Virgin Media is once more featured in the weekly list of ASA adjudications, with a ruling about the use of the term 'unlimited' and lack of prominence given to the cable provider's traffic management policy.
'Unlimited' is allowed in advertising for broadband and mobile telephone services so long as only a small proportion of customers exceeded the data limit (or other limit such as number of text messages). Virgin Media in its response to said that only a small proportion of customers whose usage was unusually large were affected by their traffic management policy.
It seems odd that the complaint was upheld against Virgin Media, but the ASA felt while an Acceptable Use Policy was stated in the small print, the use of traffic management should also be stated. The ASA has transposed the words 'unusually large' to 'abnormal amount' of material in its assessment, which perhaps could be said about those who download 1,000GB a month, but the trigger levels range from 0.5GB to 3GB in a single day so triggering the traffic management is hardly a sign of being an obsessive downloader.
One observation we have made of the Virgin Media website is that the Acceptable Use Policy does not list the traffic management trigger levels, but rather they are documented on a help page. The table of traffic management trigger levels has expanded due to the introduction of a new entry-level "S"* product and the "M (after 10Mb upgrade)" column.
Virgin Media has gone on the record saying that average usage on its broadband service is 2.5 times that of any other provider who publishes figures. Given PlusNet is the provider with the most frequently published figures we're aware of, this would suggest a monthly usage of around 20GB for Virgin Media customers.
* Virgin Media's products are named S, M, M (after 10Mb upgrade), L, XL and XXL from small to extra extra large in ascending order.