Bandwidth Bandit

For the past three weeks, I have been without facebook, collegehumor, AIM, limewire, wikipedia, and addicting games. In short, I write this article in a state of sorrow and longing for the internet. Of course, having no internet access, a punishment for the rest of the term, was not brought upon me by chance. Instead, it is the result of violating the Acceptable Use Policy for the third time since coming to Andover in September 2003. The question is, does the punishment fit the crime? Here at Andover we take the AUP very seriously, but how serious is too serious? Perhaps it is best to divulge my criminal record. After a little bandwidth mistake freshman year involving pirated software and exceeding the bandwidth limit by an impressive 400%, I kept my bandwidth in check. That is, until winter term of this year, when I went over bandwidth for the second time in my Andover career. I had been using a bandwidth monitor in order to stay under the one gigabyte mark, but according to the letter in my mailbox, my efforts were all in vain. I received a Censure and two weeks without internet. Two weeks later, the school reactivated my internet and I proceeded to download about 80 songs. Tacked on to my normal collegehumor browsing, I finished the week with a comfortable 180 megabytes to spare. At least, this is what my bandwidth monitor led me to believe. I received another letter with Andover markings, a letter of ill news. Once again, I had gone over bandwidth. This time, I would be DCed. I will leave out all of the little details of the DC, but suffice it to say that everyone present dealt with the situation very professionally. My question is, did I deserve the punishment I got? Seeing as I made an effort to not go over, as shown through my use of a bandwidth monitor, I feel that a whole term without internet is too severe of a punishment. If the school has no way of letting you know what your bandwidth use is, why should they punish you in a manner like this? The tech department’s policies and systems need revamping. If you draw a line 1000 feet from a man, and tell him he can walk forward but cannot cross the line, you are setting a limit. When you put a blindfold on him, you are setting an unreasonable limit. After he crosses it three times, breaking his legs and putting him in a wheelchair for two months is just ridiculous. It’s bad enough that things like playing games over the network, having wireless routers, and playing World of Warcraft, or other similar online games are against the rules. The worst thing is that people who haven’t even been on restriction have received Dean’s Reps and Censures because of the current system. Thus I propose a different idea: instead of the blindfolded man scenario, this school should implement a new policy involving a hard cap. If the one gigabyte limit is not to be neared, a hard cap should be set at 500 megabytes. This would mean that from Monday morning to Sunday evening every student has 500 megabytes to use. If a person reaches the 500 megabyte mark, their internet automatically gets shut down for the rest of the week . There would be no Dean’s Rep, no Censure or DC. Instead, everyone could use the internet as they please, without the paranoia of punishment. Moreover, students would do what they wanted with their bandwidth. Bring back iTunes, Limewire, World of Warcraft, and all that other good stuff. This is a reasonable alternative and it would be a good idea for the Technology Department to review and reconsider their policies.