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AOL UK Introduces Updated Fair Usage Policy

Posted: 02nd Jan, 2007 By: MarkJ
For the past few days our readers (here) have been reporting on ISP AOL UK's broadband Fair Usage Policy (FUP) changes. The provider has had a basic form of FUP for awhile, yet appears to be getting more aggressive with their latest adjustments:

Protecting Your Broadband Network

As part of our ongoing commitment to provide reliable and high-quality broadband services, AOL has decided to introduce a Fair Use policy. This enables us to manage the network better and ensure we can continue to deliver the best possible service to our entire subscriber base.

A Fair Use policy means, for example, that we may introduce some form of network management if we feel that specific individuals are abusing their broadband usage beyond a level that would be considered reasonable. For example, using AOL Broadband 24 hours a day, every day, to continuously download large files is not a reasonable use for a residential service.

As another example, we might also manage the AOL Broadband service at peak times to ensure everyone is getting a stable, reliable connection across the whole network. We believe that this policy will help us continue to deliver a high-quality broadband experience and that the vast majority of our broadband subscribers will benefit from the existence of a Fair Use policy.

We welcome feedback and questions on any of these changes - please contact AOLTermsUpdate@aol.com and we will endeavour to answer your queries.

The changes, which will be effective from 1st February 2007, appear to be at least partially the result of AOL's recent sale to Carphone Warehouse (TalkTalk). E-Mail's sent to customers begin as follows:

As you may be aware, there have recently been some changes at AOL. As a consequence, AOL has recently sold its UK Access business, which includes the AOL dial-up, AOL Broadband and AOL Talk products.

Firstly, there's no need to be concerned. We've ensured that through the transition any impact will be minimal and you'll continue to be able to use all the industry leading AOL services that you've been used to, but we do need to make you aware of a few changes that we are making as a consequence of this development.

Unfortunately AOL's 'new conditions' are disappointingly unspecific in regards to their FUP changes, although it’s probably safe to assume that heavy P2P users will be hit hardest by any ‘Traffic Management’. Customers attempting to gain clarification have been faced with seemingly automated responses from AOL’s support department, which do little to elaborate.

Still, we’re not surprised by the move; AOL UK has been playing a difficult balancing act between super heavy and light users for awhile now. They either had to put up prices, which most ISP’s are afraid to do, or place restrictions on certain aspects/uses of their network.
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