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*File Sharing Usage & Policy

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The advent of peer-to-peer (P2P) technology combined with new utilities to facilitate file-sharing activity causes a hardship to all Internet Service Providers (ISP's). The problem is not unique to Unwired, but is a worldwide issue wherever a shared network resource exists. The issue grew as awareness increased, and new utilities were made available. The function of downloading MP3s shares the same technology that allows hackers to abuse our resources. In fact it opens a door for them.

A lot of people don't realize that Bearshare, Gnotella, KaZaA, Limewire, Morpheus, etc. will share your downloaded songs and videos, use your bandwidth (Internet speed), and turn themselves on without telling you. Many people use these programs, but don't realize that the programs run "hidden" in the background using your bandwidth and sharing copyrighted files, allowing other users to illegally download from your computer. If you use a peer-to-peer (p2p) file-sharing application like KaZaA, you may be functioning as a server for others to download files from your computer. Not only can this impact network performance for your computer, but it can significantly impact all who use the Unwired network. Most file-sharing applications enable sharing by default, often without restriction.

Excessive bandwidth consumption can be a problem in that a few users can consume the majority of bandwidth on the Unwired network, causing poor performance for the rest of our customers. The concept of shared bandwidth must be understood in order to get good service from your Internet connection while not abusing the network and causing a problem for others. There are two types of Internet access: shared and dedicated. Dedicated Internet access means just what it says: you are entitled to use 100% of your allocated bandwidth 100% of the time. Dedicated Internet access starts at about $350 per month for a 256k connection. This costs too much for the small business and home user, so the concept of shared Internet access has prevailed. Shared Internet access depends on all users using the network a portion of the time. This gives users access to a high amount of bandwidth at a low cost, but it must be shared with other users. Allowing programs such as these filesharing applications goes against the shared bandwidth model in that it allows users from the outside world to connect to your computer, comsuming 100% of your connection 100% of the time (this is typical behavior). Additionally, customers of Unwired who use filesharing programs to constantly download material from other computers on the Internet creates the same problem and cannot be allowed.

You can improve network performance and reduce excessive bandwidth consumption by either managing or disabling sharing. Additionally, many file-sharing applications come bundled with "adware" or "spyware" which are automatically installed on your computer along with the file-sharing application. This software can monitor your activity, sending information to third-party vendors and advertisers on such things as what web pages you browse or what searches you perform. Apart from privacy concerns, these add-ons use your computer's system resources to operate and will affect performance. Depending on how much spyware and/or adware you have installed, this may be significant.

In addition to the bandwidth issue, it is worthwhile to understand that the distribution of copyrighted material violates the UnwiredWest's Terms of Service, and will subject you to suspension or termination of your Internet connection.

Here are the things we want you to do:

  • Prevent the program from starting automatically.
  • Stop sharing files.
  • Do not download or share copyrighted material such as music, video, games, etc.
  • Prevent the program from acting as a "supernode", which is like a middleman for other programs and secretly uses your bandwidth.

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