Archive for May, 2010

O2’s definition of ‘unlimited’

Monday, May 17th, 2010

On the 10th of May I received a very strange phone call from O2 regarding my broad band account. After finally establishing that the caller was legitimate, they informed me that I was over using their service and had to reduce my usage with in a month or I would be disconnected. Well that is the summary, their actual logic goes like this:

– My broadband account is “unlimited”.
– I used more than 40GB last month (51GB to be precise).
– If I use more than 40GB this month I will be disconnected.
– I very defiantly do NOT have a bandwidth limit of 40GB per month.
– My broadband usage is unlimited.
– O2’s terms and conditions clearly state that “There is no limit on the monthly network usage.” (
– If I use more than 40GB this month I will be disconnected.

The call went round and round in circles for quite some time, with me becoming increasingly confused. The lady on the other end of the call was very adamant that I do not have a monthly usage limit. But I must use less than 40GB per month. I was assured that I would receive further details in writing. So before rushing to blog my distress, I decided to wait for the details so that I could get the facts right.

Today, May 17th, I received an email from O2. The body of which reads as follows:

We hope that you are enjoying your home broadband experience with us. Unfortunately, it looks like you’ve been using significant amounts of our network capacity and it’s affecting the service that our other customers get.

We need your help to make sure that all of our customers get the most from their broadband service. Here are some of the things you can do:
* Be Aware – Make sure you know what’s using up a lot of bandwidth.
* Peer-to-peer software – like Bittorrent. As these programs download and upload files, you might be using more than you realise.
* File sharing – some programs might run continually in the background. If you turn off the ‘auto start’ setting you can stop this.
* BBC iPlayer – If you’re using the old version, switch to the new version – it uses less capacity
* Ask around – Someone else in your house might be using it more than you realise. Ask everyone to use a bit less
* Lower your download speed – Most file sharing programs let you set a maximum download speed, please set yours to low.
* Download an application that will monitor usage – There are lots available to download for free and it might help you keep an eye on how much you are downloading

And the simplest solution is to download and upload less.

Taking some or all of these steps will make sure all our customers get the most from their broadband. We’d like to help you sort this out as things unfortunately can’t carry on like this. Sadly, unless you cut down by next month, we’ll have to cut you off. It’s not something we want to do, but it’s the only way to make sure all our customers get the same quality service.

And if you’ve got any questions or need some help to cut down, please call us.


Felix Geyr

Head of O2 Home Broadband

Ignoring the fact that it took them SEVEN DAYS to deliver a generic email, I really have to wonder how this counts as “further details”. There is less detail in this email than the cryptic phone call a week previous. The threat is big – disconnection is a heavy-handed reaction. And they have not even provided estimates of my bandwidth usage. No numbers for me to work with. Just a looming threat designed to scare me into using my connection as little as possible.

Even more strangely, they email also fails to quote any O2 policy, or even link to it. Finding the actual wording of their fair usage policy on O2’s web site is not trivial. There any many passing references to it, but no hyper links. When I did finally find it, it is as expect, very vague and unhelpful.

So the only option left is to take Felix up on their generous offer and phone O2 back and try and get some more details from them. Or at least ask if I can borrow their dictionary.

To clarify: its not that I am having a go at O2 for imposing a bandwidth limit. Its they keep claiming that they do not, and then getting annoyed when I believe them. If I do not know what the limits are, how am I supposed to obey them?

Pipe lamps: Work in progress…

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Still need to work out where the transformers are going to go (the small boxes at the bottom). I have yet to work out how to conceal them amongst the structure. It has also been suggested I should try and make it look more ‘attached’ to the table.

I have also started to hook up CC tubes in various other interesting places. When I have finished the overall effect should be fairly good.