Monthly Fixed Contracts (MFC)
Questions and Answers
What are the peak periods and what are the off-peak times?
Peak time is defined as 7:00am to 7:00pm from Monday to Friday and 7:00am to 1:00pm on Saturday. All other times are off-peak.
What is Fair Access Policy (FAP)?
A FAP is a very common method used by broadband internet providers to try to ensure that every user on the system enjoys a level playing field. This essentially means that clients who are very heavy users and who could slow down other users are “throttled” back when they exceed the quota or allowance that corresponds with their package. In many cases (except perhaps slightly for the Home User group) the client can still work perfectly adequately despite the throttling. The throttling maximum speed increases the higher the package. Home User Junior (intended primarily for off-peak use) has a throttled speed of 16kbps while an SME Diamond user has a throttled speed of 256kbps. However, there are many users (primarily heavy users) who do not like having to adhere to a FAP. In such a case we do offer the Pay As You Go package (PAYG) which is FAP free.
How does the peak and off-peak allowances work at the basic level?
Let us look at the SOHO Silver package with 6GB peak quota and 10GB off-peak quota. This is your allowance per month before the FAP kicks in. The FAP uses 24 business days per month. So the daily allowance for a SOHO Silver client is 6GB divided by 24 or 0.25GB per day. Thus the client is able to use up this amount at the start of the day but when he gets to 0.25GB, the FPA kicks in and the client is throttled (in this case to 64kbps). Then at the start of the next day the client is once again “unthrottled” and obtains up to the full speeds as defined for the package and once again the 0.25GB allowance.
What about if the client does not use the internet every day?
The usage of each client is taken in to account and each day the basic formula is that the remaining balance of the daily quota is divided by the number of business days remaining. If we take the example above with the client having the same SOHO Silver package and let us say they do not use the internet for the first 12 days. They will still have their 6GB allowance left but only 12 days left and thus would have a daily allowance of 0.5GB. If one considered the most extreme example and if there was no usage until the last day of the month, then that daily allowance would be 6.0GB.
Are there any excess charges?
No – each package is a fixed month price. Payment is made monthly by the 7th and clients are liable for disconnection if payment is not made before then.
How much can one do with 1GB?
For 1GB you can:
- View 8,000 web pages
- Send 100,000 text emails (with no attachment)
- Download 200 songs
- Download 1hour of a standard definition movie
- Download 30 minutes of a High Definition movie
- Streaming video for 7 hours
What speeds can I expect?
Bandwidth provided in these packages is shared bandwidth and the speed each user gets is totally dependent on the number of users on the Monthly Contract packages. Generally during the evenings one should be able to get close or the actual to the maximum speeds for the service as there tend to be fewer users (as business usage tapers off). Peak periods are when bandwidth is most in demand, but we try to monitor traffic and mange the bandwidth so that speeds are good. For efficiency and speed purposes all MC clients are shaped in one very large grouping. This makes it difficult to provide rigid contention ratios which we also think are a legacy way to shape clients. We currently provide speeds from up to 512kbps and up to 2MB depending on what package is selected.
What notice period can I give?
Clients who own their equipment to connect to our systems need provide just 1 full calendar month of notice. Those on a contract have to fulfil the term of their contract but can discuss the issue with Microlink to see if anything can be arranged, e.g. if there is a balance on equipment owed, the contract can be shortened provided the equipment is fully paid for.
Can I check my usage?
All clients are able to check their usage at any time for the day or historically.
What is our estimate of usage does not correspond with yours?
We have been using usage data for clients for close to 7 years now and the data we collect comes directly from our routers. If the routers gave incorrect data then the equipment vendors would have been used by now. There are also other issues which may lead to differing estimates of your usage versus our records. For example, Windows updates run in the background and do consume data (ot a lot but some). Programs running in the background also consume data and sometimes you may not even be aware of this. Certainly one should ensure that one has anti-virus protection as this can really consume data. Also note that peer-to-peer programs consume large amounts of data owing to you also transmitting data as well as receiving it. Finally, if you have not adequate security and password protection, it is possible that those in the near vicinity can log into your system and use data as well. This has happened on a few occasions t our clients.
Are there any plans to pay equipment over a fixed term period?
As indicated above, it is possible to either have the equipment for free subject to signing a fixed term contract, status and the type of package that is selected. Hire purchase terms can also be provided for clients who select the lower priced packages.
What packages are best for each group of users?
The Home User group of packages are really primarily aimed for clients who usually use the internet during the evening or weekends. It is best used by a single person, a couple or a family at home. It is not suitable for someone running a business during the day unless they are light users and the primary purpose to the internet for them is sending and receiving text mails and browsing web pages. The SOHO group is for the small business of 2-8 people and the correct package depends on the accumulated usage expected. The SME group is for the larger companies. One can select the dedicated Committed Information Rate (CIR) packages if one does not want to share bandwidth and one does not want to adhere to a FAP. Please note that our definition of dedicated is from the clients premises to the entry of the internet in London. We do sell the other type of “dedicated” packages which are defined as being dedicated from the client premises to our offices and then it is a “best efforts” from there to London. If you pay for Corporate Dedicated you get this all the time and it is doubled at night, e.g. .Corporate 512kbps increases to 1024kbps during the off-peak periods.