Broadband Plus - Plus.Net comes clean on 'limits'

Discussion in 'Broadband' started by Peter M, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. Peter M

    Peter M Guest

    I'm glad there has been a lengthy explanation about the Broadband
    Plus "product design", and how the acceptable use in peak (0800
    to midnight) hours is flexible but currently around 6 GB amonth.

    For anyone who has not seen it, ADSLguide has a posting here:
    and Stew Norriss from Plus.Net has a separate thread for the
    further discussion of aspects resulting from that post.

    It really is a shame that staff at Plus.Net won't all be 'up to speed'
    on the significant aspects until Monday, as there'll be a number of
    customer who have noticed poor service speeds and might be wondering
    what has happened, and there's no sure way they will get a sensible
    answer - witness Gerry's comments:
    "For me I had to chase them to find out why I was having
    slow speed. Took 4 different attempts before I was told
    that I was on a static IP and being throttled."

    As it will be like that over the weekend, so I have not even bothered
    to ask via Contact Us if my account is being 'managed' (I know it used
    to stream OK, whereas it now takes an hour to get 10 minutes of video
    to 'play' before it fails and now I get FTP failures - it stalled on
    file 2 of 8 for an update to some bit of software... Seems to have
    been affected since before Christmas... with no suggestion coming
    from Plus.Net that it was (or has) been done. Taking bets on how
    long before any e-mail notification arrives...

    I find it odd that there's any need for such severe throttling, now that
    the peak time 'flexible limit' has been suggested. It is all the more
    galling to see the example given of someone using the service to be OK
    to download 10 x MP3s off iTunes, when that could probably just fail,
    if one tried to use their "as good as the best alternative ISP's"
    Usenet News service.

    I can understand them limiting the number of concurrent connections, and
    even putting a cap on how much Usenet traffic is delivered at full speed
    (on Premier), but the proposed 15 GB upper limit on using Plus.Net news,
    and perhaps a significantly lower limit (I'd be happy with 2 to 5 GB as
    I have hardly downloaded anything from Usenet via Plus.Net in at least
    6months, given the crummy nature of access) for Broadband Plus could
    have prevented abuse by anyone, and allow a two-tier approach, too.

    I guess they've spent the last 8 months fussing over these Gold / Silver
    etc queues, not setting up a quota system for Usenet that works, and if
    there has been work done, I bet they didn't think to allow lower quota
    limits for Broadband Plus so users could get a reasonable speed and
    not have articles expire before they could be downloaded!

    With taking over Metronet (which had been offering up to 2x 128 kbps
    links for downloading news, to reduce the effects of very heavy users)
    I had hoped Plus.Net might see a way to use an external news service
    which is reliable, with suitable limiting to stop 24x7 max use traffic
    abuse, and then their binary news problems with the internal service
    would be nil.

    Clearly Plus.Net is looking to limit everyone's service (the comments
    back in the spring of 2005, about users possibly being able to d/l up
    to 400 GB off-peak, for example, were just marketing hype), and quite
    how the staff will brush under the carpet the previous reversals of
    policy will be down to their conscience (or depends on taking on a
    series of new customer service agents who nothing of past promises,
    so they cannot be blamed for the forever changing user 'experience'
    that those who stick with Plus.Net will have to endure).

    I've certainly 'tested the water' or 'pushed the envelope' on the a/c
    (my usage was 77 GB in October, ~50 in November, ~30 in December) and
    in part it was to see if I'd get a warning (none came, of course, but
    the connection I have now seems crippled - understandably, to quite a
    degree, but since mid December, perhaps earlier, and a long delay in
    terms of openly informing the customer about changing their service)
    but the most I got on my ticket complaining about speed of Usenet
    was the 'access to Usenet is possible but not guaranteed'...

    I was 'making the point' that there was plenty enough spare bandwidth
    and the crippling they did to Usenet was OTT... no request to me to
    moderate my use (I did anyway, it was to 'make a point' after all)
    but then I pay a fee to access a service and at least 1/3 of that
    fee has been wasted as downloading and streaming is now impossible
    via my Plus.Net connection...

    If Plus.Net had responded to uses back in August / September / October
    with some better guidelines on how the account was constrained, this PR
    gaff would not have happened but we've seen it before, and no doubt it
    will come again...

    From 2005-07-27

    "We should have told our customers about this change before we
    implemented it, and I would like to sincerely apologise to all
    of our customers for this breakdown in communications.

    In order to offer great value and great performance, we will
    make changes and improvements to our services. Before we make
    changes and improvements from now on, I would like to personally
    assure customers that we will always be as open, honest and
    upfront as possible."

    "It was our intention to send this email to all affected customers.
    However, the development of this wasn't effectively managed and
    some customers were affected by network management before they
    were emailed."

    I wouldn't mind, but there has been a consistent failure to address
    questions about the 'product design' for Broadband Plus not for just
    weeks, but months, whether made in posts on p.s.customer-feedback
    where one might expect candid responses from Plus.Net staff, or
    in other places.

    I know from bitter experience that asking an awkward question in
    'contact us' can lead to having access to the portal blocked (and
    with it, any access to past tickets, billing or other a/c services)
    so I have not done more than query the poor speed of Usenet news,
    and even for that, did not push it, because of previously losing
    my access (it was a query regarding payments, not technical to do
    with the speed/servers/service, which got my access blocked).

    I could upgrade to the Premier account but see the 'how you use it'
    being "managed" in detail over the next year or two, and as for how
    things will change with 8000 kbps service, that's anyone's guess!!

    Plus.Net certainly seems to have gone from "download, within reason,
    what you like, when you like" to "download, with a maximum of XX GB
    during 0800-0000 if using Usenet/peer-to-peer/FTP, a max of YY GB
    in total, oh, and don't bother with VoIP from anyone else" :)

    Peter Morgan.

    cross-posted to uk.telecom.broadband

    (potential users need to know what existing users and Plus.Net staff
    are thinking, and non-customers cannot see the posts in the
    customer-feedback group very easily, if at all.)
    Peter M, Jan 13, 2006
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  2. Peter M

    Peter M Guest

    Just a quick apology for text going all over the place...

    I don't have access to Agent so have used Netscape 7.1 for
    news for the last few days... Peter M.
    Peter M, Jan 13, 2006
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  3. Peter M

    Marksfish Guest

    Just dropping in on your thread Peter. I made the following remark in the F9

    "This will be another case of F9 moving the goalposts and "forgetting" to
    tell their customers will it Stew? What happened to the comms team being
    more focussed at communicating with the userbase? This was discussed at
    length in December with you saying you had failed in corresponding with
    customers, but it was utmost priority to reverse the situation and get it
    right. WRONG, BIG TIME!!!

    Whilst 5gb doesn't really affect me, it's a bit miserly isn't it? After all,
    BB+ is only £5pm less than Premier and we don't have all the "value added
    extras", neither do we have p2p or binary usenet (you may say we have but in
    reality it is unachievable) which should more than make up for it. A 10gb
    limit would be more acceptable, but I suppose it's the magic 1% again isn't
    it? "

    The response I got was:

    Is there any wonder people were confused about the management on BB+ when we
    have continually been told there is noe (apart from p2p, usenet)? Especially
    when F9 staff don't even know what is going on, except the priviledged


    Marksfish, Jan 13, 2006
  4. Peter M

    Jim Guest

    I managed 66GB last month (by mistake - left a P2P client open) and
    although my P2P was being throttled, I never received a warning or any
    indication that this was happening (apart from terrible P2P performance,
    obviously). At the end of the month I got a 'you are in a new billing
    period so all download limits have been lifted' (or words to that
    effect) mail.

    I still have no idea what the limit is for Premier users. This situation
    needs to be made clear.

    Jim, Jan 14, 2006
  5. I'm having great difficulty keeping up with all these tweaks in service
    levels, even though I keep in touch with this NG regularly (God help those
    that don't!).
    I think I just about understand what's going on/about to change (yet again)
    but am still undecided if I'm on the right package - I'm coming to the
    conclusion that I don't fit into any of the "model customer" packages - does
    I'm currently on Broadband Plus working at 512Kb/s - max speed for my
    location according to BT Wholesale, as I live in a country area.
    My usage is quite low - between 0.8 and 1.5 GB per month.
    My broadband is on between about 9 am and midnight daily, mainly to catch
    emails as they arrive and do surfing as and when required and access Usenet.
    I only use text-only newsgroups on Usenet and since the advent of the new
    text server, all is OK on that aspect. (I'm also on
    which is also good).
    I don't do gaming at all.
    I sleep between the hours of midnight and 8 am and the computer goes off
    during that period.
    However, I do use P2P occasionally (about a couple of hours twice a month)
    but find it painfully slow, although it's just about workable if I set it
    running and go and watch the telly for an hour or so.

    My question is therefore, bearing in mind my realtively low bandwidth
    take-up but taking into account my need for P2P occasionally, what pacakge
    would suit me best (if there is actualy a suitable PN package)?

    George Weston, Jan 14, 2006
  6. Peter M

    Jim Guest

    You have the better of me there, then - I'm totally unaware of any
    changes coming down the line.

    Quick recap?

    Jim, Jan 14, 2006
  7. See post from Stew Norriss above this one, entitled Broadband Plus Feedback.
    George Weston, Jan 14, 2006
  8. Peter M

    Jim Guest

    Ah, thanks. Seems to relate to Plus rather than Premier though. I'd
    quite like PN to update the state of play with regard to Premier
    accounts - any limits, etc.

    Jim, Jan 14, 2006
  9. Peter M

    Peter M Guest

    Perhaps best to read
    or view the post in uk.telecom.broadband posted by James... see
    Peter M, Jan 14, 2006
  10. Peter M

    Jim Guest

    Thanks. I got Premier many years ago, so what's this Gold, Silver and
    Bronze nonsense? How do I tell what I have, if any?

    Jim, Jan 14, 2006
  11. Peter M

    Peter M Guest

    They are queues to give priority to different types of traffic.
    You will have to spend some time reading. There has been some
    further discussion on the Plus user forum and ADSLguide's site.
    As they don't affect me, I have not taken a lot of interest.

    I'm on Broadband Plus, which is usually OK for text newsgroups,
    e-mail and browsing, but binaries are difficult/impossible to
    download, and I don't use peer-to-peer so again don't know, but
    from the comments by Geogre, you should assume that 30 kB/s is
    a maximum speed for his traffic (hence he views TV instead).
    Peter M, Jan 14, 2006
  12. Peter M

    Jim Guest


    Ok, time to do some reading.

    <grumble> what ever happened to a nice, simple service...<grumble>

    Jim, Jan 14, 2006
  13. Peter M

    Peter M Guest

    (general "low usage" comments snipped)
    At first I thought of PAYG, because the peer-to-peer should be faster,
    but it would cost a pound more if you regularly exceed 1 GB a month, to
    pay for it in advance, or would cost about 1.25 extra if billed after a
    month where you exceeded 1 GB.

    Another option which might be suitable is to use the Metronet PayGo 500
    which is on a sliding scale, and starts from 11.75 (inc VAT) which lets
    you download 400 MB. Then further charge per MB is 0.235p, thus 800 MB
    would cost 11.75 + (400 * 0.00235) = ~12.75, while 1500 MB costs 11.75
    + (1100 * 0.00235) = ~14.35 However, Plus.Net/Metronet wrote to state
    changes to the T+C and the dreaded 'traffic management' will apply soon
    for Metronet accounts. Whether Plus.Net will take the 'best bits' from
    both services, or the 'worst bits' from both, is anyone's guess. Peter.
    Peter M, Jan 14, 2006
  14. Peter M

    Peter M Guest

    The post by James did give the essentials, without lots of extraneous
    reading to be done... If you cannot 'jump' to it with your news app,
    then 'advanced search' allows you to enter
    a message ID and 43c91b35$0$1452$
    will show you his post very easily.
    I think only Plus.Net has madethings complicated for customers, and
    it is only a matter of time before agood portion will be fed up with
    being told what they're allowed to use the internet for... Having a
    monthly limit of 100 GB is fine, unless you happen to want 50-75 GB
    off binary newsgroups, and will find that speed will go slower and
    slower. I know other ISPs are putting in 'fair use' policies which
    may hit those who are heavy users during 'peak hours' (often during
    the evening only, not 16 hours a day), but won't prescribe what you
    are permitted or not permitted to do, or count some traffic in some
    different way, with lower limits on it. That's a Plus.Net oddity!
    Peter M, Jan 14, 2006
  15. 24/7 downloaders, that's what.

    Phil Thompson, Jan 14, 2006
  16. The notion of "Fair Use" will have to change or disappear as new uses
    for the internet become common. Only 10 years ago, dial-up bulletin
    boards linked by "Fidonet" were still being used, and now we have a
    global network that could be used for broadcast distribution, some
    places already having, or experimenting with, speeds of 24Mb/s.

    If this happens, no -*when* this happens, radio and television
    broadcasting in their present form may disappear altogether. No need
    for any form of metalwork on our roofs because it will all come through
    a cable or fibre, no need to wait till a broadcast channel feels like
    transmitting something that interests us if we can have it any time we
    want, just like a book. In this situation, the idea of limiting
    internet traffic rates to what was appropriate in the good old days of
    web pages and email will seem archaic. Everybody involved in any
    business related to or dependent upon these things will have to change
    or their customers will leave them.

    Roderick Stewart, Jan 14, 2006
  17. Why do you think I recommended E7even ???
    David Kennedy, Jan 14, 2006
  18. in a desparate attempt to recruit new users to pay up front and keep
    them afloat ??

    Phil Thompson, Jan 14, 2006
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