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
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?