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Is uncapped really uncapped?

Is uncapped really uncapped?Many telecoms operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in South Africa are promoting their broadband products as “uncapped” or “unlimited”.

While most of these products offer a good amount of data for their price, they typically come with a fair use policy (FUP).

When users exceed the monthly FUP, their connection speed is usually throttled, we aren’t any different but our FUP is normally better than most.   Usually, throttling and shaping are terms that do not go down well with some subscribers, and unhappiness with uncapped advertising has resulted in many Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) complaints.

In the latest incident the ASA dismissed a complaint which claimed that Telkom’s uncapped Internet advertising was misleading.

The ASA agreed with Telkom’s view that it reserves the right to apply restrictions on an uncapped account if a customer’s behaviour is affecting the user experience of other customers on its network.

The Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) defines capped, uncapped, and unlimited as follows:

  • Capped – refers to products which have a predetermined limit imposed, and once a user reaches this limit, connectivity is severed completely, much like pre-paid electricity or cell phone pre-paid airtime bundles.
  • Uncapped –  refers to products where predetermined limits may still be relevant, but connectivity is never severed. It does, however, appear to be common practice for service providers to reduce speeds when thresholds are reached.
  • Unlimited – appears to refer to products which have a bare minimum of control measures imposed by service providers. These packages seem to be the most expensive generally speaking, and users tend to be able to surf or download as much as they want with virtually no interference, irrespective of how much data has been used.

ISPA’s summary is commendable and gives a broad outline of how the industry describes its data services.

Have a look at our FUP and let us know if you think it is reasonable or not by tweet via #fupgood or #fupbad

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