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Freeswerve - Britain's biggest ISP - is to get tough with Net users it believes are abusing its 24/7 unmetered service.

It's about to send out emails to up to 700 people it claims are using Unlimited Freeserve Time for more than 16 hours a day.

A spokeswoman said the ISP was entitled to get tough because of item 1.9.5 of Freeswerve's Ts&Cs because they are "using the service in a manner which, in our opinion, makes abnormal demands on the network from a single connection".

Commercial users, gamers and those who, frankly, should get out more, have all been fingered by Freeswerve.

Some clever people have even been using the service for more than 30 hours a day (no doubt eight days a week as well) since they're hooked up with multiple users on a single line, according to the ISP.

Others are using the service to operate a primitive server.

"Less than one per cent of people are creating a slower network for more than 99 per cent of users," said Freeswerve's spokeswoman, although she went on to say this wasn't the only reason the ISP had suffered network problems recently.

While such tough action is now not uncommon (the Free Internet Group recently warned it would seek legal redress again serial abusers what's more intriguing is that Freeswerve decided to place the story with the FT.

So does this mean that the 700 abusers are predominantly readers of the pink paper or was it a ploy by Freeswerve to make out it's a serious, no-nonsense player to an influential audience of money men and women?

"Not at all," replied the spokeswoman.

Glad to hear it. ®

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