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Virgin Media UK Scraps Traffic Management for Broadband Downloads

Friday, February 28th, 2014 (7:32 am) - Score 17,355

One other huge change at Virgin Media today, which deserves its own news item, is that the cable provider has also scrapped the Traffic Management Policy (TMP) for downloads across all of their fixed line cable broadband packages. Sadly upload traffic isn’t so lucky.

Readers might recall how last year’s pressure from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which repeatedly questioned whether or not Virgin’s TMP restrictions were “moderate” enough for an “unlimited” promotion, eventually resulted in Virgin cutting their max peak time speed reduction for downloads from -40% to just -16% / -10% (here and here).

A VM Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

We’ve always looked to lessen the impact of traffic management on the small percentage of people who reach our thresholds and are now removing it on downstream.”

The move is likely to be welcomed by customers and is perhaps not a huge surprise given that the previously standard limit of -16% wouldn’t have had much of an impact upon their users, at least not compared with their prior restrictions of -40% and -50% before that.

Unfortunately upstream traffic management remains unchanged, which does at least make their Traffic Management Thresholds page easier to read; although it will probably still appear confusing to untrained eyes. Too many thresholds and time periods can easily make for a brain tingling mess of information.

Some may fear that the new measures will result in a greater degree of network congestion, although Virgin Media has always stated that 95-97% of their broadband customers “won’t be affected at all by traffic management” because this is “only applied to a small minority of customers downloading and uploading the largest files during those peak times“.

On top of that the operator has confirmed that they’re continuing to upgrade their network and add extra capacity.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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13 Responses
  1. sam

    this is fantastic news!

  2. tron

    They must be getting worried of the competition. My area which is one of the oldest cable areas I know of recently had their cabinet upgrades from BT so their fibre product is now available. I ordered the product as soon as i could and I am very happy so far. No need to use Virgin, they will change things anyway as usual and their customer services are a joke.

  3. LordAlu

    Unfortunately upload management is still unchanged, which means I’ll be sticking with Sky. I used to have VM but their upload throttling meant I couldn’t stream at any decent framerate/resolution combo, so I had to take the hit in download speed to get an unthrottled upload. Whilst I’d love to have that download speed back, I won’t be switching as long as that upload throttle is in place.

    • No clue

      What are you upload streaming which requires your internet connection?

    • LordAlu

      Twitch.tv – I used to stream at off-peak times just fine (I often stream for 5+ hours during the day) but once I’d hit 4PM, an hour later and my upload would drop in half – another hour after that and it was too low to continue without frame drops. If I left it for a few hours and came back I could stream again normally, until another two hours afterwards I would again be forced to stop.

    • No clue

      Twitch should work fine even with the worst case reduced 1Mb upload speed, unless you are trying to do multiple individual streams in HD.

  4. finaldest

    VM have done this before.

    There used to be no traffic management on the 100mb service when first launched but introduced it around the time 120mb was announced.

    Bottom line is that I don’t trust them. If they now do the same with upload and sort out their customer service and network then I may consider returning as a customer.

    VM, I will be watching.

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