Let me tell you a story. Back in the day, ISP’s offered us the internet. It was “unlimited”, so people happily browsed and watched videos. The world was a happy place and we all raised our glasses to a job well done.
Then.. the problems came. A few people took the term “unlmited” to the extreme, and started grabbing so much data that it became a problem for everyone else. Since then, many ISP’s have had issues with the “top 1%” of their customer base and have either added caps or just cut them off. Either way, it kinda spoiled the party for the rest of us, with some customers now watching their internet usage religiously, just in case that one YouTube video puts them into “the red”.
GiffGaff are having this very problem right now and, after growing in popularity through simple pricing and “unlimited” data packages, their customers are now discussing whether to chuck the “troublesome 1%” out of the boat.
To be honest there’s no perfect solution to this, although the best plan may be just to disconnect those who are completely taking the mickey.
Update – OK, we’ve got a lot of opinion on this. I should just say that I’ve worked for an ISP in the past and I’ve seen the issue at first hand. Usually, most people – even those who download torrents, movies, MP3’s and DVD’s – will probably grab around 40GB per month maximum over an ADSL or FTTC connection. That can be doing everything – watching streaming TV, grabbing HD content, the lot. But then, then there’s the top 1% – they’re online all the time. They’ve got servers in their home and NAS boxes filling up with content 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These people can pull hundreds of Gig’s of data.
I’m sure you’ve seen those cheap broadband packages which have caps of 2GB. They’re popular because the “occasional user” probably won’t need more than that. A bit of email, a bit of browsing… 2GB is enough. Now imagine one person, one customer, sucking – say 200GB per month. It just breaks the cost model completely. That one customer is using as much as 100 other people would, and those other 100 people will have less bandwidth to go around too.
Yes, “unlimited” should mean “unlimited”, just like “free” should mean “free”, but there’s four options..
1 – Say it’s “unlimited”, but traffic-shape it to heck so that you can’t pull any real bandwidth.
2 – Say it’s “unlimtied”, but block all the ports and only really allow 80 (web), 25 and 100 (mail)
3 – Say it’s “unlimited” and ramp up the charges.
4 – Say it’s “unlimited”, keep the costs low, but boot off those who are pulling completely, utterly, insane amounts of bandwidth.
Link – GiffGaff
Credit – Jack Tee