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Sky slapped down over comparisons with Virgin Media
Wednesday 09 October 2013 09:08:18 by Andrew Ferguson

The toys over at Sky may be struggling with their Wi-Fi router, but the ASA has called the day on a direct mail letter/booklet campaign that Sky was running, which the ASA ruled exaggerated the effect of the Virgin Media traffic management scheme.

The complaints raised by Virgin Media were:

  1. the ad misleadingly exaggerated the effect of Virgin Media's traffic management policy on its broadband customers;
  2. the ad misleadingly implied that the majority of the sports and movie channels provided by Virgin Media were not available in HD;
  3. the ad misleadingly implied Virgin Media customers were unable to watch live 3D programming, which was untrue; and
  4. the ad was denigrating to the Virgin Media brand by presenting an overly negative portrayal of the service its customers received.

The complaints on points 2,3 & 4 were not upheld, but the ruling on the traffic management is interesting, as the ASA appears to have decided that the 30 Mbps service does not qualify as superfast - further confusing the already confused public and politicians ('customers receiving Virgin Media's superfast services, namely those with speeds above 30 Mb'). Virgin Media itself states that it has 64% of its customers on a 30 Mbps or faster package, the exact split is not known but around half of this 64% are thought to be on the 30 Mbps service. In our own testing, the 30 Mbps service delivers 30.8 Mbps to 10% of those using our speed test.

The comment by Virgin Media that their traffic management only affects a small percentage of their customers is a fairly standard one, but given the policy operates on a daily basis, if it affects 1% of customers each day, the proportion of the user base impacted over the course of a month could be much larger, unless it is the same ones breaking the STM limits each day.

The use of traffic management by Virgin Media means they are the last of big providers to utilise it, the question really is how long can Virgin Media continue like this. The internet rumour machine is suggesting Virgin Media are experimenting with turning off the STM system, but until it is announced officially it will remain a rumour.


Posted by adslmax over 4 years ago
VM had no STM at all for the last 2 months now. Sound like they had removed STM in silent without telling us.
Posted by pcoventry76 over 4 years ago
it's still on in my area according to my neighbour who hit it lastnight.. As for Sky Wifi Routers we talking about the SkyHub? In which case whats wrong with it? No issues here.
Posted by zhango over 4 years ago
I thought the government had already decided that 24Mbps was 'superfast' - so who advises the ASA what the term means?
Posted by paulby over 4 years ago
"The complaints on points 2,3 & 4 were not upheld" - Actually point 4 was upheld and Sky were told "not to denigrate Virgin Media's brand in future".
Posted by gsituffers1 over 4 years ago
would be very intresting if vm drop stm as then sky would have to introduce another option for bb as 40 80 from sky - 30/60/120 from vm - also as per adslmax vm stm has messed up and missed peer to peer traffic recently, so would look like to normal customer that stm wasnt on bb at all - but has been looked into recently
Posted by zelly over 4 years ago
30Mbps isn't superfast. 100+Mbps from Hyperoptic and others is.
Posted by pcoventry76 over 4 years ago
So this didn't happen?
Posted by jroadley over 4 years ago
Nowt wrong with the SKY Hub from my testing.
Posted by Dixinormous over 4 years ago
Always comforting to know that an ISP is relying so heavily on shaping that when application signatures change they are left under capacity.

FYI STM is not the same as the P2P management the two run side by side.

Sky can't introduce a new product, they buy their fibre services from Openreach and they've never tried to compete with Virgin on speed anyway.
Posted by jroadley over 4 years ago
I know people that have left VM when FTTC comes to their street/exchange just for a better user experience.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
The toys was a reference to current sky adverts on TV in which upgrading to fibre stops the router from being overloaded.
Posted by pcoventry76 over 4 years ago
oh is that the buzz lightyear crap? Don't watch TV but have seen the billboards.
Posted by pcoventry76 over 4 years ago
Yes VM have lots enough customers already it's time to switch this STM off if upload speeds aren't going up for a while.
Posted by leexgx over 4 years ago
the near fiber upgrade (FTTC) is more likely to overload the router then ADSL

and about speed tests typically on VM most do get the 30-60-120 speeds, if they use Wifi to do speed test as that will result in around 20-25mb speed tests
Peak time seems to affect single stream downloads by about half
Posted by jrawle over 4 years ago
For me the big advantage of FTTC over VM is the upload speed, which Virgin are extremely reluctant to quote on their site, although they misleadingly say you can "Upload photos to Facebook faster" with their service. Sky and others don't need to improve their products to compete with VM, just to highlight what they have: decent uploads.
Posted by LT38 over 4 years ago
Someone should do a non biased speed test site then look at the results from that before they decide fore or against complaints made by other isp's. I would wager that just because VM say they provide 30/60/10/120 does not mean the end user actualy gets that. I for one never got the 30mb i was sold and i still dont get 30mb for most of the day now even though im supposed to be on 60 now (a free upgrade by the way that took so long to do ive had two price increases before it was done). Next door have sky basic package and it outshines my VM connection hands down
Posted by LT38 over 4 years ago
This is typical for me for most of the day. Ive told VM about it and they basicly said i should not use this site (TBB) for speed test as its not that good but instead i should use there optimised ones
who are they kidding
Posted by MacMuser over 4 years ago
My VM connection runs at top speed all the day and much of the night too. I find servers in the US slow down as America wakes up but large companies such as Apple and Microsoft send their files at a steady 15MB/sec or more (15.8 is my top speed). Uploading via VM is locked at 6MB/sec but that's still over 12 times faster than I ever got with BT or C&W. I've never needed to contact VW about connection but if their helpline is as good as VMobile, I'll have no complaints.

BTW Upload speeds are easy to find on VMs website, just do a 'search' for it.
Posted by rogerforward over 4 years ago
"I've never needed to contact VW about connection..." Me neither, but why would you contact a car manufacturer about your internet connection?
Posted by MacMuser over 4 years ago
Ha ha. Auto correct at work.
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