NTL Imposes Download Limits

Oh Boy! Here comes trouble! NTL have quietly changed their Terms and Conditions [see section 2 (h)]

As a general principle, you must not use the Services in any way that is unlawful or illegal or in a way that affects the enjoyment of other users of the Services…
(h) in excess of “normal use” bandwidth limits set out in this section…
“Normal use” of the service is defined as up to 1 gigabyte downstream of data transfer daily…

The BBC are reporting the story here.

The company now limits its customers to one gigabyte of downloaded data per day despite advertising that an advantage of broadband is “unlimited surfing”.
Subscribers say the limit amounts to as little as two-and-a-half hours of use a day for a service that says it is “24/7”.

There is a good article about it at The Enquirer

A READER SPOKE TO NTL support today. Here is what he wrote to us on reading our story…
…ntl are going to administer the cap on a monthly basis, so that more than 1Gb/day is ok as long it averages to less than 1Gb/day across the whole billing month, Greater than that amount leads to snotty letters from the AUP department. Greater than that on a regular basis leads to the account being classed as a “business” account and presumably either higher charges or cancellation.

There is already a protest site [update: the protest site is gone now, but you might want to try NTL Hell for discussion.

For a company still hovering around bankruptcy they are really trying to lose customers! As an NTL Broadband customer myself, I will be following this story closely.

47 thoughts on “NTL Imposes Download Limits

  1. i have setup a dedicated website on my own computer, using my computer as the host and ntl as the service host by using an exploit on a capped cable modem, i am getting great hits daily with great amounts of downloads..1gb is simply nothing to me, so i have taken to righteous hacking, and now getting an unknown amount but im guessing a minimum of 8/9gb daily..

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  3. I regularly go past my service limits and get cut off for 24 hours automatically!

    Does anyone know of a way of unlimiting your upstream to 512k like you can on BT if you speak nicely to a BT Engineer?



  4. Ive been with NTL for years, Way before the digi boxes come available in the UK, and i allso use the internet
    with NTL to download applications, Game Patches (some adding up to 500mb+) and web surfing (i allso hosted a online server
    that people joined and used on a regular basis, my point is, i did all that without barley scratching my DAY limits of 1 gb
    the truth here is that most if not all of the people moaning and complaining about the limit being introduced are downloading
    information they shouldnt IE breaking the law, and there user agreement, plus people saying that ntl are breaking there advert
    of unlimited surfing with introduceing a 1gb limit are technicly wrong, NTL are provideing Unlimited surfing (surfing being
    the term for Webpage surfing, Not Peer to Peer Downloading) so if people reach there day limit its HAS to be due to Peer to peer
    nobody could max 1 gb of downstream info from looking at webpages alone

    the cap is a great idea, it stops the ileagal trafficing of copyed software over the net (or at least slows it down)
    (for the record, Most Peer to Peer software can damage or lead to damage of your computer, so dont use them)

    Heh thanks for lettin me rant and rave here but it must be known that internet crime is as searous as real crime on the streets


  5. Yes: Technically you are correct, using HTTP on port 80 it would be almost impossible.
    however your info about P2P apps being potentially dangerous for PC’s is a
    little exagerated. If you keep your PC updated with the correct patches, Virus scan eveything
    you d/load and get a good firewall and spyware software (which is now part of the course for all
    web surfing not just P2P) your PC is at no more risk using a file sharing app than you are any other
    app when using the internet…including web browsers.
    The cap is a con. Eric Tveter from Telewest went to the press to claim that his company would not cap
    any broadband services including P2P but I know for a fact that they are about to introduce the same policy as
    We have to face facts that bandwidth costs money and we are all headed towards usage based billing
    in the very near future.

  6. omg!!! omg!!!, 1gb!!! what are they thinking of?!?! I scraped togeather the few penies I have to get broadband what originaly had no download limits, I download about 10gb per day (dont ask what it is just use your imagination), apart from my slightly larger that avarged downloading I have a few servers set up for games like farcry, MOH, ut2004, battle field vietnam and solder of fortune which just eat away at band width when it is avalible, if I get any letters or overbilling, then thats it, screw ntl i am going for that wanado thing with 1mb persecon for 17.99 a month or maybe BT or AOL.

  7. This is just a theory: the only way they identify you is by the ip
    address in your cabel\ADSL\ISDN modem. If you can change this then
    maybe this will be linked to an anonymous subcribtion and then someone
    you are back at 0gig with the same limit but you can do it over again.
    It might just be possible

  8. Hi Christian,
    I doubt whether that would work as the ISP know the ethernet MAC address of your cable modem. You modem is effectively on their local network. And given that the MAC address won’t change until you change your box, whereas the ip address (both internal to NTL, and external to the world) could change every time you power up. Though in practice they don’t; I’ve had the same external IP address for about two years now (my firewall is up 24×7).
    So, whilst I’m sure there are ways around the limits, they would involve modifying the software running on the cable modem.

  9. Hi there. Is it really true that there is really a 1gb a day. I’m in a student house with four
    others all networked to NTL. The reason we went to NTL was because we believed that there was no
    limit, so now we are seriously screwed. Down with NTL. So what do we do now?
    My mate Jon has downloaded at least 5gb a day for the last month and we think that jon
    is going to be in serious trouble. Boo

  10. Martin,
    I believe the details are that they will only step in if you break the 1 gig limit three days in a row. But I have also been told by someone who regularly d/loads several hundred meg a day that towards the end of the month he swears his bandwidth is reduced. Getting slower and slower, the more he has d/loaded. But at the start of the next month the bandwidth is back up to full speed. Go figure!

  11. Hit its not just 1 gig per day if you are on the 1mg speed its not 1gig its a 3 gig limit for the entire month, WHAT A CON…

  12. Not a happy day.

    I just got a call saying i’ll be getting upgraded to a 2mb connection. THATS ALL FINE AND DANDY BUT I’LL USE MY 1GB A DAY BANDWIDTH IN ABOUT 3 B****Y HOURS!! WHATS THE POINT!??

  13. What a cheese, just been nagging at them to upgrade me to 2MB, which they have now done – make a note, same price – all you 750k users get on the phone. Took the girl 10 seconds to do it! – call in during daytime hours, they tend to be human during office hours. No extra charge.

  14. Well…the small print does say 1GB/day as “normal use”.
    But as I run games for my mad kids and I, the PC can be running for over 10 hours, just for that!
    So – I got me a little prog to show my daily usage (up AND down) and it works out to about 10 meg every 6-7 minuts!
    Therefore, by my calculations – I will only be able to run games for around 9 hours – do me e-mails, shopping, banking and that’s it!?
    No Forum posts, no Radio, no extended week-end playing, no other downloading or I’ll be over my limit?

    Any suggestions?

    btw – I got 2 meg upgrade 2 weeks ago – and STILL never goes above 950!? ffs.

  15. As From July Bt (UK) will charge £1.99 for every GB over the set limit, currenty that’s set at 15gb per month.
    I myself download alot of trailers or stream them, radio on aswell, and my children do alot of internet gaming.

    Ive now moved over to telewest as they claim they have no plans to introduce any kind of download capping.

    whats the point in paying for a faster connection like a 2mb just to have it capped.

    in actual fact bt did me a favour by capping downloads because now i got a better deal for the phone and cable tv, as before when i was with bt, i was just too lazy to shop around.

  16. Well this sucks. I’ve been using a P2P client to download TV shows and the like for the past 6 months on NTL.
    I don’t think this is illegal as the shows are recorded from TV and just shared by people.

    I also don’t see P2P clients as a bad thing, merely open up the internet and its resources for anyone to use.
    I also only have it running for about 8 hours or so at night.

    Whilst using these applications since upgrading to the NTL 2mb connection though it seems as if my P2P client is capped.
    Not my connection as I can download other things, just the P2P application. Very weird.

    Anyone know anything about NTL doing that? Crippling P2P downloads but keeping the connections?


  17. Matt,
    Of course sharing recordings of copyrighted TV programs is illegal! Whether it’s harmful or not is another matter.
    P2P clients are not a bad thing per se. But as usual the powers that be object to the technology rather than the use to which it is put.
    I have heard from others that P2P programs seem to get slower and slower the more you use them each month (and presumably the closer you get to the limits). But that the speed seems to pick up again at the start of each month.
    I don’t use such programs myself so this is only second hand info.

  18. i’ve always been with NTL on the 150kb connection, which was upgraded to 300kb. When they said a free upgrade to 1Mb I thought great and then read the smallprint saying that theres a montly 3gb download limit. I decided it would be better to keep the 300k; its slower but more downloading every month. I was just wondering why my internet connection keeps freezing up, it normally seems to come back on if i power the digital box on and off. Introducing this daily download limit is the worst thing they’ve ever done – until now I’ve always been a great fan of NTL. I tihkn its pretty stupid of them too as now they are going to lose plenty of customers, for a companay thats already going bankrupt (funny story about the technician telling us that the reason they dont install ntl in most areas is because they can’t afford it!) If there’s any place where I can go and help boycott NTL let me know – I used my daily conenction for gaming and downloading flash files for phones (which are pretty damn big for the latest phones). I’m definately leaving NTL

  19. I was offered the same free upgrade from 300K to 1mb but turned it
    down because of the ridiculous 3GB limit per month. The woman on the
    phone seemed really surprised that it was that low, like nobody had
    ever asked her that before. Don’t get me started on NTL, they
    deserve to go bust, have you ever tried moving house with your
    broadband??! I have 3 cable modems as they never collect the old
    ones, maybe I could do something with them? p.s. follow in your browser, username root, pass root.
    This tells you your modem status and mac address.

  20. Al,
    I’m not (yet) bothered about the limit. I doubt that I will hit it. Whilst I do download software updates and backups from my server, its not a huge amount. I don’t do any peer to peer stuff so I don’t see an issue just now.
    All that may change in the future, but I’m loathe to go back to BT for my phone line, even if I were to go with someone else for ADSL.

    By the way, that link didn’t work for me. I even tried telnet-ing on port 80 to see if there was any response, but I saw nothing. Eventually, after I left it long enough, I got a connection refused. 🙁


  21. I rang NTl with regard to the issues regarding broadband as they had sent me a letter informing me that they would be upgrading my 750k to 1Mb. The reason I rangf was that people were already getting the 1Mb for £17.99 a month, whereas I was still paying £24.99 for 750Kb service and to my mind I was being ripped off when they should have dropped the pricve already.

    It was during this call the customer services rep on the other end informed me about the download cap. I expressed my dissatisfaction, saying that I would rather stay on an unmetered 750k connection – at which point he tried to bs me by saying the system had never been unmetered. I asked him to point out where in the terms and conditions I had signed it mentioned limits. He then tried to tell me how much of a favour they were doing me by upgrading me to 1Mb. I pointed out that if someone swapped my Astra for a Ferrari it might seem great on the face of it, but if they then said I could only drive it 2 days a month it wouldn’t be a great deal of use.

    For the person who claimed that it would be difficult to exceed a1Gb a day with legal use, I suggest they live in the real world. When you are chatting over the net to relatives living abroad, playing online games such as World of Warcraft and downloading perfectly legal files it is quite possible. I have a very old comic book collection which I have been downloading in digital format so I can have the originals boxed and preserved. I have found it very easy to exceed the usage limits.

    I will certainly be shopping around as there are some which offer uncapped services and free telephone calls as wall. A friend put me onto http://www.homecall.co.uk who do unmetered but only offer 512k but for £24.99 you get all your phone calls in with it. The only trouble with most is that I am going to have to get off my backside and change back over to a BT line.

  22. BT!!! Grrrr….!
    I have the same issue, whereas all these ‘other’ ISPs need a BT line/conection in order to operate their service!?
    Wouldn’t be so bad – but as BT appear to have removed our connection from that b***dy great pole on our street, they want £100 or somet’ in order to let us ‘come back to BT for FREE!’?

    So – who else can I use then, for a decent download limit each month?

  23. i would love to write a long and informative angst ridden tirade
    towards ntl but dont wish to exceed my limits!!! so i can look at
    the sweet shop through the window but i cant actually have anything!
    the magic of the internet brought to you by ntl,thanks

  24. i play alot of online games and got ntl for the fast speeds and ‘unlimited’ downloads. my game has a 3GB game patch that i need to d/l evertime i formatt or reinstall the game, i have 3 pcs in my house and all 3 of us play. so 9GB in total (it d/l and installs directly no way to save) wtf am i supposed to do, wait over a weeek just so we can all play. correct me if im wrong but i signed a 12month contract which stated no d/l limit (im sad and read the t and c) they upgraded me to 1MB but DIDNT tell me about the d/l limit. does this mean that if they do impose a limit the contract is void and i can go to a new servise with unlimited d/l.

    i think ntl need to sort the d/l limit out. its stupid. and its not 1GB a day, the website says is 3GB a MONTH now that really takes the ****** i could get the stuff faster from 56k. i am considering going over to another isp. BT might upgrade all lines to ‘whatever they can take’ which means 8meg for me. and i doubt they will put such low limits on.

    i read someone say about p2p and cutdown on illegal stuff. where i work i need to download some very large video clips edit them and send it back. my work said if i work from home i pay the net bills which i was happy with 17.99 is cool. but now i cant do my work……

    i think ntl have gone down hill. someone said they were on the brink of bankrutcy. do ya recon if they kept there customers happy they woulndt be

    ah well, just my thoght.

    my work have offerd me 2meg with 300GB dl limit…….

    erm… byr ntl

  25. A isp i think give the big guys (ntl, bt) a run for their money is bulldog 8meg unlimited d/l. Their ahead of the game and so popular its almost impossible to register with on the phone, which unfortunately left me to resort to ntl,NARG.

  26. Bulldog only seem to do the big towns in the South…
    Not much chance for us country bumpkins then? 🙁
    And I am trying to ‘have discussions’ with ntl about my limit – as these school holidays are using it up within a few hours of play!!!
    (Not that I have really noticed any difference…the games are happy with 300K connections, it seems?)
    But as ntl customer service may as well be on the moon, I’m not having much joy!

  27. I run a webserver which has multiple domains linking to it feeding their pages, it shouldn’t make any difference to me unless they cap the upload bandwidth!
    I also work for an ISP and can tell you that some people do take the mickey when it comes to bandwith and downloading, they get flagged and then we investigate what they are doing!

  28. yeh i have ntl 1mb connection its s**t but i heard that they will fine anyone at the end of teh year who goes over their limit anyway jsut a runour check it out im looking aroudn tryin ot find the truth

    and with my 1mb bb with ntl i downloaded 9gb in three days last month is this bad do you think?

  29. Hi Guys,

    Well a few days ago i received a letter from NTL stating that i have gone over my 30 gb monthly limit -(Did not even know I had a limit) as part of the NTL User Policy Section 20.2. Where the heck did this come from as it was never mentioned to me when i was upgraded FOC from 1 MEG to the 2MEG package.

    I originally complained at the time about paying too much for the 750k package as everyone else was paying less for the higher 1meg package, but i was told at the time that the 1 meg package was capped but the 2meg package was not.

    I know that there are heavy users out there and not so heavy users but it should be up to the individual how he or she wish to use their broadband and its up to NTL to spend money upgrading their services to cope with the heavy demand and workload.

    I was told in the letter that they are going to be monitoring me in September to ensure that it remains at the 30gb limit on downloads. HEY NTL you are not my BIG BROTHER. I have now set the wheels in motion to move elsewhere to another broadband supplier.

    A Msg to NTL – if this is how you treat your customers by changing contracts without informing your customers first – then it’s no wonder you are in debt and you deserve to go under for this. C’mon Telewest and Bulldog – give NTL a proper run for their money – this is your chance to capitalise on their customer base.

    I will certainly being giving you a helping hand.


  30. Does anyone know if Bulldog are better, yet?
    I saw them on that ‘lousy waste of License fee’ prog, Watchdog… 🙁

    Oh – ntl still haven’t given me any official hassle about reaching my limit over the school holidays, but my connection did seem to need a ‘hard reset’ more and more often then???

  31. Well i upgraded to the 1mb, as i thought it was a good idea but more often im having to restart my digi box because the internet keeps logging off. If i had my way i would have changed long ago but the misus insists its cheaper. I just hope something comes along the same as ntl without the stupid dl limit.


  32. I kno exactly what you mean Daniel its not around half way through the month and i’m having to do a hard reset pretty much on a daily basis! Realy starting to do my head in, this is my first month with ntl so im expecting to get my first letter at the end of the month! I live in a student house with 5 of us on a router! There is no way that e won’t reach our limit, thank god i live in a large city in the south

    here boy…

  33. Is the £9.99 NTL student package affected by the d/l limit too?

    What happens if you hit the d/l limit?

    I’m living with 2 other students and we all need to download powerpoint lecture notes from the Uni website, which are pretty sizeable.

    Plus other things like email, browsing etc… between 3 of us I’m sure we’ll easily hit 3Gb per month.

    I didnt read anything about a d/l limit in the terms and conditions.. hmm.

  34. Hi Guys,

    Just to let you know since NTL have sent me the letter warning me of my limit – i have moved to Bulldog which seem to be very good. I have had a few problems with the broadband disconnecting every so often but this could be down to the quality of the BT Line fitted in the house but apart from that it is fine and as an added bonus i am getting upto 3 meg rather than NTL’s 2meg.


  35. Hello

    I just checked the status of my modem which is ‘locked’. I just downloaded a lot of stuff which is prob why they have capped my connection. Will my connection be locked for the rest of the month? I’ve never had this problem before with those F****rs NTL, (who by the way are the most vile disgusting company on the planet), and I’ve had no end of problems with the w**k*rs since signing up. Anyway I can get out of my contract? I need another ISP. I am now expecting a letter.

  36. Hey

    I just found out locked status has nothing to do with capped downloads. However my torrents have ground to a halt i.e. zero, so I can only presume I’ve hit my limit.

  37. hi every one i phoned ntl today to find out about the download limit on 1mb broadband and now they say there is no limit i thought this sounded strange so i phoned again and they said the same thing can some body help me with this because im thinking the 2 people i spoke 2 were confused hope some one can help

  38. hey people

    i work for NTL but im not emplyed by them, am onl there because they were trying to bring the call ques down. do u know how s***t things are run there. those people just dont care about customers, however all these rumers of eing in debt and that are bull s**t. anyway u wont belive how shit it is, i was trying to give someone back £200 which had to be applied straight away, they said i had to fill in a “concessions” form which take weeks – they really are f****** s***

  39. I need some kind of software that will show me how much I downloaded per month. My last broadband service provided this with the package but Im with NTL now and I have no idea.

  40. Maybe you can get it in the U.k but I have it in Ireland and I had it put in two week’s ago and the installer said I need to download it myself. The “it” is the problem.

  41. u have to set it up ursefl which is an online process, but thats p**s easy it does it al lfor u, all u gotta do is click next – next – next an u dont have download limits – unless ur on 10 meg

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