Geeks With Blogs

Connected Systems Chilled Out Blog Hanging stuff together in a meaningful way with some fun added

After many, many years of being a staunch supported of BT and BT broadband – I upgraded from Dial-up to ISDN to Broadband – I am sad to say I have been forced out by the draconian restrictions imposed on my broadband line.

In July I ‘broke’ the BT fair use policy. I achieved this by a combination of stupidity and naivety on my behalf…..

The stupidity:

I discovered the joys of HD TV series downloads on US iTunes and downloaded a number of series: Fringe, Damages, Hero’s series 3 the normal US stuff. What I failed to consider was that ‘chugging away’ overnight these downloads not only pulled down the HD version (average 1.2 gig per episode) but also downloaded an SD copy as well (another .4 gig per episode) together a series such as Fringe cover 20 odd episodes pulls in over 30 Gigs!!! So there is my stupidity in this connected    world I had failed to consider that just because you pay for something doesn’t mean you can actually get it. Also I was stupid in believing ‘Unlimited’ means ‘Unlimited’.

The upshot of my month of fun meant that I received that dreaded eMail – you are about to violate the fair use policy, swiftly followed by – you have violated the policy. Now whilst this is on the surface a good system the actual   implementation is bad. Between eMails I downloaded nothing but somehow I accumulated another 20 meg of download. On phoning I found that the ‘measurement’ / ‘reaction’ event system lags…. I was already in the poo when the warning eMail was sent!!!

I accepted my punishment because of my stupidity.

The punishment:

For the period of 30 days I was to be bandwidth limited to 1 Meg at peak times ( I think have experienced this peak times means 8am to 12pm!!).

An so for 30 days I endured this my lovely 8 meg line now at 1 to 1.2 meg bandwidth….just like old times again.

The naivety:

I believed the email that said all would be fine after I served my punishment….of course I was naive, very naive I had forgotten the following two clauses:

B. Network Management

4. What is BT's Traffic Management Policy?

BT continuously monitors network performance and reduces the speed available to very heavy users (typically less than 1 per cent of all customers) during a given month to ensure that the service received by other customers is not impacted through extremely heavy usage by a minority of people.

Customers who are classified as very heavy users will experience significantly reduced speed at peak times (typically 5pm-midnight every day but these times may change depending on the demand on the network) for a period of 30 days, or for as long as very heavy use continues. This applies to customers on all Options. Option 3 allows unlimited downloads and uploads within the monthly rental price, so Option 3 customers will not be charged for over-use. However, this does not preclude BT from reducing your speed if you are a heavy user in order to protect the experience for the rest of our customers.

We may need to vary the policy from time to time to ensure the best possible experience for all our customers. This site will always be kept up to date with the latest information.


What are BT's monthly usage allowances? How will I know if I exceed them?

Each BT Total Broadband package has a different monthly usage allowance, so you can choose the package that best suits your needs.

BT Total Broadband package
New monthly usage allowance (from 1 April 2009)

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

* Subject to Network Management

If you exceed your monthly usage allowance your service won't stop working; advisory emails will be sent to your BT primary email address if you reach 80 per cent of your usage allowance each month and further notification if you then exceed your allowance in a particular month. If you exceed your usage allowance for two months in a row, we'll charge you £1 for each extra GB you use (rounded up to the nearest GB) starting from the second month you exceed your allowance. We'll continue charging if you keep exceeding your allowance in the following months. These charges will appear on your BT bill.


So now I am a marked household and between 5pm and Midnight we are ‘managed’!!! This means in real terms the only thing I can really do between 5pm and midnight is surf and get emails.

This is not just me ‘having’ a moan but a real consequence. For reference here are examples of the measurement results (note US date format so month and day are reversed)

Capture Capture2

This is using an 8 meg option and on a line that is 0.9km from a modern exchange!!

Before this I averaged 5.6 to 6.5 meg….



Will this is simple, I can’t get a sensible response from BT, I have suffered this for over a month now and as can be imagined I am not a heavy user anymore!! But there is now no realistic end to this from BT – once a marked household, always a marked household!!

The outcome is simple – move providers and take it from there. After over an hour of phone calls I obtained my MAC code tomorrow I move to O2….

I fear this will not be as simple as it should be but lets wait and see (more stupidity and naivety)

Watch this space!

Posted on Wednesday, October 7, 2009 6:08 PM | Back to top

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