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Nothing’s as ironic as a large ISPs blatantly advertising “unlimited download” packages while simultaneously threatening customers who go over an undisclosed monthly amount. It’s the perfect example of false advertising.According to ISPReview, UK ISP O2 is the latest to sell customers a phony “unlimited download” package. It’s Home Access package is supposed to include the same “unlimited downloads” feature as its non-BT unbundled fare, and yet it’s apparently been sending customers letters for some time now warning them their service could be terminated if they didn’t reduce their monthly data consumption. In fact, an unspecified number have already been disconnected.It’s been going on since late March, but O2 has never told customers precisely what that arbitrary line in the sand is, leaving many to find themselves threatened without prior clarification.“I have been threatened with disconnection after my son was home for a month and predictably my downloads shot up for the weeks he was home but that was three weeks ago and our usage has dropped down again but O2 have sent me a disconnection threat in an email with no indication of usage or cut off levels so i escalated this up through O2 — here is the response– it is clear that 40GB is now considered to be excessive,” writes an irate O2 customer in the ISP’s support forums. “My downloads are normally well below this but I signed up so I didn’t have to worry for the occasional time when i needed more bandwidth.. so much for that idea.. read on .. unlimited means 40GB max.”It seems 40GB is the limit of O2’s “unlimited download” broadband package, and an O2 customer service rep sent the person an e-mail confirming as much.“I’d like to confirm that there is no set amount of usage that will result in a warning email from us. We constantly monitor the network and those customers whose usage has a detrimental affect on the experience of others, will be contacted,” the rep said. “We’re contacting less than 10% of our heaviest users at the moment and you fell into this top tier. The majority use less than 10GB and at present if you use less than 40GB, you wouldn’t hear from us.”Therein lies a quandary. The rep says if you less than 40GB you should have no problem, but notes that a “majority” use less than 10GB p/mo. In reality this means anybody over 10GB could be considered a an abnormal, or heavy, user.In fact, on the official O2 website under traffic management it even says that you should try to use less - that’s right less - than 10GB p/mo. “Aim for that and you’ll be okay,” it cheerfully tells customers, as though it doesn’t see a problem with providing a product with false claims.So what else does O2 say about traffic management? According to its website it says it doesn’t do anything so long as you don’t “overdo it” (I love that part).From the site:What is excessive usage?You can download or upload as much as you like each month – within reason. Like most other broadband providers, we have a policy on fair use. The policy is there to stop people overloading the system. And slowing it down for everyone else. You won’t have any problem downloading films and music or watching videos online. But if you download large files at peak times every day, we might ask you to cut down. And if you keep overdoing it, we could close your account.The best part is when O2 tries to defend its use of the term “unlimited” in its Home Broadband package. It says that it doesn’t set a limit, and only threatens heavy users because they’re hogging bandwidth and harming the connection speeds of their neighbors.“We don’t set a limit on how much you can use each month. Most people use a different amount each month,” it says. “But if we’ve asked you to cut back, it’s because you’re consistently above the monthly average. And you’re regularly slowing other people down.”But, the problem with that answer is that it even admits to P2P throttling during peak-hour traffic, thus ensuring minimal, if any at all really, impact to to the connection speeds of the people next door.“We optimize our Access network by traffic type,” it continues. “During the busiest times of day (typically the afternoon and evening) we shape Peer to Peer (P2P) traffic to a maximum throughput of 50kbps. This will limit P2P traffic during peak time and free up capacity on our links.”If that wasn’t enough, if it even has a system in place to prioritize traffic type during peak times.“Additionally, to give priority to traffic that most customers just can’t wait for we have applied a Quality of Service (QoS) queuing system to prioritise traffic,” it says. “That means streaming traffic gets ahead of browsing which in turn gets ahead of P2P. This will be applied during peak times from 11am-1am (will need to get times confirmed).”So why again is there a need for monthly limits to an “unlimited download” package, and 10GB no less? ........ Only O2 knows the answer to that one.
Thats why thus far i have stuck with BT they may throttle at times but my connection is truley unlimited and i make full use of that most months & just set my downloads to start off peak .... it may cost a bit extra but in the main i cant complain... not to say they wont jump on the bandwagon at some point though.