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BT Retail makes its unlimited products totally unlimited
Friday 01 February 2013 11:11:21 by Andrew Ferguson

BT Retail appears to have revamped its traffic management regime, with Unlimited Broadband, Unlimited Broadband Extra, Unlimited BT Infinity 1, Unlimited BT Infinity 2, BT Total Broadband Option 3 only having generic overall traffic management applied at peak times, where as products with usage limits still have in place specific traffic management targeted at peer to peer protocols in addition to the overall traffic management. (The relaxation on Total Broadband Option 3 only applies to new customers as of 1st February).

The traffic management policies can be found in the BT customer help pages and with the wide range of products available both old and new we urge customers to check to ensure what the situation is with their current product.

The totally unlimited products now carry the footnote 'All our unlimited broadband packages are now totally unlimited so you can download as much as you like and we won't slow you down, unlike some of our competitors'. The changes in advertising rules back in 2012 created two tiers of unlimited where you can have unlimited with some restrictions and truly unlimited services. This latest product revamp from BT Retail looks like an attempt to ensure it does not lose market share to Sky who heavily promote the unlimited nature on some of their broadband products. It also follows on from Plusnet launching their own unlimited services and we believe this is a factor of the growing footprint of the BT Wholesale WBC network which is significantly cheaper in terms of bandwidth than the 13 year old IPStream network.


Posted by mabibby over 4 years ago
Genuine question...

How do BT capacity manage WBC at each exchange? Surely if they are offering "Unlimited" the bandwidth requirements at each exchange must be huge, especially if it's an FTTC/P area? What do they generally provision? 10/20Gb?
Posted by pcoventry76 over 4 years ago
For the Calendar month of Jan I downloaded 2.6TB on Virgin Media (and was only STM'd once because I wanted to see how it performed)

How's that for unlmited BT! I don't normally stuck up for VM but I am for this occasion!
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
@mabibby Not sure on the size of backhaul on WBC, but Sky deploys 10GigE and I guess BT Wholesale will do similar.

Adding wavelengths to double or more fibre speed is fairly easy once the right hardware is on the end of the fibre links.
Posted by Tanaka71 over 4 years ago
Is it economies of scale that allow the large ISP's to do this? Or is it a shift in wholesale pricing, or some kind of loss leader for growth?
Posted by uniquename over 4 years ago
Don't forget the exchange end is purely BT Wholesale managing the capacity. BT Retail only manage the capacity at the point where it is handed over to them by BT Wholesale at the twenty WBC nodes.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
With the WBC network growing to over 80% of the UK, the price per Mbps of actual usage is getting lower for more of the user base.

That and the competition from TalkTalk and Sky.
Posted by Apilar over 4 years ago
Have they got rid of the off-peak P2P upstream traffic management? The information is no longer listed on the traffic management page.

Look at the Google cache version of the page if you want to compare the two.
Posted by Tanaka71 over 4 years ago
So will we start to see unlimited packages from the smaller ISPs like AAISP?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
@apilar Believe so, but does vary according to package and some legacy packages may differ of course.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
@tanaka71 I doubt that, all the unlimited rely on a userbase where lots of people do very little over the course of a month.

The AA, Zen, IDNet etc work out the pricing assuming a lot more users get closer to the allowance they offer.

Am sure if every 6TB/month user in the UK joined BT Unlimited or any other provider they might rethink the product promotions.
Posted by uniquename over 4 years ago
For example I'm on Plusnet Unlimited Fibre. My download + upload is under 10GB per month.
Posted by Chrismb over 4 years ago
Unlimited BT Infinity 2, introduced from 1 February 2013, with totally unlimited usage and "we won't place any speed restrictions no matter how much you upload or download, even at peak times" looks good. Same £26pm price as the old traffic shaped and FUP not truly unlimited product, which is good compared with Sky at £30pm for 80/20 too :) . BT Retail finally trying to be competitive and win back customers at last! (I ignore PlusNet as although their definition of unlimited is decent, they want +£5pm for "Pro add-on" to remove rate limits).
Posted by pcoventry76 over 4 years ago

Isn't that just overkill? I can do that on my 2G mobile a month.

Just wondering why.
Posted by driz over 4 years ago
Not sure why they couldn't just change the existing products. There's no way I'm committing to another contract. Perhaps that's the obvious answer! :)
Posted by Dixinormous over 4 years ago
Well this certainly makes the Sky and TalkTalk 80Mb deals look shaky.
Posted by jelv over 4 years ago
@ Chrismb There are no rate limits on Plusnet Unlimited. The Pro add-on very little point on Unlimited and for most users would make things worse.
Posted by uniquename over 4 years ago
Not only as jelv says, but PN reps themselves advise against Pro except on legacy products as it upsets the possibly unique traffic management which is an improvement on zero taffic management.
Posted by uniquename over 4 years ago
80/20 instead of 40/10. Just for the sake of it, at only £3.50pm extra. I.m not sure a static IP is available on 40/40 either, and I want that for BQM.
Posted by mabibby over 4 years ago
"we won't place any speed restrictions no matter how much you upload or download, even at peak times"

That doesn't guarantee bandwidth though, I assume the underlying WBC products are still sold with a contention guarantee. I remember on IPStream you were sold 50/1, 30/1 or 15/1. Surely BT aren't offering 1/1...
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
50:1 as a concept even on IPStream vanished in 2004.

WBC the aggregate peak usage is higher, the ISP pays more, 95th percentile charging.
Posted by mabibby over 4 years ago
That's a really fine balancing act i'd imagine! I buy bandwidth in datacenters under that sort of model and it causes me some unrest as you're not in control.
Posted by drummerjohn over 4 years ago
Only applies to new customers then. I got Option 2 on 15th Jan and will still be traffic managed! Same package for same price now called Unlimited but not traffic managed. That's very poor.
Posted by zyborg47 over 4 years ago
I thought Bt was already unlimited? just shows how they con the public, not just Bt, but other ISPs.

I can't see Bt getting rid of traffic managment to be honest
Posted by undecidedadrian over 4 years ago
When BT went "unlimited" Sky called their product "totally unlimited" to reflect the lack of traffic shaping.

Of course this new announcement does mean rhat Sky will need to find a new thing to sell their product.
Posted by jroadley over 4 years ago
But SKY Broadband is £7.50 a month, and cheaper line rental so don't think people will leave SKY?
Posted by Ozzo over 4 years ago
Do I have any reason to stay with BT?

PlusNet offer a much deal for much less, and since BT aren't doing this for existing customers (BT Option 3) I am leaving!
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
I did a glasnost test which reported unsrestricted p2p upstream, previously I had done dozens and even at hours like 4am upstream was capped on p2p, and I havent even recontracted yet. glasnost still reports 6881 throttled tho which I will report back on after the recontract is actioned.
Posted by otester over 4 years ago
I've used WBC BT Retail connections which are close to the exchange and the speeds are pretty bad.
Posted by diablo401972 over 4 years ago
I know BT lied they told me they dont slow peer to peer stuff down I hate bt they lie my game use peer to peer and when I was with them when ever I had an update use to take all night to do it because they where slowing it down when I rang and asked they told me they dont slow your internet down well thankyou thinkbroadband I have my prove now that bt was ling to me Im going to find what action I can take now nobody lies to me and gets away with it
Posted by Oddball over 4 years ago
BT Infinity option 1 still stuck one a 40GB per month cap and throttling of P2P :( At least up it to 80GB with less restrictive throttling or something! I mean it's not like those on the 40GB cap are the people hogging all the bandwidth!
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
@diablo401972 What system did the game updates arrive via? Agents may have replied correct in terms of not throttling any game, without actual knowledge that the specific game may have been using torrent code to download updates, and thus get caught in the p2p stuff.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago

The 40GB products are no more, now a legacy service, so your choice to upgrade to unlimited or downgrade to 10GB.

Contract terms of course being the big issue for many.
Posted by hoggig over 4 years ago
Where does the statement or indeed the BT usage policy site state that a re-contract in necessary? Been on Option 2 for the last 2 years but ran a glasnost test just now with the following results

Currently on Option 2. Ran a glasnost test just now with the results showing I'm still rate limited to 993 Kbps
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
now my glasnost says no throttling at all and at the same time I got my 18month contract down to 12months, nice.
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
the recontract needed was posted by mods on the btcare site, however there is a fair few people posting their throttling is gone without a recontract.
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