March 27, 2006 8:46 AM PST

BT cracks down on 'broadband hogs'

BT is cracking down on heavy Internet users who are habitually breaking its monthly download limit, suggesting that they either pay more or shop elsewhere for their Internet access.

BT has agreements in place with users of its ADSL broadband service that limit them to up to 40GB of downloads per month. However, although the incumbent telecommunications company claims to be relaxed on occasional breaches of this limit--and has no automatic blocking in place once a limit is exceeded--it reports that some customers are taking liberties and regularly downloading up to 200GB each month.

"I think it's fair to characterize these people as broadband hogs. You would have to be downloading pretty much all day, everyday, to manage that level of downloading," a BT representative told Silicon.com.

BT has contacted 3,200 customers identified as excessive users. The letters offer customers the chance to pay for their excess bandwidth consumption or seek service from another provider.

Last October, BT sent a similar letter to 1,800 customers, and while "a small percentage" of them agreed to a new payment plan to cover their monster downloads, the majority saw their contracts with BT terminated. The company representative suggested that "it would probably be fair to extrapolate out those results," in terms of a prediction regarding the likely outcome of the current crackdown.

Such high levels of downloading are certainly far from typical for the average person and are likely to indicate a heavy diet of large media files such as music or movies.

If these customers were downloading music, for example, at a rate of 200GB per month, they could nearly be filling an iPod Nano twice over every single day--or 50 times over in just one month. That's approximately 50,000 songs.

Will Sturgeon of Silicon.com reported from London.

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29 comments

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200GB would be insane
Really, it would. However, are we sure that the company just didn't misuse the two different rates (bits/bytes)? Broadband providers in my area pose limits in Gbit form (and quite low ones too, though rarely enforced.)

Though, how does a person reach this limit regularly? I mean, 100GByte is possible to me but a bit of a stretch.
Posted by Tomcat Adam (272 comments )
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200GB might be insane to some bug...
I am an engineer for an entertainment company and push around 2 gig a day on average on a big day I can push/pull 4 - 10 gigs in a 24 hr period. So there are some of us that do that for legitimae reasons.

That warning would kill me and some of the engineers I work with that also telecommute. My hope would be that they allow those people to pay more monthly for higher bandwith.

I also hope that my cable company doesn't start caping my traffic, it is the only high speed internet service available for me.
Posted by Venturabumm (3 comments )
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Actually, it sounds about right
768 kb/s = 750 Kb/s = 93.75 KB/s
multiplied by 86400 sec/day comes to about 8 GB per day.
Posted by Jackson Cracker (272 comments )
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dangerous trend..?
It is obvious that the use of the BB by these heavy downloader is related to media files, P2P certainly. My concern is that they signed for a 24/7 without any limit.

Now, the rules want to be redefined by BT (max 40gigs now..), who does not know how to get rid of these guys.. Should we start filing them? And exhange between the providers, why not? What kind of selection is that..?

BT, who has recently started buying from cheap Chinese suppliers instead of Marconi(UK) and Alcatel(FR), is desperate to make profits. We all are.. But should we follow?
Posted by nap1805 (12 comments )
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Verizon Avenue doesn't have this problem...
Since they can't even give you the bandwith needed to dowload that much in a month. 200GB in a month means you're averaging 60KB/s, which my horrible Verizon internet connection certainly wouldn't be able to handle.

As far as the story goes, 200GB is excessive, but I wouldn't deem it 'insane'. There is a lot of information and media to be downloaded out there, some make more of an effort to get as much of it as possible than others.
Posted by Mike Maloney (7 comments )
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200GB not insane amt
Depending on what your industry is, I agree that 200 GB is not an insane amount of media transer a month. Say if you're a band you upload a video or live performance clip to <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.youtube.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.youtube.com</a> up load it to your webisite, maitain your MySpace account (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.myspace.com/mtbf" target="_newWindow">http://www.myspace.com/mtbf</a>), upload pictures from said gig to MySpace, Flickr, your website... It all piles up, and when you say refresh your site you have to offload old stuff an upload the new... I can see some blowing through this regularly.

--Marilee Veniegas
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.iwantmyess.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.iwantmyess.com</a>
Posted by marileev (292 comments )
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Or...
The telcos could get off their duffs and offer us real hi-speed access like they have in parts asia... ;-)
Posted by freemarket--2008 (5058 comments )
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No
They'll let Americans continue to think they have the best in the world while others continue to pass us.
Posted by Darryl Snortberry (96 comments )
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Whats the fuss?
Why all the fuss on DSL? DSL is not shared like cable. Everyone has their own line. How would a user affect DSL isps? I like downloading a lot of binary files and Verizon DSL doesn't even track how much my bandwidth a month I use.
Posted by Greenbeanx (35 comments )
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Where the ISP Impact is...
The ISP has a lot of equipment in place that is shared between all of it's users. The more use on this equipment the slower speeds will be for all of it's users. Once your DSL line connects to the ISP it isn't magic, there is hardware in between the end of that wire and Ebay or wherever your connection is going.

Some ISPs also pay for used capacity, and there is the need to increase available capacity as use and customer base grows. ISPs need to reduce their bandwidths made available to users and provide users with reports of how much capacity they are using on a regular basis. As it stands now companies send out cease orders only after many months of overages instead of as a standard practice.

I would love to see a report from my ISP that showed a daily break down of how much bandwidth I consumed.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
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I have no problem paying more
my cable isp is capped at 60GB/month but id pay more if i needed it... however they dont offer that ability unless you have a business account. They simply warn you once, then cut you off for a period of time. Its almost insane that they wouldnt allow people to purchase more. Yes your 'hogging' but if they expanded the network to accomadate the 'hogging' they would easily make a profit after an initial placement. They may as well anyways because people will expect more soon enough.
Posted by volterwd (466 comments )
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There's a simple solution
Here in Australia the DSL suppliers offer plans that are capped at different levels. When this limit is reached the connection speed is shaped so that the user still has access but they are limited to (slower than) dial-up. The result is you're still connected but penalised for exceeding your alotment.

As for 200Gb usuage, what sort of numbers does online gaming add up to? I'm assuming that something like WoW would chew through some data, but as a non-gamer I'm limited to guess work.
Posted by j3st3r (70 comments )
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caps
Lee, that sounds like a good system they have to track who's using more of the resources. Pretty much like how cell bills are structure whe you have to purchase more air time. Do you have any stats on Gamers?

Another poster was curious about that.

--Marilee V.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.iwantmyess.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.iwantmyess.com</a>
Posted by marileev (292 comments )
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What's the problem?
The article specifically states that BT has "aggreements in place" that limit bandwidth use. I don't know how it works in England, but here in Illlinois when I sign up for service I sign a contract. If the contract says I can download only 40 Gig, then I'm bound by that limit. I could understand if people had signed up for unlimited use and BT arbitrarily started limiting the service, but that's not what the article says. What's the big deal about BT trying to enforce it's contracts?
Posted by Hallie Miles (18 comments )
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Wow.. I feel bad for them...
my isp is a very small one... they provide us with unlimited dsl.. and they are the only high-speed provider in our area so you would think they'd be capping everything.. so i called up one day and asked about bandwidth.. and the lady tells me "go ahead download anything you wish, there are no caps or limits" i was like wow.. cool.. and they let me host a webserever over my dsl for no extra cost and that has unlimited bandwidth.. wow.. i really love my isp... they are soo nice.. and they only have about 5-9,000 internet customers.. they are owned by a bigger company called FairPoint COmmunications... I'd say i download about 200gb a month.. i upload about 50-100gb a month... i send lots of things..
my dsl says that i sent 5gb today and recieved 8gb.. so im a lil over today... they dont give the fastest speeds in the world.. 1.5mbps down/ 768kbps up.. but for all the other stuff i get i think its worth it.. alothough it does cost $47.95 a month.. my parents pay the bill so i dont care.. lol..
Posted by cmg925 (2 comments )
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I exceed that limit in about a week
I routinly transfer around 100 GB in a week. I run an internet gaming server(Unreal Tournament 2004) and game online daily. Been running like that for around 6 months, and my ISP Clearwire wireless,(35 bucks/mo) never as even uttered a peep about it. P.S. I live in Idaho, and I am a 22yr old College student.
Posted by Species8472 (6 comments )
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