What Are The UK Broadband Fair Use Policies?

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In an effort to regulate the use of broadband UK broadband providers have introduced fair use policies.These policies are the way that providers control cyber traffic. The problem is that certain people may be hit harder than others; and not always fairly.Certain providers in the market are considered fairer than others. By knowing all the information about fair use policies you will you be able to find the best provider for you. So here you go…

Who gets affected the most?
As the fair use policy was created to keep cyber traffic down, heavy internet users are the most commonly affected.The actual theory behind the policy is that certain people may be affected by the heavy usage of others. By implementing the fair usage policy low usage consumers will not be affected by the heavy usage consumers.The fact is that you are likely to be sharing your connection with around 40 to 49 other people.The usual maximum contention ratio for a broadband connection is around 50:1.This means that your connection could be affected by what 49 other people are doing.If one user is regularly affecting the internet of the other users then the service provider will do something.

There are certain criteria which you can use to determine whether you are going to be affected by the fair use policy.People who download large files through peer-to-peer networks and online gamers are often affected.Others who use their home broadband for business might find their connections throttled.

To avoid being affected by the fair usage policy you can try cutting down how much you use your internet.Of course this is not an option that most people want to adopt.Another option is to limit your high usage activities to times when other people will not be online.If you are downloading large files when no-one else is online you will not be as severely affected by the policy.

Fair use policy penalties
When you first sign up to a service provider large downloads will generally be allowed for the first couple of months.If this trend persists the provider may get in touch with you and ask that you limit your usage a bit.Of course if you continuously exceed limits then fair use action is likely to follow.

There are a number of ways that this can impact.The first penalty will be the throttling of your connection.When this action is taken your connection speed will be slowed dramatically, particularly during peak times.Another form of action will be the charging for excess usage and the restriction of access to certain peer-to-peer sharing websites.There have been terminations of contracts in some very extreme cases.

Disputing your fair use policy penalty
If you do feel you have been unfairly penalized on the fair use policy there are a few things you can do.The first step would be to contact your service provider and try to resolve this issue with them.If you are unable to do that you should get in touch with Ofcom.Ofcom is the regulator for the telecommunication industry and other industries.The regulator will look into any complaints you have about your provider and try to help bring a resolution to the issue.They won’t always look at individual cases so it might be worth talking to people in your area on the same network to get a little people-power going.

Which UK broadband provider is the fairest?
There are certain providers which are considered to be fairer than others.You should look at the fair use policy of the provider and the traffic management strategies being used.

Sky Fair Usage
Sky is one of the most well-known service providers out there.They are also considered to be very fair in their policies.If you have an unlimited package with this provider you will not be subject to traffic management or fair use policies.This stand has caused high demand for their broadband, which can affect the overall speed of the connection.

The only packages that have a traffic management policy with this provider is the out-of-area packages.For these users traffic management will be in place mostly during peak times on weekdays, where certain kinds of traffic are prioritized.This scheme will not affect Sky Lite and unlimited customers.

Virgin Media Fair Usage
Virgin Media is another one of the most influential UK broadband service providers.While Virgin services are very popular the problem is that the industry sees package fairness level as errr… unfair.Most of the cable broadband deals offered by this provider are considered to be unlimited. However even the highest package is subject to traffic management schemes for people who go over certain usage limits.The traffic management scheme applies mainly during the day time and there are certain limits, which need to be considered.Once the limit has been reached the speed of the broadband connection can be cut by up to 75%. The reductions in speed will last around 5 hours even if you only exceeded the limit minutes before peak times end.

BT Fair Usage
BT is the telecommunications giant in the world of UK broadband.BT is seen as very fair in the implementation of their fair use policy.In fact the unlimited broadband packages offered by this provider are now truly unlimited and are not subject to any policy.If you are not on the unlimited package, but have BT vision, you will be given additional bandwidth.Before the move to truly unlimited broadband BT traffic management schemes targeted certain people.These people were those who used peer-to-peer websites during peak hours of the day during the week and on weekends.

Plusnet Fair Usage
Plusnet is another provider which many people have been drawn to. They are advertising heavily in the UK at the momentThe fair use policy for this provider is considered to be fair.For unlimited packages there is no fair use policy or rate limiting in place with this provider.However, even with the lack of fair use policy there is a traffic management scheme in place.The scheme with this provider is actually very detailed and called traffic prioritisation.The prioritised traffic on unlimited packages will be VOIP and gaming traffic first, followed by browsing and email, then download and sharing activities.

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