When selecting an uncapped ADSL or fibre package, you will notice an array of options on offer.
Besides the various line speeds of the uncapped accounts, users will typically be able to pick from “Home”, “Premium”, and “Business” or “Priority” accounts.
The names of these packages indicate what type of experience you will receive as a user, as not all uncapped account are created equally.
When it comes to uncapped accounts, a defining factor in the service you receive is the fair usage policy. This is also referred to as the acceptable usage policy.
This policy is often unique to each Internet service provider (ISP) and dictates how much data you can use at your package’s full line speed, at what times, and on which protocols.
An easy-to-understand example of a usage policy is the one included with Telkom’s all-hours uncapped fixed-LTE product.
Users receive 150GB of data at 10Mbps download speeds. When this is done, it moves to 50GB at 4Mbps. After this, uncapped usage at 2Mbps is provided.
The package is uncapped and you can use as much data as you like, but it is affected by the sliding speed scale.
The same applies to ISPs which sell uncapped packages on ADSL or fibre – in terms of the speeds you receive being determined by a fair usage policy.
Home vs Premium
ISPs therefore group their uncapped products into categories based on the type of usage policy which is applied to them.
These are often given the names Home, Premium, or Business – and each offer users a different experience.
To help you decide which is the best option for you, we have detailed the primary differences between Home and Premium accounts below, based on the definitions provided by Afrihost, Axxess, and Webafrica.
Afrihost states that the primary difference between its Home uncapped accounts and the Premium alternatives is that Home packages have a monthly usage threshold, while Premium and Business accounts do not.
Once users reach the threshold on their Home account, their download speeds may be throttled when the network is busy.
Premium uncapped packages may be subject to shaping dury busy networks times, however, which means the slowing down of select protocols – such as downloads.
Packages from Axxess are similarly grouped, and the ISP stated that its Home and Premium accounts are actively managed by the Axxess Protocol Manager.
This gives Premium users priority when using real-time services on the network, such as browsing, email, and Netflix streaming.
The type of uncapped account you get will also affect how quickly you reach throttling or shaping limits as defined by your ISP’s usage policies.
For example, on Webafrica’s uncapped ADSL packages the different account types offer various fair usage thresholds.
The ISP noted that these limits are only applied to packages on Openserve infrastructure.
As a guide, monthly usage thresholds on a 10Mbps uncapped ADSL package from the ISP are as follows:
- Uncapped – 100GB
- Uncapped Premium – 370GB
- Uncapped Pro – Infinite
The company added that usage on your account between midnight and 06:00 each day does not affect your usage threshold. This is the case with many ISPs in South Africa, as network usage is low during these hours.
In summary, when selecting an uncapped Internet package, make sure you know which type of account you are signing up for and what fair usage policy it offers.