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Broadband Quotas

Our main tariffs come with a usage quota, a number of gigabytes (or terabytes) per month that is allowed within the package.

How we measure and allocate quota

We meter download only, i.e. data from the Internet to you. Upload does not matter. It does not matter what time of day or week the usage happens. Our systems accurately record every byte and log usage every hour (or when you disconnect). We even have systems to track when your usage allowance is reached within a few seconds. It does not matter why the data is being downloaded, e.g. you download a web page or file, or someone sends you a file or email, etc.

The quota works on whole months. The month depends on how you are billed, and for most people it is calendar monthly so starts at 00:00:00 on the 1st of each calendar month. We also offer 4 weekly billing which applies a quota at 00:00:00 on the start of your 4 week period. We also offer lunar billing which applies a quota on the exact second of the full moon (as we calculate it). The quota is sold based on a calendar monthly basis, so 4 weekly is 92% of the quota each 4 weeks for 92% of the price, and lunar billing is 97% of the quota each full moon for 97% of the price.

Getting the right quota

It is up to you to pick the right quota, but for many tariffs you can change the quota when you like, up or down, applying the change from the next billing month.

At present there are a few restrictions changing to/from terabyte quotas, but we hope to remove these in future.

We are also working on a way to increase quota instantly, charging part of the month's difference in price for a pro-rata additional quota.

Seeing your quota

Our control pages log your quota usage in more detail, but you can usually see a quota icon on the top of our main www.aa.net.uk web page from your line.

Using too much

If you use too much, on our terabyte tariffs your service slows down, and starts using quota from the coming month. For 1TB quota this slows to around 3Mb/s. The speed is slow compared to normal, and is not ideal for streaming movies, but works reasonably for web pages, Facebook, email, and so on.

On the lower quotas you have the choice to slow down, as above (but it is often unusably slow, so not recommended); or you can have the service stop, where access to a normal web site pops up with an option to buy top-up; or you can have a top-up applied and billed automatically (recommended).

The top-up is an extra 50GB of allowances right away for £10. If not all used, then this carries forward as top-up, and keeps carrying on month after month until all used.

Not using all your quota - Quota Bonus

You do not have to use all of your quota, obviously - most people set a quota at a level above their normal usage. It would be unusual for even a high usage household to use a whole terabyte of download in a month.

Each billing month you receive your quota again, but we also add on a bonus quota which is half of the unused quota from your previous billing month.

For example, if you were on 300GB/month, and only used 200GB, then the next month you will start with a new 300GB quota plus a bonus of 50GB (being half your unused 100GB), making 350GB.

The following month, if you have only used 200GB, then the next month you will start with a new 300GB quota plus a bonus of 75GB (being half of your unused 150GB), making 375GB.

Any top-up you may have is separate and continues until used and is not halved.

Why we have a quota anyway

There are actually two reasons we sell services with a quota.

  • The main reason is to spread out our pricing for services, so that light users can pay less and heavy users can pay more. Given that a lot of our costs are bandwidth related (i.e. relate to how much data is transferred), this seems only fair and a lot better than one price for everyone.
  • The second reason, which mainly makes sense with our terabyte services, is to have a high limit but one that deters the really heavy users, i.e. the people that literally use hundreds of times the typical usage. By excluding such customers from these services we can provide a faster and better services to our customers. Obviously we also have leased line type services which allow such usage, but these work differently to allow such usage without impacting other customers. Having responsible customers is one of the reasons we rank so highly in review sites and objective speed and quality tests.