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The TelstraClear unmetered weekend, and asking you for ideas

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 4-Dec-2011 09:51

TelstraClear "unleashed" an unmetered weekend. And what a weekend it has been (still Sunday morning here). If you are not in New Zealand you should know most ISP plans are "metered", i.e. customers have a usage allowance measured in GB, with overage charges after that.

TelstraClear is the country's second largest ISP and boldly announced all data traffic from Friday 2nd Dec 2011 6pm through Sunday 4th Dec 2011 would be "unmetered", meaning this traffic would not be counted towards the customers' usage.

Obviously people would take advantage of this, by either uploading their digital content to online storage and backup, downloading as much content as possible for later viewing, or watching as much as possible YouTube, or using video calls like crazy - it's almost Christmas after all.

There's a long discussion on Geekzone on "how was your TelstraClear performance during free data weekend" and comments on NBR here.

Here's an interesting comment on Geekzone:

I must confess that I'm a bit confused as to why people are painting TelstraClear as callous, outrageous, moronic, illegal gits for actually TRYING to do, for once, what people have been clamouring for - "all you can eat" broadband.

Be careful what you wish for. 

I decided to post my reply to this comment in this blog post as well, to make it more visible outside the forum. And I agree with the gist of that comment.

This is because ISPs can't provision resources based on a constant peak demand, because what happens with all those resources during non-peak times? Who's paying for that? The costs would be enormous, which would of course be reflected on prices to consumers.

This "experiment" weekend by TelstraClear is not even a valid model showing how much resources the second largest ISP would need, because people are actually using a lot more than they would normally, just because this is an unusual event.

In effect what we are seeing here is the most demanding usage the network would be required to service. But not necessarily the demand an all you can eat plan would require in "normal" sense.

What are your views? Do you think unlimited plans are a good idea? Or do you think metered plans are better? What would you suggest to limit the impact of the Tragedy of Commons for example, where a few use all the available limited resources that should be shared by a larger group?



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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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