Internet packages are set to increase between 350 and 450 per cent over the course of the first three years of the new licence with telecomms provider Sure, and at no extra cost to customers MLA Mike Summers assured this week.
Some incremental packages have already been delivered. For example, Bronze users, who received a monthly allowance of 5.15GB in 2015, saw an increase to 9GB in January 2016, and this will rise to 12GB in January 2017.
“There will be a substantial increase for all users in January 2017 and another in January 2019 at no additional cost to the consumer contained in the Licence, said MLA Summers.
There will also be increases in total international capacity and line speed for customers with a further review of capacity in 2020 at the time the price cap is reviewed.
Those customers who have experienced the horror of package overage charges will be happy to learn that the new licence agreement requires the introduction of new software which will be purchased once the licence is signed. Customers reaching the end of their allocated capacity will then have to consciously opt in for additional capacity. The prices for this will be substantially reduced from the current £70 per GB to £15 per GB. In the meantime internet users should be reminded that they have to specifically opt for the warning texts/emails currently in place.
Sure’s profits from overage is understood to have been in excess of 30 per cent in recent years.
While there may have been hopes that unlimited data with a fair usage policy might have been on the cards, MLA Summers said this would not be the case: “Given our geographical location and geo-politics we are restricted to service by satellite. Consultant’s advice confirms there is no proven alternative technology currently available, though this might improve.
“Given that satellite capacity has to be purchased and is not particularly cheap, it is not clear how commentators anticipate this would be paid for if it is passed on free of charge. Even if that were possible it must be anticipated that people would have very differing views on what would be “fair usage policy” and this would not suit many larger users.”
But for the heavier internet users there is good news too: The platinum package will rise to 70GB per month in January 2017 and to 105GB from January 2019.
The free night time window will continue.
Penguin News asked MLA Summers if there was concern for the trends being set within society whereby children and young adults set their alarms for midnight to gain access to the internet because of the daytime costs?
He said it was an important issue for the wellbeing of children, and both FIG and Sure would keep under review any evidence that was available.
“Usage figures appear to indicate a very small number of large users in the night-time window, and a fair usage policy in that respect may be required. We will continue to discuss with the schools and others any evidence of lack of sleep in children, and share with parents options for monitoring and control. It is hoped that one of the key effects of larger packages of data should be that more is available for children doing research for homework without resorting to the night-time window.”