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Virgin Media UK Tweaks its Broadband Traffic Management Policy Again

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 (12:12 pm) - Score 1,307
virgin media uk

As expected Virgin Media has once again tweaked its broadband Traffic Management policy, which many consumers already find to be quite confusing, to improve upstream (upload) speeds and flexibility in order to help make video streaming from home computers smoother.

The policy has already changed several times this year and in April 2013 it was given a huge overhaul when the ISP suddenly reshaped their approach (here). Now a new change, which focuses on upload performance, has been issued following a “wide scale trial” that began earlier this month (here).

Virgin Medias Traffic Management Statement

The changes we’ve been trialling for the last few weeks are focused on allowing you do more with some applications that need a significant amount of upstream bandwidth. So we’ve dialled back the reductions to upload speeds from 60% and 75% on our one and two hour thresholds to 50% and 65% respectively. We’ve also increased the upload thresholds for our 100Mb and 120Mb customers so they’ll be able to upload more before any speed reduction. You can read the full details on www.virginmedia.com/traffic .

We hope these changes strike the right balance between supporting activities like broadcasting video from home and making sure that the majority of our users get the best possible service on our network.

The changes were officially rolled out yesterday evening.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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3 Responses
  1. Avatar TYSON

    vrigin media is robbing the consumers.

    • Avatar Phil

      BTWholesale will be laughing at Virgin Media now. Cos BT is bring 120/40 next year if the trial is successful

  2. Avatar Mike

    I agree with TYSON

    Virgin Media went through a large advert campaign to advise they are going to double the speeds of their broadband for free.
    On the downside though, if you actually use the speed available they will cap your speeds anywhere from 30% upto 75% or in otherwords they may only let you have only 1/4 of what you pay for regardless if thier network is congested and causing some other users issues or not.

    Capping is to improve the performance for other less heavy users even if there is plenty of bandwidth available from the ISP end. (this is in my opinion done to annoy those it effects on the false pretence its for those that wouldnt even notice a difference for their less heavy useage such as checking their emails or web browsing etc)

    Capping is done now on an hourly / 2 hourly basis from 16:00-23:00*
    Downloads and uploads are treated separate so they can cap your upload, your download, or both, not to mention they already slow down all P2P software during peak times on everyones connections.

    Here is a quick look at VM’s ‘L30’ package – 30mbps download and 2mbps upload

    Figures:-
    DOWNLOADS
    On a 30mbps download you could feasibley download 225MB per minute and therefore 13.5GB in an hour and 27GB in two hours.
    The download capping starts if you download 2.75GB in an hour (or 16 minutes of downloading at maximum speed, maximum speed being the speed you pay VM for) – your download speed will be reduced by 30% (30mbps turns into 21mbps) for 1 hour.

    If you hit the 1 hour limit and then continue to download another 750MB within the next hour your download speed would be reduced by another 10% making 40% drop in total speed (30mbps is now 18mbps nearer to half what is being paid for) and this cap is now in effect for the next 2 hours.

    The 2 hour cap can remain active until your internet useage ceases or it is upto 2 hours past the time they dont traffic manage = 23:00GMT.
    So if you happen to get a 2 hour capping at 22:59 you can look forward to being capped until 00:59 even though traffic management is not* in opperation at this time.

    UPLOADS
    On a 2mbps upload you could feasibley upload 15MB per minute and therefore 900MB in an hour and 1.8GB in two hours.
    The upload capping starts if you upload 750MB in an hour (or 50 minutes of uploading at maximum speed, maximum speed being the speed you pay VM for) – your upload speed will be reduced by 50% (2mbps turns into only 1mbps) for 1 hour.

    If you hit the 1 hour limit and then continue to upload another 250MB within the next hour your upload speed would be reduced by another 25% making 75% drop in total speed (2mbps is now 0.5mbps or half what is being paid for) and this cap is now in effect for the next 2 hours.

    The 2 hour cap can remain active until your internet useage ceases or it is upto 2 hours past the time they dont traffic manage = 23:00GMT.
    So if you happen to get a 2 hour capping at 22:59 you can look forward to being capped until 00:59 even though traffic management is not* in opperation at this time.

    So…. you can possibly look forward to paying for 30mbps download and 2mbps upload and find that if you use the internet for any intensive purpose you could be left with only 18mbps download and 0.5mbps upload during the periods of you being awake and not at work a.k.a 16:00-23:00GMT.

    With a family of 3 teenage kids the upload being reduced by such an extent (75%) then slows the download down even further as confirmation packages are lost due to the entire 0.5mbps upload being totally utilised and swamped by a family of 5 and you are left with an unuseable connection between 16:00-23:00GMT at least.

    With constantly buffering video, no voice communication function such as skype, even some failed sends on email and all due to such a massive reduction in service provided for the ‘average’ user.
    My families useage may of been considered high 5-10 years ago, times have changed and so has what the internet is used for, if ISP’s cannot provide to their customer what they pay for due to a congested service at their end they really shouldnt do big add campains indicating they have lots of free resource to be able to DOUBLE SPEEDS and then cap available speeds down to 25% of what should be received during times of use.

    If VM are unable to provide the service they are charging their customers for then they need to upgrade their kit so they can or do a big campaign to advertise they are incapable of providing download speeds quoted for any more than 15 minutes at a time before they will cap you to 60% or 10% more than your speed before it was doubled.

    Quick useage table of family:-
    netflix, lovefilm, catchup sky, email, web browsing and skype – me & mrs
    online games, bittorrent, netflix, various voice comms and probably porn – 2 sons
    web browsing, faceache or is it facebook, youtube and twitter – daughter

    In my opinion collectively we (family) may exceed the limits fairly regular but would not consider it heavy useage (we dont download 13.5GB each hour like we should be able to if we wanted), the connection has been fine for the first 18months or so and then upon taking out a new contract albeit with a small discount for valued customer (everything stays the same from my end) this occurs.

    This capping is ruining my good experience of VM in the first 18months. After speaking with VM say they can help me out if I upgrade to their 100mbps connection because this has a 10mbps upload and therefore would only be reduced to 3.6mbps at worst!! (still 75% reduction in any case is 75% more than I expect)

    Im shortly going to cancel as im not going to put up with anoth 9-10months of kids kicking off nightly and me being unable to watch online services which I pay for and find a different provider who only caps if required not just because someone has used some of their UNLIMITED* allowance.

    I understand capping is for everyones benifit if actioned upon correctly, but if those, the under 3% of VM’s total customers which are the apparent cause for capping being implimented due to their useage causing so many network problems for virgin media and their other 97% of customers I can only imagine that VM cannot realistically provide what they have rolled out and promised to all their customers if all their customers decided to use the service in full…..

    For eg, VM say capping only affects upto 3% of customers that go over the hourly / 2 hourly cap between 16:00-23:00.
    This means that 97% are using what they deem to be low or average useage, I’m sure the low end users probably amount to at least 3% probably closer to 35% though (such as my old folks who use internet for email and the BBC website only and who would rather listen to radio than watch a new release film on internet)

    So by taking the capping off entirely and making thier service genuinely UNLIMITED* this would even things out from the high and low end users, increase customer satisfaction and prove to the public that Virgin Media’s network can provide what you pay for when you want it and show thier service can indeed outrun Usain Bolt.

    frig, just spend nearly 30mins ranting, spelling, punctuation and grammer may well be present but i cannot guarantee.

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