I have had an idea of a tweak to the way we do quotas that should help address some of the concerns people have.
Quotas are always tricky things - having some sort of roll over is more complex, and usually needs some sort of caps. We did this on the old units based system and it resulted in quite complex statements of usage and quota and roll over.
What we have now for Home::1 and SoHo::1 is quite simple - it is a monthly quota. You start each month with that quota. Simples!
Even so, there are complications, such as pre-using some of next month's quota (slowly) if you use all of this month's, and the top-up, which I have now made carry on until used. Even so, the "unused quota" that is "lost" at the end of each month is clearly a concern for some.
The proposal is relatively simple. You will start your month with your monthly quota as now, but as a bonus you will also get half of the "unused" quota from the previous month.
So if you started on 300G monthly quota but only used 200G in your first month, you start the next month with a new 300G, plus 50G bonus (half of 100G unused), making 350G.
If you only use 200G that month you will start the following month with your 300G monthly quota plus 75G bonus (half of the 150G unused), making 375G.
And so on. Any top-up remains separate and is not halved.
The nice thing is the system is self limiting in time and amount by the nature of geometric progression. It does not need any caps or time limits. It also makes it simple when you change your monthly quota and no change in caps - the same simple rule applies.
This should reduce some of the perceived "loss" of unused quota, and allow some balancing out of high and low months.
Obviously we need to make it clear on the control pages how your monthly quota was created, i.e. your monthly quota, and any bonus you have (and if you have any top-up carrying on), each month.
I am interested in comments on this specific idea. Is it easy enough to understand? Does it help address some of the concerns?
Our costs depend on a lot of factors, like many services. We haves some fixed cost, some costs directly related to number of lines and types of lines, some costs related to usage of the service and the overall scale of our operation. Whilst a simple usage metric of "Gigabytes downloaded" does not relate directly to our costs, it is not a bad analogy.
So we could charge simply a monthly fee and a usage fee for what you used. Several people suggested we do this. Indeed, we do this for our mobile services, and get many calls for us to offer "call packages". At the other extreme we could do one "package", even an "unlimited*" one. But we have chosen a middle road, so that light users pay less than heavy users, but people can pick a package which means predictable charges.
This means quotas in tiers, and obviously some people will have some "unused" quota. When we start getting to the terabyte usage levels this will normally be quite a lot as these are meant to reflect a near "unlimited" usage level for most users. People feel they are losing something in such cases, and may even try and "use up" their quota at the end of the month. Others feel their usage being very variable they have some months high and some low, and that we should somehow balance usage. For lower tariffs, we allow change of quota every month.
No system will be 100% fair to everyone, and no system can meet everyone's requirements exactly. But we hope this addresses some of the issues.
This is not launched yet, I am just asking for comments at this stage.
P.S. yes, applicable to the terabyte quotas, and I am increasingly inclined to launch this now.