Last month I got very close to reaching my broadband cap. The account I have with Plusnet (a legacy account) has a limit of 80GB. When I had my ADSL connection I never got close to the limit. Having upgraded my connection to FTTC (fibre) and having 37Mb/s download speed means it is now much easier for me to reach the limit.
I know that I got close to the limit due to the holiday season, spending a lot of time at home meant not only was I using the connection a lot, but the family were also streaming a lot of video too. BBC iPlayer is great for catching up with programmes you have missed, but also means using a lot of data.
One of the features of Plusnet I like is that the cap does not apply to downloads between 12am and 8am. This is great for downloading stuff from iTunes, but less useful for streaming BBC iPlayer content. I usually watch BBC iPlayer content through the TV, it has BBC iPlayer built in, however it doesn’t allow me to download BBC content and play back later, I have to stream live!
The other problem I am having is that scheduling iTunes downloads is problematic.
Prior to getting FTTC I could before I went to bed I could set iTunes to download movies and TV programmes knowing that the majority of the download would be during the cap free period between 12 and 8. However FTTC is so fast that it only takes ten minutes to download a movie from iTunes so generally I download when I wake up and not when I go to bed (I am usually in bed before midnight). What I would prefer to do is let iTunes download any big purchases after midnight. It’s not just movies but also some iPad apps are in excess of 500MB. I would also download OS X and Windows updates overnight, again with my old connection the majority of the download would take place in the cap free time, now with the faster connection it’s done very quickly.
Luckily Plusnet provide a decent tool for measuring how much data I have used and also warn me when I get close.
However this does show that ISPs need to rethink their bandwidth caps once more people can get FTTC.