Random thoughts from an unusual company

Unlimited Usage, Broadband Monopolies and Beating The System

Gabriella Davis  7 August 2008 15:37:46
I've just discovered the degree to which my 'Unlimited' broadband isn't. We have had home broadband here with British Telecom since 1999 and the size has moved up over time to 8mpbs download on our unlimited contract.  One week ago I was trying to work in the evening but discovered my download speed was only 80k.  I contacted technical support and after several attempts of them trying to brush me off saying it was just very busy I got the call escalated and found that we had exceeded their fair use policy for unlimited downloads that month so they had (without telling us) throttled our network back to a max of 500k.  
  • No they couldn't tell me what the fair use limit was per month, only that we had downloaded 100GB
  • Yes they could see that this was the first time in 8 years we'd exceeded the fair use policy
  • No they couldn't turn us back on, we were blocked for 30 days and then they'd consider it.
  • No they couldn't move me to any other contract for any amount of money that would actually allow me greater downloads

When I pointed out that we might as well cancel our service with them and go with someone else I was told that since British Telecom control the entire ADSL network and only license it to other companies, if they block us we stay blocked no matter where we go.  Their only alternative was to have a 2nd phone line installed in the house and have ADSL added to that as well which would be a 2nd account.  

In the end I decided to take out cable broadband as a 2nd service which is 20Mpbs fibre.  So now we have 2 separate "Unlimited" broadband accounts at home, one ADSL and one fibre with 2 different providers, neither of whom will tell us what the fair use limit is.  I'm guessing in their market they don't have to worry too much about customer service.

1Rock  07/08/2008 16:34:42  Unlimited Usage, Broadband Monopolies and Beating The System

Aren't monopolies grand? (sigh...)

Here in the States various cable companies have made attempts to limit or prohibit various applications and protocols. Most recently Comcast (the largest cable+broadband provider) attempted to completely BLOCK Notes traffic, among others things including VPNs!. People FREAKED out, and they removed the restriction.

My provider, Charter (also cable+broadband) has not attempted that stuff - yet. However I have no doubt that they may try it at some point.

I think it sucks that you have had to buy a separate broadband connection, and that they won't even talk to you about what thier limits are. Have you thought about calling during business hours and asking to speak with a business account rep or manager? I would think that these providers would have some SOHO or VSB package, since that is a huge market.

In any case I am sorry this has happened to you, and it once again shows that monopolies are evil.


2Jim Casale  07/08/2008 17:55:35  Unlimited Usage, Broadband Monopolies and Beating The System

Do they have business class? I signed up with Verizon business class just so I don't have to deal with such things. So far they haven't given me any grief.

3Gabriella Davis  07/08/2008 20:00:56  Unlimited Usage, Broadband Monopolies and Beating The System

Sadly it is a business account. We even offered to change to another larger account if it meant actual unlmiited or at least some declaration of their download limits but they could offer us nothing. The cable service I've just added though explicitly states it can't be used for business in their terms and conditions. Hopefully between the 2 of them I can maintain a constant level of service but I never thought I'd have to introduce failover planning for my home network.