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Virgin Media cable adjusting traffic management in New Year
Tuesday 11 December 2007 11:15:48 by Andrew Ferguson

Virgin Media announced traffic management for its cable broadband products in May 2007. These rules are to be tweaked in the New Year (no firm date has been announced yet). The main change will be that the monitoring period will change from 4pm-midnight to 4pm-9pm and the amount of data you upload will also be taken into account. Full details of the new traffic management policy can be read on the Virgin Media website.

Package Download Allowance Upload Allowance Maximum Speed Capped Speed
Broadband M 300 MB 150 MB 2 Mbps (download)
200 Kbps (upload)
1 Mbps (download)
128 Kbps (upload)
Broadband L 800 MB 325 MB 4 Mbps (download)
512 Kbps (upload)
1 Mbps (download)
128 Kbps (upload)
Broadband XL 3 GB 1.25 GB 20 Mbps (download)
768 Kbps (upload)
5 Mbps (download)
192 Kbps (upload)

The reduction in the monitoring hours means fewer users are likely to be affected. Virgin Media suggest this will be 3% rather than the current 5%, but the inclusion of the upstream allowances means it may be different types of users who are affected. For example on the Broadband M product playing a first person shooter game solidly for five hours could see your usage restricted for the subsequent five hours. In homes with two or more computers hitting the limits on the M and L products looks all too easy. Alternatively someone downloading two 30 minute shows over BBC iPlayer could easily trigger the upload figures on both the L and M products.

What is interesting to see in comparison to the previous management system is that the capped speeds on the L product is now the same as the M product and the capped upstream speed has reduced on the XL product to 192Kbps. The timing of this change suggests it may be related to an expected rise in the use of BBC iPlayer which is due to launch officially on Christmas day.

Comments

Posted by Newnetteruser over 9 years ago
didnt i remeber a very sexy girl on the advert tel ling us all "no limits"

This industry is a joke.
Posted by mcbazza over 9 years ago
You know why this only refers to their cable products?
Because, with their ADSL infrastructure how it currently is, you are *all* throttled!!
Posted by SimpleRules over 9 years ago
Bye Bye, BBC i(Player)!

Just listened to a BBC Backstage podcast talking about the iPlayer and its problems, one point mentioned was ISPs don't generally measure upload limits so it didn't matter that Kontiki shares programmes ... well Virgin have done that in, then again the iPlayer will launch on Virgin Cable anyway.
Posted by keith_thfc over 9 years ago
"This ensures that the service doesn't get blocked up with people using more than their fair share – which means a lot fewer traffic jams."

http://www.virginmedia.com/help/traffic-management.php

Fair share??? Erm....the product is blatantly sold as having no download limits...."unlike our competitors".

It beggars belief that Ofcom continue to allow such blatant mis-selling.

The new guidelines are completely and utterly meaningless anyway because as with any FUP that is invoked, the rules can change at ANY time.





Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
these allowances are "per monitoring period" I taske it - ie 800 MB in the 4pm-9pm window of one day or about 500 kbits/s of constant download ?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
Yes the 800MB download allowance on Broadband L is between 4pm to 9pm now. Upload is the new part.
Posted by ian9outof10 over 9 years ago
I'm not going to argue about the rights and wrongs of caps. But I will say this, why are the upper levels speed-reduced more than the lowest.

The 2mb service is capped to 1mb, so surely, the 4mb service should go to 2mb and the 20mb to 10mb.

Plus, in this day and age, these caps are stupidly low, and for a company like Virgin that isn't reliant on the BT network, I fail to see how they are having such trouble meeting demand.
Posted by mcbazza over 9 years ago
Does this count as changing the T&C's?
If it does, then you VM customers have a 'get out of contract for free' clause that you can exercise.
If that is something you are interested in.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
" why are the upper levels speed-reduced more than the lowest." perhaps they have calculated that they can manage with the top few % on the first two products at 1M and the top few % 20M users at 5M. Perhaps there are a lot more 2 and 4M users expected to fall into the trap and 1M each is what's available peak time ?

The caps are per day for a few peak hours per day, not per month, as clarified, so 90 GB/month on XL 4-9pm and the rest of the time isn't monitored AIUI.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"Does this count as changing the T&C's?
If it does, then you VM customers have a 'get out of contract for free' clause that you can exercise.
If that is something you are interested in."

Yes it does (NO MATTER what they try to tell you) and my advice would be run and run darn quick if i was with them. 37 quid for their top end service and for 5 hours a day it could be crippled to less than a fixed rate 1Mb normal adsl service... thanks but no thanks not exactly worth the money IMO
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Their site still talks dog balls with quotes like "Fastest Up to 20Mb
Download a music track in under 2 seconds"
id like to no how the (bleep) you are gonna download anything over 1meg in size with a 768k connection 5 hours a day.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Opps i obviously meant... id like to no how the (bleep) you are gonna download anything over 1meg in size IN 2 SECONDS with a 768k connection 5 hours a day.

Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"id like to no how the (bleep) you are gonna download anything over 1meg in size IN 2 SECONDS with a 768k connection 5 hours a day."

err the 768 is the normal UPSTREAM speed on XL, not the restricted rate.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
yep my mistake you are correct there herdwick. I was looking at the L package when i wrote that and someone made a right cock up regarding the speeds. Still even with 5Mb you aint gonna be downloading a music track in under 2 seconds are you? Virgin media IMO need a good kick up the backside, too bad the regulators here have no guts to do it though.
Posted by Somerset over 9 years ago
re 'a company like Virgin that isn't reliant on the BT network'. It's reliant on its, and its suppliers, networks, All of which cost.
Posted by AndrueC over 9 years ago
Remind me:When is VM rolling out 50Mb to its customers? 50Mb sync or 50Mb download - answers on a postcard, please :-/
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
More to the point when/if 50Mb arrives what is that going to be limited to during peak hours and how much per month will they want for it?
Posted by janswanwick over 9 years ago
I've been with Virgin Internet since they started and now it is beyond a joke. As an ADSL customer, the evenings are regularly seeing only 67Kb download speeds with up to 700ms latency on each packet. This is on a connection that rates itself at 8Mb. Their infrastructure can't cope and even though now points of presence have been appearing, the capacity is swallowed up in days.
Virgin now need to admit they have a problema nd tell us what they're going to do about it, just as they did in teh past when we went from dial-up to ISDN and then from ISDN to 512Kb broadband.
Posted by dopamine2 over 9 years ago
A capped download speed of 1Mbps? At least Virgin is being open about their throttling policies. How many users with other ISPs suffer peak-time throttling to a much slower speed than 1Mbps, but are told that it's the fault of their line, or PC, or BT?

Virgin don't deserve too many plaudits, but I commend their honesty as it seems a rare commodity amongst ISPs these days. Pipex give me less than 300k peak-time, on a stable 8128 synched line, and then tell me that they don't throttle.
Posted by c_j_ over 9 years ago
"someone downloading ... over BBC iPlayer"

someone with Virgin TV would be daft to use iPlayer; they've already got Virgin catch up TV highlights, and unlike the iPlayer it works through the TV, is genuinely "on demand" without waiting for a full download, doesn't waste broadband bandwidth, offers decent picture quality without compression artefacts, isn't DRM-infested, etc.

"two or more computers hitting the limits ... looks all too easy."

Two users use more than one, and can also presumably afford to pay more than one el cheapo subscription?
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"someone with Virgin TV would be daft to use iPlayer" - best tell that to Ashley Highfield at the BBC, in the podcast below he says they are developing a vesion of the iPlayer for Virgin Cable for launch after Christmas. This is described as the next platform for iPlayer after Windows PCs.

http://backstage.bbc.co.uk/news/archives/2007/10/iplayer_drm_and_1.html
Posted by monty1158 over 9 years ago
"Two users use more than one, and can also presumably afford to pay more than one el cheapo subscription?"

So we just buy a connection for each computer? Another large coax cable lovingly nailed along the wall. Another cable modem sitting behind each PC? Personally, I thought that the idea behind broadband was that I could sit on one PC, playing online games, my son on another PC, doing the same, and my wife browsing the web on her laptop. All on the same connection. I used to be able to do this on Telewest. I'm still able to do this now on Sky. Why should Virgin be any different?
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
of course you can run N computers at once on Virgin, the new scheme means that is you want to pull more than 800M down in the peak hours you should be on the XL package. Even if you exceed the 3GB in 5 peak hours on XL you only get limited to 5M which is more than many people can even get in the first place.
Posted by Locky over 9 years ago
you think £37 a month for a 20 meg connection you can barely use dureing the peak times (when most people are useing it after finishing work school or whatever) and when you do use your so called UNLIMITED connection you are dropped to 5meg down not even 200k up, £37 a month, i think somebody hih up vm are digging smack.. glad i chanegd to 02.. same download speed 2 meg upload £20 a month cheaper a LOT more reliable and no shapeing... virgin deserve to go under.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote "someone with Virgin TV would be daft to use iPlayer"

Indeed but seeing as you can buy their cable broadband without cable TV, they wouldnt be as daft using it after all.
Besides when they lost the sky channels who actually bothered to keep the TV service? Virgin had the nerve to still charge the same amount for the TV service even though one of the main entertainment channels (sky one) was lost.
Posted by keith_thfc over 9 years ago
dopamine2 said:

"At least Virgin is being open about their throttling policies.

"Virgin don't deserve too many plaudits, but I commend their honesty as it seems a rare commodity amongst ISPs these days."

Virgin certainly weren't keen to provide details when the traffic shaping kit was first switched on. They have only made an attempt now because of all the criticism and negative publicity which is clearly affecting sales.

If Virgin really cared about being honest it would remove the "no download limits" from its website.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"If Virgin really cared about being honest it would remove the "no download limits" from its website. " ah, the tired old semantics debate. Do Virgin limit the amount you download in a month by saying "no more than x GB" ? No. They may proactively throttle a small number of customers, and/or have reduced throughput at peak times, but they don't say "after x GB this stops working" or "after x GB its £1/GB". So there isn't a hard limit.

Two interpretations of the same words, each of which would be defended by a lwayer.
Posted by keith_thfc over 9 years ago
Herdwick.

You can argue about semantics all you like but the bottom line is that ISP's like Virgin are deliberately misleading customers into signing up.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"the bottom line is that ISP's like Virgin are deliberately misleading customers " - but only by the interpretation you choose to adopt and judge them by. Take it to a relevant authority if you are so confident, I'm sick of listening to it.
Posted by imbsuk over 9 years ago
For the life of me I can't comprehend why people would be happy with ambiguous and misleading advertisements.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
The "relevant authority" have proven to be spineless, gutless and worthless, Herdwick. Fact remains that VM's massive increase in capping is not going unnoticed.

c_j_, fact is if you're in an overloaded area (as many are, and the proportion of people affected has increased with their rollout of increased headline speed without a corresponding network investment), you'll be shaped the moment you download anything significant whatsoever during peak times, and to well below the stated values.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
So where's the ASA ruling on the complaints about the advertising ? or has nobody actually complained.

The traffic management per se reduces the amount you can download flat out in a day or month by 15.6% on the two faster packages and 10.4% on the slower one. General overloads may have a bigger impact, but is this not why they are implementing the traffic management - to try to fix it ?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote""the bottom line is that ISP's like Virgin are deliberately misleading customers " - but only by the interpretation you choose to adopt and judge them by. Take it to a relevant authority if you are so confident, I'm sick of listening to it."

Errr so you think the claim of "Download a music track in under 2 seconds" is accurate and open to interpretation???
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
Oh, I agree the traffic management was to offset the impact of a raised headline speed, obviously by their publishing of these new measures it was not clawing enough back.

Also, it's made service in allready congested areas considerably worse. To the degree that I am quite serious in wishing ISDN back.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
""Download a music track in under 2 seconds" is accurate " - certainly possible at 20M, or at lower speeds depending on the compression etc.

By downloading less than 5 GB in the 5 hr peak period each day the full 20M is available (subject to network performance) 24/7 and even if you get traffic managed every day there are 570 hours per month when it would be true.

Is your issue that the traffic management makes it untrue, or the current network performance ? Either way, take it to the ASA if it's an advert and it's misleading.
Posted by Cliffc over 9 years ago
Hi

The service is still unlimited as VM dont have a cap on how much you can D/L but thay will slow you down if you take and now send to much in a fixed period, but you can still surf and d/l just not as fast therefore its still an Unlmited Download service,I am a downloader and an uploder and i am lucky if i reach the limit in a day never mind in a 6 hour period so I have no issues with this, I make sure all my downloading is happeng outside thease times, its 6 hours out of 24 when the throttling thresholds apply not a big loss
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"By downloading less than 5 GB in the 5 hr peak period each day the full 20M is available (subject to network performance) 24/7 and even if you get traffic managed every day there are 570 hours per month when it would be true."
Or in other words once they limit you to 5Mb speeds its not possible or true. As for taking it to the ASA do you not realise the whole point of comments like this are see people can discuss what they think is right or wrong with with the news item concerned. I couldnt give a flying pig if its not true i dont use them, but others reading may care.
Posted by keith_thfc over 9 years ago
Cliffc

I've got no problem with Virgin slowing down your speeds at certain times.

What I object to are the tv, radio, newspaper and online ads that obscure this fact.
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"What I object to are the tv, radio, newspaper and online ads that obscure this fact. " in which case get a complaint filed at the ASA.

http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/how_to_complain/complaints_form/
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
I have a problem in that they lie about the limits. They are considerably, considerably lower on overloaded exchanges.

Currently 27.3MB on a 4MB (actually recieving ~175KBps before cap and ~27 after) on this exchange. How low will it go after?
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"Or in other words once they limit you to 5Mb speeds its not possible or true" correct, however by the amzingly complex manoeuvre of simply downloading less than 3 GB (500 tracks ?) during the hours of 4-9pm each day you don't get traffic managed and you can get a track in 2 seconds 24/7
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote""Or in other words once they limit you to 5Mb speeds its not possible or true" correct, however by the amzingly complex manoeuvre of simply downloading less than 3 GB (500 tracks ?) during the hours of 4-9pm each day you don't get traffic managed and you can get a track in 2 seconds 24/7"

Oh i see so thats what they mean by UNLIMITED and DOWNLOAD A MUSIC TRACK IN UNDER 2 SECONDS... 3 gig then traffic managed (throttled)?? Doesnt sound much to me like a service with either of the things i mention in capitals...
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Oh and 3 gig is not alot now despite what you or anyone else says, that 3 gig wouldnt even be a single whole HD movie from the xbox service recently mentioned in a news story on this very site. Oh and its legal.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Also the ability to actually and REALISTICALLY grab a music track in under 2 seconds would mean your 20Mb connection would have to be running at the full or close to full 20Mb, I cant say ive heard from many that manage that.
Posted by lucent over 9 years ago
I have no problem with the whole traffic management thing... i signed up fully in the knowledge.. what i don't like i that i heard about the new changes from my weekly sumary on this site... so much for we'll let you know if we change anything!!! bit anoyed that i now have to keep an eye on how much i upload too...
Posted by xb0xguru over 9 years ago
What's happening here is a corporation biting off more than they can chew by selling bandwidth their infrastructure can't deal with. I shouldn't have to be downloading overnight in order to justify a 20 Meg connection.
Posted by radgar93 over 9 years ago
5mbps capped limit for 20mbps service. I would be content if I could get a rate as consistent and high as that.
Posted by ghunkin over 9 years ago
I have always had Virgin XL DSL and I monitor my connection speed every time I use my PC.
This means I have several hundred REAL results.

The figures for post and pre-20MB are as follows;

Pre 20MB :
Average download: 4836.75 kbs
Average upload: 462.81 kbs
Average latency: 67.41ms

Post 20MB :
Average download: 8957.75 kbs
Average upload: 657.08 kbs
Average latency: 80.0ms

I therefore obtain around 45% of the stated download speeds.
In any other industry, I would be have to clearly advertise my "typical" offering.

Not so in telecomms it would seem.
Posted by radgar93 over 9 years ago
Virgin? I'm giving up. Since I rarely get >2mbps from my alleged 20mbps connection I'm downgrading. I hope someone gets the bandwidth I'm 'sparing'.
Posted by 2doorsbob over 9 years ago
anybody with 20mb speed issues and they have had there modem over 2 years it might be an idea to give there tech dept a call to make sure your modem will cope with it
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