Virgin to target those throttling the network with heavy use

3 April 2012

Bitterwallet - Richard Branson blackmail at Virgin Media

Virgin Media are bound to irritate people with their announcement that they're introducing new throttling "trigger levels" for those of you who make heavy use of its network.

The company have updated their subscriber traffic management (STM) policy yesterday to "ensure the vast majority of customers get the high quality of service they expect from Virgin Media's fibre optic broadband without being negatively affected by extremely heavy users" at peak times.

It classified a "bandwidth hog" as a 60Mbit/s customer, who can download 5,000MB of data between 4pm and 9pm on a weekday before having their broadband connection pinched in.

"During this time that customer would have to download 7 standard definition movies or 1,250 songs before a 5-hour temporary speed reduction was applied, and even then they can of course continue to browse the web and use services like the iPlayer without interruption," Virgin Media explained. "Customers can still continue to use their services whilst having their traffic managed, however the temporary reduction in speed will help minimise the impact of their usage on other customers, ensuring more customers are able to enjoy their services at peak times.”

Specifically, the traffic that'll get throttled will be peer-to-peer and newsgroups and not things like video streaming, music downloads and VoIP.

Virgin added that they'll be "trialling a variety of different approaches to traffic management over the coming months to make the system more intelligent and flexible, while ensuring the optimal quality of service. We'll publish more information on this as soon as it's available."

While Virgin have been selling the 'fastest' broadband service to consumers, are they putting so many limitations on it that you'd be better off going for a 'lesser' (and cheaper) package that guarantees you a certain speed, rather than one that can fluctuate at their whim?

TOPICS:   Technology   Broadband


  • Joff
    Ok that sounds ok actually
  • Mr R.
    Sounds fine to me too.
  • Steve
    Sounds fair enough.
  • Mr A.
    Seems like a fairly well thought idea.
  • Steve C.
    Can the VM system cope with the bandwidth anyway?
  • Kevin
    A gb an hour for 5 hours does seem like a very reasonable amount really
  • Mr O.
    It looks like my peer to peer stuff is going to be limited to only 30-50Mbs after I've shared five or so movies per day. Seems OK.
  • Sicknote
    Fair enough, I get 100 meg from them so no hassle if they throttle me down to 99 meg.
  • bob
    "Fair"? Its pathetic, with the speeds they provide what do they expect you to do with it when they'll cap you for considering using it.
  • Bob's D.
    Sorry for spoiling everything. It's my day off.
  • Arthur P.
    The only people who will complain will be the twats who have nothing better to do than spend there sad lives trying to download the whole if the internet.
  • Zleet
    @Arthur Pewtey Why bother getting high speed 'unlimited' broadband if you have no intention of using it. Many streaming sites use technology that can be tagged by these systems as p2p.
  • klingelton
    this seems fair to me. 5gb in an evening - it's more than some providers offer to their customers in a month! When you buy the service, you buy it because it's up to 100mbps, that doesn't mean that you should download at 100mbps all day every day and expect that's ok. I would rather have a stable connection, with little jitter/lag and no packet loss than a service that shoots out the gate like a bat out of hell, but then stops and starts its way to the finish line. Good on you VM, hope it works.
  • The B.
    I only use about 1Gb an evening, that's enough for about 4 hours of Merkin TV downloads.
  • Mike H.
    Will they be able to detect me throttling my wife? As I am a heavy abuser.
  • Mary H.
    What's the point of providing 100meg then throttling it? dick heads.
  • Tricky
    Currently using Virgins national broadband service and during peak hours its practically useless. 20 meg normally and it drops to 3 meg (if I'm lucky) at peak. No one on technical support could provide any help and just tell me that its a peak time issue and there's nothing they can do. With 4 people in the house it's useless, can't wait to cancel my contract.
  • Raggedy
    @Mary Hinge You're not going to get 100meg if all the dick heads in your neighbourhood are downloading every film they can get their grubby little hands on. It's people like them that make me stay up later to get a decent enough speed to download every film I can get my grubby little hands on. Oh wait . . .
  • klingelton
    @ tricky This is why they want to introduce this throttling. to ensure customers like you get the best possible service all the time. Also, bandwidth is a small part of what creates a stable and usable internet connection. factor in other things like packet loss, ping and jitter and you will get a more complete picture. It's exactly the same as selling someone a pc and telling them it has 750 gigabytes. it's a small part of what the computer is capable of. I personally hope that this traffic shaping ensures that all their customers get fair access to their network. And for those complaining about it being over subscribed - so is every other large broadband supplier.
  • Spencer
    as a horrific downloader for a number of years... (i have several hard drives full of stuff) Can I offer you all 1 bit of advice..... wait till after midnight. Set up your download list and start it off after Midnight. Go to bed. I'm on Virgin media and have been doing this for nearly 18 months. Never been throttled, never had pissy letters and I regularly D/load 1TB+ a month. Again.... wait till after midnight.
  • Kevin
    Spencer is right. This is all about the peak time where everyone is likely to be on. Outside of that time they really don't care as you're not slowing anyone else down. Any non-downloading you do in that time period is never normally going to approach that level of usage even with several householders using the 'line'.
  • Mary H.
    New for London Olympics, Virgin throttling. Any tickets available?
  • Mike H.
    Spencer, If you use uTorrent, you can set up the scheduler (Or Virgin torrent raper, as I've coined it) to start DL'ing whenever you like. I check Virgins 'traffic shapping' times and set up accordingly. Fuck you Virgin, fuck you.
  • Spencer
    @ Kevin Exactly.... Generally ISP's don't give a crap what you do as long as you don't chuff up the line at it's busiest periods (I avoid D/loading between Mid-day and Midnight - NEVER had any issues at all - I can easy pull through 50 or 60GB in that time - enough media for most people!).
  • Spencer
    @Mike Hock Thats exactly it dude! I mostly use newsgroups these days. I use newsbin pro and it has the exact same function. You can even preset it to self-limit between certain hours if you want. But like I say, I can easily get through 50 or 60gb of downloads in a 12 hour block. That might be a mix of TV, films, PS3/Xbox games... easily enough to keep me going for weeks. As far as traffic shaping goes... me and Virgin have 'an understainding'. And I'd say that to anybody that doesnt already.... Set up a big long queue of stuff, let it run overnight... Dont give them and their 'intelligent monitoring and shaping systems' any reason.
  • che B.
    Wow they will throttle peoples download speeds. They will reduce say 100 Mbit connections by 25% so you will still have 75 Mbit bandwidth to play with, no other ISP gets anywhere near this at any time of day, nevermind peak times. Only thing that fucks me off about VM is staff tell you can get 100 Mbit just to keep you from leaving then you find out the next day still on the same 50 mbit service as before. And why are there 3 different links for these speed upgrades all with conflicting information. So Virgin Media train your fucking staff properly!
  • andy j.
    This is rediculous. I pay premium monies to get 50 mb download(120) soon. I am not at home for half the yr so whats the point in having the service to be throttled .A bluray 3d movie is 30 gb. they shouldnt keep advancing speeds if bandwidth cant cope. I could goto sky and save £35 a month
  • SecondOne
    I got told off a while ago they didnt like me downloading 300 ish gb in a day. Now most of my downloading is scheduled from midnight to 10am
  • FACT
    Hi andy j - could you tell us all about the source of your 3d blueray downloads?
  • Paul
    I took out the Netflix free offer mainly for the cashback, but was so impressed at the choice and quality (of the US version) and noticed I was watching it more than my Virgin TV. I called them up and downgraded the TV part of my package only (saving almost £30 a month, after speaking to retentions) keeping everything else the same top of the range XL. I am now getting emails and letters through the post to 'help me improve my speed' by only using the internet between midnight and 8am, and telling me my usage is high at peak times and it's being 'managed'. Now I freely admit in the past I used to download all the time and also used the most popular non legal streaming movie service and not once did I get any warnings, but now I am paying for watching the content I previously got 'free', I'm having my internet speed 'managed'.
  • BIg G.
    I have been a with ntl/virgin for years the crap about it affects other users at peek time is just a bit old now,it just a money saving exercise .the faster they go the more it cost them in data charges,and since virgin has taken over its getting more like the quicker you go the faster we will take it away
  • Weed
    @Arthur Pewtey ["The only people who will complain will be the twats who have nothing better to do than spend there sad lives trying to download the whole if the internet."] such rudeness stupidity and ignorance, and all in a single post! (if you don't already work for VirginMedia, then maybe you should apply for a job with them in customer relations -- you seem to have an excellent grasp of their current marketing philosophy) the argument is not over their policy -- they can implement whatever policy they want -- the argument is over the fact that they don't say what their policy is, or rather they don't keep to what they do say for the agreed account period i upgraded to Virgin's 100/10Mb package to escape their 50/5Mb package traffic management policy after being assured on two separate occasions that there would be no restrictions whatsoever as "the new fibre optic cable we've laid down in your area means we have plenty of spare bandwidth" -- no mention of traffic shaping, let alone traffic management -- of course i didn't believe them, but... i don't care about download speed -- it's upload speed that i need -- and that's now being cut back by 80% and more between 5pm and midnight weekdays, midday to midnight weekends -- (at times it's been down to under 100kbps, which is 1% of what i'm paying for and 1% of what i was told i would get -- imagine if i only paid them 1% of their bill next month, using the excuse that i was a bit short of money) sure, i can get round the bandwidth restrictions by using a seedbox etc -- it's just that i don't like being lied to by the Sales and Marketing Depts of big companies
  • HH B.
    I'm on VM, we're going to a BT package next month (10gb a month limited downloads, not my idea...). We're heavy users, so I downloaded 320gb of data via p2p in the past week (One game and quite a few films, plus some tv shows I've always intended to watch) to keep me entertained for the next 18months(!!) if I can no longer watch any of my TV shows. Virgin Media have put me on limited downloads since Saturday morning at 25kb/s. I left it on overnight on Saturday and was still getting throttled at that rate, and now it's gone mid-night on a Sunday so I should be fine to leave my laptop running overnight but I'm still having the same problem though there is no way I've exceeded my daily limit because clearly they won't let me! It's so frustrating and not what is outlined in our package, and we're still with them until the end of the month before switching to a worse deal. Its annoying that I know I'm probably not int the top % of downloaders and have never abused my connection like this before but still get this...

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