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Sri Lanka Broadband Fair Usage policy explained by

Even though many broadband providers in Sri Lanka appear to offer unlimited broadband downloads, some in fact do have "fair usage policy" that they can use to implement restrictions on users who they consider using bandwidth excessively. In many cases, the use of P2P (Peer to Peer) file sharing programs is a large contributor in excessively used bandwidth as others can transfer files form your computer to theirs and vice versa.

You may find if you are a very high bandwidth user that your broadband provider may have a few options that they might take. The most uncomfortable being that you could be asked to leave and stop using their service.

Other options that might be implemented to restrict your broadband access can be in the form of reducing the speed your broadband runs at at peak times and also possibly if you use P2P File sharing programs restricting these as they are usually high bandwidth tools.

Another possible option you might find is that your contention rate changes and goes up. The contention ratio is a measure that indicates how many other users you could find yourself sharing with at a maximum at any time. Obviously the more users this is then the more resources other users will be taking up and slowing your connection.

If you are a very high bandwidth user, then you will see it is worth reading and checking the full terms of contract before taking up a broadband contract as although some mention they have unlimited broadband in reality that is not sometimes the whole story and there is a hidden truth in the story.

What to look out for

Put simply, fair usage is the broadband industry’s attempt at keeping cyber traffic down. The policies were designed to protect the people who might be affected by your downloading. You probably share your broadband connection with around 49 other people because most home broadband connections have a contention ratio of 50:1.

So the problem is that if you’re a big downloader, you could be slowing down the broadband connection of up to 49 other people. And if you are regularly affecting other people’s internet, your ISP might decide that something needs to be done.

Have you signed up for an “unlimited” package and later found out that your broadband can be capped?

Almost every “unlimited” broadband plan actually has a fair usage policy, which can end up imposing limits on your downloading or throttling your speeds. If you are one of the millions of people who download music and movies or catch up on missed TV using services, then this could affect to you. While you might not be downloading anything like 20GB or 40GB a month now, the rise of film downloads, internet television and popular legal peer-to-peer networks are all set to massively increase the amount we download.

The problem of how you use your broadband

Your ISP is only trying to ensure that everyone has a good user experience. Those most likely to be affected by a fair usage policy are:

1. Users of peer-to-peer networks uploading and downloading lots of films and music
2. Online gamers
3. People working from home and remotely connecting to the office
4. Any other heavy downloaders

If any of these apply to you, try cutting down your internet usage, or try downloading in the small hours when less people will be online in your street. That way you can still download as much as you want, without causing problems for anyone else.

How do I keep track of my monthly downloads?

Keeping an eye on your downloads can be difficult and becomes a particular problem if you have a wireless network and use more than one computer on the same broadband connection. However, you can install our free Broadband Download Monitor, which not only allows you to keep track of how much you download, but also lets you set warnings to avoid exceeding limits. Your ISP might also send messages when you are about to exceed your limit.

How to resolve disputes

If you feel that you’ve been wrongly penalized for your downloading you should first try to resolve the issue directly with your ISP. If this doesn’t work you could get in touch with watchdog in the telecommunication regulation in Sri Lanka, whose job it is to investigate complaints by customers. The majority of broadband providers are the members of this regulator and most of them have complete understanding, but if your ISP isn’t on that list, try contacting this independent regulator, who should still be able to help.

So what is the right package?

Why go through the hassle of a fair usage deal and risk incurring the wrath of your ISP when you exceed your limit? Try a high end package with a generous download limit and no peak-time traffic shaping. Click here to compare.

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