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Virgin Media UK Radically Softens Broadband Traffic Management Policy

Friday, Oct 25th, 2013 (7:54 am) - Score 3,579

Cable provider Virgin Media appears to have once again been forced to tweak its broadband Traffic Management Policy (TMP) after fresh concerns were raised about whether or not their restrictions were moderate enough for an “unlimited” service. As a result the operator has cut its max peak time speed reduction for downloads from -40% to just -16%.

The policy itself, which began 2013 with a max download speed reduction of -50% (not to mention -75% for uploads) and has since been adjusted multiple times (here, here and here), remains broadly confusing to unfamiliar eyes and continues to operate on a sliding scale that resets after several hours (assuming your usage has returned to normal).

Each package adopts a data usage threshold before the speed reductions kick-in and, using the most common 30Mbps (XL) package as an example, under the new changes your download speeds will be reduced by -10% (previously -30%) for 1 hour once you exceed 2750MB and -16% (use to be -40%) for 2 hours once you exceed 3500MB between the hours of 4PM – 11PM on a weekday.

virgin media's october 2013 tmp changes (30Mbps XL)

Take note that the data thresholds differ between packages (i.e. the faster your package the more data you can use before TMP starts) and weekends adopt a different time period. Sadly the reduction for upload speeds remains unchanged, which isn’t yet a significant issue for most consumers but it’s likely to become more of a problem once data sharing hungry Xbox One and PS4 consoles go on sale.

Mark Wilkin, Virgin’s Community Forum Manager, said:

From the 24th October we’ll be reducing our downstream traffic management policy so you’ll be able to get more from your service at peak times. Previously we’ve reduced speeds by 30% at peak times if our traffic management thresholds are exceeded, or up to 40% if heavy use continues.

After reviewing our policy we are now reducing the peak time speed reduction for downloads to 16%. We expect the full rollout of this new policy to be completed within a few weeks. You can read the full details of what this means if you’re on 30Mb and above on www.virginmedia.com/traffic.”

It’s known that a number of Virgin Media’s customers had significant gripes with the way the operator had been promoting itself as offering “unlimited downloads” and this could have contributed to the recent change, in fact we’re certain it did. Further information is expected to be revealed shortly.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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