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ntl speaks on usage allowances
Friday 07 October 2005 11:08:00 by Andrew Ferguson

Cable Forum has a statement issued by ntl on the subject of their broadband usage allowances. ntl are highlighting the changes previously announced, e.g. that their 10Mbps product will have a 75GB allowance, and that these limits are monthly rather than daily allowances.

The statement does mention that ntl recognise that unlimited access can be an emotive subject, but they are looking forward to offering a set of unlimited services. The trade off appears to be that you can have high speed with the usage limits, or lower speeds and no limit.

Interestingly the usage patterns of a small number of consumers is raised, with the example of users who consistently exceed 500GB per month, which ntl are considering abuse of their fair usage policy. It seems rather than do what some ADSL providers do of traffic manage customers, they will offer the options of leaving or moving to a slower speed product.

ntl does justify its actions, and it raises some key points in the following section: "Our networks are engineered to meet the needs of standard residential usage; this ensures we can offer affordable prices. In the last few years we have all seen strides in the afford-ability of broadband, but with this comes greater difficulty in sustaining the extreme users who abuse the Usage Allowance day after day."

Most will agree that the price of fast broadband has fallen very rapidly in the UK. The problem then is that these price drops have highlighted the usage patterns of some users, since there is less slack in the networks to cope with the small number of people trying to download the whole Internet. Actions like we have seen from ntl, Pipex, PlusNet and Tiscali to name but a few are not that unheard of in other countries, one can talk with people in other countries and hear of people being sent emails and letters about excessive usage. Perhaps UK broadband is like the price wars in the supermarkets, pay for a low cost value product and get less beans and more water per tin, or pay more and get more beans with a better tasting sauce. In short if looking for a broadband provider be sure to consider a lot more than just their position in the price comparison tables.

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