8. June 2011 18:26
Coming fromt he UK I have always been a little annoyed about the way broadband is sold to end users. Typically the internet providers tend to attempt to sell their services as unlimited and then have a limit in the small print. Personally I think this is grossly unfair and should not be permitted to continue. I actually think the speed the internet providers is also grossly mis leading along with there connections. Since the more modern connections are now performing at very decent speeds of up to 24 mbits / sec. I have decided to have a look at the figures just to see exactly what the internet providers actually offer in terms of usage.
When I talk about usage I am actually talking about thoughput. Lets face it once you get speeds faster than 5mbits a second you can stream videos from youtube / iplayer and anything else. So lets look at some providers on the bases of how much you can stream and the value for money you are really getting.
I am going to start with plusnet. I used to use them when adsl first arrived inside the UK. Connections were 0.5mbit and it was a real step up from modem speeds at the time. so I decided to look at their top end package of what they could offer me. Though I would point out that they are more honest than most and tell you directly what the limits on the connections are and don't attempt to hide it in the small print. Looking at their website I can figure out the following on their up to 20mbit connection
- Limit - 60GBytes
- Cost - £11.49
- Cost / GByte - £0.19
- Maximum Usage @ 20MBit - 13 Minutes / Day
Now lets look at a massive provider inside the UK called BT. I have used connections from BT in the past and a lot of small companies have used them. I have found their technical support (if you could call it that) to be dreadfull with long wait times. Long response times. Long fix times (eg > 1 Week). Not only that but when you look at their largest package they offer an unlimited service. At first this always seems great. However they apply a fair usage policy to their connection at 100Gb. Though their 40Mbit FTTC service looks great (at first glance). This is what I think of them after some calculations.
- Limit - 100GBytes
- Cost - £28
- Cost / GByte - £0.28
- Maximum Usage @ 40 MBit - 11 Minutes / Day
So already you can see a pattern. First they are actually more expensive than plusnet. What I find most shocking about this unlimited service is that they consider maximum bandwidth usage of 11minutes / day "fair usage".
Now lets look at a smaller provider that I am currently using called BEThere. They are actually the longest provider I have been with which has not applied a "fair usage" policy or I have become so frustrated with. They do have a hidden fair usage policy on their "unlimited" service but I have not been able to find any information to why it was applied. I have seen their connections regularly support downloads of greater than 200GB / Month usage so I for the calculations I am going to put in a guess at 300GB or so. Though I have heard other people who are closer to 300-400GB in usage and still don't have problems. I would also add any support problems have always been corrected within 24-48. Normally within the first 2-4 hours of them occuring.
- Limit - Mayby 300GB?
- Cost - £22 (I think its up to £27 now)
- Cost / GBytes - £0.07
- Maximum Usage @ 24 Mbits - 56 Minutes / Day
So there you have it. A completly different way to look at picking an internet provider. I think the reasons for the cost differences are very obvious as well. Plusnet, BT always seem to offer additional services. BEThere don't offer additional services other than an outbound email relay. They provide an internet connection and almost nothing else. So it would appear the company that offers less actually offers *a lot* more.