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NDO Explains 'Fair Usage' Policy

Posted: 11th May, 2005 By: MarkJ
Update: NDO made a slight press release change - news item updated. Having recently been forced to warn just over a dozen customers about their heavy broadband data consumption, ISP NDO has now issued a press release explaining its 'Fair Usage' policy:

As more applications become available and more and more users start to use their broadband connections, the bandwidth required to service those users increases, which has led to more and more capped services being introduced by a range of service providers that limit the amount that can be downloaded.

Broadband works on the basis of contending an ISP’s available bandwidth between all of its users to enable a service to be provided at a reasonable cost, which works provided all users are fair in the way they download data. NDO has had a Fair Usage Policy (FUP) as part of its terms and conditions since September 2004 to help its customers understand what we consider acceptable and indicate that action may be taken if this policy is ignored.

NDO have tried to avoid the introduction of capped services by having a FUP, which relies upon customers being responsible with regard to the amount of data that is downloaded. The vast majority of NDO customers are fair and reasonable in their usage, but a tiny minority download far in excess of the amount that is considered acceptable under the terms of the FUP. As a result of the excessive usage by a few, NDO have decided to enforce the FUP and have for the last three weeks been contacting those customers concerned by email with the request that they modify their usage.

If usage is not modified within a 14 day period to comply with the FUP, then those high usage customers’ connections are moved into a restricted area for a period of time where they share a restricted amount of bandwidth amongst themselves, which results in increasing the contention level applied to their connections. Those customers can continue to download as much data as possible but they will have to share the available bandwidth with like-minded users of the Internet. This action has been taken to protect the majority of our customers and to ensure that they continue to receive the service to which they are accustomed.

It is the customers with very high usage who will receive an email notification and we realise that they may not be happy but NDO cannot continue to subsidise their usage of the Internet. Although we would like them to modify their usage and remain customers, we accept that some of them may not agree with our FUP and will not wish to modify their usage. In these cases we will assist the customer in moving to an alternative provider.

The Fair Usage Policy can be found at http://www.ndo.com/en/1/fairdatatransferpolicy.html

We understand that some of the users had gone over a staggering 200GB per month, although debate on the ISP's own forum appears to be largely swung in favour of their enforcement.

The ISP's Development Director, Sam Hill, made a more specific note of the numbers involved:

The initial warning went to 76 people, then in second week the follow up warning went to 44 people; this week only 15 people have had increased contention applied - all the others had reduced their usage as requested.
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