Maxnet has become the latest ISP to introduce a traffic limit on its JetStream Starter product.
The 12GB limit on international traffic applies from April 1 and should impact on only 5% of Maxnet users, says managing director Antony Urbahn.
"It will take a few months to filter through our accounts department but when they're gone the rest of the users should see a dramatic difference [in performance]."
Urbahn estimates that the top 5% of users on the JetStream Starter service account for roughly 40% of the traffic through Maxnet's servers.
"I've just had to fire [terminate the account of] one guy who used 128GB of international traffic in one month. It's the old story of a few ruining it for the majority." While that user wasn't on JetStream Starter but was using a full-speed wireless solution, Urbahn says the results are the same.
Nearly all the larger ISPs now limit traffic in some form or other for JetStream Starter users.
JetStream Starter is the 128Kbit/s rate-limited DSL product offered by Telecom. Originally the service was unlimited, however one by one ISPs, including Telecom's own Xtra, have introduced caps. The ISPs that resell JetStream Starter have to pay for the users' bandwidth so any excess usage ends up costing the ISP more than they would earn from that customer.
Wellington-based Actrix has taken a different approach to the service - it has kept the JetStream Starter package as an unlimited traffic model but has increased the price from $34.95 to $149.95. Urbahn says Maxnet has been actively forwarding customers to Actrix since it introduced the new pricing scheme. (See Actrix increases JetStream Starter price by over 300%.)
Questions have been asked on the DSL mailing list about just how Maxnet will differentiate between national and international traffic for users.
Urbahn wouldn't be drawn on the technology itself, except to say that Maxnet's solution is far cheaper than most on the market.
"Some companies run some fairly expensive pieces of kit to get the same result and we've not needed to do that."
Urbahn says the decision has been a long time coming.
"We've been doing some testing for quite some time and we wanted to make our decision based on very accurate user patterns and information."