A UK consumer group has found that 1 million British broadband users have come close to exceeding, or have exceeded, their ISP’s broadband caps, according to the BBC. The group, uSwitch, also found that five of the nine Internet service providers that advertised “unlimited” access actually had caps, and were prepared to disconnect users who violated them. Only two out of the nine providers actually disclosed their caps (which were 30 GB and 40 GB per month), leaving 80 percent of Internet users unaware of limitations on their data downloads.
Here in the U.S., broadband caps are becoming more prevalent with Comcast disclosing a 250 GB per month cap, all the way down to Frontier Communications mandating a minuscule 5 GB per month cap. There are also 5 GB per month limits on just about all “unlimited” wireless broadband plans. We’re pretty vehemently against broadband caps, which we see as a threat to innovation. But they’re even more damaging when people don’t know what those caps are. Concealing such language in the terms of service or fine print, while advertising access as unlimited should violate truth-in-advertising laws. It also makes consumers angry when they discover, through practice or through reading sites such as this one, that they’ve bought into a lie.