Xtra is phasing out JetStart and replacing it with a new package, JetStream Starter 5000, because a few users have been hogging bandwidth and regularly accessing more than 5000MB of overseas data, spokesman Matt Bostwick says.
Under the new regime, which comes into effect on June 10, any data from offshore over and above the 5000MB limit will be charged to the user at 10 cents a megabyte.
The exercise is a re-branding and, apart from the cap, which Bostwick says won't affect most users, there is little change to the service, which will remain limited to 128Kbit/s data rate for downloads.
Bostwick points out that all other "major ISPs" that resell JetStart already have limits on international data use.
When asked if originally offering unlimited international data was short-sighted in light of the subsequent need to limit it, he replied "we resisted going down that path for as long as we could".
The move was made after surveys of customers to see what was the best way to improve the service, he says.
Bostwick says such a cap is permitted under Xtra's terms and conditions "and we've given customers more notice than we're legally obliged to".
One customer says he thinks limiting international downloads is strange, considering the internet is a global phenomenon.
He says he is unhappy that he bought a new DSL modem on the understanding that his account had no usage limit.
In its letters to customers explaining the changes, Xtra has said 5000MB is equivalent to "sending and receiving around 50,000 standard emails or downloading a web page like the Xtra home page over 40,000 times."
JetStart has been plagued by game players running servers -- not allowed under JetStart terms -- and avoiding restrictions on file sharing.