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  • Writer's pictureRyan Solovei [SOLOSTAR.CO]

Unlimited internet, what does it mean and how good is it?

In South Africa, we are seeing more and more internet service providers advertising unlimited internet. On face value, this sounds great, right? Download and watch as much as you like and as fast as you like? Right? Sadly this is not always true.

Many unlimited internet providers implement a form of internet traffic throttling, called shaping to control how much internet you use. This can have some really bad side effects, among others:

- Youtube streaming and video quality can suffer and even buffer and stall

- Netflix streaming traffic can be limited and quality will suffer and you can battle to get anything near HD quality

- If you use a VPN for work or security purposes, your VPN performance can be severely throttled

- Torrent download speeds can be severely throttled to an effective trickle

Ever heard of a fair use policy? Fair Use Policies (FUPs) are often inserted into your terms and conditions. It means that if you have used over a certain amount of data in a month eg: 200GB, your internet provider can suddenly cut your speed to a slow 1Mbps and make your internet life a misery. This limiting of your speed is designed to stop unlimited usage. So applications like use or require fast Internet are usually sacrificed. Think anything video or gaming and even your downloads.

Our advice: Look for an internet provider that does not have a fair use data limit and check the fine print of the "unlimited" providers. Unlimited often sounds good and like the most value, but are you really getting everything that you paid for? How much Internet are you using and what restrictions must you abide by. Your Internet should work when you need it, you should have to think about when to use it or when to switch it on or when you're allowed to stream in HD.

Before you commit to an Internet Service Provider ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How much do I want to pay per month? Cheap is not necessarily going to give you what you need.

  2. How much data do I use in a month? Are you really saving with an uncapped package?

  3. What do you need data for in your home? Streaming? Gaming? Working? Studying and learning? offers a range of packages to suit your budget as well as your needs. Packages are capped with easy top up options. You can find out more here

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