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We love unlimited. Everything is better when it’s not limited, right? Then what’s not to love about unlimited bandwidth? Actually it’s bad for us consumers. Here’s why.

ISPs currently give you unlimited internet access… as long as you don’t use it too much
Did you look into your contract when you signed up for your ISP? If you’re on an unlimited plan, in most cases you’ll find the term ‘fair use policy’ buried somewhere between five hundred paragraphs of Legalese. This term generally has two possible definitions.

  1. There’s a hidden limit. If you want to know much you can use, beg our customer service representatives to tell you what it is.
  2. We can cut off your connection or throttle it whenever we feel like it.

In my book, ‘unlimited’ doesn’t mean ‘limited in a secretive way’.

With metered bandwidth, you know what you’re gonna get
You know what you’ve paid for when you’re on a metered bandwidth plan. Consumers with metered plans have a legally binding agreement with their ISP where they have to let them send and receive a set amount of data through their pipes. This is more transparent than vague fair use policies that impose a hidden limit. With a little collaboration between ISPs and tools such as ISP Monitor (pictured above), the customer always knows what he’s up against.

There’s only so much traffic our pipes can handle anyway
The only reason why ISPs lie about the bandwidth limit of their plans, is marketing. You could compare the internet to a highway: you can only fit so much cars on a highway at the same time. Similarly, internet resources are limited too so it is only fair that we have to pay for what we use. Otherwise, your grandparents are overpaying for their internet connection because some kid is constantly torrenting movies.

In conclusion

ISPs need to be upfront about their limits and provide an easy way for their users to check their bandwidth usage. As long as these limits are fair compared to what you pay for it, I for one think we’re better off banning unlimited plans.

Thoughts? Rebuttals? Let us know what you think in the comments section.