Microsoft promise not to abuse metered download capability (official statement)

by Surur
March 17, 2017

A few days ago we learned that with the Creators Update Microsoft has once again given themselves permission to download updates over metered connections ie. connections which charge by the megabyte.

This of course raises the spectre of massive bill shock from downloading gigabytes of data in the background without the user’s knowledge or consent.

Now in an official statement a Microsoft spokesman has promised that they will not abuse the capability, saying:

“We don’t plan to send large updates over metered connections, but could use this for critical fixes if needed in the future.”

The statement remains unsatisfying of course – as there is no guarantee that these plans will not change, or what the size of a critical fix Microsoft deems important enough to send over a metered connection will be.

Microsoft can not know the local circumstances of each user, particularly when it comes to data cost, and despite the importance of updates this should be an area where the user remains in control.

Microsoft has said they have made the option to mark a connection as metered more discoverable, which is overall an improvement, but which makes its violation probably more galling.

I would propose a persistent nag screen as a much safer solution – make it annoying enough and inform the user beforehand what size the update is, and they may even find an unmetered connection, avoiding the uncontrollable cost issue. Simply going ahead and downloading in the background knowing the user is concerned about data costs is not.

Where do our readers fall on this issue? Let us know below.

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