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.