WorldNet backs off on time limits

Summary:AT&T's Internet service provider business, WorldNet, has backed away from a proposal to automatically log subscribers off after a certain amount of time online. The proposal was part of a package of ideas the ISP was considering to deal with heavy network use.

AT&T's Internet service provider business, WorldNet, has backed away from a proposal to automatically log subscribers off after a certain amount of time online. The proposal was part of a package of ideas the ISP was considering to deal with heavy network use.

By a wide margin, MSNBC users expressed their displeasure with the nation, as shown by the Live Vote at left.

AT&T spokesman Mike Keady said earlier this week that the service was looking at several options to reduce network loads during peak times.

AT&T has tested a variety of methods to deal with very high usage by a small percentage of its subscribers, Keady said. One of those involved terminating sessions after a fixed period of time, such as three hours.

"What we found were there were a small percentage of users taking up a large percentage of the facilities," Keady said.

Worldnet spokesman Mike Miller said Friday that it did not consider terminating online sessions after a fixed period of time as a worthwhile method for reducing heavy traffic during peak hours.

"We've gotten operations feedback in terms of how much it helped us or didn't help us on the network ,and we looked at customer thoughts in newsgroups. Bottom line is we're not going to continue the test. We don't feel it is a solution for managing heavy usage," he said.

Other Internet service providers are struggling to deal with the same issue. America Online recently raised its monthly access fee to $21.95 per month from $19.95, citing higher usage by its members as a main reason.

AOL also automatically shuts down sessions that are inactive for extended periods.

Reuter contributed to this story.

Topics: AT&T, Networking

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