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Tiered Internet Already In The UK

We did not have to wait for long for tiered Internet - whereby different users get treated differently and certain applications are discriminated against. In fact UK Internet Service Providers have had it hard coded in their terms and conditions under the heading "Fair Usage Policy" for some time.

EFH Broadband is the latest to implement it and it looks like the number of ISP's offering tiered services will go ballistic. What this means is a gradual and perceptible change of strategy; while the words "Unlimited Broadband", can be heard or read in many adverts, the reality is that ISPs are looking to force feed customers with an "eat as much as you can" alternative.

The truth is that a fully unlimited broadband would certainly cost too much for most of us; the contention ratio - would have to be 1:1 - the current industry standard is 50:1 for consumers and 10:1 for businesses (meaning that one business for example may be sharing one line with up to 9 other customers at the same time) and many ISPs are playing dangerously close to the break-even line.

With the maturation of the UK broadband market and the emergence of some LLU heavyweights like Carphone Warehouse and Bulldog, smaller players are finding it more and more difficult to increase the size of their customer base to absorb operational costs. The result is that they either start to hike up prices after the honeymoon period is over or they put restrictions in place like EFH has done, to reflect the true cost of broadband.

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.