One million of us seem to be exceeding, or coming close to our broadband limit, research from uSwitch suggests. Usage caps – the limits internet service providers (ISPs) place on the amount of bandwidth a user can have each month – have been in place for the better part of the existence of broadband, but as suggested by uSwitch, users are still not able to control their downloads.
"With so much reliance on broadband, having the service disconnected could feel to someone as serious as having their electricity cut off," said Tim Wolfenden, spokesman for uSwitch.
The uproar comes over ISPs that claim to provide "unlimited downloading" while subsequently cutting people off if they download too much – with a staggering 56 per cent of ISPs acting in this way.
The uSwitch survey claimed that only two out of the nine ISP’s in the survey actually broadcasted their usage limit, resulting in the companies not being "fully transparent".
"Broadband companies should not be allowed to class their packages as unlimited if they are not," said Wolfenden.
Many ISPs argue that the caps they impose are necessary for a successful package deal. However, their actions were not sanctioned by the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA).
"An ISPA Member must not deliberately operate bandwidth caps unless it makes available to its customers and users in a clear manner the nature of the caps that apply," said a spokesman for ISPA.
Fair usage policies are generally found in the terms and conditions of a broadband contract but, according to uSwitch’s research, only one in four people actually read them.