Preston, Wigan, Blackpool in Virgin Media STM trial
Virgin Media has published on its website details of a traffic management trial. This is nothing new, since the M, L and XL products are already subject to trigger levels. This trial is looking at whether the new limits and time windows will result in less congestion for the majority of users.
|Package||Mon-Fri 4pm to 9pm download daily trigger||Mon-Fri 3pm to 8pm upload daily trigger||Sat/Sun 11am to 9pm download daily trigger||Sat/Sun 10am to 8pm upload daily trigger||Capped Speed|
|Broadband M (2Mbps)||500 MB||200 MB||1250 MB||400 MB||1 Mbps (download)
128 Kbps (upload)
|Broadband L (10Mbps)||1200 MB||700 MB||3000 MB||1400 MB||2.5 Mbps (download)
128 Kbps (upload)
|Broadband XL (20Mbps)||3000 MB||1400 MB||7500 MB||2800 MB||5 Mbps (download)
192 Kbps (upload)
One improvement is that the throttling is switched off at 11pm each night, though remember it will last up to 7 hours, So if someone coming home from school downloads a game demo over 1.2GB in size (when using the 10Mbps service) at 4:15pm, anyone else in the household will experience the 75% throttle until 11pm. With the upstream limited to 128Kbps this should be fine for online game play, but may be a squeeze if using things like team talk during an online game, and reduce the quality of any webcam transmission. The 50Mbps XXL service is not part of the trial or live STM at this time, though Virgin Media has never ruled out some form of traffic management at a later date.
While the policy is meant to only impact 5% of Virgin Media customers each day which sounds like it is only targeting heavy users, it will penalise those with busy lives who only manage to get online once or twice a week.
While Virgin Media gets a lot of bad press over its traffic management, at least the trigger levels and time periods are defined on their website. BT Retail does not publish the levels used, mainly because it is thought that they vary from day to day, but there is nothing stopping them publishing information on how it worked in the previous month to give customers better guidance.