This is HughesNet's explanation of their FAP policy as of 10-15-13:

(Subject to change by HughesNet)


To ensure fair Internet access for all HughesNet® subscribers, HUGHES® 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.


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.

  Download Threshold
425 MB
500 MB
1,250 MB
1,250 MB


HughesNet FairAccessPolicy FAQ

How does the Fair Access Policy work?
The policy is implemented automatically by monitoring your usage over a rolling 24-hour period. Each HughesNet service plan is assigned a Download Allowance. The Download Allowance is the amount of data (in bytes) which can be downloaded by a subscriber without restriction within a rolling 24-hour period. As you download at a high rate, your allowance will be depleted. During periods of low use, your remaining allowance will slowly recover. When your usage over the past 24 hours exceeds that allowance, you will enter the Recovery Zone, and your download speeds will be reduced. During the Recovery Zone, your Download Allowance is slowly replenished, and after approximately 24 hours, your download speed will be restored. If you continue to use your service to download in the Recovery Zone, it may take more than 24 hours for your Allowance to be replenished and your speed to return to normal.

Who is affected by the Fair Access Policy?
Some users consume much more bandwidth than the average user, and they will experience reduced download speeds as a result of exceeding their Download Allowance. You may be surprised to find that the top 1% of users download 9 times more the average user. By providing a Download Allowance, more of the shared bandwidth is made available for everyone to use. Most users will have a better experience as a result of the Fair Access Policy.

Online activities such as viewing Websites, checking email, watching video clips or similar short streaming media, and automatic software updates are unlikely to cause you to exceed the download threshold.

Typically, on the Home plan, to reach your download limit in a 24-hour period, you would have to download any of the following:

  • 67 photos (at 3 MB each)
  • 50 songs (at 4 MB each)
  • 10 video clips (at 20 MB each)

Does the Fair Access Policy apply to uploads or downloads?
Currently, the Fair Access Policy applies only to downloads – that is, data that you receive from the Internet. Uploads, for example sending photos in your email, are not counted against your Download Allowance.

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:

  • Full-length movie or video downloads (e.g., Netflix streaming movies)
  • Downloading very large files (i.e., file sizes that are close in size to the download threshold of your service plan)
  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs such as Napster, Kazaa or LimeWire
  • Continuous downloading or viewing streaming media content such as audio or video programming
  • Hosting of server devices such as email, FTP or Web servers
  • Hosting computer applications such as Web-cam feeds
  • Internet-based PC backup services that archive your data on a central server
  • Extensive downloading of attachments from Usenet Newsgroups (NNTP)
  • Use of BitTorrent applications

Excessive downloading or use of the services described above may cause subscribers to exceed their Download Allowance and have their download speed reduced under the Fair Access Policy.

Note that all data downloaded to your PC or PCs will count against your Download Allowance. We encourage you to take a close look at the software you install and understand how it will use your Internet connection.

What will my Internet access be like in the Recovery Zone?
During the Recovery Zone, when your Download Allowance is exceeded, you will experience reduced download speeds for about 24 hours. During this period, your HughesNet service can still be used for activities such as Web browsing and viewing emails, but speeds will be significantly slower than your standard plan rate.

If I exceed my Download Allowance, what should I do?
Minimize your heavy bandwidth activities. If you continue to download heavily during the Recovery Zone, the period will be extended. If you frequently exceed your Download Allowance, or if you find that your Download Allowance is too small for your needs, you might consider upgrading your service plan. Or, to get the most out of your service, you can schedule large downloads to occur during the Download Zone using a Download Manager.

How do I verify whether I have exceeded my Download Allowance?
You can track your past usage and Fair Access Policy status by going to, clicking on Customer Care, then clicking on the Check My Usage link in the Resources section.

What is the Download Zone?
The Download Zone is the off-peak hours of the day, when you can download data at full speed without counting against your Download Allowance. The hours of use start at 2:00 am and end at 7:00 am, Eastern Time.

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

Are there any limitations to what I can do during the Download Zone?
Yes. Download speeds are not guaranteed during these hours and the HughesNet Acceptable Use Policy is still in effect.

What do you recommend I do during the Download Zone?
We recommend that you automatically schedule your system updates during the Download Zone. If you install HughesNet Tools, your Windows Updates will automatically be scheduled for this period. You can also use a download manager software application to automatically schedule large file downloads to occur during the Download Zone.

If I have exceeded my Download Allowance, will using my service during the Download Zone extend the duration of my reduced download speed?
No, downloading during the Download Zone will not extend the Recovery Zone.

What will happen if I'm in the middle of a large download at the onset of the Download Zone?
If your speed is reduced at the start of the Download Zone, your download speed will return to your normal plan rate, and the downloaded data will not increase your recovery time. If your speed was not reduced (that is, you had not exceeded your Download Allowance), your usage during the Download Zone will not be counted toward your Download Allowance.

What will happen if I'm in the middle of a download at the end of the Download Zone?
If you were over your Download Allowance at the start of the Download Zone, your download speeds will be reduced again at the end of the Zone. If you were not over your Download Allowance, then the usage during the Download Zone will not count against your allowance, but the portion of the download that occurs after the Zone ends will begin to count against your Allowance.

Can I still use the Download Zone if I have already exceeded my Download Allowance?
Yes – during the Download Zone, all users may download without any speed restrictions, subject to your plan's rate and available capacity.