back to article tells throttling petition: Choke on it

The government has told an e-petitioners calling for an investigation into ISPs taking on too many subscribers and throttling bandwidth to get over it. The petition, signed by 2,600 people, asked the Prime Minister to "investigate ISPs oversubscribing on their network and throttling broadband". It accused ISPs of taking on too …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Chewbacca is a wookie, why would he be on endor? etc.

  2. pctechxp

    Job for customers not the PM

    vote with your money folks, those that throttle will then go down the pipe (excuse the pun)

  3. TeeCee Gold badge


    "One main reason is that for most broadband customers the maximum speed available declines the further they are from the telephone exchange."

    Translates as:

    "We didn't understand this petition at all as it's all to do with wires, computers and other technical stuff. Then we found that Eddie the teaboy could look up something called "BT broadband" on this clever Internet thingy and there was an answer right there. So here it is."

  4. Dave Ross


    Is there really any point to the online petition site other than to fob people off with the illusion that the government actually gives a toss what we think?

  5. Matt

    Gave up

    I, like a lot of people, gave up on the e-petition some time ago. The government has made it clear they don't want to listen.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Dave Ross

    Yes: it also demonstrates how stupid 90% of the general public are and that Democracy is the worst form of government (except all the others that have been tried).

  7. Craig


    Maybe someone should tell them that speed between customer & exchange != customer's bit of a shared pipe from the exchange to t'interweb.

  8. John

    You have to laugh...

    They didn't even answer the right question..

    Thier answer has bugger all to do with the point raised in the petition, seriously was Guy Fawkes the only bloke to go to parliament with the right idea ?

  9. Gary

    @ Matt

    Do I hear revolution in the air! If the govenment don't listen to us, lets not listen to them and create our own govenment lol!

  10. Kevin Pollock

    Imagine the scene at Number 10...

    Like TeeCee says, they completely misunderstood the issue (maybe they chose to misunderstand it, as opposed to just being clueless). It's the backhaul contention rates that need to be policed. Local loop is a different problem (ie. one of over-zealous advertising claims, like "up to XMbps", and Virgin claiming that HFC is really fibre).

    I can imagine the Downing Street PR person thinking "gosh, I've been lumbered with writing a response but don't really understand the issue at all, who can I ask? I know, I'll ask BT." Even worse they may have asked an "independent consultant" - who used to work for BT!

    And the BT "expert" immediately sets the topic as being about local loop, not backhaul. After all, BT has just announced their "massive" investment in fibre in the local loop (it's a drop in the ocean, and they're using it as leverage for regulatory concessions, but hey).

    Actually I suppose we can't blame the politicians too much - whom do they ask for advice? To paraphrase an old adage - "who will provide us with the expert advice to argue against the experts?"

    Every expert I know has an axe to grind, or an agenda to promote - including me!

  11. Adam Foxton
    Thumb Down

    I have similarly given up

    I've signed many, many petitions and even started a couple. And never got a decent response back from the government. Not even an "ooh, we didn't realise that, we'll look into it" or a "please clarify your petition- there appears to be a simple answer here".

    Sometimes it makes you wish we were in a movie, so that some sort of Vigilante could vapourise the veneer of veracity surround the governments claims and unveil them as the villains they are.

    I wonder... how about someone creates their own country and other areas leave the UK and join with the group as equal (or at least proportionally represented) member states? The Peer to Peer Confederacy. A worldwide empire with a presence in every major country in the world, as well as (ideally) a presence in the UN and a few other groups.

    Anyway, this government sucks at listening to the people. Which is odd, since they're so desperate to hear it all!

  12. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: I have similarly given up

    Snopes done this quite brilliantly a while back.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Gary

    Damn right, lets do for the buggers!!

  14. Stuart Harrison
    Paris Hilton

    @ Anonymous Coward

    Another example of how stupid the Great British Public are - people are still signing the Red Arrows petition despite the response that it's all a load of bull:

    Paris, because she represents the level of intelligence that most of the petition signers posses

  15. Master Baker


    Some of the governments responses to closed petitions are laughable. I became fed-up with the e-petition system after it was obvious that this website has been created to give people the hope of having a voice - it's just more Labour spin. I sent them a petition to abolish the e-petition system, but it was rejected as 'the e-petition system is not the correct forum for such issues'. Bollocks to 'em.

    Here's the government response to a petition calling for no government restrictions for taking photographs... given recent events this is laughable... (over 60k signatures on it) :

    Thank you for signing the petition on the Downing Street website calling for the Prime Minister to stop proposed restrictions on photography in public places.

    This petition has already attracted over 60,000 signatures from people who obviously share your concern. Not surprisingly, the idea that the Government might be poised to restrict your ability to take photos has caused some puzzlement and even alarm.

    We have therefore decided to respond to this petition before its closing date of August, in order to reassure people.

    The Government appreciates that millions of people in this country enjoy photography. So we have checked carefully to see if any Government department was considering any proposal that might possibly lead to the sort of restrictions suggested by this petition. We have been assured this is not the case.

    There may be cases where individual schools or other bodies believe it is necessary to have some restrictions on photography, for instance to protect children, but that would be a matter for local decisions.

    In fact, Simon Taylor, who started the petition, has since made clear that he was not really referring to Government action or legislation. His main concern appears to be that photographic societies and other organisations may introduce voluntary ID cards for members to help them explain why they are taking photographs. Again, any such scheme would not involve the Government.

    We hope this re-assures you and clears up the confusion.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think someone should make a point, and start a petition that uses the gas or electric supply as an allegory.

    "My $utility provider promised I could have unlimited $utility, but when everybody is using the $utility, I can't use the $utility as quickly as I want, because the $utility provider is making its best effort to share the $utility between customers.

    That's not fair, I should be allowed to consume as much $utility as I want, as fast as I want it, even if it means that other people (paying the same price) suffer a lack of said $utility."

    Oh, wait a minute, that actually sounds like a reasonable thing for the $utility provider to do.

    Maybe "Me first ! " isn't such a good model for a society with shared resources.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Failing democracy? Not really...

    This is due to the conflicting ways of operating a govenment that is introduced by such a system. The UK government works as a "Representative Democracy" - it's your elected official that is responsible for presenting/supporting your views.

    What the petition systems do in effect is introduce an element of "Participatory Democracy". But in order to get anything through a parliament needs a number of governing officials (or MPs) to vote for it - something they can't do on the basis of a petition as there's no way to know whether this is working for their constituents wishes - the x million people signing it may or may not have elected that MP. Petitions should be set up at a constuent level. This argument works much the same for so-called demands for referendums.

    Still - have to laugh at the Red Arrows petition. Received a forwarded request only yesterday to sign that - despite first being identified as a fallacy over a year ago. I think it's the Sun that we can blame for that one...

  18. Anonymous Coward


    The Gov should be asked what happens when they all water their lawns at the same time. Clue: It has nothing to do with the length of your pipe.

    moff to turn the tap off..

  19. b

    My $utility provider promised I could have unlimited $utility...

    Your $utility provider is falsely advertising and should face $sanctions.

    Perhaps you should start a $petition?

  20. Big Dave


    Good point, except when only some companies do the throttling and they throttle even when the pipe is barely being used because they can't be arsed to organise any intelligent kind of load balancing.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @ Dave Ross

    "Yes, absolutely unequivicably YES"... oh, sorry - I spun. I meant to say "No"; it's an easy mistake to make under the current political climate. That is, "yes"; as in, "Yes, there is absolutely NO point in signing these stupid petitions because all you ever get is an email from El.Gov telling you why they are going to completely ignore the census of opinion and instead carry on and do the thing that the petition was supposed to be a forum of objection to." Ah democracy... the very worse means of controlling a population, except of course for all the other methods.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Should I?

    We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Sack the people responsible for the broadbandripoff [epetiton] answer.

    Submitted by xxx – Deadline to sign up by: 18 October 2008

    Category: Information and communication

    More details:

    The complete inability, of the people who drafted the response to the broadbandripoff epetition, to understand the point of the petiton, is making our governemt look foolish. This is unacceptable and must be dealt with.

    The broadbandripoff petition addressed Timed Restrictions and Peak Throttling, due to failure to supply the 'real' capacity they have sold. (where real capacity might be 50% of advertised.)

    Whereas the response addressess distances to exchanges, as being 'the main reason'. This complete failure of understanding is not acceptable.

    The petition was requesting that the government investigate why, an ISP that can only handle say 1000MB is selling thousands of say 'upto 8MB' Contracts? when in real terms this produces actual demand that often exceeds the 1000MB capacity.

    To put the original point into another example: Two seats will not take three people even if two of them are children, so the ISPs should stop selling three tickets. Giving the reply that two of them are children is not a legitimate or acceptable government response.

  23. Julian

    @ Pointless? by By Dave Ross

    I have signed a number of reasonable petitions which have represesented fair statements of public opinion. The replies have all been a total whitewash of one kind or another.

    I concur that petions to No. 10 are, unfortunatetly, a completely pointless exercise. We have no voice as demonstrated by this and other actions of this government. I despair!

  24. Michael

    Vote for Arthur !!!! King of the Britons .

    Dustin fer Europresident ...yer only man.

    Charlie McCreevey can feck off.

    Mine's the chain mail and wellies.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    @Twisted Alan.

    If a $Utility has 100 Customers then it should sell a 1% package.

    If it has 1000 Customers it should sell a 0.1% package

    Its not difficult!

    selling 1000 8MB Services when you only have a 100MB pipe should be illegal! IT is blatantly false that they can provide service at even 1/10 advertised.

    Sold as 8MB line gives 6MB connection at peak times throttled to 56kbs Fantastic! Why Bother?

    Any Package should have a minimum (Always achievable) threshold. IMO it should not be less than 20% advertised. (8MB = 1.6MB Peak Throttle)

    eg $Utility Gaurantees you enough Gas for your Boiler!

  26. pctechxp

    petition for lower gas/electric prices

    Thats the important issue.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Badly worded.

    >"investigate ISPs oversubscribing on their network and throttling broadband"

    Government isn't going to do that, it's a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

    The problem is that they advertise a service they simply can't provide.

    Even then it's hardly an issue for government, more of a trading standards thing, so write to them.

  28. Andy

    There is another petition


    Obviously they're all ignored and get an answer supposed to fob you off. But, why not try anyway?

  29. Anonymous Coward

    The real problem is

    People don't read their T&Cs next thing you will be shouting about is that a certain ISP hasn't installed their fibre in your house when they advertise broadband over fibre not copper.

    Learn to read then start moaning if they fail to deliver on the contract not your fluffy dream world expectations.

    Broadband is a contended service live with it and learn to share nice like little kids have to.

  30. Matthew Joyce

    Become an MP instead

    Why are there such lame-brained morons amongst you as to have been signing these things in the first place? We have had a succession of governments that ignore protests in excess of an extra million people physically crammed into Central London, because 'many more have agreed with us by not turning up' - the good old opt-out argument at its democratic finest and of course used in reverse by the backward G.W. 'if you're not with us you're against us' Bush. E-petitions are just a pathetic form of electronic willy-waving. You don't even get to play tag in the streets with the British Bulldogs.

    If you want something done in parliament, become an MP. The odds of succeeding at something not too unreasonable are a lot better when you're one voice in under a thousand.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    The real problem is

    Press agencies...

    Actually its the companies that 'big up' products while hiding the truth in the T&C If only they were honest and upfront!

    But oh no.. they cant... the world would end....

    All our networks are Unlimited Terabit Fibre.....

    T&C Our network connection to your house is made of taught string, tin can not supplied.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Advertisments stretching the truth........Shocking!

    "Press agencies...

    Actually its the companies that 'big up' products while hiding the truth in the T&C If only they were honest and upfront!

    But oh no.. they cant... the world would end....

    All our networks are Unlimited Terabit Fibre.....

    T&C Our network connection to your house is made of taught string, tin can not supplied."


  33. Anonymous Coward

    Typical govt sidestep

    F...g typical of the Govt to dodge an issue by answering a different question to that which was asked.

    The petition was about throttling, not max line speeds, which are two entirely different issues.

  34. John Bailey

    The listening government.

    Who is really and truly surprised? Come on.. Be honest.

    When Swivel eyes was in power, he took decisions based on what he believed. And had it confirmed by a hand picked selection of senior ministers who were going to agree with him if he proclaimed that everyone had to wear their underpants on their head every second Tuesday. And as he had a direct line to god, how could he go wrong?

    Gordy still has the moral compass that his dad gave him, but somehow the needle got stuck and now it points to " This can't possibly go wrong" all the time.

    Neither have entertained the concept of being anything other than a decisive leader. Tough on indecision, tough on the facts that get in the way of making big impressive decisions. So listening and acting on the information gained from listening is not gonna work.

  35. Nev Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Good to see the great British public supporting the BNP

    The source of the Red Arrows non story was a BNP press release.

    Brilliant! Looks like the unwashed masses fell for it hook, line and stinker.


  36. michael

    re:Should I?

    yes you should when yuo have post it here and we can all sine it

    the only reasion I sine these things is to get a good laught when I read the responces

  37. Chris Lewis

    re:re:Should I?

    You sine it, and I'll cosine it.

  38. pctechxp

    Petition for nationalisation of gas/electric/water

    Much more important as how will you use the unlimited broadband if you cant afford the electric to run your PC/router?

    Or gas and water to keep you warm, clean and to sustain your life?

    Broadband don't mean shit when you are 6 feet under as a result of dying from cold or dehydration

    The fact that the top petition is about the Red Arrows shows that some people have odd priorities.

  39. Oliver

    El Reg is as bad as the govt at spin

    Oversubscription and throttli... sorrry traffic management IS actually addressed in the govt's response:

    "The capacity of an ISP's network and the number of subscribers sharing that network can both contribute to reduce download speed for customers when compared to advertised broadband connection speeds."


    "Provision of better information so that customers may choose and use broadband products and services effectively is an important consumer issue."

    ...and they have...

    "agreed a voluntary code of practice with leading ISPs which requires them to provide more information to their customers on how they apply fair usage policies and manage traffic on their networks", to translate...

    The govt sees nothing wrong with overselling as long as the seller does not attempt to cover up the fact. In practice this means that Virgin Media, for example can put a page on their Web site beginning "We don't like traffic jams" and going on to explain, in baby talk, that they are screwing you by taking away the sweeties you had thought you had been promised. What's more, just try to find that page by browsing the VM Web site! I had to google it to find it.

    Of course this concept is quite familiar to the public sector as well as the private sector. For example my council sells around a quarter to a third more parking permits than the actual spaces that exist. Then they tow the cars that can't park legally.

    Plus ca change...

  40. Jason Crowley

    Blame Ofcom

    My electricity supply to my house is 230volt, but never lower than 216volts because OFGEN regulate it.

    If everyone in my street runs a bath at the same time my water pressure will not drop below 1 bar because of OFWAT regulations. They dont tell me that because I live more than 2 miles from a reservoir it may take 8 hours to fill a bath and my combi boiler wont work due to low pressure.

    My broadband is regulated by OFCOM, it can be whatever they want to give me. They can change it at any time, and can fail to provide it for extended periods and I have no right to complain. Its not rocket science, just a spineless regulator.

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