BT throttles users' download speeds under 'Fair Usage' policy

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internet-uk.jpgBT, the UK’s biggest ISP, has been accused of throttling users’ download speeds between 5.30 and midnight.

People who sign up for BT’s option one, 8Mbps service, may find the speed they actually get is 1Mbps or under, which might contravene trade descriptions legislation.

A fair usage policy secreted on BT’s website reads: “We do limit the speed of all video streaming to 896Kbps on our Option 1 product, during peak times only.”

ISPs use “traffic shaping” to “provide a good overall experience for all of [their] users”. But in practise, this policy just leads to slow and occasionally unusable connections for everyone.

BT said: “Where we manage bandwidth, we do so in order to optimise the experience for all customers, whatever they want to do online.

“We believe there is a real issue that content owners like the BBC need to address and we are currently in discussions with the BBC executive to ensure that our customers get the best possible experience in the future.”

The issue is that BT and other ISPs are refusing to invest in the replacement of antiquated telephone lines while hiding behind their “Fair Usage” policies, which are inherently ridiculous. If you pay for something called, “unlimited broadband”, then having your connection throttled based on some ridiculous and arbitrary “fair usage” terms in simply preposterous.

We pay a premium for our broadband in this country and we get one of the poorest services in the western world, it’s high-time consumer groups put some concerted pressure on our ISPs to invest in some serious physical infrastructure to get us the service we deserve.

Why not test your connection? Tell us your actual speed and bandwith, what speed you were promised, and who your ISP is we’ll tell you who the best and worst are.

(Via BBC)

Oli Jones

2 comments

  • I think sometimes it’s too easy to assume that ISPs simply won’t update their networks in order to provide additional bandwidth. While that could very well be the case with mega-providers like BT, in other situations, for example with smaller ISPs or WISPs, there truly is a limited budget. Many of the ISPs that we (Netequalizer) provide optimization technology to are the only options for Internet service in their areas. They, too, would like to upgrade the network, but doing so could very likely drag the whole operation under, leaving all of their customers without service. So, in this case, bandwidth shaping — especially when done only at times of network congestion — is the only way to ensure that all users are getting fair access to what really is a limited resource.

  • This is why I might be switching mobile providers too.

    ‘Unlimited Data’ on O2 Simplicity is actually 200mb under ‘fair usage’, whereas ‘Unlimited Data’ on T-Mobile Solo is a much more respectable gigabyte. Casual browsers might never exceed 200mb’s, but I’m flirting with streaming services, and for things like Spotify a prosumer is going to require such a provision.

    ‘Fair usage’ is a diabolical practice, and if products were being sold properly there would be no need for such subversion. It should be outright banned.

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