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Preston, Wigan, Blackpool in Virgin Media STM trial
Thursday 12 February 2009 10:40:17 by Andrew Ferguson

Virgin Media has published on its website details of a traffic management trial. This is nothing new, since the M, L and XL products are already subject to trigger levels. This trial is looking at whether the new limits and time windows will result in less congestion for the majority of users.

Package Mon-Fri 4pm to 9pm download daily trigger Mon-Fri 3pm to 8pm upload daily trigger Sat/Sun 11am to 9pm download daily trigger Sat/Sun 10am to 8pm upload daily trigger Capped Speed
Broadband M (2Mbps) 500 MB 200 MB 1250 MB 400 MB 1 Mbps (download)
128 Kbps (upload)
Broadband L (10Mbps) 1200 MB 700 MB 3000 MB 1400 MB 2.5 Mbps (download)
128 Kbps (upload)
Broadband XL (20Mbps) 3000 MB 1400 MB 7500 MB 2800 MB 5 Mbps (download)
192 Kbps (upload)

One improvement is that the throttling is switched off at 11pm each night, though remember it will last up to 7 hours, So if someone coming home from school downloads a game demo over 1.2GB in size (when using the 10Mbps service) at 4:15pm, anyone else in the household will experience the 75% throttle until 11pm. With the upstream limited to 128Kbps this should be fine for online game play, but may be a squeeze if using things like team talk during an online game, and reduce the quality of any webcam transmission. The 50Mbps XXL service is not part of the trial or live STM at this time, though Virgin Media has never ruled out some form of traffic management at a later date.

While the policy is meant to only impact 5% of Virgin Media customers each day which sounds like it is only targeting heavy users, it will penalise those with busy lives who only manage to get online once or twice a week.

While Virgin Media gets a lot of bad press over its traffic management, at least the trigger levels and time periods are defined on their website. BT Retail does not publish the levels used, mainly because it is thought that they vary from day to day, but there is nothing stopping them publishing information on how it worked in the previous month to give customers better guidance.


Posted by sloman over 8 years ago
Well i am VIP customer with Virgin and pay approximately £80 per month to them.

If this goes live bye bye Virgin.

Its like buying a Bugatti Veyron and Bugatti saying we are going to limit it
to 60mph!

Do this and you will lose most of your premium customers! Us fools who pay
for 10-20MB.

This has put me off 50MB now as i'm sure there will now be a limit on this
'Mother of Broadband'. Cough: My ass!
Posted by pje1979 over 8 years ago
I wonder what Virgin think people need fast connections for?
Posted by uklad77 over 8 years ago
I thought the upstream STM was seperate from the downstream?

So even if you hit you download limits, the uploads arent' affected?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
When you're throttled, the service is not "fine for gameplay" - you can bet on an additional 200ms at a minimum on pings.
Posted by staffordshirebull over 8 years ago
I have just tried to post a comment on the site but have been told that it was a long post!

My thoughts are that Virgin Media is a waste of space be it a family package or for business, I have them both and I am having so many problems it is untrue
Posted by XANTIA-1975 over 8 years ago
Sod them all
Posted by mozez314 over 8 years ago
I have had nothing but trouble with this lately. The traffic management comes on apparently at random and sometimes does't switch off at 11pm. Customer Support have been completely useless.
Posted by BlackAle over 8 years ago
No problems here, sound like reasonable new limits.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
sloman: in UK, the Max speed limit is 80MPH, and 60MPH on single carriageways...
So if you want to exercise that Bugatti, goto germany... or risk getting the STM police on you... :)
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Do note that it is the 'mass downloaders' that make traffic management necessary .. The only other way to do it would be to charge extra!!
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
"mass", right. Oh, you mean peole who actually use the service at anything like it's stated speed. And "only" other way? There's plenty of other ways to handle it, like not using excessive headline speeds and paying to upgrade the network, for starters...
Posted by fatwallet over 8 years ago
So comnut, when did the speed limit go up to 80mph?
Posted by partymarty over 8 years ago
the traffic management is useless if the cable in your area is already being obliterated by too many users being connected to it. Come 11pm and you won't notice any better service.
Posted by simmer over 8 years ago
if only we could get 20mb it would help only average between 5mb- 17mb poor service for £85 a month
Posted by FatJack over 8 years ago
I've got virgin media "20 meg BB" using the test on this site it has never been 20 Mb.
Agree with simmer, mine is usually between 7mb & 17mb but more often 7mb!
Posted by PHx8bore over 8 years ago
20 mb is dreaming, much over 7 mb is an improvement mine hobbles along at just over 5 most evenings and drops to much less at times but then can be 15 mb just 30 minutes later. BT is a non starter as I live much too far away from an exchange. So I am trapped with Virgin on the impossible.
Posted by mjchantler over 8 years ago
I admit that Virgin's TM is awful. Downloading games on Steam or XBL maxes me out pretty quickly. Why should I have to download out of hours? If I want to download and play something there and then, I should have the right to!

Having said that, they do actually provide me a 20MBit service. The lowest speed I have had was 14 meg. Usually around 19 even during peak times.

If they could apply a sensible policy to traffic, I'd have no complaints at all.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
fatwallet: hm, cant find it on google now.... ???
Posted by Groovehound over 8 years ago
Bah, what do you expect? I do feel like walking around with a t-shirt saying "don't believe Virgin Media's marketing, check instead". Anyone capable of producing such a thing en-masse in conjunction with this website?
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Dawn_Falcon:"Oh, you mean peole who actually use the service at anything like it's stated speed"

No I mean those that are 'roadhogs' and saturate the line with massive downloads. so everyone else is crawling...
Posted by Groovehound over 8 years ago
A better algorithm for those who have to get their downloading done in one session would be to provide measurement over the whole week. If someone goes over the limit, don't throttle them on that day, but if they constantly go over on subsequent days, THEN throttle them. DHCP IP leases are about that length of time anyway so tracking's not a problem. If it means 25% extra bandwidth is needed, then buy it, Virgin!
Posted by Groovehound over 8 years ago
@ comnut
Try a shared house - shall we all get a separate VM contract, modem and router ourself? Three of them, five of them? I wouldn't mind - but Virgin Media definitely would! If it's going to be cheaper for them like this, then they can invest in bandwidth.
I do download a little, but don't automate my setup to leech 100% as much as possible. So I'm not the roadhog, who is?
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
It should be easy enough not to saturate, by using a good bittorrent...

Groovehound: Par for the course, anyone should know never trust a salesman... Even sony are mis-selling freeview as being HD capable(only after 2012, and it's still on the drawing board...)...
Posted by nikesair over 8 years ago
We( are professional exporter and wholesaler of brand name products such as
air jordans,air max,air force 1,AF and jordan fusion,nike dunks,shox,adidas shoes,converce shoes from China.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Groovehound: missed your second post (getting late, and this site not working properly.. (loses cookies, so does not show reply - a refresh will just make a dup post..) went to bed...

Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Groovehound: get a good wireless router with the one VM account.. The problem is, how do you police the users that download massive stuff???
If it is just family members, it is easy enough, but if not, and someone is hiding their usage, then you may have to tell them to get a separate line and pay if they really need it..

Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
The roadhog may not be in your household, he could be down the street... the type that will not pay for a high usage ISP, just uses the cheap one, and overloads it...

If one of my lodgers 'accidentally' left the oven on full(3 times!) for the *whole* night, I would have words about increasing his rent to cover the electric bill!!

People seem to forget that when plusnet was young, when you went over your allocation, it did not get back to 'fullspeed' until the end of the month!!!

Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Do note that ADSL has been one of the worst bit of 'marketing' ever!
ADSL is a 'contended' service - when more and more people use it at the same time, the bandwidth actually goes right down, reducing speed dramatically..

Of course they want to sell as much as possible, so overloading the system, and relying on not many actually using it at the same time... of course, they sell too many in one street, without thinking of the result!

I have seen the word 'contention' steadily removed from many places, to stop bad consumer reaction...
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
PHx8bore: where are you, that VM gives better than BT?? try for more details...
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
comnut - So we're agreed, people who try and use even a fraction of the advertised bandwidth. Strangely enough, I think if they concentrated on offering a high quality 10MBit service, they'd not need traffic management AND they'd have more customers.
Posted by Groovehound over 8 years ago
Bah, it's NOT easy to police the usage, trust me. Even my router (which is damn good in theory) finds traffic management hard. People want to use the internet as the internet, fact. Not as a walled garden, with the ISP holding their hand or breathing down their necks.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Dawn_Falcon: a fraction of WHAT bandwidth?? due to the way some sell it, there is very little...
The problem is people buying low, and using high... and the company dont seem to want to add an excess charge on top..

Groovehound: As I said, you will have to get those people independently signed up, so it is them that pay, not you.. the separate line will 'add value' if you are selling, or they move on...
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Comnut - Advertise unmetered, offer unmetered. Or the company is quite simply lying. VM lies.

Morover, "excess charges" which are typically in the region of thirteen to fifteen times the actual cost of the bandwidth? Yea. Scam.
Posted by BlackAle over 8 years ago
Cost of bandwidth? I wonder what cost you're quoting, in a datacentre? or at the last mile?
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Dawn, you have no are childishly blaming the shop for selling out of your fav. sweets!! go and find another ISP then!!
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
Would you pay that shop lots of money just to stock sweets that are not at all profitable??? that is basically what "excess charges" are!!
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
"Cost of bandwidth" ?? these may help.... :)
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
and here is another activity that does not help...

PLEASE read, it is informative..:)
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Here's a clue, comnut - "bandwidth hogging" is users using the service as-advertised. ISP's then realise their lies about the avaliable service risk exposure, so they then throw a tantrum and call names.

Using your ISP-advertised bandwidth is in no way the same as a DDoS attack, which is malicious in nature.

And I'm fully aware of wholesale bandwidth costs, ty.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
lazy as usual... I can tell you have not even bothered to look at that link...

troll all you like, they wont hear you... neither the wiki author, who you should be talking to, or the companies, who pay CS to ignore people throwing conspiracy tantrums like you...
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Why would I be talking to the wikicult? I read the link, they're wrong as usual on anything even midly technical. Waste of my time.

The conspiracy is yours, that people are in youe ISP stealing your bandwidth. No, the ISP's are simply being allowed to get away with mis-selling.
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
And ours, you prattling on.... go back to school.

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