At Vanilla we used to consider the word "uncapped" to be a swear word - since it's an anomoly - there is truly no such thing as uncapped or unlimited, mainly because time is finite and unlimited tends towards infinity. We urge customers to avoid comparing 'uncapped' offerings since it is virtually impossible to tell what you are getting without 'trying' and certainly not possible to compare based only on advertised pricing. Even in the USA, home users "have to start counting their gigabytes"
This is a great clip from SABC TV a few years back, people explaining the difference between a bit and a byte... Although we can say 4 bits in a nibble, a couple of nibbles in a byte, it's pretty irrelovent when we live in the age of Gigabytes (1 gigabyte = 1,000 megabytes)! And in many cases there are people using Terabytes of data (1 Terabyte = 1,000 gigabytes = 1,000,000) per month. https://youtu.be/S50vf2PhS0I
If you can understand that the speed of your connection is a different thing to the amount of data that you use, you're more than half way there. It's similar to the speed of your car and the distance travelled. Or the width of your water pipe and the amount of water that you use. This discussion does does not deal with the reasons why your real speed may not be what is advertised, since we're mainly dealing with the amount of data that you use in this article.
In 2013 the Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) received complaints from users who claimed that an ISP could not advertise 'uncapped' products that were so slow that they were unusable. They consulted the Internet Service Providers Association who ruled that the advertisement was not misleading, because the service offered never disconnect a user and is therefore uncapped. They state:
- Capped refers to products that have a predetermined limit imposed, and once a user reaches this limit, connectivity is severed completely – much like pre-paid electricity or cell phone pre-paid airtime bundles.
- Uncapped refers to products where predetermined limits may still be relevant, but connectivity is never severed. It does, however, appear to be common practice for service providers to reduce speeds when thresholds are reached
- Unlimited appears to refer to products that have a bare minimum of control measures imposed by service providers. These packages seem to be the most expensive generally speaking, and users tend to be able to surf or download as much as they want with virtually no interference, irrespective of how much data has been used.
In theory, the total amount of data that one can download (or upload), is a quantity that depends upon the speed of your connection and the duration of time (that one can download or upload). For example a car going at 30kmph for one hour will travel 30km, similarly a connection that is downloading at 50Mbps for one hour will download 50*60*60 = 180,000Mb = 22,500MB = 22.5GB. That would work out to 16.2TB in one month. So apparently the 'uncapped' 50Mbps connection is not truly unlimited, the limit would be 16.2TB. That said, we not aware of any 'uncapped' accounts anywhere in the world that can be used for their theoretical maximum, they all have applied their own 'fair usage' policy in order to restrict usage (as well as the fact that no customer can sustain their maximum downloads on higher speeds).
This is not a South African thing, the provisioned amounts for bandwidth usage are even applied in USA where this was unheard of when the Internet started (note: the Internet started in the USA so there were no international 'interconnect' fees such as were applied in other countries who had to connect to the USA or Europe at high costs.. https://www.wired.com/2016/10/new-data-caps-provide-another-reason-hate-comcast/ https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/13/unlimited-data-plan-caps-verizon-att-tmobile-sprint.html
Market forces require that we (Vanilla) offer 'fixed' pricing in order to compete with other ISP 'uncapped' offerings. Yet we will not compromise on quality so as far as we know we have a different way of billing for these services than other ISPs. Our 15 years of experience has shown that a demanding family of 5 will not (legitimately) use more than 600GB per month on average over a period of 6 months. Usage over 600GB would usually mean that one has been exploited (hacked with malware to allow external third parties to use your bandwidth for undesirable purposes) or a bug with a system update (such as a Windows update or cloud backup) or sharing with neighbours, or seeding torrents (whiich leads to illegal and high upload usage), are all some of the explanations that we have found for these high amounts of usage. We know that users are always concerned with the quality of the connection, similarly we always encourage our users to be aware of the quantity of the connection in order to protect oneself from undesirable network use or abuse (e.g. if you monitor your usage you will pick up a spy video camera in your space using your bandwidth).
The content providers like Netflix and Fortnite do not like caps, they want unfettered access for you... https://www.pcworld.com/article/3375205/data-caps-must-die-how-google-and-microsofts-cloud-gaming-ambitions-could-conquer-isp-greed.html
In case that you wish to share or you're just an Internet lover like us, then of course we want to provide whatever amount of data you need. We do provide gigabit speeds to the CTICC who use more than you can. As well as many other public spaces... so as a guideline please consider that we start off at R499 for single users or a couple, one can expect that a family who all use the internet will need to move to R749 or R999 for their uncapped tier, and then there are those that want to stream all day and all night. Please do not worry that we will ever just increase the price to you, we will always consult with you!