Limits on usage are some what of the norm here in Australia.
Generally you don’t get an unlimited internet connection, you instead, get a limit of xx(x) GB and after you reach that limit, you are slowed right down to dial up speeds.
There are a few driving forces behind this, as opposed to countries like Japan, where unlimited, fast and affordable are probably used so much there, that the words have lost meaning and it’s a standard of expectation in a broadband service purchase.
Force 1. International Connectivity.
It apparently costs something like 10 times more for Australian ISPs to get data from US to Australia, then it does Japan to USA.
This cost is somewhat prohibitive in allowing unlimited plans, simply because they charge a consumer $60 for the internet, and can’t realistically provision 24Mbps of unlimited usage on the cables for that same price as well as all other costs of data.
Force 2. Localised Content (lack of).
Japan has a lot of content that they source within their own country, essentially all their data needs are matched because they have little need to go over to the USA for any webpage data (the majority don’t read english), as well, they have little need for content from other countries, simply because of language.
The same is true for other countries in similar circumstances, like Sweden and so forth. Little need for international connectivity, because most content would need to be in their own language.
On our links, 80% of content is imported from the good ol’ USA (and other areas).
That means that we grab a lot of content from the USA, and don’t do much locally.
There’s a force that can change this though: Local content.
If bandwidth costs and so forth in Australia dropped to a reasonable amount, we’d be able to reduce our dependancy on content from the USA.
I think the reverse is also more true in that we should instead stop importing content, and start producing more of our own in Australia.
Surely, there are enough talented individuals out there to do similar that is done in the US, and try and at least reduce the amount of content we import and instead start producing content that is worthy for export? Get other nations interested in our content?
The way of no limits is possible however, it works based on a different theory to the “unlimited*” and “unlimited!” scenario.
What you would do as an ISP is setup your service centered around a contention ratio only. So users are allowed to milk up as much data as they want (you still need to log usage), and as a responsible ISP, to maintain a contention ratio of 20:1, you give every 20 estimated users online 1Mbps of bandwidth.
Now, say for example, one hour there is a sudden surge, and this is just one hour of a whole month, and the link is saturated, you would enforce a AUP, which basically allows shaping of the connection for a certain timeframe, until demand drops.
Should demand not drop, you would provision an additional megabit, and if necessary rise prices across the entire affected range by the extra it costs to provision.
The theory here is that all users get a fair go at access, those that excessively use it get throttled down for busy busy times.
The ISP makes a commitment to its customer base to not pocket the cash, and instead maintain a ratio and ensure a link isn’t overly full.
The essential idea is users get real unlimited services, except where demand stops it, therefore ..
.. The Way Of No Limits ..
becomes a reality.
Such an idea I have no doubt is workable, as it stands now, the current method is more profitable because you obviously can cut links down to size, where as the other method works on customer numbers, and not actual usage (of course you could also even monitor usage and provision based on saturation).
With PIPE planning to build a cable over to Guam sometime soon, such unlimited plans could perhaps be closer?