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6. What is "Fair Access Policy" and how does it work ?

Hudges determined that the top 5% of subscribers use 50% of the DirectPC/Directway traffic and implemented the FAP (Fair Access Policy) to "prevent abusive consumption of bandwidth by handful of users".

In short, you get a download "bucket" of data (169 MB threshold for the consumer edition, 225MB off-peak hours from 2 to 5 AM ET). No matter how fast you drain it, once the 169 MB is transfered, it's empty. Then, it fills back at a 47 kbps rate - takes about 8 hours to refill to 169 MB. Or you can keep downloading constantly at 47 kbps.

For the Business edition the "bucket" is 500 MB and the refill rate is 56 kbps, but the same method applies.

Bellow is the official Hudges version of the FAP:

Fair Access Policy

To ensure equal Internet access for all DIRECWAY® subscribers, Hughes Network Systems maintains a running average fair access policy. Fair access establishes an equitable balance in Internet access across Satellite broadband services by service plan for all DIRECWAY customers regardless of their frequency of use or volume of traffic. To ensure this equity, customers may experience some temporary throughput limitations. DIRECWAY Internet access is not guaranteed. This policy applies to all service plans including "Unlimited" plans where customers' use of the Service is not limited to a specific number of hours per month.
DIRECWAYsystem usage data indicates that approximately 5% of subscribers are responsible for a disproportionate share - often as much as half — of the total DIRECWAY service traffic. Unfortunately, many of those subscribers are not using DIRECWAY for its intended purpose.

To ensure that all DIRECWAY subscribers have fair and equal access to the benefits of the Satellite broadband service, DIRECWAY has enacted a Fair Access Policy (FAP) to prevent abusive consumption of bandwidth by a handful of users.

FAP is straightforward: based on an analysis of usage data, Hughes Network Systems has established a DIRECWAY usage threshold well above the maximum typical usage rates. When a customer exhibits patterns of system usage which exceed that threshold for an extended period of time, the FAP may temporarily limit that subscriber's throughput to ensure the integrity of the system for all DIRECWAY subscribers.

Typically, the restrictions will be lifted within 8-12 hours of the original application of the FAP if the customer's usage in this period stays below the FAP threshold.

For example, you may experience FAP if the cumulative requested downloads in a relatively short time period (1-4 hours) exceeds 169 MB* (megabytes). An example of what can be downloaded within 169 MB* would be a software application such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Adobe Acrobat. Normal Internet surfing, on the other hand, generates small downloads for each Web page viewed. For example, an hour of surfing can generate 1-10 MB of download activity depending on the content being surfed — well below the amount required to trigger FAP.

Subscribers are likely to avoid the limitations imposed by the FAP if their use is typical of the majority of Internet users and consists of Web surfing and a reasonable amount of downloading.

  User Reviews/Comments:
by BillM - 2006-04-06 13:31
Regarding Direcway's Fair Access Policy: The policy works exactly as described until one is "Hard FAP'ped". Hard FAP is stage 2 of the FAPping process and it turns off your modem. The end result of this is that it is impossible to download any files larger than approx. 450 MB on a home account with a download limit of 169 MB. 450 MB is pretty big but periodically I need technical files larger than that and this service is useless for me because I cannot download them.
I am having trouble finding anyone else with similar issues. I find this hard to accept. One (just one!) of the support technicians at DIrecway admitted the existence of Hard FAP. Hard FAP is contrary to the contract I signed with Direcway and I intend to sue them in small claims court to recover my expenses.
I hope someone else has had similar experiences.
by anonymous - 2007-01-14 06:08
I have had Direcway royally mess with me when it comes to download speeds. I don't know whether it's hard-fap or not, but I've had them slow my connection to less than 15kb/s on more than one occasion--a fraction of the speed of a first-generation modem!! After downloading about 100mb of data (program patches, freeware programs...etc)...they start to seriously mess with my connection. If I download more than ~100mb, my connection gets weak...really weak...pages don't load, downloads constantly break before they're done (even when using Firefox!!). Direcway is the worst company I have ever had to deal with...and the customer service is non-existent...I e-mailed them because my connection was crappy...they didn't respond. They only responded to my second e-mail, I had to threaten to report them to the Better Business Bureau in order to get a response. For your own sanity...stay away from Direcway. Hands down, I award them a first place trophy for "WORST SERVICE IMAGINABLE". the wrong way!!!
by loveless - 2008-04-17 20:30
my dad oreder this service i thought it would be pretty good.
we got it, the first day it was slow as hell. my dad and other people said it would speed up, but it had downloaded past the "Fair access policy" by updates that you needed to run the system. witch we weren't even told about till 2 months later, i thought it was total bull*. All the people on the phone had to say was "Down load mananger set to blah blah blha 2-5 am time"
How the hell am I supposed to watch anime at 2 am in the morning ? I have school
I'm losing a lot of sleep, and gaining stress.

It costs 5 times more, and then they say you get 200 mb a day, but think about this, 200 mb then 24 hour wait. Thats two freaking days! I wanted to bash my head into the wall untill I bleed to death..... I'm pretty sure that's not good. :D

by anonymous - 2008-12-13 21:44
I can tell you that the Fair Access Policy no longer works like it is described above based on my experience. First of all, we are hitting the FAP without any large file downloads (mostly just facebook usage and normal browsing, minimal video, and only required downloads of software updates). With this usage pattern we hit the limit a couple of times a week. And it absolutely takes longer than a few hours to recover - it takes closer to 24.

Don't buy this service if you can find any alternative.
by anonymous - 2009-11-16 09:28
We have had internet service from Hughes for years and are currently investigating our options! We are in FAP several times per week (and that's with the professional package). We download some music and surf the net, but nothing excessive. I am sick of being shut down for something I'm paying for. Perhaps I should receive a discount for being without internet for 8-10 days per month. Last night my son downloaded an upgrade to his IPOD and that was enough to put us into FAP! More people need to voice opinions about this and perhaps changes will occur!
by anonymous - 2010-02-13 08:50
As I'm typing this post, I'm under a FAP violation. Hughesnet is WORST internet provider on the planet. Yesterday I was looking at new homes on the net and OMG I took a virtual tour of a home. That was all it took for my bandwidth to be slowed to a crawl. This is ridiculous. It was almost 24 hours hours ago and I still have a red flag. If you re considering this service for your home..... DON"T DO IT. I pay just as much a month as a DSL, Cable subscriber, but have half the service. Its a joke and when I sell my house, I'm going to take a baseball bat to that satellite and bust into a million pieces.
by Emilie - 2012-06-20 18:51
I live in an extremely rural area. We don't have any option for internet except for Hughsnet. I have had DSL, Cable and once for a while dial up... This is the worst. I am considering dial up.

It is a very clear example of catering to people who can afford to pay out their a** for internet every month. I am paying $109.99 a month for slow service that caps out at 700mb. I can go through that much data in an hour, I'm a full time student and am on the internet constantly. They offer a "Download manager" that surprise surprise, doesn't work with anything other than Windows.

I am a few weeks away from having to sign a two year contract with these criminals, or go without internet. If somehow, miraculously another internet option became available to me, I have to pay $400.00 to break the contract!!! $400.00!! I mean, how do they get away with this?!?! PEOPLE!!! Let's put our heads together and DO SOMETHING!!
by not fair - 2014-03-22 03:21
We are moving to a rural area with no cable or DSL availability.

My son's school is delivered over the Internet. His classes stream to him, so of course he spends 6 hours a day watching streaming video.

The "fair use" policies are disgusting me! I don't know what we are going to do about my son's school. Maybe just not move because the ISP's can't figure out that a no-exceptions cap is not "fair"???

I understand they need to manage their network bandwidth, and I understand that constant gaming and movie can make that difficult. But to take away all options for distance-learning education for people living in rural areas???

That is not "fair" in any sense of the word.
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