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Telewest says broadband caps 'disappoint consumers'

# 27 August 2004, 22:43 by Frank

According to a press release made today by Telewest in response to recently announced services from rivals BT and Wanadoo, such a service would “disappoint” and “confuse consumers”. The cable company predicts new budget broadband services from BT and Wanadoo “will confuse consumers further as ADSL providers strive to dent cable’s growing broadband market share”.

Eric Tveter, President and COO at Telewest, said: “Hype over lower pricing and faster speeds is being used as a fig leaf to hide inadequate services with heavy restrictions. A low-cost 1Mb service with a 1Gb or 2Gb monthly cap defeats the whole point of faster broadband.”

“We have been offering faster speeds for the past three years, including the UK’s first residential 3Mb service. We also recently increased the speed of our blueyonder broadband services by 50%, at no extra cost and with no usage restrictions, which represents genuine value,” continued Mr Tveter. “Despite the best efforts of the bigger ADSL providers, consumers are still voting with their feet and exclusively promoting heavily capped services won’t help their cause.”

Fellow cable company ntl introduced usage caps on all their service teirs last year. Ironically, although not as strict as budget ADSL service caps, they still caused much confusion and disappointment when ntl tried to hide their introduction. The reason for their intruduction given by then-director of Internet Bill “too-tech” Goodland was that a small minority of users were abusing the service. Mr Goodland got his nickname after infamously being recorded stating that the reason ntl did not announce their cap introduction was because it was “too technical” for their customers to comprehend.

Telewest’s own low cost 256kbps broadband service has a usage “guideline” of 750MB per day. According to Digitalspy, this is not a cap, but “it serves as an advisory to try to upsell heavy net users a higher speed service”.

A spokeswoman for Wanadoo spoke to The Register and dismissed Telewest’s comments, insisting that its usage allowance “is enough for nine out of ten of our users”.

“Almost three thousand signed up [for Wanadoo’s 1Mb service] on the first day – it’s what punters want,” she said.

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