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Announcement: Broadband Platform Update

Ianwild
Grafter
Posts: 3,835
Registered: 05-04-2007

Announcement: Broadband Platform Update

Hi Guys,

Just re-posting this up here to allow you to focus your comments...

There has been some speculation surrounding PlusNet's management of
its broadband network and its response to customers utilising the
service significantly beyond its design. The following information is
provided to bring clarity to the situation.

It is important to understand that the wholesale cost for Broadband is
made up of £8.40 (ex VAT) per month per customer for the local loop
component and £31,130 (ex VAT) per month per 155Mb segment of a 622Mb
central pipe (BT broadband network transit). Depending on customer mix
and product mix, typically between 4000 and 10000 customers may be
serviced per segment. The resulting costs per customer are common to
all ISPs.

In order to frame the discussion further, industry average for
Broadband utilisation is circa 7GB per month per customer, across all
speeds, ISPs and account types.

PlusNet, Pipex, Zen, Nildram, Eclipse etc. all have to offer a better
all round service than BT, Wanadoo, AOL and Tiscali and in most cases
are also offered at a lower price. When looking at PlusNet's products
specifically, Broadband Home Premier 512k at £21.99 (inc VAT) is a
fixed cost service without a data transfer cap and with a contention
ratio of 50:1 (up to 50 users sharing 1 unit of capacity).

It is worth bearing in mind that, due to the nature of variable usage
across a customer base, there is always going to be scope for bursts
of utilisation by individual customers in any given month. The issue
is when users consistently use significantly greater resource than the
product can support.

Considering all of the information above, we have budgeted for the
average usage on Home Premier 512k to be up to 10GB per month. This
budget is based on the current wholesale structure and pricing.
However, there are many legitimate activities which can push people to
using more than this per month, and so we have taken that into account
in building the overall platform capacity.

It becomes very clear, if you put all the information together, that
no ISP can sell sustainable Broadband for less than £30 inc. VAT per
month and support users that continuously use in excess of 50GB per
month in the current wholesale environment. By the end of 2005 every
ISP will either be leveraging LLU, DataStream, UBC or CBC to provide
Broadband services. Indeed, over the last 2 years, a number of ISPs
have already started to deal with customers who have unsustainable
usage, some covertly but others not so, including Wanadoo and Virgin.

Having established that specific customers were using the service
significantly beyond its design, we identified that this issue was
threatening the sustainability of the service for all customers.
Specifically we have established a model that delivers an above
average service for a below average price. However, this model cannot
reasonably support customers consistently using an average of 50 times
the service design.

At this point we looked at what other providers were doing in relation
to this issue. We didn't feel that the approaches already taken were
appropriate for our customers. They either went against our open and
honest policy when interacting with customers, or did not enable an
above average service to be delivered at a below average price for all
customers.

We engaged the PlusNet UserGroup (http://usergroup.plus.net) to
discuss potential methods of managing the very small percentage of
users undermining the quality of service available to the rest of the
customers at the price point being offered. Following this
consultation, actions were decided and taken. The intent was to ensure
the fixed cost Unmetered Broadband proposition was maintained. The
intent was also to avoid the implementation of data transfer caps,
which would affect all of our customers.

The action taken was also designed to make other customers with usage
patterns closest to the 0.3% (who may not have been directly impacted
by the current process) also consider their usage levels.

The specific action was to request that 0.3% of all broadband
customers moderated their usage.
Their level of usage was inordinately high, resulting in an impact on
the quality of service for all. This 0.3% of customers were using
approximately 10% of the available platform. This equated to data
transfer levels that were consistently between 140GB per month and
600GB per month.

The objective of this exercise was to protect 99.7% of the customer
base from adverse effects resulting from the usage of the 0.3%.
Natural outcomes of this exercise were identified as:

a) A voluntary change in usage by the 0.3% of customers
b) Implementation of a solution to manage the overall capacity
available to these customers
c) Customers who didn't accept either a) or b) moving to another provider

As a result of yesterday's implementation, 8% of our total capacity
has already been freed up for the majority of our customers and a
performance improvement has been experienced by nearly all of our
customers as a result. 0.2% of customers were initially given 2% of
our overall capacity. Given the usage patterns of these customers, it
follows that their own broadband experience is being impacted by each
other's usage. For the first time this usage has not impacted the vast
majority of customers.

We are committed to providing a high quality of service at a great
price, and we will always take steps, to maintain this for our entire
customer base. We hope that the measures that are currently in place
will be successful; however there are a number of further options
available which can be explored. These could include:

+ Reduction in per-customer performance when individual usage goes
beyond a certain level e.g. 100GB for a 512k service
+ The introduction of charges for usage beyond a certain level e.g.
100GB for a 512k service

Any such additional measures would only be aimed at consistent
unsustainable usage patterns, and would be undertaken following
consultation & communication with our customers.

As a result of feedback received we are now looking to implement
flexibility on the managed platform to facilitate access to the full
potential of the network in non busy periods

While not everyone was going to be entirely happy with the events of
the past few weeks as there was never going to be a magic solution for
this problem. We have taken an approach that benefits the vast
majority of our customers, short and long term.

Regards,
PlusNet Customer Support
20 REPLIES
Pugwash
Newbie
Posts: 2
Registered: 30-07-2007

Bandwidth

During this last month, I have downloaded a little more than normal and was getting anxious about my usage. However, I was stunned at the amounts you were quoting. I fully support your actions in this matter.
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Announcement: Broadband Platform Update

what usage levels are you expecting for 1mb users? you quoted 100gb for 512 users, I am quite happy to use the service during quiet times. Since the badboys were moved i have looked at using netlimiter, it seems to be doing a good job, does our bandwidth usuage count both upload and download or just download usage.
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Announcement: Broadband Platform Update

Bandwidth usage on VMU includes both directions. I.e. anyting that travels up or down your ADSL line is counted towards your bandwidth usage figure

I think the 100GB/month figure was being suggested for all speeds, not just 512K.
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
Thanks: 18
Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-04-2007

Announcement: Broadband Platform Update

Hi,

Under the wholesale costs 1Mbps costs exactly the same as 512 and for the existing 2Mbps customers the wholesale cost is a little more at £12.40+VAT per month.
The figures above haven't been "set in stone" so to speak but when you take the costs into the equation would likely also be for 1 and 2Mbps.
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Announcement: Broadband Platform Update

can i point your attention to https://portal.plus.net/central/forums/viewtopic.php?t=23103&start=15 pn some questions if you could answer them, thanks
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Announcement: Broadband Platform Update

Why did you not just say we think more than 100GB per month is unreasonable from the start!
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Announcement: Broadband Platform Update

because they dont want to admit they are wrong, and cannot provide an unlimited service.
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Confused

Hang on I am lost here.....users were identified for excommunication by using 140+gb average per month over 3 months....now its 100+gb that is apparently excessive.

So there is no cap and plusnet has no plans for one but now the "threshold of dialup doom" has just dropped by a 40gb average per month......can someone just let me know what the limit is and how often its going to change please.

The longer this goes on the more I am fed up with the spin and PR. Lest just be honest and say you can use what you want but we have a point at which we think your taking the P*** this is Xgb per month consistantly over 3 months, at which point your stuck in the sin bin .

Thanks for your time.
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Announcement: Broadband Platform Update

marand it seems we can only dream...
soulAdequate
Dabbler
Posts: 12
Registered: 22-08-2007

Announcement: Broadband Platform Update

I agree with Andy Boyce on this one - I used to think I was something of a heavy user (some 20-odd GB so far this month), dunno how anyone can possibly do 100GB a month and still have useful computer time to make use of what they've downloaded :?:
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Announcement: Broadband Platform Update

well as pn have said its dl and upload so many people could be using their pcs as webservers, there are hundereds of thousands of things you could do my friend
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Announcement: Broadband Platform Update

So called "light!" users can not understand what the "heavy" users are doing and the "heavy" users can not understand why the light users have bothered to buy broadband when they dont use it any more than a dial up.

Its never going to be sorted out , we should just make it pay as you use what you use you pay for, thats the fairest way then nobody is subsidising anyone elses "excessive use".

Now if we could just apply that to the NHS thats brilliant because I dont need a triple heart bipass or chemo-therapy. If I do tuff I should have thought about that before and made provision or paid for my own private hospital to be built just in case. Same with council tax why is that the same for me and next door when they have 5 kids??

Car tax I dont do more miles but I pay the same as a salesman.....national insurance why do I pay the same as everyone else when I dont get anything out of it.....oh and Sky charge me the same even tho I dont watch tv as much as that old man down the road who is in a wheelchair and sits in front of it all day eh should pay double me its not fair......


You see folks lots of examples of people paying for stuff they dont use 24/7 but you dont complain when I watch sky 24/7Huh?

And no I wasnt in the 200 nor have I been moved over YET. icon_rolleyes.gif
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Announcement: Broadband Platform Update

Quote
we should just make it pay as you use what you use you pay for, thats the fairest way then nobody is subsidising anyone elses "excessive use".


Yes this is fair, but since it would mean each person paying roughly £1 for every GB downloaded. If your downloading a 100GB or more, that's £100 notes every month. I can't really see that many people except very low users going for it. In addition you'd still have to have some sort of service charge to cover the cost of pipes, staff etc.

Aaron
cwinters
Grafter
Posts: 25
Registered: 31-07-2007

Announcement: Broadband Platform Update

@marand

Everything in your post I found fault with, except the second.

- I'm sure light users can or could understand what heavy users want it for, and of course would understand a desire to continue with getting something for far lower than cost; they just don't think it is reasonable for it to continue; conversely I'm surprised you can't understand why light users see advantages in broadband, there's a host of reasons (always avaialble, not tying up a voice line) but primarily speed. And it's only some usages that require huge downloads!

- NHS use you can't choose to need a triple by-pass!, but where there is an element of personal choice (eg choosing to damage your health via ciggies) there have been moves from time to time to levy a financial penalty.

- any tax is due to government, not a business, and is governed by political aspects such as ability to pay/what society deems as fair

- sky broadcasts you're not impacting others availability to bandwidth. But anyway they do charge extra by usage via other means: extra channels, pay-per-view