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Unlimited bites the dust at Evolution Broadband
Tuesday 23 May 2006 15:00:00 by Andrew Ferguson

Evolution Broadband has been featuring heavily in users posts on the 'Unlisted ISP' section of our community forums in the last few months. The company was offering an 'unlimited download allowance' ADSL product for £24.99 per month, with free upgrades to the up to 8Mbps ADSL product, which seems to have proved too popular to be sustainable.

Posters have posted a copy of a letter sent out by the company to its customers informing them that Evolution is to stop providing an ADSL service, and a MAC code is available via the support section of their website. To read the the full letter see a copy here. In short users have until 6th June to find a new supplier and migrate to them, if they want to avoid risk of significant downtime.

Customers of the provider have had a rocky ride in the last few weeks, the download speeds people recorded has suffered significantly, and is as much due to the launch of the Max regrades as the pushing of the unlimited concept. At a time when most providers who are not using an unbundled service are implementing traffic management in one form or another to ensure that service prices can remain as low as they are, to try and buck the trend was always going to be a brave move.

Broadband in the UK no matter what supplier is used, has always hit capacity issues at some point, and the traditional way out of this was to add more capacity. Unfortunately in what is a very price sensitive market this can lead to a small percentage of the above average usage type users chasing an ever decreasing number of suppliers offering an unlimited service at an attractive price point. The options for the user who has heavy usage habits are to find a provider that uses traffic shaping that fits in with their type of Internet usage, or to delve into their wallet and move to the more expensive product ranges. Back in 2001, the best you got was an unlimited 0.5Mbps connection for around £40, and very often more. If the average monthly fee had remained at this level for all users then unlimited may have remained sustainable, but with the average fee at around £20 and line speeds at 2Mbps or faster things were bound to change.

Having to pay more for Internet access is never popular, but realistically when you consider how much other forms of entertainment cost, broadband is cheap. The suggestion to some people that they may have to pay more, will bring accusations of 'rip-off Britain' from various quarters, but it is always easier to imagine the grass is greener elsewhere. Sometimes things will be better in other countries, but will availability of services be the same? At least the fairly vanilla nature of BT Wholesale products means that almost no matter where you live you will know what the baseline service will be like.

Some advice for those looking for a new ISP, make sure you consider more than the price of service, and look at the level of your usage and how it fits in with the service plans you are looking at. Most of all, do not simply follow the crowd, as with many areas following the crowd can cause more problems than it solves.

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