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Broadband users down under are revolting after Telstra BigPond decided to cap their usage of the service.

In an email issued to customer yesterday Telstra BigPond said that from 5 July those users signed up to the unlimited residential package, called Freedom, will only be allowed 3GB of usage a month.

Monster telco, Telstra, blames a small minority of users for its decision. It claims: "...around five percent of users take up 35 percent of total bandwidth at any one time. This group places a severe burden on the network which greatly reduces performance for most customers."

It believes the action it's taken will not impact upon a majority of users. "The 3GB allowance per month represents something like 600 MP3 songs (average 5MB per song) or 300 2-3 minute MPEG videos a month.

"If you use the Net mainly for email or surfing and reasonable music and video downloads, you should not be affected at all. Gamers should be able to enjoy up to 300 hours a month of broadband multi-user gaming," it said.

Telstra BigPond cost around A$80 (£29) a month.

However, the move has incensed users who've already set up an online petition to overturn the decision. It says: "Telstra's broadband Internet division, Big Pond Advance, has decided to inflict another restriction on an already decidedly average service. Not only do we (BigPond Advance Freedom Plan Users) get a 64KB/16KB speed restriction, we now also have a 3GB download limit per month. Note that both these restrictions apply to the 'Unlimited Freedom Plan' that they offer."

"We, the undersigned, wish to let Telstra know that the vast majority of its user base are outraged by this 3GB data restriction.

At the time of writing the petition had 4291 signatures.

One user who contacted El Reg said: "What we are basically left with is paying a premium for a service with the usage availability that you would expect from a dialup service."

Another said: "It sucks to be a Telstra BigPond Cable User."

And a posting on a bulletin board said: "This is the most offensive move [Telstra BigPond] have made and strongly illustrates how pathetic broadband services are here in AU. Tel$tra shaft us in front of the international computing community again."

Subscribers to other broadband services are now concerned that their providers will follow Telstra BigPond's lead and impose similar caps. ®

Related Link

The petition can be found here

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