Virgin Media's latest throttling rules

This topic was created by diodesign .

  1. diodesign Silver badge

    Virgin Media's latest throttling rules

    Broadband ISP Virgin Media has updated its rules on download/upload use to show when it'll start throttling net speeds by 50 or 75 per cent. The chart is here.

    What do you think - fair for the majority of users, or a slippery thick end of the wedge to fully choked web access?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Virgin Media's latest throttling rules

      "During this time that customer would have to download 7 standard definition movies or 1,250 songs before a 5-hour temporary speed reduction was applied"

      Or 2 data DVDs, or purchased downloadable software packages. Not everyone only uses the internet for bloody movies and mp3s.

      1. CD001

        Re: Virgin Media's latest throttling rules

        Or the latest patch for Shogun 2: Total War which came in at around 5 gigs!

    2. Drewc Gold badge

      Interesting either /or - sounds like a poll to me

      I have added one at bottom of story.

    3. N13L5

      Re: Virgin Media's latest throttling rules

      Given that games are increasingly sold as direct download, and a lot of games are around 20GB, this means you can't complete the download overnight, even though you're paying for high speed access.

      If I was on Virgin, I'd cancel my sub.

      I think they'd have to add one thing to their policy to make it fair: check the user's previous month's total download and only throttle if they are being a continuous hog, not just making a 5 hour spike cause of downloading a game they purchased.

      1. Tim Parker

        @N13L5

        Given that games are increasingly sold as direct download, and a lot of games are around 20GB, this means you can't complete the download overnight,

        Maybe in Winter if you live near the North Pole. Elsewhere, assuming a steady 20MB connection (soon to be the base speed for Virgin), the night-time lasts more than the (roughly) two and three-quarters odd hours if should complete in - even at 10MB speeds, or will less than ideal throughput, you should be fine (9pm - 10am).

        even though you're paying for high speed access.

        If I was on Virgin, I'd cancel my sub.

        I am, and I don't think I will, especially having just costed up the Sky equivalent to the TV, phone and broadband package I have (and that would mean having Sky broadband rather than cable, not something i'd relish).

        I think they'd have to add one thing to their policy to make it fair: check the user's previous month's total download and only throttle if they are being a continuous hog, not just making a 5 hour spike cause of downloading a game they purchased.

        I think that's a very good idea (or something similar).

  2. evilbob thebob
    Stop

    Living in a house with four other students, this is almost certainly going to cause some problems. Does Virgin not understand that digital distribution for games exists? One download of a modern title and there goes the bandwidth for most of the evening.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      download at a different time

      Or is that too obvious an answer?

      1. Dante

        Re: download at a different time

        A big selling point for digital distribution is instant - having to stagger getting a crital patch for a game until the ISP says it's ok to do so is not good.

  3. Paul E

    Remember

    That Virgin media are currently rolling out a doubling of most of their broadband speeds so a halving of a heavy users speed will get them back to their current speed.

  4. Captain Underpants
    Thumb Down

    Oh FFS!

    I'm explicitly on the top package available at the time of subscription because I *know* I'm at the heavy use end of the spectrum (2 heavy users in the house, 4 gaming machines in the house using Steam, each with accounts that have plenty of 10Gb-a-piece games installed on them, and that's before we get to digital music & video purchases).

    There are 2 reasons I wanted the top end package - 1 because of the bandwidth on offer, and 2 because of the promise that there would be no traffic shaping.

    Why am I discovering a Virgin policy change via El Reg, instead of via a letter from Virgin?

    Thus far I've had no reason to complain about their broadband service, but they're useless at actually communicating change management information to their customers. Guess I know whose life I'll be making difficult over the phone tonight...

    1. banjomike
      Stop

      Er...

      If you even need to ASK about discovering a Virgin policy change via El Reg, instead of via a letter from Virgin then you really don't know Virgin very well.

      I'm only on the 10MB service, and I agree that the service itself is OK.

      It is obvious that Virgin, um, manipulate the language around these limits. This new, improved summary of the 10MB service STILL describes it as unlimited with no upload/download limits and no capping.

      It ALSO says that traffic management is not used with respect to data limits or capping. True enough, but very very deceitful.

      Virgin, be ashamed.

      http://www.virginmedia.com/images/table_L_10Mb_400px.jpg

    2. Popeye
      WTF?

      It sounds as if Virgin have broken their contract with you Captain.

  5. DJ Smiley
    Coffee/keyboard

    All I want....

    is a simple way to check if I've hit the "limit" and am being throttled.

    Nothing is more annoying than thinking (as I did before after some large downloads) that I'd been trottled only to go onto the forums, chat with an admin and find it was some equipment in the box on the street that was actually causing my issues!

    If I could see how much I'd used, how much I use on average, etc, I'd be far more inclined to try and use it "fairly"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All I want....

      There are plenty of third party applications available that do exactly that.

  6. VWDan

    Congrats VM - that's not even a single HD movie! Having just upgraded to 50Mb to escape the limits I can't say I'm overly amused. That said, I'm getting doubled to 100Mb soon, which should mean my 'capped speed' is 50Mb, so I suppose it's not too bad.

  7. Lupus
    Thumb Up

    Sounds fantastic.

    World of Warcraft beta is a, what, 17gb download? Yes, this will be a thing that'll work.

    1. Paul E

      Re: Sounds fantastic.

      so download it outside of the period where it is capped. Another question would be for normal ADSL, which in many cases is the only other option how long does a 17gb download take?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sounds fantastic.

        "so download it outside of the period where it is capped. Another question would be for normal ADSL, which in many cases is the only other option how long does a 17gb download take?"

        Not relevant, that is just a workaround - if the ISPs either owned up to the fact that it wasn't unlimited or actually made sure they could provide what they sold as unlimited (like every other trader has to actually provide what they advertise) then the problem would not arise.

      2. Captain Underpants
        Thumb Down

        Re: Sounds fantastic.

        @Paul

        No mate, blow that out of your arse.

        If you're paying for one of the higher-tier services specifically because you know your gaming purchases need a high-bandwidth connection, this move is bellendery of the worst sort. I have no problem paying for a premium product or service, but it has to actually *be* a premium product or service, not a middle-tier offering wearing lipstick and fishnets.

        Of course, it shouldn't be a surprise that once again a British ISP is playing the game of selling high bandwidth connections it later realises it can't provide...

        1. Blitterbug
          Meh

          Re: Bell-Endery...

          Awsome comment. I too pay a premium price, not for speed (it's only 8MB) but for volume - 45GB per month, with no restrictions between 8pm - 8am. I must admit, I know that at peak times my downloads may be affected so I tend to schedule most of my major downloads for > 8pm. Can be a pain, but it is unmetered after this point.

          I think Virgin are being mucking fuppets tbh, as you guys are paying for speed rather than (in my case) volume, so in your shoes I'd be popping rage boils too.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. Ojustaboo

        Re: Sounds fantastic.

        Paul E:

        Not the point. People pay for the 100 service so that they CAN download such things as wow when they want, they don't pay for 100 and expect to be told when they can and cant do things

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh grow up you lot!

      So get some flipping patience and start it off after 9pm, then you can run all night 'cos VM couldn't give a fucking monkey's what you do overnight. I download TV episodes during the day to my seedbox out in France, then I get up at 4am, download my episodes, go out for my morning exercise when I get back I can dump them on my tablet for watching on the way in to work. Simple! Just a little bit of planning is all that's needed.

      It's called time management not being a spoilt brat just because you want something and want it now. Don't give me that bullshit about unlimited, since when has any service quoted true unlimited and ever delivered? They are capping by half for a few hours if you bust your limit, not cutting your service pending a spanking from the VM controller FFS!! I make do with the 10Mb and I have been over my limits some days, so what I carry on downloading and next day everything is fine the next day.

      The limits only apply at peak times when people want to use it, ie the evening. I want a Linux distro so I kick 'em off after 9pm and then leave the machine to shutdown on it's own when the downloads are done. You see that computer thing actually runs software and software can do all sorts of clever stuff to help you manage and plan things properly if you put a bit of forethought into it!

      1. Ojustaboo

        Re: Oh grow up you lot!

        It's called time management not being a spoilt brat just because you want something and want it now. Don't give me that bullshit about unlimited, since when has any service quoted true unlimited and ever delivered? They are capping by half for a few hours if you bust your limit, not cutting your service pending a spanking from the VM controller FFS!! I

        --------------------------------------

        You may be happy if you sign up for something and are then changed to something else.

        You may think its childish for people to complain when what they signed up for is suddenly changed.

        You may well be right that companies that advertise as unlimited usually don't deliver (although some companies such as BE, Sky unlimited, to seem to be able to do as advertised)

        That is of course your right.

        But please don't tell me to grow up for not wanting to put up with false advertising, having new rules imposed on us etc. I didn't sign up for a 50 service at peak times which is what it will be if I buy virtually any on-line game or stream in HD from say netfiix for a few hours I signed up for a 100 service and I expect to get what I signed up for.

        When I signed up, Virgins site said the following, quote:

        ----------------------------------------------

        What can I do with 100Mb?

        Download an entire music album in as little as 5 seconds; a TV show in around 30 seconds, a high quality movie in as little as 1½ minutes and a high definition movie in around 7 minutes.  100Mb really excels when the whole house is online at the same time – whether for streaming HD videos, downloading HD movies, gaming online or accessing everyday services. With 100Mb broadband there is plenty of connection for everyone!

        What does unlimited broadband mean?

        No download limits. Unlike some of our competitors, you get unlimited downloads as a basic right so you can load up on music, films...whatever you're into.

        1. Andy Watt
          Stop

          Virgin's site text for the 100Mb package - is that the exact text?

          "...I didn't sign up for a 50 service at peak times..."

          Explain to me where it mentions "peak time" in that text: are you inferring it from the phrase "when the whole house is online at the same time"? If it's not explicitly mentioned then caveat emptor, I'm afraid.

          Come on, be realistic when dealing with these large internet access organisations. They've pretty much all had their knuckles rapped at some stage for misrepresenting about every aspect of the bandwidth/capping aspects of their broadband offerings, so when you read their advertising text, don't assume that's a frigging contract detailing how your service will run.

          Do what I did, ring them, and demand the details of the package - if anyone else commenting on here has done this, *properly*, no faffing with a "screen-driver" telesales person, but talked to a supervisor, or someone who knows the real deal, then please post a reply detailing that Virgin said you'd always have total freedom and unlimited bandwidth, anytime of day.

          Otherwise, shrug your shoulders and walk to another provider who *can* give you those assurances, cast iron, in the contract, which YOU review and check, or put up and shut up and schedule your downloads somehow. Seriously, this is a contention bandwidth-throttled system, right up to the backbone. All this gnashing of teeth sounds like a rather inevitable user-viewpoint of internet infrastructure about to creak under the load of Steam, Xbox360, PS3, Netflix, Apple TV, iPad 3 HD content, ... "No download limits" is a movable feast, and may only be referring to overall monthly usage. In fact you can guarantee it is.

          If they can wiggle out, they will. Remember, this text was not produced by a network engineer, it was produced by a marketing suit. And we all know how much *they* know.

          ----------------------------------------------

          What can I do with 100Mb?

          Download an entire music album in as little as 5 seconds; a TV show in around 30 seconds, a high quality movie in as little as 1½ minutes and a high definition movie in around 7 minutes.  100Mb really excels when the whole house is online at the same time – whether for streaming HD videos, downloading HD movies, gaming online or accessing everyday services. With 100Mb broadband there is plenty of connection for everyone!

          What does unlimited broadband mean?

          No download limits. Unlike some of our competitors, you get unlimited downloads as a basic right so you can load up on music, films...whatever you're into.

      2. Captain Underpants
        Thumb Down

        Re: Oh grow up you lot!

        No, mate, what you're doing is called "being a dick".

        We're pointing out that commonplace current usage patterns that might have inspired someone to pony up for the Virgin XXL broadband package (buying games on steam, etc) are now penalised under this model.

        If everyone who's bought a game on Steam counts as a "heavy user", then no wonder the UK network infrastructure is fucked.

        This is not about "unlimited", this is about "buying 1 game on steam" will exceed the limits. And those are the *DAYTIME* limits, never mind the evening time ones. Streaming Netflix HD for 2 hours puts you over the evening limit. That is the problem here.

        They made a point of selling the top-level service as unthrottled - that was my main concern, not that it would actually *be* 50Mbit, but that it would be an appreciable, unthrottled fraction of it. Now they want to throttle it but keep charging for the same thing.

  8. Damindra G
    Unhappy

    Annoying

    As I do a lot of development and download various ISO's for testing that are around 4Gb each, if I need to download 2 ISO's I could be limited by my speed, currently a XXL user.

    Annoying!

  9. Tim Hall
    Thumb Down

    The fastest UK broadband service...

    Provided you don't use it...

    1. HMB
      Flame

      Re: The fastest UK broadband service...

      Oh that's so funny and so ignorant too.

      * Everyone except Be Internet does traffic management at the normal price range.

      * Torrents on BT are ALWAYS aggressively throttled (go google: "bt infinity torrent performance").

      * At 1/2 speed I bet my 50Mbps virgin connection (soon to go up to 120) is still faster than any BT or BT Wholesale based product for torrenting.

      * It's only usenet and torrent traffic that's throttled.

      Don't get me wrong, the news saddens me, I am just sick of the whining unfair comparison brigade.

      1. Ojustaboo

        Re: The fastest UK broadband service...

        HMB You are wrong.

        It WAS only usenet and p2p that was throttled, now it's everything and everything counts towards your daily limit.

        usenet and p2p was throttled much much much more than 50%. They have not said this still wont be the case, the most I've got out of them is that whatever happens, nntp and usenet still counts towards your daily usage limit.

        1. Ojustaboo

          Re: The fastest UK broadband service...

          I just posted the following on Virgins forum

          -----------------------------------------------------------------------

          Can a virgin representative please confirm what I believe the Register has incorrectly said.

          I thought this traffic management applies to everything, thats certainly whats been implied by people I've seen from Virgin on this forum

          According to an article on The Register thats being discussed in their forums, a quote from a virgin rep states

          "The traffic that will be slowed down by VM during weekday evenings and weekends will be peer-to-peer and newsgroups. The firm said it won't be targeting, among other things, video streaming, music downloads and VoIP."

          Some people are now jumping on anyone that complains and are saying things like "its only usenet and nntp thats being managed"

          I think what the rep meant to say was that while your speed is halved, it's only usenet and p2p thats slowed down further.

          Can you confirm this and also how you will be applying your traffic management to usenet? Before the new traffic management, mine was almost at dialup speed during peak times. Again people are presuming that they can download as much as they want from usenet/p2p at 50% of their 100 speed, if this is the case, that part of it is a vast improvement on the near dialup speed I was getting from usenet at peak times.

          -----------------------------------------------------------

          And the response from a Virgin employee that's been answering mist of the traffic management replies which confirms what I thought

          --------------------------------------------------

          The P2P and Newsgroup management hasn't been changed. It still works the same way as it did

          --------------------------------------------------

          1. Chris 3
            Mushroom

            Re: The fastest UK broadband service...

            If you read the weasily VM page on traffic management, it appears that the deal is that:

            1. Peer to peer and newsgroup traffic is throttled during the so-called peak hours, irrespective of your usage.

            2. Everything else gets an additional throttle applied if you go over the VM-mandated fair use limit.

      2. Captain Underpants

        Re: The fastest UK broadband service...

        @HMB

        But that's still bollocks *anyway* - my torrent usage at home is split about 50/50 between crowdsourced-or-CC-licenced films/music/games (think Humble Indie Bundle and the stuff on vodo, etc) and software like LibreOffice.

        The assumption that P2P = Piratical is bullshit, and if I pay for a high-tier connection one of the things I want minimised is my exposure to bullshit.

      3. HMB

        Re: The fastest UK broadband service...

        Just to come back at some things:

        Much of what I said I still stand by, but it's disappointing that the register haven't conveyed things accurately regarding the slowdown only affecting usenet and torrent traffic or not.

        Virgin is still the fastest ISP I've seen with the exception of leased lines running into large apartment buildings.

        Anyone wishing to enlighten me of other information is welcome to.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The fastest UK broadband service...

          I keep being throttled whenever I fire up my torrent program and I thought I was going nuts, because I am always many GB/s under the usage limits and still being instantly throttled. So as I suspected, VM are being complete bar stewards as usual!

  10. Ravenger

    I've got mixed feelings about this. On the one hand my Virgin media connection has previoisly become almost unusable for months due to students in my area on the previously uncapped tariffs torrenting 24/7, so if this measure helps prevent that, then that's great.

    On the other as a PC gamer I download games via Steam and other services, so one download of a normal sized game would cause my connection to be capped. In fact this happens at the moment anyway. and I just have to schedule large downloads outside the peak times.

    1. Just Thinking

      The cap doesn't make any distinction between somebody who uses 10GB at peak times every single day, or someone who downloads a 10GB game upgrade every couple of months.

      I think as connections get faster, there probably has to be some kind of limit, but surely part of the point of high speeds is that you can occasionally download a big file quickly, otherwise why bother? A soft limit based on, say, average usage, would be just as effective, but possibly acceptable to a lot more people.

  11. Tony Barnes
    Flame

    Wasn't it 75% before...??

    I've only got the 20meg line, but am pretty sure that it was a 75% throttle for all bar the top package holders previous to this? I really ought to find out when my fast upgrade is coming, as with just a 50% throttle, regardless of what I'm doing it will be giong quicker then it is right now.

    Anyway, for those crying 'boo hoo' - I am a pretty heavy user, typically 2-300gb a month, which means most days I hit a limit for a bit, so I have to structure my downloads. I accept that my level of usage will cause network worries compared to your typical punter who just wants to have super fast access to small volumes of data. The amount of users who will use high levels of data - small, few percent. For those of you above demanding even higher levels, you're into the top percentile no doubt.

    I'm not entirely sure how you can expect a pricing structure for a product like this to work over such a large distribution of usage? If you *need* that bandwidth permanently, why not go find a service that suits? It will cost you a shit load more than your Virgin line, that is for sure...

    1. CD001

      Re: Wasn't it 75% before...??

      Thank you for being considerate :) Between 6-9 pm on week nights odds are I'm online gaming (multiplayer ME3 atm) so it's fairly low bandwidth consumption but heavily reliant on latency.

      ... and yeah, I tend to schedule larger downloads overnight or at the weekend.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Wasn't it 75% before...??

      "I've only got the 20meg line, but am pretty sure that it was a 75% throttle for all bar the top package holders previous to this? I really ought to find out when my fast upgrade is coming, as with just a 50% throttle, regardless of what I'm doing it will be giong quicker then it is right now."

      Yes, you are correct. For most people, the triggers remain the same WRT to data volume but the throttle is now 50% instead of 75% so as you rightly say, even throttled, it'll still be faster for most users once the speed upgrades are in place. I'm not sure what was said WRT to the 100Mb/s users, but when VM first announced the 50Mb/s package, it was clearly stated at the time that the throttling would not apply until an unspecified take-up target had been reached.

      For those complaining about the p2p/nntp throttling, that's been in place for some time and is not changing. AIUI, VM allocate a certain amount of bandwidth per area (not sure what they mean by this. Region? Town? Street?) and all those people in that bit of the network get to fight over that bit of bandwidth. If a lot of people in your area do p2p or binary nntp then it crawls. Others might barely see a difference.

      As for the expectations given by the advertising and the reality of what you actually get, well that's a whole other story involving morals and marketeers.

  12. oldridge
    Meh

    Value for money

    I am a VM customer on the XL 30Mbit package. BT do not have lines into my building so I have no choice over my ISP.

    By my calculations I could download about 65GB in the 5 hour peak evening period. Virgin's 3500MB limit equates to just over 5% of this. If I could achieve 'up to' quoted speed I could blow this limit in 16 minutes.

    If I try to keep within the cap but happen to exceed it at 8:55pm they will then throttle me for the next five hours. If the same happened in the daytime peak period despite my efforts to stay within budget Virgin would only be allowing me to use 40% of my line capacity.

    Not to mention the protocol based throttling, which applies over a much longer evening/weekend peak period (3pm-midnight/12pm-midnight) respectively.

    To top it all off they put the price up back in February.

    Great value for money it isn't.

  13. The BigYin

    A few things on this

    1) I use VMedia for home-working. I am always in one shell or another (usually RDP) so probably do use a fair bit of bandwidth.

    2) Their router is, frankly, shit. Not only is the firmware crap, but the hardware itself was clearly designed by a moron. Just a shame you can't connect your won router (yes, I know about modem mode).

    3) To continue with how shit the router is, it provides no method of traffic shaping or monitoring. Guess I'll have to learn how to do my own.

    4) It was very nice of VMedia to send me a letter/email telling me about this change and showing me how I can check my usage against their measures. Oh wait, there was no letter and they provide no way of checking!

    5) Add to that the fact they block non-Windows/OS X users from their services (and that includes Android!) despite VMedia selling Android phones, being an Ubuntu mirror AND shipping set top boxes that run a Linux. MORONS! They are no offering executable downloads (or something like that) they have no reason to block based on OS.

    1. The BigYin

      Re: A few things on this

      6) They can't even do a simple null check in the OS detection code.

      (I have been trying to get around their moronic OS block so I can use the site I am paying them for).

    2. David Neil

      Re: A few things on this

      I have several Android devices using a VM connection, what issues do you get?

    3. Dr Wadd

      Re: A few things on this

      Where have you got this notion that they block devices that aren't running Windows or OSX. My Ubuntu box has no trouble connecting to the net via their services, neither does my Android phone. Is this a misunderstanding on your part, or something they are rolling out incrementally that has yet to effect me?

      1. The BigYin

        Re: A few things on this

        If you qualitf (i.e. are paying for) Virgin Media Player I suggest you try and use it.

        You are in for a very nasty surprise.

    4. PyLETS
      Linux

      Re: A few things on this

      "5) Add to that the fact they block non-Windows/OS X users from their services (and that includes Android!) despite VMedia selling Android phones, being an Ubuntu mirror AND shipping set top boxes that run a Linux. MORONS! They are no offering executable downloads (or something like that) they have no reason to block based on OS."

      They don't block on OS grounds.

      I'm a Virgin Media customer and have been for 10 years, with Linux on all my computers apart from a virtual machine on one of these Linux hosts running XP. There simply isn't any problem using any of Virgin Media's services with Linux of which I'm aware. On my side of their router it's all standard Ethernet or WiFi and TCP/IP which all works with any modern OS. The configuration interfaces on their routers are plain HTTP/HTML - any OS and web browser will do. Hell, their router even switches native IPV6 on the LAN side as well as IPV4, though it doesn't route it, but even that works through their router in tunneling mode using protocol 41, ( see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPv6#Tunneling ) something you can't say about many ISPs IPV4 only kit. Other OS's which family and friends have used on occasions successfully behind their router include Android, various versions of Windows (95, 98, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7) NetBSD and various Mac/OS X versions.

    5. Robert Ramsay

      Re: A few things on this

      That's very odd. I have my own Smoothwall router attached to the modem without problems. I don't have any Macs, but the Smoothwall is ofc a kind of Linux and I have other Linux boxes attached. Besides, if it blocked non-Windows users, surely the PS3 wouldn't work either?

      1. The BigYin

        Re: A few things on this

        @Robert Ramsay: Dunno about PS3s as I don't own one, I just know that I can't use their catch-up or on-demand services because I am not on Windows or OS X. I've read in the forums that Android is barred too.

        I am no web expert, but I can't see any reason for blocking; all the other catch-up sites work fine and dandy.

        I am paying for legal access to content, but the pirates provide a better service to a better price. Irony.

        1. Gareth.

          Re: A few things on this

          Ahhh... you mean for their Catch Up and Video on Demand stuff. I read your comment as meaning those OSes were being blocked from accessing the internet (my Um Bongo boxes connect happily via my 50Mb VM connection).

          As I understand things that's because they can't implement DRM on those platforms. But as I don't use it I've not really looked into it (Yay for Couchpotato and Sickbeard with Newsgroups instead!).

          1. The BigYin

            Re: A few things on this

            @Gareth. I thought was the whole point of them using a Flash player (it provides the DRM).

            Not looked into Couchpotato or Sickbeard yet, but it is retarded in the extreme that I pay for a service and then have to go pirate to actually use the service. I wonder if that is a good defence in court?

    6. Sid_the_Kid

      Re: A few things on this

      1) RDP is relatively mild in terms of bandwidth use. Fear not.

      2/3) Using modem mode and your own router works just fine. You can then do whatever you want with your traffic,

      4) Agreed!

      5) I'm aware of no blocking of services; I've used pretty much every OS under the sun at home at one time or another. Ethernet is ethernet...

      They don't block anything. I have probably run pretty much everything at home from Windows, my usual OS X, various Linux flavours, BSD and even SCO UNIX

    7. Popeye
      Alert

      Re: A few things on this

      Thanks Big Yin, for that info, I didn't know about non-Windows users being blocked and I have just been offered an iMac.

  14. Len Mackin

    VM are playing games!

    I've been with VM for over 10 years now. Their service is generally very good but what is not very good is the fact that they don't seem to care about their customers and are quite happy to take on as many as possible and totally max out their systems. That's before I even get onto the frustration of pricing and offers, many of which seem to not exist when you talk to customer services.

    Since moving to 50mb service I rarely get much about 25mb speed (I used to be on 20Mb service which was rock solid with speed), downloads from newsgroups cut back during the day to 5mb and that is until midnight but often the full speed is not achieved until after 1am! VM advertises what you can do with their fast download speeds but in reality you are given speeds that are hard to achieve in real world situations.

    Now we are all getting upgrades - i'll soon be on 100mb but most of the time it won't reach that speed and I could be cut back. It's all smoke and bloody mirrors with virgin!!

  15. Wardy01

    Missing the point

    It seems that all the complainers just see "you will get less bandwidth".

    I have 120MB from Virgin at the moment, in the last 24 hours i'd say i would easily have hit that cap but given that most my downloading runs for long periods of time (e.g. a torrent client i simply leave running) i can't see it bothering me.

    However ...

    Packet shaping / throttling usually comes with another problem, it reduces ping times and when I'm playing a game i might use maybe 5MB an hour of bandwidth but that bandwidth needs to be fast !!!

    Simple solution ... pause my torrent client during heavy periods ... hardly the end of the world.

    It is anoying though ... when i go home to find my game provider has released a 2GB update and i then know i have to sit and wait a bit longer ...

    But really ... 2GB at anything above 50MB/s is 5 mins ... go boil a kettle !!!!

    The thing i don't agree with though: terms and conditions for virgin clearly state "no limits and no traffic shaping", i made sure to ask the rep when i signed up 4 times in a row and i signed up about a month ago ... so ... did they lie to me?

    Even if they did ... can't say i'm bothered.

  16. Wardy01

    Is it free, capped or just what you paid for?

    First its a free upgrade then they talk about capping.

    So are we not just getting what we pay for?

    As a VM customer myself i have to admit although i haven't been with them long i generally have gotten what i paid for ... in the last 24 hours i have downloaded over 200GB ... the key is keeping away from peak times with the heavy usage.

    Besides, the throttle is only a temporary thing ... don't be greedy, share that network !!!

  17. Shiver MeTimbers

    I cancelled virgin media after a week. I use the On live gaming system and was throttled on the 10mb service after an hour of play. The throttling meant I could not play for 5 hours! Virgin told me the only thing I could do was upgrade to a faster package where I would still get throttled but at least I could still play. So pay more and still get a throttled service? No chance. I am now on Sky who do not throttle and have no fair use clause. I suggest you all do the same.

    1. Ojustaboo

      Re: Missing the point

      It is anoying though ... when i go home to find my game provider has released a 2GB update and i then know i have to sit and wait a bit longer ...

      But really ... 2GB at anything above 50MB/s is 5 mins ... go boil a kettle !!!!

      ---------------------------------------

      They used to (two days ago) throttle newsgroups and P2P far far more than that, I haven't managed to get firm info that they still wont be, all they have said is that p2p/nntp etc count towards your daily limit, they have not said as far as I can tell that they will now up the throttling of their p2p/nntp to the 50% throttling they have introduced to the the rest of their service.

      Thing is, most users aren't experiencing what you are. I see your on 120, most aren't.

      I was on the 50 service and received 49.9 24/7 whatever I was doing. They introduced traffic management and often it would go to a crawl, even without me hitting any limit.

      I upgraded to 100. When they throttled nntp, it would often go down to download speed, giving me estimated times of 5.5 hrs for a 750MB file, then come 11:59 would spring back into life, I'd get the full speed and 60 secs later it was complete. I don't mind them managing p2p and nntp, but not down to the speeds I was getting.

      Today on their super fast 100 service, here are a few speedtests I've just this second run.

      http://www.speedtest.net/result/1872972597.png

      http://www.speedtest.net/result/1872977641.png

      http://www.speedtest.net/result/1872979018.png

      As you can see, under 4Mbps on my 100Mbps service. I haven't downloaded anything today either. This is exactly what happened when they put traffic shaping on my 50 service (and I did give them a few weeks to sort it out etc)

      My area is not over subscribed etc.

      Why should I pay for Virgins 100 service when for a LOT less I could have Skys unlimited service and still get where I live around 17Mbps totally unmanaged. Surely the whole point of paying for their top tier is so that the speed is there for those times I want it.

      1. Ojustaboo

        Re: Missing the point

        As I have just posted in another part of this thread, Virgin have just confirmed that usenet/p2p is still being throttled like it was two days ago, to quote

        "The P2P and Newsgroup management hasn't been changed. It still works the same way as it did"

      2. Wardy01

        Re: Missing the point

        When my broadband was first installed i did that too.

        I went to exactly the same site and ran the same speed test with similar results.

        I rang them up with the same thought you have put across and explained that 4MB is clearly not 100MB.

        At first I got passed about a bit but apparently there is a 100MB only support team and once i got through to them they agreed with me and remotely accessed my computer doing the same test on a private virgin box for speed tests.

        Initially it got similar results, they flicked a few switches and the problem went away.

        It seems that there are a few config changes they need to do on 50MB+ lines for them to work right, and they match these up with the frequency info on your VM router.

        It's worth ringing them ... and if all else fails you have the right to drop the contract as the service is not within reasonable variance.

  18. Wardy01

    Just athought

    if you have virgins top package:

    100mb/s = about 44GB/hour

    so what they are saying is ...

    during peak times you can only download about 22GB/hour

    ok ... doable :)

    1. BorkedAgain
      Joke

      Re: Just athought

      For shame, Wardy01, you're being all grown-up and reasonable. You're supposed to whip yourself into a frenzy before mashing a furious, incoherent tirade into your keyboard. I suggest you think about what kind of an example you're setting here. How would you like it if everyone were as thoughtful as you? Hmm?

      1. Wardy01

        Re: Just athought

        yes your right ... senseless random ranting always helps any situation lol.

        how would we be content otherwise.

    2. Ojustaboo

      Re: Just athought

      No what they are saying is, we advertised a 100 service knowing that most people that choose to pay the extra for the 100 service do so due to them being high bandwidth users.

      But now, at peak times, the times we are likely to be using it, we are only going to be given 1/2 what we are paying/signed up for should we choose to do something like download a game from steam.

      Again as has been posted elsewhere, if Virgin want to say that their network can handle 50Mbps to everyone with no throttling, I think most would be happy (providing they are paying for 50 and not 100) .

      But they had throttling on their 50 service, now they are upgrading people to 100, all of a sudden we can all still expect to always get 50. It simply wont happen for the vast majority of us

  19. Crisp Silver badge
    Flame

    ARRRRGHHHH!!! FFS Virgin!

    I upgraded to the highest tier so that I wouldn't have my bandwidth "managed". If it's only 5% of users that are classified as heavy users, why not take their subscription money and use it *to provided the service that they bloody well paid for*?

    1. BorkedAgain
      Joke

      Re: ARRRRGHHHH!!! FFS Virgin!

      @Wardy01

      This is what I'm talking about. Excellent work here. You could learn much from our crispy friend. Nice use of multiple exclamation marks, you'll notice, and the hint of a swear...

  20. ph0b0s

    Relativity happy customer here.

    As an 'L' customer, my connection doubles in speed and more than doubles in STM limits, all for free, with the P2P policy staying the same. I am pretty happy.

    I completely understand that those on higher tiers will be legitimately pissed. But it's not bad news all around. Just saying....

    Though I wish there was BT infinity in my area, as for the same price I am paying, my father just got a 40 down and 10 up connection (actual speed) vs my 20 down, 2 up. As far as I can tell BT only shapes P2P traffic. They do seem like a better proposition if only they were available in my area.

  21. squilookle
    Unhappy

    Thank goodness there's that ISP that ran that campaign to "Stop the Broadband con" campaign a while back!

    Oh...

  22. John Robson Silver badge

    VPNs

    need to be excluded for home working to be possible.

    1. Ojustaboo

      Re: VPNs

      They aren't excluded though. Too many people like me who didn't mind reasonable management on nntp, got sick of our 100Mbps lines dropping to 4kbps hence used VPN's to get our downloads at the normal speed.

      I don't mind my few newsgroup downloads going at 1/4 speed. I don't expect a file that should take 2 mins to take 5.5 hrs

      1. Wardy01

        Re: VPNs

        no matter how you look at this 4KB is not 50% of 100MB ...

        Give them a call, demand a better service.

        That is clearly not the intended functionality of this STM / other related stuff.

        a 100mb/s line should give you 10MB/s down when not throttled and 5MB/s when throttled, if you are seeing something other than this you need to tell virgin to sort it out and if they wont legally you have the right to drop the contract under their terms and conditions.

        1. Ojustaboo

          Re: VPNs

          no matter how you look at this 4KB is not 50% of 100MB ...

          Give them a call, demand a better service.

          That is clearly not the intended functionality of this STM / other related stuff.

          ------------------------------------

          I have contacted Virgin and posted numerous comments on their forums about this.

          The 50% reduction has nothing to do with newsgroups, as I have said in nearly every post in this thread, the 50% reduction is for everything else that wasn't previously managed .

          Their traffic management on their newsgroups is completely separate to any other traffic management and the speed I get is correct according to them. Which is why numerous people ended up paying for VPNs, all said they wouldn't mind a decent restriction on newsgroups, but not down to download speeds.

          Virgin would not give the exact figures but people were complaining of the same speeds as me.

          All Virgin would say was point us to

          "At peak times we also slow down the speed of file sharing traffic – that's services like Limewire, Gnutella, BitTorrent and Newsgroup (Usenet) traffic. You will, of course, still be able to use these services, but downloads and uploads will take longer during these peak periods"

          not once did they say our speeds were unexpectedly slow.

  23. Gareth.
    Childcatcher

    Anyone know how much bandwidth something like iPlayer or LoveFilm uses?

    Also, I got a letter from VM saying they were upgrading me from 50Mb to 120Mb, but their chart only shows 100Mb as the top tier. Anyone else get such a letter or did I dream it?

    1. Wardy01

      IPlayer Bandwidth

      I used to use IPlayer on my old connection before i moved ....

      Could stream the "higher quality version" just ... and only just on a 2mb/s line.

    2. Wardy01

      Technically i'm on the 100MB package but according to my router it's currently connected at 120MB.

      I'm not gonna complain.

  24. Dr_Barnowl
    Flame

    This is an IMPROVEMENT

    For the vast majority of customers, this is probably an improvement.

    Why? The previous throttling rate, as someone points out above, was 25% of bandwidth. Yes, they have halved the ceilings before you hit this, and for the first time, have imposed throttling on their top-band customers. BUT

    VM are

    i) Currently rolling out a charge-free doubling of bandwidth to all their customers

    ii) Have double their "throttled" rates from 25% to 50%

    So essentially, all their long-term customers will now get the speed they originally signed up for, only all the time, with a bonus burst of double speed when they are off peak times. And now, when you don't exercise care about when to do a large download, it's about half the problem when you hit the ceiling.

    So the news is, their product is now much more attractive to the vast majority of users, leaving a small vocal minority of whiners who seem to think it's their right to monopolize an optical fibre so they can torrent media as fast as possible.

    1. NinjasFTW

      Re: This is an IMPROVEMENT

      i) Currently rolling out a charge-free doubling of bandwidth to all their customers

      I don't mind this change too much as im on the 50mb (soon to be upgraded to 100mb) package so will still be at 50mb while throttled. I'm not so sure it is charge-free though as I think I got the doubling email in the same week I got a we are raising our prices email!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is an IMPROVEMENT

      "VM are

      i) Currently rolling out a charge-free doubling of bandwidth to all their customers"

      It's not free, prices have gone up accordingly. Even VM aren't claiming it's free, merely doubled.

    3. Ojustaboo

      Re: This is an IMPROVEMENT

      So the news is, their product is now much more attractive to the vast majority of users, leaving a small vocal minority of whiners who seem to think it's their right to monopolize an optical fibre so they can torrent media as fast as possible.

      --------------------------------

      I think you miss the point.

      Those few times I do download from newsgroups (the last one being when my virgin TV box crashed and failed to record something I wanted to watch when I got in), I couldn't care less if they dropped the newsgroup speed to 10Mbps from 100.

      Most people buy the 100 because they are high users.

      Re-install windows, apply all the updates, maybe a service pack, re-install your software and apply the updates, chances are your already close to your limit.

      Stream 15 mins of films in HD from Netflix (again one of the reasons many opt for the fastest speed) and you've already downloaded 800MB

      Buy a new game such as Portal 2 from steam, it's 10/5GB download, again you hit your daily limit.

      I paid for my 100 service so that the few times I need the speed it's there. Last week I had to rebuild my PC. I play Starwars online. That's a 20GB download by itself yet alone my CS4, Office, all my pro music software updates etc.

      That's the first time this year I've downloaded anything large. Those few times that I do, I don't expect to be penalised for it, more that that , should I get home from work and hit the limit say at 8:30pm, I don't expect to be "fined" by having the limit applied for another 5 hrs, 4.5 of it after their management finishes for everyone else.

      I am getting a bit sick and tired of people like yourself presuming that everyone who complains is torrenting 24/7. Last time I used torrent software was a few years ago because the makers of X-plane flight sim at the time, insisted on me doing so for my updates.

      The internet has changed a lot on just the past year.

      Streaming movies in HD is more and more becoming the norm.

      Buying games and downloading is more and more becoming the norm.

      Buying and downloading software is more and more becoming the norm.

      I pay for my 100 service so that the times I buy a game that's 10 - 20GB ( not a weekly or even a monthly occurrence) , I can get it in a short period of time and be up and playing. Not being able to do that is a fair complaint in my opinion.

      All that aside, if they couldn't provide their 50Mbps users with an unmanaged service, what makes you really thing that when everyone's upgraded to 100 they will suddenly magically now be able to give everyone a guaranteed 50.

      Judging by all the slow speed complaints and youtube buffering complaints in both Virgins 50 and 100 forum sections (last week on the 100 service, I couldn't get more than 3Mbps for 2 days and they assure me my area is not over subscribed) , somehow I don't see them managing to provide what they now offer at all.

      Just in case you don't know, the register report is wrong, P2P and newsgroups are managed in a completely different way and your lucky if you will get 5kbps, it's everything else that drops by 50% when you hit your limit.

      1. Wardy01

        Re: This is an IMPROVEMENT

        Sorry to hear your not happy.

        The hint is in the bit that reads "top 5% of users" the plan is to "add this type of thing" to those users packages to ensure that they are kept in check from what i understand.

        It doesn't mean that the second you down more than 5GB during a peak time you will be treated like a criminal.

        I do torrent, a lot ... last night over night i downloaded over 100GB via torrent.

        My experience of the internet these days is that a correctly configured client on a correctly configured windows install connected to a correctly configured router on a correctly configured line is super rare and I have spent hours getting my line right.

        I'm a software developer myself and at one point went to the extreme of downloading the source code for my torrent client so i could examine what it was doing as i thought i was being throttled.

        Further examination reveals that actually your probably not as hard hit as you might think.

        It's a learning curve for VM they wont always get it right ... look at microsoft and windows ... how often do they get it right ... before the Iphone when did apple ever release a massive product ... what has google really done for us since search?

        if you're really being hit hard by this talk to virgin, i found that just being polite to the right person at the right time can often reveal some neat trick to get you some extra boost they dont really want you to know about at times (like the fact that im on a 100MB package with a 120MB connection at the moment)

        1. Davidoff
          WTF?

          before the Iphone when did apple ever release a massive product

          Ever heard of iMacs? Or iPods?

  25. Ojustaboo

    the traffic thats managed is everything

    According to Virgin, unlike what they said in your article, the traffic management applies to everything not just p2p and nntp.

    They haver made this very clear on their forums.

    for example

    -----------------

    We will still be moderating the total volume of P2P and Newsgroup as a whole during peak times, but the amount of P2P and Newsgroup data you upload and download will still count towards your traffic management thresholds. For more detail on P2P and Newsgroup traffic management click here.

    -----------------

    The main complaint on their forum is that those doing non p2p/nntp things are likely to very easily hit their limit.

    For example, if your on the 60 limit you can only download 5GB as a fair amount. If I brought the music software package I was looking at earlier for 150 euros, it's a 8GB download. Not only would I exceed my fair usage limit.

    If someone says buys Starwars online, thats around a 20GB download, on the 100 service that's double your fair use.

    Netflix streaming in HD is something like 800MB in 15 mins.

    Most people pay for the top tier for one of 3 reasons.

    1) So that when they need to download a biog file quickly, they can do so .

    2) Lots of users in the house.

    3) people upgraded from the 20 to the 50 as they introduced management on the 20, then when the 100 came out, people paid extra for the 100 as they introduced management for the 50.

    Now management is on all tiers, 4 users in one household, one gaming, one watching netflic etc, we can soon hit limits.

    In reality they are selling an ever faster service when a lot of their network cant handle it. Most people would rather a 20 unmanaged unthrottled service than a promise of 100 that's constantly throttled. Took me 42 mins last night to download a 351mb file that's more than a 50% cut.

    If I am legally using the net (surely someone that pays for 100 does so due to heavyish use) and I hit my cap at 8:55, even though their management ends at 9pm, I have it for a further 5 hours as a penalty/fine?????????

    Virgin state "As an example, a size: XL customer on our 60Mb service can download 5,000MB between 4pm and 9pm on a weekday before they are traffic managed. During this time that customer would have to download 7 standard definition movies or 1,250 songs before a 5 hour temporary speed reduction was applied,"

    What about someone that plays something like WOW and there#s a large update, what about Skyrim I brought from steam a few weeks ago, that's 5.6GB or Portal; 2 from steam that was 10.5GB? A user pays for fast broadband, buys a game then ends up managed for 5 hrs.

    1. NinjasFTW

      Re: the traffic thats managed is everything

      In reality they are selling an ever faster service when a lot of their network cant handle it. Most people would rather a 20 unmanaged unthrottled service than a promise of 100 that's constantly throttled. Took me 42 mins last night to download a 351mb file that's more than a 50% cut.

      provided that VM hold up to the posted limits (and that is a big IF) then I would still prefer 100Mb throttled as it will be 50mb vs 20mb

      1. Ojustaboo

        Re: the traffic thats managed is everything

        Yep I can see that. But as I just put in another reply, they had throttling on their 50 service and their forums were full of people not getting anywhere the advertised throttled speed.

        Now they can miraculously provide 50 for everyone, no limits at all, including all the people they are in the process of upgrading to 100.

        I personally don't see it.

        I don't mind them advertising a 50 Mbit min service that when bandwidth allows can rise up to 100 but we're not guaranteed the 100. What I object to is signing up to 100, paying for the 100 and being offered 50 (which a heavy user will effectively end up getting a lot of the time).

        I like many others only signed up to the 100 and paid the extra to do so as they introduced management on the 50.

        1. Wardy01

          Re: the traffic thats managed is everything

          I agree it should be sold as a 50MB min service with up to 100MB possible.

          Thats a problem with the industry though not VM

  26. lumpaywk

    massive fail, I am hardly a huge downloader but after a rebuild i downloaded 2 games and office (hardly loads) and was throttled. This then ment watching the f1 on sky player was choppy as hell. 5% is a lie this will effect loads of people. Movies and music is not the only thing we need to download and i will be switching in June. They may be the best price but at what cost? plus sky is better tv and that with bt infinity = £10 more than i pay now for twice as fast internet and better tv.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As long as they publish their limits...

    ...they can do whatever the fuck they want.

    The ones I can't stand are the "unlimited" providers who only tell you you're using too much when it happens.

    Any company that details its offering and prices in an open manner gets my support. Any company that doesn't gets ignored.

    1. Ojustaboo

      Re: As long as they publish their limits...

      True. Where some people are having a problem is that they are under a 12 month contract and Virgin are saying that because the way their T&C is worded, the fact that they have never (for the last 10 years anyway) had management on their top tier except for monitoring p2p/usenet, its tough if anyone wants to leave their contracts early.

      People are saying that they signed up for a service with no limitations and Virgin has now introduced ones that make the service not worth the money.

      Personally, I'm out of contract and have just switched to Sky.

      Totally unlimited, in Skys words I can hammer it as much as I want, bearing in mind with VM at peak times nntp was going slower than dial up on my 100 line.

      VM, No call line identification on my phone line and no plans to do it in my area.

      VM No Sky Atlantic

      VM traffic management that makes my paying for 100 service pointless.

      VM bill for my bb, Top TV package (no movies or sport), phone = £70.65 per month inc phoneline rental

      Yesterday evening Sky gave me the following deal

      all installation costs and phone activation costs waved.

      Free netgear router.

      Totally unlimited BB.

      Top package (no movies or sports) yay I get Sky Atlantic

      HD package (far far more HD channels than Virgin)

      Call line identification working and included in my package

      no minimum contract for TV, 12 months min for phone and BB

      First 6 months for the lot inc line rental just £38.25 per month rising to £55.00 after that.

      So for 6 months I save £32.40, then I save £15.65 a month, more HD channels, better phone service and I can download a 20 min TV show in under 5 hours at peak time.

      I warned Virgin numerous times that I'm not paying for a 100 service if I don't get to use it as and when I need it (such as the 20GB star wars game I recently had to download). Still around £90 with calls they've lost. If their top tier had no traffic management, I would have remained a customer.

  28. oldridge
    Thumb Down

    Some of us have jobs...

    If you work 9-5, and have to get some sleep to function in the office, and dont want to leave your computer running 24/7 to save on energy, and can't use remote access from the workplace...

    ...when exactly are you expected to do your downloading if not in the evening peak period?

    1. williamorris
      FAIL

      Re: Some of us have jobs...

      I think that it should be 30GB a day before STM, I did 1GB of my 20GB 10-3 usage and now I haven't got enough to get it at full speed now - still I am still getting 43-44mbps on USENET so fuck it ill just keep on caning it..

  29. Michael Shaw
    FAIL

    This is why I moved away from Virgin

    Most nights I'm a light user. Perhaps 1 or two nights a month, I need to download an MSDN ISO.

    In otherwords, on Virgin, when I need the bandwidth, they caped me and the rest of the time, I'm paying for everyone elses useage. At least on BT I can down load 4gb ISO image and still have enough of the evening left to do useful work.

  30. EddieD

    Ummm

    I'm (currently) on one of the 10Mb packages - Ive been shaped about 3 times this year.

    What bugs me is not that I'm being shaped - but the way they seem to implement the shaping; 2.5Mb should give me an acceptable performance on most websites,especially with flashblock, adblock, noscript, but the way VM do it, it doesn't.

    Oh yes, and the dishonesty. Mr Orwell would be proud of the newspeak interpretation of "unlimited". It's doubleplusgood.

  31. williamorris
    Unhappy

    Infact - scrap my last post! I hit the STM limit and my USENET download has totally stopped - 108.3mbps to now 4.9kbps in a matter of seconds LOL

    fucking joke!

    1. Ojustaboo

      As I keep telling the Register, they have the report wrong. NNTP and P2P traffic management hasn't changed, when it kicks in it's still at dial up speeds, the new traffic management introduced yesterday cuts everything else down to 50% of your speed and has zero to do with newsgroups or p2p.

      Well that's not quite true. anything you download now from newsgroups/P2P will count towards your daily limit for non P2P/newsgroup stuff, so when you hit your limit, your normal usage will be dropped by 50%. In addition as you have found out, whenever the P2P /newsgrouop management kicks in, it will drop to dial up type speeds. Which is what I keep telling others on this thread who have been mislead by the report on the Registers page to believe that when the limit is reached, newsgroups/P2P are dropped to 50%.

      I've sent a note to the registers correction department,

      The fact that this is implied, also makes the Registers poll null and void, I would have voted it a good deal if we hit a limit and just newsgroups were dropped 50%.

      I've had estimates of 5.5 hrs to download a 750MB file over the past few weeks on Virgins 100 service, come midnight or if I used a VPN, I got the full speed and it took a couple of mins.

      Of course their new system means all data is counted so a VPN will still kick in the 50% slowdown, but does that mean that with a VPN we still get to download at 50Mbps from newsgroups? I'm sure someone will test it soon.

  32. viciouz

    This is an improvement

    I'm quite confused about this - I'm on their 30MB package, any downloads I run go at 3.7MB/s until I get throttled, and under the current scheme, my speed thereafter is capped at 1MB/s. Does this new regime mean that my speed after throttling will be increased to 1.8MB/s? Other than adding caps for the lower end packages, this doesn't seem like such a bad deal.

  33. williamorris
    Go

    You see i'm not so sure. Earlier I think I hit the limit - my USENET went down to 60-70mbps and stayed there.

    I did another 6 GB and then stopped - It's like it now so I assume I am STM'd till 11:30. However I've still been able to do all that I've wanted to - including watching 8GB of HD programs and a film whilst being STM'd

    to be fair I think I have been a bit hard on VM. I recall Mark saying this was going to be introduced over a week or so - so maybe it's not kicked in yet.. We will see.

  34. P. Lee Silver badge
    FAIL

    Net Neutrality Please.

    If you're going to shape, shape it all. I don't like the protocol-specific shaping as that is the thin-end of a horrible telco-and-content-industry-inspired wedge. I don't want my SIP traffic dumped down a soggy piece of string because all the rest of my traffic is sponsored by itunes, channel 9 tv and Telstra.

    iiNet in Oz has peak/offpeak times with independent volume caps and independent shaping thereafter. That seems to work quite well, except for Steam which doesn't have a download scheduling system.

    Stop messing with the traffic - its expensive, doesn't work that well and its intrusive. if people want to burn their download allowance in one day let them - you can always charge them to top-up. Stop selling what you can't support. If you want to be nice, give us option in an internet control panel to say "I would like p2p shaped during peak times so I don't burn my allowance by mistake," or "I would like traffic to Steam servers slowed during peak hours." and give us the option to switch things on and off.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They're actually *reducing* the throttling amount

    These limits only apply when you have your speed doubled (for free). Previously they throttled you by 75%, now it's 50% - and that's after doubling!

    Example - was on 30Mbps? You'll be doubled to 60Mbps. You used to be throttled down to 7.5Mbps. You'll now be throttled down to 30Mbps! How that a bad thing?

    Yes, you'll hit those limits faster as you're downloading faster - but just because you've a faster link doesn't mean you have to then download more. If you continue to download the same volume of data, then you'll be better off.

    It's a bit like complaining that your 1.6l Focus (with a 55 litre fuel tank) was upgraded for free to a 2.3l turbo charged Focus RS - but with the same 55 litre tank. You can still use the same amount of fuel, but you'll probably use it up faster!

  36. Dig

    but once you have downloaded your 5Gig file in 6 or 7 minutes won't you be playing/watching it while the next one downloads/installs or are you lot that easily distracted. I guess you all have families that each want to download their own libre office update on the same day while each watching the wealth of indie and free movies available.. Ok I admit they should probably discount patch Tuesday updates.

    1. Captain Underpants
      Thumb Down

      @Dig

      I have 5 machines (one of them dual-booting) in the house, 4 of which are used for gaming with Steam on different accounts. 2 games consoles. Windows updates x 5 + OS X updates * 1 + Netflix + Steam + Bittorrent (mostly legitimately free music from various chiptune artists out there, occasionally also games from the Humble Indie Bundles, software from Sourceforge, or films/tv from the likes of Vodo) + occasional commercial software purchases/trials + regular Linux ISO downloads + Youtube/Vimeo + emusic account = a %^&*load of network traffic.

      I pay for the top-level service from Virgin because I know that's what my usage pattern needs. Until these ridiculous new terms were introduced, that was fine. Now I'm in a situation where even if I can do it during what they call daytime hours, buying one new game on Steam and installing it puts me over my usage limit (every big new release I've bought since Portal 2 has been a 10GB+ download, and that's before we start about downloads on different accounts - and no I couldn't be arsed with manually copying files between machines, that's why I was paying for the fat pipe from Virgin).

      If they don't understand why an uber-fast connection with stupid "fair use" limits is pointless, $%^& 'em. Why on earth would I want 120MBit broadband if the data caps are such that I'll barely have started using it before I get throttled?

      1. c4m1k4z3
        Trollface

        "Why on earth would I want 120MBit broadband if the data caps are such that I'll barely have started using it before I get throttled?"

        Don't tell me downloading a TV episode from iTunes in 20 seconds doesn't make the ladies foam?

  37. williamorris
    Go

    Well i've been playing out.

    Lastnight I was lmited down after 10GB but was adveraging 50-60mbps so that didn't stop me carrying on downloading and streaming HD

    Right now I am 4GB into my 20GB allowance and it's running at full speed. If it's like 50MB STM was there's no STM between 3-4PM so that's another potential 40GB to be got.

    Someone said on the VM forum that most customer's don't know about the forum - so most customers won't know about the STM as that's where it was announced. I've seen nothing in the press giving this information - have you?

    So for me whilst it's annoying that I am dropped down wher 50 to 100MB users just go back to what they were used to, it's also managable. I will ensure I squeeze every drop I can from it.

    On a final note - someone on the VM forum said " we should have 1TB a month limit total - max!

    DON'T be a tool!

    If you do your full 30GB allowance in peak times thats 900GB a month - There is no limit on what you can do after the STM times and overnight. I regularly do 150-200GB overnight. no probs!

  38. williamorris
    Go

    I hit my 20GB 1 minute after 3pm and it's still going - so I guess it is off between 3-4PM.

    1. c4m1k4z3
      Windows

      this is more exciting that live cricket commentry

  39. williamorris
    WTF?

    anything is more exciting than that!

  40. williamorris
    FAIL

    I've sent a video of Skyplayer buffering every 10 seconds using VM to trading standards - I have a very fast speedtest however.

    Switched to my backup ISP and skyplayer is running fine - it's only a 6MB connection!

  41. Ojustaboo

    Found their details from last year

    Here's a post from an official Virgin employee responding as a virgin representative when a thread goes on about traffic management

    ---------------------------------------

    I can confirm what other posters have said . The 100Mbps service is not throttled, which is why there is no reference to it here. That links also explains the throttling of P2P (except games) and Newsgroup traffic.

    There is an FAQ regarding the detrimental use policy here. Currently 100Mbps service users are not subject to the detrimental use policy. Although there are no plans to change this, I cannot guarantee that this won't happen at some time in the future.

    Regards,

    John Haggerty

    Help & Support Forum Team

    ---------------------------------------------------

    And here are two links showing the then 50 and 100 charts, note the lack of management on the 100 except for newsgroups/p2p

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/69/virginu.jpg/

    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/42/virgin2.jpg/

  42. williamorris
    WTF?

    SO maybe yesterday I was not being STM'd maybe it was just usual slowdown - would make sense. To limit a product at 50mbps but give it 60-70 seems sloppy.

    I can't see the FAQ as I am banned from the forum. (for airing my views as a paying customer) such a lovely company (NOT!)

    1. Wardy01

      I was also getting 70mb/s yesterday ... might have been a wider area thing.

      I don't believe that virgin have throttled me yet ...

      I have downloaded over 300GB in the last 7 days and uploaded about 250GB

      Personally i think that constitutes quite a bit of usage ...im a software developer though so i would also expect my usage to be above average and when you consider that overall i have used about 42GB per day and i only use the internet when im home and not in bed so thats between the hours of 6 and midnight (so about 7GB/hour) ... acceptable use seems reasonable.

  43. williamorris

    I've done 3.1GB in this 4-9 period and been throttled. You can tell as web pages take a bit longer. Also i've gone from 108.6mbps solid to between 60-74mbps which is still more than enough.

    My upload is still 10.7mbps

  44. williamorris
    WTF?

    wahey! done 3GB and back to 4.7kbps :/

  45. williamorris

    So this has just been half term!? STM is starting to be applied this weekend and our area isn't on the list yet!

    Oh my :/

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's total loosing the purpose of "throttling P2P", when the management started to apply. I can't even open up google's home page! take 10 minutes to load the youtube home page!

    The only one benefits from this policy is Virgin Media, because they don't want to invest in scaling up their infrastructure in order to handle large traffic, instead, they cut meat from their lovely users with a shitty software to cut down cost.

    BTW, this shitty software is probably introduced by some PhD or stupid professors as half done research project - seems smart but shitty algorithms.

  47. NZ Journey Man

    Are Steam downloads affected?

    A quick question to the Steam users out there. Have any of you been limited when you have been downloading games? The VM Traffic Management Policy says it only targets p2p downloads (ie torrents). As far as I can see Steam uses http and port 27033 so Steam downloads should not be affected.

    Has anyone been limited when downloading Steam Games?

    1. Phil W

      Re: Are Steam downloads affected?

      Never been a problem for me. Steam isn't p2p for downloads though, it's just a download from their servers.

      Blizzard Downloader among others use p2p though, so they'd probably count.

    2. Wardy01

      Re: Are Steam downloads affected?

      Steam servers can't keep up with my connection.

      I know because I can pause a steam download that is doing say 8MB/s down and immediately get say 11MB/s down from an MSDN server.

      I find steam gets slow at peak times like anything else.

      But officially ... to answer your question ... no steam downloads should not be affected, but if people are having trouble with the likes of the google homepage after STM kicks in you can be sure of the fact that it would affect steam too.

  48. roy lovelock
    Alert

    missing the point

    ive also been hit hard with this stupid stm. but everyone seems to be missing the point by saying they have upgraded the connection and only cut it 40%

    what is missing is they are capping either side of the bandwidth which hit their limits, first of all its 50% on the up side, then its 75%.

    i like a lot of users have 120mb connection, i also shift vast amounts of data across my network and streaming my media server to friends and family. my up side is often capped to 1.3mbs which makes it useless for streaming. the ping also increased (ive seen it as high as 120ms) so when i access gmail it asks me to load the page for slower connections - not bad for a 120mb connection.

    I was also sold the package as unlimited - you wont be traffic shapped or throttled like others.

    Virgin has been very quiet about the new stm, i wonder why - thier userbase would probo drop an good % overnight. Why are they not required by law to advertise it as often as they drop letters though my door advertisng their services!!.

    another thing is i think (also the cs rep said he thinks this is also the case) that virgin has secret bandwidth caps, if you use over 100gb (for example) they will automatically cap you during stm. I prooved this today as i have have used around 400gb this month, yesterday my modem was off until i called customer services to disconnect, my connection was 33mb down and 1.4mb up - only a few mins into the stm (this was hard wired not wifi btw) - i had used no data since the evening before hand (just to proove the point). my capping fell of around midnight and im back to 113mb down now.

    Basically im now paying for 120mb connection and getting only 33mbs back.

    the really sad part is i actually get faster connections now of my mobile phone using hspda+, if i need to upload a file to dropbox during the stm i can upload over 3x faster to the box from my phone than i can on the fastest broadband connection in the country.

    virgin has taken a excellent internet connection (barring the superdud) and flushed it down the toilet, roll on sky fibre pro coming soon to my property.

  49. auden12

    At first I got passed about a bit but apparently there is a 100MB only support team and once i got through to them they agreed with me and remotely accessed my computer doing the same test on a private virgin box for speed tests.

  50. Tockolock

    A really Big grovel to BT

    Dear Lovely Cuddly B.T.

    I am so very very very sorry I wrote those complaining E-Mails to that evil publication Micro Mart. You are the best company in the world. Your technical support team are superb with the knowledge of the ancients at their fingertips. Your service is second to none. I am about to set off to your headquarters on my knees as a penance for my misdeeds. I will be whipping myself every yard and chanting long live B.T. and Openreach.

    In the meantime could you in your infinite wisdom improve my pathetic broadband as dropping after a few seconds is slightly irritating. When I get back and my knees heal I will sing your praises from the rooftops.

    If this is not sufficient for you I will sacrifice a hundred goats outside your headquarters for your pleasure and delight. My family have agreed that if all this fails I may sacrifice one of them every day until either you improve my broadband or I run out of family members.

    Just what more do you want?

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