NTL moves to calm broadband limit fury

The cable firm has apologised for the way that new 1GB per day restrictions were announced, as users vent their anger

Cable company NTL has released more details about new limits on the use of its broadband service, following a storm of protest from its customers.

In a statement published on Monday, NTL apologised for the way that details of its "new guidelines on Internet use" were released, and attempted to calm the fears of users.

It confirmed, though, that it will be targeting users who regularly download more than 1GB of data per day.

Aizad Hussain, managing director of the NTL:home service, explained that NTL was bringing in a limit on the amount of data its broadband customers could download in an attempt to maintain a decent service for all users.

"The purpose of the new guidelines is to ensure that all our Internet customers receive fair access to the Internet at high speed and at all times. In essence, it will ensure that the tiny minority of exceptionally heavy users do not cause network congestion and affect the enjoyment of others," said Hussain.

NTL insists, though, that customers will still be allowed to download more than 1GB of data -- which it says is equivalent to 200 music tracks or 20,000 Web pages -- in one day occasionally, but not regularly.

"Our objective is only to limit very frequent or persistent heavy network use that can impact other customers. Therefore we will only contact customers who exceed the daily data limit for three or more days in any consecutive 14-day period," Hussain explained in the statement.

"If you occasionally exceed your data limit, it will not be a problem. Remember our goal is to give freedom and easy usage to our customers. This rule ensures that you have peace of mind and that we are able to reduce the unfair prolonged usage by a small number," he added.

NTL plans to spend the next 60 days analysing its network traffic before contacting customers who regularly exceed this new 1GB limit

The news that NTL was changing the terms of its broadband service emerged on Friday, and led to a storm of protest and criticism.

There is concern that customers who have paid for a 1Mbps broadband package have wasted their time upgrading to a faster service as they will hit the 1GB limit much quicker than those on a slower 600Kbps package. NTL says it is "investigating whether we can provide variable limits based on service speed."

But, with readers emailing ZDNet UK and Silicon.com to complain, including one who accuses NTL of "ripping off its customers", the company may well find that large swathes of its user base remain unhappy about the situation.

BT attracted criticism back in October 2001 when it brought in limitations on the use of peer-to-peer software by its ADSL customers.

Click here to read more details of NTL's new guidelines, posted on NTHellWorld.com.

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