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One Million UK Broadband Customers Risk Penalties For Breaching Limit

Research carried out by Analyst firm uSwitch showed that a million UK broadband users have either come close to or exceed their broadband usage data cap which is in place in the majority of Internet Service Providers in the UK.

Uswitch's survey of the broadband landscape showed that more than half of ISPs had transfer limits in place even if they advertised their services as being "unlimited", a word that has caused much confusion and debate over the last year.

However, only two out of the nine firms surveyed said what the limits were which, in turn, could be the fundamental reason why four out of five UK broadband customers do not know what their limit was or thought they were on an unlimited package.

And to make matters worse, many ISPs sell both limited and unlimited broadband packages under the same umbrella and a sizable proportion use the "fair usage" policy to protect themselves from any step that they might take to disconnect users who have exceeded their data limits.

At the time of writing, only Be (and O2) offers truly unlimited data transfer across its range of products and it does not come as a surprise that none of the mobile broadband packages offers unlimited downloads.

The BBC (opens in new tab), who first reported this story, arguably has a vested interest since the Beeb operates iPlayer, the popular Video on Demand service which, ISPs say, is the main reason why download limits are so often breached.

Back in march, we reported how streaming David Attenborough’s Life in Cold Blood could gobble 600MB worth of data in an hour.


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 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.