4K Netflix forced me to get uncapped fibre

I’ve had a 100Mbps Openserve fibre line at home for over a year now, and it is great.

Besides two days of no connectivity due to a line issue, and two Sundays of slow speeds and poor latency, it has been a great service.

This was partly due to, at least by my calculations, the fact that I had a 200GB capped account.

Getting a capped account may limit how much data you can use in a month, but it guarantees good download speeds no matter what you are doing.

You get your monthly data allocation and you can go crazy with it.

Uncapped fibre

The reason for capped was that uncapped accounts in South Africa were too vague for my liking.

Firstly, there are different versions – such as “home”, “business”, and “premium” – and your account is shaped or throttled depending which version you are on, how busy the network is in total, what protocols you are using, and other factors like how much data you have already used in a month.

There were too many ifs and buts in this scenario, and I would be damned if my speeds were going to get slowed down because the ISP’s network was too busy or I had downloaded too many games.

But then Narcos: Mexico arrived and my cap was smoked quicker than those fat blunts Rafa hits every day.

This was thanks to the combination of a 4K TV, Narcos: Mexico in UHD, and the fact that I had to watch all episodes as soon as possible.

Netflix states that its 4K content will use around 7GB per hour. Tests by MyBroadband confirm this.

With 10 episodes in the season, that is over 70GB of cap gone – taking into account the rewatching of certain parts, notably the shootouts.

Other shows, many of which are “only” available in 1080p added to the cap being used, which included Castlevania, Adam Sandler’s 100% Fresh, and Archer.

Come the last week of November, and the automatic data top-ups started coming in. At R50 for 10GB, this was not sustainable. Particularly because I wanted to watch more Netflix and do other normal Internet stuff.

Moving on up

The 200GB capped account with the fibre line was R1,000 per month, and had served me well, but after constant praise from the journalist who sits next to me at work, I decided to move to Cool Ideas 100Mbps uncapped.

The package is R499 more per month, but I have been assured their claim of being truly unshaped and uncapped is true and you can watch as much 4K Netflix as possible without your speeds being slowed down.

The fact that MyBroadband awarded it the 2018 ISP of the year awarded was another sign my fears of shaping or throttling would not be realised.

What is more comforting, however, is that I am not alone in needing to move to uncapped.

As reported by Motherboard, bandwidth consumption globally is soaring thanks to video streaming – and users are hitting their caps faster than ever.

Cisco’s 2018 Visual Networking Index “predicts that global IP traffic is expected to reach 396 exabytes per month by 2022”.

This is more traffic than what has crossed the Internet to date – and services like Netflix offering 4K content are a big reason why.

Now read: How much MultiChoice invested in South African entertainment and sports

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4K Netflix forced me to get uncapped fibre