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O2 publishes traffic management information for products
Wednesday 08 September 2010 22:45:09 by Andrew Ferguson

The three new LLU packages from O2, 'The Basics', 'The All Rounder' and 'The Works' were all rumoured to be subject to traffic management, but at the time of their launch last week exact figures were not available. It has taken a few days for the actual figures to emerge that will indicate what a customers experience will be like on the three LLU packages.

Protocol Time Period The Basics The All Rounder The Works
Streaming and video activities, e.g. iPlayer, YouTube 24/7 800Kbps 8Mbps, or line speed if lower As fast as your line can support
Peer to Peer (P2P) activities, e.g. Torrents Off peak
Weekdays Midnight to 4pm
Weekends Midnight to Midday
100Kbps 250Kbps As fast as your line can support
Peer to Peer (P2P) activities, e.g. Torrents Peak/Times of Congestion
Weekdays 4pm to Midnight
Weekends Midday to Midnight
50Kbps 100Kbps 250Kbps
Kbps = Kilo bits per second, Mbps = Mega bits per second

The figures can be found on the O2 Broadband Support pages. The full website also details the traffic management that has been in place for some time on the non-LLU Access page, which restricts P2P to 50Kbps when the network is busy.

The speed limit on streaming means that The Basics (which has a 20GB usage allowance) would really only be suitable for streaming standard definition iPlayer content. The only viable option to view high-definition (HD) video would be to download the file to the computer's hard disk. Thus if in a household where iPlayer and HD music videos on YouTube are popular, 'The All Rounder' or 'The Works' would be the best products. For those who want to download material using the various peer to peer networks at the busier times of the day, then 'The Works' would be the best option. The reason for the difference in pricing between 'The Works' and 'The All Rounder' is now clearer, in that 'The Works' gets a bigger bit of the cherry for long periods of the day.

Seeing the levels of traffic management in cold black and white text may be a shock for some, particularly the levels to which peer to peer is slowed down at peak times, but these levels are not that dissimilar to what can be inferred about the performance on other providers. In short O2 and Plusnet are about the only two providers to give details of their protocol based traffic management, most other providers keep quiet, or even deny it is going on.

One question that the current broadband speeds debate has not considered much, is if providers are forced to provide average speeds in advertising, what type of traffic do you actually count towards the average?


Posted by TonyHoyle over 7 years ago
Average speeds for advertising purposes will be sync speed not transfer speeds - it's the only statistic that the ISP knows with 100% accuracy.

Their definition of peak is pretty mad too.. they're saying there's only 4 hours of off peak a day? A Why don't they go the whole hog and just remove the distinction..
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Well done to them for atleast stating speeds they will throttle you to.
Not liking the way FUP and this is totally seperated and you have to go looking for it, but atleast it is there and clear once you do find it, some ISPs could learn alot from them on that. The have redeemed there self, a little atleast.
Posted by timmay over 7 years ago
Bad move from O2, traffic management on LLU is this the end of the internet?

They have also removed the broadband niggles; no longer works.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
^^^ LOL they listened to my moans obviously LOL
Posted by JohnUK over 7 years ago
+1 For honesty
-10 for having been used to unlimited O2BB standard for nearly three years, albeit they clearly were in obtain customers mode
Posted by timmay over 7 years ago
So other than P2P traffic I would have to pay double to be on an almost equivalent package. And this comes after O2 announce [url=]"O2 suggests UK wasting over £2m per day on broadband "[/url] but the new package would cost £120py more!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
^^^ I called PR fluff on that also didnt i LOL
Posted by c_j_ over 7 years ago
Oh dear.

If I max out my line most days for hours on end during peak times with HTTP/web or indeed iPlayer or anything non-P2P, it's OK (subject to FUP), but if I occasionally need something that's only available via P2P, it can't be done during normal waking hours, even on the most expensive package, and on a sensible package, afaict 100kbit/s is a ridiculous 80 seconds or so per megabyte, very roughly 20 hours for a Linux CD ISO!

Traffic is traffic, chaps. It don't matter whether it's P2P or whatever, it all clogs up the pipes.

2/10. Must try a *lot* harder. Come back Metronet.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Carpetburn if you had a piece in getting rid of that annoying niggles ad and site I thank you. But on the other hand why are you giving them a pat on the back for showing their traffic management policy? This surely goes against your vision of net-neutrality ?
Posted by cf492bcc over 7 years ago
Plain discrimination based on traffic type, not consumption, where consumption is the stated excuse. An easy way to raise profit margins by the minimisation of investment in infrastructure. If they could restrict the many other bandwidth-intensive services and get away with it, they would do that too, but that would be more difficult.
Posted by billford over 7 years ago
@ TonyHoyle

Off peak is midnight to 4pm, not 4am. That's 16 hours in my book :-)
Posted by uniquename over 7 years ago

It looks as though they don't know bits from bytes. The figures above may be kiloBytes, but still Megabits.
Posted by NetGuy over 7 years ago
@CB "FUP and this is totally separated and you have to go looking for it, but at least it is there and clear once you do find it"

Do you have a link for that (or a precis of what's there) please ?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
@GMAN99 I am in favour of Net Neutrality, my only "pat on the back" if you want to call it that to them is atleast they have told people the speed they will throttle to. Many ISPs (including and i hate to say it to you as an example only BT) do not. I in no way agree with traffic throttles if the service you pay for also has a fixed monthly cap like O2 now have across the package range. If you pay for that amount of traffic you should be able to consume that amount in whatever way you deem fit, unhindered providing its legal obviously.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
@Netguy the traffic throttles are as linked to in the story above. The data limits are here...
click compare packages on what you want, then you have to click where it says fairuse policy which is underlined.... I dont even like the way you cant easily link to things like this on their site, they have tried to hide things to a degree IMO, the only positive is once you find all their "niggles" ;) its clear what you get/dont get for your money.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Why they didnt just put it all in a nice SINGLE pdf file for peoples reference rather than have half of it in html and half in pdf and in different sections of the site i dont know. Just whack it on the broadband packages pages saying click here for FUP and our traffic management policy... Too open and honest to do that, maybe? 250gig (on top package) sounds great until you click around more and see the TYPE OF 250gig you may personally want comes at you like a snail on sleeping pills. Oh and do they have any system see the customer can monitor usage?
Posted by uniquename over 7 years ago
Scrub my previous comment. But The Works no longer has Traffic Management at any time.
Posted by c_j_ over 7 years ago
What a shambles of a product launch.

O2's own support staff apparently didn't know whether the numbers above were kbit/s or kbyte/s, and I'm not sure I trust their current statements about speeds and traffic management.

How hard can it be to get someone with a clue to proofread these things before going public?

Obviously getting the arithmetic done right in the first instance is quite tricky, otherwise O2 might not have been burning money this last year or so.

"put it all in a nice SINGLE pdf file for peoples reference"

Quite. I'm struggling to find the P2P speed limits.
Posted by uniquename over 7 years ago
The traffic management figures are now in the normal Help screens. The PDF was probably a quick publish method, and unless it has changed is now incorrect.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
^^^ OH christ, they are a complete shower... The whole product launch has been a complete shower. The site has been up and down like a yoyo. They dont even know what they want to offer let allow where and how they want to offer it on their site. Seriously i gave them grief previously, they gained some respect back by being honest and now they go and alter the packages again??? They dont know their bits from their bytes.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
They dont know what bits or bytes they want to offer on their top end product either. What utter incompetance. 12 month contracts! They cant even decide on a product which lasts a whole day without changes, let alone 12 Months, seriously MORONS is about the only way to sum up their products..... I spose the fixed caps will alter tomorrow also, for people serious about broadband which read sites like this they have made there self look very stupid!
Posted by cf492bcc over 7 years ago
Nobody concerned about protocol discrimination? Why not restrict gamers during peak times instead? Or restrict YouTube and give priority to iPlayer. Or restict iPlayer, YouTube and online gaming, but allow unrestricted HTTP.

Why, if 2 people pay the exact same amount, should 1 be discriminated against according not to how much bandwidth they consume, but rather what they do to consume it?
Posted by c_j_ over 7 years ago
"Nobody concerned about protocol discrimination?"

You are, I am, and in principle everyone else should be too. Traffic is traffic, a GB is a GB, congestion is congestion, whether it's email or P2P or whatever.

OK some stuff (e.g. iPlayer streaming) simply doesn't work below a certain throughput, but is it OK for a line with (e.g.) three simultaneous iPlayer streams to hog multiple megabits/s for hours during peak time, while P2P is barely allowed a few hundred kbits/s (or is it kbytes/s again, I wish it was clear)?

This really is a dog's breakfast of a product launch.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
Agreed c_j_ why the bottom end product with such a small monthly allowance even has traffic throttles remains an utter mystery. Heck none of it makes sense.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Does anyone else shape video? I know other ISP's including BT shape p2p for sure but who else shapes video anyone?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
A few ISPs do GMAN99, though the few i can think of dont like to admit it (Thats O2s only saving grace here, though its wasted due to the mess up with the next product roll outs)... If you search the forums though you will find examples of where certain ISPs have more than likely been throttling youtube and other services.... Its been happening years ;)
Posted by mbailey over 7 years ago
What really annoys me is that I am on bad connection in the first place (max speed of 1.6meg on a good day) so having to pay extra money to get the "All rounder" as opposed to "The basic" just to get an increase in the traffic shapping of which I actually only to get to use a very small amount of.
Posted by psdie over 7 years ago
To clarify Kilobytes/s vs Kilobit/s - the figures are in KILOBITS: i.e., sub-dial-up modem speeds in some case! :-O

The O2 rep (Paul) states that he was incorrect when he suggested earlier that was actually KB/s. I presume he was guessing based on commonsense .. after all, surely O2 wouldn't throttle the connection as low as 1/400th of the advertised speed ... ;)
Posted by psdie over 7 years ago
.. and yes, for the record, I'll be switching ISPs for myself and recommended friends if they force switching to these crappy new tariffs.
Posted by lelboy over 7 years ago
Posted by psdie
Just spoken to o2, and they assure me that any of us on earlier packages will NOT be forced to change, and that the "unlimited" (FUP) still applies to us lucky ones.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
those throttle figures really do show how abused 'up to' is. Even the off peak figures are shockingly low on 2 of the packages.
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