Uncapped DSL and fibre packages are a popular option for users who consume a lot of data, but they have limitations.
Internet service providers impose a fair usage policy (FUP) on most uncapped accounts, typically throttling their maximum line speed if a certain amount of data is used in a month.
The extent of the throttling varies according to the customer’s data usage and service provider, with different usage limits applied according to the speed of the line.
The fair usage policies for popular uncapped home fibre and ADSL packages from South African ISPs are detailed below.
DSL and Fibre Home Uncapped packages from Axxess are managed according to the user’s last 7 days of usage (projected to 30 days), while considering the available capacity on the network.
When a user exceeds a defined data usage threshold, their speed will be lowered by up to 50%.
The thresholds depend on the user’s uncapped line speed, and may be managed more aggressively if network demand exceeds available capacity.
Telkom’s fair usage policy is dynamic and varies depending on the customer’s uncapped package and network traffic.
Customers will receive a notification once they reach their FUP, while data used between midnight to 07:00 does not count toward the usage limit and is never throttled.
The three FUP Levels implemented on Telkom HOMEunlimited accounts are detailed below.
- FUP Level 1 (50% of quota value) – Throttled to approximately 50% of product speed for the 2 hours of highest demand daily.
- FUP Level 2 (75% of quota value) – Throttled to approximately 25% of product speed for the 4 hours of highest demand daily.
- FUP Level 3 (100% of quota value) – Throttled to an 8th of product speed or 384kbps (whichever is higher) until the following rollover date.
Telkom HOMEunlimited – FUP
Webafrica uses a 5-star threshold system to manage network traffic on its fibre and ADSL packages. Data used between midnight and 06:00 does not affect the customer’s threshold.
Webafrica calculates the average usage in a customer’s area, which is monitored over a 10-day rolling period. When the user’s data usage significantly exceeds that of the average, the connection will be throttled.
The customer begins with a 5-star rating, which can decrease if their data usage is far greater than average.
The throttling levels for Home Uncapped Webafrica packages are:
- 5 Star – Great usage on all services, torrents and news server downloads may be slightly slower dependent on network load.
- 4 Star – VoIP and gaming will be great, along with general browsing. Downloads will be slightly slower.
- 3 Star – VoIP and gaming will be good. YouTube videos will take slightly longer to load, general browsing and mail will be quick.
- 2 Star – General browsing, mail, and online video will perform slightly slower. Voice and gaming services will be good, downloads will take some time.
- 1 Star – General browsing, mail, and online video will perform slightly slower. Voice and gaming services will be functional, downloads will take some time.
Vox Home Uncapped subscribers on ADSL or fibre are subject to the same fair usage policy.
Subscriber line speed is reduced according to the table below, based on total data used during a calendar month.
The uncapped package will be provided at the FUP rate limit until the end of the month, and will reset on the first day of each new month.
1Mbps uncapped packages are FUP-exempt on Vox.
|Line Speed||FUP Level 1||FUP Level 2||FUP Level 3|
|2Mbps||40GB – 1Mbps||80GB – 1Mbps||160GB – 1Mbps|
|4Mbps||80GB – 2Mbps||160GB – 1Mbps||260GB – 1Mbps|
|8Mbps||160GB – 4Mbps||320GB – 2Mbps||520GB – 1Mbps|
|10Mbps||200GB – 5Mbps||400GB – 2Mbps||650GB – 1Mbps|
|20Mbps||500GB – 10Mbps||750GB – 5Mbps||1,000GB – 2Mbps|
|40Mbps||750GB – 20Mbps||1,000GB – 10Mbps||1,250GB – 5Mbps|
|100Mbps||1,000GB – 50Mbps||1,250GB – 25Mbps||1,500GB – 10Mbps|
Cybersmart’s Home Uncapped packages are not intended for heavy downloading, with P2P and automated downloads managed by the network.
The provider recommends Home Uncapped customers schedule their downloads for after midnight for better performance.
Cybersmart’s Laurie Fialkov said the FUP threshold differs between each product, based on factors like VoIP usage and how many months the customer has been a subscriber.
Fialkov said data usage on Home Uncapped during work hours would count more toward the FUP threshold, and this fair usage policy is applicable to both fibre and DSL packages.
Cybersmart’s Lightspeed fibre products have a different fair usage policy, comparable to that of overseas providers.
Afrihost Home Uncapped Packages are subject to throttling once a customer has reached their monthly data usage threshold.
Throttling is only applied when required during peak demand periods to manage network demand.
Customers who have exceeded their threshold will experience unthrottled speeds during off-peak hours.
MWEB compares subscriber usage against a 30-day rolling threshold. These thresholds depend on the product and can change.
“Given how the thresholds vary and change, we prefer to not publish them, but rather discuss it with the customer at time of purchase,” said MWEB.
Clients are notified if they are approaching their threshold, and when they reach it. Data usage between midnight and 08:00 does not count toward the threshold.