/ Technology

Unlimited broadband: BT says ‘goodbye’ to fair usage policies

The word 'limit' crossed out

When it comes to so-called ‘unlimited’ broadband deals, disappointment has often reigned. But now BT is offering unlimited broadband without a fair usage policy, can we look forward to other providers following suit?

As of today, BT has followed in the footsteps of Sky and removed its fair usage policy, which it used to apply to its ‘unlimited’ broadband services.

This usage policy allowed BT to restrict broadband access or slow it down for those download-happy customers who were making the most of the package they had paid for. For those among you who subscribe to BT Unlimited Broadband, Unlimited Broadband Extra, Unlimited BT Infinity 1, Unlimited BT Infinity 2 or BT Total Broadband Option 3 – ‘unlimited’ will finally mean unlimited.

Unfair fair-usage policies

And that’s how it should be. Unfortunately, the Advertising Standards Agency’s rules mean that internet service providers are allowed to label a package as ‘unlimited’, just so long as the fair usage policies are mentioned somewhere in the ads. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem fair to me.

That’s why the Committee of Advertising Practice launched a consultation on this issue last year. Several solutions were up for consideration as part of the process, including the option to make ‘unlimited’ claims unacceptable for certain broadband services. This included services that came with a fair usage policy, which lead to extra charges or a suspended service if customers exceeded a certain usage limit.

Has a revolution begun?

The question remains whether BT jumped the gun before it was forced, but I believe credit is still due. Having launched its YouView TV service late last year, BT will be acutely aware that the way we use the internet is changing. On-demand services like BBC iPlayer mean we’re no longer a slave to the TV schedule, and our demand for downloads will increase. In addition, music streaming platforms like Spotify require a constant connection if we’re to take advantage of their vast catalogues.

Of course, there’s always the risk that some customers could get carried away trawling the internet for cat videos or perusing films on Netflix, which could negatively affect your own broadband speed.

So now BT has broken ranks with Sky to offer totally unlimited broadband, surely it’s just a matter of time until other providers follow suit? With Sky and BT offering truly unlimited broadband, will you be tempted to switch providers? Or are you concerned your service might slow down due to other, high-usage customers?

Should 'unlimited' broadband deals be truly unlimited?

Yes - there should be no fair usage policies on unlimited broadband (91%, 1,328 Votes)

No - fair usage policies are reasonable to keep the service going (9%, 138 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,472

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Jason says:
5 March 2013

It’s somewhat ironic that Virginmedia have just announced further traffic management restrictions and are ‘trialing’ further ones. They state the increased restriction from 9pm to 10pm will only affect ‘certain’ already affected customers – read ‘heavy users’ who dare to try to get what they paid for. Yet more annoying is how extra traffic from the likes of tablets and streamed services are being blamed. It’s plainly ridiculous, as mentioned in the above article, that digital trends are signposted as going this way. NTL were bought by Virgin who started such fair usage policy’s and the merger with the US firm clearly isn’t going to reduce such management trends.
The policy of blaming restrictions on more customers daring to use what they’ve paid for and ‘justly’ penalise them with ‘fair usage’ policy’s is deeply insulting.
Why not increase your infastructure Virgin and give people what they pay for and quit the profit hiding game?

Perhaps we should petition the Govt to stop providers (BT) charging the full rate to people with slow broadband.

man you dont know says:
24 January 2015

fair usage policy is very effective here in sudan , when that`s happened our speed gouna get slow from 690kp/s to 24kp/s , and that`s so sucks man , im working on some vpn`s some time works ather tie not