Sent: 07-07-2009 13:36:02
In this issue:
Return to full article list
HomeFree weekly newsletterSelf Managed Super Fund ArticlesContact usLogin
Charges for Excess Broadband Data Use
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.
Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, 1849
Restated in terms of your broadband internet account:
Monthly bandwidth twenty gigabytes, monthly usage nineteen point six, result happiness. Monthly bandwidth twenty gigabytes, monthly usage twenty point six, result misery.
High speed internet data plans are pretty cheap these days.
For plans offering more than 1 gigbayte (GB) of data usage per month, Optus and Telstra charge roughly from $3 to $6 per GB depending on the plan. These rates apply to office installations using either cable or ADSL on your phone line.
Looking at the cost of wireless plans which you might use on your iPhone or other mobile device, charges range from $8 to $20 per GB.
It pays to be aware of what happens if you use data in excess of your plan's allowance. Typical rates for this are 15c per megabyte which may not sound like a lot but scale that up to 1 GB of excess usage and you are facing a charge of over $150.
Bearing in mind that broadband plans really are high speed plans you should also be aware just how fast you can use an extra 1 GB of data.
Typically for a slower speed broadband service like on a mobile device you should be able to receive data at a rate of 1 GB per hour up to 3 or more GB per hour.
So your excess data usage on a wireless account could be costing you over $450 per hour! That is a pretty high rate to watch YouTube videos.
On a fixed plan like ADSL or Cable, your maximum speed could exceed 13GB per hour.
Excess data usage there could cost almost $2000 per hour.
This happens regularly as shown by the case of Nigel Hopkinson and others as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Nigel Hopkinson is disputing a charge of $8562.31 for 73GB of excess data use. The apparent usage was recorded by BigPond between midnight and 5.07am on May 10. He received an automatic email at 8.53am from BigPond, advising his account reached 175 per cent of his monthly 60GB usage allowance. He had left his computer and modem on, he said. Other customers that have been affected by excess data usage claimed to have turned their computers and modems off.
Another BigPond customer, Eian Mathieson, who is on a 25GB-a-month plan, said he began to worry about his account usage after having gone over the limit two months in a row.
Mathieson downloaded a metering tool, Netmeter, to measure his usage patterns. On one day, BigPond metering recorded more than five times the usage Netmeter reported, he said. On May 27, the BigPond meter showed he had used 1768MB, whereas Netmeter showed 342.6MB for that same day. The next day, the BigPond meter displayed 1650MB of usage and Netmeter recorded 358.62MB, Mr Mathieson said.
He said he contacted an IT company, R2 Technology, to inspect his PCs for any possible intrusions, such as trojans or malware, that could be causing the problems, but after running multiple scans on all his computers and checking the installation of Netmeter, he said the problem appeared to reside with BigPond's metering tool.
In this case, the fault may lie with BigPond, however, there are plenty of instances where people have been unaware they are accruing such large bills until they arrive in the post.
So how do you avoid this?
The answer is an unlimited plan. These plans allow you to use an unlimited amount of data but once you hit the plan limit they throttle your speed back to a range from 64 kilobytes per second to 265 kilobytes per second.
When you get throttled for breaching your data limit that is annoying, but not anywhere near as traumatic as receiving a 4 digit bill for excess data usage.
This email is general in nature only and does not constitute or convey specific or professional advice. Legislation changes may occur quickly. Formal advice should be sought before acting in any of the areas discussed. Be aware that the information in these articles may become innaccurate with time. Responsibility is disclaimed for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions. Particular investments are neither invited nor recommended and hence this publication is not "financial product advice" as defined in Section 766B of the above legislation. All expressions of opinion by contributors are published on the basis that they are not to be regarded as expressing the official opinion of any other person or entity unless expressly stated. No responsibility for the accuracy of the opinions or information contained in the contributor's articles is accepted by any other person or entity. Copyright: This publication is copyright. If you wish to reproduce this article you require a license, which can be purchased here, to do so.