Wireless data usage caps = FAIL

12 Mar 2008
00:00

With all the talk about fixed vs wireless broadband as an Internet access model, and whether HSPDA/LTE/Wimax/whatever will become the default broadband access model, here's an interesting case study from acclaimed comic book and science fiction writer Warren Ellis.

Mr Ellis, who lives in the UK, found himself without a DSL modem and temporarily replaced it with an HSDPA USB modem from 3 UK connected to a ThinkPad X61 in order to keep up with his online activities. One of the drawbacks of this arrangement, he reported on Saturday, was 3's 7GB monthly bandwidth cap, which has alerted him to just how much data usage he racks up on a daily basis:

On a normal day, I'd grab a tv programme, an album's worth of music "” and that's getting on for a gig's worth of material right there "” spend an hour on Bloglines getting up to speed with the world, which usually involves watching more video and streaming more audio, move a LOT of email with images and documents, watch a handful of online communities, do research. And before you know it, rough calculations start reaching the 3GB/day level. That's a lot of data to eat. I'm watching the 3 bandwidth counter like a hawk, in case I can't get DSL back up, and I've used more than a gig since Monday.Somewhere along the way, I let bandwidth become one of the major food groups. Or, perhaps more correctly, my interests and choice of jobs have led me to the point where bandwidth has become one of the elements I require to get through the working week. And, like water coming out of the tap, you take it for granted until it turns into a brown trickle.On a normal day, I'd grab a tv programme, an album's worth of music "” and that's getting on for a gig's worth of material right there "” spend an hour on Bloglines getting up to speed with the world, which usually involves watching more video and streaming more audio, move a LOT of email with images and documents, watch a handful of online communities, do research. And before you know it, rough calculations start reaching the 3GB/day level. That's a lot of data to eat. I'm watching the 3 bandwidth counter like a hawk, in case I can't get DSL back up, and I've used more than a gig since Monday.Somewhere along the way, I let bandwidth become one of the major food groups. Or, perhaps more correctly, my interests and choice of jobs have led me to the point where bandwidth has become one of the elements I require to get through the working week. And, like water coming out of the tap, you take it for granted until it turns into a brown trickle.On a normal day, I'd grab a tv programme, an album's worth of music "” and that's getting on for a gig's worth of material right there "” spend an hour on Bloglines getting up to speed with the world, which usually involves watching more video and streaming more audio, move a LOT of email with images and documents, watch a handful of online communities, do research. And before you know it, rough calculations start reaching the 3GB/day level. That's a lot of data to eat. I'm watching the 3 bandwidth counter like a hawk, in case I can't get DSL back up, and I've used more than a gig since Monday.Somewhere along the way, I let bandwidth become one of the major food groups. Or, perhaps more correctly, my interests and choice of jobs have led me to the point where bandwidth has become one of the elements I require to get through the working week. And, like water coming out of the tap, you take it for granted until it turns into a brown trickle.On a normal day, I'd grab a tv programme, an album's worth of music "” and that's getting on for a gig's worth of material right there "” spend an hour on Bloglines getting up to speed with the world, which usually involves watching more video and streaming more audio, move a LOT of email with images and documents, watch a handful of online communities, do research. And before you know it, rough calculations start reaching the 3GB/day level. That's a lot of data to eat. I'm watching the 3 bandwidth counter like a hawk, in case I can't get DSL back up, and I've used more than a gig since Monday.Somewhere along the way, I let bandwidth become one of the major food groups. Or, perhaps more correctly, my interests and choice of jobs have led me to the point where bandwidth has become one of the elements I require to get through the working week. And, like water coming out of the tap, you take it for granted until it turns into a brown trickle.On a normal day, I'd grab a tv programme, an album's worth of music "” and that's getting on for a gig's worth of material right there "” spend an hour on Bloglines getting up to speed with the world, which usually involves watching more video and streaming more audio, move a LOT of email with images and documents, watch a handful of online communities, do research. And before you know it, rough calculations start reaching the 3GB/day level. That's a lot of data to eat. I'm watching the 3 bandwidth counter like a hawk, in case I can't get DSL back up, and I've used more than a gig since Monday.Somewhere along the way, I let bandwidth become one of the major food groups. Or, perhaps more correctly, my interests and choice of jobs have led me to the point where bandwidth has become one of the elements I require to get through the working week. And, like water coming out of the tap, you take it for granted until it turns into a brown trickle.

Granted, Mr Ellis may fit the profile of "early adopter/heavy user" rather than the average user. Still, it's an interesting piece of intel for operators who think that usage caps are good business.

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