When service providers change usage limits it is unusual to give so much notice, but Zen are giving almost four months notice to its legacy Home 1000 and Home 2000 customers. The Zen Home 250 product which is still available for purchase at £17.99 a month will remain unlimited, as will any Zen customers on an existing Home 500 service who have not converted to a Zen 8000 Active or Pro package (20GB and 50GB download allowance respectively). A copy of the email sent out to customers can be read on our forums here.
The new limit that will take effect from the 1st March 2007 is 100 GigaBytes of download traffic per month. If a customer does hit the limit the web page requests will be redirected to a portal where they can buy extra allowance for £1.49 (inc. VAT) per GB.
There will be complaints that usage limits are killing the growth of broadband and how it can be used, with sites like YouTube often getting a mention, but to break 100GB in a month takes serious work. A 90 minute movie on Sky Anytime is generally under 1GB in size, and playing an online game non-stop for 24 hours will consume between 0.5GB and 5GB depending on the game and the amount of extras it has like video and audio comms. The average broadband user is still only using around 5 to 15GB of downloads per month.
Hopefully all providers will make use of forthcoming price cuts due in April 2007 from BT Wholesale to reassess their usage allowances, and balance price reductions to consumers against increasing average usage from customers.