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BT Retail to remove Fair Usage Policy controls in April
Wednesday 09 March 2011 10:36:17 by Andrew Ferguson

BT Retail has operated a combination of traffic management and Fair Usage Policies on its BT Total and BT Infinity products for some time, and April 2011 will see the biggest relaxation seen in this area for a while. The retail arm of the BT Group has announced that the users who see their usage restricted at the 300GB a month mark will from April see no change in their download and upload speeds as they cross this mythical barrier. This is being achieved by the removal of the Fair Usage Policy that targeted individuals. Instead the firm will rely on traffic management that will restrict certain applications/protocols when the network is busy.

"As BT continues to invest in the network and network bandwidth we can now remove these restrictions and ensure the experience of the wider customer base. On completion there will be no individual user controls targeted at atypical users on our BT Total Broadband and BT Infinity products."

Mayuresh Thavapalan, General Manager, Consumer Broadband BT Retail

It must be pointed out that users on the BT Total Option 1, BT Total Option 2 and BT Infinity Option 1 products will still see charges being applied for going over their limits, but apparently traffic will not be managed.

In terms of stats, BT Total has said that less than 0.5% (approximately 28,000) of its users were restricted at the 300GB a month level. To put that amount into perspective, it is the equivalent of downloading at 1Mbps constantly every hour of every day in a month.

This is an interesting move from BT Total, and is perhaps being carried out in the face of the competition from Sky who have heavily pushed the unlimited nature of their products. With the excess charging remaining in place for Option 1&2 users, one presumes BT Total is hoping to upsell the unlimited product to users who don't want to watch the usage meter, but who are still well under the 300GB mark each month.

What will be interesting in the next few weeks is to see the comments from users of the service and how the system wide traffic management affects users. Certainly this news from BT Total has been one of the more open statements on how they manage traffic across their network, there is still some way to go in terms of outlining which types of traffic are most affected by the management.

We suspect that the network investment that has enabled this change to take place is the gradual roll-out of the WBC network across the UK (the 21CN based WBC network is cheaper to run than the older IPStream system). How long this new usage freedom will last is unknown, nothing is forever in the Internet world. Unlimited deals are not new and every couple of months a new small provider appears with a deal that does the rounds and proves very popular, too popular in fact, and congestion and latency kill off the appeal of the product. Hopefully BT Retail has done its sums right and has the capacity so that speeds at peak times do not dip to annoyingly low levels.

Comments

Posted by otester over 4 years ago
Wow, can they maintain a VM style system...

..only time will tell.

They've still got to ditch the rolling contracts and offer 12 months or less contracts before they become interesting to me.
Posted by krazykizza over 4 years ago
Is this applicable to the 100GB limit on Option 3 too? Still doesn't make me want to flock to them, and I get BB free as an employee.
Posted by doowles over 4 years ago
Great news! Lets hope others follow
Posted by otester over 4 years ago
Any got FTTC?

Peak speeds?
Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
At /that/ price point for FTTC?

I'll be very interested to see how that pans out. I was expecting increasing reports of congestion because *of course* they'd never dream of raising the price. But to remove all limits...hmmm.

Maybe they are just going to run the network and see how much contention punters will tolerate.
Posted by Btcc22 over 4 years ago
"Instead the firm will rely on traffic management that will restrict certain applications/protocols when the network is busy".

Sounds even worse to me.
Posted by greemble over 4 years ago
Just a minute.
"Instead the firm will rely on traffic management that will restrict all applications/protocols when the network is in use"

There, fixed.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
This is great news, surely this must now be the best VFM internet provision going? Should you be able to get it of course ;)

Peanuts in terms of price and no download limits?
Posted by infinidim over 4 years ago
"Instead the firm will rely on traffic management that will restrict all applications/protocols when the network is in use"

This is going to be very bad I think. Currently I have a sync rate of 16 Mb on 21 CN WBC from BT Retail and what do I get in throughput.......about 6 Mb average and they don't accept it as a fault.....
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
"Instead the firm will rely on traffic management that will restrict all applications/protocols when the network is in use"

No-one officially said that, that was greemble's cheeky dig.
Posted by otester over 4 years ago
@Btcc22

Not if you have a VPN :D
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
A VPN hides what protocol you are using, but on residential services they may throttle VPN's to some extent. You can identify VPN traffic, just not what it is carrying.

Posted by m0aur over 4 years ago
@Krazykizza
You are somewhat behind the times. The 100GB limit of BT Option 3 broadband, was raised to the 300GB limit mentioned here yonks ago.
I don't see they should have a problem maintaining it, as I expect there are very few users breaking the current 300GB limit.
Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago
As they said 28,000 users were breaking this limit anyways.

Now Sky will have to find something else to bang on about and the stroppy princesses can get the boot.
Posted by m0aur over 4 years ago
Well if BT still have the 5 million Broadband customers they had a couple of years ago, 28,000 users breaking the 300GB limit is just 0.5599999999999999%
Posted by otester over 4 years ago
@andrew

Possibility but so far I have not encountered a network that does that.
Posted by krazykizza over 4 years ago
@m0aur You are somewhat of an ego whore, as I was aware the 300GB limit was applicable for FTTC connections.
Posted by KarlAustin over 4 years ago
If they do it like Plusnet (which I am guessing they may, same company and all that) then a VPN isn't going to help you - even on their business service a VPN wasn't considered priority traffic - I got stuck with them for a year unfortunately and in the evening my VPN back to our offices and other facilities was unusable.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
You don't need it to be priority traffic though? Just traffic that isn't getting shaped into oblivion.
Posted by KarlAustin over 4 years ago
lol, if only it worked like that in the real world - with Plusnet I found it was a case of if it (it being traffic in general) wasn't given priority then it wasn't usable.
Posted by OldSchoolSoldier over 4 years ago
Sky LLU Unlimited = zero traffic shaping.
BT = Plenty of traffic shaping. ;)

Sky wins!
Posted by otester over 4 years ago
Question is, does BT manage throttle VPN traffic?

Going by current BT FTTC coverage it looks like VM alternative will be available the majority of the time.
Posted by ElBobbo over 4 years ago
"To put that amount into perspective, it is the equivalent of downloading at 1Mbps constantly every hour of every day in a month."

To put this mealy-mouthed excuse into perspective, it's also the equivalent of using your 40mbit "infinity" FTTC connection for 1.97 hours a day.

So, two hours a day, that's what you can do with it. Are you getting paid for those justifications, Andrew?
Posted by ElBobbo over 4 years ago
Someone kindly pointed out that I made a mistake:

You can actually use your 40mbit FTTC connection for a miserable 33.6 minutes per day. How pathetic is that.
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
?
40 Mbps
40 x 60 = 2400 Mb/min
2400 x 33.6 = 80640 Mb = 10080 MB (8 bits in a byte, so 80640/8)
10080 MB /1000 for gig = 10.8 GB
300 / 10.8 = 27.7 x 33.6 = 933 mins

so 15 hours or so for 40 Megabits/sec on a 300 GigaByte limit.
Posted by ElBobbo over 4 years ago
Well, 17 hours PER MONTH, yes. Like I said, 33.6 minutes per day.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
^
If it only affects 0.5% of customer its obviously not an issue, whatever figures you want to use.
Posted by AndrueC over 4 years ago
@GMAN99:Exactly. In fact that's a very nicely targetted system. That 0.5% of customers are probably the cheeky, selfish gits who deserve to be throttled. And their connections :)
Posted by m0aur over 4 years ago
Who is going to stream at 40Mbps?
The highest quality HD iPlayer is 3200kbps.
3200/8*60*60/1024/1024 = 1.373 GB per hour.
This allows 218.45 hours HD viewing from the old 300GB limit — Over 7 hours every day of the month.
Posted by krazykizza over 4 years ago
@m0aur You're making assumptions that this will be the only service to be used by the connection. The connection could be shared between a busy family and if you got HD streaming going on along with other downloads and potentially high uploads if you've got a home server (which i would) then 300GB quickly becomes quite small provided your syncing at the upper ends of 40mbits.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
The 300GB that is getting dropped? Come on guys.. its a non issue now? :o)
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
Sorry, my fluff!
Posted by m0aur over 4 years ago
@krazykizza
I was NOT making the assumption that one iPlayer stream would be all that was in use within a family. I really do wish you would STOP telling what I am thinking.
The point I was making was, that 7¼ Hours of the highest HD video EVERY day of the month from the 300GB allowance should be more than enough. If just one person was using the 7 hours, they would end up with piles & DVT.
Posted by ElBobbo over 4 years ago
AndrueC/GMAN99 - and what, you think this is going to improve matters? You really think this will let people download more than 300GB/month? No, this is just an excuse to throttle more and more of their customers, so that they can increase their profit margin.
Posted by m0aur over 4 years ago
I would think BT is in a better position to lay on required bandwidth compared to those that have to sell it cheap and pile 'em high.
Posted by saltyzip over 4 years ago
I have looked at switching from Sky Broadband with Unlimited Calls to BT Infinity with Unlimited calls and it would cost me an extra £17.85 p/month. I also wouldn't get Sky Active+, but it's the cost that's the major stumbling block.

I only pay £7.50 for my 17Mb synced broadband connection from Sky, so can't justify paying nearly £18 pound more for BT Infinity.

Not good value for me anyway, if you have a slow ADSL connection it is perhaps more tempting, but still not good value.

Posted by saltyzip over 4 years ago
Just read this:
http://www.btwholesale-inspire.com/products2/broadband-products-picrosite/fttc?tab=features_benefits
discussed here:
http://forums.thinkbroadband.com/fibre/3973705-disappointing-fibre-install.html?fpart=all&vc=1

Maybe BT Infinity would actually be slower than my Sky connection, can anyone clarify?

Posted by otester over 4 years ago
Funny you have people trying to justify providers overselling bandwidth by calling heavy users selfish, when it is the providers fault.
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
@salty

That's just one person I wouldn't go off of that

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/p/2.html shows the average download speed to be over 30Mbps

You've already got a good speed so like you say its not as attractive for you
Posted by m0aur over 4 years ago
Then there is half the country that will be stuck on BT only 8MB exchanges for years.
Posted by KarlAustin over 4 years ago
It's quite simple otester - if they didn't over sell their bandwidth then you'd be on here moaning that your connection cost 5x-10x as much per month instead :)
Posted by ElBobbo over 4 years ago
A nice strawman, Karl. It's not what otester said, and it's not true either.

There are ISPs who carefully balance usage so that they maintain a buffer between usage and capacity. Is that too difficult, or are you just greedy?
Posted by krazykizza over 4 years ago
@ m0aur

Then what were you trying to say? That iPlayer traffic is supposed to be bandwidth intensive and plentiful with 300GB? Maybe so, but in time there will be even more bandwidth hungry applications. I'm pretty sure you have piles, it showing in your attitude of posting.
Posted by KarlAustin over 4 years ago
@ElBobbo - By inferring that ISPs overselling were at fault he said just that. Overselling it part of the game like it or not if you want to compete on price - and that's what 99% of the population want, the cheapest they can get. The problem is that as usage patterns change you can get caught out as your buffer is eroded with no extra revenue coming in and overheads not decreasing it means you're stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Posted by RAConnell over 4 years ago
BT doing something "fair" - you must be joking!
Posted by Oddball over 4 years ago
Great. Now all they need do is raise my fathers 40GB limit on option 1 to 100GB per month. At the moment he keeps getting close to it but cannot afford to upgrade to option 2. I keep getting him moaning at me about HIS usage. lol
Posted by GMAN99 over 4 years ago
They don't NEED to do anything :) If he can't afford option 2 just download as per the package he is on, simple. Its not a charity service, if he wants to download more stump up the extra £4.10 a month like everyone else does
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