Thank you all for your feedback - the tariff post is the most commented I have had, I think. So to save you reading all of the comments, here is a summary. It has been very interesting.
Firstly I can announce we have today changed the sub terabyte Home::1 and SoHo::1 quotas, increasing by 50GB/month for the same price. I have also added to September's quota for existing customers.
However, there are a number of good ideas that have been put forward, and we expect to announce some more interesting changes in October. Some suggestions we can't do, but some we can. The feedback has been useful.
There has been some very interesting discussion on the matter of playing fair and waste in the tariff post and my subsequent post on water metering. This was all sparked off by someone that apparently felt he should deliberately download any renaming unused quota at the end of the month even if he had no need to - because he has paid for it. This was a surprise to me, and people seem a little divided on this point, which is interesting in itself - thank you.
Regardless of pricing, allowances, metered to unmetered, etc, the fact remains that the Internet is a shared resource, and much like gas, electric, and water, things really only work if people make reasonable use of that shared resource. In practice many services create a financial incentive not to waste the resource and for some there are legal requirements not to (e.g. water).
With all of these things your own usage impacts others. On that basis alone it is morally wrong to "waste" the resource. The impact is different for different things - in effect water is unlimited (in UK anyway) as it simply recycles in the weather (simple view, I know) but the infrastructure has limits and so do reservoirs. The Internet is a bit like that - there are an unlimited number of bits but the infrastructure is not able to meet the maximum demand everyone could make. It would be impractical and uneconomical to make such a system. So wasting bandwidth has an impact - either causing immediate slow down of other people's service because of congestion, or causing infrastructure to be upgraded increasing costs directly or indirectly for services.
This is not just about ISPs, and pipes - looks at someone like Netflix. They charge a fee, so more customers means more money to pay for more infrastructure - good. But they too have a model of expected usage and if every existing customer started streaming 4k on four TVs at once, 24 hours a day then they would not have the capacity. They would have much higher costs per customer to meet that demand and so would probably have to charge more.
One person makes no difference
One of the issues with a moral problem like this is that a single person not playing fair does not cause a problem. There is capacity to handle one person being selfish and deliberately wasting resources.
The issue is when lots of individuals think like that, that "one person makes no difference". Then it all starts to fall apart. It is a bit like littering - one empty can thrown out of a car window is not a big issue, but everyone doing it makes it a big issue.
This is why we have to self impose some restrictions in some cases for good moral reasons as part of a society. I know it is easy to be selfish, and I can be as well sometimes.
But I paid for 1TB!
This is where it gets more interesting, and where I have seen some interesting comments from people.
Yes, I agree, and fully understand that, if I pay for X then I should get X. Someone suggested ordering 1000l of bottled water from Tesco and expecting to get them even if I just use them to wash the car because they are sat there...
The problem is that I never saw the 1TB allowance as "selling 1TB". Sorry. I understand that is how people see it. But when we set that limit we were thinking: "what is the most a typical, or even heavy, user would use, let's set a limit well above that so people can buy a fixed price service that they don't have to worry about hitting a limit".
The reason for a limit is that there are a tiny number of people that, if unlimited, would do the 25TB a month they can on a fast FTTC line, and we basically want to discourage those people - they are not the sort of customers we are after.
Just to be clear, we do expect heavy users, and we know that we are the highest per user peak bandwidth on one of the major back-haul carriers - we know we have heavy users and that in itself is not the problem. We also know overall usage is increasing as more people stream TV. But, there is heavy and there is silly at a hundred times that level!
Usage does change over time, and the fact we are seeing a few people hitting 1TB makes me think we may want to make it higher, e.g 2TB, or 5TB, or something. We will be discussing this as part of our tariff review.
However, I am now in a slight dilemma in that people may then think "I have paid for 5TB, I will damn well find a way to use or rather than not get what I paid for".
I need a way to explain that the high limit we set is not a target. I do not want to go down the "unlimited*" route where 5TB is a "fair usage" limit - I want to be more up front than that.
So, we will think of ways to tackle this as part of our tariff review.
Thank you all for your comments.
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