back to article Virgin throttles national cable network

Virgin Media has quietly rolled out bandwidth throttling nationwide, after successful technical trials in the North West, which the ISP says means a group of heavy users will sacrifice high speeds for the benefit of the majority. Speeds on the cable network will be limited between 4pm and midnight for traffic which Virgin …


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All you can eat does not mean you have it all to yourself...

If you went to an all-you-can-eat for a fiver lunch and some fat bastard was stood hogging all the pies you would be pretty pissed off. So why should someone hog all the pipe?

So why is this any different, the bandwidth is not unlimited, so when it is busy you may have to let someone else have a slice or two. Sure you paid for a speed and you get it for 20 hours of the day if your a very heavy user, if you restrict your movie downloading to when your not in or asleep you will still have more than enough to watch when you are. But at peak times you will have to share.

I can not believe the amount of people spitting their dummies out. Welcome to the real world, which happens to be full of other people.


People dont know the difference

How many people who have posted on here dont know what the word "capped" means.

For example, orange u get just 2gb a month on their "free broadband", if you continue to go over this, they will look at disconnecting you. Thats the definition of a usage cap.

Max out the connection and I can easily download triple that in a day.

Virgin media is unlimited. and if its only going to affect a mere 5 percent of people, it just goes to show that a lot (and I mean the majority), dont download 350mb in peak times,

I also dont dont think virgin has set these limits without first looking at peoples usage.

Quit moaning people, all you have to do is leave your computer on after midnight to download all your torrents because thats where all the massive amounts of data come from at the end of the day.



Can anybody tell me what legal use they make of all this bandwidth? It seems to me that complaining that Virgin are making it harder ( actually just a bit slower) to steal things is just a litle bit...weird. It seems particularly strange when the 'victims' complain about Virgin's business ethics. But maybe I'm just being a bit old-fashioned?


What People Are Forgetting...

Is Virgin Media is just a re-branded name of NTL. People seem to be assuming that prices went up, service declined etc etc since it was virgin when all that happened there was they package names changed and they re-branded. Its still ran by NTL's CEO...

The people who are unhappy the most is ex Telewest customers as its these who have suffered the most with the shit services NTL customers have always been dumped with which has now been passed on to ex Telewest such as outsourced india contact centres with POOR customer service, POOR faults ETC

Yes OK, So richard branson is a shareholder in the company, but he dees not make the decisions himself. So maybe complaints should be directed to the CEO in written format so they can understand how many customers they have pissed off with things such as increase tv cost loss of channels, telephone charges going per min, broadband throttling, poor service from outsourced centres etc etc etc



Also people complaining that it's fast download from some sources but not from others - all the servers don't just sit on the edge of the VM network, there are other things such as the particular server being hammered by other downloaders, or speed restrictions imposed on that server to allow more people access to it, issues with OTHER people's networks - all out of VM's control.

2mbit/s guaranteed upstream and downstream with no contention (i.e. SDSL) comes in at about £200 a month - so yeah anyone who thinks £20 a month for something faster is off their trolley...


Ex-Telewest, ex-Cable London customers!

AJ is in the right of it. VM is NTK rebranded, which merged with Telewest, which took over Cable London.

Cable London was brilliant back in the day, with a fast reliable service (uncontended in my street) and superb Scouse-accented tech support who answered the phone promptly and would take all the time in the world to solve my (mercifully rare) problems.

But with demand comes contention, and this is at the heart of it. Last century I was probably the only Cable London broadband customer in my street. Now I can see typically see eight or 10 wireless networks in the evening, and speeds up and down are therefore piss-poor.

A contention ratio of 20:1 means there are potentially 19 other customers competing for bandwidth (and any may have more than one workstation active -- we often have three or four). If throttling the big downloaders is needed to keep response times within the realms of reason, that's all right by me.

What is unforgivable are the increasing frame drop-out and black-outs on the Virgin Media TV service, and the glitchy phone calls. I'm surprised nobody has yet mentioned this.

Anonymous Coward

Telwest & Self-Install

I used to be really happy with my 10mb Telewest connection (plus TV & phone - though I now use Vonage) But since Virgin have taken over the service has been slowly going down the proverbial toilet. What is frustrating about this is I didn't have a choice - one morning there was this ridiculous and pointless glossy pamphlet on my door mat and that was it. I feel sure that Sky wouldn't have pulled the channels if Virgin hadn't taken over - in fact everyone would have been better off if Virgin hadn't taken over?

On a different note I support the broadband networks in a large number of student houses. Last year they all needed new modems installing. The self-install packs were brilliant! I was free to set each modem up (and a lot neater than the "engineers" seem capable of) and not once was I treated like a single-celled amoeba during the simple registration process. I hope this is still available.


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Anonymous Coward

This is a hidden clause

What really annoys me is that Virgin's broadband web site still advertises the service as completely unlimited 20Mb/s AND states that the upgrade from 10 to 20 will be 'seamless' with no reference to this throttling. For this they have earned a complaint to the Advertising Standards Agency from me.


Reduce your Virgin Broadband bill

..By ringing up and complaining about the service and how you are going to switch to Sky / another ISP.

I live in Preston and since last year I've been experiencing problems 'because of the UBR in Liverpool'. After about 20 calls in 6 months to report that my 10 meg connection was barely achieving 1 meg I called the disconnection team to inform them I was leaving.

Miraculously, they found that they could not only offer me a �20 'we're sorry' credit, they could also reduce my monthly broadband bill so currently (and for the next 6 months) I am getting 20 meg for only �16 / month.


What is normal usage???

I have just started a map download for a popular xbox 360 title. The size of these new maps = 487.18MB, if i download a couple of xbox demos say 200 MB then tried to do the maps i would be considered an abuser???

The benchmark figure is WOEFULLY low even for NORMAL gaming use.

I'm glad they didnt go for capping, but they do need to adjust that figure a tad ;)

Brandson - since you took over, the service and BS has been spin doctored pretty well - however, you are rapidly loosing a nations respect. You were considered the man who whatever you touched, came to no harm, these days are different, even your new trains don't work - bah!


Virgin have lost the broadband battle

This action by Virgin has outraged customers in the Virgin internal newsgroups. customers are complaining about why they brought out a 20MB connection when it's quite clear that the infrastructure cannot cope.

As a result of Virgin keeping up with the high speed stakes, the customer has to suffer for it. some customers voicing their opinions in the groups are met with threats of suspension from the service, or sarcastic and arrogant remarks from some members of staff.

A blind user was suspended for asking too many questions, and not being quick enough to read a warning. this company has sunk to an all time low.

New customers do not know about these limits being applied to what is believed to be an unlimited service, Virgin don't want to put it anywhere in the sign up process of their site to inform anyone. They would much sooner we all find out about it from The Register again.


Captain, she canne take any more

It's not about throttling or capping. It's a marketing thing.

"Look at us, we have the fastest broadband available". I've been with blueyonder since the start when 512k cost £55 and everytime ADSL takes a leap, BY responds by upping the speed. BT announced 8mb adsl suddenly BY offers 10mb. Now with adsl2 appearing, Virgin media aka Byonder announce 20mb broadband. The only problem is they can't support it on their infrastructure.

It's a contest, body parts flashing in the wind with Virgin media saying "mines bigger than yours", but only if we don't all use it at once.


Bandwidth is expensive?

How can people here be telling us that the bandwidth cable buys is expensive? Cable OWN the pipes and lines. Didn't NTL buyout C&W? Don't C&W own the pipelines anyway (the major ones) and NTL own all the infrastructure within Britain? So how can you try and compare it to ADSL companies having to buy pipelines from BT etc?

It's simply not the same or am I missing something?

Anyway I got rid of NTL (I wont call it Virgin as it simply isn't, it's a rebrand nothing more) this month finally, fed up with the the modem and interactive dying every 30 mins or so and having to constantly reboot everything. Engineers couldn't solve the problem, they could only say it was a known fault in the area and do nothing about it (last place I lived up the road was excellent, never had any problems). So after a year of this I finally got the problem solved, the service was removed.

Can't say I'll miss it. As for the throttling, I think it's pretty shameful the way they are doing it.

If their userbase is going down then in theory you should all have more bandwidth to play with and no need for throttling, recent figures are showing that people are pretty much leaving in droves, so why are they feeling the need to throttle so harshly? They are punishing everyone and yet they have less customers, I think NTL wants to implode.

People need to stop comparing bandwidth on adsl with cable, it's completely different, there are middlemen in adsl situations, none with NTHell.

And the ADSL situation is just a joke anyway, instead of upgrading the infrastructure they throttle everyone with the excuses of illegal downloading, heavy users etc (*place your excuse here) when in actual fact its people using the internet normally for a fast 8mbit (or whatever they have) in todays environment with movies and games on demand services where they have simply oversubscribed on the line. It's called greed and I think something should be done about it. Put it this way, it's going to come to the point where all these companies offering on demand services (music, games and video) are going to sue the isp's because they are going bust, why would I pay £10 a month for games that I can't download? So the whiners about illegal downloading, stop spouting the rubbish the isp['s are feeding you, metaboli is an on demand games service, they have games available that are up to 4gb in size, there are video services that download movies that are up to 3gb in size we aren't all illegal downloaders.

And what happens when MS get their way with .net? The days are coming when ALL your software will be streamed, Adobe are doing it, MS are doing it with some things already and it's set to happen all over. ISP's need to stop milking customers and over subscribing, the airlines are overbooking and getting into trouble for it, why aren't ISP's?


Wtf Virgin!! 750mb.. on your bike!!

I pay for a service and its my fault that i use my internet for streaming video & music or have to download a patch for a game!! Virgin will now tell me that 750mb is my limit and will half my speed cos of this!!!

All i can say to that is...

Adsl here i come...


At least I'm on ADSLMax...

Back in the days when NTL was still digging up the roads around where I live I considered signing up to their broadband service... and I'm glad I didn't. Horror stories and experience from working with customers having issues makes me happy to be on ADSL. I've had a fair few changes of ISP, from Freeserve/Wanadon't/Orange to PlusNet to BT Business Broadband. Each time of changing it's because either the ISP's network hasn't been able to cope (Freeserve) or they have made a move similar to Virgin (PlusNet). As a developer and remote worker I use my internet connection heavily, and I am willing to pay the £35/mo to BT Business for what seems to be a far superior service.

Also with regards to Lee Sexton's post, yes NTL do own the cabling and the infrastructure of _their_ network (which doesn't maintain or upgrade itself for free), but a large chunk of the cost is introduced when the data leaves their networks, and on to other data peering providers which provide transit to servers held on other ISPs, nationally and internationally, for example: BT, Level3, Linx (and many more), ie the rest of the Internet. Also with regards to various other posts, yes connectivity is contended on the ISP side, but not every web server is on multi-gigabit internet connections - they don't necessarily have the bandwidth/transit/server power to maintain everybody at a top data transfer rate.

OK enough babbling - back to the subject of the original article. A colleague at work has noted his connection has already been throttled pretty much since the announcement of the new packages.

Also they could reduce their costs by reducing their customer signup tactics - where I work we are paid a commision every customer we pass on to them (£20 if memory serves), even if they don't sign up. I definitely won't be earning any comission from VM after reading this.


Stop moaning and leave....

This is a good thing for normal users. I am sick of getting shit speeds in the evenings because some spotty oik wants to download 50 torrents.....

Good on you VM!

I love the way some plusnet guy comes and trys to wind people up. As an ex plusnet customer I am so glad to be with VM now.

Plusnet was just a joke. Their support is a joke. Now I have a solid 20MB line with hardly any problems....

I would never go back to adsl until BT allow a bare copper service (IE: no BT line required for BB) and then I would only go with someone like eclipse.....




Do vm have to open up their cable lines to other broadband supliers so they can offer it cheaper than vm, like BT do.

If not why not.

Shoulden't someone in goverment be protecting people against this false advertising, if you pay for 4mb (or whatever) unlimited then it should be 4mb all the time your paying.

If i'm a spotty oik then alans a tosser once the bunnies are left the prices will go mad, then you low users will be crying like the whimpy losers you are. Because you will be paying alot more, all the time to whoever tells you that everyone else is bad and your not because your paying for something you almost don't use and they want what there paying for.

Bet you've got a water meter.



gaming always drops when upgrades come around

as a telewest customer for the 6 years (2 on dial up) i have noticed a pattern.

when i 1st got BB it was a 512kbs line with 64kbs upload.

i got really good ping times on a game(q3)

then it went up to 1mb with 128k upload,could use 2 computers and get low ping times in games.

then when free up grade's started to happen then ping times were out the window.

i had this for nearly 6months ( due to overloaded UBR) they took on to many customers,and didn't have the bandwidth.

ubr utilization was at 80-90% until they upgraded then it fell to 60 all was well.

but now it has resurfaced with the 20mb upgrade,

my money says the ubr is maxing out due to insufficient bandwith to cope with increase in speed.

VM need to stop worrying about getting as many new customers thinking they can have 20mb and keep there service at a level there ubr can handle.

they could even cap taking on new customer's until they can upgrade accordingly(yeh like thats going to happen)



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