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Virgin Media Joins Anti-Unlimited Debate

Posted: 06th Apr, 2007 By: MarkJ
Cable giant Virgin Media has called on its ADSL based rivals not to market their services as "unlimited" because 'Fair Use' policies often mean they aren't. The news follows similar comments by uSwitch and a government petition setup by consumers - here:

As exclusive owner and operator of its infrastructure, Virgin is able to guarantee unlimited downloads, but told The Reg ADSL providers shouldn't try to do the same because they have to pay wholesalers for network load.

All ISPs are faced with the same problem. Rather than admit they are unable to provide truly unlimited downloads, some choose to impose unspecified monthly usage limits, which are a very crude way of managing the issue. Equally vague fair use policies mean they don't have to give criteria for singling out users, and can still, in the eyes of the ASA, call the products "unlimited".

Virgin is trialling bandwidth throttling in the north west, which it prefers to call traffic management. It would not say when the trial is set to finish, or whether the system would be rolled out nationwide, but said the aim is to rein in very heavy users during peak times. More stable access speeds would then be available to the majority.

Naturally Virgin's new outburst bares a strong hint of marketing for its own products, which haven't always been entirely perfect either. Still, extra publicity of the issue doesn’t hurt and at the very least will help to educate more users to be aware of the small print. Not that the small print will tell you anything and that’s half the problem. More @ The Register.
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