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Unlimited Access Policy vs Dedicated Access Policy

At this point in time, none of NetWay's "dynamic access" services are metered for billing purposes.

Therefore, they are also referred to as "unlimited access" services. The term "unlimited access" refers to: The total amount of time a user is permitted to access our network without incurring additional usage charges and the fact that we do not intentionally or knowingly block or otherwise prevent our users from accessing any part of the Internet. Therefore, "unlimited access" is not remotely synonymous with the term "dedicated access."

Specifically with respect to dynamic "unlimited access" accounts:

  • We reserve the right to impose reasonable limitations on individual session lengths,
  • and we also reserve the right to terminate sessions which have been idle for a reasonable period of time (typically 20 minutes).

These policies ensure that our network is used as efficiently as possible with maximum performance and availability to our customers. Without these policies, "unlimited access" services will inevitably be treated by many customers as "dedicated access" services, forcing us to discontinue our flat-rate "unlimited access" plans and charge hourly rates.

As long as the majority of our users understand and respect these policies and use our network responsibly, we will remain a flat-rate "unlimited access" provider. Persons who frequently complain about or otherwise abuse these policies will be politely asked to take their business elsewhere. We owe that to our responsible users.

As a NetWay subscriber, you are entitled to "unlimited access" to the Internet through our system. Unlimited access entitles you to establish a connection to the Internet via NetWay and use that connection for as long as you like, just as long as you are actively using the system and you disconnect when you are finished. Just in case you get distracted and forget (hey, it happens), our software automatically closes connections that have been inactive for more than 20 minutes.

Recently we have noticed a few cases where subscribers have set their systems to override this feature so they can stay connected to NetWay indefinitely. A few particularly inconsiderate folks have established connections that can last for days. They program their systems to trick the connection monitor into believing activity is taking place every ten minutes or so, when in fact we have observed connections that have lasted entire weekends when it was clear that nobody was actually using it but simply checking email automatically.

We know that the vast majority of our subscribers would never consider doing such a thing. We're also willing to accept the idea that a few of the folks who are doing this might not know that it's a terrible waste of valuable subscriber resources. We want to be able to continue to allow our subscribers access to the Internet without the worry of being metered. That's why we want to state explicitly that using artificial means to maintain a connection to NetWay is considered an abuse of the system. We want you to feel free to be on the Internet for as long as you please without having to worry about hourly charges, but we will only be able to do that if the system is used responsibly.

We love to brag about what great customers we have. We appreciate your business and we're dedicated to providing you with the best and easiest access to the Internet available. We want you to feel free to connect to NetWay any time and use that connection for as long as you like, as long as you disconnect when you're finished.

For the time being, we are all on the honor system. We aren't policing the system, but we're keeping an eye on the situation. Of course, if it gets worse, we'll have to re-think that policy. We hope that doesn't happen. We hope you agree.

Providers have been struggling to define "Unlimited Access" in a way that will allow members to make use of the net without limits, yet still make enough of a profit to stay in business. Some providers cut the customer help available, some restrict the kinds of computers that can connect, some try to run with fewer modems and phone lines than they need to meet the demand, and some seem to be just trying to "hang on" until the market changes.

Perhaps you have noticed that NetWay offers unlimited access for less than the cost of a phone line. That's right, in every one of our POPs, we pay more for each dial-up line than we charge our members for no-time-limit service. Does this seem impossible? It works because so many of our friends and neighbors are friendly and cooperative people. If this were not so, the system would break immediately. Some providers have tried to offer unlimited service in other market areas, and failed, due to lack of cooperation from their own members!

Here's the nitty-gritty: As long as you are actually using the net, there are no limits on how long you can use it, where you can go, or what you can get. If you are not using the net, we expect you to disconnect, so that another member can make use of the line. Simple, yes? Use the net as much as you want, but don't "camp" on the line just to hold the connection.

Even nittier and grittier (if that's possible): Just as you can let the engine of your car idle without actually driving, you can be idle online without actually using the net -- and just as you would not let your car's engine idle all day and all night, every day and every night, you should not hook up to the net and just stay idle. (See the bottom of this page for a list of things that are defined as being idle.)

Please note that anything you can do on the net that involves you sitting at your computer and using it is considered using the net, and not idle, and there are no time limits or other limits on that use. Go ahead, use it as much as you want!

NetWay is committed to the policy of making sufficient resources available, but it costs money to provide modems and phone lines. We want to be sure that you have what you need, and we want to deliver it at the lowest possible price -- so here is how we intend to manage the unlimited access policy:

  • We can tell, by examining the logs, what kind of use is being made of a particular connection. It is more difficult to tell just who is using that connection, but we can pretty easily tell if the traffic is heavy or light. When there are only a few lines left, an automated program will scan all the current connections to see if some fall below the "idle" threshold, and if so, they will be disconnected to make room for callers who want to use the system.
  • The automatic program is written such that someone that really is using the net will not be disconnected -- only idle connections will be cut. We are confident that our friends and neighbors that use NetWay will not mind, since this makes it possible to provide unlimited access to everyone at a very economical price.

NetWay is proud to be one of the first to offer Unlimited Access, and to be one of the most economically priced unlimited services available.

If you need to stay online continuously (and there are many reasons for doing so), we offer Dedicated service at $79.95/month.

Here are some of the things that could be defined as "idle:"

  • Checking for mail every few minutes
  • Operating a server on a dial-up line
  • Running IRC while away to capture or monitor
  • Any form of "Remote Monitoring"
  • Running a 'bot of any kind for any purpose whatsoever
  • Any sort of unattended or automated use

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