Telecom’s 'unlimited' plan capped?

Unlimited but only up to a point

The recently introduced “Go Large” is marketed as having no monthly data cap, but doubts have risen as to how correct this is. An industry source says that far from being unlimited, Telecom has in fact a 20GB per month cap on the Go Large plan. Furthermore, the source says, peer-to-peer traffic is rate limited at all times. Telecom markets the full-rate/128kbit/s plan as having no monthly limit, but says a “Fair Use Policy” applies to it. This means traffic management will apply to the plan during the peak time of four in the afternoon to midnight, says Lenska Papich, Xtra spokeswoman. Papich says there is no monthly data limit on Go Large, but adds that if a customer downloads “an irregular amount” of data during peak times, Telecom may contact the person who then could be subjected to traffic management. Outside peak times, traffic will not count towards the Fair Use Policy. The amount of traffic is defined by Papich as 20 times more than what the average user might consume during peak hours. Xtra’s Fair Use Policy is more specific, and states: "If in a single day you use more than 700MB of data during the peak hours of 4pm to 12am (midnight) then we'll get in touch with some advice on how to reduce your usage. If your usage continues to be very high, then you may become subject to our Fair Use Policy". If the user is in breach of the policy their account will be transferred by Telecom into a pool where a fixed amount of bandwidth is shared between the users in it. Telecom does not specify the amount of bandwidth available to users in the FUP pool, but users remain in there for one week. Furthermore, if users continue to use a great deal of data for “sustained periods of a month or more,” Telecom says it may contact customers to move them to what it says is a more suitable plan. Telecom says the best time to download large files is when its network isn’t busy — between the hours of midnight and four in the afternoon, it says. During those hours Telecom says customers are likely to get “a fast and reliable service as fewer people will be using the internet.” The traffic management is aimed at file sharers, Papich says. It means that customers on the Go Large plan wanting to browse the web or send email get priority over those who use peer-to-peer software. Telecom has provided a long list of P2P applications that will be subject to restrictions. Only one percent of customers are expected to be subject to the FUP, Papich says, and reiterates that the purpose of the plan is to assist low to moderate traffic users.

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