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NTL suggests usage allowances are standard practice
Wednesday 16 February 2005 14:16:00 by Andrew Ferguson

NTL is joining in the speed regrade programme, though this has been on the cards since November 2004. It almost seems like NTL enjoys periodic leaks of information to keep itself in the news, by having the information out so many months in advance of the actual regrades, this may have helped retain some customers. It is believed the regrades will now start from 14th March 2005. The changes and caps as shown on are below:

Old Speed

New Downstream

New Upstream

Usage Allowance

0.3Mbps 1Mbps 0.1Mbps 3GB
0.75Mbps 2Mbps 0.2Mbps 30GB
1.5Mbps 3Mbps 0.3Mbps 40GB

Precisely what will happen once you exceed the allowance is unclear, its likely that NTL will do something similar to BT Retail. The ntl:hell forums have a leaked memo with some more information on the regrades. Particularly telling is that NTL has BT Retail firmly in its headlights telling staff "From mid March ntl match or beat ALL BT Broadband products on price, speed & usage allowance". It is worth saying this, but the BT Retail products are not exception in their price or usage allowance, so it should not be too hard for NTL to exceed them, plus since NTL runs its own network, they are not suffering the pressures of a usage based pricing system from their wholesaler.

It will not have escaped some users, that existing 300kbps users are going to see their allowance cut from 30GB a month to just 3GB, which eclipses the BT Broadband drop for 1Mbps users from 30GB to 15GB.

Things may prove very interesting after April 2005, once BT Wholesale start to trial 4Mbps and 8Mbps services. This may mean NTL only has a short window whereby it is faster than ADSL services, though already in parts of the UK it is lagging behind ISPs like Telewest, UK Online, HomeChoice and Bulldog.


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