back to article Virgin Media eases off bandwidth throttling

Fewer Virgin Media subscribers will fall foul of the cable company's bandwidth-throttling policies for shorter periods when they are rejigged in the new year. High speed internet is at the centre of new boss Neil Berkett's plan to turn around VM. From "early 2008" the top three per cent of uploaders and the top three per cent …

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  1. BoldMan
    Unhappy

    "Theoretical 20Mbs" is a very apt description!

    I'm on that plan and I don't think I've EVER come close to reaching it. I'm lucky to get 2Mbs down at most times. I uploaded one of my own videos to my FTP server (hosted in California it must be said) and never went above 750Kps for the whole time.

    I'm locked into the 12 month contract for the VIP package (a total rip off!) until March, at which time I'll be downgrading to the 2Mbs broadband and dumping the rest of the package (I don't watch Sky Sports or Sky Movies, nor do I have ANY use for a second cable box).

    List me as another ex-Telewest user who loved Telewest but hates VirginMedia, but hates the BT crapola ADSL even more!

  2. Matt

    Not Bad.....

    But could be better.

    If they were going to halve instead of quarter the top pack I might consider it.

    Seems like the 4mb is still the best way to go.

  3. Shell
    Thumb Down

    No change then

    Given I can get nowhere near my 20Mbit line speed (most I've ever see is around 8Mb, central Edinburgh), even if they did cap me I'd see no difference then. The Virgin network is horribly slow at the best of times. Can't wait until they release their 50Mb service. At least then maybe I'll get over 10Mbit. *sigh*

  4. Test Man
    Thumb Down

    What about ADSL users?

    There's nothing about ADSL users anywhere. Are Virgin marginalising those users?

  5. Mark

    Any idea of how we'll know?

    Or will it just be for "reasons of bandwidth allocation"? I.e. nothing I can take them to task for because I can't get any proof?

    When this was a limited trial in one area (reported on The Register) I phoned and told them if the rolled it out to me, I'd leave. The lady told me it was only because that particular area (Rochester? Can't remember) was bad and was not going to be rolled out UK wide. Smelled piscine to me.

    So they rolled it out

    So I left.

    They couldn't keep their promises then and why should I believe them now? I don't.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Getting there...

    A move in the right direction...

    Of course I'm on crappy copper, so I dream of downloading 300mb in 4 hours!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much is enough?

    Is this the boss of VM who only a few weeks ago was saying that the UK didn't need a new network infrastructure because 50MBit/sec was "enough"? Or was that a different boss of a different Virgin Media?

  8. Tony Makos

    An upload limit?

    That's a cheeky inclusion - there was no limit on upload at all until now....

    This isn't easing off at all.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Theoretical speed

    Theoretically, an ISP can offer 100Mbs. Reality is more like 1Mb.

    While I'm not a 'valued' customer of VM, a colleague of mine is and he says at night, he'd be better of on dial up.

    My own 'provider' promises me 16Mbs, which in reality is around 3Mbs. Not bad but could be bettter.

    They'd all be better off not promising the earth and delivering Watford Gap. Invest in infrastructure methinks. Customers before profit because looking after your customers will improve profitability in the long run for these short-sighted gits.

  10. Paul

    @BoldMan

    Given that you don't use half of what it included in the VIP package surely its your fault for signing up for it not that its a rip off. Given that if you do use all the parts of the VIP package it costs considerably less than buying those parts individually it would be hard to call it a rip off. When I when onto the VIP I got better services for about 30 quid a month less than I was paying. Can't say I feel ripped off.

  11. Tony Barnes
    Happy

    Speed was never a problem...

    ..for me when I was a Virgin customer. Had their 2mb line and got exactly that.

    Worked best when grabbing stuff straight off their newsgroups mind....

  12. Steve Pettifer

    4Mb package unfairly hammered

    Considering the cost of the 4 meg package (2/3 of the cost of the 20 meg), it seems a touch unfair to throttle it to just 1/4 the speed: Halving would be more palatable. I also think this should be the case on the alleged 20 meg service (although plenty of colleagues and friends tell me that they might as well be permanently capped seeing as they never actually get 20 meg they're supposedly paying for).

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tech savy

    I'm as tech savvy as they come and find it difficult to translate their policy in to an end user experience, but why oh why must consumers be barraged with nonsensical numbers. If t > 1800 and D < 300 then Apply_Limit [Let T1 =-4x60] else ....

    you get the picture.

    Im also not convinced that throttling based on a percentage (3%) will give the desired result. Percentages scale with magnitude of the underlying number, so whether this means that traffic is being appropriately managed I remain unassured.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Good News...

    ... But from the sound of it the M & L customers wont be getting a speed increase in the near future so left out in the cold again!

    I think the M ones limits before throttling is good, but the higher plans should have bigger limits and I agree 20MB should only be halved like the others!!!!!!!!

    If they really want to be known as premium broadband provider they should increase the plans to the following:

    Medium: 4MB £15.00

    Large: 10MB £25.00

    Xtra Large: 20MB £37.00

    XXL: 50MB £50.00

  15. Andy S

    makes me think i've been conned

    I have the L package, and actually get around 3.5Mb/sec!!

    I can't say i've noticed this throttling, but i must exceed the current limit on a daily basis, 750MB is next to nothing!

    I do hope virgin realise that they are the closest thing the country has to a decent broadband infrastructure (scarey isn't it?) and remove these limits entirely.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    How can fewer be affected?!

    They are counting the upload now as well as the download, so more will be affected not less.

    They have even extended the 4 hours to 5 hours!

    And guess what! instead of dropping you down to 2Mb you'll be dropped to 1Mb!

    So let's recap.

    Let us disregard the 3% Virgin are saying, they would say that because we were getting sick of hearing the 5% everytime. 3% sounds so much better than 5% but not as good as maybe 1& they'll come up with the next time.

    Anyway, let's recap.

    Upload is now counted, so will affect more people than it did before as it was only download that counted before.

    2Mb was bad enough, now let's have something to really complain about, you'll now get only 1Mb.

    Instead of that slow 1Mb for 4 hours, it's been extended another 1 hour to 5 hours!

    Everything's so much better now!

    SUPERSONIC BROADBAND! YEH! YEH! YEH!

  17. Anigel

    theoretical 20mb is wrong

    I have no difficulty getting 20mbs down from various high capacity servers around the world.

    The problem that most people complain about not getting much over 2MB is just that they are talking megaBYTES not megaBITS,

    Or they are talking about upload which is not 20mb but is < 1mb or they are visiting oversubscribed sites that do not have the bandwidth to spare 20mbs on a single visitor.

  18. captain kangaroo

    Boldman...

    blimey,, you know... ntl/telwest/VM whatever badge they put on it, the infrastructure is the same.

    Look,, this is what happened. they got the customers on board but didn't invest in the network because of all the debt and posturing and waiting to be bought out by Liberty et al... Now the merger is fully underway and the re-branding is full steam ahead, money is starting to be spent on upgrading the network. DOCSIS 3.x... etc

    They are letting go of the reigns a bit because they can. It's still better than BT, and since there are only 2 networks in the UK you might as well choose between BT and VM. (Virtually everyone else is backhauled over these two)... But since BT rely on ADSL, you have to choose VM simply because ADSL is a complex and tacky service, bolted onto an old network, whereas Cable is a very high bandwidth network that is much more scalable and manageable.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    bloody hell...

    ...you lot don't know you're born!

    "i wish i could get the full 20Mbit out of my connection"

    i remember when the internet moved at the speed of mashed swede! because some of the backbone was made of it...

  20. David Shepherd

    Re: Theoretical 20Mbs

    20Mbs is the download speed ... VM cable is asymetric and for XL the upload speed is 768kbs max ... so if you had 750kbs for a transfer to west coast US then it was working pretty well.

    N.b. one point is that it is now potentially throttling uploads - previously I think it was downloads. This may be another nail in the coffin of iplayer etc as the argument was that ISP only metered/throttled downloads so it didn't matter if iplayer was continually uploading data from you PC!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Wonder if it will work too?

    I'm on their 20 mb "service" and am getting quite fed up of their throttling kicking in without my system having either uploaded or downloaded. I am a heavy user at times but that is what I (expected) and paid for.

    I am currently on a 3 month freebie with them but when that ends I am downgrading as its simply not worth paying 37 quid for broadband you cannot use.

  22. Rob Haswell
    Thumb Up

    20mbit fine in Leeds

    In the Leeds area (Headingley and previously the nearby town of Harrogate) I can get full 20mbit whenever I connect to something capable of giving that to me. Now, I'll tell you this for sure, that is a rare occurance. Not much on the net is designed to feed you stuff at over 2MB/s, but I have a client on a 100mbit dedicated host and I can get top speed from that server at nearly all times of the day. It's slightly less in the evenings - around 1.5MB/s.

    I used to see those speeds on a regular basis before 10/23... sniff.

  23. Darren Coleman
    Thumb Up

    Re: Theoretical 20Mbs

    I get 2Mbytes/sec pretty consistently on VM both inside and outside of the threshold times, so no complaints at all on that front.

    However I, like a lot of people I'd wager, would happily forfeit some of the insane download speed (especially in light of the capping) for more upload speed. Not looking to host a website or anything but it would be nice to be able to stream my Sky box output at a nice bitrate. :)

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Heh...

    So glad I got off all these "Fair Use Policy" ISP's before the fit hit the shan. Zen is my new home. Granted, I have a 50gb max download per month before I'm capped...but providing I don't go mad with downloading I'm usually good. Also no cap on uploads, no traffic shaping or anything which makes most ISPs bad. ;)

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Too little Too late

    I was with virgin for 5 years. In that time I have exprienced the level or competance akin to a ameba ordering a meal in McDonalds with Burger king vouchers. The indian call center is a waste of my hearing and has NEVER done anything for me. I only ever got joy dealing with the liverpool call center - sad but factualy 100% my experience.

    I see people with cloned modems left right and center - campaigned for VM to sort, told then how to do it. they have not done a thing, instead only cripperling paying customers. So I joined them after I foolishy refered 3 friends only to find no 3x£30 loaytay payments, no. It actualy cost me. After 2 months chassing the payments due to me and also the extra charges to call them to sort out there many mistakes I though fuck em and got a cloned modem and there is nothing there going to do about it.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Theoretical sppeds

    The highest i've got out the 20mb package is 18.6Mb/s or 2.3MB/s.

    That wasn't it just peaking out, it ran at that speed for a few hours.

    Since then it seems to have dropped abit, late at night/early in the morning I get around 15Mb/s.

    At the minute (17.12) i'm getting 11.3Mb/s 1.4MB/s, will probably drop to around 8Mbps as the evening goes on.

    Not experienced any throttling that i'm aware off, I think the evening slowdown is just general net congestion, and I've seriously abused this connecting over the past month.

    I'm a happy camper :)

  27. George Shaw
    Unhappy

    WTF

    Never having read any of the c**p VM have sent me, I didn't even know there were download limits, I'm sure my original Telewest (Birmingham Cable) connection had no limits !!!!

    Anyway the whole thing has become so sloooow since VM took over, don't know what they've done to it.

    And in all the years it was Blueyonder, it was only offline for about 12hrs in total (over about 5yrs) now the bloody thing never works. VM load of sh1t.

  28. Pete
    Thumb Down

    I get 20Mbit easily

    ... Off peak anyway. And I don't believe for one second that it only applies to the top 5% of people, I download bugger all compared to some people (i've seen figures of 1TB+ a month from some, I don't manage that in a whole year) but I still get capped come 3GB and 4PM when I do feel the need to stretch my downloading legs.

    The new caps don't sound like easing off at all, I don't think anyone will be fooled by this announcement.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: How can fewer be affected?!

    Hi,

    A few points to reconsider:

    They have halved the length of time when the restrictions can be triggered.

    A possible 2x4 hours of throttling becomes one instance of 5.

    And upload and download throttling will be treated separately, and as the update page notes: "There is some overlap in the 3% of uploaders and the 3% of downloaders. Our data has identified that the top 3% of uploaders and downloaders makes up fewer than 5% of all users." Currently it's five per cent across the board.

    Yes, there are negatives such as the 2Mbit being cut to 1MBit for "L" users, but the overall effect for people who are caught by throttling will be positive. Cheers,

    - Chris

  30. Tom

    Hmm

    I'm on 8Mbps VM ADSL and generally pull 5.5Mbps. Sometimes it goes slow and can hit 1.5/2Mbps. Once or twice those it has ground down to like 100kbps

  31. Martin Richards

    @Anigel

    You say "I have no difficulty getting 20mbs down from various high capacity servers around the world" - can I ask which ones? My standard test is "wget http://blueyonder.linux.tucows.com/files/Eagle_2_2_0.iso" as

    - the server's on their network (I think!)

    - it's a big enough file to iron out fluctuations

    Best I've ever manged is 1.2 M BYTE/s against a theoretical 2.5ish for 20Mbit but atm I'm getting 100k BYTE/s tops...

  32. Morely Dotes

    It all seems so odd

    I often see comments in the tech press that Europe routinely has speeds between 30Mbps and 100Mbps, and decrying Verizon's FiOS service for not offering higher speeds. I have FiOS, I get 2Mbps upstream and 15Mbps downstream, without throttling at any time. Other than Verizon having totally destroyed "my" router once by trying a remote firmware update, the service has been highly reliable.

    And now I see the UK is suffering the woes usually attributed to us poor benighted colonials.

    Schadenfreude.

  33. Barry
    Flame

    ADSLosers

    Yet again, VM prove they are all about *cable* broadband users.

    What about us poor sods on their shockingly bad ADSL service?

    What of the recent traffic prioritisation work (about 2 weeks ago) that meant all streaming/video/VoIP/gaming data was treated as P2P, and throttled right back - which, due to the time-sensitive nature of gaming packets, meant that gaming was broken? And, when it wasn't broken, latency was 220-280ms!?!?

    Just have a look at:

    http://bazza.dyndns.org/rrdstats/baz14all.cgi?p=1y

    And you'll see the poor latency for yourself.

    Actually, see if you can guess the month when I moved onto their ADSL service?!

    But, what do I care? Branson can stick his ADSL broadband service up his jacksy. I'm off to Be. Should be activated tomorrow.

    I hope Beardy-Branson takes the £50 "exit fee" I'm having to pay, and puts it towards more infrastructure. Because, they sorely need the investment.

  34. BoldMan

    @Paul

    I believe I was mis-sold the VIP package, when I wanted to get a V+ box installed, I was assured that the VIP package would cost me LESS and give me MORE than I would have got if I bought the packages separately and transferred my BT line to VM. I was dumb enough to believe them when they said I'd actually get 20Mbs out of my line! As it stands I'm paying over the odds for services I eitehr don't get or don't use so I can now definitely say that my dropping the VIP package and just buying the bits I want I'll save about £25 per month and probably not notice the "drop" in broadband speed!

    True I do actually get more in the VIP package than I used to have, but I don't watch Sky Sport or Sky Movies, so that "more" is redundant. I hold my hand up to making a mistake in goign for this package in the first place, but what really rankles is that I was tied into it for 12 months, even though I've been a customer of Cable London/Telewest/VM ever since they put fibre into my building back in 1999, and had Blueyonder broadband as soon as it was launched by Telewest back in... whenever it was 2001/2?

  35. Nexox Enigma

    RE: It all seems so odd

    """I have FiOS, I get 2Mbps upstream and 15Mbps downstream"""

    I get nearly that fast on my regular old cable connection. And it never slows down. I regularly queue newsgroup downloads 40GB at a time, and I have definitely pulled down 200GB in a weekend.

    The only real irritation is that they block incoming traffic on ports 80 and 21, mostly to get people to upgrade to their insanely expensive commercial grade connection.

    I guess I should feel lucky...

  36. Kev K
    Pirate

    @ Martin Richards

    I regularly pull around 18.8mb / 2.3 MB a sec off newshosting.com newsgroup servers in europe with 8 concurrent conections - a full 4.7 MB DVD iso in 50MB chunks takes in the region of 30 to 33 mins - the same film ... errr - test object in xvid format ~760 mb in 15MB chunks takes in the region of 5 mins 30 secs.

    That is not a speed I am going to complain about or realisticly get with an ADSL provider considering I am more than a stones throw from my nearest exchange (Zen and BeBroadband both said I would should expect next to bugger all as I live 7 miles from an exchange)

    And all the people with cloned cable boxes and TV services - where I live 50 odd miles north of London, they have started shutting down the cable boxes & the guys who make/chip the TV Boxes recon they are for the crapper any time soon (my guess is new years eve so when you come home after a night on the sherbert no more free Pr0n - not that UK cable pr0n is even worth watching - we had to check it out for *cough* research reasons you understand)

    Anon as I like my service

    *disclaimer*

    Any downloads were all done as part of research. Downloading TV eppisodes due to "Lets fsck up a bank next" Beardy Branson being able to agree with meglomaniac Murdoch supports lost at sea cannoists and Osama Bin Hiding. You shouldnt do it.

    This post may contain traces of nuts and will only help with weight loss as part of a callorie controlled diet.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    @ barry et al

    that wasn't just VM-ADSL. The backhaul everywhere is f00ked(excuse northern slang) and the roleout of ex-chinese-govt.-comms-arm company manufactured MSAN into the variously hammered Rings over the last month or so has helped fractionally but the infrastructure is still woefully innadequate.. ADSL still sucks. not to mention the knock-on perceptual 'failings' in lower tier ISPs as the BT/VM backhaul fails more for them than the owners of the big networks. They're hardly going to harm their own public clientel when they have business 'partners' with a client base ready and willing to move to the bigger two..

    Then there's the idea of 'Contract Negotiations' at company level for supply of the backhaul network in some areas.. being held to 'ransome' as your business is entirely contingent upon supply of a fundamental component owned and controlled by a rival..

    I get 235kbps downstream on VM and go and get some sleep, my expectations are not generated by the companies providing the supply.. they just lie. My sympathies to the rest of the virtual world with requirements above and beyond having a little patience... I too remember the un-alloyed joy of getting a dial-up to do 46kbps..

  38. David Simpson

    Ummm....

    By BoldMan

    Posted Monday 10th December 2007 16:13 GMT

    Unhappy

    I'm on that plan and I don't think I've EVER come close to reaching it. I'm lucky to get 2Mbs down at most times. I uploaded one of my own videos to my FTP server (hosted in California it must be said) and never went above 750Kps for the whole time.

    Not to split hairs but VM's XL package is [up to] 20Mbs Down and 750Kbs Down.

    It was on the contract you signed and Telewest had a lower upload limit.

    I'm in central Edinburgh and I can get 12Mbs most days but it changes over the day.

    I guess even though we're on fibre we still get bottlenecked with all the analogue traffic, Why exactly will the digital switchover take 4 years ?

  39. christopher
    Thumb Up

    Cable is fine.

    Got a 20Mbit VM cable connection.

    Typically used to only max about 7.2MBits and complained a couple of times to VM but they told me that I'd only ever see max speeds at 4am.

    Ioverlooked several things though. :D While studying for a N+ decided it was best to ditch my wireless Netgear rangemax and try a "borrowed" cisco switch.

    I then ditched the "mainstream" broadband testers in favour of a download manager & popular "legal" movie download site.(based in Russia although you have to pay $1.99 per movie :(...)

    My next words were along the line "Holy flaking Christmas".

    Downloaded a 690Mb AVI file in 4 Minutes 41 Seconds. :D That included about 20 seconds of sourcing time by the download manager.

    Surely a fluke.

    Tried it again with a different movie - exact same speed ~20MBits/second or roughly 2.5MBytes per second. Even during peak times.

    Downloaded some MSDN software at a similar speed & just downloaded the ISO pointed out by Martin Richards above and it managed to build up to about 9Mbits/s before it finished through the download manager. I expect it could have gone higher as it found 19 sources but only managed to trigger 8 of them before the download completed(about 14 seconds).

    Turns out my Netgear couldn't handle multiple connections.

    Tried a belkin and it stopped responding when I sourced from 8 or more.

    I thought I was tech savy but obviously I missed this one.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cable ? What Cable ?

    'I can get full 20mbit whenever I connect to something capable of giving that to me.'

    Yet my experience of the joys of VM cable was that the BBC newsite would time out

    during the evenings, perhaps I should complain to the BBC ? Once or twice I actually used dial-up on my laptop to read the news because it was faster !

    Cable = technically superior solution crippled by muppets

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about them sorting out the ADSL???

    The acceptable use policy for the 300,000 of us poor baxtards using VM ADSL is a joke as the top 5% of downloaders in peak time (4 till 12) have their bandwidth throttled the week after for seven days..

    So every week VM are throttling the bandwidth of 15,000 paying customers to "up to 512kbs" , 1/16th or 7%

    And thats not for 5 hours, thats 56!!!! Thats right 56 effing hours of less than 512kbs right when you want to use the bloody thing.

    I'm buying myself out of my contract in a couple of months as i've fallen foul of this twice now and i don't do sod all downloading in comparison to my mate on BT and he's never had a single problem

  42. Shakje
    Thumb Down

    A few months ago

    I got a new PC and once I had the OS installed I started downloading updates and drivers and VS Express and a couple of games (mostly through Steam). It didn't take that long for my connection to get throttled, and I had to leave some of it going overnight. I'm also pretty sure that VNC has ended up throttling my connection occasionally.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again - there's no point VM supplying a service which it can't provide. Everyone will get hit by throttling once in a while, and when they do it will piss them off as much as a 'heavy downloader'. If you can't provide constant 20mbps to everyone you sell the service to, then don't sell that service. If 8mbps or 4mbps were still the top speeds for home connections they would have no need to throttle it, and who really needs 20mbps for a home connection? Maybe they could offer an inbetween work from home connection for those of us who have heavy demands on file transfers when we're working at home for a price that companies wouldn't mind paying for, but that home users alone might not afford. Until we have a much better backbone we shouldn't be supplying anything above 12mbps to home users as shown by VMs aggressive throttling and other ISPs' capping.

  43. daniel hobson
    Black Helicopters

    slightly pointless for XL users

    its slightly/stupid for XL users. i am myself with the XL package and never recieve move than a speed of 2Mbit/s between these peak times as it is... maybe they should focus on actually giving the speeds they advertise first just so i can download this amount of information first... mmmm large amounts of porn...

  44. Paul Sims

    XL Goodness

    I'm on the 20Mb plan & I get 20Mb - downloads occaisionally hit 2.6MB/s from the fastest sites. I have no problem at all with Virgin's cable connection. The company is shit but the product is fine.

  45. Chris Cooney
    Linux

    @ Nexox Enigma

    Its idiots like you which are the reason the network is f**ked in the first place.

    I pay for the XL service, i am in Manchester and have made a point to do a speed test on mine most evenings, every night is under 1mb, roughly between 0.7/0.9Mbs, so a) yes think yourself lucky b) what in f**ks name do you need to download 200gb in a weekend? just so you can tell your mates you have 200gb worth of shit on your hard disk??

  46. Tom Adair
    Stop

    stop whinging

    You're lucky to have a decent speed connection in the first place. Out in the Devon countryside I have a 512/256k adsl connection, with no prospect of it ever getting faster. So when you get "throttled", you're still on a far faster connection than little old me!

  47. Paul Dundee
    Thumb Down

    cowboys

    I obviously don't check my email often enough, as I was not aware of any change in policy. I rarely use my 2Mb connection but had to reboot the modem at the weekend when i wanted to use it. After I did, I found I was getting downloads of around 23K/s from most websites and speedtests confirmed my downloads as being somewhere between 1.3Mb and 1Mb. I know speedtests aren't completely accurate, but when I ran them under T/W I was always getting much higher results.

    As someone who doesn't really download anything outside of work, i'm a bit miffed that i'm being throttled when i've done nothing wrong.

    All I can say is I never had any issues when T/W ran the service....

  48. J.Butler
    Thumb Down

    Still crap

    'L' customers throttled by a quarter! Much worse than the current setup.

    Virgin just love slapping their customers..... avoid!

  49. Tom
    Thumb Down

    New CEO with a new 'view from the bridge'

    I'm sick of these idiots, how many CEO's has this poor fated company been through? At least 5 in the past 6 years, how can they follow a game plan when some cheesy mofo pops his two penneth in to try and show the shareholders he was worth the x ammount of millions they get paid. I used to work for Telewest in sheffield many moons ago, I know how much of a shambles it was behind the scenes then, god knows what its like now.... Poor sods who have to deal with irate customers sent thier way from hidious desicions made by the upper echeleons of the adminisphere.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    Well I'm a VM fanboy...

    ...can't disagree though Telewest were heaps better!

    I can still grab a 700MB XVID "file" in 11 minutes and I'm on the 20Mbit package, all I know it's waaaay faster than driving to my local video shop :-D

  51. Nathan Ronchetti
    Gates Horns

    Speeed i need speeed

    I have the XL 20Mbs service and from the newsgroups (giganews) i only ever get 8Mbs, then only for an hour or two until the trottling takes ne down to 5Mbs or sometimes 3Mbs. I would think that was fair but i wish i could get more than 10Mbs just once.

  52. Stop Im Full
    Unhappy

    Sigh....

    Maybe ISP's should focus a little more on bandwidth availability instead of worrying about 'faster connections' that rarely work. For ages now they have continually targetted Joe (know nothing) Bloggs with there super duper brandnew ultra fast connection that allows you to download a whole film in 30 minutes, a music track in seconds.......

    Now said users are being stuffed because once you have downloaded your film your speed with be slashed by a quarter...why do we pay the price of the ISP's short sighted money grabbing visions of ultra fast broadband?

    I'm just fed up of paying for the solid gold watch only to find out I've got the copper coated barbie version.

    This is not 'easing off'

  53. roger
    Thumb Down

    20Mb? naaah

    had 10Mb with NTL, got 10Mb ALL the time. then got 20Mb with Virgin, and got sod all. throttling would be ok, if they did what they promised. sigh

    asked for 4mb service, and they put me on 2mb. will just have to download overnight now, and save the extra £20 a month :)

  54. Christopher Woods
    Stop

    This is actually a retrograde step

    From the initial "we have no plans to introduce traffic shaping or caps" to the current STM limits, to these new STM limits snuck in through the back door... These new limits are actually worse than before. At least with the previous STM, the upload wasn't capped.

    I was worried when I first heard of VM trialing different STM thresholds and trialing capping the upstream as well as the downstream, but now they've announced they're implementing it, it's dispelled any hopes I had that they'd turn down the severity of the STM a notch... Not to be, however.

    The silver lining to this big cloud is that the monitored STM period is only until 9pm - running to midnight was an absolute joke, in theory you could be capped at 23:59 and be 'managed' until almost 4am, now you could only be capped until 1am.

    As a previous Be* customer who only moved away to VM because my phone lin couldn't get more than 10mbps, I can't wait to move back to ADSL2+. 1.3mbps upload, unfettered downstream with better latency and less contention... No STM! Joy.

    I'm actually more looking forward to jumping onto the Entanet WBC LLU services as soon as they're available in Birmingham (testing going on at the moment, we're considering... well, I'm pushing the boss to join ;) the trial at the business I work at.)

    I almost have pity for VM, they're trying so hard to make money without making any kind of sizeable investment in the upkeep of their core network, and the reality is for the majority of their UK-wide network, DOCSIS 3 is years off - it's really beginning to feel like money for old rope.

  55. Matt
    Happy

    RE: "Theoretical 20Mbs" is a very apt description!

    I am actually really impressed with the size of the tubes!

    I have the XL package which should give 20Mb/s and I regularly (nearly every evening/night) download at a solid 2.1-2.5 MB/s (and when 2.5 is reached (fast download servers etc), it isn't a quick millisecond peak, it stays.

    Another thing I was pondering,

    20 Mbit/s equals exactly 2.5 Mbytes/s

    (20/8 = 2.5)

    TCP overheads take up 15-20% usually, and so this suggests that Virgin media actually give you MORE than a 20Mbit/s connection, so that after all the overheads, you get the advertised 20Mbit/s bandwidth to yourself :)

    Virgin media customer support on the other hand are fools! I spent the first two weeks at a 4mbit connection, because the customer service techs didn't know how to update the line to the 20 Meg i had purchased! (they tried, and failed, repeatedly)

    When the speed didn't improve, I got all kinds of excuses (such as, 'it's advertised 20Meg... but you may live to far away from the exchange!!!' LMAO)

    Eventually I got through to a guy who sounded like he knew what he was talking about and pestered him to really look into the account. He confirmed that the account was set at 4Mb/s, and instantly removed the 'monthly change lock' or something and updated the account.

    30 Seconds later, Im downloading ISO's at 2.5MB/s and it's been that nippy ever since.

    Rock on!

    Now if only they would let me buy some static IP's :(

    --Matt

  56. Rob
    Happy

    Glad I left....

    .... after reading the comments here, I'm glad I left when they changed to VM. After reading some of the speeds, my ADSL Sky is the dogs knackers at 5-6Mbs.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No wonder it's slow...

    ...half the people on it seem to be doing constant speed tests, unloading and downloading meaningless data slowing it down for everyone else. Perhaps VM should ban people from doing speed tests and thereby speeding it up for the law-abiding people.

  58. Chris Cheale

    A couple of small points

    ... and something to bear in mind - all we're doing is moving the bottlenecks. On 56k the bottleneck was definitely that bit of wire that ran from your PC/Phone to the exchange, very limited bandwidth available there.

    Let's say the hardware running a given web server can cope with 1Gb data transfer a second; that's all things considered from ethernet restrictions to the data transfer rate across the motherboard between processors and RAM.

    If dial-up users are connecting to that site it can cope with about 18500 users at any given time downloading - which is probably plenty. But get everyone up to 4Mbs and that's oooh 256 users to hit capacity, 20Mbs and it's about 50 users.

    Now bear in mind that if it's not a dedicated server it could be hosting several websites, each with several users on at any given time... that's just one factor affecting your ability to download 20Mbs.

    Here's another, if you're in a heavily subscribed area, online at peak times, your connection is effectively shared. The contention rate on cable is about 15:1 for residential connections (as opposed to about 40 or 50 to 1 on DSL) so you're likely to get a download speed of about 1.3Mbs max.

    However - this only really affects downloads or streaming media. Any (bog standard) web-page will only contain, at most, a couple of hundred Kb worth of content (the page code, linked images, stylesheets and external JS files) and once that's been cached on your PC that's it for that page. 20Mbs down or 1Mbs down, you're talking a difference in fractions a second... but the comments seem to be about download speed rather than web browsing (granted, that's just lots of little downloads).

    One final point... latency on cable is _generally_ lower, something to bear in mind if you're a gamer.

    I'm not saying Virgin Media is the greatest thing ever and they have got worse since the Telewest days. NTL were the daddy in that "merger"; they still are, and it shows. However... I still think it could be much, much worse... I could still be with BT (they were bad, really bad - right up there with Severn Trent Water and British Gas on the incompetent feckwit scale).

  59. Pabs
    Unhappy

    Gamers will suffer...

    This is quite simply a bad thing, gamers are going to suffer the most on this.

    Primetime gaming is between 4pm and 9pm, and depending on what you ply you have to download patchs/updates and stream data back and forth between clients and servers. There cap limits are far too small, I'mon their L package and 750mb cam be downloaded easily in 2 hours. No more downloading beta's or demos during prime, most are over 1gb these days.

    VM/Telewesdt >was< a great service, its now going down hill....but ...still better then BT lines I suppose.

  60. Slim

    To all who reckon ADSL sucks

    I pay Tiscali (only problems i have had is when stuff goes wrong, and thats been 3 times in 5 years!) about £15 for a supposed 2Mbs connection, ive never seen it drop below 8Mbs (anyone else in the leicester area get this?) They dont cap me in any way, so why would i want to even think about VM?

    Mostly because the fact when i disconnected from Cable+Wireless all those years ago they sent Paddy and Shamus to disconnect me, and they managed to damage the streets cable service. Ive checked the website and the list of houses who can get cable ends at mine.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fair play to Virgin....

    Am I the only one who gets 20mb (19.8mbps has been the highest, usually its between 17-19.8mbps) from my cable connection?

    I've measured that repeatedly from the cable modem and I don't feel remotely "throttled".

    Different matter when its been sent through wireless routers though.....

  62. Tom Silver badge

    ADSL works fine as well

    I have ADSL from Be, and achieve line speed (~18 Mbps) at all times of the day. Pings to servers in London vary between 10ms and 20ms, depending on the datacentre, and AFAICT there is no capping.

    It's only BT's ADSL network that is completely knackered, any of the LLU ISPs networks are far superior.

    BTW, the guy on the 512k connection, see if you cannot get an upgrade to ADSL Max. Some country lines are made of some top notch copper, my father's (very) rural line, with a loop length of ~7km gets 3.5 Mbps, but it wasn't until I prodded plus.net (repeatedly) that they upgraded it.

  63. Matt Ryan

    Money to invest in the network

    That'll be from selling the voice platform to BT then I guess?

  64. King TuT
    Alert

    300mb

    Stu Reeves, I'm sure it's quite possible for you to get the 300 millibits within 4 hours you posted about. mb=millibits, MB=Megabytes.

  65. alex robinson

    Have I missed something here?

    If the thresholds are staying the same eg. 3GB for the XL service, is it not just the case that the only reason the 5% has changed 3% is due to the window changing from 4-midnight to 4-9pm?

    Or is it that the other 2% have cancelled/downgraded their premium rate service coz VM arent providing the service they are selling?

    "I'm locked into the 12 month contract for the VIP package (a total rip off!) until March, at which time I'll be downgrading to the 2Mbs broadband and dumping the rest of the package (I don't watch Sky Sports or Sky Movies, nor do I have ANY use for a second cable box)."

    That was exactly my course of action when I realised I couldnt use the service I was paying for (20Mb) when I wanted to the most. If I have to download overnight, or whilst I'm at work I might as well just let the thing run at 2Mb for a longer period of time and pay half the price for my service. Only reason to have a 20Mb service is if you want a large volume of content then and there, which for me the Bandwidth Management policy prevents.

  66. neil clarke

    ahhh... 20 blissfull mb

    Ive just had the 20mb service put into my abode and the first thing i did was to run the Gadget Show speed checker. I was, of course, sceptical about the speed i would achieve but to my utmost delight, i got 19.4mb and 700kb upload

    Notibly though, i have now noticed this to be totally different and every time i run the test, it varies from 2mb to 6mb.

    Bah!

  67. Rob Haswell

    Could be a local problem

    To everyone dissatisfied with Virgin's 20mbit service - a lot of people have brought up good points here. Have you considered local problems? A lot of box routers could well not be capable of throughputting 20mbit, especially with many connections. That's what I experienced with my wireless access point (struggled over 10mbit with many connections). I also happen to know that one of my network cards isn't capable of more than 25mbit.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Anonymouse

    Not sure if this will get posted. But Virgin filter by MAC, so if you flash the MAC to the same as someone in another area who has 20Mbit , you can use the same on your local area to boost your speed.

    Getting their MAC is just a matter of scanning the local area and vice versa 2 people on 2Mbit both get 20Mbit from out of town MACs.

  69. Derek Scott
    Thumb Down

    Lease change with Virgin Media Broadband

    Has anyone else noticed that your network connection now has a lease of just 3 hours? It used to be a day lease as I recall. This is a new implementation.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Linux

    Theoretical 20Mb/s Download

    I must be very lucky. Although I don't get 20Mbps I do get close with 18.5 to 19.0 Mbps most of the time. Very handy for downloading that shiny new copy of Linux or the latest load of guff from MSDN.

  71. Brian Whittle
    Go

    speed testers don't tell the real story

    I am on XL and the throttle is a pain but understandable the download speed testers don't tell the whole story as they only use one connection

    its now 21:20 and according to the gadgetshow speed tester I have a speed of about 2.5 MBs but on the news groups I can get 10MB from 6 connections (this laptop struggles any faster than that anyway) on my main pc mosy of the day I get 22MB from the newsgroups.

    those of you who say they can only get 2.2mb on large are mistaken try it with a news group reader program with a few connections to get a proper speed.

    BTW my newsgroup speeds have got better since going to vista with its better tcp/ip stack

    te

  72. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  73. Tom

    Call them if it's too slow..

    When I first got my connection I couldn't get over 2mbit/sec.. I called them up and they'd actually set my account to the 2mbit service rather than the 4mbit service.. complete bunch of mugs.

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