Customers of UK ISP Plusnet look set to celebrate after the provider increased usage allowances on its broadband packages. The move is in response to the explosion of streaming activity generated by sites such as the BBC’s iPlayer.
The ISP has increased the usage allowances on its Option 2 (up to 15GB from 8GB), Option 3 (increased to 30GB from 20GB) and Pro (up to 15GB from 10GB) packages.
Prices remain unchanged and overnight usage continues to be free. Plusnet also warned that many users of were unaware of how much they downloaded and risked "surprises in their broadband bills":
“We’ve seen a big increase in streaming since use of iPlayer and other video sites has grown, which is contributing to increasing average broadband usage,” explained Neil Armstrong, products director, PlusNet.
“This isn’t a problem as ISPs can handle the growth in traffic. Where the issue lies is in customers being on the wrong package and finding their accounts restricted as they fall foul of hidden ‘fair usage’ policies, or getting surprise bills for additional usage.”
“The increased usage allowances on our new packages will help customers enjoy even more surfing, music, video and gaming over the web,” continued Armstrong. “Customers need transparency from their ISP, so they can see exactly what they’re getting for their money.”
We applaud PlusNet's move, which will no doubt make many of their customers very happy and shows that having the right economic model is important when adapting to new consumer trends (Tiscali take note).
The company’s current network statistics show iPlayer usage now accounts for 10% of its overall traffic – an indication of how streaming TV over the Internet is on the cusp of real mass-market adoption. PlusNet will be publishing more details of how internet usage changed in March and April next week.
PlusNet has also launched a Broadband Calculator, available at http://www.mybroadbandusage.co.uk . The site also has a league table of high bandwidth applications advising on typical usage for one hour of streaming TV, online radio, general browsing or downloading music.
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