BT abandons traffic throttling, launches cloud storage service

BT is abandoning traffic management and removing usage caps from all but its entry-level broadband packages, as well as launching a new cloud storage service with a free 2GB allowance for all customers.

Previously, the cheapest way for BT broadband customers to get unlimited broadband was by taking a £26-a-month option. However, customers can now choose between paying £16 a month for 16Mbps copper broadband, £23 for 38Mbps Infinity, or £26 for 76Mbps Infinity – all with unlimited usage.

The company will continue to sell its basic broadband with a 10GB usage cap for £13 a month, along with Infinity 1, which has a 40GB usage cap, for £18 a month.

John Petter, managing director of BT’s Consumer division, said the move was in response to customer demand for a service that would allow them to watch catch-up TV and stream films and other bandwidth-eating applications without having to worry about going over their limit or being slowed down by their Internet service provider (ISP).

“We wanted to make that really affordable too, without the sort of traffic management Virgin Media, TalkTalk or EE customers may find themselves subject to,” said Petter.

“Unlike Sky, we’re extremely confident that our network can stand up to the extra bandwidth demands from totally unlimited products everywhere across the UK.”

Sky is currently the only other UK broadband provider that neither places 'fair use' caps on the amount of data its customers use, nor uses traffic management to improve online experience at peak times when more people are using the internet.

However, this strategy backfired in January, when the company was forced to admit that some of its customers were experiencing slow internet speeds as a consequence of it signing up new subscribers.

BT has also announced the launch of BT Cloud, a new online storage service like Dropbox, that allows customers to back up their photographs, documents and videos. Files stored in BT Cloud can be accessed from any device, and shared with friends via email, Facebook and Twitter.

Infinity 76Mbps and top tier copper customers receive a 50GB allowance, while customers on all other packages receive 2GB. Extra storage space can be purchased in sizes of 50GB, 100GB, 250GB and 500GB.

“We believe that adding extra value to our broadband sets us apart from rivals like Sky and TalkTalk that do not offer cloud storage with their broadband,” said Petter.

BT's Totally Unlimited Broadband packages are available now. The 16Mbps copper broadband options both come with the first six months free, while customers can get Infinity for £9 per month for the first three months.

Existing customers will be able to switch to Totally Unlimited Broadband by signing a new contract.

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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