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The broadband industry is full of pathological liars. “Unlimited” tariffs are usually nothing of the sort and quoted line speeds are award-winning fiction. In a sea of bullshit, British broadband provider AAISP* is a rare life buoy of sanity.
It’s the only company I’ve ever known whose terms and conditions are actually worth reading. “If we, or you, are rude or unhelpful then there is specifically zero compensation for this either way in the contract,” reads the section on customer services. “We may terminate a call or chat if we feel you are being rude, and we would happy for you to do the same if staff are rude.”
Such startling honesty comes from the top. Owner Adrian Kennard has never been knowingly short of an opinion, as his RevK’s rants blog exemplifies. This week, he’s managed to get himself in a tangle with some of his company’s own customers, accusing one customer who sought to use up every last byte of his monthly 1TB data allowance of “being a dick”. In my equally un-humble opinion, Kennard’s dead right.
Spending your allowance
AAISP doesn’t offer the “unlimited” data allowances that are sold by mainstream broadband providers. Of course, there’s no such thing as an “unlimited” allowance – those tariffs are tied to fair-use agreements and other Ts & Cs that allow the provider to boot you off the network or slow your connection if you’re downloading dodgy movies 24/7.
The largest data cap AAISP offers home customers is 1TB. That’s 1,000GB or the equivalent of a thousand hours’ worth of HD Netflix streaming. It’s a lot of data, far more than most home users would ever need.
One AAISP customer, however, appears to view the 1TB as a target rather than allowance. According to Kennard, the customer said he would “deliberately download stuff, and not even save it or watch it, just to make sure he uses up all of his 1TB allowance each month”.
This, argues Kennard, is dickish behaviour, equating it to leaving your taps running around the clock just because you’re not on a water meter. “If everyone ran their taps, metered or unmetered, all day, then the water supply would break,” Kennard argues. “[There is] no way it has capacity for that even if charging for the water. The same is true of internet access. It only works because most people are ‘reasonable’. So should a supplier aim to curb the usage of metered and unmetered customers that have intent to piss water down the drain?’
To be clear, Kennard doesn’t appear to have thrown the terabyte muncher off his network, but he says it will be a problem if others follow suit. “One of the issues with a moral problem like this is that a single person not playing fair does not cause a problem. There is capacity to handle one person being selfish and deliberately wasting resources.” Kennard writes. “The issue is when lots of individuals think like that, that ‘one person makes no difference’. Then it all starts to fall apart. It is a bit like littering – one empty can thrown out of a car window is not a big issue, but everyone doing it makes it a big issue.”
Don’t be a dick
The customer and his supporters will retort that the guy is only using what he’s paid for. As long as he’s not strayed over the 1TB limit, it’s nobody’s business what he does with the data. It’s hard not to have some sympathy with that argument, as Kennard himself does.
That said, you have to stop and gawp at the mentality of a customer that wants to download a terabyte of data just because he can. How empty is your life, that you’re prepared to download bucketloads of unwanted data just to get your forty quid’s worth every month?
You surely become a customer of broadband providers such as AAISP because you appreciate the honesty, the uniqueness of its offering. If you don’t want such companies to exist, you’re going the right way about it.
* Full disclosure: AAISP employees have written for the Big Tech Question in a personal capacity, but had no input into or knowledge of this article
Main pic credit: James Baker/BestReviewsBase