How stingy is your ISP? I did a few calculations.

A 56k modem on a good line gives about 44 kbps downstream and 36 kbps upstream. At full saturation, that gives a maximum data transfer of about 13.6 GB down and 11.1 GB up over a 30-day period.

Single ISDN gives 64 kbps in each direction, equating to a maximum of 19.8 GB transferred in each direction. Dual-channel ISDN gives twice that, unsurprisingly.

My home ISP limits data transfer to 10 GB a month total (upstream and downstream usage both count towards that figure). It’s a 3 Mbps down/128 kbps up connection, so it’s possible to use the entire monthly allowance in less than eight hours. Leave it downloading overnight, and that’s the entire allowance gone.

You can pay extra—EUR 5 for each 5 GB “volume pack”—to add more data. I suppose it’s not too much of a rip-off, but it still seems unreasonable to have such a low cap.

Anyone remember “unlimited” internet access? Turns out that the only thing that’s increased is the rate at which we can use up our meagre data volume allowances.

At least I have an unmetered professional line at work.