Fair Usage Policy


I bumped into the so called (yes, so called) Fair Usage Policy of Smart somewhere the end of 2013. And while having two internet connections as I live quite remote and am running a web development company I found myself without internet somewhere the beginning of this year. So I started complaining more and more to Globe and Smart. But in the end not to their customer support as they can only go so far in helping people. And as in any large organization are limited by all kinds of rules, regulations and policies, let alone company politics like power struggles between departments and department heads.

And I am not even fully sure if e.g. the CEO of companies like Smart or Globe would need to have the technical knowledge to decide on what’s fair usage of available infrastructure or data volumes. They would need to be able to rely on their staff to deal with that kind of decisions. But in my opinion something went wrong there in the industry.

Globe and Smart and Philippine internet

So today, on March 30, 2014, I found myself discussing things like Fair Usage Policy with someone on Facebook (click the link to go to the item on Facebook). And that made me think that this whole discussion about Fair Usage Policy is not as easy as it appears to be. And yes, I fully disagree with implementing volume related speed limits on unlimited plans as apparently have been implemented by Globe and Smart in The Philippines. And I fully disagree with some comment I read somewhere like ‘but Western companies in developed countries also have this implemented’. How low can you go, pulling yourself down by comparing yourself to ‘developed countries’. As if they are better than The Philippines or any other country that calls itself ‘developing country’. And I am from a Western country. So that means that I am better than a Filipino? That means that if I jump of the cliff you would follow me because I am from a ‘developed country’?

Inspiration for Success

And my last statements are fully in compliance with Inspiration for Success, with everything I read about Law of Attraction and thoughts you think. Yes, if you keep on thinking you are less than other countries, less than people in other countries you certainly will be. And related to some article I found about The Philippines having the lowest (LTE) speeds in the world, why not focus on being the best, why not use that statement as a jumping board to become the best? Again, in the spirit of Napoleon Hill better use negatives as a positive? And why would The Philippines not be able to be the best in internet?

Fair Usage Policy

But let’s go back to why I started this article. And the reason was and is to start a discussion about what would be a real Fair Usage Policy in 2014. And my first thinking is that it should just be fair sharing of bandwidth. And indeed, what many people state, that the internet industry should make sure that their infrastructure is capable of handling all traffic, meaning investing in infrastructure to keep it up-to-date.

But it may not be that simple. As I have seen internet use explode the last few years. And not only in traffic, but also in the number of connection requests. And as countries like The Philippines were quite late in internet development they had no option but to route traffic through routers using the NAT protocol. And I have no knowledge about the internal infrastructure of companies like Globe and Smart, but I do know that when using protocols like NAT, routers need to keep track of all open TCP/IP connections. And with more and more websites like Google and Facebook being interactive, meaning showing results instantly, the number of open connections may have gone up quite a lot.

Another problem of companies like Globe and Smart may be that their cost structure is partly based on volume and is not pure infrastructure cost. And as a businessman I know that the cost structure of a company never fully matches the income structure. So it may be that companies like Globe and Smart have found themselves having sold unlimited volume plans based on the volume and cost structure of five or ten years ago. And that indeed heavy users on unlimited plans are really affecting the profitability in a way that could put the company in danger. And if so, it would certainly not be in the interest of the customers not to do something about it.

Limited is not unlimited

And no, what Smart and Globe calling Fair Usage Policy is definitely not about fair use of internet resources. And it is certainly not ‘giving all users the best internet experience’ as they state it so nicely in their Fair Usage Policy pages. And in my opinion that is their biggest mistake, not being honest and clear about what they are selling. As they sold me and many others ‘unlimited internet at a certain speed’. And to me there is no other interpretation to unlimited than that I have internet access at the promised speed and yes, shared with other users where the total capacity of the infrastructure is lower than the total amount of speed sold. As that is how the internet works. And I am quite sure all users would agree that at peak hours they would have a lower speed, of course provided the shared speed would still be within what is common in the market, with what one would expect.

Related sites and pages

You may want to check:

Your ideas

Looking forward to comments about what you consider a real Fair Usage Policy, taking into account that the infrastructure is limited in total speed.


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