back to article BT accidentally chokes bandwidth to 'superfast' customers

BT has said sorry to subscribers to its "Infinity" packages, who have seen their "superfast" broadband connections slowed to a relative crawl in the evening recently. It blamed the problems on a "technical fault", but did not provide any further details. Hundreds of postings on BT's customer forums in the last week report a …


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  1. Rogerborg

    Eh, they were probably just stealing stuff anyway

    Oh, sure, you and I were downloading lunix ISOs, but him and her and them? Not so much.

    1. ArmanX

      What about Hulu, Youtube, et al?

      Streaming music and video use a surprising amount of bandwidth, especially when accidentally left on for extended periods of time...

    2. Cameron Colley

      What about Google Earth?

      The other day, for fun, I decided to turn my Google Earth memory cache up to 2GB and to my great surprise* it actually used it. When I realised this I was glad I had done this after midnight because had I done so during the day on a Saturday, for example, I'd have likely hit my VM allowance after a littel light iPlayer watching.

      It's amazing how much data you can suck up just using "normal" applications through even an only slightly fat pipe.

      *surprise because I thought I'd need to do a lot more moving around than I did in order to use it -- I'm obviously not used to application which use the resources given to them.

    3. mmiied

      re:Eh, they were probably just stealing stuff anyway #

      I know I know do not feed the troll but it is so hard to resist

      "Eh, they were probably just stealing stuff anyway "

      it dose not matter if they where stealing stuff or not it is not up to BT to "decide" not to give them what they paied for if they "think" that they where stelling stuff if BT thinks they are infringing copyright then can there account or informe the copyright holder overwise they should do what they said they would do in there contract

  2. andybird123

    Oh no it isn't....

    I went home to check at lunch time and although my throughput reports as being higher than 2mb, I still can't use iPlayer

    also, where as normally correctly identifies me as being somewhere near Maidenhead, it currently thinks I'm near manchester and that (routing wise) maidenhead is 200 miles away from me

    something is still seriously wrong in BT land

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm thinking that it's Phorm v2

      or MoDphorm v0.99

  3. JetSetJim Silver badge

    Response should have read:

    "The technical fault caused a limited(*) number of customers to see their speeds reduced to 2Mbit/s at certain times.

    (*) Limited may be unlimited"

  4. Dante
    Black Helicopters

    Maybe they're

    testing Phorm 2.0

  5. hplasm Silver badge

    Good Job

    The customers are watching- 'cause BT aren't.

    Became aware through complaints and on the users forums????

    is that any way to run a choo-choo? Then again, looking at the railways...

  6. Rob 101

    "something is still seriously wrong in BT land"

    Surely that's par for the course.

    A while back my Dad had been complaining about "really slow internet" and BT saying there was nothing wrong. I was due for a visit so we waited until I got there.

    Initially no problem then came midday and the connection dropped to between 3 and 30 kbps.

    We were out and about but it was still slow when I went back on in the evening but then was fine at midnight.

    Over the next couple of days it dropped of between mid-day and 3pm and came back between 10pm and midnight (mostly spot on midnight).

    Phoning BT and they assured us there was no problem their end but if we wanted an enginieer we would risk having to pay if they found no fault.

    Wonder of wonders the day after someone with a technical background phoned with times and speed stats, despite their protestations that it was not them, things were completely back to normal throughout the day.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    sounds like BT don't have a clue

    I have been on FTTC for about 2 weeks and as soon as I was connected my speed went up from a little under 1Mb to around 17-22Mb which is absolutely fantastic, but at no time have I achieved a higher speed than this despite living no more than 150 meters from the cabinet and being the only subscriber on that cabinet (it was just steathily enabled, and I happened to be on top of things in checking availability).

    My provider (AAISP) has told me that it seems all of their customers on FTTC are reporting slower than expected connections and they don't really have any idea why.

    I want my 35Mb! :)

  8. bikerboi87


    never mind infinity, i'm not even getting half a meg on 'normal' broadband after many years with a rock solid 8mb (line length being 1km)

    been yelling at bt to get it fixed for a month. they can't even keep track of if an engineer has visited me, and when they say they're going to ring me on my mobile they ring me on the house phone, and when i tell them i'm not home til thursday, they ring me the tuesday (today ironically enough)

    incompetent arseholes. i'm seriously considering switching to talk talk who have just unbundled my exchange, since even with their reputation they can't be worse than i'm getting with bt

  9. tremtastic

    This is why I would never buy anything from BT

    First Phorm, now this. Thieving bastas.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      If you think that BT are bad

      Then going to Don't-Talk will be a thousand times worse.

      It took me nigh on 3 months to get my Mum's phone line fixed.

      BT had a man at the green cabinet fixing the BT customers up her street who'd suddenly got no service. He wanted to fix all the other LLU customers but was not allowed to.

      I spent hours on the phone to TT (and its an 0870 number which is free from her phone but her phone wasn't working) trying to explain the problem. All they would say was that if it wasn't a problem then they'd charge my mum. Then they wanted a mobile phone so that they could call her.

      Cripes TT, she's in her 90's and does not own a mobile.

      In the end, they got BT to run a line test. This was only after I'd threatened them with Ofcom. Sure enough there was a line fault and the same BT Engineer came out to fix it. Even though my mum wasn't a BT customer, he knocked on her door to let her know that the fault was fixed.

      Nice guy. But why did he do that? TT Didn't let her know that the fault was fixed for nearly 10 days. Why? Because she didn't own a mobile despite the fact that they had mine all the time they never used it.

      The end result was that she moved her Phone & broadband back to BT at the first opportunity.

      Talk-Talk Pah. Mega fail.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Whilst I've never met you..

        Friends don't let friends do Talk Talk..

        Just don't.




        1. squilookle

          Talk Talk

          I'm with TalkTalk now and they aren't the best, but I have found them to be a hell of a lot better than Virgin Media (REALLY bad experience with Virgin Media).

          The only issue I have really had with TalkTalk was that I was being charged for some calls I didn't believe I should be charged for, and when trying to explain my issue to customer services, some staff agreed I shouldn't be charged, some argued I should, but none of them could really seem to grasp why it was a problem, although one member of staff in particular tried exceptionally hard to understand and resolve the problem for me.

          Basically, they all seem to be as bad as each other. I do believe if a provider really focused (and marketed) on customer service to keep customers rather than on contracts and the fact there is nowhere better to go (which is how I believe most of them stay in business atm), they could clean up.

          1. Florcz

            Talk Talk not all that bad

            Been with Talktalk for years and on the 40Mb/s now. Load of tosh about them being worse than BT, it was BT that drove me to them becasue BT are the absolute worst! In 5 years the LLU use with TT; worst I've had is the odd outage for a couple of hours - a lot better than BT who were still billing me even after I closed my account with them. Plus Talktalk have decent members forums wher eyou can tune your broadband connection depending on line noise/distance... Never got any of that with BT, just apes on the phone who didn't understand a thing. Also TT is cheaper as well as being faster and higher default allowance...

            1. Shakje

              Come on, stop being silly

              Anecdotal evidence doesn't mean that the whole carrier is bad. For example, I've been with VM since they were Telewest, for something like 10 years, and had two biggish problems which were fixed immediately (in the first they gave us Sky Sports free for 3 months, in the second they limited the cost of our package). Every carrier has problems, and for some percentage of their customers those problems will result in awful experiences for their customers. While those experiences might drive you away from a provider on principle, it doesn't really give an impression of the provider overall. So while it's interesting to see these stories, it doesn't really add anything to the discussion, other than sympathy for your awful experience. Judge providers based on customer experience surveys and what they offer you at what price, not on a few examples.

    2. George09

      Don't Talk Talk

      Believe me don't go to Talk Talk. I moved home in May and canceled my subscription. It took three attempts for them to acknowledge I no longer had the service. I then started to receive letters from a debt collection agency demanding payment. I wrote to Talk Talk and they apologised saying it was an admin cockup. Guess what, I am still getting demands for payment and the debt agency is taking me to court. I have over 20 pieces of correspondence proving they know I don't have the service. Looking forward to my day in court as being self employed I intend to counter-sue for loss of earnings. I would like to know if anyone else is having similar problems. Maybe we could start a class action.

    3. Peter Wilkin

      BT fails again

      A lot of other ISP's users seem to be getting FTTC slowness (just do a google search)

      I suspect BT's back-haul network is to blame

      I know AAISP are aware of FTTC slowness (as I am with them), and they have passed it to BT

      Funny enough BT keep insisting there is no issues in their network .. and it must be my kit. Despite there being other users , and BT's own statements. BT then close the call (without actaully coming to test "out of hours")

      I suspect BT wont admit to issues with FTTC as it'd be laughed at by Virgin (probably in some adverts)

      Although BT say its fixed ... it isnt ... then again BT didnt even admit there was a problem for weeks

      1. Anonymous Coward

        BBC Watchdog

        Title says it all.

        They had numerous pieces about your exact problem.

      2. ChrisC

        FTTC indeed

        "I suspect BT wont admit to issues with FTTC as it'd be laughed at by Virgin (probably in some adverts)"

        And considering the flak VM have been copping recently due to their ads apparently implying they offer a FTTH rather than FTTC service, I see no reason why their next round of ads shouldn't poke fun at BT, considering they're being just as misleading with their Infinity promotional blurb. Right there on the front page of the Infinity site are the bold as brass statements:

        "BT Infinity is our new fibre optic broadband"


        "Instead of sending electric signals through copper wires, BT Infinity sends information down a glass network at the speed of light"

        No doubt about it, based on those statements you'd never in a million years consider the possibility that Infinity is anything other than a FTTC service, would you...

  10. Oliver Mayes

    Accidentally? Pfft, not likely.

    They mean they got caught and so are now claiming that it was an accident.

    'Quick Bob, they're starting to notice, turn the bandwidth valve the other way a bit!'

  11. Anonymous Coward

    My heart bleeds for really does

    After being stuck on <1mb for the last 6 or so years I have lost all sympathy for fast users moaning about crappy speeds....speeds which i can only hope to one day get close to.

    Watch now on BBC iplayer hahahahahahha I can only feking dream!!!

  12. theloon

    Actually that is how it works...

    Yep, BT actually still have the 2meg peak time policers in force on their network even if you have subscribed to higher packages.

    Under congestion they only allow 2meg per user....

    So the real question is, is this a fault or the capacity planning rules between BT Retail and Wholesale.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My guess is ...

    ... finger trouble. Someone probably entered the wrong time on the traffic shaping filters :)

  14. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Not just BT

    And happening recently on LLU lines too.

    I've got MRTG tracking line conditions, ping times, etc.

    Nothing has changed on the copper leg, so something's amiss in disetribution-land.

  15. David Given
    Thumb Up

    Hanlon's Razor

    "Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity."

    -- Nick Diamos

  16. Shig

    BT are twats...

    ...utter twats.They have the worst broadband service I've ever experienced. I'd have been overjoyed at 2mb/s when I used them - the best I ever got was 140kb/s... and this was on their "up to 8meg" service.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Don't make me laugh

    2Mb/s is slow???

    1. ChrisC

      It is...

      ...if you're paying for a service which is supposed to offer you a connection an order of magnitude faster, and have become accustomed to having that higher speed on tap.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    They are all the same

    So if BT sucks, Talktalk sucks, whats the choice left ?

    Ba*****s all!

    How bad can it get?

  19. 4ecks

    May I recommend

    I've got an LLU (MurphX) service with "All-you-can-eat" bandwidth. No silly added extras that I don't need or want, just a nice dumb pipe. Only had to call them once during activation a year ago, due to typo on my login details at their end. They answered promptly at about 9pm on a Saturday, and solved the issue immediately. No call-center drones, but a really helpful honest human being! They even had the courtesy to contact me a few days later to check if everything was Ok, as their stats showed my router kept re-synching, but that was just me using DMT to tweak the line.

    Now BT keep mailing me with their latest deals as a new FTTC box has just gone up 100yds from home, but at least they finally got the message to stop calling me until someone is in the dock over Phorm.

  20. Anonymous Coward


    Surely this is just down to the wrong type of snow?

  21. SirTainleyBarking

    Sounds like BT when I had Dialup

    Lots of hash and static on the line. Difficult to have a voice call, let alone trying to suck down 56K along the wire.

    Phoned BT, who stated "Theres no fault", in between having to repeat themselves as they couldn't hear me.

    Then it was "Obviously your wiring in the house which we can sort out for a fee (Exhorbitant)

    Phone drone wasn't too happy when we pointed out that the whole street was suffering the same problem, and was probably due to the big green box at the end of the street being wide open and getting rained on.

    There has to be a market for a comms service that actually does what it says on the tin..... Competantly.

    As Werner Von Braun said "It ain't rocket science is it?"

  22. Bynar

    BT suck

    They are a total shower.

    If I move house I refuse to look at places that don't have cable. 20mb connection, rock solid, never any problems.

  23. Graham Bartlett

    Virgin - probably won't get shafted

    I've had good experiences with them. You're also pretty likely to get something approximating the bandwidth they sold you.

    And their technicians are pretty decent too. I've rung up customer support before now to ask about an outage and been told "yes, there's a problem caused by the junction box in <next road along>, and we've got a bloke there so it'll be fixed by <time>". That's all you need them to do, but it's amazing how many places can't do it.

  24. doperative

    Infinity slowed to a relative crawl

    > BT has said sorry to subscribers to its "Infinity" packages, who have seen their "superfast" broadband connections slowed to a relative crawl in the evening recently.It blamed the problems on a "technical fault", but did not provide any further details.

    The "technical fault" being that they really meant to slow home customers on their basic 'broadband' contract.

  25. Glenn Charles

    300 GB

    I wonder how that relates to online gaming, most particularly Runes of Magic (a "F2P" MMPORG). Just conceivably there's a connection...


  26. Anonymous Coward

    BT accidentally chokes bandwidth

    BT accidentally chokes chicken.

    There, fixed that for you.

  27. Christopher Slater-Walker

    VM 50Mbps

    Well I'm on VM 50Mbps, and curiously, whenever I use their "recommended" speed test site,, I always get very close to 50Mbps downstream and 4.5Mbps upstream. But any other speed test site always reports a lot less.

    Even more curiously, downloading from fast sites (, etc.) using FTP is always faster than HTTP, sometimes a lot faster.

    Now VM say there is no downstream traffic management on the 50 Mbps service but I'm not convinced. I should be able to watch iPlayer through my Freesat box, but it's always full of stops an starts if it even starts at all. In the evening, the updating of Usenet newsgroups is always a lot slower than at other times.

    I tried to tell them I wasn't using wireless at all, but they seem convinced that the only way for me to use VM at home is over WiFi using the router they supply. But I have my own Cisco box (2821 for those in the know) and I don't use WiFi unless I really have to. But trying to get them to understand this is like beating your head against a brick wall.

    The latest is that my cable modem is receiving an excessively strong signal from the CMTS (I think) and that's causing packet drops. However that doesn't explain the apparently regular pattern of slow downs which I seem to be getting.

    So let the buyer beware of VM's claims.

  28. supermoore

    Another reminder...

    ...if one were needed, that the headlong dash towards headline speeds (driven firmly by the consumer and the media) is running far ahead of desperately needed backhaul improvements.

    When we all have the 100Mbps connections we are baying for, they won't run at even 10% of that unless BT Openreach and Virgin Media invest heavily in additional backhaul and core capacity.

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