UK Online has spent the last few days sending out emails to its customers informing them of a change to the terms and conditions, in particular the Fair Usage Policy for their broadband service. A copy of the email is reproduced below:co
A very good point is that UK Online are giving a 30 day period during which customers who feel disadvantaged by the changes can terminate their agreement. Thirty days should be long enough to let people digest the changes and ask any further questions that the changes raise.
Changes to a service providers terms and conditions can be both a good and bad thing, and it is very much a case of the customer reading the conditions and making their own mind up. Reading the comment we got from UK Online when asked about the changes to the Fair Usage Policy, it would seem that how the usage policy is interpreted will be be very personal, rather than drawing an immovable line in the sand.
Woolly fair usage policies if used well can allow people to have very high usage for a period of perhaps a month, and then if people settle back down nothing happens. Generally most providers with a fair use type policy only act on those that are consistently well above what could be called average use. The downside is that sometimes fair use policies are used to allow an ISP to market using the word 'unlimited', when in reality the way their fair use system works, the actual usage possible may be lower than a competitors clearly defined limits. At this time we believe the UK Online policy is in the former camp, i.e. only looking to deal with the persistent 24/7, month after month downloaders.
Is there a lesson to all this. Yes, for existing customers of an ISP, always make sure you are subscribed to email updates on your product, and for prospective customers to use the Internet and forums like our own to see what others are saying about how an ISP actually interprets its fair use policy.
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