I can has no data caps?

Vodafones new “Red” ADSL2 network has launched. And it’s a big step in the right direction. I didn’t actually think so at first. Here’s what I wrote about their three broadband plans before I noticed the cool bit that I’ll mention later:

–BEGIN

1) “Retarded”. $70/month. Up to 24Mbits/sec, with a data cap of 1GB/month. An extra 1GB for $5. Note: At 24Mbits/sec you will go through 1GB of data in just under 6 minutes. This is the ideal plan for people who enjoy paying for things and then not using them. You may as well burn $70 each month and then scrawl “BROADBAND I HAS IT” on your computer monitor. In crayon.

2) “1998”. $80/month. Up to 24Mbits/sec, with a data cap of 5GB/month. An extra 5GB for $10. Over 30 minutes at full speed. Truly, the future is now. Please send me my robot butler.

3) “Getting there”. $90/month. Up to 24Mbits/sec, with a data cap of 20GB/month. An extra 20GB for $30. Their maximum X-TREME shit-yourself awesome pack. So awesome, it actually starts to hit the very lower limit of my interest.

–END

But then, and this is the interesting bit, I re-read the thing and saw this at the end:

“Those who go over their limit can double their data for $5, $10 and $30 respectively, or continue surfing at 64kbps without incurring extra charges.”

Fuck! Yes! Someone who has decided to manage their network sanely, by speed-restricting people who hit the edges of their caps, instead of just gouging them for more money! BRILLIANT!

Okay, obviously 64Kbits/sec is weak sauce, but the fact that they are doing this at all is pretty much the kind of thing I was hoping unbundling would bring. A very big step in the right direction. This means that people will see hitting their data caps as an inconvenience rather than something that will cost them serious money. I’m talking to vodafone tomorrow.

9 thoughts on “I can has no data caps?

  1. A very big step in the right direction.

    Erm… am I missing something here? Isn’t it normal that you hit your cap and you get slowed down until you pay for more? The only differences I can see from my current plan are the speed and limiting the data block options to “double your data” instead of finer increments.

    I’m on a 6GB cap. I typically buy another 30GB after the first week for $25.

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    1. Hell no, at least not on DSL offerings. Might be normal on cable, but not DSL. If you _are_ already getting that offer on DSL, your offering ISP is taking a risk because Telecom NZ wholesale DSL (which they’re buying from, because up ’til now they’ve been the only game in town) definitely charges them for ANY data over the data cap, from ANY location. So you’d never ever see that 64Kbits/sec get any faster, because they’re not charging you for data that they’re being charged for, so they’d want to keep your ‘throttled’ speed way way down. This is not, however, the case when you own the infrastructure. Then, the expensive bit is only international connectivity. What I’d like to see is a throttling only of international bandwidth, which you would NEVER see from Telecom NZ because they don’t really want anyone to do it, lest they discover that they’re paying for toll calls when they don’t ever have to do so again.

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      1. Might be normal on cable, but not DSL.

        This is a standard Slingshot plan – it’s been this way for two or three years.

        If you _are_ already getting that offer on DSL, your offering ISP is taking a risk because Telecom NZ wholesale DSL (which they’re buying from, because up ’til now they’ve been the only game in town) definitely charges them for ANY data over the data cap, from ANY location. So you’d never ever see that 64Kbits/sec get any faster, because they’re not charging you for data that they’re being charged for, so they’d want to keep your ‘throttled’ speed way way down.

        Once I’m over the cap, I stay at 64Kb/s until I’ve agreed to pay for another block of data. I always do this manually, but they also allow users to specify an automatic increase at a given block size – so I could, for example, indicate that I’m always willing to pay for another 5GB whenever I go over my cap. Data blocks don’t roll over to the next month, so you can’t buy up a huge cap ahead of time. It used to take a couple of hours to process the increased cap and restore the normal speed, but it seems to have been faster recently.

        I don’t think there’s a huge risk here. There’s always a cap, and the ISP is never in a position where they’re paying for my usage without charging me for it. In fact they win because I’ll almost always pay for more data than I actually use, to avoid being slowed down. The price structure for data blocks is set up to encourage me to buy larger blocks earlier.
        I was never told while I was working there, but I suspect that selling data blocks is a significant part of their broadband income, with much higher margins than the basic packages.

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      2. There is a risk for the ISP – Telecom charge them for data. If you stay on 64Kbits/sec, and don’t pay any extra, they’re being billed for data that you are not paying for. That’s why the throttle is so small at 64Kbits/sec, they really don’t want you doing any kind of real data there, because they’ll be billed for it.

        This is the case unless Telecom NZ have radically changed their wholesale billing system for UBS in the last two or three years (which, admittedly, may be the case as I haven’t been involved in any negotiations with them for around that period of time).

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      3. Oh, right. I see what you mean now. However, the maximum you could possibly transfer in a month at 64Kb/s is around 21GB. I would imagine the number of users trying to transfer large quantities of data past their cap is pretty tiny compared to the number who pay for more data than they use.

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      4. At my previous employer we also dropped people over their cap down to 64k. Better still we actually only charged you for your usage up to your data cap. So if you had a 20GB cap and used 10GB we only charged for 10GB. If you had a 20GB cap and used 25GB then we charged you for 20GB. Basically it was $0.001 a MB. Or 1.04 roughly per GB.

        The idea was that Telecom charged the ISP for data over 10GB * user base. So when we did the numbers even with some people using 80-90GB our average was down at 3-4GB.

        I believe Telecom was never very good at managing to account or charge anyway.

        While I like the look of their adsl2+ plans they are somewhat more expensive data charge wise than what I currently pay. Sure I get my data faster, but i pay a lot more for the data itself, plus the extra cost for the high speed as well. 7Mb/s actually does me fine to be honest.

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  2. Weird, I thought everyone just speed limited their users when they hit their cap. I’m with Orcon at the moment, and they do anyway. *shrug*

    Still, sounds like things are s…l…o…w…l…y improving.

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  3. When Ihug started offering broadband, dropping to 64Kb/s was one of the options for the cheaper end of the plans. Didn’t suit me as if I want to download stuff I’m never going to want to download it slowly. My plan allows me 20GB a month and they charge me $2/GB over that. I’d rather it was a 25GB cap, because I always go over 20 but rarely over 25, but I’m sticking with that plan rather than Vodafone’s new one because I might go over 20GB but that doesn’t mean I need another 20. And $2/GB is reasonable when you’re not downloading more than a few extra GB/month. Lucky for me Vodafone grandfathered over Ihug’s old plans when they took it over.

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    1. I’m sure there was a reason for this rant. What was it? Oh, yes. Other than the fact that Vodafone have let me hold onto a plan I like, I don’t think I’d recommend them as an ISP. They are Teh Suck. However, I have no clue whether anybody else is any better. I was all set to make the jump to Orcon when I found out Orcon throttle torrents, although for all I know Vodafone do too.

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