Unable to Access Certain Web Pages on Evolution Plan

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  • Updated 3 years ago
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 I have been on the Evolution 10 Gb plan for over 2 years. I have used up my data cap EVERY month but am still able to access all web sites after going through my data cap and still enjoy reasonably good speeds as well. Starting 3 days ago, everything changed. I can no longer access web sites such as ncaa.com, cbsnew.com, foxnews.com, espn.com, etc. It is not an issue of slow speed because when I try to navigate to these web pages I immediately get the message "This web page cannot be reached". In other words, it is not a situation where it "times out" due to slow speeds. In fact, the speed of the Exede service right now is the same as it has been in the past when I have gone through my data cap.
If you review the Exede terms for the Evolution plan, it specifically states that when you exceed your data cap, the restrictions on service "will not apply to web page access".
I called Exede tech service when this started issue three days ago and the first thing the rep did is remind me that I had used up all my data and I was welcome to buy more. I reviewed the above facts with him and he then backed off this solution. After trying a few things without success, he noted that there were some issues with the beam I am on and that maybe when that problem was fixed my problem would go away. We agreed to give it a day or two. The problem persists.
This AM I called Exede again and once again, the rep tried to attribute the problem to the fact that I had used up all my data and that I was welcome to buy more (grrrr!). Went through the same thing with her. She placed me on hold after which she came back and acknowledged that other Evolution plan members are calling in with the same problem as mine and that their people are working to resolve the issue. I politely reminded her that we are now in the 4th day and I hope that they are able to get it fixed soon. 
My frustration is that the reps I spoke with do not even understand how the Evolution plan is supposed to work nor do they seem to be in the loop on known problems with their system. 
At any rate, hopefully they get it fixed soon....
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Bruce Batty

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Posted 3 years ago

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C. C. Visnesky

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I've read the comments about "videos streaming INSIDE webpages will eat up mb" ..for me that is FB ONLY...I already started an adblocker, and hope that helps too.  Yesterday I logged into my  'general FB" and as soon as you scroll down a video activates, you can stop is quickly. but it happened 7-8 times until I stopped reading incoming posts to the groups I read.  So for me I may have to back off FB at end of billing cycle..I went from 6.8mb used to 7.1 in one day, and have 12 days to go.  Okay...less time wasted on FB is better anyway.  

 I will ALSO note that months ago my Exede voicemail STOPPED working, no idea why, so now use the built in  recorder in my landline phone base.  any others have this happen? I can call them but may not grasp what I need to do to fix it.
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Jonathan Farmer

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FYI if you go to your facebook settings and click on videos you can turn off autoplay of videos.  I did this a while ago to save some data
(Edited)
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Bob Craighill

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I've had the same problem that you all are describing. My solution, after a wasted conversation with an Exede tech rep, was to lodge an official complaint with the Federal Communications Commission. I would suggest that you all do the same. The FCC makes it very easy, and they will give you a case number that you can then track.
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mica-m

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Thanks, that is good advice. Waiting to hear back from their 'Executive Escalations' team. If they can't resolve it, I'll lodge a BBB complaint, and will look into small claims court. Not backing down on this, this is not ok - what they are doing to people like my mom in rural areas, they should be ashamed. 
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Jonathan Farmer

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Good luck with that. Took them almost 2 days to reach out and ask for more info and then never heard back. Did notice yesterday that my stuff started working again and i checked my usage and it looks like they just added 2 more gigs of data. Not that that mattered becuase it was the last day before i reset and 2nd thats not helping things because its just going to happen again...still waiting for their response. Maybe you will be the lucky one
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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Check your email again Jonathan, that data added was part of my reply to you yesterday (maybe it went to spam)
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Jonathan Farmer

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Yea defintely not there. Not in my inbox or spam but either way itsm reset today
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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Official Response
Just as a point of clarification for everyone. We recently had a update to our system that affected Evolution plans. Over the years, content providers changed their delivery methods which made it difficult to to distinguish streaming when reporting usage.  For some customers prior to this upgrade our software incorrectly distinguished streaming media as web browsing. This update now better distinguishes it and if you've gone over your data you may have trouble visiting such sites as youtube, Facebook video and so on. 
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Bob Craighill

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The sites that I have been trying to access are news outlets, such as nbcnews, usatoday, and nytimes all of which are blocked to me. Strangely enough, cnn still works. You're not trying to influence what news information I get, are you?
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J&J

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CNN.com added to block list, thank you.

It appears any site with autoplay HTML5 streaming will get the axe.  The new software can't stop the sneaky videos so it blocks the entire site... maybe only if in data restriction, there again, maybe always.  Since websites aren't rocket science, the engineers at ViaSat really don't have a clue how to deal with embedded HTML5 video except to block sites that use it. This change is based on the ViaSat prime directive: To always "best monetize available bandwidth."
 
I don't have one of those bait and switch plans so I can't perform in-depth analysis but if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck...  you know the rest.
 
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Bruce Batty

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Brad-Thanks for your email update and clarification of the issues. I think you will agree that a lot of the frustration expressed by customers here was as a result of misinformation or no information provided by other customer service people. Seems that maybe the communications and updates between your technical folks and the folks fielding calls could use some improvement.
Thanks again!
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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absolutely not Bob! Exede is politically neutral. It's likely the case are those sites not appearing tend to autoplay videos during stories (like if you read an article, the news video plays...100% a pet peeve for me). So that's probably what's going on. To further test, try a site that likely won't have a autoplay video in the articles (ie a newspaper site as those are less likely to pull up a video). My experience thus far is if someone gets out of Data restriction, they can see those sites again. 
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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Nothing worse than misinformation or a lack of information Bruce! I certainly understand the frustration. Hopefully now it's a Monday communications are being better spread out to our customer service agents so everyone is on the right page. Again sorry for the inconvenience 
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Gwalk900, Champion

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Craig,

"It appears any site with autoplay HTML5 streaming will get the axe."

As an experiment open up Firefox and load the Flash Control browser extension to kill the HTML5 pre-fetch and see if the site loads.

 

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J&J

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Someone with the Evolution Plan should try a VPN and see what happens then.  The fastest VPN out there is Vyper VPN by Goldenfrog.
They have a free 3 day trial so it won't cost anyone anything to give it a try.  Go to the bottom of the page to get the free trial.  Vyper VPN works with exede, I used to have it but changed to PerfectPrivacy VPN due to a peculiar technical requirement.

 
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J&J

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@ Gwalk900

The customers browser isn't blocking the sites, exede is.  When the block occurs at the ISP level nothing you do to your browser will get around it, thus I recommend someone try a VPN.
 
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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Brad, can you at least confirm that the changes were related to how HTML5 media is now treated on Evolution? As Craig notes, it seems this impacts sites that use HTML5 media with the autoplay attribute (and possibly the pre-load attribute) and there are user controlled ways to manage both of those data hogging attributes.

Bruce, I took no one to task yesterday, see my reply there.    
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Gwalk900, Champion

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Exede Brad,

Remember we now have "pre-fetch" as well as auto-play.

Its a double whammy. In the last week or so many of the msn.com links have had one or the other.


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Jonathan Farmer

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Bruce, so you said yours in working now?  Did they do something or did it just start working?  I just got home from work and still none of the sites work for me.  Still cant even get simple email.  I know my data restarts on the 1st and Ill be good for a lil while but scared I will be right back in the same boat, since data will no be consumed twice as quick.  I just want to be able to use websites like I used to.  I guess I am still far on the list as my email didnt get sent until 3 the next morning when back in free zone since my email has been blocked...and just wanted to say brad, most of the sites i try to pull up wont and get the server issues, yet youtube and netflix open no problem just wont play videos (as I would expect).  So I really hope this is a temporary issue, i have no problem be restricted from videos and downloads I just want websites to open and work as they should.  Especially email pages as I do a lot of work through that.
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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Gwalk and I are on there same page it appears when it comes to the root cause and are simply offering a way to avoid it if Firefox is available ;)

And it's the preload attribute that's more troublesome in regard to "phantom data" usage. 
(Edited)
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Jonathan Farmer

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Just want to add a note about the VPN.  I use a VPN for work when I work OT at home.  Now websites that wont load on my normal wifi will load on my work VPN while connected to WIFI.  So maybe this will help narrow the problem.  I can do pandora, foxnews.com, nytimes.com, etc while using exede evolution through my works vpn
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J&J

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Where there's a will, there' a way.  I'm not too fond of Bill Gates but he did say something that stuck with me....  "It's all possible with software" and apparently, he is right.
 
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Bob Craighill

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The issue here is what happens during data restriction. I have set my browser so that it does not play videos unless I direct it to, which I usually do not. I am mainly interested in reading the news. However, now the entire sites are blocked, which appears to me to be contrary to your advertised description of the Evolution Plan, hence my complaint to the FCC.
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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Gwalk's suggestion regarding Firefox and Flash Control is primarily aimed at seeing if eliminating the HTML5 preload behavior avoids the problem as a temporary work around - preload streams without your knowledge. 

As noted VPN will also work around the problem - primarily because it's private and the ViaSat software can't see it (although it counts it)   
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J&J

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Sometimes I actually come to the defense of exede and now will be one those times.

If you subscribed to the Evolution plan, that plan will evolve  as the Internet evolves.  Things change on the Internet and your plan will change along with it.  exede has no time-lock on technology.  The structure of the Evolution plan as first presented dealt with what was the current technology at the time but that technology has changed.  exede is keeping up with the times and current technology so changes in your plan's behavior should be expected.

If you cannot tolerate the changing times then perhaps a different plan will better suit your needs and expectations.

 
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Jonathan Farmer

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I tried the temporary workaround as suggested and does not work.  I added the extension and its still a no go.  Still gives me the server connection error.  Just wanted to put that out there for you guys,  I really am trying everything to see if we can get this working again
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J&J

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The block is at the exede DNS.  Try the free VPN I showed a few post up above this one.
 
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Jonathan Farmer

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As much as I would like to try the VPN, that site too is blocked by Exede, so will have to find a different route
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J&J

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(Set your alarm clock) and try again during your LNFZ.
 
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Jonathan Farmer

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HAHA yea I will do that when I get up to go to work in the morning, just doesnt make since, hope they get it fixed soon, if its something that is truly and issue and will be fixed.  I forget my phone connects to the wifi and while on data restriction (now, it never used to be this way) my phone doesnt recieve any emails or alerts, it has become completely did and will not load anything that needs a connection, email, facebook, nothing.  So really need this to be fixed..
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J&J

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Getting fixed?  Don't hold your breath.  I made a comment above defending exede (yea, it happens) and I think the new way will stay, at least until the ViaSat-2 satellite gets operation.

 
 
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Jonathan Farmer

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That's what I was worried about...I dont want to change plans because of what the evolution has, but I dont get that so it doesnt benefit me.  I wouldnt mind trying liberty but heard terror stories about that being just as slow and not loading things when you run out of priority data
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BRKnox

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So to be clear your not going to fix anything? Your own terms clearly say that websites will not be restricted and that websites will still function under Evolution regardless of how much data is used (but certain things like video may be restricted). At the worse this is false advertising, because sites are being outright blocked. I don't see the point in worrying about such things now when Exede is about to launch a brand new satellite in a few months opening up data on the old satellite. After all this time why worry about it now when people are going to be moving over to the new technology?

From my experience the old system worked pretty well, videos and downloads were always restricted speed for me. If this isn't going to be changed then I will be cancelling as soon as possible.
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BRKnox

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So to be clear your not going to fix anything? Your own terms clearly say that websites will not be restricted and that websites will still function under Evolution regardless of how much data is used (but certain things like video may be restricted). At the worse this is false advertising, because sites are being outright blocked. I don't see the point in worrying about such things now when Exede is about to launch a brand new satellite in a few months opening up data on the old satellite. After all this time why worry about it now when people are going to be moving over to the new technology?

From my experience the old system worked pretty well, videos and downloads were always restricted speed for me. If this isn't going to be changed then I will be cancelling as soon as possible.
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Jonathan Farmer

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I hate to say it but hughesnet has a plan similar now called smartbrowsing. Not sure how it is over there and they dont have a freezone but definitely worth checking out
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Bruce Batty

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Jonathan-
In answer to your question, mine is working but that is because I started a new billing cycle with a fresh load of data. However, and more importantly, I have gotten communication from Exede that I consider to be good news...

1) Exede did a software update so that when videos are played they will be accurately counted against the data allowance. In other words, previously some videos were not being accurately tracked.
2) This software update had unintended consequences the results of which many of us are seeing. In my case, the inability to access web sites like Fox News, WSJ, CBS News when DAP'd.
3) The people in the "backroom" at Exede are working to fix the problem. As is characteristic with problems of this nature, there is no way to predict a timeline.
4) I got an apology for the mis-communication and lack of accurate information heretofore that contributed to frustration on the part of many. Seems like the front line people were not up to speed on the crux of the problem or that there was a problem at all.

As for other workarounds that have been discussed such as proxies and VPN's, you guys are over my head. I do know that I am on a VPN as I am with a major financial services company and work out of my home. Despite that, when I was DAP'd I was unable to connect to the impacted sites. However, I was able to use everything I need to conduct my business and will consider what I am experiencing a minor inconvenience until the problem is resolved.

Perhaps Brad can chime in if I have said something inaccurate.
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Jonathan Farmer

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Well thanks for the update. I havent heard anything yet but that may be because my email didnt actually send until 3 am when the free zone kicked in. Yea my VPN for work, I work for a major health insurance company hasnt seemed to be impacted and still able to do what I need to. But it does allow me to access the sites I cant without the vpn
(Edited)
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Dexter Lumen

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That's interesting because every support I've talked to said that the blocking was the intended result. Hopefully this is just a temporary issue but I'm not holding my breath.
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Mr.Anderson

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use a web based proxy and go around the "blocking".  use a free web proxy such as ninjabrowse.com or one of many others out there.  We are supposed to have "unlimited web browsing at "regular speeds"  Their new filter which none of the agents I spoke with even admitted to using is obviously screwing things up.
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Mr.Anderson

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"If you do use the data in your allowance, you’ll still be able to view web pages and send and receive email at your usual speeds, but you won’t be able to watch videos or download files."

Brad: "This update now better distinguishes it and if you've gone over your data you may have trouble visiting such sites as youtube, Facebook video and so on."

Wonderful, isn't this how it is supposed to work?  The issue is the blatant blocking of websites (intentional or not).  cbsnews, abcnews, foxnews, nytimes, nbcnews.  Mostly text based sites.  Yes there is video, but I am not there for the video and I have flash disabled anyway. CNN was left out though, and it opens up fine. Some of the ads do not work on their website, but who cares about that.
(Edited)
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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getting clarification on why mostly text based news sites are being inaccessible. 
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BRKnox

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It's not just news sites, sites should not be outright blocked on Evolution based on what we were sold. For instance I can't play youtube videos, but I can still ACCESS youtube, this is how it is suppose to be under Evolution (even if I feel restricted speed was a much better fair solution). Some mail services are being blocked, as well as news sites, and sites like Redbox. I wanted to reserve some movies over the weekend and could not do it. I am not streaming or downloading on Redbox, it's primarily a DVD service. If I can't use my ISP to do what I need to do on it then what is the point of having an ISP... it's 2017, at this point Exede is of very little use to me unless this is fixed.
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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We're currently investigating BRKnox
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Mr.Anderson

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Brad: the short list I gave was for mostly text based websites (news), but is in no way a complete list of what is and what is not accessible. NOTHING should be blocked.

The only thing that should be slowed or restricted is video/streaming, and when this is done it should not block the entire website.

What I find very strange is that this is not a blanket issue affecting all websites. The filter or whatever you want to call it "software" is blocking only "some" websites.  I guess someone could start going down the top visited sites by people in the US and start writing them down. Or we can start our own little list here, and who the heck marked this issue as "solved" , it is still broken.
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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We're investigating this with our engineers. If a site contains streaming content it's likely being marked as such and not being accessible at this time by accounts over their limit but we are aware of this. In the meantime getting your service out of restriction appears to have been the way to resume typical browsing without interruption. Feel free to email me at exedelistens@viasat.com for further details
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Mr.Anderson

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Youtube has streaming content, but I can go there...

It makes no sense...

I will email you
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Old Labs (VS1-329-L12FZ)

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It starts to make sense as more examples are given for those that work and don't...

YouTube is a secured site (https) using HTML5 media (as is FaceBook). The ViaSat core node server can't take a peek at any secured transmissions and perform it's voodoo (or at least shouldn't be otherwise it's no longer a secure protocol between the endpoints) - probably limited to non-secured sites (http) having HTML5 media and maybe media exposing the autoplay attribute.  HTML5 is a different beast altogether in terms of streaming and detecting it.  Just a guess...         
(Edited)
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mica-m

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So Brad, what you're saying is now the "software incorrectly distinguishes web browsing as streaming media" whereas before it was the other way around. Well now it's outright violating our contracts, nice. You should hire some better engineers. As previous people mentioned, not blocking YouTube but blocking something like mail.aol.com because there's 1 ad on the page makes no sense.

I did check the code and it looks like the banner ad is using html5, so I think Old Labs is on to something there.
(Edited)
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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originally it lumped some sites with streaming as web browsing so customers on the Evolution plan were hypothetically able to stream without it affecting data at all. Cool if you were able to do that but not fair to all of our other customers and it wasn't how Evolution plans were meant to perform. Our engineers updated everything over the weekend and now customers that are finding themselves over their limit are not able to view some sites that are currently being flagged as streaming media. We're working on viability issues but in the meantime the reason you're not seeing the sites is because the account is in a DAP restriction. Adding data by whatever means (calling in, email or buy more) has been able to resume normal browsing and seeing those pages function properly. That's the only official way around I can suggest as an employee but there's several comments in this thread that have suggested non-official workarounds. 
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Darrin Dailey

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The "sites we are having trouble viewing", but aren't blocked, are reachable through a web proxy.  I was told by customer service that they were unreachable due to a connection threshold...in other words, the site was blocking me because I'm slow.  So, if while restricted I can reach the site through a proxy, but get a connection reset without, how is that not blocking?  Exede may not be intentionally intending to block entire sites, but the proxy says to me that's exactly what's happening.

FWIW, I'm using www.kproxy.com.  I'm sure there are others.  Google 'best free proxy'.
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noone

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I love how my previous comment was removed by Brad.  I'll be sure to start the paperwork in the morning then
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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We maintain and moderate this forum please see our forum guidelines here: https://community.exede.com/exede/topics/exede-and-wildblue-forum-policies-update.

Right now I'm trying to keep all comments focused on the issue of why sites aren't loading and removing those that don't stay on the topic. We can be reached out at exedelistens@viasat.com should you have any concerns.
(Edited)

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