Ihug has introduced a 2Gb monthly limit on all its high-speed Ultra services in an effort to curb "astronomical" use by some customers.
A message sent to Ultra customers over the weekend says a network management policy implemented late last year has "had little impact" on very heavy users. The company had earlier switched to restricting Ultra use by time, with accounts ranging from 30 to 300 hours monthly.
Among the measures brought in under the policy was a system where customers went to a slower connection speed after a certain traffic limit had been reached. But even that appears not to have deterred the heaviest users. By way of example, the message notes that one customer of Ultra Lite, the company's unlimited 256Kbit/s service, had clocked up 78Gb "in a matter of weeks".
Apart from "the continued abuse of the system by a section of users", the message says "the advent of things like Napster" has caused heavier traffic patterns for the service.
Ihug's solution comes into force on April 1, covering all Ultra accounts. The 2Gb cap will apply to all accounts and after it is reached international data will be charged at six cents per megabyte between the hours of 4pm-1am, and two cents per megabyte between 1am-4pm.
For customers on the terrestrial version of Ultra, national traffic will remain free - marking the first time Ihug has moved to differentiate in this way. Customers on satellite Ultra service "should consider all traffic as being international," Ihug advises.
The changes still leave Ultra with considerably more generous limits than those offered on Telecom's JetStream, as well as cheaper prices for additional traffic. The company is predicting a "dramatic" improvement in overall speed and service when thew new policy is implemented.
"We look forward to working on delivering these much improved service levels over the next few weeks, and providing you with an overall better quality product which is more equitably distributed," the message concludes.