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back to article O2 limits unlimited broadband packages

Just as it runs a high-profile advertising campaign boasting it is "nobbling broadband niggles", O2 has begun telling users of its "unlimited" broadband packages that they shouldn't download more than 10GB in a month. Those who ignore the warning face disconnection, which might be considered a niggle. The new policy affects …

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Download caps.

First thing I look at.

I mean really, there are Internet firms out there and there are fakes.

So I would look at the download cap first.

(not saying that O2 is is a fake, or a poser, or a fucking cheap piece of shit.)

Just look at the download cap first.

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Bummer

I must be pushing 1.2TB this month - still no contact from 02....

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Anonymous Coward

Idiot Marketing.

The O2 Marketing department are idiots. Dont ever advertise something as unlimited if it isn't, even if you say it isn't in the small print. Their new home phone service is even more self defeating, with all sorts of hidden costs and rubbish tech support!

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Anonymous Coward

No, they're not idiots...

...in my direct experience, they're frauds.

I'm retired and disabled, and it's not that long since I had an O2 mobile phone - bought specifically for use in an emergency - sitting unused on my sideboard for a year. No local signal whatever in an area they had assured me had high signal strength - apparently I was just 'unlucky' - though they still took over £400 of my limited income that year, backed up with a threat of legal action. Pulled every delaying tactic and trick in the book to sidestep my consumer rights (not helped by a local Trading Standards Dept that was about as much help as mammaries on a male bovine).

All very calculated, and not in the least bit stupid. Though I did get some entertainment when they phoned me after the contract expired to express their astonishment that I had declined to renew their 'market-beating' package!! A month later I got an angry letter from them telling me their latest attempt at Direct Debit (which of course I'd instantly cancelled) had failed!

Nothing about this current story surprises me in the least. I'd buy a carrier pigeon before I'd ever do phone or internet business (or any kind of business) with O2 again.

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Anonymous Coward

@...in my direct experience, they're frauds.

Just so. They wouldn't invest in Arsenal if they were kosher.

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FAIL

Sounds like....

You have an axe to grind because you bought the wrong product. No signal? take it back and cancel your contract. You have a period of time to do this, typically 14 days. You bought a contract phone on a relatively expensive tariff just for emergencies? that doesn't ring true and sounds like you actually just bought the phone and assumed you were stuck with it.

Trading standards didnt get involved because you clearly chose to not exercise your rights and just wanted a moan when you got lumbered. Your retirement and disability dont appear to be a very good excuse for not taking any interest in what you are buying, or sending it back when it is unfit for purpose.

I doubt any other mobile company would have treated you any differently.

I don't like O2's marketing, but your story smacks of your own failings, not those of o2. Why didnt you get a cheap pay and go and £10 top up?

I understand that you may be miffed and O2 dont really help when it comes really great customer care but i am not at all impressed with your tale of "woe".

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How comprehensive you are

And what an astute observer.

Pray tell, do you or did you, per chance, work at O2 ?

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Anonymous Coward

ironically

i actually work for a large multicarrier telecoms company. I get to see a lot of crap marketing and listen to a lot of moany people who take no care whatsover over what they want, as they only see the "free" devices they are being offered. They all gloss over the fact that they are entering a contract and that the documentation they get tells them what to do. I should point out that i am not a customer service advocate, but look into customer complaints as part of a general adherance to legal and regulatory process.

If this bloke's story is true, then he clearly waited longer than 14 days to complain, and even then didnt actually demonstrate a lack of signal because all mobile companies will disconnect a customer who simply cannot use their handset due to signal issues (given some offer of returning said handset). More likely is that the phone doesnt work in his house and that annoyed him to the point that he decided to blame O2 for every little mistake. £400 for an emergency phone? the bloke has very poor judgement if you ask me.

It happens with all operators (t-mobile used to be quite bad for inhouse coverage) and it happens with all devices that need to connect (especially laptops, where the 3g coverage in houses is rubbish on most networks).

I get sick of hearing the whinging, but in some cases it is justified. if O2 offer "unlimited" broadband irrespective of whether you LLU or not, then thats what you get. 10 gig is bugger all these days so they shouldnt really be bandying that number about. The biggest gripe with that sort of thing though is the fact you have to pay to tether to the iphone even though you have unlimited data on that. No other offering is as restrictive and it seems that Jobs can get away with blue murder.

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Anonymous Coward

If...

If I was a lawyer with such a connection I'd be sorely tempted to come up with ways to burn as much bandwidth as possible to get them to disconnect me, then sue their pants off for breach of contract.

Alas, I'm not and I don't, so someone else will have to take up the slack.

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Not happy with O2

Haven't got a bandwidth letter from them (think my line is unbundled) but I have noticed a massive drop in connection speed. I've gone from downloading at around 650k/s to less than 300k/s.

Looking at switching, especially as my line should be 20mbps by the end of the year. Any recommendations for a non-limiting ISP?

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Pint

Sky the same

I phoned SKY and said my line has dropped from 700kb/s to 150kb/s. They checked and said the speed is all I can expect. I said it used to be faster, when I asked them if my exchange was over subscribed, they went all shifty and avoided my questions. I pushed and they almost. sort of, not quite admitted that they vastly over subscribe to ensure the costs stay down.

I dropped them and simply bought a cheapo 10MB from VM. Shite company but at least they are clear on what you get and when you can use it, and you do get 10MB constantly, not like BT's shitty ADSL speeds that change if a sparrow farts within 10 feet of the line!

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Anonymous Coward

yeah Be

Be is the best home ISP on balance at the moment. True unlimited and consistently decent speeds up to 24 meg. Ironically however, they're owned by O2 and O2 share their network, although they don't seem to have influenced Be's policymaking -- yet.

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try bethere bud

try bethere. i am with them and i download like an internet hoover. they don';t give a shit, no bandwidth management what-so-ever!

both 02 and bethere are owned by telefonica but bethere remnains as it was before the buy out. free from limitations of any sort.

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Close but no cigar

If you read the article again you'll see that this only applies to O2 customers on the Access package (ie;connection runs over BT's IPStream). Be don't have such a package so by definition are unaffected.

Still - you're quite right. Be are one of the best ISPs at the moment. Beaten only by O2 which offers almost the same service (via LLU) for a lower price.

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yup

BE internet. Its even great for those of us who cant get 8mb (even on ADSL2+).

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Go

Be

Glad to see Be still apparently not even interested in looking at our usage. They can keep my custom :)

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Re:BE

You know BE is owned by O2, don't you?

Just checking...

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WTF?

In this day and age?!

I have recently discussed this issue with my ISP who cap at 30GB, I am on a rural exchange and therefor on BT equipment. BT push me back into contention automatically if I do more than a couple of gigs a day.

My point is that, in this day and age, even 30 gigs let alone 10 is ridiculous. You can burn through several gigs a day just watching a couple of HD programmes on iPlayer. I have had to watch in SD and limit my iPlayer usage just to get back in limit. Why should I have to hold back? It is completely at odds with progress on the internet with more bandwidth hungry content whilst the ISPs cut back. 10 gigs a month is PATHETIC.

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Ugh.......

What services are gonna get the stick from this?

Iplayer?

Xbox Live?

PSN?

OnLive (If that even surfaces)?

Steam?

Seriously, the UK is a dump for broadband right now, the MPs are going "OH HO WE SHALL INVEST THIS MUCH", yeah, really seeing it here.

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The stick is even close to home

How about BT Vision?

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Anonymous Coward

Thank goodness I'm with Be

Currently they're not cracking down, and I've been downloading a fair bit of (legal) software. On one particular day rebuilding home servers a couple of months ago, I downloaded well over 10GB in a day (not difficult with a couple of apps, Solaris and some large free games).

If you're only doing casual web browsing, 10GB is plenty. Add media into the mix and it's easy to break the limit.

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Rubbish...

I'm on O2 Access and the only consolation when my connection is throttled to less than 1 megabit every afternoon and evening is that although it's slow, I can leave it downloading overnight and get there in the end. So now I'm paying for shit speeds *and* 10GB limit on an 'unlimited package'?

Brilliant...

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FAIL

Very mean of O2

10GB is what many ISPs offer as a basic or starter package. O2 should be ashamed of what they've done.

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Throttling

They do seem to throttle occasionally but recently my download speed seems to have halved in the evenings. It's fine the rest of the time.

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FAIL

Damn and blast

Just moved from PlusNet to O2 because of their unlimited policy. Used to blow PN's 15Gb limit in 3 weeks every month.

With 3 teenages in the house and the school holidays looming I'm stuffed.

10Gb is absolutely pants in this day and age. Jeez even the French are ahead of us !

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Stop

Terms and conditions

IIRC you have something like 7 days cooling off period so if you're still within this then you might want to jump ship to another ISP with a 30 day contract while you can. You might even be lucky and have 30 days to jump ship. If you're on a O2 Access (i.e. you can't get O2 LLU) then don't cancel it, get a Mac code and switch that way. You'll have less down time and you won't be charged a cancellation fee (which BT now charge).

You may also find a change of terms and conditions might mean you leave with no penalties (this is what I did to leave my AOL contract early).

Sadly it seems that there aren't any true unlimited ISPs when you can't get LLU unless you're willing to pay a premium (last time I checked it was in the region of 70 quid). Best I could suggest is an ISP which is limited during the day and unlimited overnight (Enta does this via resellers such as Vivaciti and UKFSN).

One last thing to check is if you can get any other LLU providers by going to SamKnows.com and entering your phone number and seeing what exchange you're on and if any providers offer LLU.

Rob

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FAIL

Maybe you should have upgraded and stayed with Plusnet

I did and now the limit is 80Gb a month for £16. I get about 6500kbps up/350 down

I've only ever had one ISP account since 14K dial-up

They've never been broken enough to need fixing.

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This'll take a lawsuit to sort out

Not some pussweed quangos asking "pretty please, clarify your marketing".

It'll take someone with most money than sense to actually drag these clowns into a court of law and have the parently absurd "...unless we don't feel like it" clauses struck from their contract.

Batter up!

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re: abigsmurf

Zen have just doubled their monthly allowances to either 50Gb or 100Gb a month. At least they are honest that they have a limit, and they have the best reputation around for speed/reliability/support. Try switching to them.

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FAIL

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

I hope you mean GB, not Gb?

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Flame

Title...

Never mind Ofcom's pathetic 'code of practice', it's about time Trading Standards brought consumer legislation such as the trade descriptions act to bear on Broadband providers in order to restrict what they can hide in FUP's and stop them using terms like 'unlimited' in misleading and unethical and illegal ways!

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Megaphone

O2, the problem network - bunch of chancers!

Download caps? now there's a novel proposition.

Can't someone take this bunch of brand-mad chancers to court for misleading advertising?

It strikes me that the word "unlimited" has a singular definition in the dictionary. If you can't make good on your claims, don't make them in the first place.

In other news Zen Internet still are excellent.

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WTF?

BT just don't get it.

Virgin are nobs, but at least they state clearly on the 10MB line agreement, these are times you have to be under this limit, the rest of the time you can more or less do what you like. PC's have schedulers to line up downloads, so I can beat my line to death all I like outside the limits and I only pay £15 quid a month. My ADSL was costing me £20/month for 5MB line.

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I recon O2 should only provide LLU-based broadband.

Ideally O2/Be would just cease providing service over non LLU lines.

The unbundled service they provide is amazing - the BT-based one, on the other hand, is a load of tripe. It gives people who don't understand the difference a bad opinion of o2 broadband overall.

Leave BT to provide BT-based broadband, and let the market sort out the rest.

C

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Megaphone

title required

I am getting piss sick of people advertising things as unlimited, only to be told a FUP applies.

Its not just ISP's, mobile telico's and the rest are just as bad.

I am not even sure how its legal to advertise something as unlimited when its really not, but one things for sure, it has to stop. It might not be legally wrong, but its morally wrong.

WRONG!

Rant over!

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Not legally wrong ?

Since when is imposing caps on an "unlimited" service not legally wrong ?

It hasn't been tried in court yet, agreed, but there is no lawyer worth his diploma that can possibly defend such a practice.

The only thing is that nobody has had the balls (or the money) to stand up to the weasels who are illegally imposing caps.

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Lower than average

so do they just want everyone to be below the average usage? :)

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I hope

Anyone who doesn't approve of such restrictions votes with their feet. Of course they won't, they'll complain. Then maybe complain even more when they get suspended.

10GB is pathetic though. I've seen the best part of a gig go through our connection in a day when my housemate spends the day hungover on iplayer, if you're an average family with kids you could easily do that in a month without even going near peer to peer.

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They probably can't vote with their feet

The reason they are on the O2 Access package is because O2 haven't unbundled their exchange. Most likely that means their exchange is too small to bother with and only BT have connected it up. For economic reasons a fair chunk of that cost is spread across the entire network so the really small, out of the way exchanges are probably subsidised by bigger ones. That's likely why IPStream is never the cheaper option. It's the only service available on every exchange and it carries a premium as a consequence.

It really is hard to find anyone to blame here. Such exchanges are expensive to supply by their nature (mostly rural exchanges but also some decrepit urban exchanges). The regulator and the market have encouraged people to think that broadband should be cheap. Your comment about how 'little' 10GB is is typical of that kind of ignorance.

Until/unless people are prepared to pay a decent amount for their connection they will continue to suffer limitations. Those in sparsely populated areas will suffer the most.

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RE: They probably can't vote with their feet

"It really is hard to find anyone to blame here"

Yes there is... OfCom. Believe BT have wanted to lower the cost they charge ISP's for sending data over the Colossus backbone but OfCom won't let them.

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ofcom and their voluntary codes of lip service

Ofcom are to blame for this along with the lack of jurisdiction and willing by the advertising standards.

As long as unlimited can be claimed then limited the consumer is always going to get the raw deal.

Instead of investing more tax payer money in BT backhanders for fibre, perhaps the new government could give ofcom some powers to stop these advertising lies!!

The term 'fair' as in fair usage is subjective in the extreme so cannot be fair to give as a measure for customers.

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Boffin

Home Access?

So how does one know if the service is O2 Home Access or not?

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Sam Knows

http://www.samknows.com/broadband/search.php

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How?

Strangely enough because when you sign up you see the product name plus there are pricing differences too between Access and the 3 LLU options.

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Unlimited

adjective: not limited or restricted; infinite.

What part of that do O2 (and 100s of other shitty companies) not understand. I still cannot grasp how any company can get away with saying their service is unlimited when it isnt.

I use fast.co.uk broadband, and every one of their different broadband packages states exactly what the download limit is, and doesnt traffic shape whatsoever. It is possible to provide broadband in the UK without lies and bullshit.

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WTF?

Time for a new ISP...

... and Zen have just written to me to say that my £25 a month package with no shaping or protocol nobbling now has a 50Gb a month limit, up from 25Gb (beyond that you pay for more bandwidth). That should be enough for many 'heavy' users...

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Sort of

> may see a move away from unbundling and back to BT reselling.

Sort of. I think the LLUOs will go for GEA ( http://www.ofcom.org.uk/telecoms/discussnga/eala/ethernetala/seminar/whitley.pdf ). That is a BT product but it's not really reselling and still gives the CPs the ability to install and manage their own backhaul. That means they are limited to the same sync speeds as BT resellers but they can still have lower prices and/or better contention ratios.

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Customer service up the swannee

Can't help thinking it's a planned cull of their customer base - if access is a loss leader then maybe they've reviewed profitability recently or altered their strategy for LLU exchanges. When I signed up a few years ago it was suggested that they were rolling out LLU across the country and they would probably do it at my exchange sometime soon.

I've had no communication from O2 since then until I got an email from Felix Geyr, Head of Customer Services, last week saying that I had downloaded too much last month and if I didn't cut down next month they would cut me off.

No replies to my emails asking how much and how I can actually tell, so I'm going elsewhere.

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Happy

Here in Germany

With T-com, I have a 50Mb/s download, 10Mb/s upload VDSL link, there does not seem to be any noticable slowdown at any time of day (the modem/router says it is synced at the above speeds too). It is not cheap (45 euro per month, including telephone line), but worth it. The company themselves are cack, they are always cocking other things up, but the line is very stable.

I do get really good data speed too, downloaded linux distros in just over 2 minutes (~600MB .iso), Ubuntu reports the download rate for updates at 5MB per second (thats MByte!)

In fact 2 machines are on wireless G only and that is the bottleneck!

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Offender here

I got a call about this recently, thanks to her indoors pulling down The Good Wife and Fringe in 1080p. 48GB in a month when I specifically signed up to them last year becuase they said they don't do this. At the time they said that people reguarly have users hitting 400GB/month and have never taken any action.

I am on IPStream, half way out in the sticks... Luckily it'll be back to VM shortly in the abscence of an unbundled exchange.

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