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F9 to dramatically increase usage allowances

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F9 to dramatically increase usage allowances

...is news I would love to read.

My son decided he would watch a TV series in HD DivX on the web - one episode a night. It blew my allowance away half way through the month, even though I am paying for "Premier" (no, BBMW isn't a good idea and he couldn't download off peak and watch later as it was streaming only and I haven't got a month of Sundays to surf for cunning software so I can capture streaming video).

It seems that apart from the 8M speed which is nice but allows me to use up my allowance faster, nothing has got better in the 3.5 years since I bought the service. And plenty of things have got worse - like the spam I didn't get until F9 generously gave away my account details a few weeks ago. Mind you and it chokes me to say this but SquirrelMail is really fast - planning any more cockups that force you to improve service?

Can F9/Plusnet please tell when you will raise bandwidth and allowances? We quite rightly expect this to increase and/or get cheaper year after year the same way that PCs, mobile phones, cameras, TVs and so on keep getting better and cost less. If we are supposed to be able to watch TV on broadband, we need much more. Very soon. A straight answer please. Don't pass the buck. If answer is "no plans" then please say so.

Ian
11 REPLIES
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 17,624
Thanks: 610
Fixes: 158
Registered: 05-04-2007

F9 to dramatically increase usage allowances

Hi there,

While I appreciate where you are coming from on this unfortunately the ADSL market is not comparable to the other ones you have listed in financial terms.
The BBYW products are already based on future pricing, they are worked out from May 2008's wholesale pricing structure and as such there is no margin to alter prices at the moment.

Because of these reasons more and more ISP's are introducing traffic management, as we have had more experience in traffic management than most, if not all, other ISPs we believe that we are getting quite good at it. This should mean that you can watch TV on demand at good speeds all the time.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Chris Parr
 Plusnet Help Team
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F9 to dramatically increase usage allowances

Thank you for the reply and sorry about the tone but I had plenty to get off my chest.

However, we will only be able to watch TV on demand at good speeds all the time if we pay a great deal more money. Which most people will not. It also doesn't sound like there is the capacity to provide the service anyway if too many people want it. Therefore new services like BBC's iPlayer for example (and Joost which keeps being mentioned) are not feasible, and everyday TV over broadband is a long way off.

Ian
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 17,624
Thanks: 610
Fixes: 158
Registered: 05-04-2007

F9 to dramatically increase usage allowances

Quote
It also doesn't sound like there is the capacity to provide the service anyway if too many people want it.


Have you seen this link
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Chris Parr
 Plusnet Help Team
Ianwild
Grafter
Posts: 3,835
Registered: 05-04-2007

F9 to dramatically increase usage allowances

Quote
Thank you for the reply and sorry about the tone but I had plenty to get off my chest.

However, we will only be able to watch TV on demand at good speeds all the time if we pay a great deal more money. Which most people will not. It also doesn't sound like there is the capacity to provide the service anyway if too many people want it. Therefore new services like BBC's iPlayer for example (and Joost which keeps being mentioned) are not feasible, and everyday TV over broadband is a long way off.

Ian


Hi Ian,

I think we would all agree with you - There isn't enough capacity if everyone wanted to use these services. You may find these two articles interesting, which explain our perspective on the issues behind this topic:

Broadband Blueprint

The traffic management roadmap

You've hit the problem we have been fighting for over two years on the head, and it's one that is currently affecting the industry as a whole. It's the reason why ISPs like Pipex are for sale (And partly why we ourselves could not survive independently and without the backing of a bigger company).

As a consumer, I too would expect that with the clear increases in Broadband usage, the economics of supply and demand would apply and there would be a subsequent reduction in cost. That should perhaps be the case, but to understand the problem with this you have to appreciate that like most Broadband suppliers currently we must buy all of our Broadband capacity from BT. There has been just one reduction in wholesale costs from BT in the last two years (Which was in April 2007).

Before the price cut, it cost us around £210 per Mbps (Ie for a customer connected at 2Mb downloading constantly, that would cost us £420 a month - Upto 8Mb/s only increased our exposure). That is on top of a £7.80 per month 'tail' cost (The fixed price we pay to BT for each Broadband customer). The wholesale price has now reduced by about 8 or 9% in total (The maths are more complicated, but it's around that sort of number).

By the middle of next year we believe that wholesale costs will be half of what they were before the April price reduction, but we know there won't be any further price reductions before January. All the time however,
usage demands however are growing rapidly. As such without us charging more there can't be an increase in usage allowances - Average usage itself would probably double tomorrow if the network were not already full (ie if the people that wanted to could download full speed peer to peer and Usenet files), but in any case, with the extra pipe, we are providing a lot more capacity now than the 10% price cut would suggest. We had to choose to take a hit to our profit margins to achieve that and ensure we could still provide customers with an attractive service, which fortunately was something our new owners understood and have been supportive of.

The Blueprint link above explains all of that in more detail - Please do let me know if you have any more questions or think it could be clearer.

I hope that doesn't sound like us passing the buck - I've tried to provide the facts as they stand. The problem we have right now is that a year ago, sites like youtube.com were insignificant and filesharing was the major problem. Now at peak times youtube is using up to 10% of all our capacity, and Peer to peer already has to be restricted to support that.

In terms of solutions, simply throwing money at the problem and subsidising usage is not a sensible (or realistic) option in my opinion, and while some in the industry are doing just that in the hope of future revenues (Sky Broadband/Easynet lost £84 Million in the last half of 2006 for example), it's not a long term answer.

This should not be all doom and gloom. We can be hopeful that with the new 21CN infrastructure BT are building, things will improve eventually. Even then though, there is an argument that says copper will never be good enough to deliver high definition TV services and the like, especially not in real-time. The problem with the current infrastructure stems from the fact that BT only ever designed the system to work for web browsing and email use - Never as a streaming service. While the 21CN network will address that, on it's own it still may not be enough and I expect traffic management, at peak times anyway, will always be needed in order to keep services affordable.

Ultimately, it may boil down to the consumers that expect more being prepared to pay for it... Would you pay £2 - £3 per GB for your HDTV stream? Even including the subsidy from users who are not downloading, that's the very least of what it costs us when you download in the afternoon and evening. Downloading at 3AM (when the network is quiet and already paid for) and watching later, may be the only option for you for some time, and even then if everyone did it those HDTV streams won't come quickly.

On a final note I totally sympathise and like everyone here here share your frustration over the Webmail incident and resultant spam. You are right that they did lead us to react in a way that we should have done before and we have not made any excuses for that failure on our part. We are doing everything we can now to mitigate the problem, but for some I understand we can never rebuild the trust we lost as a result.

With Regards,

Ian
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F9 to dramatically increase usage allowances

Thanks Ian - nice detailed reply. I shall check the links later.

Just one comment (no response needed), that many TV and video services are currently and may stay streaming only and not download. That will have to change, or "cunning software" that I mentioned will have to appear to allow us to watch later. Otherwise you will continue to have peak load problems.

Thankfully there's more than enough **** even on Freeview that I don't have time to watch but I'm not your problem - my kids are!

Ian
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
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Registered: 04-04-2007

F9 to dramatically increase usage allowances

Yep, we do expect to see a combination of download and streaming services. One example that could be popular is a TV catch-up service. You could have a Sky Plus style interface to record shows in the future but go back so 7 days to download shows you've missed and you could probably have a "watch now" button to stream it or a "watch tomorrow" button to download it overnight.
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F9 to dramatically increase usage allowances

I'm following this with interest as i'm in a student house and video \ web tv is very popular. When everyone moves in I think we're going to have to leave plusnet because of the usage and go for something like uk online (aka easynet that Sky Broadband also uses). They seem to have the advantage though in that they have unbundelled exchanges which allows them to be less strict with usage limits because they don't have to pay as much for bandwith.

I guess it's gone by full circle - UK Onlines parent has the infrastructure so it's subsidiaries benifit from lower costs, yet as a bt group company the regulator prohibits you benifiting because it's anti competative.

What would really help though would be a hard look at the off peak times - we know that 3pm - midnight are peak, but really 8am? when it used to be 3pm-11pm was it? - surely it would be possible to have uncapped usage between 8am and midday or something, or even give us an extra allowance to reflect the fact that there is more capacity at these times - that might just allow me to justify force9 broadband over uk online.
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F9 to dramatically increase usage allowances

Anyone from plusnet care to comment on the peak \ off peak hours issue. Whilst we appreciate the sustainability, even tiscali only worry during peak hours.
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
Thanks: 18
Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-04-2007

F9 to dramatically increase usage allowances

It's a tough thing to compare because of how different the account types are. Broadband Premier and Plus were designed to have a peak and an off peak, the peak hours being 4pm to midnight. They were given a usage allowance for this time period with speeds progressively slowed down on Premier after 13GB.

Broadband Your Way is built differently rather than then peak/off peak hours and the slow down after XGB usage is charged on a PAYG basis but only between the hours of 8am and midnight. The overnight hours being free to encourage large downloads overnight.

The hours are unlikely to change because of the patterns of usage on the network. Between just after 12:30am and about 8-9am there's plenty of spare capacity on the network, but this quickly fills up in the morning and the network is pretty busy from around 10am through to 4pm. The traffic then decreases a little as the Premier/Plus peak time starts and people stop their downloads then gets busy again around 5-6pm as people get home from work/school.

There are a few differences across the week, Sunday night is gaming night for example and Saturday evenings are generally the quietest of the week and Saturday mornings/afternoons the busiest.

As such as I say there's unlikely to be any change in the chargeable hours on BBYW, but the free hours are there to schedule large downloads and you can always purchase additional bandwidth if needed.
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F9 to dramatically increase usage allowances

Fair enough, thanks for the reply dave, any comments on the issue with regards to LLU providers like UKOnline having cheaper costs? Is this the case? How will plusnet couter this as a BT Group Business that isn't alowed to benifit from lower rates because of who it's parent is.
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F9 to dramatically increase usage allowances

your right dave bbyw is the worst costing cutting hype F9 have ever released and you tell us its better value. what utter crap dave we have lost even more of our off peak usage.

NO IF AND BUTS FROM F9 its a CUT in service. I think F9 have been using Tony Blair spin doctors i.e telling us in real terms we have a better value for money Dave a CUT is a CUT which everway you dress it up.

Michael