Use Policies

To insure that all customers of Cactus Internet Service have easy access to the Internet at a reasonable cost we must enforce policies that prevent a few people from hogging access or otherwise degrading the enjoyment of the Internet for everyone else. Each policy below is explained in detail with examples when applicable.  Use of services from Cactus International, Inc. constitutes acceptance of these use policies which may change from time to time.


Good Citizenship

Engaging in practices that degrade the Internet, reduce the enjoyment of the Internet for other users and use of the Internet for illegal purposes are not acceptable. The following list is not complete, but indicates some of the activities than can result in having your account cancelled.

Neither you nor anyone you allow to use your Internet account shall:

  • Post or transmit any unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, profane or otherwise objectionable information. In particular, this applies, but is not limited, to Internet Relay Chat.
  • Post or transmit any information which contains a virus, worm, cancelbot, clonebot or other harmful component.
  • Hack or otherwise attack computers residing on the Internet regardless of your intentions in doing so. This includes port scanning computers whether your intention is to hack the computer or not.
  • Send or retransmit chain letters that request money, stamps or other items of monetary value.
  • Send unsolicited bulk e-mail (spam). Doing so can result in all mail from Cactus Internet Service being rejected by some mail servers and thereby harming other Cactus Internet Service users.
  • Post commercial messages to USENET newsgroups since this may result in the newsgroup operator banning all posts from Cactus Internet Service.
  • Post copyrighted material to the Internet without the written permission of the copyright holder.
  • Using bots or proxies to cheat while playing or engaging in online games.


Fair Use - Dial-up

We define UNLIMITED ACCESS to mean that you may be on the Internet as often as you want for as long as you want PROVIDED you are actually sitting in front of the computer actively using it.

Reason: Each dial-up access port to the Internet on our dial-up server costs about $92 per month. If everyone were to stay dialed-in 24 hours per day 7 days per week, then everyone would have to pay, say, $100 per month for Internet service. However, if people log-off the Internet when they are not actively using it, then (statistically) one dial-up access port will support 7 people with only a tiny chance of anyone getting a busy signal when they dial-up. Since our goal is to provide readily available access at a reasonable cost, we must insist that this Fair Use policy is observed. If this is unacceptable, we also offer dedicated access accounts that charge the full cost of 24 hour per day service, always on DSL broadband accounts or you may sign up with one of our competitors (we don't mind their services being degraded ;)

Implementation: Our dial-up server can detect when a dial-up port is not in active use and hang up the line. Inactivity is called idle time and the server has an idle timeout of 30 minutes. We require that people refrain from practices that defeat the idle timeout function of the server. This includes:

  • Setting your e-mail program to check for mail at intervals less than 35 minutes.
  • Running any kind of server with public access.
  • Using keep-alive programs.
  • Subscribing to channel services including stock market tickers.

Consequences: Anyone refusing to observe this policy will have their account terminated.


Who may use the Account - Dial-up

As stated under Fair Use - Dial-up, the price is based on an expected 7 paying users per dial-up access line. Any use that changes that figure is unacceptable. We think that the following interpretation is fair:

  • A family or a maximum of two unrelated people in the same household shall count as one user.
  • A guest may use the account in the customer's household for a period not to exceed two weeks per year.
  • A business OWNER may use the account for both business and home use.

Below are examples of unacceptable use:

  • A family member using the account from a location other than the customer's household. For example, a son or daughter with their own apartment should not use their parent's Internet account.
  • More than two unrelated people in the same household. For example, three or more unrelated people even if they are using a proxy server. However, if they are using a proxy server, we will consider a reduced rate on additional accounts to cover the extra users.
  • An employee using his/her employer's account from home. An employer should obtain a separate account for each employee that will be using the account from home or the employee should obtain their own account.

Under no circumstances should you give your account information to a third party for their use.


Inactive Accounts

Email and personal website accounts that show no sign of activity for a period of 90 days may be removed from the servers.  Email accounts in particular may contain many 10's of MegaBytes of email from list groups and advertisements, placing an unnecessary burden on the servers.  In a sample of 5000 email accounts we discovered that 35% of them had never been accessed.

In determining whether a personal website is inactive, if the server logs show that no one, including the web site owner, has accessed any page on the web site for 90 days, it shall be considered inactive.

In determining whether an email box is inactive, if the email box index shows that none of the messages have been read for a period of 90 days then the email address shall be considered inactive.

Furthermore, we have noted that some people leave their read email on the email server.  The email server is not to be used as storage for email that has already been read.  Therefore, any email older than 60 days that has been read may be removed from the email server even if the the email account has been accessed in the last 60 days.

If you are going on vacation and will not be able to access your email for an extended period of time, send an email to and a note will be entered into your account not to delete the email box.  However, if the account becomes delinquent more than 60 days, the email box will be deleted.


Fair Use - DSL & Broadband

The main difference between broadband and dial-up from the ISP's point of view is that the ISP can control exactly how many computers can dial up at a given time since it cannot exceed the number of modems he has.  On the other hand, he can never know how many computers are using broadband at a given moment since they don't have to dial up.  However, statistically, he can predict the number if his customers inform him of the number of computers each one has.

An ISP knows his overhead and bandwidth costs, so he can accurately price his service based on the number of computers connected to his broadband service.  A problem arises when his customers use connection sharing devices and report fewer computers than they actually have.  These customers use more services than they are paying for and this increases the cost to all of the other customers who correctly reported the number of computers they have connected to the Internet.  This is because under-reporting the number of computers makes it seem as if the average computer uses more resources than it actually does, so more is charged per reported computer to all customers.

Another problem for the ISP offering broadband is when a customer who needs a lot of bandwidth to support his or her business opts for a DSL broadband account rather than a private line.  DSL broadband is an inexpensive shared service where private line service is very expensive.  The cost to this customer isn't less because DSL broadband is shared, the cost is less because the customer is shifting the cost to the ISP and his other customers.

Lastly, you might wonder why the charge for five computers isn't five times the charge for one?  Part of this has to do with the fact that not all costs are for bandwidth or proportional to the number of computers.  For example, billing costs for one account is the same whether it is for one computer or 1000 computers.  The same applies to rent, air conditioning, and so on.

Below are items intended to insure usage and charges are fair to all customers.

  • Each customer shall correctly report the number of computers that have access through their account to the Internet.  Each computer that is sharing a connection shall be counted.  If a customer is discovered to have more computers than reported, Cactus shall have the right to increase the charges to equal the number of computers Cactus believes the customer has.
  • Customers, except wholesale customers, shall not resell their bandwidth to other people.  This means, among other things, that customers may not run a web hosting service over their DSL, run a dial-up service, or resell connectivity to their neighbors unless the neighbor's computers are reported.
  • It is advisable not to make mp3 libraries available on the Internet.  You should be aware that under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, an ISP is required to discontinue the service of anyone who persists in electronically distributing copyrighted material on the Internet without the permission of the copyright owner.  An ISP who knowingly fails to do so is considered to be equally liable to the copyright holder.
  • Peer-to-Peer filesharing is a touchy subject with people.  Let it be said that the courts have ruled against Napster and that downloading and/or distributing copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright owner has always been against the law.  Personally, we are tired of getting calls, letter, faxes, email and other threatening notices from the RIAA and the movie studios complaining that our customers are illegally distributing their intellectual property and that of their association members.  Under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, DMCA, as an ISP we are required to notify people they are infringing, cut off their service if they continue to infringe or be held liable for damages to the associations.  So, in accordance with our policy that no one may use our service for illegal purposes, we have placed a block on peer-to-peer file sharing services that are openly aiding the theft of intellectual property regardless of any disclaimers they may care to make.