As the BBC launches its new high definition (HD) iPlayer service, the spotlight is firmly back on the issue of broadband download limits and fair usage policies.
The latest bandwidth-hungry content offering for the iPlayer follows hot on the heels of recent increases in penalty download charges from some ISPs. Broadband providers control downloading in one of two distinct ways: by setting specific monthly download limits; or - where advertised as ‘unlimited’ – through the provision of a fair usage policy. Both mechanics can result in consumers incurring additional charges or having the speed of their connection “throttled” (reduced) if they fall foul of the rules.
The launch of services such as the BBC iPlayer has dramatically changed the way consumers use the internet. With over 387 million requests to stream or download content from the iPlayer since its launch, it’s clear that people are downloading TV shows, music and even DVD quality movies more than ever before. This change in online behaviour is having a direct impact on their download limits. If exceeded, consumers can find that their service becomes frustratingly slowed at peak times or they get a nasty shock when they receive their next broadband bill.
Michael Phillips, Product Director, BroadbandChoices.co.uk said:
“A key problem with download limits and fair usage policies is that consumers can’t quantify what they’re using. Consumers need their ISPs to put it into context. If consumers are regularly downloading films and music or uploading pictures to sites like Facebook, then they can easily exceed the download limits or fall foul of the fair usage policies of certain packages.”
“Another issue is where more than one person uses the same broadband connection. For example, parents need to be aware of how much their children are downloading to avoid the shock of a bumper usage bill at the end of the month.”
“Consumers need to be realistic about their downloading habits and switch to a package that suits their needs. People who aren’t sure of what their usage is can use our free Broadband Download Monitor to keep track of their downloading.”
“Ultimately, heavy downloaders should be considering services such as Sky Max, O2 Premium or Be Unlimited. These packages have unlimited download limits and significant speeds to cater for such users’ needs. Sky Max is the only package to genuinely offer unlimited downloads with no over-arching fair usage policy but in reality both the Be Unlimited and O2 Premium services would also cater for all but the most persistent, excessive downloader.”
BroadbandChoices.co.uk Top Tips for Downloading:
1. Use a download monitor to identify your monthly usage and set it to alert you when you are nearing the limit
2. Download large files in the early hours of the morning since most fair usage policies are only based on peak hour usage
3. Secure your router – if you download significant amounts of content then you are potentially more likely to download malicious content and viruses
4. If you are a light user then save money by choosing a package with a small download limit. There’s absolutely no point in paying for something you don’t need
5. If you are a heavy user, then check out our best buy tables at www.broadbandchoices.co.uk
Notes to editors
 – source: bbc.co.uk
For further information please contact:
Michael Phillips BroadbandChoices.co.uk 020 7700 3245
Karen Wagg/ Emily Church Polhill Communications 020 7655 0540
BroadbandChoices.co.uk was launched in 2005 and is the UK’s leading Ofcom accredited broadband comparison calculator.
We offer comprehensive and impartial advice on broadband, mobile broadband and bundled packages (broadband with home phone and digital TV).
The BroadbandChoices.co.uk calculator compares thousands of different combinations of packages and provides results in a clear, intuitive table where users can rank and compare services according to their individual needs.
At BroadbandChoices.co.uk we help our users make the right choice of provider and get the most from their broadband service.
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