Afrihost ADSL Uncapped – throttled at 32GB to 0.56Mbps

So – Afrihost ADSL uncapped… the promise of “Pure Internet Joy” is part of the offering’s headline.

On a 4Mbps line, the offering of the uncapped account is quite good. Then came the warnings — throtteling may occur based on usage patterns. Then came the notification that there would be an hour-to-hour usage analysis to control the access to consistent line speeds for the “other 93%” of users using the IS-resold Afrihost bandwidth.

To my mind, that’s understandable – if someone’s pulling 210GB a month on an “uncapped” account, they should be throttled as that can be seen as excessive. This is covered by the Afrihost site, too:

“We reserve the right to shape or throttle any account whose usage affects our other clients internet experience negatively. Our primary concern is for the majority of our clients. If there are individuals that are putting strain on the network through their downloading habits and in so doing affecting our other clients negatively we reserve the right to shape or throttle their service.”

Which brings me to the questions – what is excessive in this environment? Afrihost is reselling their bandwidth at R19/GB on the 1TB/month bundles (which, surely, includes a margin). Does that mean that the cutoff that Afrihost works on is:

(R497/uncapped GB) divided by (R 19/GB ideal selling price) = 26.15GB

of total usage on an “uncapped” account before throtteling? So why, then, call it uncapped? Economic viability of the service then falls away completely and the use of the word uncapped may rightly be seen in the same sceptical light as the wording used in advertising by companies such as “Simply Slim”, featured in the August 2010 Noseweek (pg 28)…

What consitutes use?

“Our uncapped service is designed for humans who want to use the internet as much as they want.

The honest truth is that if it is your intention to setup programs and software to download movies, music & whatever else every single hour of the day, every day of the month then these uncapped packages are not for you.”

Let’s choose an example. I decide to watch TED talks in high definition (really, worth it!). I use the Miro player to do so – it allows me to keep up to date with the talks via the TED HD video RSS feed — am I a human using th Internet? Each talk is approximately 200Mb in size. There are new TED talks every week. I may have a virus scanner on my machine that automatically updates every few hours. I suggest that this constitutes “whatever else” in the above definition. I may send emails with attachments. I may use 32GB in one month. But that leads to throttling to speeds last seen 4 years ago.

“It is a dynamic system and there are a lot of factors that affect the throttling accounts.”

Information overshare regarding the process certainly is not a factor here. Alternatives exist though:

“There is a solution we can offer, if you wish we can move you over to the IS Uncapped network,

The move is free and instant, the shaping policies are more lenient and you will have much better speeds”

Don’t quite know how this fits into the grand scheme of things… Hmmmmm…

“You will never be capped no matter what you use the account for – However, we do reserve the right to shape and throttle your account if we deem it necessary.”

WIth explanation, rational and explanation, that can make sense. But such information seems to be hidden somewhere.

I’m switching back to “capped” services. That’s progress.