important because 56% of major providers are prepared to disconnect those who 'abuse' the service. However, it also shows how damaging bad marketing can be, with 6.2M people believing they have an 'unlimited' service with no restrictions. The UK Advertising Standards Authority is also blamed for making the problem worse by allowing providers to describe their services as unlimited even if there is a usage cap, as long as it is detailed in the small print. However, consumers are none the wiser with over 10 million broadband customers never reading their usage agreements and a further 1.8M not knowing whether they have read it or not. Unsurprisingly 7.5M do not even know their download limit, which is understandable when so few providers clarify it."
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In UK, Broadband Limits Confuse Nine In Ten Users

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  • further evidence (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PunkOfLinux ( 870955 ) <mewshi@mewshi.com> on Friday October 24, 2008 @10:29AM (#25497505) Homepage

    that limited unlimited plans are a bad idea.

    Really, just throttle them based on how much theyve used in a given period. everyone wins. consumers keep their service, and providers can cut their bandwidth down a bit.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Wiarumas ( 919682 )
      Or you can do what PSU does and occasionally give them courtesy emails explaining the situation (50% bandwidth used, 75% warning, etc.) and if they do happen to go over, punish them with 56k speeds for a bit. That way you don't lose your customer, you protect your precious bandwidth, and maybe you'll prevent a few people from doing it again (or at least educate them on the matter).
      • Re:further evidence (Score:5, Informative)

        by dintech ( 998802 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:17AM (#25498117)

        That way you don't lose your customer

        Take PIPEX as an example. I've been subjected to 56K speeds for exceeding my bandwidth quota of 50Gb per month. I can tell you that if I wasn't on a one-year contract, they would have lost a customer immediately.

        Once this go-slow was lifted, I noticed that they were actually throttling my connection even when I'm a long way under my quota. I was getting a perfectly flat 512Kbps instead of the advertised 8Mbps and the 2Mbps I was getting previously. When I called to complain about it, they told me it was contention because of the olympics. When I pointed out that contention would cause variable transfer speeds instead of a flat one, they tried to get me off the phone and told me to write to their head office. I totally hate that company. Avoid.

        • by caluml ( 551744 )
          You sound like you need some Zen in your life.
          • by dintech ( 998802 )
            Yeah, I think so too. I was using Be before, maxing out 13Mbps and zero complaints for just £4 a month more. However, I moved 1/2 a mile down the road and unfortunately landed on a non-LLU exchange. I used PIPEX back in the dial-up days and they used to be a good company so it seemed like a safe bet. I really have no idea what happened to them.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by ijakings ( 982830 )

              This is what happened to them

              Tiscali buys Pipex broadband unit [bbc.co.uk]

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by theaveng ( 1243528 )

            >>>>>"56% of major providers are prepared to disconnect those who 'abuse' the service."
            >I've been subjected to 56K speeds for exceeding my bandwidth quota of 50Gb per month. I can tell you that if I wasn't on a one-year contract, they would have lost a customer immediately.

            This is precisely why I think Internet Companies should provide an option to "buy more time" after you reach your cap. I'm willing to pay more money (say $0.50 per gigabyte over). I am NOT willing to be cut-off

            • by caluml ( 551744 )
              I think it should be a choice. When you hit 50GB, or whatever, they limit you to 64k for the rest of the month, *but* you can pay a fiver, and get another 10GB (or whatever). Mucho mas mejor.
            • by Hatta ( 162192 )

              That would just encourage them to lower caps to increase profits. What they ought to do is encourage everyone to transfer as much as possible, and use QoS to pass latency sensitive packets first. Bandwidth that is not used is wasted, and that increases the cost per bit for everyone. When their link is well and truly saturated, invest in more bandwidth.

              Of course, all they care about is maximizing their own profit, instead of getting the most bits to the most people at the lowest cost, so your suggestion i

              • >>>That would just encourage them to lower caps to increase profits.

                If the intern monopoly is regulated the same way the phone monopoly is regulated, then no, they could not do that. ---or--- If they are in a competitive situation (like Verizon, Comcast, Dish, Directv), customers would abandon ship if their company became greedy. The fear of losing customers reigns-in a businessman's immoral nature.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by GauteL ( 29207 )

          "When I pointed out that contention would cause variable transfer speeds instead of a flat one, they tried to get me off the phone and told me to write to their head office. I totally hate that company. Avoid."

          Look, IANAL, but I would start documenting the bandwidth capping, and then cancel the subscription and any payments to them due to what I would consider to be breach of contract from their point of view.

          This sounds like wilful capping of the speed, which can hardly be covered by their standard contrac

        • by Inda ( 580031 )
          PIPEX was one of the first ISPs to throttle BitTorrent traffic. I only know this because a small group of friends and I used a share a forum regarding this sort of stuff and a PIPEX user was the first to report. Only encryption helped - thanks to Azureus and their Wiki.
      • Or you can do what Rogers does and hijack HTTP requests to insert the bandwidth warning, which broke a whole pile of automated stuff on my end, until I completely opted out of those dumb warnings.

        Yeah, that was just so dumb, but considering Rogers doesn't do email anymore (they farm it out to Yahoo), it's probably the best they could manage.

        The biggest problem with major ISPs is that they are almost entirely staffed with imbecilic managers, shackling the technical gurus down with politics.

    • Just the opposite (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It proves that limited plans are a bad idea. They allow ISPs to charge more for data even as the cost of transmitting that data plummets.

      They provide a very 2002 view of the internet and the way that it's connected.

      They allow ISPs effectively to limit new services such as Internet Radio, Streaming video, video rentals, etc. simply for those who do more than look at email and surf the web (which you'd have to effectively retarded to spend $40-50/month for access to a paltry 1-2GB per month; you might as we

      • by pluther ( 647209 )

        (which you'd have to effectively retarded to spend $40-50/month for access to a paltry 1-2GB per month; you might as well use dial-up)

        If you've got dialup, you need to have a land-line running as well.

        Betweeen dialup ISP and landline, you're still paying $40-$50/month. Might as well get broadband and at least save the hassle of having to keep connecting.

  • Bunch of Tossers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Finallyjoined!!! ( 1158431 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @10:32AM (#25497539)
    The UK Advertising Standards Authority are a bunch of complete tossers.

    They'll stop an Apple ad claiming the iPhone can reach the whole internet, but they let these ISPs advertise unlimited when it is anything but.

    Double Standards anyone?
    • They also pull ads when something like 5 nutters say it's offensive. Case in point: the Pot Noodle "slag" ads (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/2220108.stm) Useless shower of bastards.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Sockatume ( 732728 )
        They don't "pull" ads exactly. It's important to bear in mind that the ASA is not a government body and has no official power whatsoever, its decisions being "advice" to the advertisers. The government body, OFCOM, has comparatively lax requirements. However the ASA does have de facto power in that it will advise its members, which control most of the advertising space in the UK, against working with advertisers which ignore its decisions. So it's the advertisers that "pull" the ads, due to self-regulatory
    • by Finallyjoined!!! ( 1158431 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:03AM (#25497917)
      Whenever you see an ad claiming "unlimited" from an ISP you know limits in the small print, i.e. BT, Talk talk, Virgin, Tiscali etc. Send in a complaint.

      http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/how_to_complain/complaints_form/ [asa.org.uk]
      • Probably not going to work. See my sibling comment [slashdot.org]
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by theaveng ( 1243528 )

        I just checked my Verizon DSL account. It turns out it does have different levels:

        50 hours == $7.
        150 hour == $13
        unlimited== $15

        I had no idea there were various time limits! I just bought the "unlimited" service, because that's what was advertised. I guess it's similar to how Cable companies don't advertise their low-cost $15 a month option. They want you to buy the expensive $60 a month package and remain ignorant about lower-cost option.

    • Their adjudicat... ajudic... their decisions are based on what the public might "reasonably" conclude from the advert, while using their brain. So if while the ad shows the word "unlimited" it says at the bottom "fair use limit 10GB", then it's considered reasonable, because the reader will infer from the contradiction that they are about to be ripped off, and therefore no deception has occurred.

      More seriously, if the service is "unlimited" but the fine print makes it clear that traffic management occurs
      • I'd like to make the obvious observation here that the ASA's adjudications (looked it up) are somewhat subjective, and therefore very prone to being revised if the advertiser argues that they've made incorrect assumptions, in this case assumptions about what the viewer is likely to conclude. This survey is the sort of thing that might force the ASA to make such a reassessment.
    • I complained to the ASA about a Vodafone "unlimited access to your email" mobile plan that had "limited to 500MB" in the small print. They said the ad was fine because an unlimited service is allowed to have a fair use policy that includes a limit.

      • I do love how we are forced to assume the positive statement 'service is unlimited' is a lie, while the negative statment 'limited to xxxMB' is the truth.

        I'd rather assume the latter is the lie, and the first is the truth.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I would love to have them in court and ask them

          Me: "So, you're telling me that a provider is free to lie to the consumer, provided that the truth is less prominently displayed as well. Tell me, what do you think my name is?"

          *Displays name tag with real name written prominently and false name written less prominently. Defendant invariably chooses the less prominently displayed name.*

          Me: "Incorrect! I didn't tell you beforehand what the rules were. You just assumed that we were going by the rules by which th

    • Double Standards anyone?

      The ASA are an industry body. They pretend to be independent of the advertisers, but are completely funded by them. (The whole arrangement is rather odd, as you can see from here [wikipedia.org]).

      Anyhow, don't expect the ASA to make any major industry-defying decisions any time soon.

      Meanwhile I'm on a really unlimited tariff through UKFSN / enta.net, whom I wholeheartedly endorse. Of course I pay a bit more for this - £30/month which is approximately double what most people are payin

  • by Threni ( 635302 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @10:32AM (#25497543)

    is why are companies allowed to describe something as unlimited when it's limited. If that was changed, there'd be no problem. The ISPs always say `most users....` then I lose attention. If most user don't use 50 gigs, then limit it to 50 gigs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Barsteward ( 969998 )
      its the truth, Jim but not as we know it.....
    • If you want me to wear 37 pieces of flair, then why don't you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair?
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      If most user don't use 50 gigs, then limit it to 50 gigs.

      Most users don't use 500 Peta Bytes, so let's put the limit there. Seriously. If they would say that most users do not use 50 gigs, then you can be sure that it is 50%+1 person. That would mean they would be able to screw over 50%-1.

      • Most users don't use 500 Peta Bytes, so let's put the limit there.

        Actually, that's a pretty nice idea (kinda). ISP's LOVE to claim that they can't REALLY sell "UNLIMITED" bandwidth. And I don't expect them to.

        My DSL line is a 3Mbps line. At full saturation for 30 days straight that's rougly 950GB of data. You want to cap me because you can't offer "UNLIMITED!!!!" bandwidth, then fine. I'd be happy with a monthly cap of 950GB. It's not unlimited, and it's what I pay for.

        Sure I probably only use about 100GB per month, but that's kind of irrelevant. I'm still paying f

    • The ASA don't really seem to care whether an advert is actually telling the truth or not, which makes sense considering they're a self-regulating body of advertisers.

      They also let Virgin Media get away with their "only fibre-optic broadband" nonsense, which in fact means "we use fibre-optics at some point along the line, and then switch to copper at about the same point DSL would".

    • why are companies allowed to describe something as unlimited when it's limited.

      Because it is unlimited. Back in the days of dialup, you would buy access in terms of minutes, or hours use per month. Now you can use your connection full time, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, all month long. There are no more time limits. Hence, the account is unlimited.

      That doesn't mean there are no bandwith or traffic volume restrictions, though.
  • Leave it as it is (Score:5, Interesting)

    by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @10:34AM (#25497567)
    10% of the users using 90% of the bandwidth still leaves 10% for Grandpa to check his email and your sister to update her MySpaz.

    Why punish those who actually USE what they paid for? I've had the same contract since BlueYonder "real" unlimited connections, and my usage hasn't changed. All that's changed is as soon as ive watched a couple of iPlayer programs, my downstream drops from 250k to 100k. My dad, mum, and brother don't notice, so there's 75% who don't understand and aren't affected. Only we know, and only we use it.
    • by Shaman ( 1148 ) <shaman@k o s .net> on Friday October 24, 2008 @10:39AM (#25497627) Homepage

      Because you never pay for it, the price has a built-in over-subscription requirement. Dedicated bandwidth costs a lot more. Go price a DS-3 and see.

      What you're saying is a little like saying you want to use the whole road for yourself at the maximum rate possible. After all, your taxes pay for your access to it.

      • That's not what he is saying at all. To use the road example, he is asking to drive on the road with as big as a vehicle as possible as often as he wants. I am not aware of any usage limitations on roads. I've never been told, "sorry, you have driven too much today, go home for a bit".

        We know that our precious cable is shared with the neighbours, and we can't exceed the maximum posted speed for our internet connections (or even reach it). Your analogy sucks.
        • I am not aware of any usage limitations on roads. I've never been told, "sorry, you have driven too much today, go home for a bit".

          For one thing, road use is metered: governments tax road fuels. For another, governments limit vehicle size and weight on public roads.

      • by lysergic.acid ( 845423 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:03AM (#25497921) Homepage

        that's bullshit. the average price of U.S. per Mbps is about 10 times higher than countries like Sweden, Korea, and Japan, and it's still 2-3 times that of most other developed nations [lunchoverip.com]. just because the telecom/ISP monopolies charge extortionate rates for decent quality service doesn't mean that's what it costs to provide.

        consumers expect what they paid for--what was advertise by the ISPs. if they'd been honest about the broadband service in the first place, this conflict would not have occurred. trying to shift blame onto consumers and use traffic throttling & package shaping to manipulate demand is counter to good business sense. while we're trying to scapegoat "power users," countries like Japan are upping their infrastructure to meet public demand. that's how technology usually works--you increase supply (speeds, capacity, etc.) to meet public demand. you don't artificially decrease demand to meet the supply.

        unlike you, most intelligent internet users don't subscribe to this pay more for less mentality. and if you actually did some research into how other broadband networks/services are run, you'd see how much we're being completely screwed over. Japan's already rolling out 100 Mbps connections to all homes, and many are being offered 1 Gbps for £28($43). meanwhile ISP greed and incompetence is leaving our countries in the dust.

        but, hey, let's spend more packet shaping technology analyzing user traffic to increase unnecessary overhead. that's a much better use of resources than actually increasing network speed/capacity and providing better value to customers.

        • The U.S. average speed = 4.8 Mbit/s. EU = 5.3. Australia = 1.7. We Americans are no worse-off than our European colleagues, and vastly superior than the Aussies.

          • by arevos ( 659374 )

            The U.S. average speed = 4.8 Mbit/s. EU = 5.3. Australia = 1.7. We Americans are no worse-off than our European colleagues, and vastly superior than the Aussies.


            The EU is also comprised of a lot of different countries, some of which have better infrastructure than others. I'd be interested in comparing the average speed of, say Sweden with California.

            • No such survey exists (to my knowledge) but speedtest.net provides some interesting data. The fastest regions the U.S. are clustered in the densely-populated Northeast. Europe's fastest regions are mostly ex-communist states. Canada's fastest province (B.C.) is a distant ~30th place.

              NORTH AMERICA - 5.2 Mbit/s
              EUROPE - 5.0 Mbit/s

              FASTEST STATES (across both continents)
              11.2 Lithuania
              10.2 Sweden
              9.1 Delaware
              9.1 Romania
              8.9 Latvia
              8.6 Washington State
              8.2 Rhode Island
              8.2 Bulgaria
              8.0 New Jersey
              7.8 Massachusetts

          • that depends on which [websiteoptimization.com] European country [arstechnica.com] you're talking about.

            and it's not just an issue of advertised speed. it's an issue of quality of service--bandwidth caps, overselling, traffic throttling/shaping, packet monitoring & other usage restrictions. and all of these ultimately tie to _value_ [dslreports.com], which is what we need to compare.

            we don't need to be faster than everyone else or as fast as Japan and Korea. that's not what i'm arguing. but we shouldn't be paying more for less. Japan is far and ahead of the U.S.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by daybot ( 911557 ) *

            We Americans are no worse-off than our European colleagues, and vastly superior than the Aussies.

            And we have faster internet...

        • P.S. Approximately 15% of Americans (probably those living in empty Wyoming or Nebraska) are still using phoneline connection (56k or less). The other 85% are using broadband DSL, cable, FiOS, or satellite.

          I wonder where the survey puts people like me, who have both broadband and dialup?
          Also: I can't connect to both Verizon DSL and Netscape Dialup at the same time.
          Is there some way to fix that problem?

      • Where I am (near Washington, D.C.), it would cost me about $400/month to get dedicated, non-oversubscribed 50Mbps symmetric service.

        It's not a true DS3, but fiber to the premises. I don't need that much, so I'm content with 15Mbps symmetric for $140/month with 5 static IPs.

        There are still some good ISPs out there, with prices that won't require you to mortgage your home.

  • It's funny how... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Xest ( 935314 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @10:36AM (#25497599)

    ...usage caps were sold as a legit tool for ISPs despite advertising unlimited because these caps affected only a tiny minority of heavy users.

    I'm not convinced 1million is a tiny minority. It's about time the ASA actually did some work for once and punished broadband providers for not advertising their caps more obviously. Last time it was brought up they said they didn't need to force them to change their practices for the above mentioned reason that caps were high enough to only effect a very small amount of users.

    Even Plus Net which prides itself in being open and which is probably one of the most open out the lot can be quite evil. When I renewed my contract with them for a year I don't recall seeing anywhere (except perhaps in the depths of the contract which I did read but must have overlooked) that by renewing my contract I'd accept a change in the definition of off-peak from midnight to 4pm down to midnight to 8am.

    Of course, it wasn't until I hit my 20gb on-peak cap within a couple of weeks that I looked into it and found I'd started being metred during the previously off-peak 8am to 4pm.

    Similarly when I stuck with their old package I noticed my speeds dropped below their advertised maximum caps at times also.

    If this is the kind of practice arguably the UK's most transparent ISP engages in it's no wonder users are confused about caps. The argument about the validity of ISPs imposing caps is one thing but the fact is that ISPs can't even be honest to their customers either and I'd argue this is the crux of the problem in terms of end user confusion on the issue.

    • Which is exactly why I left Plus Net and went to Zen. The moving goalposts on download limits, binary news groups and peak times just got to be a pain. The final straw was when a spammer got hold of their address lists.

      Zen tell you what you get (for me, 25Gb a month) and how much you pay if you go over that amount. On the plus side when I moved to Zen my download went from ~1Mbps to ~3Mbps. No idea why Plus Net were capping that.

      • I would be HAPPY to have that chance. Nobody around here gives out that information.

        I would also be happy to have metered service. I would pay for what I use.

        • >>>I would also be happy to have metered service. I would pay for what I use.

          I agree 100%. My P2P client averages a 10kB/sec rate which is approximately 26 gigabytes per month. I'm willing to pay a rate of 50 cents per gig == $13. (Or the flat $15 I'm already paying.)

          BTW is there an actual meter I can add to my PC, so I can monitor my gigabyte usage?

    • And probably a good idea for the FCC and USA ISPs to take notice.

      Now with that said, WTF is wrong with building out some more bandwidth on the infrastructure side? Is it because they would have trouble monitoring it all if there were more bandwidth? Is it because the **AA's et al would not be able to monitor it all?

      Seriously, there is no reason not to build bigger infrastructure. This is simple stupidity on face value. Move some of your infrastructure out toward the edge and your bandwidth increases for end

    • Others have said it, but Zen are a far superior ISP to PlusNet in almost every way.

      IIRC PlusNet were acquired a year or two ago by BT, with another old-skool stalwart Pipex being acquired by Tiscali - in both cases customer service bombed shortly thereafter.

      Moving between alot of shared housing, I've used alot of ISP's and Zen are still the only one I'd ever recommend. Very little bullshit - they're perfectly up front about their bandwidth policies and what it'll cost you if you go over, they have by far th

  • even if... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @10:37AM (#25497611)
    Even if the users knew what their usage limits were, a huge majority still wouldn't have any reasonable sense of what that is. They have a vague idea of what the number means, but most can't even tell you how big a file is even when the number is staring them in the face, let alone when there's a constant stream of data trickling in every time they click a link. And that's not even getting into things like streaming video. The only way these limits will ever work is if the ISP provides some way of monitoring your usage.
    • I would think almost all ISPs *do* allow you to monitor your usage (I know Telenet in Belgium does), but either nobody bothers with it until they get warning e-mails that they're approaching the limit, or they are too clueless to find the monitor.
      • I don't think either of my recent ISPs have done (Orange and Sky). Not that they've ever contacted me, even on a 2GB (yes, two gig) cap when I run a downloads website (so I'm uploading and downloading to the server) and a Fedora box (so I can be downloading reasonable size updates at times). Sky are nice enough to say [sky.com] that they'll do the monitoring for me between 5pm and 12am. I've even looked for something in their control panel before but found nothing, which means it'll be my first point I raise if they

    • by Inda ( 580031 )
      Some ISPs in the UK quote their speeds in seconds per song. Mine says "2 seconds to download a music track". Funny how one track for me lasts 70 minutes, but I digress.

      I think they should quote their download limits in the same way. I know that my limit is 3gb per day (evening) before I get throttled, therefore the ISP should say "You can download 600 songs per day!" or even better "You can download eight TV programmes!" or "...four films..."

      But they wouldn't do that now, would they?

      I'm on the Extra Large S
  • by BoRegardless ( 721219 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @10:40AM (#25497637)

    Where is it on this earth where governments are going to play their proper role in making sure the playing field is level and participants are not deceived?

    Government's roles are to provide rule of law, not bending of laws, & adherence to meanings of words, not redefining them in advertising to suit a malicious manager.

    • Governments generally would like the internet to go away. It transfers far too much power into the hands of the people (and criminals). While they can't ban it outright, they can make it difficult to use and promote an idea of it being socially suspect - ooooh, you download stuff? so are you a paedophile or a pirate?

      Allowing ISPs to act arbitrarily and at the same time requiring them to accept ever more onerous responsibilities is a passive-aggressive way of furthering this goal.

    • Well, the government body which oversees communication (including broadcasting and advertising), known as OFCOM, hasn't weighed in yet. The ASA is a self-regulatory group run by advertising agencies. If there's enough pressure for change, OFCOM may step in and lay down the law.
  • by shin0r ( 208259 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @10:49AM (#25497755) Homepage

    Thanks Slashdot, two chances to plug http://superawesomebroadband.com/ [superaweso...adband.com] in two days.

    "Unlimited connections on static IPs. No download or upload limits. No port blocking, no packet shaping, no transparent web caches, no 'fair usage' policy, no logging, no Phorm, no ad-serving, no small print. Rolling 1 month contract. No lock in period. Direct Engineer Support 24 hours a day, every day. Good, not cheap. £60 /month"

    • If I lived in the UK, you would have just sold me. Throw in a shell account, and I may consider jumping across the pond :)
    • $120 a month???

      Pass. I'm only paying $15 a month currently.

    • I've got an enta.net account through UKFSN [ukfsn.org] which is also truly unlimited. For the really unlimited part of this service, I pay extra - £30 / month - which is approximately twice what most users would pay for their limited service.

      Also UKFSN donate some of their profits to free software projects [ukfsn.org], which is nice.


  • ...they can do as one of our ISPs did before we completely rejected the idea of gigabyte limits - full speed until you hit your quota, then drop the speed to 64kpbs (ISDN speed) for the reminder of the month. No abuse or threats of disconnection, you simply can't milk it past the limit and it's enough for people to do basic stuff. Unless they actively call support and ask why the line is slow, you don't have to bother with them. Even the people that are utterly clueless about how much they use or what the l

    • >>>full speed until you hit your quota, then drop the speed to 64kpbs

      Works for me. I can still bittorrent Doctor Who, SG Atlantis, or Eureka at the rate of 1 new episode every 5 hours. I'm a patient person. :-)

  • by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @11:31AM (#25498343)
    The standard UK package is sold as "unlimited" but with a small asterisk beside that particular weasel-word, which qualifies it as "subject to our acceptable use policy". if you can find the AUP, and understand the mish-mash of jargon and legalese, it will say that it isn't really unlimited at all. But that there's an undisclosed upper limit on the volume you may download. However, the ISPs are too shy to explicitly say what this upper limit is. Further, they give users no way to check what their usage has been (e.g. did you accidentally leave an internet radio-station playing for a week or two?).

    Once you transgress this limit - whatever it happens to be, you get a letter (or email) telling you that you've broken the rules and if you do it again, you'll be cut off. However, this is completely arbitrary and un-testable as normal users have no means of challenging the veracity of the claim, nor of knowing in advance what this unspoken limit was.

    So confused? yes, but confused that the ISPs are able to get away with such blatant mis-selling and arbitrary and un-appealable activites.

  • I thought caps were only supposed to affect the top 1% of users who abuse the system and destroy its usefulness for the remaining 99% of the good citizens. 1 million people breaking through the cap in a year sounds like 1% for very large values of 1.
  • I'm curious, with Comcast's 250 Gig monthly cap, surely they have some incredibly convenient & easy way to check on their website my home has used, right? What's the URL by chance?

    Now before anyone answers with some bizarre homebrew method for figuring out bw usage:
    1) I'm not buying a new router that I could do some sort of firmware upgrade to add a bw monitor. While nice, I'm not going out of my way to do it.
    2) I'm using multiple systems at home, so a TSR app won't cut it
    3) Comcast won't believe for a

  • Entanet (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @12:05PM (#25498943)

    When I moved to a new flat last year, I did my research and eventually signed up for one of the Entanet resellers. When I tell people I'm paying £20/month for 30GB peak (8am-10pm weekdays) and 300GB offpeak (all other times, including all weekend) they look at me as if I have a screw loose and invariably ask why I didn't got with Provider X who is half the price and "unlimited".

    The problem, I explain, is that every provider I've looked at that offered "unlimited" had a FUP and from a site on the web (which i've sadly lost) I found out that that FUP could be down to as low as 5GB per month.

    In the year I've had the broadband (living on my own), I've only managed to get at most 15GB peak and 70GB offpeak in a month. It's true I don't work from home, don't stream music or video during peak hours and download really big files offpeak - but I've not found it to severly impact my browsing abilities. Hell, I'll happily suck down a 500MB update in peak - simply because I have tonnes of it to go around.

    Thankfully Entanet offer a nice set of tools to monitor my usage, so if I start to get near their limits (due to changes in the way I use the web) then I'll re-evaluate the options again. It's not like I'm tied in, I only have a months notice period.

  • by Toll_Free ( 1295136 ) on Friday October 24, 2008 @12:12PM (#25499055)

    Was this:

    People in the UK either don't read the contracts they sign, don't question things they don't understand (the fine print), and just sign, so they can get on the internet.

    Same thing as the mortgage scandal on this side of the pond.

    I'm not into government intervention.... I'm into an educated populace. If people actually READ what the FUCK they are signing, people wouldn't be signing these contracts. If enough people don't sign on to the crap, the companies go out of business.

    Other companies will step up, if it shows enough profit to be made, to allow people to actually use their pipes. Yes, you might have to spend a bit more, but in the long run, more people are happy, and companies like the ones mentioned in the article would be, losing.... Business, customers, etc.

    Simple, people, quit being sheeple and letting companies push you around by YOUR BEING IGNORANT.

    I read my contracts before I sign them. I'd be a fucking idiot not to. If I don't agree with something, I scratch it out, and submit it. If it comes back changed again, I have to agree to it. If the company doesn't send anything back changed, my contract stands. Doesn't mean I'll win in a court of law everytime, but it does mean I've actually STUCK TO MY GUNS and actually decided to THINK for myself.

    Seriously, READ THE FUCKING PAPERS YOUR SIGNING. Simple, to the point, and won't happen, since that would require people to be literate :(

    The general populace is stupid. New news at 11. :(


  • I'm on Verizon Mobile Brodband (EVDO) here in the USA, and it's limited to 5,000 megabytes (5GB) per month. That's about 166 megabytes per day. Just normal web browsing can easily use that much, plus with a PS3 the system or games are always wanting to download updates.

    It's a reasonably fast connection, about 1.5 megabits, but I just can't USE the damn thing.

    And of course my only other Internet options are dial-up or satellite.

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