The UK’s premier provider of residential broadband services. This page holds my notes on their Fair Usage policy as at Autumn 2011. The comment documents BT’s transition to true unlimited. The page is now pretty much out of date.

On the 25th July (2012?), I started to document the performance of the line at home. This is held, originally in the comments, and on transition to this platform as the final comments on this page. .

Fair Usage

One of their contractual offers claims an unlimited download, however, I received a BT Fair Usage policy warning in November. It seems that if their “Unlimited” customers look likely to exceed 100Gb download per calendar month, they receive a warning letter, but if they exceed the limit for two months in a row, they’ll restrict the download speed to 1 Mbps for a further month during peak times. (This is 1/7th of the speed I usually get.)

Since they advertise this as an unlimited download contract, I am not very amused. Also their response seems disproportionate to me. Such speed restrictions will seriously inhibit the use of online video games and streaming content.

Furthermore, they won’t tell me how much I am using, and despite the fact that 3rd party users may be using my Openzone and/or Fon gateways which counts against my fair usage allocation, they can’t tell me how much of my alleged usage is personal to me, or a 3rd party. (They allege that they i.e. the hub chokes the 3rd party users if they want bandwidth at the same time as private usage.) I was advised to look at my Router Stats page. I was looking at this over the weekend and it seems the BTHH V2 has a new login mechanism which inhibits the ability to login to the web site. It seems I may need to explore using a login shell on the hub, or using python urllib to assess the stats, although as far as I can tell, this won’t help monitor 3rd party consumption vs my own. Is a programmatic approach possible or am I limited to checking manually periodically?

Another cause of bandwidth consumption is Windows (and Apple) Update, with four vista machines, two XP machines, one apple mac, a bunch of Virtual Machines these all are busy updating themselves and we have three copies of itunes. It has been suggested that a private web cache (linux/squid?) will reduce this demand for bandwidth. Hmm! Is this another reason to hack the BTHH?

I have little doubt that there is no transparency, that counting the BT OZ/BT Fon minutes means that I jeopardise my service to enhance the value of a BT link to other customers. It is interesting how their punishment inhibits the use of ‘Over the top’ providers such as the TV broadcaster’s web sites and games companies, organisations with BT has commercially competitive aspirations.

For the record, the usage spike in November was as a result of the launch of Modern Warfare 2, which led one of the users to download it and a bunch of other games stuff.


2 Replies

  1. At sometime between writing this and bringing it accross to this version of the wiki, BT made unlimited, unlimited.

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