back to article Virgin Media to dump neutrality and target BitTorrent users

The UK's second largest ISP, Virgin Media, will next year introduce network monitoring technology to specifically target and restrict BitTorrent traffic, its boss has told The Register. The move will represent a major policy shift for the cable monopoly and is likely to anger advocates of "net neutrality", who say all internet …

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  1. Paul
    Coat

    Good

    As one of the many who do not use P2P but have my service affected by those that do I think this is fine.

    Mine is the one with the earplugs in preparation for all the whining that will appear in these comments.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    encryption and protocol opfuscation..

    ...should sort this one out pretty quickly.

    I have a feeling people will downgrade their service or move if they can't use bittorrent, and then, after a couple of days, the clients that bypass these restrictions will become the most popular.

  3. Mark

    BitTorrent is a huge boon to media companies

    Such as Blizzard. Hell, they've been the standard choice for YEARS to hand out patches for games, OSs and other software sources.

    I shall now enforce a QoS payment system. If I feel they are wasting money, I will reduce the direct debit payment to ensure that abuse of the fuckton of money they receive is not misused or used in an illegal or illicit manner.

  4. Steve
    Stop

    @Paul

    First they came for the bit torrent users, but you were not one, so you didn't just stay silent, you approved.

  5. Ash
    Joke

    @Paul

    "Mine is the one with the earplugs in preparation for all the whining that will appear in these comments."

    You must work for the Government.

  6. ShaggyDoggy

    BBC iPlayer

    That's BBC iPlayer screwed then - it uses bit-torrent technology.

    Doesn't Virgin sell their "50Mb" bandwidth based on "you can download movies faster" ?

    Que ?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BBC included ??

    As the BBC iplayer uses P2P for all it's downloaded shows (not the streamed ones) does this mean that anyone using this will also get limited ?

  8. Max

    "I think it's an issue of fairness."

    Hmmm.

    There needs to be some legislation put in place immediately to prevent things like this. Who is to say that he will stop with BitTorrent? What if inf the future (when its available) I subscribe to a valid HD movie download service that uses just as much bandwidth? Why does he get to decide what is "fair"?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    What??

    Ridiuclous. I'm not a torrent user, but it's not right that these companies deny me the choice.

    Assuming it's legal I should be able to do what I want on my connection.

    These companies are really starting to take the p1$$. First they bill for a service in which you have to share, then they reduce "unlimited" to "Whatever we think is fair", when is this going to end?

    If you bought a ferrari for £250,000, and the dealer said "well actually yuou have to share it with 50 other people, and it can't actually do 200mph because we've put the wrong tires on it and don't want to spend the money on new ones"...how many people would be happy?

    The sharing aspects of internet links make sense. But the minimum speed at which you can possibly connect should be what you pay for.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about i nvestment?

    I live in Japan and have a 100mb connection, fairly standard here. But then again Japan actually invests in its infrastructure rather than just raping its customers with high prices and shit service.

  11. Entropy
    Thumb Down

    Great news..

    come when Blizzard release new patches for World of Warcraft, since they're delivered through bittorrent and the patching process will now be even more fucking infuriating than it is already. Thanks a lot Virgin.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @BBC included

    No, Virgin just want to toss the Freetards.

  13. Steven
    Pirate

    SSL FTW

    I know what I'll be using along with my Virgin Broadband, to get the speeds I pay for.

    Perhaps Paul would like to justify his comment with some evidence and head some of those flames off.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    50mb

    Bit strange telling us this at the same time as launching 50mb service. Why would anybody bother upgrading? Even 512k is ok for web browsing and shopping.

    (I imagine the nudie stuff is perfectly adequate at this speed also)

  15. Conor Turton

    Not exactly a surprise

    Not really a shock. Virtually all of bittorrent usage is for illegal filesharing and P2P accounts for a very large amount of an ISPs traffic. That costs the ISPs real cash. P2P isn't free - someone has to pick up the tab somewhere.

    In addition to that, Virgin Media sell the very movies and music that are being pirated. It seems a bit daft to expect them to support the very thing that denies them sales.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Paul

    Evidently you have no clue of what this really means. It won't stop people from downloading using P2P, but if they remove their current throttling then it will just make matters worse. There are already BT clients capable of masking their own packet types, so the downloaders will just switch to these (or even another method of download) and find their current throttles removed. Except now they'll have 50Mb connections, so be able to screw your own bandwidth even more thoroughly.

    I'm not a freetard nor am I a heavy downloader. The largest things I download are PS3 demos from the Playstation store (occasionally). It's just nice to know that Virgin have successfully fooled someone into believing that all the worlds problems are caused by Bittorrent.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Change

    I have kept with Virgin through the initial throttles (which only very rarely affect me), and the bad customer service, but this will be the icing on the cake.

    I use bittorrent to download World of Warcraft patches, nothing more. These can be large and take long enough as it is.

    Time for me to start looking for a new provider. I can do without my virgin TV (or get Sky instead), and switching the 'phone is no hardship at all.

    It's a shame, as the service is reliable.

  18. Al

    Virgin worse than Sky

    I am soooo disappointed with Virgin I cannot explain. I was on Sky (cus some folk in my house like to watch some new fangled box called the TV - it'll never catch on) and I thought that it really cant get worse but waddaya know it did!

    I love the Future Proof blah blah Mother of all BB - yeah at times its more like The Grandmother of BB (with a zimmer frame on her way out of hospital)

    Within 3 days of getting Virgin 10Mb (a month ago) I saw my speed drop to 2Mb (down and up) called them and guess what: I was overusing it!!! WHAAAA??!! and the guy said (after he checked with a "manager") its not Traffic Man't but use BT and we will slow you.

    Cant wait for the contract to expire now and go back to Sky for some surfing (they crap but better than Virgin - oh the humanity!!!) ... phew Rant over.

  19. Arclight
    Paris Hilton

    False advertising

    I'd be interested in seeing the press ads for this service. Will it actually say that the alleged 50mb is dependent you using software that they approve of?

    Paris, because VM seems to be run by brain dead feckwits

  20. Tom Chiverton

    VM != ISP

    If you don't like it, get a real ISP that doesn't throttle, gives you want you pay for, and promises not to Pharm you.

    Some of them even have clueful support teams who will take to non-Windows users...

  21. Captain Planet
    Stop

    Switch from Virgin and BT

    Simple option is to switch, but how many people know anything about net neutrality and will make a switch? My guess only a small percentage of turned on people.

    The Government should step in and ensure net neutrality.... oh hang on a minute this Government is all for trampling free speech and civil liberties.

    I would bet a fair bit of money this will spread form restricting bit torrent as it is a nuisance, to other thing, like rival companies, then when Virgin start offering downloads they will be lightning quick. Someone should punch Neil Berkett

  22. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    Paris Hilton

    Unbelievably daft

    The chap actually says that BitTorrent is a problem because its users are bandwidth hungry, so it is clearly bandwidth that he's worried about, not protocol, but then he says he's going to tie his filtering policy to protocol (which requires expensive packet inspection) not bandwidth (which requires just simple counting).

    Next year's news: Virgin Media to start filtering customers using SSL or VPN, because they are all obviously BitTorrent users in disguise.

    Paris: because she knows more about networking than this guy.

  23. Charles Silver badge

    @Ian

    I cannot speak for the UK's infrastructure investment, but it also helps that Japan, Korea, and the like are a lot SMALLER. Trying to fit 100Mbit/sec broadband across a country as big as the United States, with its vast amounts of rural area, is a whole other challenge. There's also an aversion to adding backhaul for fear of no uptake (the "cold fiber" fiasco) and because companies are strapped for investment capital.

    Now, as for the deep packet inspection debate, how will ISPs be able to manage traffic when it learns that its bandwidth hogs also employ encrypted connections that make it nigh-impossible to inspect the packets?

  24. Piggy and Tazzy
    Stop

    @Mark

    "I shall now enforce a QoS payment system. If I feel they are wasting money, I will reduce the direct debit payment to ensure that abuse of the fuckton of money they receive is not misused or used in an illegal or illicit manner."

    Erm... Don't think so. Direct Debit means that THEY choose how much to take from you.

    A Standing Order, on the other hand...

  25. jon
    Flame

    I have a solution...

    VM (and all ISPs) should sell a product you can use - as per description with no small print.

    not got the backbone for it? Then light up some of the dark fibre from the dot com bust or spend some capital.

    ISPs are the biggest bunch of thieving liers, right next to politicians. They deserve a lot more agro from Ofcom and ASA than they get.

    Looking forward to eu class action suits, just for this one exception :D

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Forget the torrent stuff for a minute....

    Two other sentences jump out at me here. "Berkett was clear...part of a broader strategy to "monetise the intelligence" in the Virgin Media network". And worse: "....said the firm intends to lead the ISP industry in new network services that exploit customer data".

    You fucking what?! You are a pipe. A conduit to the internet. You've no business exploiting anything of mine. Hands up who thought that DPI kit was for internal performance monitoring. Me neither. And while we're on the subject of interfering with my data. Back to the torrents; I don't use P2P but as someone above has said - I want the choice to do so with the service I'm paying for. Telewest were great and to be fair Virgin haven't been that bad but they sure know how to piss people off.

  27. Allan Rutland
    Thumb Up

    Good on you Virgin!

    Shame more don't do this, if I could get cable here I'ld move to it solely for this since I'm utterly fed up of the torrenting bandwidth guzzlers screwing over everyone elses connections for themselves. As the Reg itself pointed out recently, the torrenters are using half of all bandwidth available, and yet they only account for 5% of the userbase. This is nothing but greed from them, and as such its about time other users got what they paid for, and not have there paid for bandwidth guzzled by the greedy torrenters.

    Net neutrality? yes, but I want what I pay for and don't want to be funding someone else's torrenting. We all pay our fee's, we all get an even share. Thats a much fairer system!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Data Protection

    Urm, isn't there something in Data Protection that stops them from talking about customers? If the Queen is a customer, what right does he have to tell the world??? Information Comissioner needs a tip off and they will get slapped down for that.

    Also, yes Blizzard use Bit-torrent for patch distro, it won't really affect you. In fact if anything, considering the downloader works in the background whilst playing, it will mean that your in game experience is better as the torrent side will not be raping your bandwidth.

    On a side note, the Blizzard updater is possibly the worst implementation of Bittorrents I have ever seen. On my home connection I have a larger than standard upload. When I use the torrent side it hammers my uplink so much that my download speed is reduced to 10Kb per sec. If I turn the torrent downloader off, I download from Blizzard direct and get a constant 64Kb. Nice thinking guys!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    customer target

    ISPs targeting home users don't want the users that _use_ their connection, they want those people that use it once or twice a week to look something up or to pay a bill, paying £30/m which costs them less than 10MB of transfer.

    It's a fine balancing act of these "preferred" users and the "freetards" along with the infrastructure capacity. It's about time they invested in the network to support all the users, going anywhere near this becomes censorship and is 1 step closer to them policing the net for all those FLAs looking to earn a quick buck.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @@BBC included

    In fairness to Virgin I'd say that the Freetards are probably the most tiresome, irritating, self-important, entitlement-culture wankers on the internet. I'd want to kick them off my network if I was an ISP and I'm more than happy to hear of other people doing stuff to upset them.

    I know the argument comes down to giving people the things they have paid for and a whole lot of more signficant issues for the longer term, but it's hard to concentrate on that when I have this delightful vision of the repulsive grin being wiped off a bunch of Freetards stupid self-satisfied faces.

    It's like when the government introduces horrifyingly repressive anti-terror legislation and you end up thinking "well yes, there is that whole 'First they came for the Communists' thing going on, but this is going to really wind up the bunny fascists."

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Piggy and Tazzy

    Are you implying I am having to cope with all demands to use DD and subsequent lack of service or higher prices when I refuse simply because the public never caught on what the difference was between DD and an SO? No, surely not even 'the great unwashed' are that ill informed? If so we may as well all give up now.

  32. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    Re:What

    ***"If you bought a ferrari for £250,000, and the dealer said "well actually yuou have to share it with 50 other people, and it can't actually do 200mph because we've put the wrong tires on it and don't want to spend the money on new ones"...how many people would be happy?"***

    If you are paying the standard £20-£30 pcm for 'unlimited' broadband then the analogy is more like this.

    You buy a Ferrari with a list price of £250,000 for £5000 and think you have a cracking deal. The fact you have to share it with 50 other people and and, most of the time, are restricted to 30mph zones that are rigorously enforced with speed cameras and other 'traffic calming' measures, are hidden *way* down in the small print.

    You aren't happy, but realise you are a complete tit for being suckered by this scam and now realise you can't *actually* buy a brand new 200mph supercar for £5 grand.

  33. David Lavery
    Stop

    Tossing the Freetards?

    as to the previous poster, they may want to toss the free tards but Imagine they will lose a lot of business. many people including myself subscribe to virgin as they offer the highest speeds. As bit torrenters will likely make up a large portion of their subscriber base they are being short sighted in "tossing the Freetards" Just as the comment is short sighted in its scope and accuracy.

  34. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Down

    Absolutely no surprise!

    VM launch a s**t-hot service and then just make sure it's not abused they clamp down on the one thing that will ive it a severe testing and drive it's adoption rate up. The only reason for getting a fat pipe, to draw down large amounts of data. The biggest way to draw bucket loads of data? A swarm like BT!

    Glad I dumped VM last year, they are so full of it. Not saying the other won't follow this lead, but they are not as pathetic as VM, the ADSL mob tell you your going to get screwed before they bend you over, VM put on the pizzazz before taking round the back for a good drubbing!

  35. Mark

    @Conor Turton

    How do you know that?

    Is it "Common Knowledge"? Did "Some Guy Down the Pub" tell you?

    Take that meme and sniff it.

    That's shit you're smelling.

  36. Sampler

    How it's said is often more telling than what is said...

    "Part of this involves intelligent monitoring and understanding the way people use our broadband service." OUR broadband service?

    Not THEIR broadband service, afterall the customer has paid for it and everything. Extensively too for what little is actually passed onto them.

    Glad I got rid of these gets and now enjoy a lovely 24MB ADSL2+ connection that is unshaped, unthrottled and unphormed - all for less than VM were wanting. Thankyou Be*.

  37. Joshua Murray
    Thumb Up

    @Tom Chiverton... You get what you pay for:

    Someone like Fast.co.uk you mean?

    No throttling, no shaping... Just the bandwidth you pay for with good old fashioned telephone customer service and technical support.

    I've never been hapier with an ISP as I am with these guys.

  38. Steve

    Erm Newgroups

    Glad i use newgroupss a lot

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (untitled)

    Been said many times before but the ISP should supply what they advertise, not hide behind max figures, and so called "fair use", and suchlike weasel wording. If that means more investment in bandwidth then that is what they are being paid for.

    And as we pay them for passing data I don't see they have a right to be nosing and trying to work out what sort of data it is. Not their job, not what they are paid for. Regardless what advantages they see for themselves, or try to claim for some of their customers, it isn't their right to prioritise either. Any provider who does should have their licence revoked.

  40. Dennis
    Thumb Down

    Could somebody tell me......

    If you aren't going to use your broadband to download movies/games/BBCiplayer.

    Just what would you use your superfast broadband connection for...

    Surely nobody could handle 'porn pics' ' ahem' 'Just on El Reg Dear 'at that rate.

    10mb NTL Broadband which the wife chokes the life out of everytime she runs BBCiplayer.

    justlikedennis

  41. stefan
    Flame

    Its allways the same.

    So Paul let me ask you this.?

    Why do you feel your more important that a p2p user?.

    The p2p user pays his bills for his Internet as does anybody else.

    For some reason you feel your better somehow? and that p2p users should have there connections throttled. Sorry mate but perhaps you should come live in the real world. Id love to see your modem statistics and connection info. That's most probably the real reason your Internet goes to hell because your connection is rubbish and you lack the brain cells to understand this therefor attack the p2p users and jump on the bandwagon like every other ill informed user out there.

    Cyber

  42. Paul
    Gates Halo

    Over reaction

    Some people do over react. Its not like they are going to stop all p2p traffic just prioritise the packets. Anyone would think they were inspecting the packets so they can come round and beat the p2perp with baseball bats!

  43. Enrico Vanni

    @Paul

    "As one of the many who do not use P2P but have my service affected by those that do I think this is fine."

    Ah -indeed. Your quality of service is controlled by Virgin Media's customers - not VM's own policies, infrastructure, business model and/or failings in either or all of these?!

    As has been said before and will be said again - if you are finding shortcomings in your ISP service it is because they sold you (and several hundred thousand others) something they don't actually have.

    What a mug.

    Anyhoo - this announcement is a PR faux-pas for VM. It'll be spun as 'the first ISP to admit to snooping on people's data'....

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I work for Virgin so am not unbiased.

    But if P2P traffic is consuming so much bandwidth that it is having a detrimental effect on other users then something needs to be done. Other users are also paying for that service and bandwidth is not infinite.

  45. Farai
    Paris Hilton

    If...

    this doesn't encourage them street pirates to get back in business i don't know WHAT will!

    Paris, because she can tell a real fat pipe from a fake one :D

  46. Mark

    @Piggy and Tazzy

    And the direct debit mandate allows you to deny a payment or cancel at any time.

  47. Gav
    Thumb Down

    Why not address the real issue?

    All this throttling of one or other type of traffic only ensures the traffic changes its appearance to avoid the throttling. The problem doesn't go away.

    Why they don't just stop the pretence of unlimited bandwidth and start charging people per usage, whatever it's for? That's real net neutrality. Bandwidth costs; you use more = you pay more.

    Once they have to start paying for it, the P2Pers will realise that plugging their lines indiscriminately with GBs of other people's work actually costs them. Suddenly the attraction isn't so great. Traffic falls, everyone benefits.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What this means personally...

    When the kids are upstairs downloading <cough>"World of Warcraft" patches (because as we all know that's all Torrents are used for) I'll still be able to browse the web without my bandwidth dropping through the floor.

    I think it best if I don't tell them, they'd only get upset.

  49. Mark

    @Charles

    "I cannot speak for the UK's infrastructure investment, but it also helps that Japan, Korea, and the like are a lot SMALLER."

    What about the density in London? Birmingham? Glasgow? That's the same lame-ass excuse the US give.

    We are a WORLD SUPERPOWER!!!! Or at least that's what all the labour MP's want it to be, which is why they keep pissing about "on the world stage", scared shitless that someone may one day actually say "who the fuck are they?".

    If we're a world leader, why the fuck are we behind ANYONE?

  50. Richard
    Joke

    Whats Next?

    The trouble with their approach is that once they have forced all the people who use Bit Torrent off, whats next? They will complain all those people who use their broadband for work (download a lot of large files) or connect to movie sites etc etc. are ruining it for the rest! Its the modern day inquisition, They already charge different amounts for high volume users so why should they throttle their use?

    Easy solution is to use encrypted links which will make DPI much more difficult. The prols have got to start getting a voice, OFCOM only seem to be interested in the ISPs welfare.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Virgin Slowband

    I'm using Virgin as i'm staying somewhere that has no BT line and we cannot get ADSL. I have the 20 meg package. According to speedtest.net i'm getting 10 meg down which is acceptable but am only getting 256k up which is pretty poor. Team fortress 2 is often unplayable and the pingtime sways wildly from 200 to 997 where it stops counting. I put a youtube vid of this online that I shot from my phone. The service should be better than this.

    Virgin, so called because they don't give a flying one, are now getting pissed that people might actually want to use all of the bandwidth they are paying for instead of people paying for zillion meg broadband to people who only check their email and change their facebook status like they used to because the luddites paying for it just wanted MS Outbreak to send/recieve faster. Surely selling a servive they have no intention of supplying is some kind of breach of trades descriptions...

    </rant>

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Rubbish - Total utter rubbish

    I'm with virgin - i hate them with a passion..

    I've already stopped using my virgin connection for downloading torrents, and use a server elsewhere to download them, i'm moving as soon as possible from them when i get a chance to set up a new BT line and get ADSL (yes - it will be worth the hastle!!!!!)

    If you're thinking of going with virgin DON'T!!!

  53. Gareth Edmonds
    Thumb Down

    Bittorrent trafic is already bad on the virgin network

    I have had to switch (moved house) from using sky max to virgin 20mbit in the past few weeks and i have noticed there something not right with virgin I have been getting 500k - 600k downloads from using sky and now getting 40k -50k. i do think virgin already limit bittorrent traffic on there network from what i have been seeing. With this news I am going to make the move back to sky.

  54. Arclight

    Did I miss something

    I don't use BT, and I'll probably benefit from this throttling of it, but I don't see how VM can keep bringing out faster and faster services, but then restricting your use of it.

    If two or three people downloading on a 50mb connection cripples everyone else in the area then it seems to me that they are offering a service they can't deliver. VM's network cannot handle 50mb, if it could then there would be no reason to throttle it.

    BT doesn't worry me as I don't use it, but once they've crippled that, and migrated more people to faster speeds, and the network starts creaking again they 'll cripple something else. BBC Iplayer, youtube, online gaming. Whats the next big eebil bandwidth hog out there?

    @Tom

    Yes it would be nice to choose an alternative ISP, but I live too far from the nearest exchange, so the only alternative to VM is wonderful 56k dial up.

  55. Simon Neill
    Coat

    I'm on VM and a P2Per

    and I say if they wanna throttle my P2P they can go nuts, so long as they don't block it.

    I do most of my downloading overnight (11pm->) so if I have to download for 2 nights not 1 (unlikely, I don't download much really) then so what. If however this throttling of p2pers halves my ping playing tf2, great.

    Yes, P2P has many legit and illegit uses. BUT my game playing/web surfing is much more important than your mass P2P download.

    Mines the asbestos firesuit.

  56. Gareth Saunders
    Alert

    Wonder how many posts here are from News Int'l shills?

    Have used Virgin Media for a few years now, and except for the occasional Customer Support hiccup*, its been a pretty good service.

    I don't particularly like DPS for ideological reasons**, but more than likely they've been pushed into this when people whinged about thier previous efforts in traffic shaping. Yeah, I've had the whole multi-gig transfer slowdown now and again, but its a rare event that I do it and only fair for all the online gamers, VOIP users and other latency-dependent users, yet alone other, more reasonable downloaders.

    This is definately a bad turn for privacy and freedom on the internet, but its all the whinging freetards out there that have likely forced us all into this. Otherwise, they would have just kept the (arguably) reasonable system they have now. Now my occasional bittorrent use is to suffer for thier ignorant, nay selfish attitude.

    I would say something critical about Sky, but again this is purely an ideological aversion; Murdoc's media service does look technically very nice, it's just, well, this are the same crazies/facists*** behind Fox News ('nuff said).

    After all that, rant over, thank for your time.

    * They seriously need to get they're house in order, the process when moving house was one I don not wish to repeat!

    ** Quite a personal privacy advocate, and freedom of speech fan. Actually, shouldn't I be supporting this Net Neutrality thang...

    *** I know, I know...

  57. David Hicks
    Flame

    @arrogant AC

    "In fairness to Virgin I'd say that the Freetards are probably the most tiresome, irritating, self-important, entitlement-culture wankers on the internet. I'd want to kick them off my network"

    No, I'd say you just won that title.

    I am not a "freetard" if by that you mean someone that downloads copyright works. If you mean a power-user who uses linux, runs many machines and wants to actually make use of the service I fucking well paid for, then maybe I am.

    I transfer lots of stuff around, stream video and audio over the connections, dump files about the place, seed linux torrents etc etc.

    I don't give a fuck if your web browsing slows down because, guess what, I didn't sign up to share a connection with you, I signed up for a pipe to the internet to use as I damn well see fit.

    You want to charge me more for that service? Be my guest, I'll pay it, but stop advertising these services as unlimited when you've got contractual limits, fair use limits and now protocol based traffic limits.

    Fuck virgin and fuck all the anonymous cowards moaning about "selfish" torrent users; we're just ahead of the curve. Sooner or later you'll want to do something high bandwidth (iPlayer etc) and by then you'll have argued yourselves back to paying 20 quid a month for dialup speeds because it's somehow "fairer".

    The internet has to move forward. Companies like Virgin and people like you are trying to hold it back.

  58. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Flame

    "Net Neutrality" crybabys are still alive?

    Telephone communications were the ultimate in net neutrality. Everyone could say what he wanted at any time of day. It's just the pricing of a call that varied depending on destination, duration and time-of-day.

    Time to reintroduce something similar. Bill by transfer rate with a price that varies by time of day (one could even add a special ICMP message for feedback) and rate-control mechanisms will be implemented quickly.

    Or use IPv6.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    reading for comprehension?

    All your commentators need to note that P2P != BitTorrent.

    Firstly iPlayer and for that matter C4 and other broadcasters' equivalents mostly use Kontiki which is not BitTorrent. Presumably they're intending to target the specific variant.

    Secondly VM peer the iPlayer traffic so they can identify it easily and avoid throttling it. I suspect their main issue is with their uplink, the cable network, especially when DOCSIS3-ed, has plenty of capacity.

    Lastly - if someone can show that private P2P is sucking up huge amounts of bandwidth, then I have no problem with it being controlled. I'd prefer that to having to fork out extra dosh to support other people's habits.

    And no, the monthly fee charged by UK ISPs is /not/ fucktons of dosh. Try getting a 20Mb leased line and see how you like the bill.

  60. Red Bren
    Unhappy

    @Conor Turton

    "P2P isn't free - someone has to pick up the tab somewhere."

    Yes and that someone is the customer. Every customer. Including the file-sharers. Their money is as good as yours or mine so why shouldn't they use what they've paid for? VM are trying to shift the blame for over-selling a product and under-investing in infrastructure. And you're falling for it.

    "In addition to that, Virgin Media sell the very movies and music that are being pirated. It seems a bit daft to expect them to support the very thing that denies them sales."

    VM don't "sell" movies, they rent them for 24 hours and can only be watched hours via your set-top box. So what are you supposed to do if you want to keep them to watch at a later date on a PC/laptop/PSP/mobile? This action will also limit free access to the legitimate BBC iPlayer in favour of paid for access via their premium subscriptions. Is this not an illegal distortion of the market?

    For the record, I only use bit-torrent occasionally for getting linux distros and the like. I don't agree with "piracy" but there's more than one type. Selling something you can't provide is just as bad as taking something you haven't paid for.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    P2P - Over HTTP on port 80?

    Can someone please invent a P2P protocol that uses HTTP and port 80, thus bringing to light the fact that ISPs really dont have any bandwidth, and that in order to rape customers for up to 50Mb/s, they're gonna rape all the existing customers with filtering.

  62. Oliver
    Stop

    Cock-jockeys!

    @Conor Turton

    "Virtually all of bittorrent usage is for illegal filesharing" - not true, but what the hell has that got to do with it anyway? What about Newsgroups, etc? FTP is used for illegal filesharing, so what?

    "P2P accounts for a very large amount of an ISPs traffic" - so...? Shouldn't the bandwidth be used? What a miser you are :-D

    "P2P isn't free" - in fact, it most often is! But I think you mean the pipe costs money - which is payed for by.... er, us! And that means we should get what we pay for!

    "In addition to that, Virgin Media sell the very movies and music that are being pirated. It seems a bit daft to expect them to support the very thing that denies them sales." - not true. The retail music stores were sold to Zavvi but the two were always entirely separate entities. They just shared the Virgin name. Online music distribution by VM would probably (hopefully) represent a conflict of interests and would certainly be challenged severely by competitors if not by regulators.

    It's probably fair to say that many people with big VM connections are torrenting a lot of copyright-infringing content but I fail to see what gives VM the right to interfere with that, particularly in the name of traffic-shaping. I hope they don't get away with this. If they do and if they want to chase those customers away, then they can take their chances. Seems like a shot to the foot to me though.

  63. Vaughan Silver badge
    Coat

    Freetards Tossed By Virgin

    Now that's a headline!

  64. This post has been deleted by its author

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ouch

    I love the way that yesterday, for the first time ever, Virgin Media get some positive press about their broadband and then out of nowhere they decide to announce this beauty! Talk about shoot yourself in the foot.

  66. Chris C

    Paul the peckerhead, and the Virgin overseller

    I find it astonishing that people like Paul can't see the completely idiotic, illogical nature of their statements. Paul states "As one of the many who do not use P2P but have my service affected by those that do I think this is fine." as if the people who actually use the service they pay for are somehow doing something wrong. I don't use BitTorrent, either, but I completely support people who want to use the full amount of bandwidth they pay for. So, in keeping with Paul's logic, let me say this:

    I do not use iTunes, therefore I recommend ISPs block access to iTunes and all the bandwidth-hogging it entails. Similarly, I do not visit MySpace, Facebook, or YouTube, so I recommend that ISPs block access to those high-bandwidth sites as well. Lastly, I do not use the full one-gigabit-per-second from my gigabit switch; my equipment uses 150Mbit/sec at most, so I recommend that all manufacturers of gigabit-speed use lower quality parts to reduce their costs. After all, since I don't use the full capacity that I paid for, nobody else should be able to use full capacity they paid for, either.

    Now, as to the "I work for Virgin so am not unbiased." AC who so eloquently stated "But if P2P traffic is consuming so much bandwidth that it is having a detrimental effect on other users then something needs to be done. Other users are also paying for that service and bandwidth is not infinite." You are absolutely, 100% correct. We just don't agree on what "needs" to be done. Those of us with fully-functional brains would suggest that you don't oversell your service; that instead, you sell service capacity based on what you can actually provide, and not punish customers when they dare have the audacity to actually use the service they pay for.

    This really is not a difficult concept. If you sell me a service, I am well within my right to use the full benefit of that service. If I pay for a rental car, the rental agency doesn't say to me "The car is yours for the week, but you can't drive it after noon". If I have an event catered, the caterers don't bring three tables full of food and then tell me nobody can touch the food on the third table.

    And seriously, if you're offering ANY SERVICE over 3Mbps, what do you expect it to be used for OTHER THAN downloading large amounts of data? Nobody is going to get a 50Mbps line just to access the web and email. If the ISPs are so concerned about people using too much bandwidth, so much that it affects other users, I suggest they stop increasing the bandwidth they sell to customers. It doesn't take a genius to deduce that when they increase the bandwidth, people will use that extra bandwidth. And if their overall capacity does not increase by the same proportion, then the net result is that the customers allegedly affected by the downloading will become more affected.

  67. Ian

    @ Virgin worker

    You said:

    I work for Virgin so am not unbiased.

    "But if P2P traffic is consuming so much bandwidth that it is having a detrimental effect on other users then something needs to be done. Other users are also paying for that service and bandwidth is not infinite."

    If Virgin realises that bandwidth is not infinite then why did it sell these people infinite bandwidth with it's "unlimited" offers in the first place?

    What makes me laugh most is the amount of money DPI costs to implement and run could go a long way to reducing bandwidth shortages in the first place. If ISPs put the money spent on DPI into a pot to roll out fibre then we'd be part way there and with 21cn we wouldn't even have the problem.

    But then, it's not really about bandwidth at all is it? It's about screwing the customer out of more money. If you can create an artificial bandwidth shortage then charge customers more to not be restricted like some ISPs do then you've basically found a way to charge people for what they already pay for. The same goes for attempts to get the likes of the BBC to pay for bandwidth because so many people use iPlayer, it's just about charging people twice or even three times for the bandwidth you already sold them once.

    I have no sympathy for ISPs, the problem was created by them and it continues to be made worse by their greed.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Virgin employee

    "But if P2P traffic is consuming so much bandwidth that it is having a detrimental effect on other users then something needs to be done."

    Ah, so you think that P2P users should suffer a detrimental effect for the benefit of light users, even though they have also paid for their connection?

    Perhaps you and your colleagues at Virgin should concentrate on supplying what ALL of your customers are paying for, instead of trying to avoid providing the service level you sold to them?

    All those moaning about how P2P affects their usage -stop blaming P2P and start blaming your usless ISP. They have sold bandwith that they can't or won't provide.

    P2P is not going to go away, but an ISP that can't deliver what it promises sooner or later will.

  69. Paul

    @richard

    Where does it say they charge different amounts for high VOLUME users?

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    lol...

    lol ... SSL encryption FTW!

  71. Volker Hett
    Thumb Down

    so virgin sells bandwidth it doesn't have?

    When I buy bandwidth and the seller can't deliver, I don't blame my neighbour who bought bandwith, I blame the seller!

    And to the P2P price tag, when I buy bandwidth I pay for bandwidth. If I dowload OpenSuSE via P2P, FTP, HTTP or rsync doesn't matter at all! The bandwidth has been paid.

    I'm a very happy customer with a small and mostly business orientated ISP, they are a bit more expensive and have a bit less features than other providers, but their service is excellent.

    I often work from home and have to transfer large files and I need remotedesktop connections with sensible response times.

    That is what I need, that is what I pay for and that is what I get. Not more and not less.

  72. jon
    Paris Hilton

    ISP advertising for beginners

    Entry:

    50mb/s based on location (min 20mb)

    20GB cap p/m (256Kb throttle there after)

    £18

    Mid:

    50mb/s based on location (min 20mb)

    50GB cap p/m (256Kb throttle there after)

    £30

    Heavy:

    50mb/s based on location (min 20mb)

    100GB cap p/m (256Kb throttle there after)

    £50

    Unlimited:

    50mb/s based on location (min 20m/b)

    £20 p/m + £1 per 3GB

    OMG, that was so hard to think up. No holes, no BS, straight to the point.

    Pairs; coz she knows how to get to the point.

  73. Olly Simmons
    Paris Hilton

    Moments of Clarity

    "Virgin are to target bittorent"

    "Virgin Media is known to be in advanced talks to launch a legal, licensed peer-to-peer music service"

    Hmmmm clearing the way for their own service methinks?? This sounds like a bit of an abuse of a monopoly to me. "If you're on our network you have to use our music service, now gimme your credit card."

  74. Norfolk Enchants Paris

    Oh come on...

    When you have to manage a large and complex network, you need to ensure that the traffic is prioritised so that 'stuff that must get through now' (AKA Real-time traffic) gets through in real time and 'stuff that ain't that important' (AKA the other sh!t) gets through when it can. In reality, this only matters when the pipes are full.

    VM are going to offer (up to) 50Meg. Now seriously, they aren't going to have a backbone here that is 50 Meg* number of subscribers, so in order to make the best use of the network when it is full or near full, they will de-prioritise some traffic. I did it with large, complex networks that I was responsible for and it resulted in a better experience for everyone. Why? Simple. Because things like VoIP, video conferencing and http/https traffic got priority, and they are the things that people see happening in real time and are affected by other things blocking the network. Stuff like SMTP, FTP, BitTorrent, BITS and so on can get deprioritised because essentially the end user doesn't really see the difference.

    -So your email turns up 2 seconds later than it would have. Problem?

    -So your Torrent download takes 3 minutes instead of 2 minutes 40. Is that really a problem?

    You will probably suffer more from latency than from prioritisation if your torrent source(s) are far far away.

    Having said all of this, VM only needs to look at packet headers to see what sort of traffic it is & it definitely shouldn't be looking at packet contents, which would be a breach of trust in my opinion.

    People here are sooo quick to jump to a conclusion and pour forth with an opinion. At least nobody has *welcomed our packet sniffing overlords* etc. thank god.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    At all the people...

    who piss and whinge about being mis-sold - "not being provided the advertised service" and who think "we should get what we pay for".

    Get a leased line then - you'll actually be charged a more realistic price for the level of service you seem to be demanding...

    ----

    For example, if you’re served by the exchange we’re located in you could be using a 10Mbps leased line with 10Mbps of bandwidth from just £599* per month.

    ----

    What, you don't have 7 grand a year to blow on your Internet connection?

    ISPs have to have a shoddy, limited, highly contended service - anything else just wouldn't be economical without charging more. Although a 50:1 contention ratio should mean they could get away with charging you only about £12 a month without the need for all the added crap (Phorm and "fair use" policies) - although if I remember rightly, VMs contention ratio is only about 20:1 on residential so they'd need to charge more to make up the difference.

  76. IPB
    Alert

    Ha ha ha

    Oh come on, hands up how many of the P2P users use it for entirely legal purposes? And yes the BBC does use P2P for the iPlayer downloads but at the last count (IIRC) they made up a tiny % of the total users. And while Virgin do say "download movies faster" I am sure if you asked their marketing dept they mean movies from legal sources such as iTunes etc.

    Kids, we have to accept that the keys to the sweet shop are not a divine right.

  77. Doug Glass
    Go

    Better Get Used To It

    Net neutrality is like virginity: we all have it at first, some keep it longer than others, but sooner or later we all lose it. Hear the music? The fat lady is warming up.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they sell unlimited...

    ...then it must be unlimited. Even for file sharing thieves.

  79. alan

    Re Gav

    its sensible comments like that which will mean you will never be able to run an ISP, or for Government, etc.....

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    So many people mising the point...

    ...rant, rant, rant, I'll move, rant rant, move to another supplier, rant rant rant.....

    You guys really don't get it.

    Better analogy.

    All you can eat buffet £10.

    2 fat bastards come in eat 90% of the food. 3 Slim people come in, take the rest and still pay the same. No more food left.

    2 customers come in, complains no food and leave.

    The owners think. "Fat bastards are eating all the food."

    Choice 1. Pay more out to get more food.

    Choice to. Piss off fat bastards and get them to leave.

    Next week,

    "Ello you lonely fat slobs, where do you want to put your lardy ass? Christ don't you fat fuckers smell. guess you can't see the toilet seats so you just piss yourselves"

    Fat bastards leave

    Skinny people come in. eat 10% of the food. More customers come in, eat another 10%

    Now they can either ask for more customers, or reduce the amount they buy in.

    So moral of the story?

    They want the bit torrent users to piss off and use someone else's network! They want people to pay the money, but not take the goods.

    Of course most people are to thick to see this.

  81. Matt
    Alert

    What this will eventually lead to...

    Look, ISPs don't get their bandwidth for free. They have to pay for it.

    They ALL create speed pacakges with prices based on a mixture of what they can get away with and sharing that bandwidth cost across their users, proprotionatley according to speed.

    Now, if ISP A can curently give a 24MB service with no limits, then they're obviously fine. But as their subscription rates increase they're faced with the dilema of installing new equipment, more connections to the backhaul and so on. That investment isn't tiny. When they reach that point they have to ask themselves... 'Do we invest, and possibly increase out prices to cover the costs, invest and hope subscriptions increase to cover the new cost, or just try and make the current bandwidth work great for the majority of our users'.

    A typical user with a 10, 20, 50MB connection primarily expects web pages to load really fast, download something from iTunes/Amazon quickly and so on. When they do this they get a good connection and maybe don't see max speed, but the DL is over and done with quickly and they feel justified in their service. Some even realise that max speed from a single site isn't possible if that site can't deliver at that speed.

    Now, heavy downloaders expect xMB service to mean (xMB / 8) * 60 * 60 * 24 = Bandwidth per day.

    Firstly, all domestic internet connections are contended and always have been. As such, you've no right to expect you max through put 24/7. Quite why ISPs don't make their argument that way around is beyond me, but still. Ultimatley I think its because contention management isn't very efficient.

    This amounts to why no ISP should really ever say 'unlimited' downloads. Because they're all truly limited. What they should state is that 'We guarantee that you can download ((xMB / 8) * 60 * 60 * 24) / Contention ratio per day.

    Just for a worked example, a 20MB connection is a max daily bandwidth of ~211GB per day. Obviously I'm ignoring protocol overhead here. If its a 50:1 contention ration then the guarantee should be: 4.2GB, and 20:1 = 10.5GB/day.

    I'm not saying anyone ever will, but if they advertised like this, it would be honest, at least and should be the numbers their infrastructure is based on.

    However, what is more likely is that they will move back to a pay per GB model. Which honestly if was done sensibly (ie, cheaply) wouldn't be so bad. Give everyone max speed and charge by usage. Some people pay a pittance for the 50 e-mails and 20 mp3s they download a month, others pay more for the constant bit torrenting.

    Bandwidth management comes about more from the competition end of things as companies daren't try selling such products unless they all do it.

  82. Danny Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    So what if they change?

    Its a big enough change to drop their contract and move to someone else. Not sure what all the whining is about. Virgin have always had stupid ToC so no change here.

    Paris, you get what you pay for with her.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hypocrisy at its best

    Virgin Media actually hosts within it's "newsgroups" illegal copies of most of the latest films.

    Perhaps it needs to take a good look at itself before it starts threatening its customers.

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Already blocking proactively in edinburgh

    Already blocking proactively in edinburgh

  85. Andrew Martin
    Coat

    Half Truths

    Wild horses wouldn't drag me to become a Virgin customer. And I've never really found the need to try to use BitTorrent.

    But those who want to argue about net neutrality and "it's just a pipe to the internet, innit?" should perhaps look a little closer at network topology and provisioning. IF all packets are equal, then it makes most sense for ISPs to charge and manage connections simply by the amount of data passing over your ADSL line. If, on the other hand, some patterns of use have other impacts on how they configure things, then it is reasonable to try to balance those things - by differential pricing, or enforced traffic shaping.

    Those pictures of the internet as a fluffy cloud, with two wires sticking out from either side, marked "client" and "server" (or "peer client") are, surprise, surprise, something of an over-simplification.

    Yes, service providers need to find accurate ways to describe their services, so that you get what you expect, and it doesn't change (in particular, deteriorate) behind the scenes. But to expect them to have an entirely flat charging structure is a bit like expecting the Post Office to deliver a letter anywhere in the world for a single flat price. It could be done, but a differential pricing structure is likely to suit the average user better. [note to the skim-readers: the analogy *isn't* between locations, it's between types of service]

    Mine's the one with "lecturer" written on the back :-)

  86. Simon Neill

    @AC above

    Its damn true, the ACTUAL cost of an unlimited 24/7 line is HUGE. We had a fibre line installed between two buildings on the site and no joke it was £12k to dig the hole, this is for a single fibre pair to carry 100Mb. So....5*20Mb "users" would need to pay £480/year to pay for the cable run in 5 years. Thats a sodding 20m cable, max. VM have to run cables cross country, I dread to think of the expense. As I say, that was just the hole. Now you need to add in the costs of hardware at both ends, running and maintaining and thats before you consider the cost per GB of downloads.

    I have no objection to the idea that my service is shared or limited. I'd actually object less to having p2p nerfed than having this horribly small download limit.

  87. Glen
    Coat

    @Charles

    You said: "I cannot speak for the UK's infrastructure investment, but it also helps that Japan, Korea, and the like are a lot SMALLER"

    Suggest you dig your atlas out mate - Japan is far far bigger than the UK in length.

    Mine's the one with the Shinkansen tickets in the pocket.

  88. Andrew Thomas
    Thumb Up

    Sounds fair to me

    It sounds fair - people who use the internet for casual use (such as myself) should not be penalised by those hogging all the bandwidth. But rather than singling-out BitTorrent, the fairest approach would be a gradual reduction in your bandwidth the more you use it.

  89. Steve Liddle
    Unhappy

    Blizzard Bit torrent

    Sucks to be a virgin customer and also play WoW, all their updates are via BT, as are most of the linux distros....

    What is the point on advertising a 50 MB service and then stop the protocol that makes it worth spending the money on it ?

  90. Gulfie
    Stop

    @AC - I work for Virgin so am not unbiased

    "Other users are also paying for that service and bandwidth is not infinite"

    Hang on, what are all these VM users buying? If they are being sold (for sake of argument, I don't know the T's & C's) "50Mbps and unlimited bandwidth" then everybody is entitled to use just that. Because that's what they were sold and that's what they are paying for. Doesn't matter that granny down the road sends two emails a week and is paying for the same package.

    If VM don't have the infrastructure to support what they are selling, THEY SHOULDN'T BE SELLING IT. In fact, they shouldn't be allowed to advertise or sell it in this way if this is the case. And this is why people get pissed. They buy one thing and find out that the network is run in such a way that they get something completely different.

    My ISP does no throttling but clearly states what my monthly bandwidth limit is, and how much additional bandwidth will cost. Very clear, very up front, and my connection is fantastic, even in the evil 4pm-8pm window. Zen, by the way.

    ISPs should be forced to state a number of things - like financial services companies - on every advert:

    - The maximum speed down the line - which will be the lower of the 'line speed' usually quoted 'up to 8Mbps' on a BT line and their upper speed limit which is separately managed.

    - The average speed during peak hours, and what those peak hours are

    - The monthly bandwidth cap - no strings allowed. Unlimited should mean just that (i.e. no comeback for the ISP if somebody with a 10Mbps downloads at a rate of 10Mbps for the entire month).

    - Which if any services are throttled, when and down to what speed

    People will stop complaining once the ISPs choose to be honest about what they are selling. Don't sell something you haven't got and can't deliver! Mis-selling of internet services has got to stop. Tell people what they can and can't do and the vast majority will manage their usage within those limits - or switch to a package that gives them the extra they need.

  91. GrantK

    There should be a law

    Hmm - only thing I use bittorrent for is warcraft updates. These happen over a week or 2 before the patch, so we probably wont even notice the throttling.

    I think the problem is more an expectation one. If you sell 'unlimited' broadband (in large print) and then put a bunch of restrictions in the small print people will complain (rightly).

    If Virgin (and others) were more upfront about what they are selling there would be no problem at all.

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Change

    Exactly the same boat. VM's service (if that's what youc an call it) has been going backwards for the last two years.

    Time to move on.

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Very decent typres here on the Reg

    No-one using Bittorrent to DL illegitimate files?

    Admirable user-group El Reg.

    I do. Not masses, a few TV shows that I don't want to wait 3 to 6 months for. Average of a gig or two a month.

    If I find that I can't do this on Virgin, with is relatively expensive for Broadband, then I'll ditch them and switch. Not a problem for me.

    I don't particularly object to throttling at busy times.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    VM *already* killing connections using BT

    I've been on VM since they were NTL. For the last six months or so, any time that someone in the house lanches Miro or Transmission (BT clients), our connection will gradually slow down to a crawl for every machine in the house, and within 20 minutes or so, it just stops completely. It's not because BT is using all the bandwidth; there can be virtually nothing going in or out to the BT client, and quitting the application doesn't help -- the connection just grinds to a halt.

    Reseting the modem gets us straight back online.

    The connection is otherwise reliable. We don't use BT that often, but if the connection does suddenly give up, I can guarantee that it's because someone's watching a TV show on Miro and hasn't stopped it from downloading stuff in the background.

  95. Christy A

    Oh, sod OFF, Virgin Media.

    They think they're going to throttle my bittorrent downloads, do they? Firstly: good luck with that. SSL is my friend, and if that isn't enough, well there's always someone smarter and more angry than me to come up with a way to hide the bittorrent traffic.

    Secondly: throttle? From what to what? Considering that my downloads never reach what is supposed to be full speed, will it really make that much difference anyway?

    In conclusion: Virgin Media may proceed directly to hell. I'll download what I want, when I want. They sold me the connection to use as I see fit, not as they do. If I see them getting in the way, I'll get around it.

  96. Andy Wilcox
    Pirate

    FFS

    Give us what we pay for

    I DO NOT download movies or music from the internet, however when downloading patches for online games (LOTRO MOM being the latest at just under 5GB) should i use the pathetic 40Kbps thru the HTTP downloader or should i move to the P2P network and get over 1.5Mb transfer rate. Yet 5GB on BT = VM "WOW u must be downloading illegal files" BAN

    On the whole this is an epic fail, u non BT users can whine all you want and petition the gov for stronger penalties on P2P Copyright theifs, just dont f**k with peoples connections.

    The Pirate Flag cause it fits VM's policy

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Virgin Employee

    "But if P2P traffic is consuming so much bandwidth that it is having a detrimental effect on other users then something needs to be done. Other users are also paying for that service and bandwidth is not infinite."

    Unlimited = Infinite

    Maybe your comms department could stop telling lies in their adverts.

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Stu Reeves

    Yuor justification seems to be suggesting that doing the wrong thing is ok as long as the person doing it benefits. That doesn't fit too well in any moral framework I can go along with. Your hypothetical restaurateur advertises "all you can eat", so they should supply the quantity of food to cover that, and ensure they charge a price that makes the "all you can eat" offer worthwhile.

  99. b
    Happy

    freetards are ruining the internet for everyone

    Seriously, why not just pay for stuff instead of stealing it?

  100. Matt

    @Charles

    F---ing dooch, Japan is bigger then the UK. They have an issue of big f------ mountains and earthquakes to contend with aswell.

    Meh I use BT to download anime/j-drama fansubs, wait 3 years for an overpriced yank version with poor translations or a few days for a bunch of dudes to give me top notch service. Also the Japanese provide many a service to watch these things online so I can actually watch these streams live (re KeyholeTV.)

    But people block BT then just get the stuff via XDCC, or rapidshare, or mediafire, or perfect dark, or winny or share. Bit torrents just one in a whole sea of protcols, and if you've got a 50mb connection using all the above would be faster then bittorrent anyway except perfect dark, but then if more people used that that would be fast too.

    Alot of people I know use limewire for music still, weird but true.

  101. Whitter
    Flame

    CPMb

    Charge Per MByte if bandwidth is really the issue:

    e.g. first X Mbytes at 20mb/s per month, then down to 0.5mb/s until the month end.

    You pay for different values of X.

    Alternatives: Packages charged per week say (for weekend iPlayer users)

    It's not hard.

    But it does means some honesty in what you sell, and will that ever happen?

    And keep your hands of my personal data: one sniff of that and you're dumped.

  102. b
    Flame

    jesus tapdancing christ

    I didn't realise the average age of the Reg was 13.

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @AC

    Exactly where have I justified it? Please tell me? i don't know.

    So if Virgin come along and say All you can eat, and no throttling ever. all for £1000 / month, Would you take it up? Thought not.

    I'm just stating the business model they are applying. They want to loose the high usage people and replace them with low usage people, who pay EXACTLY the same amount of money.

    Seems good business practice.

    Good Business practice, does not always equal good morals.

  104. Neil Hoskins
    Thumb Up

    Just standing up to be counted...

    Take the freetards outside and beat them with baseball bats. Bastards. I'd go further but I can't beat, "...the most tiresome, irritating, self-important, entitlement-culture wankers on the internet....".

  105. blackworx

    Pfft

    Don't use BT much, but when I do I expect it to fucking work.

    Aside from that, already I rarely see anything resembling a decent download speed from my alleged 20Mb/s Virgin line, no matter what the protocol or time of day. Weekend afternoons are absolutely atrocious, with load times often equivalent to dial-up even on http.

  106. Gulfie
    Flame

    @Allan Rutland

    Allan, its the ISP you should be moaning about. Bittorrent users are operating within the terms and conditions of their ISP service agreement (I occasionally use Bittorrent to download a missed TV show). The ISPs are selling something they can't provide. Lobby them to be clear about their terms and conditions. Switch to a 'proper' ISP like Zen. Don't blame people who pay for a connection and use it to its legal limit!

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A fairer system for more people...

    Controversially, I agree with traffic shaping - if someone is negatively affecting a network and service then they have to be limited so as everyone that has paid can utilise the service. A finite amount of resources has to be shared amongst a number of subscribers. The costs for providing those resources plus an amount of profit needs to be made. That total is then split amongst the subscribers.

    Since Virgin introduced STM people have complained as they get slowed down reasonably early. By targetting Bittorrent traffic, Virgin Media seem to be trying to provide a faster service for more people over other protocols and services, and slowing down the one protocol that eats up most of the available bandwidth.

    I'm not sure it's the right approach, but it has to be fairer overall than the current system. It should also help for those streaming over things like iPlayer and Internet radio, etc.

    As for some services that utilise Bittorrent - maybe Virgin will add them to a whitelist so they're not throttled as much? Who knows? In any case, it wasn't all that long ago that people would set a large download going and leave it going for hours or even days. If a program from say 4oD or a Linux ISO takes slightly longer to download, is it really that big a price to pay if you're getting all of your other traffic (streaming, web downloading, VoIP, gaming, etc, etc) downloaded with less/no STMing?

  108. Paul M.
    Thumb Up

    How do I switch to Virgin?

    Two thumbs up from me.

    You get a better service once these socially retarded leeches have moved on to cripple someone else's network. Hurry up Virgin, and please do everyone a favour. Don't wait until next summer.

    Freetards on Virgin: can you SWITCH ISP NOW PLEASE so it's nice and fast for when I join?

  109. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cannot use bandwidth faster than your line limit.

    Horrified at the amount of people here who have fallen for the idea of other people slowing your internet down because they actually use what they have been sold.

    If VM actually had the capacity to supply all the 2, 10, 20 and now 50MB lines they are happily taking everyones money for, then there would be no slow down. They are selling you a line (with a max speed which you cannot exceed, so you cannot be using more than what you have paid for) to use for yourself.. NOT a line to be shared with 10 other people (who are all paying for a line) at the same time.

    This is like going to your local pub, buying a pint at full price and only being allowed to have a sip out of it then having to pass it round to 10 other people who have also paid full price for a pint because the pub does not have enough beer and runs it's business on the idea that no-one actually wants to drink a whole pint even though they have paid for it

    You get for example a 10MB line from VM and you cannot use more than the 10MB at any time so how the hell can they be using "your" bandwidth.

    The fact is VM has oversold it's capacity yet again and complaining that people want to use what they have paid for. Online gaming, streaming video, social sites, youtube, share you holiday videos with granny, streaming radio, online TV... and P2P. It all uses bandwidth (but you still cannot use the bandwidth faster than the limit on the line you have paid for) and unfortunately some people have come to believe the bullshite that it's others users fault instead of overselling on the part of the ISP

    Regards the 50MB, just what the hell are you supposed to do with 50MB just send a couple of emails incase you actually used what you have paid for and have people complaining you are using their bandwidth.

  110. Peter Kay

    Pay per GB - not going to happen

    Pay per GB will never happen, because it doesn't make the ISPs more money. Otherwise someone would have done it already..

    It's far more effective to force customers to go on to a package which is as large as they'll ever need (but usually won't use) and then charge crippling prices for extra bandwidth.

    Many ISP's offerings simply haven't caught up to modern Internet services. Stick Internet Radio on all day for a month (realistic, if you're mostly at home - why shouldn't you listen to it?) and it'll blow lots of limits. A little network gaming. A bit of youtube. Some iPlayer. The limits are easily blown even if you're enthusiastically using legal services.

  111. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Its like Branson's Trains

    Yeh blah blah we are going to get you there quicker - meanwhile after a 4 hour wait outside Rugby. Typical of one of his companies to bullshit you along and the pull the rug out from under you. Anyone could have seen this coming as they have to get bandwidth from somewhere to advertise 50mb/s. Luckily I can't get Branson Media where I live. I'm on an honest package where I have GB limits for off-peak and peak so I'm actually paying for my data allowance and it's up to me what to do with it and not some content MAFIAA to determine what is OK.

    .

  112. John Taylor
    Flame

    50Mbps my backside...

    Well as I'm a person who can influence the type of connection people obtain for broadband purposes I can confirm I will no longer be recommending Virgin Media...

    The fact they are now resorting to deep packet inspection so that they can claw back bandwidth confirms that there recently announced 50Mbps connection is nothing but a publicity stunt and they can't really deliver that figure without screwing over there locked in customers.

    Thank god I didn't go with VM for my connection, and I'm going to make sure noone else I know does either.

  113. Julian
    Stop

    @ Paul and all the flamers

    I'm surprised at the paucity of comment supporting Paul's position. I have a 10Mb cable connection which frequently performs a slowly as 10Kb. Do you think that I should support the abuse by all you freetards on P2P exchanging pirated software,music and video for which you are not paying and, consequently, also damaging constructive use of P2P and BitTorrent such as legitimate downloads.

    It is you who are destroying net neutrality. It is you who are stealing not only the content but your ISP's resources and MY moderate use of a service for which I have paid and do not receive. You are contributing to (and even aiding and abetting) the the destruction of ALL our freedoms which you spuriously argue you are supporting.

    I pity the world you are creating. After all, it is you and the likes of you, selfish something for nothing people, who have brought us to the current financial meltdown. Nothing is ultimately free and our children and grandchildren will pay for our lack of foresight with diminished freedoms and choices and, of course, the bill.

    Go on, Flame me, but it would be really nice to hear from a few people supporting my position!

  114. The Mighty Spang
    Joke

    In other news...

    The Government has announced plans to traffic-shape roads by reducing the speeds of people who use them the most. Travelling salesmen, long distance lorry drivers and anybody with a commute over 5 miles to work will be reduced to a maximum of 15 mph. This change will allow everybody who doesn't need that much access to the road network to have as much of it as they don't need.

    A Government spokesman said this was about improving the service to all road users and nothing to do with not wanting to spend any money on infrastructure.

  115. David Lavery
    Flame

    @ paul M

    So effectively everyone who uses Bit Torrent is a socially retard leech? in which case might I suggest you are a small minded bigot who makes generalised statements?

    Virgin's service will get better when they manage customer expectation better or when they deliver on the service they promise which ever comes first.

  116. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @P2P - Over HTTP on port 80?

    Sorry, but modern technology would have no problem dealing with this. Any decent filter, shaper or IPS to recognise traffic "tunelled" through another application.

  117. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't, I confess, understand what the problem is here.

    I have had to "upgrade" to a broadband internet connection at an increased price because web pages now have so much "eye-candy" content and extraneous stuff that page download takes "an eternity". I was happy with 56 Kb but am now happy (relatively) with what I've got.

    Surely, if website owners and content providers want to provide services with relatively large bandwidth requirements then either they or their users should pay towards it. I can't buy a 1 tonne package and have it transported to me for the cost of a first class stamp in the real world - why should the internet be different?

    I don't mind providing a modest subsidy to bit torrent, et al, users IF my service is not severely affected. Anybody who ever sold or bought "unlimited" internet services needs to get out more. Without investment it can't be. If you want to download films/videos/music prepare to pay the going rate for the luxury.

    Virgin are an ISP and content provider so have a dual problem. BBC are a foc content provider so who pays for the bandwidth to download - the user or the ISP? How often do users download really big files all at the same time? Is this argument by ISPs just a synthetic way of either jacking up the price of internet subscriptions or throttling usage so that investment can be postponed? Don't we have a regulator somewhere in here?

  118. Theresa Forster
    Paris Hilton

    What about legitimate users

    what about legitimate uses of downloads utilising the Bittorrent protocol,

    For instance, it now may take weeks to get the latest patch for World of warcraft or what about someone downloading the latest Ubuntu or SuSe community distros

    This is a bad idea and will cause problems for many legitimate users of the protocol...

  119. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Legal Torrent Users

    What about people who use BitTorrent sharing legally? I've seen a few companies offer downloads via bitTorrent presumably to save their own bandwidth?

  120. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    contention ratio

    "Horrified at the amount of people here who have fallen for the idea of other people slowing your internet down because they actually use what they have been sold."

    I am horrified at the numer of people here who have fallen for the idea that buying a 50:1 contention ratio 10Mbit/s connection entitles them to use 10Mbit/s, rather than 1/50th of 10Mbit/s

  121. Mark

    @Julian

    Julian, you've swalloed too much ISP man-juice.

    Canadian Comcast, who had told everyone that they needed to throttle traffic because of over-use had had documents revealed in court that Comcast had KNOWN that the occurrence of saturation of their network ONLY happened less than 3% of the time.

    Unless Canadians are not freetards (you fucktard), and this can't be true because the RIAA said that Canada was responsible for the majority of illegal copyright infringement losses to the entertainment industry, this is unlikely to be any worse for you.

    Your shit connection is due to your ISP being crap.

  122. Andrew Ridge

    ehmm?

    if they are so bothered about "bandwidth hogs", then throttle the people that hog the bandwidth, not just the people that use p2p.

    admittedly there will be a fairly large overlap between these 2 sets, but there are other places you can download gigabytes and gigabytes of stuff, will these people also be throttled? or is it just the p2p people?

  123. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @how will ISPs be able to manage traffic

    "Now, as for the deep packet inspection debate, how will ISPs be able to manage traffic when it learns that its bandwidth hogs also employ encrypted connections that make it nigh-impossible to inspect the packets?"

    Encrypted or not, Bit Torrent data is very easy to spot. The encryption simply stops you seeing the contents, not from identifying it as being Bit Torrent, actually I'll change that to P2P. P2P is easy to spot. I don't think the ISP's care if the client is Bit Torrent or <insert other here>. P2P sticks out like a sore thumb and will simply be throttled.

  124. Mark

    @Stu Reeves

    "All you can eat, and no throttling ever. all for £1000 / month, Would you take it up? Thought no"

    Of course not.

    The wholesale price of an OC48 per month is $4,800. Entirely and wholly yours. 2.45GBps.

    Divvy that up amongst 50 users and you get ~50Mbps each for $96.

    Why spend £1000 for a mimiscule proportion of that?

  125. David Hicks

    @fairer AC

    "Controversially, I agree with traffic shaping - if someone is negatively affecting a network and service then they have to be limited so as everyone that has paid can utilise the service. A finite amount of resources has to be shared amongst a number of subscribers. The costs for providing those resources plus an amount of profit needs to be made. That total is then split amongst the subscribers."

    No.

    Absolutely not.

    I may have signed a contract with my ISP to use a 50Mbps line. I may also have read the small print about contention ratios and a download cap.

    I did NOT see anything there about their upstream connection being a dialup modem and my data being subject to throttling because they've got 100K subscribers contending over 5K lines, which are then contending for a single line somewhere else.

    I'm sorry, even taking contention into account, they ought to be able to supply what they promised. All this shaping and throttling is just weaseling out.

    As for the guy saying "why not just buy stuff" - happy to, and I do. But don't come whining to me when the UK infrastructure is left far behind the rest of the world's and we miss out on the next tech revolution, because you and your type have decided that we don't need the bandwidth.

    The Swedes already have 100Mbps to their houses. Why don't we?

    @Paul M

    "Freetards on Virgin: can you SWITCH ISP NOW PLEASE so it's nice and fast for when I join?"

    What does it matter how fast it is? the moment you start doing anything other than looking at the web they'll throttle you. You may as well go back to 56K.

  126. Mark

    re: Very decent typres here on the Reg

    Well, do you know anyone who does do it? If so, report them.

    Oh, copyright abuse can only be raised by the copyright holder, can't it.

    Which is why Sony UK is still solvent because I wanted to take them to court over the abuse of copyright of LAME. Couldn't because only the copyright holder can take action.

    But you just *assume* that people are mostly doing wrong with it because you've been told by RIAA (who have disobeyed HUNDREDS of court orders, broken even more laws themselves and have broken the contract of copyrights to boot) that that is all it's done for.

    I bet you believe both that porn is 90% of the internet traffic, BT is 90% of traffic and that Spam is 90% of traffic on the internet. Even though that adds up to 270% before you get your Daily Mail (internet edition) added into the mix.

    Fuckwit.

  127. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    so your isp tells you bittorrent slows down your connection and all you idiots belive it ?

    For all the stupid fucking zombies out there who actually believe the bullshit company line that bit torrent slows down everyones connection IT DOESN'T YOUR ISP LIED ABOUT THE SPEED YOU PAY FOR.

    Bit torrent is the new scape goat, without P2P we would all still be on 56k, demand for broadband comes from P2P users.

    If your water supply for your shower started getting weak would you demand that all bath users are banned from your network or would you phone the assholes you PAY for your water and tell them to fix it or you'll get a new supplier.

    WAKE UP !

    "No, Virgin just want to toss the Freetards."

    Oh would that be the "freetards" who PAY for their service ? dead easy if Virgin make it impossible for me to download what i want with the service i pay for then i'll go elsewhere.

  128. Stevie G
    Go

    I'm off...

    Hmmnnnnn, good one Virgin! Fist their throttling policy, then phorm, then BPI, their unintelligible help-desk, and now they want to determine how I can use their network that I have paid for based on their inadequacies. Pushed me over the edge and I've just asked for termination. I believe most people just want a decent service - I use bittorrent like most today (whether you realise it or not), I'm not excessive in my usage, but their network (for me) stinks and as a company they need to improve customer services and package offerings.

    Go for Gone.....

  129. Mark

    @Simon Neill

    That's BT monopolising network costing you that. In the US, $4,800 pcm for an OC48. ~2.5Gbps if you're allowed to wholesale it.

  130. Matt

    @Julian

    The ISPs are the ones to blame in this whole affair, they sell xxxmb of connection to aaaa people when they only have yyyymb connection capacity.

    So say they sell 10mb connections to 100 people and they have a 100mb line from those houses to the exchange. Now guess what, if 10 people use their 10mb the other people are stuffed. But it ain't those 10 people fault, they bought the line just like everyone else.

    It should be illegal to sell more then you have. You got a 100mb of bandwidth then you can only sell 100mb of bandwidth.

    It's like having 100pints of beer then saying okay everyone to a hundred people can have 10pints of beer, pay us a fiver each. Now the big lardy guys who can push folk out of the way and the fast sprinty blokes get 10 pints of beer. Leaving 90 people £5 out of pocket and no with no beer. The ISPs meanwhile have sold 100pints of beer to 100 people who they said could have 10 pints each and are laughing their asses off at everyone.

    So stop protecting overselling ISPs and vent your spleen at those who deserve it.

  131. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @What about legitimate users

    Simple, there are none. Or, rather, the % of legitimate users is so close to zero as makes no real odds. And even if there was significant legal use of torrents, they would still be hogging the bandwidth and still need to be throttled.

    The primary (only?) use for torrents is theft. High time the freetards admitted that. Guess they're like dole scroungers really; too happy to live off other people than to pay for anything themselves.

  132. Paul

    Why on earth

    Do Virgin et al not just try and educate users?

    They should introduce a limited service rather than this "unlimited" rubbish. Oh ye... They cant. I clearly remeber AOL having adverts where they scared people in to getting unlimited by showing people downloading a few photos and then "running out"

    Personlaly I have no problems with my 8MB BT conection, with a 2G limit. I play WoW most nights, use the internet all the time and get 6MB-7MB most of the time.

  133. Red Bren
    Joke

    @Andrew Ridge

    "...then throttle the people that hog the bandwidth..."

    Isn't that an extreme solution? And I thought traffic shaping was harsh...

  134. FathomsDown
    Stop

    @SSL FTW

    Yes, you could use SSL but as that requires extra horsepower on both the client and the server, your downloads would be slower anyway which makes it pretty pointless.

    If you don't like using an ISP which throttles you then use one of the numerous smaller ISPs which offer uncapped broadband with better support for less money. cutyourbills.net, zen or faster all spring to mind.

  135. Frederick Karno
    Thumb Down

    been there done it !!!

    Anyone on a DPI isp that uses anythibg ither than port 80 will find their traffic hampered at some time, probably by mistake but they will spend long hours wondering why that new program they are trying doesnt work only to find its the DPI that has mistakenly throttled it to death.

    As someone who suffered at the hands of this for some time.before the isp came clean i advise anyone who can to vote with their feet.

    They always pick on p2p as this gets emotions high and the "i dont use it so thats ok " brigade tp fight their corner but believe me you will all suffer for it.

    The only reason they want to reduce bandwidth is so they can send more of their own stuff down the line to you.......tv content with adverts that they get money for for example and they want to use your money to do it.

    Its a con dont fall for it get a decent isp that doesnt bandwidth shape..

    and remember in the real world if you are stuck in a contract and they change one word of that contract it would then be null and void you should have to resign for the changes.continuing paying for the service is not an admission of acceptance of the changes.

    vote with your feet or live to regret it. p2p today bbci player tomorrow who knows what they will pick.

  136. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @So many people mising the point...

    "So many people mising the point...

    By Stu Reeves Posted Tuesday 16th December 2008 13:29 GMT

    Stop

    ...rant, rant, rant, I'll move, rant rant, move to another supplier, rant rant rant.....

    You guys really don't get it.

    Better analogy.

    All you can eat buffet £10.

    2 fat bastards come in eat 90% of the food. 3 Slim people come in, take the rest and still pay the same. No more food left.

    2 customers come in, complains no food and leave."

    Everything after this is incorrect and indeed, completely misses the piont.

    What really happens is that the customer complains to the shop, they produce more food or give the money back.

  137. david wilson

    @Cannot use bandwidth faster than your line limit.

    >>"This is like going to your local pub, buying a pint at full price and only being allowed to have a sip out of it then having to pass it round to 10 other people who have also paid full price for a pint because the pub does not have enough beer and runs it's business on the idea that no-one actually wants to drink a whole pint even though they have paid for it."

    Complaining about contention is more like going to your pub, buying a pint, and spending all night sitting on the toilet reading a paper.

    And then complaining about the facilities the next night when the bog is occupied by someone else doing exactly the same thing.

    If the pub is capable of dealing well enough with most normal people's behaviour, with little more than the occasional wait, but things get awkward when there are more than a couple of people like you, don't blame the pub and say "But there should be one toilet per customer!!" especially when you know full well that that's not how pubs work, and you've probably known that for years.

  138. Mike
    Boffin

    These go to 11

    People like Paul don't understand broadband (let alone networks), they'll get 50Mb broadband because it's so much "better" than 2Mb broadband, but to be fair why shouldn't he think this? this is how it *should* be, but this is the real world and it isn't like this, let people like this live in their ignorance.

    The "Broad" in broadband can be considered the "Width" of the network traffic, whereas the latency is the speed, compare a wide slow flowing river and a wide fast flowing river, the have the same "Broadness" but deliver different amounts of water, VM can sell 50Mb broadband, and it is 50Mb always, but as soon as the contention stuffs up the latency, the river flow slows down (the slang "internet pipe" is a water based analogy for a reason), it doesn't stop being a 50Mb connection.

    My old 64k ISDN line gave me better latency (ping) on network games (CS/HL) than many broadband services gave (and so much better than 56k modem, 5-10 times "faster" despite the 8k difference).

    In summary, VM have never "oversold" their bandwidth, but if this bandwith is used anywhere near capacity their latency times increase significantly (not affecting the bandwith, just the speed), you can't atrificially cripple someones latency so they throttle the bandwidth to effectively decrease the latency, better tuning of MTU and using multicast services for live streams (such as iPlayer) may address this immediate issue, but not for ever, you need lower latency on (every part) the backbone which is prohibitively expensive (unless you massively increase the cost of broadband services), but if that happened people would demand 100M/bit ethernet to the home and you have the same problem again, upgrade the backbone, then they demand gigabit etc....

  139. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Julian

    "Go on, Flame me, but it would be really nice to hear from a few people supporting my position!"

    To support your position you would need to be an idiot!

    No user can use their connection more than the package they've paid for.

    That you blame your poor connection on someone else who is using theirs according to their agreement defies belief!

    Clearly the root cause here is the overselling of a limited resource, by the ISP.

  140. Simon Orr
    Flame

    @Anonymous Coward

    "But if P2P traffic is consuming so much bandwidth that it is having a detrimental effect on other users then something needs to be done. Other users are also paying for that service and bandwidth is not infinite."

    I do respect your point of view but if the ISPs hadn't sold something they couldn't provide, there would be no issue. If throttling a lot fo users is currently preventing/mitigating issues, then selling smaller packages would've done the same- the issue I have is that they sell a package and then complain if you use it. If they can't support it, they shouldn't sell it.

    and @Paul: Sorry dude, if your ISP oversold bandwitch and now can't supply you with what they promised, whose fault is that? Just because you don't use what you bought doesn't mean noone else should.

  141. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    look it's no use getting at one another .....

    it's down to VM who don't give a shit about their customer service or their customers privacy and have no intention of spending any money upgrading the pipes. Money money money we just want your money so we can all have a big house. When the business looks as if it's in good nick with lots of customers on 12month contracts for their tv phone and internet packages, they will sell it for money money money.

  142. Mark

    "The primary (only?) use for torrents is theft."

    Nope.

    Wrong.

    Unless you mean it in the same way as the primary (only?) use for military defense spending is to pay your mates wodges of dosh.

  143. b
    Happy

    So effectively everyone who uses Bit Torrent is a socially retard leech?

    Going by the comments above I'd say that this is an emphatic YES.

  144. steogede

    @jon

    Jon, there are only two things I can see that are missing from your scheme. The most important one, I believe, is that caps on usage should be shown not only in terms of 'size' but also 'time' (at the max download speed)

    e.g. a 50 GB/month cap on a 50 Mb/sec connections, equates to 2 hours and 13 minutes usage at full speed. The £1 per 3GB that you mention equates to £1 per 8 minutes or 12.5p a minute. There's nothing terribly earth shattering about these figures, however users should be aware of them and the adverts should be forced to show clearly how the 'speed' and 'download cap' are realated. For example, how many BT customers paying £15/month for a 10GB capped 8MB/s service realise that they can only use the service at full speed for just under 3 hours per month? In one sense, they are paying £15/month for a 32Kbps service.

    The other point I was going to make was that P2P bandwith is often less costly to the ISP because you are (often) sharing files with people on the same network, particularly if the network is as large as Virgin. And we all (should) know that bandwidth within an ISP is much cheaper than external bandwith. However this point is largely negated given that the bulk of non P2P traffic is probably cached HTTP, so that probably uses very little external bandwidth too.

    The only thing stopping ISPs from selling their services fairly as suggested by Jon, is that they would be at a commercial disadvantage - they can't play fair whilst everyone else is cheating and misleading their customers. Exactly the same situation as the mobile phone market, I suppose.

  145. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    The real problem lies with the regulators

    When one provider started selling 'unlimited' packages, other ISPs had to follow or go out of business. Just like Telewest got bought out by NTL, which in turn got bought out by Virgin.

    OFCOM should have stamped on this practice immediately. And HARD. Unfortunately, OFCOM are a paper tiger, and would appear to be in the pockets of the likes of BT and Virgin.

    So folks, what it comes down to is: blame those who had the power to regulate these arguably illegal practices and did nothing to do so. Probably because they had/have/will have financial connections to companies carrying out said practices*, so it would not have been in their interests to do so.

    Always remember: to those in a position of power, where ther is insufficient oversight (judicial or otherwise) the problems of those who they have power over are a mere externality.

    *Allegedly

  146. Brian Gannon

    They are only kicking off the law breakers

    More poor reporting. They are only going to throttle those breaking their terms and condition by downloading illegal material. If you download Linux ISOs via bit torrent then relax. If you use iplayer then relax it’s not bit torrent. If you download WoW patches via bit torrent then relax. If you download copyright material via bit torrent all day long then good riddance.

  147. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @Cannot use bandwidth faster than your line limit.

    Ahh, one day we'll have to publish a book of the best'n'worst extended commentard analogies. It'll make the most awesome toilet read.

  148. Paul M.
    Happy

    @Frederick - Do the maths

    "They always pick on p2p as this gets emotions high and the "i dont use it so thats ok " brigade tp fight their corner but believe me you will all suffer for it."

    No, 95 per cent of us will be better off without the 24x7 Freetards.

    People have grokked that. You need to do the maths.

    "vote with your feet"

    Please do. But can Freetards vote first and quickly please?

  149. Paul M.
    Thumb Up

    Virgin is onto a winner, and knows it

    Julian gets it.

    typical random Freetard whine: "The ISPs are the ones to blame in this whole affair"

    No. ISPs are in a business where costs are variable but revenue is fixed.

    It's the 24x7 Freetards who drive up the costs for everyone else. The selfish Tards depend on everyone else subsidizing their warez, free music and free movie habits. That makes these goods more expensive for everyone else. It also makes monthly ISP bills more expensive, because Virgin has to pay for traffic from outside its network.

    A Freetard downloading films 24x7 is 100 to 10,000 more expensive than the average user. They cause 99 per cent of network congestion. If Virgin can chuck the 5 per cent of Freetards onto some ISP stupid enough to take them, costs go down and network performance improves.

    The other ISPs will follow suit, and all the diehard Freetards will end up on an ISP that goes bust.

    It's going to be fun!

  150. Kieron McCann
    Coat

    @ Glen

    Actually, although Japan might be geographically longer, the real issue is population density. Japan's population density is 337 per sq km, and Korea's is at 498. In contrast, the UK is at 246 per sq km.

    Furthermore, if you bothered to look at your atlas properly, you might have seen some geographic features called mountains running down the centre of Japan, which forces the population in to some very densely packed conurbations. This means you get a hell of a lot more subscribers per metre of network in

    Mine's the one with the much better value Tokubetsu Kyuko tickets in the pocket.

  151. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    you get what you pay for

    you pay £30 for unlimited 50mb download speed, it ain't unlimited, and the support will be rubbish.

    you pay £30 for unlimited 512k download speed, it is unlimited and the support is top notch.

    You make your choice and pay your price.

  152. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: @Cannot use bandwidth faster than your line limit.

    Pubs should charge for cubicle time thus moderating demand.

    Otherwise it's obvious people will want to sit in the cubicle all night....

    um...

  153. Peter Kay

    @ 'what about legitimate users'

    It's ok until it happens to you, isn't it? Perish the thought you ever want to do copious amounts of Internet radio, or legal streamed media including home movies to your aunty Doris in Australia. Your attitude that you don't care about heavy bandwidth users, regardless of the source, is a perfect example of 'I'm alright jack' and is argually more closed minded than the people on this thread who clearly are downloading vast amounts of illegal material.

    Some ISPs are unwilling to actually set hard limits (Why? Zen do. So do Entanet, A&A, IDNet and all sorts of others) - obviously because they believe it will hit sales - otherwise why wouldn't they say? They were also equally unhappy with iPlayer before they put proxies in. So, it's not about the material and they're perfectly willing to screw their (innocent) customers for business gains. As the business isn't treating their customers with respect, why do you expect the customers to play ball?

  154. blue
    Flame

    Without Freedards, You'd All be Still Banging Rocks Together

    Without bittorrent, there would have been no growth of internet speeds - ISPs would still be selling 512Kbps lines.

    Also, IS bittorrent the major consumer of bandwidth these days? I read that video (You Tube, et al) had matched if not over taken it.

    How long before Virgin starts throttling that, then?

    That Virgin is proposing to strangle a protocol that competes with its own proposed p2p offering is surely tantamount to corruption.

  155. Adrian Challinor

    @David Hicks

    Well said that man.

    Just because I use Bit Torrent to download and seed Distro deliveries does not make me a freetard.

  156. JeeBee
    Paris Hilton

    Whaaa I bought a timeshare for £3000 and I can't use it all year

    "If you bought a ferrari for £250,000, and the dealer said "well actually yuou have to share it with 50 other people, and it can't actually do 200mph because we've put the wrong tires on it and don't want to spend the money on new ones"...how many people would be happy?"

    Poor analogy unless you change the price of the Ferrari down to £5,000.

    The fact is that 5% of users are making the service really poor for the other 95% of users. This is because bandwidth is a limited commodity. Virgin Media already host download servers for lots of popular software to try and keep the bandwidth in-network, but Bittorrent currently doesn't care for in/out network aspects.

    Cable broadband and DSL are only affordable because of the sharing of available resource. If you then go and hog all of that resource it's a little unfair on the other 49 people who are paying the same and who then have to suffer slow times for their use isn't it? Bittorrent use is like getting a Ferrari for £5000 along with 49 other people, and then keeping it in your garage all year and stopping the other people getting their use out of it. Anyway, Virgin now offer their 50mbit "Bugatti Veyron" service. Again, you have a share of this, not all of it.

    I would prefer a minimum service quality guarantee from Virgin and other ISPs however. i.e., regardless of time of access I'd want 1mbit/s guaranteed service. If nobody else is on, I get all 50mbit if I need it. If 50 people are on, we each have 1mbit guaranteed so nobody's service slows down. What we use that 1mbit for isn't Virgin's problem.

  157. david wilson

    @steogede

    >>"For example, how many BT customers paying £15/month for a 10GB capped 8MB/s service realise that they can only use the service at full speed for just under 3 hours per month? In one sense, they are paying £15/month for a 32Kbps service."

    Presumably, few customers of a 10GB/month service are actually going to *care* that they could only use their [theoretical] 8MB line flat out for 3 hours, for the simple reason that they typically download less than 10GB/month, and to the extent that they may be aware of their usage, they are aware not from measuring time and download speed, but just from looking at a monthly total on the relevant ISP account page.

    They're not *really* paying for a 32Kbps service any more than someone who's insured to drive 8000miles/year is only covered to drive at 1mph.

  158. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bye Bye, then...

    ...Virgin, you crappy bloated good for nothing vaccuous retard television spewing co. Look at the types of programme these muppets push - speaks volumes about their target demographic. MORONS.

    Still plenty of smaller, far better ISPs out there chaps! Let's leave the likes of "Paul" and his ilk to their idea of heaven (corporate, regulated, safe, expensive, "managed", VOIP and WEB2.0 friendly I personally preferred the internet of yesteryear....

    I don't even use P2P anymore, it's been shit for years now, pretty much since the original Napster was murdered - usenet is way faster/better source of juarez. NNTP will be the next protocol for the chop then.....

  159. David Lavery

    @ Paul M and all the other this is a good thing people

    As opposed to your wine of All "freetards" are evil, and I believe that someone actually said Freetards are the direct cause of the current economic conditions which is, quite frankly, bollocks. I agree that heavy P2P users need controls put in place, however the entrenched and deep held belief that some people on here that all the traffic is illegal and that every P2P user is downloading all the time at full speed is equally ridiculous.

    I agree that something has to be done about heavy P2P use (of course for a given value of heavy) however my complaint isn't that VM are blocking torrents, but rather that they are blocking *any* content at all. They are not a regulator, they are not a a moral high ground so why are they telling me what I can and cannot do with the service I am paying for.

    This is a sliding scale at this end we seem to have VM and at the other we seem to have the Australian government and there filtering system but this is not a scale that we should be on at all. If bandwidth is the issue then as more people take up broadband what is to stop companies stopping large emails or chain mails with pictures as they do take up large amounts of bandwidth as they get sent to all 142 people in your address book. Would this be acceptable to you? How about they stop all streaming video, as they pointed out this allegedly caused huge worries when the iplayer came out - by your it takes up too much bandwidth should that be blocked as well?

    VM are setting a very disturbing president in the fact that are now regulating what content they will carry, regardless of your personal opinion on P2P that has to trouble you.

  160. Michael
    Coat

    WTF??

    Virgin media have been on the Azureus "Bad isps" wiki sh*tlist for , i don't know .... 2 years at least?

    3? more? I saw them listed when I was with was then a good company, (Pipex) on their fastest connection ,(512k) a year after they started business ....and virgin were there.

    WHY do Virgin still have customers if they are going to target filesharers? What could possibly require such a fat pipe if they didn't fileshare? And is protocol important? If people want to share files, they'll find a way to do so..... they don't even need the net anymore.

    Mines the one with the wifi cantenna in the pocket for signal-bouncing off the black helicopters.

  161. OG
    Gates Horns

    huh?

    @Brian Gannon

    "They are only going to throttle those breaking their terms and condition by downloading illegal material."

    And they will know this how? How will know the difference between the lastest Fedora live cd and the latest piece of hollywood trash? What if I rename that bit of hollywood trash to Fedora10_x64_Live.iso, what then? Will they have some massive database of torrent hash data and check every single bittorrent connection against those hashes? Lastly, if p2p is that widespread, then all you whiners crying about bittorrent this and freetard that are the minority. If the internet was left up to you tards we'd all still be on dialup because there would be little need for uber capacity. Get over yourselves, dismount your high horse and set it to pasture.

  162. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Re: @P2P - Over HTTP on port 80?

    > Sorry, but modern technology would have no problem dealing with this. Any decent filter, shaper or IPS to recognise traffic "tunelled" through another application.

    I don't mean tunnelling, I mean so when the client requests the chunk of a file, it does it in true HTTP fashion (with however HTTP resuming and multiple connections works) GET /filename (which the server, also a client) would understand, on port 80/443.

    As soon as it's received the chunk size, the server/client terminates the connection.

    Surely the ISP's filters would have no way of determining whether this would be a real HTTP server or not?

    Although I could see this ending in ISPs blocking all inbound port 80 traffic, thus screwing over people who do host legit HTTP servers from home.

  163. Steve
    Thumb Down

    Goodbye Vigin, hello zen

    I thought it was going to be Phorm that made me finally get off my arse and change ISP, but this really takes the piss.

    Their traffic policy before was fine. I deliberately set uTorrent up so that it would reduce bandwidth during peak hours to a point where it wouldn't trigger traffic restrictions - I still get my full speed for internet browsing, but my torrents don't clog up the network.

    Now my torrents will run at a slow speed all of the time instead of taking advantage of low traffic congestion overnight to do most of my downloading. Well done lads.

  164. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Enrico Vanni

    I think you will find that BT is the first ISP to 'snoop' on peoples data. Check out BT / Phorm / Webwise. BT will not only snoop on your data but also drive traffic from your commercial website (If you have one).

  165. Sillyfellow

    simple solution

    a. let the providers make their decisions and provide what they want, how they want.

    b. let the consumers choose to purchase what they want, from whom they want. to suit their own individual needs.

    market forces will ensure that what is demanded is supplied.

    plainly Virgin will loose a lot of customers who want bittorrent.

  166. spam
    Unhappy

    All you can eat

    Boy am I sick of seeing 'all you can eat' offers from suppliers who start fiddling with the size of your plate and cutlery as soon as it looks like you might eat too much.....

    Charge for bandwidth - so simple, so fair.

  167. David Hicks
    Thumb Down

    @Julian

    You have paid for a service.

    If you're not getting it that is your ISP's fault. Not the "freetard" next door. For all you know your neighbourhood just like watching internet tv.

    Now, should we be arguing here over whether I need to be sensitive to my ISP's business model? or should we be arguing for transparency of service commitments, higher rate (and more expensive) connections for those that want to use the service, lower rates for those that don't, etc etc?

    What we need is for ISPs to stop letting the likes of you and the likes of me onto the same shared connection and then "managing" it. It's not fair to anyone.

    Also, FYI, leased lines in the UK start at under a hundred quid a month for 2Mbps, so not as expensive as everyone seems to think. And that could get you up to 632GB in either direction.

    Asking ADSL providers to provide at least 100GB throughput for 20 quid a month doesn't seem that outrageous in comparison, especially when you take economies of scale into account. In fact we should be demanding they provision at least that much.

  168. This post has been deleted by its author

  169. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Untitled

    @Norfolk Enchants Paris

    You basically said my bits are more important than your bits. Sodd off.

    @Simon Neill

    I hope you thought to take a look at installing additional fiber lines while the hole was dug, even if you were going to leave them dark for a little while. You realize the cost of the dig is enormous compared to the actual length of cable. Of course as a business you also have a solid 24/7 SLA. Consumer connections are more of the we'll give you what you get, take it or leave it.

    @ Andrew Thomas

    Which is what they used to do, but it doesn't protect their legacy cable revenue streams by strangling a new video market before it matures nearly well enough.

    @everyone saying "freetards"

    There seem to be plenty of freetards, I'm sure they and plenty of others would love to set up their own ISPs. Its a shame content providers, infrastructure, and access are all provided by the same company.

    @Glen

    It really is a tired excuse. Scandinavian countries that are very wired do not have high population densities. If your excuse was to be try, why are population centers not wired? Are London or New York not densely populated?

  170. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Well

    That's World of Warcraft users SoL then- all the patches are distributed over bittorrent, it's what the game itself fires up when a patch comes out.

    Though, of course, idiots like "Paul" at the top of the comments know all possible uses of Bittorrent, and have ruled them as all verboten. Still, he can't be all that bright, if he's still using Virgin as an ISP.

  171. David Paul Morgan
    Pirate

    Wow - made it to the end

    .. but I've forgotten what I wanted to say.

    Oh yes - I'm with ntl/virgin and occasionally BT a movie that's not available to download/rent/buy from other sources. Over the last few weeks, the general performance has been terrible - and I havne not been torrenting!

    In order to change providers, however, it would mean having to to go back to BT (British Telecom) and start paying them at least £12 per month for a telephone line that's not going to be used for telephone calls, no digital TV, no V+ and still no guarantee of a decent bandwidth. I loathe BT since they ripped me off in the '90s. Local Link Unbundling in Cardiff, anyone?

    (pirate, as they're all as bad as eachother)

  172. Rodrigo Rollan
    Stop

    My two cents

    People complaining that so called "freetards" are hogging bandwidth are quite near sighted. You see, as many other posters indicated, you pay for a service that states you´ll have a given link speed and QOS. You cannot go over that link speed because the network is set that way. If you see a decrease in your bandwidth is because the network is not ready to deliver what they offered for all their users. What anyone does with the bandwidth they payed for, is their business. If it is illegal, they are liable. If not , then why will state that all couch potatoes should pay extra for their food because their use of it is less noble than active people. Advocating for this type of practice is only going to hurt you all as customers in the near future. You see, once you allow a service provider or manufacturer to neglect their responsabilities (Contracts, warranties, etc) then at some point they will push further to cut costs and increase revenue. If you cannot provide what you offer then you are liable.

  173. John Goodwin
    Dead Vulture

    For the love of God and all that's holy

    Smell the coffee ;-)

    £38 (equivalent) a month for a pony 1.5Mb connection with 8%-9% packet loss on average. Come to Uruguay and enjoy the benefits of the monopoly that is ANTEL. Trying to kill someone online on CoD4 takes at least 2 seconds, after which I'm lying on the floor with a bullet in my head. At least I don't get frustrated any more since my 60Gb PS3 broke for the second time with the legendary YLOD. Anyway, I digress.

    Having said that, I agree with all the previous comments regarding ISPs and their inability to provide what the customer has paid for. I was on Virgin in the UK up until Feb. this year. The ISP business model is well phukked as they can't supply what they offer. Shameful.

    And as for the poor deluded souls who moan on about BitTorrent being the root cause of it all, what complete and utter dullards.

  174. david wilson

    @AC

    >>"Still, he [pau] can't be all that bright, if he's still using Virgin as an ISP."

    So I take it that anyone complaining about what Virgin are going to do is either moaning about terms and conditions being announced in advance for a service provided by a company they don't use, or is a bit thick?

    No *wonder* you're an AC.

  175. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    @Without Freedards, You'd All be Still Banging Rocks Together

    Too true.

    If freetards hadn't started nicking all this stuff through Kazaa and Napster the studios would never have offered this content online in the first place.

    I think that guy Howard with the baseball bat has issues. Maybe the baseball bat represents a deficiency elsewhere, poor chap.

  176. robbie
    Boffin

    Do the sums

    I'm on a reasonably typical contracted 8Mbps at 1:50 contention unlimited download. 1 day has 86400 seconds, and one byte has 8 bits (without overhead). My actual speed seems about 2.5Mbps (crap line / noise perhaps?), which when divided by 50 and then 8 comes to 6250 bytes / second, or 22.5MB per hour. At a genuine 8Mbps I'd get 72MB per hour, and 1GB should take about 14 hours. Going at it 24/7 over a 31 day month I'd get 53.7GB.

    Normally I might do better than that, but that's all I pay for and all I am entitled to. That also is the maximum entitlement of my other 49 contenders, be they BitTorrenters or not, and they can expect no more. Judging from the comments above few are paying for their own downloads, or capable of doing the arithmetic.

    It's worth pointing out that a substantial part of my monthly traffic is software patches. I have various machines using one internet connection and I estimate that 3-4GB per month is now due to software patches. Not quite in the gamers' league though; and all by HTTP to boot.

  177. Steve Lockett
    Flame

    Missing the point of a lot of this...

    Blizzard(WoW), Warhammer Online, Netflix, Steam, EA Games Digital Download, XBOX Live...

    I use all of these - buy nearly all my games from Steam these days. And I dumepd VM a year ago because it took me 9 days cotinuous download to acquire the WoW client from Blizzard's torrent stream online. This packet shaping is going to cripple use of these services even more for most people who use them. I moved to BT due to cost issues, and most fo the time (phorm issues notwithstanding), I've not had a huge amount to complain about. However nowadays its impossible between 6pm & 10m for me to play Warhammer Online on BT (quit the game due to this), I can't grab anything off steam, I can't use youtube or other streaming services such as iPlayer.

    Packet streaming is crippling a lot of the broadband benefits that they are advertising high bandwidth services for,

    Soon as my BT contract is up I shall be on the hunt for a decent ISP which lets me do the legitimate high bandwidth things that I paid them to let me do :(

  178. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Damn BT as well

    Just looking at changing to BE due to this and everything looked good... until I contacted BT about getting a landline connected £125.... So I can get shafted by VM or get shafted by BT to get a landline.

    Just what do VM expect people buying the 50MB package to use it for. As far as I can see with this torrent restrictions and the normal throttling VM run anyone on 50MB who even tries to use it will be slapped back down to dial-up speeds in seconds.

  179. Neil

    Complaining brits...

    Wait a second... Ah well we'll just put up with it instead. Anyone for a nationwide firewall?

  180. Brian Gannon

    @OG

    They take a look at the people who are swarming a ridiculous amount a day, connect to the swarm and take a look. A little bit of detective work would soon identify the illegal torrent users. Plus most torrents have a reasonably accurate name to allow people to find them.

  181. JB

    @Steve - Newsgroups

    When I was with VM, I had the 20Mb option. When I used Newsgroups the most I could get was 5Mb/s (that was using Windows...using Linux I got the full 20Mb/s!?!). Even if you ran multiple clients, the total was still 5Mb/s. So they're even on to that.

    I'm now in the States and have AT&T broadband, it's a mere 1.5Mb/s, but at least it's *always" 1.5Mb/s, any time, whatever I'm doing.

  182. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If you want service, pay for it

    It isn't as if there is any shortage of business grade, unfiltered, unthrottled packages out there with low (or even no) contention ratios and that provide consistent, reliable connections. Many ISPs are only too happy to flog them to consumers. But they're not cheap.

    Like or not, bandwidth costs money and that has to come from somewhere. It is also a shared resource. If you want bandwidth for your own personal disposal then yes you have to pay for it. Now stop moaning "Oh, I pay 25p a month for my internet access and it isn't very good". Get something better.

    Congestion isn't the fault of the ISPs failing to invest in their networks, but the fault of the freetards who treat the whole internet as their own personal resource and leech resources from everyone else. If you want to shift gigabytes of data around be prepared to pay for it. You have no intrinisic right to a premium service if you buy the cheapest package going. What they are doing is basically good network management in any case - it makes sense to prioritise real time traffic (web browsing etc) over bulk transfers.

    No icon because I seem to have inadvertently adblocked them all - all those pretty pictures take up precious bandwidth after all.

  183. david wilson

    @Rodrigo Rollan

    >>"You see, as many other posters indicated, you pay for a service that states you´ll have a given link speed and QOS. "

    And which also generally states there are [possibly unspecified] fair use restrictions, and reserves the right of the provider to change the conditions with some amount of notice.

    Unless they wrote an *extremely* bad contract, no service provider is under an obligation to provide a service to anyone indefinitely under some original conditions.

  184. david wilson

    @Peter Kay

    >>"It's ok until it happens to you, isn't it? Perish the thought you ever want to do copious amounts of Internet radio, or legal streamed media including home movies to your aunty Doris in Australia. Your attitude that you don't care about heavy bandwidth users, regardless of the source, is a perfect example of 'I'm alright jack' and is argually more closed minded than the people on this thread who clearly are downloading vast amounts of illegal material."

    Personally, if I want to transfer much more data than I do, I'll pay for a more heavyweight connection than I currently have, but I'd expect to pay roughly what it costs someone to provide that.

    To the extent that it costs my ISP more for me to transfer more data, it seems reasonable for me to pay for that, or for there to be fair use limits even on an unlimited service (to avoid them just stopping having me as a customer when I start to cost them more money than I pay them).

  185. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @"david wilson"

    a) Breathe.

    b) Remember to make sense.

    c) Try not to bust a blood vessel, granddad.

  186. Jim

    @Matt

    "Firstly, all domestic internet connections are contended and always have been. As such, you've no right to expect you max through put 24/7. Quite why ISPs don't make their argument that way around is beyond me, but still. Ultimatley I think its because contention management isn't very efficient."

    Most of what you say after this is interesting but you are missing something very important from your argument here. It is true that all domestic bandwidth is contended but unless you know this then you have every right to expect max throughput 24/7. And then ask yourself how many people know abut contention? You do, I do and most people who have read this do - but how much of the userbase does this cover.

    The problem is that the ISP will not be able to sell a pipe if they tell you that you are sharing your backhaul with upto 50 other users and some of them could be 'greedy p2pers'. So they just sweep this little detail under the carpet and talk about local loop speeds. That is lying.

    The solution, as stated is that they should be honest that there is a effective data cap and this info should be as clearly presented to the customer at the time of sale - no more 'unlimited' bullshit.

    There should also be a system for compensating those where the local loop can not support the purchased throttle speed. If your local pipe is throttled at 2Meg and you only get 1Meg then the ISP can know this and reduce you costs so that you only pay for what 'their' system is capable of providing - no more 'up to' bullshit.

    Sounds unrealistic, would solve the p2per whinging - they would know exactly what they were paying for. Also the average punter would be more aware that they don't have a leased line and that is why they don't pay a kings ransom per month.

  187. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @John Goodwin

    You're right, about Uruguay, of course. But that is Uruguay- the UK is a supposed advanced western European wossname. We should be sloshing in bandwidth like the Metropolitan Area Networks in the nordic countries, forcing the price of the infrastructure and terminating gear down even more. Oh, and I can't type the name of that particular country for toffee it seems.

    Anyhow, my point, if I had one was something impressive sounding about it not being about dragging everyone down to the same level, but raising everyone up.. sounds strangely familiar. Imagine that it was persuasive and wise, you'll be doing me a huge favour- I'm too sleepy to be sonorous myself right now.

    You're also right about the foaming local-equivalents-of-Daily-Mail-readers who are ranting about Bittorrent being the source of all evil- they are indeed complete Clarksons. The initial poster (and likely troll), "Paul" reminds me of the OMG LINUX IS EVIL teacher mindset. I guess life must be comfortingly simple when they tell you who today's enemy is during the two minutes of hate.

  188. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    all those for this!

    So you blame "freetards" hmm you know i want to swear at you all but that would just lower me to your level.

    A, "freetards" PAY for a service+ if they pay for this service i imagine they DO have a job as the dole hardly pays for food every month let alone a £20+ BB service, they sure as hell arent the idoits in the banking sector who ARE responsible for the current econmic situation..blame users of a service LOL you are so misguided its laughable.

    B, asking yourself why you email page wont open in the blink of an eye? its not P2P users its the host server NOT allowing you to recieve information at the highest speed your ISP says you can have they do this so hmm let me think everyone has an equal speed getting their emails..ontop of that the amount of pointless adds etc that they force onto your screen..you have your answer! try turning off the display web pages with images and see how you get on ;)

    I do admit i have in the past been a heavy user of P2P some legal some not..you honestly think £20 for a dvd is a fair price? do you think bradd pitt is really worth 16mill per film?..you need to do some serious rethinking of what is fair..

    in other news my better half loves heros and house and all that rubbish that we all get suckered into paying millions for so i do grab them from P2P so she can watch at her leisure ( we dont all work 9-5 and as such cant be infront of the rot box for a specific time) so now you muppets are telling us (who pay all our bills) that because we work our asses off we have to wait days? possibly weeks for a few hours of tv? get real!

    the ISP's are at fault.. false advertising is all it comes down to they should be screwed not the consumer..

    so i will jolly off and find a new ISP that will let me play online games and stream films without penalty..

    feel free to have a dig at me..i really dont care about your orange juice drinking home by 9pm views

    Taylor

  189. Edward Lilley

    Another important point:

    Even though the percentage of heavy p2p users is ~5-15%, within a few years (approx. 2-10) *everyone* will be using these sorts of bandwidths, as TV/Radio &c. move to internet-based distribution methods.

    Disclaimer: I torrent something a couple of times every year, I don't think TeXLive_2008.torrent and Fedora_x86_64_DVD.torrent are illegal (not that it would make any difference).

    Basically, it's just 0s and 1s and a series of tubes, people. If Mr. EvilP2P is maxing out his connection, and Mrs. Onlycheckshisemails wants a slice of the pie too, then *both* of their connections are (temporarily) limited by the same amount. No different from any other usage patterns then.

  190. Andy Worth

    Re:If you want service, pay for it

    One point which you have completely missed (like most people who seem to agree with Virgin) is that these people are already paying for a service which was mis-sold to them as an unlimited broadband offer. You say that bandwidth costs money, which I agree with, however that just makes Virgin irresponsible for offering a 50Mbps connection which STILL claims to be unlimited.

    You try and put all the blame onto the consumer despite the fact that these companies still make offers of a service that they cannot possibly hope to provide. Personally I pay for a 40GB limit and never even get close to that (I download perhaps a few GB of demos and online game patches/mods in any given month, as well as the odd Linux release). If I decided that I needed more than that, I would pay for a more expensive package, but if I pay for something that claims to be unlimited then I don't expect them to throttle it because I don't use it in the way they think I should.

    So if you want to blame the lack of bandwidth on anyone, blame it on the broadband companies which claim to sell "unlimited" bandwidth for silly prices. They should be brought into line to advertise and make clear exactly what their terms are, not just call it unlimited and then hide things in the small print. But it is these companies who have given the impression that bandwidth IS free, and the misleading nature of their advertising is STILL pulling in more gullible people.

    So how can you blame people for assuming bandwidth is free when everything their broadband provider promised to them suggests it is so?

  191. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Contention?

    Is it 1/50th share of the theoretical max speed?

    I thought you get up to 8mbit to the other end of the ADSL plug and then from that point is the contended connection?

    Obviously from that exchange based box the bandwidth can be as big or little as the ISP's choose, so what are you actually promised a 1/50th share of?

  192. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ untitled AC

    The population density argument holds up for Scandinavia as well. Although the density in these countries is relatively low on a national basis, most of the population tends to be concentrated in reasonably large urban centres.

  193. Daniel Voyce

    This is beyond a joke:

    "monetise the intelligence" in the Virgin Media network".

    Am I the only one seriously worried about this?

    The Torrent thing isnt going to be the end of the world, they wont prevent you from downloading Torrents they will just shape that particular traffic, which means that you should be free to download as much as you want via other means (technically!).

    This whole "Monetising the intelligence" bullshit is something we should be worried about - basically selling on information as to what users are doing on their network is something worse than Big Brother. I for one will be immediately putting in a DPA request to Virgin Media to find out what they have on me, what I have apparently Opted in for and make sure I opt out of all of it - if you had any sense of self security you would do the same.

    I would seriously consider moving suppliers if it werent so much hassle.

  194. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Yawn

    Just give me the option to pay by the number of bytes I transfer. I can decide for myself if I want a flat-rate throttled service or an un-throttled one priced by the byte.

    Oh, and keep your thieving DPI kit off my data or I'm out of here.

  195. Paul M.
    Heart

    It's basic economics

    "People complaining that so called "freetards" are hogging bandwidth are quite near sighted. "

    No, it's you who's being near sighted. Try running an ISP for a week, and you would understand the costs involved.

    Broadband pricing should reflects its costs. For most of us prices would go down and for the Top Five per cent of Freetards, costs would go up. As it is, we are all subsidizing a small number of anti-social leeches.

    The ISPs must take some responsibility for promoting uneconomic business models which guarantee customers get pissed off - eg, "unlimited free broadband" with low caps. Many ISPs cache game patches and Linux distros on their network, BT and Virgin should too.

    But ultimately P2P Freetards need to be priced according to their costs, or move to an ISP that is prepared to subsidise them.

    Want to take on the burden, Rodrigo?

  196. OFI

    lol Virgin

    Saw this coming, every time Virgin 'improve the service' (i.e. 50mbps lines) they introduce some other new cap

  197. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge
    Paris Hilton

    ISPs should sell bandwidth

    There should be a bandwidth charge, flat rate, no matter if it's download or upload. Based on bytes not protocol.

    By shaping some types of traffic more than others Virgin are saying that they prefer traffic which they make money from. For example Internet telly might make them or their supporters money but Bit Torrent does not.

    Going further they are saying, "we don't like our customers doing their own thing online, we want them to look at specific content like approved TV channels."

    Bit Torrent is a way to do your own thing and that is what the Internet was built on. It's a lot our own faults for not buying a better connection for big bandwidth stuff. However it's their fault for saying unlimited bandwidth when that was not sustainable.

    Going too far with approved content might be having a white list of approved sites. Everything else is relegated to the default channel along with all the Bit Torrent and freetards and spam. BBC comes us super fast with content cached at the ISP and super fast private networks linking servers. Anyone not big enough to buy into the super net will be stuck on the clogged up backroads of the old internet. Effectively killing the spirit of the Internet where anyone could put up a website and making just like TV, Radio, Music, Film, Newspapers, all controlled by 6 people.

    Paris because she's approved content.

  198. Riscyrich
    Go

    Awesome

    This is one of the best comments sections I've read in ages...

  199. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge

    @Paul the peckerhead, and the Virgin overseller

    I totally agree with your analysis.

    Put simply

    "Unlimited" really just means unlimited emails and web browsing. As soon as you start streaming,, sharing, downloading or uploading then things become limited.

    They should never have said 'Unlimited' if that was not true.

    They don't know if your Torrent is illegal, there is just a good chance it is.

    They want you to connect at 50Meg so they can sell you TV and other services, not so you can get your own stuff from the Internet. Doubtless they will sell super fast access to their subscribers to other companies.

    This seriously could be the end of the Internet and the beginning of the global Intranet.

  200. david wilson

    @Anonymous freetard

    >>"I do admit i have in the past been a heavy user of P2P some legal some not..you honestly think £20 for a dvd is a fair price?"

    It's not a question of *fair*, but of whether it's a price someone is prepared to pay.

    For me, £20 generally is too high.

    That's why I don't buy many DVDs at £20.

    However, I don't download a pirated version either.

    Chances are it'll eventually be on TV, or in a a discount bin, but by that time, I might well have lost interest anyway.

    Especially if Brad Pitt was in it.

    "It's not *fair*" just sounds *so* much like a whiny teenager with an overweening sense of entitlement.

  201. Mark

    re: It's basic economics

    So sell it at the cost.

    Don't lie.

    And most of the cost is because BT charge people running over their phone lines per MB. Why? Because they can.

  202. Peter Kay

    @david wilson

    I fully agree - you should pay for what you transfer. The problems are, as numerous other people including myself have said above :

    1) The limits aren't clear

    2) The packages are, unsurprisingly, designed to provide maximum revenue for the ISP rather than convenience for the customer. Such as one ISP that has an 8.50UKP differential between packages with a 25GB usage delta, but otherwise charges each extra GB at 1.50UKP...

    3) The ISPs actively advertise their packages as unlimited and able to download plenty of media

    An undefined fair use policy does no-one any favours. It wouldn't be entirely unreasonable to put a statement out such as 'we would recommend you try to avoid transferring more than 75GB' because that at least provides a ballpark figure, but most of the time users don't even get that.

  203. gareth

    @ david wilson

    If you look im not anon ;) My name is Taylor,

    Mr Wilson Im far from a teenager but thanks for the compliment..

    so we agree that the price for e.g a DVD is too high..great theres a start now whats wrong with a try before you buy train of thought? i WILL pay for it if i like it. If i want to download a substandard version to see if i want to buy it why shouldnt i or anyone else for that matter?

    your happy to wait for a bargin bin..fine by me but dont get your knickers in a twist because i do something about it and use the services that are provided to me to the utmost that i can..

    No matter what the internet is not that fast people, speedtest.net shows i have 19mg dl and 750kbs upload almost everytime i go on it but in reality you will not get that sort of speed for many years no matter what time of day. Just stop blaming people that arent to blame.

    additional i work for a media entertainment company and of course we dont like our ip being ripped off ..but that is always taken into account it has always happened since before the internet was around and as long as there are people on this planet it will continue to happen.

    Taylor

  204. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @gareth

    >whats wrong with a try before you buy train of thought?

    Because it's theirs and they don't want you to try it before you buy it.

    Buy or buy not, there is no try.

  205. Bill

    So let's just check I've got this right:

    Currently, on Virgin Media, if you're downloading a torrent in the background whilst browsing the net you get a slow connection on everything, as you have your bandwidth throttled.

    Soon, if you're downloading a torrent in the background whilst browsing the net, only the torrent get's a slow connection and you can potter about at full speed for everything else.

    And this is a bad thing?

  206. ShaggyDoggy

    Not these days

    Pay-for-what-you-transfer was ok in the 90's but now with wi-fi (even "secured") it's not a tenable charging model.

  207. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Greedy service providers

    In brief, I think VM are full of crap, but not because "I want my 50meg!" or "Piracy is good!" It's simply because their logic and reasoning is complete BS. I'll explain, but please excuse the length.

    [Please note: I am not going to discuss the rights and wrongs of selling contended connections - if customers read the small print they find out that their "50mbit line" is actually a 50mbit line shared between at most 50 people in total. Some find this to be a questionable marketing practice but it has no bearing on this situation - let us just assume that this is the way it's going to be and work from there]

    There is no justification for per-protocol throttling or any other such nonsense "in the name of fairness" for the simple reason that by subscribing to a 50:1 "contended" connection, people are accepting the fact that in the worst case they may be sharing with 49 other people who are simultaneously trying to use their share of the total line speed.

    That contended connection should be set at a speed, and spread over a number of users that corresponds to the capacity that can reasonably be supported by the network infrastructure with the assumption that it be used *constantly*. That is the point of selling contended lines - many uses will use it little, some will use it a lot, this balances the supply out. However, if you sell "50mbit, at 50:1 contention" you imply that you can support 50mbit used constantly by any combination of all or one of those 50 customers. If the network as a whole cannot support this, then offer slower or (preferably not), more highly contended connections.

    If the contention at the exchange (or the cable equivalent) is implemented correctly, Mr Torrents will only be able to use as much of the 50mbit as is possible once the other 49 people have had their rightful 1mbit slice. They all try to download at once, and they will get their "fair share" of 1mbit until some of them finish and their usage decreases. If 25 are downloading, they each get 2mbit or thereabouts. If only one person of the 50 is using their line, they should get the 50mbit that is available to them. It is no business of VM's what they are doing with that bandwidth.

    Why does it matter what someone does with their share of a contended connection? If 50mbit shared between 50 is too much for VM to bear, they certainly should not blame a protocol or a style of usage, they should lower the rated speed or inform customers that they will be "sharing" their line with even more people in an effort to provide the same "burstable" max speed but with lower potential maximum load.

    ISPs decide how fast your connection will run at maximum and minimum, and set out why. They should never concern themselves with what you do with your rightfully purchased service within those boundaries.

    There is a system in place to deal with so called "greedy" customers affecting others. This is different, this is an ISP wanting to offer one thing but provide something else entirely, and people need to get a little less heated about the "hot button" issues raised as a smokescreen by Virgin, and deal with the root cause - dishonest service providers.

  208. gareth

    @JonB

    so do you buy a car without a test drive?

    a cd without litening to it in the store or online?

    do you not ask for a refund or replacement if your steak is burnt to a crisp?

    do you buy aftershave without trying it?

    a game without a demo?

    or do you just go with whatever they tell you.."its ours we dont want you to try it before you buy it"

    what about 14 day standard ( for everything) returns? is that not a try before you buy?

    if you dont try then you are wasting your money..sorry but i work too bloody hard just to throw it at people in the hope that its what im being sold it as?

  209. Big Bear
    Stop

    FOR SHAME!

    I left this because I thought one of my fellow nerds would pick up on this point:

    " Charles Posted Tuesday 16th December 2008 12:11 GMT

    I cannot speak for the UK's infrastructure investment, but it also helps that Japan, Korea, and the like are a lot SMALLER"

    UK - 244,820 km2

    Japan - 377,873 km2

    Korea - 223,170 km2

    You, Charles, need to stop lying to the poor gullible people out there.

  210. Chris Miller

    @Big Bear

    Charles was talking about the USofA - 9,826,630 km2

  211. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Big Bear

    Read what Charles posted again... yes he does go on to talk about the USofA but as Big Bear quoted he starts with "I cannot speak for the UK's infrastructure investment, but it also helps that Japan, Korea, and the like are a lot SMALLER"

  212. sammi
    Pirate

    This is shocking

    As a Linux user, a lot of distros come via torrent, so I'm not going to be able to download them. Well, all I can say is thank god I'm going to be able to move out soon and use BT

  213. Brezin Bardout

    @ david wilson

    "Complaining about contention is more like going to your pub, buying a pint, and spending all night sitting on the toilet reading a paper.

    And then complaining about the facilities the next night when the bog is occupied by someone else doing exactly the same thing."

    No its not. Unless of course, the pub is charging you to use its toilets and advertising the use of its toilets as unlimited for all of its users. Then a customer could complain one was not available, and reasonably expect a full refund for any money paid to use the toilet. After all, the pub would be selling a service it could not provide. Of course, they could attempt to get out of it with the use of vague fair usage policies, but then, it wouldn't really be unlimited would it? What might be fair in my opinion, is to charge its customers for their actual amount of use.

  214. david wilson

    @gareth

    >>"do you not ask for a refund or replacement if your steak is burnt to a crisp?"

    Quite different situation there - assuming you'd eaten steak before, you know what you expected and asked for, and they failed to deliver.

    >>"so do you buy a car without a test drive?"

    >>"a game without a demo?"

    >>"do you buy aftershave without trying it?"

    That'd be the test drive/demo/sample the seller *offers*, I suppose?

    I presume *you* don't just hotwire a car on the forecourt to drive around for a few days, or borrow a bottle of aftershave from the shop to see if you like it?

    >>"[so do you buy] a cd without litening to it in the store or online?"

    Actually, yes, almost always, and it works quite well for me.

    I've listened to the odd online sample, but generally, personal recommendations, reading reviews, listening to friends' music, radio, 'related listening' links and just following hunches seems to do the job more than adequately.

    >>"what about 14 day standard ( for everything) returns? is that not a try before you buy?"

    I think you'll find that's a try *after* you buy.

    That means people at least have to get off their backside to return something if they don't want to pay for it, and if they kept going back to a shop with returns, they'd probably start becoming less welcome.

    In any case, a universal returns policy often doesn't work on things that can't be easily resold, otherwise everyone *else* has to end up paying more to cover the cost of the serial returners who can't make their mind up, or aren't adult enough to live with the consequences of their own choices.

  215. gareth

    @ david wilson

    In my experiance they are not "offers" they are a way for you to make an educated decision on wether or not you want to spend your money on something..

    a cd, go to hmv or where ever and ask at the counter they will put it on for you to listen to..

    a car go to audi etc ask for a test drive they will let you..

    aftershave go to boots there are always testers...

    as for listening to recommendations of others..ok it works for you personally i dont follow the masses i have my own mind..reviews of films books games etc are always someone elses view i'd rather make my own mind up.

    " and if they kept going back to a shop with returns, they'd probably start becoming less welcome" well thats just saying people have no rights at all

    you sir are entitled to spend your cash how you see fit as am i. i prefer an educated decision...

    anyway i can see this going nowhere fast and as was pointed out by someone else here we have fallen into the trap..you were voicing your view and i mine...

    the point is its VM blaming a group of people to cover up the fact they are telling lie after lie making you have a go at "freetards" lol still makes me laugh thats the best name anyone can come up with.

    its a classic watch the left hand while the right hand screws you..if your internet is not fast enough..change supplier, upgrade from your crappy dell lap top stop looking at porn while the wife sleeps..whatever just stop being a sheep and listening to what your told by the powers that be. think for yourself..you never know you may actually enjoy it

  216. Paul M.

    @Brezhin

    Gyms don't guarantee that you can use all the equipment at any time - there are more subscribers than facilities. It's the same with mobile networks - not everyone can make a call at the same time.

    This is clear enough so stop whining and blaming somebody else. If you didn't read the small print, you're a sucker.

  217. david wilson

    @gareth

    >>"In my experiance they are not "offers" they are a way for you to make an educated decision on wether or not you want to spend your money on something.."

    I didn't say they were 'offers' (in the sense of 'special offer'), I was making the point that they were offered by the seller - that is, it's entirely up to them whether anyone (or you in particular) can or can't sample something.

    It's unlikely someone can use test drives as a substitute for buying a car, or in-store samples as a substitute to buying an item to use at leisure, which is why people often don't mind providing those samples.

    That's in stark contrast to people downloading music and movies against the wishes of the legal owners, and downloading at sufficient quality to have no incentive to actually pay for the legitimate thing.

    There may indeed be some people who take the risk of sampling movies and music via BitTorrent and then immediately buy the things they like and delete the rest, but I suspect they are rather outnumbered by the people who don't bother to buy things once they have a copy of them, and then try to rationalise that by complaining about the prices they don't pay, or how overpaid an actor is.

  218. gareth

    @ david wilson

    "and downloading at sufficient quality to have no incentive to actually pay for the legitimate thing"

    is this a guess? because if you have never used BT to download a flim/music/game then how would you know the quaility is a good enough substitute?

    the fact i used actors and dvd's in my statement was a mere e.g. not a rationalisation to why i would or would not pay for something. As i have said before i work in the media entertainments industry and i like many others will pay for something if i want it.

    I also agree with you that the number of people that abuse it far outnumber those that dont but for you to label everyone that uses BT a "freetard" is just short sighted and ignorant...

    and i'll say it again we've established your views and mine the real issue here is not that people use BT at all its that you believe that because VM said your connection is worstened by people using it. (which is simply not true) you have to shout and get the pickets out at sterotype. they point the finger and you follow all the while thinking you must be right because they told me so.

  219. david wilson

    @gareth

    >>the real issue here is not that people use BT at all its that you believe that because VM said your connection is worstened by people using it. (which is simply not true)"

    It's interesting that you know what I believe, especially when I could hardly believe that, since I'm not a VM customer, and have never claimed to be.

    *Personally*, I'd probably be better off if all the freetards (and the legitimate heavy users of P2P) all used VM non-ADSL services, since then they wouldn't be likely to interfere with my internet experience.

    I just find the arguments put forward in favour of illegal P2P amusing, alongside the constant assertions that companies are breaking some rules by throttling connections, when all they're doing is what their contract allows them to do, and what economics basically requires them to do, and what most of the complainers are well aware that the companies are likely to do.

  220. david wilson

    @gareth

    >>"is this a guess? because if you have never used BT to download a flim/music/game then how would you know the quaility is a good enough substitute?"

    I'd be really interested in how a *game* could be compressed to a lower-quality version and still work., short of chopping out data for later levels which people would just download a little later, if they got that far in the game.

    It's possible all the sharers are weird people, all dedicated to sharing music that's sample-quality only, but given the difference in size between files which are of annoyingly bad quality and those good enough for many/most people not to bother buying an original, that doesn't seem that likely, and if it were actually the case, I guess I'd have heard about it somewhere.

    Sure, *some* people might think anything less than the pure uncompressed original isn't good enough for their golden ears, but I doubt such people are in the majority of filesharers.

  221. Brezin Bardout

    @ paul M

    In my opinion, any gym (or company providing a paid for service) that has insufficient facilities to provide the service its customers are paying for, really should invest so they can provide the service they are offering. Unless of course it is the fault of the customers for depriving other customers of those services, as some believe.

    If someone buys something off me I cannot just say 'Sorry, I've given it to somebody else who paid for it as well. I only had one but sold it to two people so its your fault for wanting more than I could provide".

    Also, I suggest you read what I actually posted. There was no complaint, no attempt at laying blame anywhere and I am actually fairly happy with my ISP, in part because my download amounts per month are relatively small and have not suffered any traffic management.

    I do agree with you about reading the small print though, anyone who signs up to anything without reading the small print is asking for trouble. I just wish certain ISPs would be less vague and state exactly what their 'fair usage' limits are.

  222. david wilson

    @Peter Kay

    >>"1) The limits aren't clear"

    I assume that's because what the practical limits are depends on what the spread of users is doing - if most 'unlimited' users are relatively light users, it's easy to carry a few heavy users, but as the customer base or habits change, what can be coped with also changes, even if infrastructure stays the same.

    >>"2) The packages are, unsurprisingly, designed to provide maximum revenue for the ISP rather than convenience for the customer. Such as one ISP that has an 8.50UKP differential between packages with a 25GB usage delta, but otherwise charges each extra GB at 1.50UKP..."

    Well, I'd guess that factored into their calculations is a hope (maybe based on experience) that an average '25GB' user only uses a fraction of their bandwidth, whereas someone paying for extra bandwidth clearly *is* using it.

    I suppose there is some self-sustaining logic in there, since that relatively large per-GB price might end up pushing quite a few intermediate users from a 'light' package to a heavier one, and all those people could be using a fairly small fraction of the heavy package limit.

    A package with a fixed basic charge and then all traffic charged at a realistic price per MB would be interesting, and possibly fairer, but I'm not sure what the takeup would be. I suspect that many people prefer a fixed monthly bill, with possible occasional extras if they nudge over a limit now and again, even if a fully traffic-related package might be cheaper.

    Psychologically, it might even be easier to sell a model where people paid a fixed charge, and were then given a small rebate for bandwidth they *didn't* use than one where they paid for what they used, even if the total paid was exactly the same.

    >>"3) The ISPs actively advertise their packages as unlimited and able to download plenty of media"

    I suppose they are pretending to themselves that that's all going to be itunes and iplayer and videotelephony with ex-pat Granny, as well as selling the idea to people that there's all this wonderful stuff out there, and they should get themselves an unlimited package even if (especially if?) they're unlikely to be making that much use out of it.

    The average consumer (who may well *not* realise that unlimited actually has limits) could easily be the same person who wouldn't know what to decide if given a choice of 2/5/10/25GB/month, so they play safe by going for the 'best' package, and in the process help to subsidise the people who try and make most use out of an 'unlimited' deal.

    It's kind of ironic that if Ofcom actually did grow a pair and stop people selling unlimited deals, it may be that many users would be forced to work out how much they actually use, and might drift towards suitable smaller packages, leaving the larger ones less subsidised than at present.

    >>"An undefined fair use policy does no-one any favours. It wouldn't be entirely unreasonable to put a statement out such as 'we would recommend you try to avoid transferring more than 75GB' because that at least provides a ballpark figure, but most of the time users don't even get that."

    I suppose the problem is that any explicit limit might look to some people like a target, and it takes away some flexibility from the ISP - from *their* point of view, undefined unlimited might look like a better option at the moment. Set your guide limit a little low, and you might lose a potential customer to someone with a higher one - too high and some people might expect you to stick with that indefinitely.

    If you're going to have a limit, it seems better to have a hard one than a 'guide' one - that way people could be confident they're not going to get hassle for using it up.

    That said, it would be interesting would be to see what amount of usage has caused people to be warned or booted off from various 'unlimited' services at various times.

  223. Oliver

    BT is not the problem, just a target for VM

    Is VM saying that the traffic management policies already in place aren't working?

    Take a 10Mbs connection. The maximum you could download between 1000-1500 and 1600-2100 to avoid being throttled is a measly 3 and a half gig. You can't configure most clients to take advantage of the 1500-1600 so make that 3.8GB across 11 hours. If you don't want to be throttled you have to restrict your traffic to less than 1Mbs. Most 'freetards' and other 'legitimate' BTers probably just take the hit for 10 hours a day so they can download circa 11GB whilst trhottled (2.5Mbs). And anyone who uses BT will tell you that you'll rarely get near to maxing the pipe whatever size it is. Newsgroups on the other hand are a different story.

    Surely these throttling levels allow all the fine upstanding citizens to carry out their legally unobjectionable and contention-respecting activites during waking hours? (surely they only need a 2Mbs connection to do so?) No? Well, perhaps the fault lies not with the 'freetards' but the grasping ISP that oversubscribes it's service?

    VM are just opportunists!

  224. Chris Nelson
    Thumb Down

    Oh Dear

    Not a great sign really. Numerous companies actually use P2P and BitTorrent protocols to distribute their products, and denying or seriously limiting such a service without the consent of the paying customers is not much short of VM being Internet Pirates. I pay my ISP to gain access to the internet - the WHOLE internet, not just the bits that use up the least resources on their crappy servers because the useful stuff clogs things up too much because they can't be bothered to update their systems.

    I do use BT, but only seldom for the odds and ends that I can't find elsewhere - and even then everything downloaded through that has eb to scanned for viruses first to avoid another infection of the dreaded AntiVirus2008 crapware.

    Now we need BitTorrent and the BBC iPlayer to make up workarounds, please!!

  225. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Virgin service in general

    is very poor. Frequent disconnects, unfair contention ratios and surly "help" staff all should have clued us in to their game.

    Finally, when we were "upgraded" but left without service we got the message. Virgin staff wouldn't know for three weeks when our service would be restored, we were told. That's right - in three weeks they could give us an ETA for the restoration of service after an upgrade they didn't tell us about and we didn't ask for.

    Fortunately we got our migration code in one day, and O2 hooked us up in the week following.

    Wonderful service and the technical staff are a pure pleasure to speak with.

    I won't buy anything Virgin branded again.

  226. pctechxp

    network management

    I'll assume the whiners don't manage a network

    bandwidth is finite and costs MONEY, when the network and the peering connections become clogged, the network slows and customers complain.

    money is spent on upgraded kit and connections, this gets absorbed and so on and we haven't got to power and accommodation for the kit.

    and you wont want spiralling prices would you, plus the company has to pay employees to run the stuff and serve you and make a profit.

    when whining, suggest an alternative otherwise you just look an unintelligent whiner with no grasp of the subject.

    I think they should charge P2P users for the bandwidth used as its only fair just because you are too tight to rent a server.

  227. Anonymous Coward
    Heart

    Or maybe I just imagined them....

    @pctechxp

    "when whining, suggest an alternative otherwise you just look an unintelligent whiner with no grasp of the subject."

    Plenty of solutions and amusing alternatives have been suggested with respect to the various technical, moral, marketing and economic issues in this excellent thread....

    Or maybe I just imagined them....

    I do that..... you know......

    BTW, I just bought a Virgin [Broadband Package], I know what I paid for and how it will probably depreciate, I don't live in a world designed to my specs and knowing this I expect to have to live with shit I didn't spec....

    I try to stay informed, so I read a lot.

    As long as I can access uncensored information (which I can) on the internet then good. I strongly suspect that to do so for much longer will become the privalidge of the technically gifted and this scares me aas they are probably not the ones who most need it.

    It is a slippery slope and people should feel a thirst for good information and truth or they will drown in thier own ignorance with the foot of the knowledge is power is mine posse on their head....

    Ha! Rant!

    Pic because the enemy of my enemy is also someone elses enemy.

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