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FAQ - Broadband Platform Update


FAQ - Broadband Platform Update

FAQs: Broadband Platform Update

Following on from Mondays (15th of November) announcement Broadband Platform Update , a list of Frequently Asked Questions has been put together,as requested by several customers.

So that everyone understands the reason for this FAQ, I have enclosed a small quote from the original announcement.


It has been identified that a small proportion of our Broadband customers (less than 0.3%) are using a significant amount of the available capacity (around 10%).

So far, the platform?s configuration has allowed these customers to use a disproportionate amount of the available capacity. We have continued to over-provision platform capacity to ensure this usage doesn?t adversely affect the rest of our Broadband customers.

This situation cannot continue indefinitely. We will be taking steps to ensure that the high levels of performance and stability that our customers have come to expect from us are maintained.

We anticipate that the proposed configuration changes may affect the small number of customers we have already identified, and we will be contacting these customers later today in order that we can work with them to minimise any effects.

Before the questions, I wanted to stress this point, Force9 have not taken this action lightly, and while they currently have no plans to repeat this exercise. They reserve the right to repeat this exercise, should needs arise.

Q1. So how do I know if I'm one of 0.3%, mentioned in this announcement?

Force9 sent out e-mails during Monday to all affected customers, so if you have not received an e-mail then you will not be affect by this change.

In addition to this, if you still not sure, you can check the Contact Us system to find out whether you affected or not.

Q2. How did Force9 decide who was, and who wasn't to be e-mailed?

Force9 reviewed the usage patterns and bandwidth usage for the last 3 months, of the top 10% of customers with the highest bandwidth usage. From this, they found that 0.3% of customers were " using a significant amount of the available capacity (around 10%)" and felt this was unacceptable.

Q3. I am one of the 99.7%, and have not noticed any significant speed problems, why did Force9 feel they needed to take this action?

You may not have noticed any significant affect at the moment but Force9 have been adding pipes at a high rate in the past to meet the bandwidth demands, and with the change in pricing of pipes it cannot afford to keep adding pipes to cope with the exesses of a few customers.

So if nothing were done you would very soon begin to feel the effects of over usage. Note that this was preventative action, to prevent people seeing speed loss should costs spiral.

Q4. I am one of the 0.3%,What changes are being made, how will the affect me?

As part of these changes, Force9 will change the configuration of their platform so that that all the identified customers will be routed differently, and will be sharing platform capacity with other Broadband customers who have similar usage patterns

This means the users are still spread accross the centrals pipes evenly.

It uses a similar system to that of the Surf option (Broadband Home users) or Homesurf, where P2P and Usenet is blocked. In this case, it only limits the overall bandwidth this entire group can use.

Q5. When will these changes happen, and can I avoid this happening to me?

This changes are due to happen in approx 14 days time (from Monday 15th of November) , and Force9 have stated that any Customer who significilantly reduces their bandwidth usage and changes their usage pattern within this time, will avoid being moved over.

However it must be stressed, that lowering your bandwidth usage and changing your usage patterns must be an on-going thing, and not just for the 14 days. If you usage rises after the 14 days back to, or close to it's original levels, Force9 reserve the right to implement these changes to your connection.

Q6. So what amount figure did Force9 have in mind, as acceptable usage?

This is a difficult question to answer, since your usage is partly going to be dependant on your line speed, time of day, your exchange status etc. It will also depend on how you use your connection, as usage patterns do matter as well.

Q7. So should I be reducing my bandwidth usage to around 10Gb, as this appears to be the average?

No, and Force9 are not asking you to do this. You simply need to consider how you use your connection, and the amount of bandwidth that your using.

Q8. But I was under the impression, that a Premier account was an "un-limited" account ?

These products are already sold as contended, and account usage is only unlimited within the scope of a contended product.

Users are not being over contended, but segregated so their impact does not pose a risk to remaining 99.7% users. Whilst we don't know the figures yet, the contention will be much better than the advertised product ratio (20:1 / 50:1).

Q9. So being one of the 0.3%, what are my options ?

You have a number of options open to you, you can:

  • Lower your bandwidth usage and change your usage pattern
  • Do nothing, and your routing will be changed but you can download as before.
  • Leave Force9

Q10. So what happens if I do nothing ?

In approx 14 days time (from Monday 15th of November), the platform configuration changes will be made. Force9 will then monitor usage every 30 days and consider changing you back onto the normal platform, if usage patterns change.

Q11. So what happens if I decide to leave Force9 ?

Where customers would rather leave the service, Force9 then have put a process in place which allows them to move to another ISP at short notice. This is being handled on a case by case basis and affected customers should contact Customer Support for further details.

You will also be required to return any unpaid hardward, at your cost and 1£Uk domains will need to be released at cost price.

Q12. Can I try the changed routing, and then if I'm not happy, leave Force9 without incurring extra charges ?

Force9 have said that they will consider individual requests on there merit so this issue is one that you need to discuss directly with Force9.

To round off.....

I hope this FAQ will answer any questions that you may have, however if you feel I haven't covered a question then by all means post it and I will try to get the answer for you.

FAQs: Broadband Platform Update was written by Aaron (SimplyWeb), with contributions from Force9 Comms Team, Tutorial Team Members and Moderators. The content of this FAQ has been reviewed by Force9 and been given approval for Posting.

FAQ - Broadband Platform Update

Does anyone else think it strange that someone who is, ostensibly, a customer is laying down Force9 policy on this matter?

Is this supposed to be a customer's opinion on this matter, or is it official Force9 policy? If the latter, why has this not been issued by Force9 itself?

FAQ - Broadband Platform Update

Hi Task,

This FAQ was written after various customers on the PlusNet Forum requested a FAQ relating to this announcement. In addition to this, a large number of posts were being made in relation to this announcement, with the same questions being asked repeatedly. I offered to write a FAQ on the subject since it would place all these questions into one single area and hopefully help all customers understand the changes that were being made and the reasons behind the changes.

The contents were discussed with Force9 (PlusNet) and the Tutorial Team, Mods etc and were approved by Force9 (PlusNet) before posting.


FAQ - Broadband Platform Update

You must understand that if an announcement is to have authority it must be seen as the official view of Force9, not a statement issued by a customer. As it stood your FAQ had all the logic of "I'm a customer. Therefore, I'm Force9's spokesman." I don't think so!

This really is not good enough, and I've had occasion to remark on this practice before.

I hope in future Force9's official statements will come from a recognised Force9 source. If customers then choose to comment on that or repackage the information in a way they consider to be more easily understood by fellow-customers, that's their business. I expect Force9 to deal with me directly. My contract is with Force9, not with a customer-intermediary. I don't want third parties getting in the way of my relationship with my supplier, and particularly not third parties whom I have neither chosen nor authorised to represent my interest.

FAQ - Broadband Platform Update

Hi Task,

I think we need to be careful here, since this is a FAQ written by Customers for Customers. The content had to be approved by Force9, since various aspects have a legal slant on it from Force9's perspetive, and it was important to ensure the information is accurate and correct.

There is nothing in this FAQ that affects your relationship with Force9, nor your right as a customer to contact them directly on any issue of your choice.

This is purely an informational one-stop page to provide help.

However I do take on-board what you've said, and I will remember this when writing any future FAQs, tutorials etc.


FAQ - Broadband Platform Update

Your first paragraph gives the game away. If it was indeed "written by customers for customers", then there's no need whatsoever for approval from Force9. As a customer you do not need to get Force9's approval for the content of what you write, just as I don't need to have what I write here approved by Force9. A customer, by definition, is not Force9's representative, and therefore nothing a customer says can in any way constrain Force9's position in law.

If you're having to get approvals beforehand, then you've stepped out of your customer relationship, and that needs to be made clear. In fact, if something needs approval beforehand because of its legal implications, you really have no business, as a customer, to be doing it. These announcements can only come from Force9, not from customers. I sincerely hope we do not have any more of this kind of activity.
Posts: 1,886
Registered: 08-06-2007

FAQ - Broadband Platform Update

Hi there,

Before this gets out of hand, the FAQ was signed off but all of the comms team prior to it being posted and it was felt that there was no real problem with it coming from the tutorial team.

Remember that this is not a customer "laying down the law" by posting it - this is simply a list of the most common questions asked. I will bear this in mind for similar situations in the future however.


FAQ - Broadband Platform Update

Hi Task,
The matter was discussed at great length and all of the details and information given in the tutorial was approved by each member of the comms team. I understand your concern at the information not coming from a member of PlusNet staff, but it was really just a FAQ that the Tutorial Team felt was needed.

Personally, I feel that it is an excellent piece of work.

matt Wink

FAQ - Broadband Platform Update

Its a little more than "felt was needed". It was in fact requested by several posters over on the PlusNet forum.
So the tutorial team has got together to meet that request and with the approval of the F9 / PlusNet staff has been posted on all the VISP's for completeness.

FAQ - Broadband Platform Update

The last three posts, in their various ways, all miss the point.

That users requested more information is irrelevant to this. I can well believe they did (although, since this supposedly affects only 0.3% of users most people -- including myself -- can safely ignore it). Force9 announces a new policy; users request further information; so it falls to the "Tutorial Team" to supply it? Hardly!

It "was discussed at great length", "approved by each member of the comms team" and is "an excellent piece of work". What have those points to do with mine?

'this is not a customer "laying down the law" by posting it'. That's not what I said I thought was going on. My complaint is that it's the customer acting as Force9's mouthpiece in communicating to the customer. That's not the customer's role. Messages that relate to my account should come from Force9, not from some third party. Otherwise, you're beginning to get into that sort of realm where a third party contacts me purporting to represent my bank.

"this is simply a list of the most common questions asked". Er, well it's actually answers to those questions, isn't it? But what are you trying to suggest -- that when Force9 makes an announcement, and users want further information about it, the natural place they go to put their questions is the Tutorial Team? I rather suspect not! The queries are most naturally put to Force9 itself, and it's from Force9 that the answers must come, for a customer can't produce answers out of thin air.

I think these posts show a gross misunderstanding of the role of the Tutorial Team. The idea of that team was for it to provide articles helping people get the most from their Force9 accounts, using the benefit of their experience, or that of other users; it was not the purpose of the team to make Force9 policy announcements, which is what has happened here. Once Force9 has made an announcement, and it's in the public domain, then, of course, it's legitimate to discuss it and so forth, but the Tutorial Team should not making the official announcement of Force9's policy or intention.

Why has Force9 adopted this practice? Where are the people in Force9 who should have made this announcement, and why didn't it come from them?

FAQ - Broadband Platform Update

Actually, on reflection, I take back that statement about this getting into the realm of people pretending to be your bank.

I don't think that's the case at all.

What Force9 is doing is worse than that.

In the case of the pretenders, they know full well the only people entitled to contact you about your banking details are from the bank itself. Therefore, they have to fool you into thinking they are the bank.

Force9 is breaking that cardinal rule. They're now making it acceptable for someone other than Force9's own people to issue statements on behalf of the company. Does "simplyweb" (or presumably any of these other characters) need to fool you into thinking he's Force9? Nope, he can simply post as himself, no assuming of some other identity required...

FAQ - Broadband Platform Update

To be honest I don't see your problem. This issue affected 240 out of 80 000 users which means that it isn't that 'big' news. Force9 have posted a message about it in service status and sent an e-mail to those concerned, that's all that was needed.

The tutorial team are there to make tutorials and FAQs to help users get the most out of Force9 (and PlusNet & Free-Online).

Aaron worked hard on that tutorial, so I think this thread should be kept for questions ro queries rather than a debate about whether it is right or not.

matt Wink

FAQ - Broadband Platform Update

It's quite clear there are some people who don't see the point, though to me it is perfectly self-evident. I feel I've reiterated it often enough and I see no sense to continuing ad nauseam. The point has nothing whatever to do with how many people are affected, or whether the author worked hard to produce the message (though I'm questioning why it wasn't someone in Force9 working hard to produce the message). The point is entirely to do with who issued the message and what that fact signifies; in that sense, other than its character as an announcement, the content of the message itself is irrelevant.

As for explaining it away with your completely inadequate comment of, "Force9 have posted a message about it in service status and sent an e-mail to those concerned, that's all that was needed"... You're asking me to believe that because "that's all that was needed" you then produced an un-needed FAQ, and posted it, not in the Tutorials Team's forum, but here, where it's most likely to be seen, and made it sticky so it doesn't drop out of sight, all because it's not 'big news' affecting only 240 out of 80 000 users!

I'm astounded!

The point being made IS valid


I have read this thread with interest (conversation) and I agree most strongly with TASK personally I think he has a completely valid point. Those people who have responded to task dont seem to understand the seriousness of the point he is trying to make. The point seems clear enough to me. It seems that whats caused this problem is unclear boundaries (unclear responsibilities, i.e. who does what and why?).

It may just be a FAQ and I can appreciate the positive motives of those concerned and can see where they are coming from as it were but what muddies the water is that it seems to represent F9 offical policy but it in reality its from a customer or team of people who are customers? why wasnt one person from F9 responsible for issueing an offical statement (even if FAQ's) on behalf of F9 thats whats unclear here as far as I can perceive it.

Ivan :roll:

FAQ - Broadband Platform Update

Well said, Ivan. You've expressed it admirably.