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Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Usage caps.

Usage caps on ADSL and other such services are fast becoming the norm all over the world. Our ISP Karoo, the only ISP in town that offers ADSL services, is one such company. However, we find that our caps are some of the lowest on offer. Our ISP offers a 3 teir service. Low, Mid and High. Low = 2GB, Mid = 10GB and High = 75GB. Not very good for the Internet as it stands right now with people streaming movies from all over the place.

2GB for the Low service is useless for anyone except those who do no more than occasional web browsing and email. Say the old girl down the street who uses the Internet to keep in touch with her daughter and sons and grandchildren. It is not meant to be used as a catch all all-you-can-eat type service so 2GB might just fit that model. however, with  flash embedded in just about all major web sites nowadays and such as the BBC with their embedded sound and video's that 2GB is soon going to run out. Move up a service says the ISP if that happens but movng up a service may prove too much fr the purse so is out of the question for such people. They end up paying an extra 2 UKP  per GB instead.

10GB is not enough either as that target is easily reached. Again, move up a service shouts the ISP and the same financial constrains apply.

75GB may seem on the face of things to be plenty but as I am founding out it is not. I use a binary Linux  distribution and keep my system in sync with that distributions -current branch which can have upwards of 4GB updates a week. That equates to 16GB a month which leaves me with 59GB to share amongst the whole family. We have 4 main computers, my wifes, my 2 elder boys and mine all share the connection, and the cap. My wife and one of the boys both use Ubuntu which has plenty of updates in any given month. Neither can or do use the Internet at the free from caps times of midnight until 8am so they do their system updates during the day when the cap counts are in force. So, they get around 10GB each of updates per month which is another 20GB to add to the 16GB I use and that is before any normal usage patterns are applied. Now we have 39GB left to do all the normal things people do on the Internet.

Normal things my wife and son do is watch the BBC;s iplayer, watch and listen to some youtube, do web browsing which means waitching and listening to videos and sound on such web sites as the BBC and other news based web sites. My wife and 2 boys have what can be termed normal usage patterns. It does not take long during the month to see that 75GB being gobbled up.

Put simply for the top service for home users 75GB is restrictive at best and simplynot enough at worse. KAroo, of course, don't care as for each 1GB over the limit one goes they get 1 UKP. A nice steady income for them on top of the already inflated price we have to pay for access.

If one looks at the various other ISP's caps in the U.K. and the U.S.A. it soon becomes clear we are suffering the lowest caps on offer. After much discussion with Karoo they fail misreably on the customer services front as they simple will not raise the caps, certainly not while people are going over the caps on their chosen service. Some people do not even know they are on a capped service and some of those do not realise they pay even more on top of their normal service fees. It does not matter how many emails the ISP sends out signifying the fact a cap is being reached.

No matter how Karoo spins it the usage caps on all 3 home customer services are too low. They however, like every other area of their services they suck at, do not care about their customers as long as the money keeps rolling in. The biggest shame of all this is that we customers have no where else to go. We are stuck paying inflated prices and we are stuck we severely limited usage caps whether we like it or not.

If another ISP was to come into our service area and offer a set of better services AT THE SAME PRICE we currently pay, even though they prices are way too high, people would jump ship faster than one can say BYE BYE KAROO and of those customers who know no better those of us that do will ensure they move with us. So come on you other ISP's give us the competition we here in Hull so desperately crave so we can rid ourselves of the greed that signifies what Kcom/Karoo are all about.

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