Capped ADSL provides superior bandwidth, but requires more data usage management than uncapped accounts and can become costly for high usage. This is word from South Africa’s top Internet service providers (ISPs).
MWEB revolutionized the ADSL market in March 2010 when it launched South Africa’s first affordable uncapped services.
Since then a large portion of South Africa’s ADSL subscribers moved to uncapped accounts, but capped services remain a popular choice in some environments.
Capped services can bring cost savings for low monthly usage, and is also seen as offering a better network performance than uncapped products.
MyBroadband asked South Africa’s largest ISPs whether their capped ADSL products really offers a superior performance.
Afrihost director Greg Payne
“On our capped ADSL products you will always get the full speed that your ADSL line and exchange is capable of,” said Payne.
“Our uncapped service is never throttled, but may be shaped during peak network times to ensure that capped and business users have full speed.”
Payne said that their shaping involves slowing down non-real-time protocols like torrents during peak network times.
“Having said that, Afrihost has recently upgraded its network significantly, so shaping has mainly been taking place for only 4 hours a day – between 8pm and midnight,” said Payne.
“Afrihost’s Business Uncapped packages have been completely unshaped and un-throttled for a number of months now and we will continue to run Business Uncapped like this.”
Axxess director Franco Barbalich
“On uncapped, Axxess only manages the users’ real time traffic, depending on network availability,” said Barbalich.
“The choice between capped and uncapped ADSL depends on what you want to spend, or if you want to actively manage the number of gigs you want to use. Both services are offer brilliant experiences,” he added.
Openweb CEO Keoma Wright
“Capped is completely unshaped, and offers a lower contention ratio, meaning a better overall experience,” said Wright.
Vox Telecom director Douglas Reed
“Vox Telecom has always focused on the primary service levels – in the case of data it is latency, packet loss and redundancy – as we believe a high quality service will benefit our customers and Vox over the long term,” said Reed.
“When we cannot guarantee this quality due to unknown demand from cheap uncapped offerings we prefer resell other Telco’s products rather to impact our network.”
Reed said that they developed their “Fat Pipe” usage based solutions to cater for the bigger ADSL line sizes because the uncapped products based on line size become prohibitive for householders and small businesses.
“Most high-end consumers prefer the biggest pipe possible but only require 50 to 100 GBs a month, hence the trend back to usage models,” said Reed.
“Our objectives with all the Consumer Broadband solutions, including Satellite is to provide a decent sized high performance solution under the R600 per month all in price point.”
MWEB ISP CEO Derek Hershaw
MWEB ISP CEO Derek Hershaw said that their capped products provide excellent performance for all types of internet usage, and are designed for the user who wants an optimum network experience.
“Our capped products have the least amount of shaping and bandwidth management across the shaped range and are best suited to users who value performance over volume of data. Our capped product performance is closely aligned to unshaped products,” said Hershaw.
Hershaw explained that their uncapped ADSL products consume far more network capacity, so usage is managed via shaping and throttling to make sure that everyone gets a great experience.
“Our capped ADSL products are generally not affected by shaping or throttling as usage is ‘managed’ by the product cap itself,” said Hershaw.
Cybersmart CEO Laurie Fialkov
Cybersmart CEO Laurie Fialkov said that capped accounts remain popular among people who want completely unmanaged bandwidth.
Fialkov explained that their capped data products have no shaping or bandwidth management, and provides a lower contention ratio than their uncapped services.
Uncapped products, he argued, cater for a market who does not want to concern themselves with data usage management or related issues. “They have a fixed cost, and when a person sits in front of the computer it must just work and it must work consistently,” said Fialkov.