A Personal Reality Check for Bandwidth Caps

Over the years of GNC, I’ve heard Todd rail on about broadband bandwidth caps and while I’ve enjoyed his rants, it’s been low priority topic for me.  Why? Because I think I’m a power user with a good selection of podcasts, a fair bit of online TV viewing, some (legal) music downloads. However, in a single month, I have never got anywhere near 50GB.  I think 30-something gigs was the most.

And then came the email from my service provider telling me that if I continued as I was going, I would exceed my bandwidth cap shortly.  Although I wouldn’t be cut-off, daytime bandwidth would be throttled.  I was a bit surprised but when I checked the firewall logs, it was correct – if anything, they were under-measuring by a few GB.

So, looking back, why the surge in data usage?  Well, I’m going to blame Todd and the Tech Podcast Network coverage of CES.  It was so good, I downloaded every single one of the videos, watched a few of them on-line, just couldn’t get enough.  I even downloaded some of the them twice, once for my PC and once for my Palm Pre!

Removing tongue from cheek, yes, it was the coverage of CES that bumped up the stats but it showed me that a bandwidth allocation of 50GB per month doesn’t actually go that far once you start getting into video.

Recently, I’ve also bought an Archos media player that can go online and stream content direct to my TV.  I’ve been pretty impressed by the viewing experience, even with only a wireless connection.  Although I can do the same with my laptop, having a dedicated appliance is far move convenient.

I don’t have any doubt that online distribution of films and TV programmes will take off in a big way, especially when it comes built-in to the TVs.  As an aside, a built-in media player is far more attractive to me than 3-D!  It’s also clear to me now that the telecoms companies are going to have to up their game to cope. If they’re smart, it’s an opportunity to make money and the competition for broadband services in the UK is pretty healthy. 

For consumers like me, it’s time to start looking for deals with caps bigger than 50GB.

2 thoughts on “A Personal Reality Check for Bandwidth Caps

  1. Ever since i started using the internet ive always been limited. I recently went back to BT from having a break from the internet hoping that the services might have improved…… pfffft is all i can mealy say. a new router, that’s it.

    I have BT Total BroadBand Option 3 (unlimited) and this truly is unlimited. There is a fair use policy in place which allows me to download 100GB within any 30day period – after exceeding this my daytime bandwidth is then throttled from 8mBps to a shocking 1mBps. This limit is imposed at ‘peak times’ and as stated in the fair use policy, peak time can be any time depending on network consumption. I can easily gobble up close to 200GB pcm and this is a mixture of, Streaming music, TV, Gaming (xbox360, pc), hosting a BT FON hotspot, downloading application for testing and review etc.

    Sounds alot? well, this is just me, a single guy in a 1 bedroomed flat in the north west UK. Imagine what a family of 4/5, flat mates could possibly do.

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