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PlusNet ditches fair usage policy

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PlusNet has abandoned plans to implement a "Fair Usage Policy (FUP) that would have kept a lid on "broadband hogs" accused of hoovering up too much capacity and affecting the service quality experienced by other users. Instead, it will use a "contention based" approach to manage problem users.

The problem of these broadband hogs became so acute late last year that the Sheffield-based ISP shunted around 250 heavy users onto a "bad boys' pipe" to try and ease the problem for other users.

At the same time, the ISP said it would introduce a FUP which would have introduced usage limits and guidelines. Those regularly in breach of the FUP could expect to be warned about their usage or even risk being booted from the service.

But just when customers had readied themselves for the introduction of the FUP, PlusNet changed tack. In an email to users last week it said: "Following our recent announcements about the implementation of the proposed fair usage system, we have taken the decision not to implement fair usage. This decision is in no small part due to the changing broadband market and the requirement to ensure that a minority of customers does not continue to impact the experience for the majority."

Explaining its new approach PlusNet said: "Under the contention based approach we are presenting extremely heavy users with the opportunity to use their broadband connection off-peak whilst being fair during peak hours, and if this doesn't occur then we have the ability to manage their connection on an individual basis in such a way that they don't adversely affect the capacity on their product types, and assist them in finding an alternative ISP."

Although PlusNet insists that the vast majority of punters will be unaffected by the change, it has caused outrage among some users. One irate reader told The Register that he thought the ISP "had moved the goalposts" while another said he was just "confused" by it all.

But PlusNet insists the change in approach will only affect a tiny fraction (around one per cent) of its 100,000 users - a small number of punters the ISP claims are using the service full throttle and downloading material 24/7. ®

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