Fair Usage Policy

Community Action Suffolk’s Fair Usage Policy is designed to make sure your broadband service is quick and reliable whenever you use it.

A very small number of customers use Peer to Peer or file sharing software, which constantly sends and receives video and other very large files, throughout the day. This type of activity uses a lot of bandwidth and can significantly reduce the speed at which other customers can access the internet during peak hours. Approximately 1% of customers use more than 30% of the available bandwidth during peak hours. We don’t believe this is fair to the vast majority of our customers.

This fair usage policy automatically identifies the very small number of extremely heavy users and manages their bandwidth only during peak hours (being 6pm to 11pm Monday to Friday, and 12pm to 4pm on weekends), to protect the service for all our other customers. Outside peak hours, the use of the internet by these heavy users is unaffected.

We think this is the fairest approach. It protects the quality of service for the vast majority of our customers when they most use the service, while at the same time allowing the extremely heavy users to continue to send and receive without restriction outside of peak hours.

How do I know if I am likely to be affected by the Fair Usage Policy?

If you don’t use Peer to Peer or file sharing software it is unlikely you will ever be affected by this Fair Usage Policy. If you do use Peer to Peer or file sharing software, all we ask is that you use this software considerately and send and receive large files outside of peak hours.

If you are affected, we will contact you by email to let you know that your usage at peak hours is excessive and is affecting other customers. The email will be sent to both your Suffolk Online email address and your contact email address (if different) and will contain simple advice on how to reduce your usage.

If your usage is still excessive, we will contact you again by email to ask you to reduce your sending and receiving of large files during peak hours. If your usage still remains excessive during peak hours, we will contact you a third time to advise you that we will be restricting your bandwidth during peak hours for the good of all other customers. This restriction will only apply during peak hours and there will be no restriction at other times of the day.

How can I manage my usage?

Simply ensure that any file sharing, sending and receiving of large file is done outside of peak hours. You can also call our helpdesk on 01473 345305 and we can tell you of your currently monthly usage. Please note our reporting system at times may not be entirely up to date with it’s reporting of usage levels.

What happens if you are affected by the Fair Usage Policy?

Customer usage is compared to the Monthly Data Usage Allowance – the level of data that can be sent and received as
per the Acceptable Usage Policy, based on the average use of the network over a given period of time. Customers found to be over this Allowance may experience slower speeds during peak hours. Speed reductions will be progressive, i.e. the more bandwidth used above the quota, the slower the speed experienced. This allows other users a fair share of the available bandwidth.

Under the Fair Usage Policy, we apply flexible and dynamic ‘controls’ to your network, based on almost real-time
analysis of network usage and capacity. The restrictions imposed will only affect you if you’re identified as a heavy user during peak-times, as determined by the utilisation of the network. During off-peak hours, restrictions don’t apply. Similarly, if you exceed the quota, and then modify your network usage and reduce your consumption to below the levels, you’ll go back to receiving normal speeds.

The quota levels that are dynamically calculated are significantly higher than most customers usually need. We’ll
continue to review network usage levels, and will manage the Policy to make sure that a high quality of service is available to all. As a result of this policy the majority of our customers will benefit from faster speeds and an improved service.

Is there any specific data usage level where a fair usage policy will come into place?

The vast majority of our products are data limit restricted anyway so usage beyond the level you pay for would be charged for anyway. On any of our unlimited products we reserve the right to throttle back speeds or restrict access if usage above 2TB (Terabytes) is exceeded.

Note to customers:

The fair usage policy applies to all our products.