As AT&T Introduces Caps, BT Removes Them; Says Investing In Network Is Smarter

from the but-of-course dept

A few years ago, we noted that BT's CTO had admitted that there weren't any congestion issues that required traffic shaping or other limitations on the network, just so long as they continued to do basic investments in network infrastructure. And, indeed, just as AT&T is introducing broadband caps, BT has announced that it's removing them, because there's no need thanks to infrastructure investments.
BT will remove the FUP controls currently applied to customers with Ďatypicalí usage. Today atypical users are restricted at 300GB usage and account for less than 0.5% of the BT customer base. BT will not target any individuals with restrictions based on usage levels. However, we still have traffic management policies that will restrict certain applications / protocols, such as P2P, 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.
Of course, it's worth noting that following our original post, a commenter pointed out that there was plenty of competition in the UK market, but there still were caps. Perhaps that's going away. Competition drives investment and innovation... and that gets you away from unnecessary limits.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Blatant Coward (profile), Mar 15th, 2011 @ 3:45am

    Now I'm gonna need a REALLY long ethernet cable...

     

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    mike allen (profile), Mar 15th, 2011 @ 4:03am

    only down side is they are one of the ISPs that spy on their customers and pass on to government.

     

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    Richard Ahlquist, Mar 15th, 2011 @ 4:07am

    Business Model

    I think the new business model they are selling the investors is this. Drop caps on the home broadband users, scare them into not using as much. This frees up backbone traffic, Fully activate HSPA for the cell customers and bingo we have moved bandwidth from one to the other with no investment in infrastructure!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2011 @ 5:10am

    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.

    A company investing in its future instead of focusing entirely on short-term profits? What a strange idea.

     

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    Julian Knight, Mar 15th, 2011 @ 5:12am

    Not for ALL,only fibre

    No limits only for FIBRE connected users. This does NOT apply to most domestic users.

     

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    Dave W (profile), Mar 15th, 2011 @ 5:28am

    Remember who actually owns the network...

    When people mention the competition in the UK market; they often forget that most (not all - Virgin is an exception) ISP's have to rent the lines from BT anyway. BT is as much a wholesale provider of bandwith as it owns the lines, and most importantly the exchanges, as it is a retail ISP.

    As Julian has commented; this is for their fibre customers only - BT Infinity - which is receiving a big marketing push right now.

     

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      Christopher (profile), Mar 15th, 2011 @ 6:20am

      And so what if they own the network?

      Do you really believe Balkanization of connections to homes is a better answer? I hesitate to make this either/or but there's really no other way to put it. You have a single gas line to your home; water, sewer as well. Why do you need three fiber/coax/dry pair connections?

      We'd be better off with a single connection point, managed by a single entity, regulated by the public. Separating deliver from supply is the key differentiator.

       

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    Frosty840, Mar 15th, 2011 @ 6:01am

    I used to comment on these posts that, living in the UK, I was on a relatively expensive connection, at 8Mb speeds, with a 30GB per month limit (with unmetered access from midnight to 8 a.m.).

    These days I'm on an "up to 20Mb" connection, with a 60GB limit (still with the 8 hours of unmetered access), with less-strict traffic shaping at, I think, a slightly lower price.

    I won't advertise them here, but, yeah, things are getting faster and better over here. Not entirely sure about "cheaper", but two out of three isn't bad.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2011 @ 6:21am

    Here in the UK the state of our internet infrastructure is absolutely dire for such a small built up country.

    This is simply a marketing ploy by BT to help sell there new fibre product BT Infinity.

    Although there will not be an usage cap there will still be horrible traffic shaping in place that basically cripple the connection at peak time.

    Alot of the ISP's in the UK will tell you there connections are wonderful but the truth is you only really get what you pay for at around 2AM in the morning.

     

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      charliebrown (profile), Mar 16th, 2011 @ 3:47am

      Re:

      In Australia the situation is crazy as well. Every ISP counts usage and most of them now count uploads as well as downloads (a few years ago it was mostly downloads only counted) so what does the government do? It invests a few truckloads of money into improving the infrastructure with their "National Broadband Network" - which offers speeds of 'up to' 100Mb and is going to count all data usage, both uploads and downloads and slow you down or charge you extra if you go over that limit.

       

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    Greevar (profile), Mar 15th, 2011 @ 6:24am

    "However, we still have traffic management policies that will restrict certain applications / protocols, such as P2P, when the network is busy."

    That's a problem. They're just redirecting their strategy to get people to stop using competing services by attacking the usage that's most likely competing with them. They want people to buy their phone or TV instead of getting what they want a la carte from the internet. Nobody with a computer and internet needs a land line phone nor cable TV. They can get all of their media from the internet.

     

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    2scoopsofreason (profile), Mar 15th, 2011 @ 8:16am

    That's completely unfair...

    insinuating a company needs to reinvest money/capital into their business! How else are they supposed to compete for most profitable! Grrr, you obviously know nothing about economics or running a conglomerate!

     

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    pringerX (profile), Mar 15th, 2011 @ 8:36am

    Imagine that!

    If the tubes are full and folks are complaining, do you make bigger tubes, or do you charge more for the existing tubes? Anyone with a brain can tell you which scenario is sustainable and better in the long run.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2011 @ 8:46am

    Considering that BT is using significant traffic shaping tools, they don't really need to use bandwidth caps to accomplish their goals. However, in the US, the whole net neutrality thing has traffic shaping being treated as a horrible black art. The result? Usage caps.

    Really, BT has usage caps, they have just moved from one type to another, the new one being someone less visible to the end user.

     

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    Richard (profile), Mar 15th, 2011 @ 9:59am

    Usage Transparency

    I signed up to BT about a year and a half ago on the Option 3 with allegedly gave me unlimited downloads and uploads. I checked their FUP and also rang the sales line. It was confirmed as completely unlimited. The amount of on-line backups I do plus the amount of pictures I take a month (weddings, Christening etc) and like to have then stored locally as well as in The Cloud (hate that term) is a lot (I shoot in RAW and don't throw them away) So was grateful that they had this option.
    3 weeks into the 18 month contract I received an email and letter informing me that I had reached my 100GB limit and would now be capped.
    I was pissed at this. So I went searching for the CEO's email address as I knew that the 'Help' line would be as much use as a kick in the balls. I found his email and wrote him a polite email detailing my conversation with the sales line, a link to their FUP and also the on-line chat that I had also had with the sales department prior to signing up (I had saved this as a pdf to my desktop luckily; got to love CutePDF)
    2 hours later he emailed me back to say that he would let his assistant help me with the matter. It was all sorted out within another 2 hours and I was released from my 18 month contract. So if in doubt, forget the helpline and go for the top if possible. Had I of gone the 'Help line' route, things would have been very different.
    It still really pisses me off that there is zero regulation regarding this and the ISP's as a whole get away with this shit, time after time.

    I have now been with BE Broadband for over a year on their Pro Account (£22.44 a month with up to 24MB download speeds and 2.5MB upload speeds) I have never once received any complaints from them. I don't take the piss, just need a decent amount of bandwidth as there are 4 other people that live in the house and most of them watch TV on-line due to the fact we can only get 4 channels normally and it's a listed building so no Sky.
    To my knowledge they have never, nor do they plan to ever start throttling people's connections. Their support is also crazy fast as well and when they say unlimited they MEAN unlimited and don't sneak throttle you due to a major lack of transparency on their behalf.
    Fuck BT

     

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