MWEB uncapped ADSL users warned for excessive usage

MWEB SA news

Mweb has sent warning letters to a portion of its user base in which the Internet service provider (ISP) told subscribers that it would slow down their ADSL speeds if they do not change their usage patterns.

Irate users took to social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and the MyBroadband forums to voice their displeasure, to which Mweb responded with the reasoning behind their decision.

According to a spokesperson for the ISP, the measures they previously used to enforce their acceptable use policy (AUP) have proved to be ineffective in managing excessive usage patterns.

For this reason, Mweb said it would be automating enforcement of its AUP by applying temporary speed limits to users with excessive behaviour based on a rolling 30 day window.

Only 3% of its users have received warning letters, Mweb said.

Mweb later emphasised that users that did not receive a letter will not be affected by the changes.

According to Mweb, users who were issued a letter, received one based on their usage trend over the past few months and not their current usage.

Mweb said that it believes those that have have received a letter exhibit usage patterns that would most likely be deemed excessive by any of the uncapped providers in the market.

“As is the case with all networks, you have a mix of users, and at the very top-end you have a small group who consume a significant and disproportionate amount of your capacity,” CEO of Mweb ISP, Derek Hershaw told MyBroadband in response to questions.

“When that starts to have a negative impact on the experience of the rest of your customers, you have to intervene,” he added.

“We’ve always managed abusive behaviour in the past and, even though we’re enforcing our fair-use policy a little bit more strictly now, it’s still a very small portion of customers who are affected.”

Derek Hershaw Mweb

Derek Hershaw

What behaviour must change?

Users have expressed concern at being told to adjust their behaviour without being informed what exactly they need to change.

A spokesperson for Mweb said that they could unfortunately not provide users with a numeric limit on the amount of data they may use before it is considered a violation of the AUP.

“Please understand that this was the first question we anticipated when deciding on this change and its probably the one question that we can’t answer,” Mweb said, adding that no ISP publishes a fixed limit for their uncapped fair usage policies.

“The manner in which we apply the policy is based on a combination of network performance factors coupled with a 30 day rolling usage window for the individual user,” the ISP said.

Instead the ISP provided general guidelines, such as not running unattended bulk downloads and rather spreading downloads out.

Asked if they could offer more guidelines to affected users, Hershaw said that one thing they could do is know exactly who has access to their network.

“We come across cases where customers have set up unprotected Wi-Fi networks and half the neighbourhood is sharing their line,” Hershaw said.

“Other than that we’re just asking customers to be a bit more discriminate and discerning about what they download,” he added. “Downloading every bit of content you can find when you probably have no intention of watching even half of it, will see you run into problems.”

Responding to a specific query from a forum member that we put to him, Hershaw said that streaming movies on a regular basis “is not going to be a problem.”

The text from Mweb’s email is reproduced below:

We want to ensure the best possible experience for our customers by managing the quality of our network. We monitor the usage on our network and make sure that customers are not abusing certain defined parameters. This is in line with our Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).

Your usage is close to exceeding these parameters. We will enforce our AUP from 1 September, and should you continue to show excessive usage patterns, and therefore exceed these parameters, you will experience slower connection speeds (while we manage your bandwidth usage). As soon as your usage patterns stabilise your connection speeds will return to normal.

Here are some tips to avoid excessive usage:

  1. Don’t leave your connection running all day (downloading heavy content);
  2. Know who is using your Internet connection and make sure it’s secure;
  3. Or, upgrade to another MWEB package to accommodate your higher data usage.

MWEB Uncapped ADSL Feedback thread on MyBroadband

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Forum discussion
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  • Stan Smith

    How can you abuse it if you are paying for a uncapped&unthrottled product? Or am I missing the meaning of uncapped?

  • Lycanthrope

    Nope. You’re certainly not the one missing the meaning. MWEB, however…

  • Shane Van Eck

    So you telling me half of the guys (including myself) in our office and all the people in MyBB (and other places) are only 3% of their client base? (let alone the ones who aren’t complaining). Well if I notice any threshold applied, that’s my cancelation.

  • Glordit

    DAFUQ? – “Or, upgrade to another MWEB package to accommodate your higher data usage.” it’s uncapped numb nuts. So I will download as much as a need/want.

  • XennoX

    What I really love is they have: Premium products and throttled products. Now they’re going to throttle your speeds on their Premium products. Thus, whats the difference between the two products now? The threshold by which they throttle you?

    Seriously MWEB, you guys are only doing this for your profits. You don’t want to invest in more capacity.

    MWEB Free Enslaving the web.

  • Go2hell66

    Got a warning…
    kind of p’d off

  • Gerrit Thysse

    We also got a rude email which reads we “abuse” the service, but mweb cannot provide guidelines with regards to what constitutes abuse! they wont state how much data is too much…therefore it is NOT uncapped!!

  • Bl1zz4rd

    What has your data usage been like over the past few months? Average GB?

  • Bl1zz4rd

    How high has your usage been recently?

  • Valjean Hermans

    was downloading of mweb steam server how is that abuse it’s local ffs

  • Nero55

    Anyone got some details on how much data is considered excessive? Anyone with a letter willing to share?

  • Bl1zz4rd

    I don’t see how anyone would have, considering the only people who can provide that info work at Mweb, and Mweb’s said they can’t (don’t wish to?) say.

  • Ninja-J

    Mweb contacted us at the end of last year (2012) with warning letters regarding excessive data usage. We are 4 students sharing one 4 MB Uncap Mweb account. Basically the letters stated that we had an average monthly data usage of +400 GB for the past 2 months in a row. The letter also included which sites pulled the most data, Youtube being on top. When we contacted Mweb regarding this out of the blue limit they said that the line speed you have times a 100GB is the limit before it’s considered excessive data usage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/panthisza Alex [SS] PsyChoPanthis

    i think reasoning behind not giving an exact amount would be because then people would have a goal to work towards in terms of usage. Cause lets be honest, if i get told i can safely use 300+gigs of content a month without penalty, id build up a complete spare machine at my flat and download stuff like crazy because i know i can. If every single one of their users would use the lines to the 100% recommended usage it would kind of screw them. Dont get me wrong im not backing Mweb up as ive had my fair share of issues with them this year, but i sort of get why they “cant” answer the question, its more a case of they “dont want to”.

    In saying that, giving us a fixed limit or recommended amount of usage essentially changes their “uncapped” solution to fixed limit cap. And this would make everyone angry because they are paying for an uncapped service. This is essentially the problem now, we paying for uncapped and are being penalized for using it as such, so giving us a figure just adds thermite to an already raging inferno of hate.

  • BEANIBIL1TY

    250

  • Andrew Shaw

    3% of users messing it up for the other 97%. Yeah, I’m totally on MWEB’s side here.

  • UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

    The main problem here is that uncapped isn’t sustainable and they should stop selling the product. At this point they are seeing a lot of congestion and now they throttle and shape… Not cool! Stop selling people something when it is actually something else…

    For the record they can be taken to court for this. It is false advertising to have such a huge campaign for uncapped and then slow connections etc…

    We need to move to higher capped plans at more affordable prices. That way the company has a more stable network and we all get what we pay for.

  • Andrew Shaw

    Except the whole AUP terms and the fact that you accepted them before signing up. Look at the AUP as an honesty system – we will give you free reign, as long as you remember you’re not the only one on the network.

  • Bl1zz4rd

    Except I got one of those emails and I only use around 90GB per month. If that puts me in the top percentage category, and means that I’m “messing it up” for tons of other people, something’s seriously wrong here. I’m totally not on MWEB’s side.

  • Bl1zz4rd

    Yeah MWEB, you’d like that wouldn’t you?

  • Ninja-J

    Mweb contacted us at the end of last year (2012) with warning letters regarding excessive data usage. We are 4 students sharing one 4 MB Uncap Mweb account. Basically the letters stated that we had an average monthly data usage of +400 GB for the past 2 months in a row. The letter also included which sites pulled the most data, Youtube being on top. When we contacted Mweb regarding this out of the blue limit they said that the line speed you have times a 100GB is the limit before it’s considered excessive data usage.

  • Andrew Shaw

    No, I am not saying you… If everyone towed the line, that excessive threshold would be much higher. So you can blame the abusers, the minority, for 90gb being considered as within the top percentage category.

  • Zipper Z

    we can all try to be noble and self righteous, and agree with MWEB, but consider that the AUP does not give a limit on data use… And that no limit should be given on an uncapped account …. Here’s the thing – more and more people are Internet connected, with gaming and banking and you tubing and ebooks and video streaming and this site …more data needs to be moved, and add to that three people in a house …soon the limits are not what MWEB wanted. And the user didn’t do this maliciously …. And then they are blacked flagged by the ISP and then it snow balls out of control. MWEB could have and should have approached this differently. Cold hard letters or impersonal mails may work for 3% as they claim, but the users will complain and spread the word that MWEB sux. Those users who are ok now, may be the next to get the letter or mails and then the shoe is on the other foot and so on.
    MWEB could have and should have dealt with this is in a more civil manner, and I am sure, their users would have been more obliging.

  • Zipper Z

    As I see it, one user paying a set amount to move a lot of data is less profitable than 100 users paying the same to move little bits of data….business. Nothing to do with love for the other customers.

  • Bl1zz4rd

    However there’s no way that 90GB puts me there. I know for a fact that there are a f**kton of people using 100s of GB, if not TBs of data every month. If anyone should be throttled (which I don’t believe should be the case), it should be them. Not me.

    A better idea would be to buy more capacity, so that everyone can have a pleasant experience. They’re one of the top ISPs and are making a lot of money. (They’re not even the cheapest).

    Interesting, as I’ve mentioned in another comment here, that MWEB states in the warning email that if I want to use more data, I should get a faster account with them. That hints at the fact that it’s not so much an overall data limit problem (since they can apparently accommodate my usage if I’m using a faster line), but more of a marketing scheme and/or means to keep their ever-growing list of clients from ruining their network as an alternative to, again, buying more undersea cable space.

  • Guest

    Things sure have changed at MWEB since Rudi Jansen left. That man did so much good for South African ADSL. I feel like I’m sliding down a proverbial slippery slope of worsening internet connectivity experiences now.

  • Bl1zz4rd

    Things sure have changed at MWEB since Rudi Jansen left. That man did so much good for South African ADSL. I feel like I’m sliding down a slippery slope of worsening internet connectivity experiences now.

  • Andrew Shaw

    If you don’t like the service, change.

  • Guest

    I intend to. It’s just sad.

  • Bl1zz4rd

    I intend to. It’s just sad that I should have to.

  • queer boy

    Holy shi’ite

    Downloading series after series, game after game?

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