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ASA gives Virgin Media traffic management policy the thumbs up
Wednesday 09 January 2013 12:59:12 by Andrew Ferguson

The changes to the advertising rules for broadband speeds in 2012 has led to changes in the figures advertised by many providers, but Virgin Media was unaffected as through the monitoring by Ofcom they can show that 10% of their customers get speeds above the speeds advertised.

Three complaints, one from a member of the public and one each from BT and Sky were made to the ASA over Virgin Media advertising in relation to the use of 'up to' and the impact of traffic management policies. The complaints were not upheld as by citing Ofcom data and their own monitoring using the same system Virgin Media was able to show that 10% of those monitored got speeds above the advertised levels when averaged over a 24 hour period.

"They said their traffic management policy only impacted a small minority of the very heaviest of their users, whom they believed were technologically informed individuals, aware of traffic management policies, and therefore not average consumers. They believed that their traffic management policy was not a significant factor that impacted the average consumer and that their “up to” claims did therefore not require qualification."

Extract from Virgin Media response to ASA

Virgin Media cable broadband services connect at a speed higher than the advertised speed, which means if congestion is at low levels people can easily exceed the speed they bought, this means it is not uncommon to see speed tests of over 100 Mbps from customers on the 100 Mbps speed service. Virgin Media gave the ASA the statistic that the traffic management only affects 2.3% of their customers per day.


Posted by James1o1o over 4 years ago
What I don't get is, if only 2.3% of the customers get traffic managed, why bother even having it?

Surely that 2.3% of customers, say for example sake they have 100mbps Virgin, if they use so much between certain time, they get traffic managed, and lose 50% of the speed, so they have 50mbps, surely 2.3% of customers would not take down the entire network?

Either Virgin are lying about the percentage of customers, or they really have very little faith in their own network.
Posted by LT38 over 4 years ago
and again another story that makes me believe VM are paying ofcom off
so the other 90% that are having issues
are unimportant then
Posted by LT38 over 4 years ago
oh and what about tyhose like us down here who seem to be constantly traffic managed because the line we are on cant handle the current capacity so we are all traffic managed to allow them to put more users on the already over congested line
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
Congestion should not mean constantly traffic managed, but simply subject to the congestion that is generated by other users downloading (and more importantly on cable) uploading a lot.
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
well VM seem to have much more congestion than other providers, but the 2.3% figure I would hope ASA asked for proof, otherwise its a open door for providers to lie themselves out of trouble, however the way VM infrastructure works is quite easily just 1-2 customers on a service group can cause noticeable congestion alone so 2.3% yes can actually cause that much havoc.
Posted by herdwick over 4 years ago
If 2.3% of customers could use the whole of the available bandwidth then it would make sense to have the management in place. At 50:1 contention 2% is one user, so if one user was pulling 100M and there was a 100M bottleneck somewhere.....
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
herdwick consider this, a shared upstream channel on VM is 18mbit, a single top tier customer can burst to 10mbit of bandwidth. Even 12mbit now on their new 120/12 tier. Congestion will be noticeble at way less than 100% utilisation as well since the shared pipes are so small. Thats why VM need so much traffic management, its such a fragile setup.
Posted by Joppy over 4 years ago
10% is setting the bar at bit low in the first place. Why averaged over 24 hours?

Traffic management can have a huge effect on a connection and thus your experience, especially if you use it in the ways they show in their adverts.

Traffic limits that slow your speeds down should be noted on adverts, as it changes the advertised speed
Posted by JonasT over 4 years ago
As a member of VMs 100Mbit service, i would like to suggest that they are only monitoring people within a LOW DENSITY/LOW SUBSCRIBED areas that do not take a lot of customers. So they would see little bad performance, and although at of peak times i may see speeds above 100Mbits, when its important to have a stable speed at peak times when gaming im lucky to see 25Mbits and the connection is almost to unstable to do anything with, yet im told that there are no problems bad enough to justify further investigation, and then they start more selling in my area.
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
Joppy, I agree. The complaints looking at it were submitted poorly. But also that the regulation the ASA decided on is very weak as well.
Posted by Dixinormous over 4 years ago
The 120Mb VM tier uses bonded upstreams not singles, congestion is noticeable at lower levels due to the TDMA nature of DOCSIS upstreams not the size of the pipes.

It works fine so long as there aren't too many users on a service group.

Always the case that a small % of customers can cause issues especially on networks that are geographically segmented.
Posted by otester over 4 years ago
Unless your BTW line is aluminium and there is no FTTC in your area then there is no reason to go with VM, especially if you live in an urban environment (congestion).

Rather have fully unlimited/unrestricted BTW FTTC than VM.
Posted by scootie over 4 years ago
let my latency thread do the talking here for me its shocking gaming rubbish at peak 4 donkeys, but last night iplayer got buffer during spikes, is it at upstream fault theshold levels now vm????
Posted by JonasT over 4 years ago
I wish i had never gone to VM they are terrible at fixing issues, they dont care about existing customers problems, they only care about selling more and more lines on already congested network. To sum it up, if you know someone who is considering the VM network tell them to go else where because anything is better than what they offer.
Posted by chrysalis over 4 years ago
Dixinormous actually they do use singles, my VM modem right now is connected to a single upstream channel.
Posted by lozsta over 4 years ago
As a very annoyed VM customer, I can assure you that they traffic manage most of us. Recent gaming speeds with 60Mbps have been awful. The standard "high utilisation in your area" line is getting very very tired!
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