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Fair Access Policy Overview

It's important to know that all high-speed Internet Service Providers utilize "Shared Bandwidth Technology." Simply put, that means everyone shares one "ultra" high-speed connection in order to get a high-speed connection at each of their homes. However, in some cases, as few as 5% of the users can consume as much as 50% of an Internet Service Provider's bandwidth, making the service run slower for everyone else.

Your connection is important to you and you expect fair and equitable access when you go online. The HughesNet Fair Access Policy has been established to protect you, and other consumers, from that small percentage of users who try to take advantage of the shared connection by downloading abnormally large amounts of information in a short period of time. Our Fair Access Policy prevents this from happening, and makes sure that you get your "share" of the connection.

The Fair Access Policy helps HughesNet assure that its subscribers receive equal access to our high-speed Internet service. We want you to get the service you pay for.

HughesNet Fair Access Policy

To ensure fair Internet access for all HughesNet™ subscribers, Hughes Network Systems maintains a Fair Access Policy (FAP). This policy establishes an equitable balance in Internet access for HughesNet subscribers. Hughes assigns a download threshold to each service plan that limits the amount of data that may be downloaded during a typical day. A small percentage of subscribers who exceed this limit will experience a temporary reduction of speed.

HughesNet system usage data indicates that approximately 5% of subscribers are responsible for a disproportionate share — often as much as half — of the total HughesNet service traffic. Unfortunately, many of those subscribers are not using HughesNet for its intended purpose. To ensure that all HughesNet subscribers have fair and equal access to the benefits of the Satellite broadband service, HughesNet has enacted a Fair Access Policy to prevent abusive consumption of bandwidth by a handful of users.

The Fair Access Policy is straightforward. Based on an analysis of customer usage data, Hughes has established a download threshold for each of the HughesNet service plans that is well above the typical usage rates. Subscribers who exceed that threshold will experience reduced download speeds for approximately 24 hours.

During this recovery period, the HughesNet service may still be used, but speeds will be slower. Web browsing, for example, will be significantly slower than subscribers’ normal browsing experience. Subscribers will return to normal download speeds after the recovery period as long as they minimize their bandwidth-intensive activities. If they continue these activities during this recovery period, reduced download speeds may continue beyond 24 hours.

  HughesNet - Fair Access Policy (FAP) Parameters
Download Threshold * 200 300 425 500 500

* Download Threshold is the volume in megabytes of data that can be downloaded continuously before the Fair Access Policy may restrict the download speed

Fair Access Policy FAQs

Who is affected?
Only a small percentage of subscribers will experience reduced download speeds as a result of exceeding the download threshold.

Online activities such as viewing Websites, checking email, watching short streaming media presentations, or automatic software and anti-virus updates are unlikely to exceed the download threshold.

What activities may cause a subscriber to exceed their download threshold?
Some activities are more likely to exceed the download threshold and trigger the application of the Fair Access Policy. Several examples are listed below:

  1. Full-length movie downloads
  2. Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs such as Napster, Kazaa or LimeWire
  3. Continuous downloading or viewing streaming media content such as audio or video programming
  4. Hosting of server devices such as email, FTP or Web servers
  5. Hosting computer applications such as Web camera feeds
  6. Automated computer to computer connections used for archiving of local computer content
  7. Extensive downloading of Usenet Newsgroups (NNTP)
  8. Use of BitTorrent applications
  9. Simultaneous file downloads
  10. Downloading large files (i.e., file sizes that are close in size to the download threshold of your service plan)

Excessive downloading or use of the services described above may cause subscribers to be affected by the Fair Access Policy, or in severe cases, to be terminated from the service.

What will my Internet access be like if I exceed the download threshold?
When the download threshold is exceeded, you will experience reduced download speeds for approximately 24 hours. During this recovery period, the HughesNet® service can still be used for activities such viewing emails and Web surfing, but speeds will be significantly slower than your normal browsing experience.

If I exceed the new download threshold, what should I do?
Minimize your bandwidth-intensive activities in order to return to normal download speeds after the recovery period. If you continue these activities during the recovery period, you may experience reduced download speeds beyond the 24-hour recovery period. If you find that your download threshold is too small for your needs, you should consider upgrading your service to a plan that offers a greater download threshold.

How do I verify that I have exceeded my download threshold?
Go to, click on Customer Care, then click on the Check My Usage link in the Resources section.

How is the Fair Access Policy applied during the middle of the night?
Currently, you can use your HughesNet service for several hours during the middle of the night (the "Download Period") with relaxed application of the Fair Access Policy. The hours of unrestricted use shall begin no later than 2:00 AM and end no earlier than 7:00 AM eastern time.

Why was the Download Period implemented?
This period has been provided for HughesNet subscribers to schedule the downloading of automated updates or download of other large files.

Are there any limitations to what I can do during the Download Period?

  1. This period is subject to available capacity;
  2. Download speeds are not guaranteed during these hours; and
  3. The HughesNet Acceptable Use Policy is still in effect.

What do you recommend I do during the Download Period?
We recommend that you automatically schedule your system updates during the Download Period. We also suggest the use of a download manager software application to assist in the scheduling of large file downloads.

Do you recommend a particular download manager?
While we cannot recommend any at this time, we are currently in the process of testing several download managers for this purpose.

Will my standard FAP-reduced throughput period of 24 hours be extended by length of the Download Period?
No, the FAP-reduced throughput period will not be by the length of the Download Period.

What will happen if I'm in the middle of a large download at the outset of the Download Period?
During a large download, if you are subject to FAP and the download is not interrupted up until the start of the Download Period, the balance of the download will complete during the Download period at normal speeds, subject to available capacity.

What will happen if I'm in the middle of download at the end of the Download Period?
If you were subject to the FAP-reduced throughput period just prior to the start of the Download Period and you started the download of a file which does not complete by the end of the Period, your download will continue under the FAP restrictions. If you were not subject to FAP prior to the start of the Download Period and you started the download of a file which does not complete by the time the Period ended, your download will continue and the portion of the download occurring after the end of the Download Period will be counted toward the download threshold for FAP.

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**Nationwide Satellite is an authorized dealer of HughesNet services and Hughes products available in the contiguous United States. Equipment requires professional installation. HughesNet service may be sold separately from hardware. The HughesNet service is subject to the Fair Access Policy and speeds may vary. HughesNet is a registered trademark of Hughes Network Services, LLC. All rights reserved. For more information, please visit  

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