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UK ISP Sky Broadband Revamps Packages - Nerfs Usage Allowance

Posted: 25th Jun, 2009 By: MarkJ
UK ISP Sky Broadband (BSkyB) has quietly revamped its packages to offer a mix of faster speeds and, in the case of their Sky Broadband Mid package, a shocking reduction in the monthly data usage allowance from 40GB to 10GB (GigaBytes)! Prices for all packages (when taken with SkyTalk) remain unchanged.

According to Sky User, the new changes came into play earlier this week (22nd June) and all thanks to Sky's "investment in line stabilisation technology." Though some customers, myself included, have received no written notification of the adjustments.

Mercifully the Sky Broadband Base and Connect packages remain largely unchanged, albeit with the smaller offer of 3 months free McAfee security software instead of the previous 12. However the main two package changes are as follows:

SkyBroadband Max becomes SkyBroadband Unlimited
- The download speed will increase from up to 16mb to up to 20mb.
- The upload speed will increase from up to 768kb to up to 1.3mb
- The usage cap remains unlimited
- And new customers can still enjoy 12 months free McAfee security

SkyBroadband Mid becomes SkyBroadband Everyday
- The download speed will increase from up to 8mb to up to 10mb.
- The upload speed will increase from up to 400kb to up to 600kb
- The usage cap reduces from 40gb to 10gb, in line with the actual usage of the vast majority of our customers
- And new customers will enjoy 3 months free McAfee security

Sky Broadband Max customers will no doubt be pleased with the improvements, although we suspect that those on the Mid package will be somewhat less than amused by what has happened; not to mention Sky's somewhat weak reasoning for cutting its bandwidth allowance by 75%!

"We’re reducing the monthly usage allowance on Sky Broadband Everyday (Mid) in line with what the majority of our customers actually use. Our research has shown that the vast majority of our Mid customers do not exceed 10GB of usage per month. So from 1 August 2009 for existing Sky Broadband Everyday (Mid) customers the new usage allowance will be changed to reflect this."

Sky appears to treat this MASSIVE reduction as though it were almost irrelevant to customers, a bizarre way to deal with what is obviously a serious and dramatic change (why increase speeds only to cut the usage allowance?). Presently the changes only apply to new users, although there is an ominous mention for existing customers too:

"If you’re a new customer joining Sky, the new packages take effect from 22nd June 2009. This will also be the first date that the initial group of existing customers will have their lines stabilised. For the rest of our on-net customers, you can expect to go through this process between June and September."

Customers will be emailed at least 3 days before they go though the "line stabilisation process" (move to a fully unbundled / LLU platform) and mercifully there is an option to opt-out of the upgrade altogether; you have to let Sky know by 1st August 2009 (call 08442 410 515).

It could of course be argued that Sky has been under-pricing its MID package for some time now and, in having gained enough users, is now seeking to rebalance the plate. No doubt the move will also cause some customers to upgrade onto their new Unlimited package, which is probably the intention.
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