JT's Data Caps Make Fibre a Bad Deal for Users

Taxpayer-funded Fibre network has stupidly low data limits. It makes no sense to upgrade to these speeds if you can't use them. Posted 1 February 2013

JT Fibre adverts are everywhere, even on the milk cartons you grab every morning for your cuppa. Gigabit speeds, much faster than your current broadband! People who know me think I would be all over this like white on rice. Nope. I’m not interested in signing up yet, because it has one fatal flaw. A 50GB per month usage limit.

Downloading 50GB of data at Gigabit speed takes about six minutes and forty seconds. What do I for the rest of the month? And if I’m not going to use Gigabit speeds, what’s the point of switching from ADSL?

I think building this network is a fantastic idea and I totally support the use of our taxpayer funds to do it. The fibre network is basically an update to our old copper telephone wires, a system dating back many years. I bet the States subsidised that original network and it was the right thing to do then, too. We need another upgrade and here we go, Digital Jersey.

My problem is with this absolutely unrealistic rationing of access to data. It’s like building a bullet train to travel from Royal Square to the Central Market. Why? Who dreamed up the 50GB figure? I download well over that every month just on my 4Meg ADSL connection. I can’t imagine what kind of penalty charges JT would want if I actually used Fibre anywhere near its capacity. This begs the question, “Should I switch from an unlimited ADSL plan?” The answer is simple, “No”.

Stick with your current Sure or Newtel plan that gives unlimited use (okay, “fair use” policies are in place for overuse but they are reasonable and good for the health of the network). Unlimited ADSL provides download speeds that can easily handle large files and high-definition video streaming. There is no extra value in a Fibre plan with a 50GB cap.

JT is already sending out thousands of letters to people going over the caps on ADSL plans as low as 2Meg. They don’t have a single plan with a reasonable limit. Their competitors, Sure and Newtel, offer the identical ADSL service without the silly data caps. With families buying new TVs that have iPlayer and Netflix integrated, this is only going to get worse. Netflix’s default video quality is 2.5GB per hour, meaning that just a few hours a month is all you can use.

If the taxpayers are investing in our Fibre network, and we are trying to expand our Digital Technology sector and promote IT in Jersey, why is this unrealistic limit in place?

Edit: A few hours after I published this post I see this Telegraph story about BT dropping their data caps while also lowering prices. Well done to BT for listening to customers during their own fibre network rollout!