Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The fight for Internet Freedom (and brackets)

This is an ad from Spain for broadband Internet. It is advertising ADSL at speeds of twenty megabits per second (20Mb/sec) for six Euros (€6) per month which is slightly less than ten Australian Dollars (AU$10.00). Sounds pretty cheap for unlimited Internet. Compare that with the deal I'm on with TPG Internet - the second largest Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Australia. I get one and a half megabits per second (1.5Mb/sec) speed and I pay sixty-nine Australian Dollars (AU$69.00). TPG have a dial-up package with a download limit of eighty megabytes (80MB) per month for nine dollars and ninety-nine cents (AU$9.99) and they will charge you eighteen cents (AU$0.18) for every megabyte (MB) you go over that eighty megabyte (80MB) limit. It should be pointed out that the fine people in Spain and the rest of Europe simply can't get their head around the download limits imposed on us here in Australia. The above advertised service has no cap. Customers are not subjected to throttling. I get throttled (capped) when I download more than twenty-five (25) gigabytes (GB), which means I am slowed down to something little better than dial-up speed until my next billing month starts again.

After finding the actual providers site which is all in Spanish, and with the help of the Babelfish translator, I found out that you only get the first two months for six Euros per month. After that it's thirty Euros (€30) per month. That works out to just over forty-seven dollars fifty in Australian Dollars (AU$47.50). Still, see if you can find any ISP in Australia that can supply broadband Internet in Australia that can achieve 20Mb/sec speeds with no download limit for under fifty bucks (AU$50.00) a month. Not bloody likely!

If you live in a rural area you are damn lucky to have broadband at all! For remote locations, there is an advertising campaign currently for Activ8me urging country folk (most of which haven't got a clue what a good Internet deal is) to take advantage of a two-and-a-half thousand dollar (AU$2500.00) Government grant to get them online with deals for as low as twenty-nine dollars ninety-five a month (AU$29.95/month).

That sounds okay to the average Joe who has lived on a farm all his life and has finally got the chance to hook up to this thing they call the Internet. Look a little closer and we see that download limit thing that so many countries in Europe and Asia wouldn't dream of imposing on their customers.

The package has a five hundred megabyte (500MB) data allowance, but when you have downloaded your allowance, they don't stop you from downloading anymore, they just charge you for every megabyte you go over your limit. At eight cents per megabyte (8¢/MB) you can really start clocking up the Internet bill.

For example, as I said earlier, I have a twenty-five gigabyte (25GB) limit on my connection and I usually hit that limit. Say Farmer Joe downloaded twenty-five gig (25GB) with his new Activ8me Internet account by surfing porn, watching YouTube and talking to Uncle Henry with this new fang-dangled web-cam thingy. He passed his limit at half a gig (500MB) limit and is paying eight cents a meg (8¢/MB) after that. That's twenty-four thousand five hundred megabytes over the limit multiplied by eight cents (24500MB x 8¢). This months Internet bill comes to a grand total of one thousand nine hundred and eighty-nine dollars and ninety-five cents($1989.95). Bill plus excess.

This kind of deal should be illegal. Especially when targeted at people who live in remote areas and have no idea about data volume. Such a low limit is only useful for those who will use the Internet for nothing more than e-mail. The highest limit available Activ8me for a whopping hundred and ten dollars ninety-five ($110.95) only includes 3000 MB of data. The above scenario would still have a bill plus excess totalling one thousand eight hundred and seventy dollars and ninety-five cents($1870.95). And really, who just uses the computer just for e-mail anymore? You'd be better off with dial-up. Some service providers are offering dial-up internet for under ten dollars per month ($10/month) and you can check your e-mail just fine with that.

These guys really are helping those in need, don't you think? NOT!

Out (Cya).

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