One Year Later: Uncapped Internet – A blessing or curse for the average user?

In March 2010 Mweb stunned the broadband market in South Africa when they announced that they were to bring affordable uncapped internet to both home and business ADSL users from just R219 a month. Despite all the excitement there were doubts about the service and whether this was “˜true uncapped‘ or a knock off, where if you downloaded too much you would be heavily shaped and throttled. At the time Mweb released a statement saying that although there is a fair usage policy in place there is not a specific download limit and that they will never throttle the account above the normal shaping.
But why should you care as an uncapped subscriber how much other users download? The answer is simple, if everyone downloaded what they needed instead of what they think they might need then prices of uncapped could come down. Uncapped works on a very clever model, users who only download 5GB of data sustain uncapped for users who download over 100GB for example. In other words without the client who only downloads a few gigabytes a month the ISP would never be able to provide uncapped to the users who abuse the system. The two groups balance the usage out and if there are too many users abusing the system and not enough users using less, the uncapped model will not work and the ISP will sooner or later have to start throttling accounts or even worse add data caps.
I personally believe we need lower per gigabyte costs over uncapped, that way there will be less abuse and there will be an overall saving for most internet users in South Africa who don‘t download just because they “œpaid for it“. If people keep downloading anything and everything they can get their hands on they are going to make the service unsustainable for the ISP and we will all have to pay for the other user‘s “˜mistakes‘. Hopefully over time throttling will become less and less of an issue with increases in bandwidth coming to SA. That WACS cable better get here soon…

  1. Definitely a blessing, uncapped ADSL is magic! Now we not only need cheaper bandwidth, but faster and cheaper line speeds that are controlled by Telkom. They get sufficient money, they can really afford to up the line speeds significantly for everyone, but especially the lower end, 384kbps users.

    1. I agree Cheaper line speeds is a must and as I mentioned in the article Bandwidth needs to come down more for the non uncapped users.The one problem we could face is if our lines are upgraded but the ISP’s then dont automatically upgrade the uncapped accounts to that speed and charge the customers for it. 
      Thankfully Mweb has done free upgrades for 512kbps users who have or are still being upgraded to 1mbps by telkom but other ISP’s are not doing so yet. I personally have a 4mb line and it is currently A LOT cheaper for me to be on pay per GB over uncapped! I save more than 50% and downloaded around about 160GB last month but the problem is this saving is not seen by most ADSL users and still to this day most users pay R29 or more per GB instead of under R12 which is what I believe we should be seeing. 

  2. Okay enough of this shit! “Abuse” of one’s connection is an ARTIFICIAL term invented by South African ISP’s to shift blame away from the abysmal services they offer (specifically the concept of shaped and unshaped services). I have lived and worked in several places around the world and have used fantastic broadband internet that was much faster than most of what SA ISP’s can offer, at lower prices, and have met many people from many different countries and guess what? NONE of them have ever heard of the term “shaped” or “unshaped” or “abuse” regarding internet services. They also haven’t heard of a condition whereby one has to by slivers of (overpriced) internet time (essentially the “capped” and “uncapped” concepts SA uses), they have all always been familiar with “always-on”, “uncapped” internet.
    That illustrates how far behind SA has been ( and still is) in the ISP industry. There is no excuse: if SA really wants to be a player on the international scene it needs to have an internet service that  matches those available in so-called 1st countries. 

    1. I agree with you totally Jade. At the end of the day – I want an affordable uncapped connection, which is reliable. No if, ands or buts.
      Is that too much too ask?

    2. If they have never heard of “abuse” they going to soon! If you look and see whats happening in the US,Internet service providers are slowly migrating away from “Uncapped” and moving to High caps. Just over this weekend AT&T warned that they were going to start clamping down!
      I believe the future is capped,not because uncapped is not better but because bandwidth hogs are slowly but surly ruining it for all of us. Why should a person who only uses 5GB a month pay extra because someone else uses 400GB on the same line? I think everyone should use what they want but not use just for the sake of using-Which is what some people are doing. Maxing 560GB on a 4MB line is not using what you want,its using as much as you possible can just for the sake of doing it. 

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