6 minutes reading time (1139 words)

The Truth about Unlimited

For many years the term 'Unlimited' has been used to describe broadband and Internet access services in general. In the early days, unlimited was about as misleading as it possibly could be with service providers closing accounts, limiting customers and imposing fines for 'unfair usage' but like all good things the law eventually caught up and that little scam was left by the roadside. Now days 'Unlimited' still features unanimously in advertising with such commonality that it now has to be combined by yet more pointless adjectives like 'Totally' as below: 

Of course Totally Unlimited broadband is much better than just Unlimited right? 

Nope, You can get Totally Unlimited Extra, which is of course even better right?

Or maybe 100% Unlimited is the one to go for because the Totally Unlimited isn't 100% Unlimited maybe? 

I'm not sure how many people are actually taken in by this sort of mis-use of compound adjectives but judging by the fact that every residential ISP is using them, it must have some impact. Regardless, the reality is that there is nothing like Unlimited about broadband in any sense of the word. Let's look at how it all connects together: 

There are Four main sections in the service provision between your premises and the internet when looking at FTTC (Aka Fibre Broadband): 

Premises to Cabinet: This is provided over copper pairs and provides a throughput of up to 80m/bit/s by 20m/bit/s, this section is limited by the line conditions and not everyone gets anywhere near this throughput. In addition, a profile (aka BRAS or IP Profile) deliberately limits this rate to 82% of the sync speed (note: ISP's can vary this rate depending on how much you pay etc). Regardless of the BRAS and SYNC speeds it is far from Unlimited. 

Cabinet to Exchange: This is provided over 10G/bit/s Fibre Connection, but each 10G/bit connection will be shared over all the connected premises, meaning that you are only guaranteed a percentage of that 10g/bit/s. To be fair in most area's, bandwidth exceeds subscription so there shouldn't be any contention here. 

Exchange to ISP: The connection over BT's high speed packet network to the ISP that your currently paying for broadband all depends on (a) the capacity in the BT network and (b) the capacity your chosen ISP has purchased, some can be as low as 10g/bit/s others more and this information isn't publicly available. 

ISP to Internet: The connection from your ISP to the internet is again not publicly available but can be as low as 10g/bit/s and will be shared with hosting, email, etc. 

So, where in this service scenario is there anything unlimited? Well, nowhere and it never has been. To add fuel to the fire, many residential ISP's use a technology called 'packet shaping' to slow down certain types of high bandwidth traffic such as bittorrent and P2P, and of course there's the ingress of net censorship in the UK where certain companies have managed to convince a judge to grant an order for ISP's to censor certain websites. The list so far (as of September 2015) is: 

 

Date of Sealed Court Order

Identity of parties who obtained the Order

Blocked Websites

27/04/2012

Members of BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) Limited and of Phonographic Performance Limited 

The Pirate Bay 

05/07/2012

Members of the MPA (Motion Picture Association of America Inc)

Newzbin2

28/02/2013

Members of BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) Limited and of Phonographic Performance Limited 

KAT or Kickass Torrents websites

28/02/2013

Members of BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) Limited and of Phonographic Performance Limited 

H33t

28/02/2013

Members of BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) Limited and of Phonographic Performance Limited 

Fenopy 

26/04/2013 and
19/07/2013

Members of the MPA (Motion Picture Association of America Inc)

Movie2K 
Download4All

01/07/2013

Members of the MPA (Motion Picture Association of America Inc)

EZTV

16/07/2013

The Football Association Premier League Limited

First Row Sports

08/10/2013

Members of BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) Limited and of Phonographic Performance Limited 

Abmp3
BeeMp3
Bomb-Mp3
eMp3World
Filecrop
FilesTube
Mp3Juices
Mp3lemon
Mp3Riad
Mp3skull
NewAlbumReleases
Rapidlibrary

08/10/2013

Members of BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) Limited and of Phonographic Performance Limited 

1337x
BitSnoop
ExtraTorrent
Monova
TorrentCrazy
TorrentDownloads
TorrentHound
Torrentreactor
Torrentz

30/10/2013

Members of the MPA (Motion Picture Association of America Inc)

Primewire
Vodly
Watchfreemovies

30/10/2013

Members of the MPA (Motion Picture Association of America Inc)

YIFY-Torrents

30/10/2013

Members of the MPA (Motion Picture Association of America Inc)

Project-Free TV (PFTV)

13/11/2013

Members of the MPA (Motion Picture Association of America Inc)

SolarMovie
Tube+

18/02/2014

Members of the MPA (Motion Picture Association of America Inc)

Viooz website
Megashare website
zMovie website
Watch32 website

4/11/2014

Members of BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) Limited and of Phonographic Performance Limited 

Bittorrent.am
BTDigg
 Btloft
 Bit Torrent Scene
Limetorrents 
NowTorrents 
Picktorrent 
Seedpeer 
Torlock 
Torrentbit 
Torrentdb 
Torrentdownload 
Torrentexpress 
TorrentFunk 
Torrentproject 
TorrentRoom 
Torrents 
TorrentUs 
Torrentz 
Torrentzap 
Vitorrent 

19/11/2014

Members of the MPA (Motion Picture Association of America Inc) 

Watchseries.It
Stream TV
Watchseries-online
Cucirca
Movie25
Watchseries.to
Iwannawatch
Warez BB
Ice Films
Tehparadox
Heroturko
Scene Source
Rapid Moviez
Iwatchonline
Los Movies
Isohunt
Torrentz.pro
Torrentbutler
IP Torrents
Sumotorrent
Torrent Day
Torrenting
BitSoup
Torrent Bytes
Seventorrents
Torrents.fm
YourBittirrent
Tor Movies
Demonoid
Torrent.cd
Vertor
Rar BG

20/11/2014

Cartier International AG Montblanc-SImplo GmbH Richemont International S.A.

CartierLove2U
IWCWatchTop
ReplicaWatchesIWC
1iwc
MontBlancPensOnlineUK
MontBlancOutletOnline

5/12/2014

Cartier International AG 

Pasmoldsolutions
PillarRecruitment

17/12/2014

Members of BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) Limited and of Phonographic Performance Limited

Bursalagu
Fullsongs
Mega-Search
Mp3 Monkey
Mp3.li
Mp3Bear
MP3Boo
Mp3Clan
Mp3Olimp
MP3s.pl
Mp3soup
Mp3Truck
Musicaddict
My Free MP3
Plixid
RnBXclusive
STAFA Band

29/4/2015

Members of the MPA (Motion Picture Association of America Inc)

afdah.com
watchonlineseries.eu
g2g.fm
axxomovies.org
popcorntime.io
flixtor.me
popcorntime.se
isoplex.isohunt.to
eztvapi.re
eqwww.image.yt
yts.re
ui.time-popcorn.info

7/5/2015

The Football Association Premier League Limited

Rojadirecta
LiveTV
Drakulastream

21/5/2015

Members of The Publishers Association

Avaxhm
Ebookee
Freebookspot
Freshwap
Libgen
Bookfi
Bookre

Of course these court orders did nothing to stop traffic as even the most basic user can download Tor, but its just another example of the word 'Unlimited' being abused. 

 

So, in summary, Can it be unlimited? No. 

But it can be better if you have a fat enough wallet. GEN for example who exclusively supply business customers can provide (a) a guaranteed bandwidth from the cabinet to exchange, (b) Prioritised traffic from the exchange to our networks, and (c) guaranteed bandwidth to the internet but it all costs money which is why residential broadband is so cheap, and business class is comparitively expensive. Bandwidth is bandwidth and the cost is the same, the more users that share the same bandwidth the cheaper it is for each - Its as simple as that!

E&OE - Credits to BT, Talktalk and Plusnet for their banner ads and absolutely no disrespect to their services is intended and they are just examples and in no way exclusive. Congratulations to the MPAA for publicising "ThePirateBay" to the world, most of whom had never heard of it before. All opinions given are that of the author. 

 

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