User comments on ISPs
  >> AAISP


Register (or login) on our website and you will not see this ad.


Pages in this thread: 1 | 2 | (show all)   Print Thread
Standard User pete_boardman
(newbie) Sun 15-Jan-12 20:22:11
Print Post

Not sure how these charges work


[link to this post]
 
Hi - just wanted to ask a question about the charges/tariffs. I've been with AAISP since December, and the service is very good, I think. Anyway, I got an email today:

You buy 3 units per month. You have used 3.82 units so far this month, including 0.87 units from last month. At this rate you will use 7.22 units this month. We forecast ending the month with 4.22 units over usage. This means you are likely to be charged for 1.22 units. You may want to consider increasing your tariff

and further down, the details:

20CN daytime (09-18 M-F)____________3,355,494,379 1.25GB 2.68
20CN evening (18-24 M-F)____________6,566,209,482 50GB 0.13
20CN night (00-09)_________________2,664,400,663 50GB 0.05
20CN weekend ____________________4,736,318,937 50GB 0.09
Plus excess usage from previous month 0.87


So what is the right thing to do. If I end the month 4 or 5 units over use, then do I increase my tariff before the start of the next month, i.e. late on Jan 31 - to say 8 units, so that my tariff is then 8 units? But then the 8 units for February would be paying off January's debt, and then I'm already out of 'credit' before February gets underway... What's the best plan?

thanks for any insight!
Standard User mixt
(experienced) Sun 15-Jan-12 21:47:01
Print Post

Re: Not sure how these charges work


[re: pete_boardman] [link to this post]
 
Short answer: call them and ask - you'll get a precise explanation from someone who knows 100% how their billing works.

Long answer: I've typed below, based on how I understand their billing to work (which could very well be wrong).

Take note of the following: they generate your bill on the 1st of each month. The value of this bill is calculated by observing what ever base tariff you are on, plus the number of units you have used for the previous month (including over usage), at the exact time the bill is raised.

(that is not a quote from them btw, that is how I understand their billing process to work)

So:

1) If you do nothing, they will raise your bill on the 1st Feb, which will be the base charge of 3 units + 1.22 units extra charge (we don't know it will be 1.22 units until the 1st of Feb arrives though, they are just guestimating this).

2) You phone them up any time before your next bill is generated on the 1st Feb and switch to a 4 unit base tariff. When the bill is generated on the 1st, you'll be billed for 4 units instead (plus 0.22 units extra charge), and you'll have 4 units added onto your account for the entire month of Feb (it would normally be 3).

3) If you called them back up on, say, the 2nd Feb, reducing your tariff back down to 3 units, this will not change the bill they have already raised on the 1st, and will not reduce the number of units that have been allocated to you for the month of Feb. But on the 1st March, you'll get billed again for Feb's usage based on a 3 unit tariff + extra charges, and be given 3 units for March instead of 4 (returning everything back to what you had before).

The above makes sense to me. Noting your tariff on the 1st of each month, your bill is raised and is fixed based on that tariff plus any over usage charges from the previous month. This is what you have 30 days to pay. At the same time this bill is generated, your units for the rest of the current month are setup accordingly. This gets around any pro rata mess and people chopping and changing between different tariffs 5-10 times a month (or something silly like that) - it means when you change tariff, you are on that tariff for a minimum of 1 month - nice and simple!

But as I said, call them and ask. I would be interested to know for sure exactly how they do this. smile

On a side note, that's a fairly rubbish rate for peak-time (1.25 Gb / unit) - that's 20CN, right? If you have 21CN at your exchange, I recommend you move to it ASAP because you'll be on 2.5 Gb / unit peak-time.

Now on <aaisp.net> (21CN)
Previous ISPs: Virgin Media (50Mb/Cable), Be* Un Limited, ZeN
Is Linux routing your internet connection?
Need to make BIND geo-aware?

Edited by mixt (Sun 15-Jan-12 21:48:05)

Standard User pete_boardman
(newbie) Sun 15-Jan-12 22:16:40
Print Post

Re: Not sure how these charges work


[re: mixt] [link to this post]
 
Great, thanks for this explanation. It looks as though I need to wait until Jan 31 before deciding what to do. Gives me some more time to work it out...

No sign of 21cn here yet, but SamKnows says "RFS date set 31/3/2012". I do think the peak allowance is a bit tight...

Cheers and thanks again. An independent view is much appreciated as is the official support.


Register (or login) on our website and you will not see this ad.

Standard User gmoorc
(member) Mon 16-Jan-12 19:55:58
Print Post

Re: Not sure how these charges work


[re: pete_boardman] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by mixt:
2) You phone them up any time before your next bill is generated on the 1st Feb and switch to a 4 unit base tariff. When the bill is generated on the 1st, you'll be billed for 4 units instead (plus 0.22 units extra charge), and you'll have 4 units added onto your account for the entire month of Feb (it would normally be 3).

I think that would mean you started the month with zero allowance.
i.e. 7.22 = 4.2 over. Pay for 0.2 and move to allowance of 4 so 4.2 - 0.2 - 4 = 0

Think a move to 7 or 8 for next month is required depending on what your expected use will be and then reassess towards the end of February.

7 would give you 2.8 units.
8 would give you 3.8 units.

Towards the end of February move tariff again to match your usage, maybe 4 or 5 units based on your figures above.

Gary
Standard User pete_boardman
(newbie) Mon 16-Jan-12 20:44:18
Print Post

Re: Not sure how these charges work


[re: gmoorc] [link to this post]
 
Thanks. I'll keep reading these answers until they make sense! It's good to have the options. My previous ISP would probably have plugged my line in to a 56k modem if I used too many bytes in a month.
Standard User dspillett
(committed) Tue 17-Jan-12 19:09:05
Print Post

Re: Not sure how these charges work


[re: pete_boardman] [link to this post]
 
You pre-pay for 3 units/month currently. You have used 3.82 so far this month and if your use pattern retains exactly the same pattern you will have used 7.22 units (3.82 + 3.40) by the end of the month.

If nothing else changes (your use patter remains the same, you do not change your tariff), the three units for next month will be called forward, but that leave a gap of 1.22 units still (7.22 - 3 - 3 = 1.22) which you will be charged for at the higher rate (5.64 rather than 3.90). You will also start the month with nothing left, so you will be calling March's bandwidth forward for anything you use then. If you can get by on 3 units in total for Feb and Mar, I would leave things as they are, pay for 1.22 units at the end of the month: at the end of March everything will be back to normal (you'll have three units for April and each month going forward until something changes).

You could change your tariff to avoid the higher unit rate for the excess and the lean Feb/Mar, but I would not mess around with that until closer to the end of the month as you can still do something about your use over the next fortnight.

Cut back you use now and for the rest of the month and things will be a lot easier.

If you manage to use only one unit more over the next two weeks then you will instead use 4.82 this month. That means you will pull forward 1.82 units from February leaving you with 1.14 for that month and no extra charges. 1.14 units might not be enough for February, but if you manage to use just 2.00 then you will pull 0.86 from March leaving you with 2.14 for that month. As you can see, by limiting your use from now and for the next month or two you can smooth this months bump out resulting in no changes to your tariff and no excess charges.

How could you cut your use down to 1.00 units for this fortnight and 2.00 units in February? Most of your units are being used in the peak daytime period (2.68 of the total: 70%). If you are not a business (and so using the Internet in office hours is unavoidable) then stop that as much as possible. Move as much of that downloading as you can into hours outside 9-til-6-mon-to-fri. Every 1.25Gb you don't download in the peak period you could download 50Gb off-peak (or 100Gb if you schedule it for the cheap overnight block between 0200 and 0600). If you really cut down the peak-time use you might manage to only use another 0.50 units rather than 1.00 or more.

For a possibly-irrelevant comparison, in November (ignoring December as the Christmas bonus may skew the figures quite a bit) I used 6.56 units only 0.66 of which (roughly 10%) were used during peak time (obviously I'm not using the line for a business and there isn't anyone using my connection much during the working day usually, so this sort of use pattern might be impossible for you if you are a business user or have internet users in the house a lot during the "normal" working day).

My suggestion:

1. Don't change your tariff yet.
2. Do everything you can to reduce your peak time use. Move downloads and streaming to the weekend and evenings as much as is practical.
3. Use http://clueless.aaisp.net.uk to monitor your use (I usually check this every few days to make sure I don't have a big surprise coming at the end of the month). Once logged in there click the speed rating link (the third link in the row above the graph) and you'll see at the bottom of the resulting page some detail of your last 10 days use (this updates every hour). Form there click "details" for any of the periods on record and you'll get the same analysis as you have received by email (this updates more then every hour, but I'm not sure exactly how often) so as you constrain your use you should see the estimated total for the month fall.
4. Early in the last week of the month, on the 24th perhaps, post your summary/estimate for this month (as read from clueless.aaisp.net.uk) again and we can help you reassess.

As you were over tariff last month too you may need to bump up by one unit per month permanently, and if you can't cut that peak use over the next two weeks by much you might need to bump it up by one or two more again at least for a month or two, but you can make the adjustment to the tariff very close to the end of the month so there is no point messing with that until you know better how effective you have/haven't been at reducing your peak-time use (so don't make any changes to your tariff for the next week).

--------------------------------------------------------
Current ISP: Andrews & Arnold (AAISP, aa.net.uk) via FTTC at ~36Mbit down & ~10Mbit up, joined July 2011.
Previous setup: Be Pro with UploadPlus (ADSL2+, AnnexM), 12ish Mbit down, 1.6 up, happy customer for ~2.5 years.

Edited by dspillett (Tue 17-Jan-12 19:13:18)

Standard User pete_boardman
(newbie) Tue 17-Jan-12 19:35:22
Print Post

Re: Not sure how these charges work


[re: dspillett] [link to this post]
 
Wow, thanks - that's another very helpful analysis of the system... I know everyone says it's simple, but I'm only just starting to 'get' it. Your advice is very sensible.

Because I've not had a metered system before, it's been educational to switch to AAISP. It certainly appears that, because I I'm often at home, and because the kids are back from school before peak charging time ends (I'll suggest to the school that they be kept in till 18:00... smile), we're using a lot more during peak time than I thought. It doesn't take long for someone to download another 1GB, particularly if the speed's reasonable. I'm trying to persuade some of the computers in the house to do things at 02:00, with some success. But then there's the school holidays which - unlike Christmas - aren't going to be unmetered, sadly...

Internet access is almost an essential utility these days, like electric and water, and I don't want to go around switching people's computers off, nor do I want to be pacing around waiting for the clock to strike 6. I don't go wanting for baths and showers just because the water's metered either wink

I am going to wait until just before January ends so that I have some realistic data to work with. I suspect that it's probably going to be better for me to switch to another provider that doesn't weight the scales so much against peak time usage, and imposes some other cap which I'm less likely to be affected by. That would be a pity, though, since it's a very good service in other respects.

Thanks again for your educational post!

pete
Standard User mixt
(experienced) Tue 17-Jan-12 19:51:37
Print Post

Re: Not sure how these charges work


[re: pete_boardman] [link to this post]
 
I'll just add that I have a custom Linux box routing my broadband traffic. I've configured it to limit traffic going out to the rest of my network, during peak-time, to 1 Mbit / sec (traffic going out to my LAN is traffic coming inward on the WAN (the internet)). Means the connection remains usable for browsing and email, but for anything else, it really reduces the usability of the connection to a minimum for those hours only. I could reduce it further if I wanted (to the speed of a modem) but that's just not cool. smile

If you can find a router that offers this same functionality, that would be the way to go, especially if you have others using the connection. Unfortunately, I'm not clued up on routers these days, which ones are the best etc, because as I say, I have things completely customised the way I want by using a Linux server and a (now quite old) 3Com ADSL2+ router in a bridged configuration. Have to say though, it is one of the most stable broadband solutions I have ever used, compared to my experience of other routers locking up, freezing, wireless going weird etc.

So yeah, if you can find a router that has some kind of scheduling functionality, and can limit traffic usage during set hours, that would be the way to resolve any worry you have of going drastically over usage during peak-time.

EDIT: actually, I did see on the AAISP suggestions page a customer requesting this exact same functionality their side, that is, AAISP would limit their BRAS their side to slow your connection down to what ever speed you wanted during peak. I'm surprised they haven't gotten around to implementing this yet as it would be a very very cool feature to have, for exactly your predicament.

Now on <aaisp.net> (21CN)
Previous ISPs: Virgin Media (50Mb/Cable), Be* Un Limited, ZeN
Is Linux routing your internet connection?
Need to make BIND geo-aware?

Edited by mixt (Tue 17-Jan-12 19:54:18)

Standard User pete_boardman
(newbie) Tue 17-Jan-12 19:58:17
Print Post

Re: Not sure how these charges work


[re: mixt] [link to this post]
 
- yes I confess I had considered doing that too in the router. I've got a DD-WRT router lying around somewhere...

(There's a little voice inside me that says this is a bit like buying an Aston Martin and tying a wooden block under the accelerator so that it doesn't go very fast.. It may come to that...!)
Standard User mixt
(experienced) Tue 17-Jan-12 20:23:31
Print Post

Re: Not sure how these charges work


[re: pete_boardman] [link to this post]
 
LOL smile

Your analogy would completely apply on a AA supplied FTTC connection for sure. Artificially reducing my current 12 Mbit ADSL connection to 1 Mbit is criminal enough. Reducing a 40 Mbit (or even 80 Mbit) FTTC connection to 1 Mbit is definitely worthy of a witty description from Jeremy Clarkson.

Now on <aaisp.net> (21CN)
Previous ISPs: Virgin Media (50Mb/Cable), Be* Un Limited, ZeN
Is Linux routing your internet connection?
Need to make BIND geo-aware?
Pages in this thread: 1 | 2 | (show all)   Print Thread

Jump to