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back to article Heaviest Virgin Media downloaders face new daytime go-slow

Virgin Media will double the number of hours it throttles the bandwidth of customers who hammer its network day and night, changes to its traffic management policy have revealed. The tightened regime means that between 10am and 3pm subscribers to its "M", "L" and "XL" packages will have their connection throttled for five hours …

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Flame

20Mbit service slowed by a quarter?

So that will end up being just under 4Mbit in total then. Virgin's 20Mbit service is in reality rarely faster than 5Mbit.

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Stop

FFS

What is the point of 50MBit/s when they can't even provide 2MBit/s 24/7?

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Three quarters

Reg wrote: "L" and "XL" users' usual headline speeds of 10MBit/s and 20MBit/s will be slowed by a quarter if they break daytime download limits of 2400MB and 6000MB respectively.

I think that it's throttled by three quarters (75%),

Not great, but at least the day time cap is 6GB rather than the evening one of 3GB and seems to be independent.

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Unhappy

Hmm

Well I was either going to Virgin or BE next month why my broadband contract expires so I guess it will be BE.

Not that I'm really likely to use that much, but hey just the thought of having my line throttled makes me shudder.

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Happy

Happy hour?

1000-1500 is throttled, 1600-2100 is throttled ... sounds like an opportunity for a 1500-1600 is "happy hour" promotional campaign to put a positive gloss on the situation.

Also I think 75% throttled means bandwidth is reduced to a quarter and not by a quarter.

Anyway, despite all this as a VM customer I think its a pretty sensible way of dealing with the situation .... no unexpected additional charges or cut-offs as on some other systems.

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Happy

Total junk

If all users wanted to do is to surf the web and download emails, they can use almost any ISP, whats the point of advistising HUGE bandwidth and FASTEST SPEED when really all you allow to do are no different from almost all other ISP ?

Soon they will start tp throttle 24/7, if during any of the 24 hrs you download more than 1MB, we will cut you off ?

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Flame

So my torrents take a little longer...

n00bs overselling their bandwidth then pretending its my fault!!!!

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Actually...

The amount of throttling doesn't look too bad, assuming it's throttling TO 75% and not BY 75%

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Anonymous Coward

At least they're being transparent...

I pay CPW £25 per month for an AOL "Gold" account. Do I get better quality of service than someone on TalkTalk? Who knows?

The ISP industry needs kick up the a$$ and it needs to be more transparent than it is at the moment.

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Unhappy

50Mb/s - What's the point?

Does it not seem redundant to anyone else to have a 50Mb/s connection, but only be able to use it for the first couple of gig you download?

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What's the point of faster speeds...

...it just means throttling kicking in quicker!

anyway I'm convinced their throttling kicks in before the limits are reached.

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Stop

Ah Well...

I'll give them a ring tomorrow to cancel my account...

(not that I'm cancelling particularly because of STM, I'm just moving house and need to cancel :-P )

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Gates Halo

species

I pull mine from several hacked and pooled wifi connections so i don't give two hoots.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Three quarters

Fixed, thanks,

- Chris

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Dz
Unhappy

Again!!!!!

Well, whats next? This is a problem due to them cutting costs and not upgrading their infrastructure to keep up with demand. Also, it is caused by the sudden upsurge in availability of cloned cable modems that I see so often at our local computer fair. Once again, punishment to the innocent is dished out leaving the real culprits to carry on regardless.

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Silver badge

Assholes!

I didn't pay for a fast connection so I could be told I can't use it! NTL didn't do this crap - sure, they thought about it, but they had the sense to back down. And the throttling isn't 5 hours, 5 days. I get throttled every single day from 5pm to midnight, regardless of whether I have been downloading that day or not, and the speed reductions are ridiculous. Doing it for the rest of the day also will make me seriously consider moving away from what used to be a great service, and I don't want to do that. Cable connections are (in my experience) far more reliable, but if they continue to punish me for using what I've paid for, they can shove their "service" up their arse.

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Unhappy

I could throttle them!!!

god damn it....bought a new router as I thought is was faulty!!! They could have emailed/written to me to tell they were reducing it!!!

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Heaviest Virgin Media downloaders face new daytime go-slow

This is fair enough.

I never see myself downloading enough content to exceed my "XL" allowance.

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Seems fair enough to me

As a Virgin customer, I don't have a problem with this - as an XL customer, I can download 9GB a day (if I time it right), before any restrictions come in to play, and after that I'm "restricted" to a 16Mb/s connection for 5 hours (still twice as fast as the maximum on BT and many other ADSL providers and 4 times as fast as I could get through ADSL at my house).

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Anonymous Coward

wibble

[quote]

What is the point of 50MBit/s when they can't even provide 2MBit/s 24/7?

[/quote]

Keep in mind that the "50MBit/s" will be available to you at all times as long as you dont actually use it. ;o)

Personally, having been a victim of Virgins "customer support" previously, I think I'll stick with Sky.

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Unhappy

Hard to recommend them..

I've always been a big advocate of Virgin/NTL, but it's getting increasingly difficult to recommend them to anyone.

I fear the day will come when I have to leave them myself, which will be a shame. I've been with them for years now and never had any problems.

Phorm, evening caps, daytime caps? What's next?

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Dz

I agree with greg

It's paid for, it is their responsibility to take care of their infrastructure. Not to limit what we have paid for. I notice as well that some people seem to think it is throttled to 75%. In fact it is throttled BY 75%

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Dead Vulture

too far...

as a (current) virgin customer, this actually irritates me..... alot....

if you don't have the bandwidth, don't sell it.

I know _ALL_ ISP's sell more than they have - but there's a number of users that would never use it.

I'm not with Virgin through choice I might point out - it's part of the deal with my apartment, which I'll be moving out of in the next couple of months and buying a house, do you really think I'll be on this ISP - yeah, right, did you see that flying pig too?

Think i'll be choosing 1 of 3 ISP's and it's whichever can offer me what i'm looking for at the time - Static IPv4 Address's, IPv6 (without IPv4 tunneling) good speed, low downtime and the most important, a good customer service - something Virgin are lacking.

My 3 choices for those interested in the better ISP's are (in no particular order):

Andrews and Arnold

KeConnect

Zen

I'm not getting what I (or my landlord) pays for, I'd rather have a service that costs a little more, but the results are ALOT more.

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Paris Hilton

Just a heads up

I phoned VM a few hours ago to ask about the throttling. When I got someone that knew what they were talking about they made it clear that 75% throttle = BY 75%

For example, people on 10meg will get 2.5meg once they hit their limit for 5 hours.

I then promptly asked them to put me through to disconnections.

Paris: She wouldn't hold anything back to paying customers.

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Retro

The traffic shaping will apparently throttle your connection to 25% of its normal bandwidth.

I'll be making cups of tea a lot then, like when we used to have ISDN!!

http://allyours.virginmedia.com/html/internet/traffic.html

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Stop

So basically...

Anyone who uses bittorrent, iPlayer, or any other video service can't get their advertised speeds for most of the time?

I don't mind traffic-shaping in the evenings (I have uTorrent set to lower it's speed anyway so I can do other things), but if an ISP can't handle speeds for all customers mid-afternoon on a Wednesday there's something wrong.

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Try being on their adsl....

Think I had 18gb of traffic pass through my entire network two weeks ago... Thats ps and 360 demos, a single torrent (granted it was 10gb but meh, was daytime scheduled) and a bit of browsing and WoW... Thanks to that heavy heavy load I placed on the network, I was at 80kilBITS per second at all usable times last week...

be so gld when I move and can find a decent supplier

AC

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Not THAT bad

Come on guys - it really is not that bad. Virgin's system is so much better than other ISPs. If you are on Virgin with an XL package you will have received a huge amount of data before any restrictions apply.

BT throttle very heavily based on content, every night as far as I can tell - regardless of how much you have downloaded that day. I can be waiting several minutes to download a 10MB file via P2P in the evening even if it my first use of www that day. Furthermore, BT connections are rarely of good as quality as Virgin.

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Roll on metered services

Why doesn't Virgin take the big brave step of offering full best effort speeds and charging a metered service? The bubble of unmetered services has totally burst, yet keeps being patched up again and again.

Paying per mb (with whatever base levels you might want like a mobile phone contract) would remove a huge amount of the traffic anyway, so this capping implicitly takes care of itself.

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Re: Seems fair enough to me

The restricted speed on XL is 5Mbit not 16Mbit. Also, the best ADSL speeds are currently 24Mbit from Be/O2 & a few others.

I challenge you to actually break those limits. My XL line never goes above 2Mbit/sec (barely 1Mbit/Sec during the day) so even if I went at full speed all day I'd find it hard to exceed their restrictions.

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@ Phil Arundell

You might want to clean your glasses you're restricted by 75% not to 75%, so you're paying for a 20mb service and getting 4mb not 16mb

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Unhappy

still says no download limit..........

I think it's sneaky but I'm still paying for it, even though I know it's wrong, to change I'd need to change them as my phone provider and I can't get sky in my flat, ariels I've used so far have been rubbish. These are all excuses if it's that bad 'll have to cancel.

http://allyours.virginmedia.com/websales/product.do?id=11039

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RE: Assholes!

I've noticed similar restrictions kicking into place about 5pm every day myself. No matter what traffic we've done that day, come the early evening and our connection can be worse than dial-up. I've tried to get it sorted with Virgin, but as they're still charging premium rate for net support line - till June - I've not wanted to spend the money.

Oh, and they took more money than my bill said it was going to be earlier today. Do I get offered compensation? No.

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usual stuff then..

As a Virgin customer I've reduced my package from XL to L when throttling was first introduced, and might now go to M, thereby giving Virgin less of my cash, and I'll be timing the big downloads to run all night and all morning...

What good is 50mb or 20mb unless you can max it out occassionally. Why not throttle over the month - that way I can max my connection when I need to, and build up "credit" when I don't.

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I'm glad I'm no longer a Virgin customer

I cancelled my Virgin contract after I got a letter (in the post, written on paper) telling me to decrease my download activites.

Their speed was shocking as well. My 8M connection would go down to about 128K in the evenings and back to 8M during the day for a couple of hours.

When I complained, they told me I needed to apply patches to my router or PC and make sure I didn't have any viruses.

I switched to BE and now I can get about 10-14M whenever I want it. (this is the max for my line considering loss/gain/power etc) Occasionally it dips to around 7 for a short while, but I've yet to decide if that's because I'm doing something else on the PC rather than the BE.

And BE gave me a day's free internet on my birthday. They seem a lot more "real people" than Virgin ever did, even when the "real person" in india was telling me "you are needing to be upgrading your internet provisioning routering firmware and making sure your computering isn't running any viruses".

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Fair enough

They're being open and honest about the changes, which is to their credit. Now, just stop that "Unlimited Internet" bollocks, and most people won't have much to complain about - no false advertising, and no unknown quantities, so you know exactally what you're paying for, and should expect.

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Flame

Utter Bull

Stupid hypocritical company, on the one hand advertising super fast mega speed broadband and on the other throttling (read, punishing) users who actually take advantage of this.

Glad I left them when I did.

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S

Hm

I'm not too fussed, I think I'd struggle to reach the cap nowadays.

We've been with Cable + Wireless, NTL, Virgin Media etc. for about 7 years now - it was annoying when they started capping our 2 meg connection - because it was very easy to go over 1 gig. We're now on the XL package (unfortunately ADSL isn't available at high speed in our area).

Now, with a 6 gig cap, I'm not sure, unless you download high def. rips of movies which are up to about 10 gig in size - for these, they take too long to download during the day anyway, so I leave them on overnight which is outside the 'dangerous' period. On an average day, even with relatively high usage, I'd probably consume at most, 3 gig, plus whatever the rest of the family use.

Anyway, it's a lot of Linux disc images, and a *lot* of iPlayer. I can't really see this being such a huge issue, especially since you'd have to be doing something fairly illegitimate (at the moment) to consume that much bandwidth. Tell me if I'm wrong though.

That said, I have noticed that the net slows down horribly in the evening period, I wonder if that is because of the cap (I doubt it though) or because of the heavy traffic over the whole network.

Bring on fibre I say!

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Stop

Stop bitching, move to O2/Be

Uncapped and virtually unmanaged - certainly no DPI or throttling.

Can get a bit 'iffy' when the backhauls near capacity, but thats only happened badly once in 3ish years.. and I could still get ~12Mbps actual throughput.

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Unhappy

Lessons from history

First they came for the peak hour downloaders, and I did not speak out, for I was not a peak hour downloader

Then they came for the daytime downloaders...crap.

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The STM is a bugger but...

Just remember that outside the capping times the connection goes as fast as it can, all the time.

I can download for hours at almost 20Mbps consistently (assuming that I wanted to of course).

Not many ADSL offerings can supply that.

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False advertising

20mb downstream.

Lets do the maths, starting at midnight I start downloading at 20mb

10:30: I'm cut down to just 5mb which lasts for 5 hrs.

15:30: my speed returns to 20mb.

16:30: I'm cut down to 5mb again.

21:30: I get 20mb.

14 hours at 20mb

10 hours at 5mb

So they're claiming that for 10 hours of any day, I'll only receive 5mb (if I use the service, which is after all why I subscribe to it). So what I'm really paying for is about 13mb service which they're advertising as a 20mb service that they can't support. I'll only ever get 68.75% of the bandwidth they've sold me.

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Virgin ruined a good service

NTL were always a bit expensive, but reliable and pretty fast. Virgin took over the service, and it was miraculous: virtually overnight it became slow, customer service quality plummeted, and we had an average of one service outage *per day*, over a period of several months.

As far as cable broadband goes, these published numbers only tell half the story. You are highly unlikely to get even half your advertised speed at any time, and will be throttled to ridiculously low speeds for even thinking about using your service.

Drop it, move to a better provider. We're now with Be*, and getting a service more than four times the speed for a little over half what we were paying Virgin; and there's no throttling. At all.

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Paris Hilton

How much?!

6Gb in 5 hours!

Bloody hell! I didn't know that there was that much porn out there!

<Paris for obvious reasons>

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Stop

It doesnt take much....

The patch download for Age of Conan was 700mb. Xbox360 demo's regularly weigh in at well over 1Gb let alone the high def movies. Add to that iplayer and general web use and it doesnt take much to regularly hit those limits.

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Started as a good idea, getting worse...

I can understand the evening cap as a sensible way to cope with peak demand, and I approve very much of it being neutral to the kind of traffic. Also, it's easy to just not download at that time.

But having three different caps? Not so reasonable.

I don't get good enough upstream service to hit that one, anyway.

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Gates Horns

50Mb

Remember the new 50Mb service is on new Docsis3 hardware, and a pity they cannot find a way to kick off the people with cloned modems

Evil Bill because he would find a way

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AJ
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Honesty, Refreshing Change...

Its nice to see they are open and honest about the throttling system and letting customers know everything they need to know about it!

Its better than monthly caps and the issues with ADSL during peak times when you get a crap speed anyway in some cases where its unusable!

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Unhappy

Virgin is F*cked

I've been a customer of Telewest/Blueyonder/NTL/Virgin now for 15 years, and their motto back then was "what's the point of faster speeds if you end up capping your users?" I wish to hell that was still their philosophy.

In the period I have been with them they have gone from having good service, and excellent customer support to having terrible service - as one person has already commented, you're unlikely in some areas ever to be capped as they cannot supply the bandwith you pay for because of massive over-selling of their network capacity, and abysmal customer service - premium rate support lines, poor engineering support, long waits for replacements, and endless arguments with billing for refunds for loss of service (it will be in the /next/ bill, honest....).

If I had a BT line to my house, I'd be leaving VM faster than a ferret down a drain, but it's hard to get one installed without a BT contract.

My advice to anyone considering VM as a supplier is run away, terribly fast.

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Paris Hilton

Rule Number 1...

... any 'free' offer will be abused.

When our local cable company started they offered free unlimited phone calls to other cable users. They withdrew the offer when people started putting a phone by the cot and calling up their neighbours house so they could use it all day/night as a free baby monitor when they visited.

What I want out of a 'fast' internet connection is to get what I want , when I want it - fast. I don't want to pay the same for my intermittent hgh speed downloads as Mr BitTorrent king who downloads everything in the world 24/7 just because he might want it one day and 'anyway it's free so who cares'. Why should I? The current system only works because the cost of the infrastructure will cope with average use. If everyone used it like the 'top' 5% they would have to upgrade the system and the costs would go up.

I mean, think about it how can unlimited broadband even exist. It's like saying a car can travel at unlimited speeds because it has not been artificially restricted.

I'd welcome pay per Gb service to stop me sponsoring these bandwidth hogs and freeloaders. Stop whining and pay for what you use.

Paris. because she downs every load she can.

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