Hey Elke, anything else you want to download?!

In Australia and New Zealand we have something which most of the world does not, though in this case it's not something to be proud of. Our internet service providers have this fabulous system that serve their customers needs first: bandwidth shaping.

For those lucky enough not to have to put up with this system, bandwidth shaping is a system that restricts how much data you can download (and in some cases upload) per month. And it doesn't come cheap; for a measly 40GB per month here in Adelaide my sister and I pay just over AU$100. Comparing this to our home connection in Singapore where (according to our router) we download hundreds of gigabytes of data a month for less than SG$80, it's rather pathetic.

ASIDE: It also doesn’t exactly make a technical person such as myself who has lived overseas and has experienced proper internet want to return to Australia to start a tech related business. Australia is a beautiful place with really good food and an enviable lifestyle, but if I can’t get internet I can rely on, it’s just not a viable option :(

Anyway in anticipation of going back to Singapore over the holidays, my sister and I have been celebrating by burning through a months worth of quota in less than a week. We'll be out of the country during most of our next 40GB allocated month, so we figure we'll take advantage of it. We're both very wild people you see.

I've been torrenting all the disc images for the latest beta versions of FreeBSD, Slackware and NetBSD; I've been compiling huge ports such as GNOME 2.22 from source; I've been downloading the H264 video versions of Cranky Geeks, I've been listening to the high quality versions of internet radio… the list just goes on and on!

Mr T
This graphic was just so terrible I had to include it!

We must be doing something right, because we just got this email from Internode (our ISP). Sorry guys, but we paid a ridiculous sum of money for 40 gigabytes, and by golly we're gonna download 40 gigabytes!

Dear Internode customer,

This is an automated message […] We have sent this message in order to assist you to manage your account usage. Your current downloads for the account […] have exceeded 70% of your download allowance this month. At the time this message was generated, you had downloaded 29630 Mb. Your monthly download allowance is currently 40000 Mb.

No excess usage fees are incurred on this plan; however your download rate will be reduced if you exceed 100% of your download quota before your next rollover date. You do not need to take any action, however if you exceed 90% of your monthly quota we’ll send you another email as a reminder. Once you’ve used 100% of your quota, we will apply ‘shaping’ which will reduce the speed of your service until your next rollover date. After 3,000 Mbytes of shaped traffic, additional access constraints may be applied. You have the option of:

  • reducing your downloads (eg by disabling peer to peer filesharing or other high download services); or
  • purchasing additional data blocks for an instant quota upgrade; or
  • upgrading to a plan with a higher monthly quota (though this only takes effect at your next rollover date)

Thank you for using Internode!