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back to article Virgin Media trials longer bandwidth throttling

Virgin Media's heaviest cable broadband users will be hit with tighter bandwidth throttling at peak times, as the firm tries to cope with increasing demand across its network. A trial has begun in the Preston area that sees the period when downstream and upstream speeds are cut extended by several hours. Once customers breach …

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Does it matter?

Does it matter? They're damn HTTP proxy server is broken AGAIN so all HTTP traffic is failing. E-mail and other protocols are working, but their "support notice" on their website just gives the usual guff about cable broadband and digital tv issues without saying anything meaningful... such as "we broke the proxy".

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Bye Bye

What's the point of having broadband when you are not able to use it ?

We will all be going back to using 9600 Baud modems at this rate. If they are so concerned about high level users why not introduce a ' all you can use and pay this amount ' subscription instead of capping legitmate users ?

I have 4 people in my household on my 10 meg connection & we hit the limits quite a bit as they stream the BBCi Player stuff to their devices. At this rate I shall be telling RB to stick his broadband up his arse.....

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just another sign they have the wrong business model

It's remarkable (hence this remark) that a business punishes it's customers for actually using the service they provide. What's even stranger is that the customers put up with it. We know they put up with it, as they don't do the obvious thing and change to a different supplier.

That Virgin Media have to go to these extremes, tells us that they have a completely wrong way of charging their customers. Imagine if Tesco did the same: pay £20 and cart-out all the food you like. However, if you do this, you'll be given a smaller basket.

Surely this lazy (and oh, so 1980's) way of billing people for the services they use needs to be completely thrown out and a more sensible approach of billing for resources consumed brought in?

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Stop

C*nts.

Damn them to hell. Will the torrent-strangling be thwarted by encryption?

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Improve service this way...

Don't oversell the product.

Tell the whole truth in the advertising, not in the middle of several pages of T&C's.

Offer packages with no caps, throttles, port blocking, or download limits.

Offer packages with caps, throttles and port blocking but make this obvious in the advertising, "subject to fair use" is not specific, is open to interpretation and bears no resemblance to a users vision of fair use.

Basically be honest and stop the deception.

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Happy

Up to 7 hours

It's not all bad news, as throttling is stopped at 23:00 hrs under the trial scheme. I suspect that this means that a large proportion of those who are throttled will be so for less time rather than more.

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Anonymous Coward

Gordon Bennett

Throttled after downloading 500Mb or 1Gb each day? It takes me about a month to get 1Gb to come to me down the intertubes. What is it I am depriving myself of? Or rather what is T-Mobe depriving me of?

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Is that all??

"Between 4pm and 9pm "M" subscribers can currently download 500MB before triggering a slow down,"

So, not even one copy of Ubuntu then.

Pathetic.

I'll stick with UKOnline, and their "couldn't give a toss, just don't take the piss" limits

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I think we are getting to the economy

I suspect we all know that when an ISP offers unlimited bandwidth they don't really mean it - which is bad.

On the the side it costs money to provide an internet connection and unless it is profitable no commercial company will offer this service.

So, it's not nice that Virgin are trottling, but at least they are being up front about it. maybe not as up front as their big 50Mb ads on TV, but we are finally starting to get to a point where we know what we are paying for.

I'm with Talktalk and just renewed my 18 month contract. They told me the limit was 40GB a month and i'm happy with that for the price I am paying...

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Stop

Welll im one of the 5 percent of heavy users then

What a joke, I have to admit that i am probably one of the 5% that virgin say are being greedy with there bandwith, after all this is why i joind there XL broadband, and why I pay all that money for my 20Mb line.

I can remember the good old days before, anyone else in the area had it, super fast music downloads, great online gaming experiance, not a care in the world, then the network got busy, and Virgin decided it needed to share out it resorces, and start to throttle back at peak times.

However I have to admit that I do not even notice the throttleing, as I never manage to get anyware near the bandwith that I am paying for, I have been doing regular speed tests on my cable line, and over the past two months I have been getting an average downstream of between 512kbs and 1mbs, and most of the time I actualy get a faster upstream than I do downstream......

So as you can imagine I don't even notice when they throtle me, this brings me to an interesting point, for months now i have been looking at theese speeds and thinking, about saving some money, and dropping down to one of the slower options, the only reason for not doing so, was the large amount of data, that I download and worying about capping, but looking at the figgs, perhaps i would be better of with just 2mbs broadband, after all this is faster than my current average speed, and even after capping it will not be any slower that I get at busy times ayway.

Best of all I save myself the money I need to get my V+ box, perhaps anyone else suffering like me, should do the same, if we all leave XL and tell them why then perhaps they will invest in there network, and actualy be able to supply the things they promise, lets face it 50mbs when it gets to my area, I don't hold out much hope, but who knows I might get an average of 2.5mbs....LOL

Stop sign as my data aint going noware fast

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Grrrrrr!

Why not just implement a monthly cap and give users some way to monitor usage? The way the current system works, and the wording is careful about this, the top five percent heaviest users AT ANY TIME are penalised with the slower rates. This is hardly fair. If I download a few ISOs from the Microsoft TechNet website I can download anything from 250Mb up to and above 8Gb. However, I would only do this once in a while as I store them and only download new versions.

With the current system even though I only go over the threshold maybe once a month, if that, yet I'm still classed the same as those who, for whatever reasons they may have, download almost 24/7. I'm sure it sounds balanced but my usage will be nowhere near as high as others but it's slowed to a crawl just the same. Before the cries of "download overnight" come out that isn't always an option and what about those spur of the moment downloads?

As it stands I don't know what I'd suggest but it's pretty clear the network is struggling since this is the third change of the throttling timers to date by my count.

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all users?

""The aim of this trial is to enhance the way we do this, limit the number of people who have their speeds moderated and ultimately improve the service we deliver to all our customers,"

hardly "all" customers. Perhaps the majority, but if Im a heavy downloader (and why shouldnt i be, its an "unlimited" service after all) and get restricted, i am hardly going to see my service improve am I ?

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Stop

Stop overselling then

Maybe their network team should get their marketing team to stop selling bandwidth that they plainly don't have.

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Paris Hilton

Bastards all!

Faster Downloads = faster exceeding of limits=throttle (& pay more for the privilege)

Only if there was competition in cable. Whats the point of exceeding your download limit 10 times faster and then twiddle yr thumbs for the next 29 days of the month?

Its really a contradiction in action. Nothing sane going on in blighty.

Only the other day on BBC did we see a report of 100mbps trials, but to what end? At that rate, one can exceed the monthly allowance in seconds!

Paris, cos even she would know her limits!

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Boffin

Cue moaning

Expect the usual response to this - people whining that they should get totally unlimited 20Mb connections for ~£35 a month when businesses pay thousands for unmetered leased lines, how it's perfectly possible to hit caps watching iPlayer etc as opposed to pirating music, movies & games 24/7 like a madman, people moaning that "unlimited should be 100% unlimited", etc.

Whilst I would consider myself an above-average Internet user I've only fallen foul of the bandwidth cap a couple of times that I can remember. I'd wager that the 5% that are routinely capped are the most vocal, most fickle and least likely to pay for anything that can get by other means for free. What an odd coincidence!

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W*nkers....

Good work Virgin...after all we can't have customers actually using the service they've paid for that would just be ridiculous.....

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Could be longer, could be shorter...

The new trial releases the STM at 23:00 regardless of when you activated it. That means for most people who trigger the limit in the evening, the STM period will be shorter, not longer...

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At least they are up front about it.

I currently pay £42 a month for Virgin's 'L' broadband and TV packages plus V+ DVR and landline phone. Crunching the numbers, there's no way I can get comparable broadband, TV and phone for that sort of money from anyone else, comparable TV service from sky costs over £20, phone line rental £11, leaving about £10 to cover broadband - doesn't work. And throttling aside, the 10mbps from virgin actually is 10mbit, whereas ADSL in my area can't come close to that.

I suspect what they are really trying to do is squeeze those limits in order to upsell people onto a faster and more expensive package, not because they need the speed, but in order to get the higher data allowances. From the look of the virgin website, the 'M' broadband package is disappearing, and the 10mbps 'L' is becoming the entry level package, so it's not too unreasonable. I might even upgrade to the 20mbps myself, only downside is knowing virgin I'll be well out of pocket compared to a new customer.

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Flame

Hey, Berkett...

..."...ultimately improve the service we deliver to all our customers,", eh? How about PUTTING IN SOME EXTRA FUCKING CAPACITY, then, Mister Fifty Fucking Megabit?

Need Evil Berkett icon.

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Ash
Flame

So, what to do...

Do I drop Virgin for a rubbish service from BT? Do I forget about broadband altogether?

You know what REALLY irritates me? I agree with this service. I agree that we (nationally) benefit from throttling, in the same way the M42 benefits from variable speed limit. Traffic flows better for everybody. Go communism.

What I DON'T agree with is that by continuing my heavy use through this cut-down period, I risk being disconnected. Well guess what... I DON'T STOP WATCHING IPLAYER BECAUSE THE INTERNET IS SLOWER. I'd be happy if it was "instead of" disconnections, but it's not. You cut down or you lose your connection.

[Car analogy alert] Try telling a driver he can't use the roads anymore because he's spent too much time doing 70mph on the motorway. Then tell him he can't claim his road tax, car insurance, fuel costs, and value of the car because some arbitrary limit was breached.[/car anology alert]

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improve the service we deliver to all our customers

Except those who get throttled.

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Flame

Heaviest 5 %

Alternatively anyone who buys stuff or gets demo's from the playstation store, Anyone who watches a couple of episodes of something like Dr Who on iplayer. Anyone who downloads a linux DVD. Or goes and gets ~12 albums on itunes

I say well done to virgin for punishing all of the criminals who do the things outlined above? Oh wait, those are perfectly normal activities........ Vote with your feet like I did, move over to another ISP.

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Stop

Why are people with them?

Thank god I not with this bunch of bullshitting wankers. Only the other day I had a leaflet saying I could get 8mb broadband and unlimited downloads.

They clearly have a different dictionary to myself.

I'll stick with 02. Half the price and no capping!

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Ah, throttling

The polite way of saying capping, something VM insist they don't do. If they didn't keep over subscribing and selling 20Mbit/s and 50Mbit/s on a network that can't handle it, then they would need to cap us.

Here's a thought, why not offer 500Mbit/s but then throttle the moment we download over 2mb

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Alternatively

Alternatively.. "Virgin Media customers trial less crappy ISPs." Reminds me of this lot - http://www.virginmediasucks.com/

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Anonymous Coward

VPN's etc.

So what if a person works from home and uses a VPN connection? If they download & upload a lot of data files - video, word docs, presentations etc. you'd be pretty miffed to find your download limit reached and these files taking an eternity to send/receive

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W

Before I get outraged...

How many MB would, say, an hour of BBC iPlayer equate to?

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Why bother?

You've already bent your customers over the desk, just get stuck in and throttle it 24 hours!

Tell you what you obviously still have some customers, Dawkin's knows how, but tell you what. They are obviously stupid enough to stay with you scumbags, so simply charge them full price for your top of the range connection and simply give them the slowest you can get away with! Everyone's a winner!

The quicker VM go under, get bought out by someone with some bloody sense, the quicker I will go back, until then VM can get stuffed! You can pipe everyone in my street with 1GB fibre ( throttled of course ) I would never come back so long as Beardy owns them!

Sky/BT ADSL might be a bit crap but at least I get a warning before I get bent over by them!!

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Hmmm...

bethere.co.uk

It's easy to shift to a network with newer technology, better definitions of fair use and a far better experience.

I don't work for them, I am a customer, and can't understand why muppets are using services like virgin media if they can get broadband from BE.

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Gates Horns

And that's why I moved to Sky

and took their unlimited package.

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Iam off

Its about time I changed my ISP. Thanks Virgin for the push.

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Coat

Idiots

Web usage is on the increase, they know this. I don't see why they don't splash the cash on some better infrastructure instead of punishing customers. Most people assume that the only reason for consuming this much bandwidth is Torrents, but one game demo from Xbox Live , downloading an ISO image from somewhere or heavy data streaming will trigger the limit, sometimes long before your download is complete. All this is going to do is drive heavy users away from the service, and we're all smart enough to see that's exactly the plan. They want people who barely use the service to pay them money which is all profit and get rid of the heavy users who cost them money. They can't just kick you off the service, imagine the bad press, so they do this where only the IT community hears about it and whines about it and the average Joe is none-the-wiser. I know they're a business and they're in this to make money, but they shouldn't be selling a product which isn't profitable if people choose to use it. I hope they slowly fade away and die.

Britain used to be known for it's scientific and technologic prowess, now look at us. Crappy broadband speeds and restricting what little we have. What must Japan be thinking of us now?

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Tee
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The good old days

I remember the good old days with trusty NTHELL,

all you could download, 24/7, so why can't Vermin handle it?

Time to get that dual wan router i think........

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Tom

Much different from other ISP?

The main difference I can see between this and what other ISPs do is that other ISPs will charge you extra for each Gb (Mb for mobile BB) that you go over your allowance if they don't apply throttling.

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Stop

"limit the number of people who have their speeds moderated"

Yes. Lets "limit" the number of people by *increasing* the monitoring time therefore *increasing* the numbers snared in this.

Get these PR idiots a dictionary.

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Paris Hilton

Heaviest users

I get the feeling their idea of heaviest users is a bit out of date now. With more people using VoIP, iPlayer and Youtube I wouldn't be surprised if they started to download more then 1.2GB over a few hours. I mean I can download a Linux CD ISO in about 20 to 30 minutes on my 8 meg connection or in just under an hour when I used to be on 2 meg.

I can't help but think that Virgin should be investing in the network capacity so they can actually provide the service that their customers are paying for without implementing throttling before spending millions on providing 50 Meg speeds (which no doubt will be throttled to hell once they are released nationwide - well, throughout the Virgin Media network anyway).

I was mulling over going over to Virgin for their 10 meg service with basic TV and the V+ box but I think I'll stay where I am for now.

I say bring back the glory days of Telewest (I'm an ex-NTL also an ex-Telewest customer when I moved, things weren't too back a few years back).

Paris because sometimes I wish someone would throttle her, or at least throttle that bloody crappy TV show she's in.

Rob

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Cue the moaning about VM

Ok. I'm sure there are by now many moaning posts about VM. I won't join them, I think they do an ok service. I do however object to them suddenly changing "the rules". Surley this should be a contract change?

On a side note, when are OFCOM going to spank these so called "unlimited" claims that are instead covered by FUP's?

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Bunch of useless.....

Well, surly this counts as a change to the t&c's? Could people use this to cancel out of any contracts they have?

Personnally, they are a bunch of useless twonks. I'm on their adsl package and am limited to 5GB per week (cumulitive over peak time all traffic)... on an unlimitied package of course... They were "kind" enough to knock £9.99 off each bill after their 3rd ISPA created complaint. Cant wait till the end of this month, then it is all bye bye bye to them

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Unhappy

I blame BT for this.

Because they're too cheap to replace 50 year old phone lines I, and others I know, are stuck with Virgin.

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What is the point?...

... in trumpeting services up to 50Mbps, then crippling it with restrictive caps. Watching a couple of programmes on iPlayer would be enough to trigger the dreaded garrot. What a swizz.

I can see the way this is going. Along with the targeting of BT, I'll be seriously considering my contract renewal. I'm happy to download stuff overnight but these guys are now just going out of their way to inconvenience people.

Proof if any were needed that VM drastically oversold their network. Where's the bloody regulator? Of course, they are like the FSA, in the pockets of the people they are supposed to "regulate"?

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This post has been deleted by its author

Load of wank

How about they stop overselling beyond their capacity and work on improving that, rather than punishing people who actually try and use what they advertise to the full extent.

Yes I know, all been said before, blah blah. Doesn't make it any less true though.

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Gah!

Bastards!

As one of those 'high end users', I can tell you that the 20mb line I supposedly have seems to function for about 60 minutes before being throttled. This happens regardless of the time of day, or night, I download and seem to persist for the following five hours...

...I think it's time I examined their T&Cs and asked for the contract I signed that lets them do this. As I was an original CableTel (pre-NTL) customer, I think they might just be on shaky ground.....

Again: Bastards!

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Flame

What are we paying them for exactly?

So sick of ISP's complaining when people use thier broadband to its full potential.

Virgin have a 3gig download cap on the 20mbit connection,

Say your lucky and and get the magic 2 meg a second speed, you hit your cap after only 25 mins!

So you get to use your nice big 20mbit connection at full speed for 25 mins a day!

Why cant BT and Virgin just own up, You can pay for a 16, 20 or even 50mbit connection but the reality is thier network cant handle more than a 2mbit connection for any serious length of time.

They incresed the speed without having the capacity to feed it!

I have 2 people using Computers and 2 using xbox 360's on my line but it craps out after about an hour.

I dont blame Bit torrent users one bit, they pay for thier line and have just as much right to hammer it all they want

I bet more traffic flows over Virgin from people using You Tube & BBC Iplayer than Bit torrent.

lets face it, the vast majority of people who go for the 20mbit and now 50mbit lines on virgin are using bit torrent, One of the reasons speeds are increasing so much is to cater for these users in the first place!

My personal view is that what ever internet connection you have, should be capable of being used for 8 hours a day at the maximum speed your package states.

Most packages dont even last 1 hour before some cap kicks in.

High speed Broadband! Its a Con

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Won't make any difference to me

At he moment I never get above 2Mbit on my 20Mbit connection 5pm-1AM anyway. I've put two complaints in so far and not had a single person call me back. Their network is so oversubscribed in my area it's untrue. Boooooo!

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Unhappy

Nope

Well, normally I'd bang on about throttling being unacceptable. But it doesn't matter, because my experience of NTL and the possibility of being badly inPHORMed would drive me off anyway.

Oh, and if the PR people are capable of lying with such incompetance (last paragraph), then I've got even less confidence in the management.

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Suuure

"Virgin Media maintains on the trial information page that as its current national policy, only the heaviest five per cent of users will hit the data limits on a given day."

Yes, I had no idea only 5% of their customers ever used the iplayer, downloaded a game demo, browsed youtube for a bit etc etc etc.

I can hit their pathetic caps just by playing games, I highly doubt only 5% of users get capped.

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at least the are being upfront

schedule stuff to download out of the peak times and you can download 6GB or more an hour on the 20 meg service , so what is the problem ?

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Damn

Glad I jumped ship a year ago.

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Pob

Nice

By my maths, a size M connection could download 900MB per hour.

You get capped if you average 125MB per hour.

But the cap then allows you to download at 450MB per hour

So that is bollocks to start with.

But then the cap is active mostly during the non-peak time, so that is bollocks.

Something stinks about Virgin.

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