back to article Virgin Media trials longer bandwidth throttling

Virgin Media's heaviest cable broadband users will be hit with tighter bandwidth throttling at peak times, as the firm tries to cope with increasing demand across its network. A trial has begun in the Preston area that sees the period when downstream and upstream speeds are cut extended by several hours. Once customers breach …


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  1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Does it matter?

    Does it matter? They're damn HTTP proxy server is broken AGAIN so all HTTP traffic is failing. E-mail and other protocols are working, but their "support notice" on their website just gives the usual guff about cable broadband and digital tv issues without saying anything meaningful... such as "we broke the proxy".

  2. Matt

    Bye Bye

    What's the point of having broadband when you are not able to use it ?

    We will all be going back to using 9600 Baud modems at this rate. If they are so concerned about high level users why not introduce a ' all you can use and pay this amount ' subscription instead of capping legitmate users ?

    I have 4 people in my household on my 10 meg connection & we hit the limits quite a bit as they stream the BBCi Player stuff to their devices. At this rate I shall be telling RB to stick his broadband up his arse.....

  3. Pete Silver badge

    just another sign they have the wrong business model

    It's remarkable (hence this remark) that a business punishes it's customers for actually using the service they provide. What's even stranger is that the customers put up with it. We know they put up with it, as they don't do the obvious thing and change to a different supplier.

    That Virgin Media have to go to these extremes, tells us that they have a completely wrong way of charging their customers. Imagine if Tesco did the same: pay £20 and cart-out all the food you like. However, if you do this, you'll be given a smaller basket.

    Surely this lazy (and oh, so 1980's) way of billing people for the services they use needs to be completely thrown out and a more sensible approach of billing for resources consumed brought in?

  4. Anonymous Coward


    Damn them to hell. Will the torrent-strangling be thwarted by encryption?

  5. adnim

    Improve service this way...

    Don't oversell the product.

    Tell the whole truth in the advertising, not in the middle of several pages of T&C's.

    Offer packages with no caps, throttles, port blocking, or download limits.

    Offer packages with caps, throttles and port blocking but make this obvious in the advertising, "subject to fair use" is not specific, is open to interpretation and bears no resemblance to a users vision of fair use.

    Basically be honest and stop the deception.

  6. Graham Davis

    Up to 7 hours

    It's not all bad news, as throttling is stopped at 23:00 hrs under the trial scheme. I suspect that this means that a large proportion of those who are throttled will be so for less time rather than more.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gordon Bennett

    Throttled after downloading 500Mb or 1Gb each day? It takes me about a month to get 1Gb to come to me down the intertubes. What is it I am depriving myself of? Or rather what is T-Mobe depriving me of?

  8. Chris
    Thumb Down

    Is that all??

    "Between 4pm and 9pm "M" subscribers can currently download 500MB before triggering a slow down,"

    So, not even one copy of Ubuntu then.


    I'll stick with UKOnline, and their "couldn't give a toss, just don't take the piss" limits

  9. Albert

    I think we are getting to the economy

    I suspect we all know that when an ISP offers unlimited bandwidth they don't really mean it - which is bad.

    On the the side it costs money to provide an internet connection and unless it is profitable no commercial company will offer this service.

    So, it's not nice that Virgin are trottling, but at least they are being up front about it. maybe not as up front as their big 50Mb ads on TV, but we are finally starting to get to a point where we know what we are paying for.

    I'm with Talktalk and just renewed my 18 month contract. They told me the limit was 40GB a month and i'm happy with that for the price I am paying...

  10. kfkhotdog

    Welll im one of the 5 percent of heavy users then

    What a joke, I have to admit that i am probably one of the 5% that virgin say are being greedy with there bandwith, after all this is why i joind there XL broadband, and why I pay all that money for my 20Mb line.

    I can remember the good old days before, anyone else in the area had it, super fast music downloads, great online gaming experiance, not a care in the world, then the network got busy, and Virgin decided it needed to share out it resorces, and start to throttle back at peak times.

    However I have to admit that I do not even notice the throttleing, as I never manage to get anyware near the bandwith that I am paying for, I have been doing regular speed tests on my cable line, and over the past two months I have been getting an average downstream of between 512kbs and 1mbs, and most of the time I actualy get a faster upstream than I do downstream......

    So as you can imagine I don't even notice when they throtle me, this brings me to an interesting point, for months now i have been looking at theese speeds and thinking, about saving some money, and dropping down to one of the slower options, the only reason for not doing so, was the large amount of data, that I download and worying about capping, but looking at the figgs, perhaps i would be better of with just 2mbs broadband, after all this is faster than my current average speed, and even after capping it will not be any slower that I get at busy times ayway.

    Best of all I save myself the money I need to get my V+ box, perhaps anyone else suffering like me, should do the same, if we all leave XL and tell them why then perhaps they will invest in there network, and actualy be able to supply the things they promise, lets face it 50mbs when it gets to my area, I don't hold out much hope, but who knows I might get an average of 2.5mbs....LOL

    Stop sign as my data aint going noware fast

  11. Paul
    Thumb Down


    Why not just implement a monthly cap and give users some way to monitor usage? The way the current system works, and the wording is careful about this, the top five percent heaviest users AT ANY TIME are penalised with the slower rates. This is hardly fair. If I download a few ISOs from the Microsoft TechNet website I can download anything from 250Mb up to and above 8Gb. However, I would only do this once in a while as I store them and only download new versions.

    With the current system even though I only go over the threshold maybe once a month, if that, yet I'm still classed the same as those who, for whatever reasons they may have, download almost 24/7. I'm sure it sounds balanced but my usage will be nowhere near as high as others but it's slowed to a crawl just the same. Before the cries of "download overnight" come out that isn't always an option and what about those spur of the moment downloads?

    As it stands I don't know what I'd suggest but it's pretty clear the network is struggling since this is the third change of the throttling timers to date by my count.

  12. dreadful scathe
    Thumb Down

    all users?

    ""The aim of this trial is to enhance the way we do this, limit the number of people who have their speeds moderated and ultimately improve the service we deliver to all our customers,"

    hardly "all" customers. Perhaps the majority, but if Im a heavy downloader (and why shouldnt i be, its an "unlimited" service after all) and get restricted, i am hardly going to see my service improve am I ?

  13. paulm

    Stop overselling then

    Maybe their network team should get their marketing team to stop selling bandwidth that they plainly don't have.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Bastards all!

    Faster Downloads = faster exceeding of limits=throttle (& pay more for the privilege)

    Only if there was competition in cable. Whats the point of exceeding your download limit 10 times faster and then twiddle yr thumbs for the next 29 days of the month?

    Its really a contradiction in action. Nothing sane going on in blighty.

    Only the other day on BBC did we see a report of 100mbps trials, but to what end? At that rate, one can exceed the monthly allowance in seconds!

    Paris, cos even she would know her limits!

  15. Darren Coleman

    Cue moaning

    Expect the usual response to this - people whining that they should get totally unlimited 20Mb connections for ~£35 a month when businesses pay thousands for unmetered leased lines, how it's perfectly possible to hit caps watching iPlayer etc as opposed to pirating music, movies & games 24/7 like a madman, people moaning that "unlimited should be 100% unlimited", etc.

    Whilst I would consider myself an above-average Internet user I've only fallen foul of the bandwidth cap a couple of times that I can remember. I'd wager that the 5% that are routinely capped are the most vocal, most fickle and least likely to pay for anything that can get by other means for free. What an odd coincidence!

  16. Dave Jones
    Thumb Down


    Good work Virgin...after all we can't have customers actually using the service they've paid for that would just be ridiculous.....

  17. Steve Lupton
    Thumb Down

    Could be longer, could be shorter...

    The new trial releases the STM at 23:00 regardless of when you activated it. That means for most people who trigger the limit in the evening, the STM period will be shorter, not longer...

  18. tony72

    At least they are up front about it.

    I currently pay £42 a month for Virgin's 'L' broadband and TV packages plus V+ DVR and landline phone. Crunching the numbers, there's no way I can get comparable broadband, TV and phone for that sort of money from anyone else, comparable TV service from sky costs over £20, phone line rental £11, leaving about £10 to cover broadband - doesn't work. And throttling aside, the 10mbps from virgin actually is 10mbit, whereas ADSL in my area can't come close to that.

    I suspect what they are really trying to do is squeeze those limits in order to upsell people onto a faster and more expensive package, not because they need the speed, but in order to get the higher data allowances. From the look of the virgin website, the 'M' broadband package is disappearing, and the 10mbps 'L' is becoming the entry level package, so it's not too unreasonable. I might even upgrade to the 20mbps myself, only downside is knowing virgin I'll be well out of pocket compared to a new customer.

  19. Nick Palmer

    Hey, Berkett...

    ..."...ultimately improve the service we deliver to all our customers,", eh? How about PUTTING IN SOME EXTRA FUCKING CAPACITY, then, Mister Fifty Fucking Megabit?

    Need Evil Berkett icon.

  20. Ash

    So, what to do...

    Do I drop Virgin for a rubbish service from BT? Do I forget about broadband altogether?

    You know what REALLY irritates me? I agree with this service. I agree that we (nationally) benefit from throttling, in the same way the M42 benefits from variable speed limit. Traffic flows better for everybody. Go communism.

    What I DON'T agree with is that by continuing my heavy use through this cut-down period, I risk being disconnected. Well guess what... I DON'T STOP WATCHING IPLAYER BECAUSE THE INTERNET IS SLOWER. I'd be happy if it was "instead of" disconnections, but it's not. You cut down or you lose your connection.

    [Car analogy alert] Try telling a driver he can't use the roads anymore because he's spent too much time doing 70mph on the motorway. Then tell him he can't claim his road tax, car insurance, fuel costs, and value of the car because some arbitrary limit was breached.[/car anology alert]

  21. Geoff Johnson

    improve the service we deliver to all our customers

    Except those who get throttled.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Heaviest 5 %

    Alternatively anyone who buys stuff or gets demo's from the playstation store, Anyone who watches a couple of episodes of something like Dr Who on iplayer. Anyone who downloads a linux DVD. Or goes and gets ~12 albums on itunes

    I say well done to virgin for punishing all of the criminals who do the things outlined above? Oh wait, those are perfectly normal activities........ Vote with your feet like I did, move over to another ISP.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Why are people with them?

    Thank god I not with this bunch of bullshitting wankers. Only the other day I had a leaflet saying I could get 8mb broadband and unlimited downloads.

    They clearly have a different dictionary to myself.

    I'll stick with 02. Half the price and no capping!

  24. Arclight

    Ah, throttling

    The polite way of saying capping, something VM insist they don't do. If they didn't keep over subscribing and selling 20Mbit/s and 50Mbit/s on a network that can't handle it, then they would need to cap us.

    Here's a thought, why not offer 500Mbit/s but then throttle the moment we download over 2mb

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Alternatively.. "Virgin Media customers trial less crappy ISPs." Reminds me of this lot -

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    VPN's etc.

    So what if a person works from home and uses a VPN connection? If they download & upload a lot of data files - video, word docs, presentations etc. you'd be pretty miffed to find your download limit reached and these files taking an eternity to send/receive

  27. W

    Before I get outraged...

    How many MB would, say, an hour of BBC iPlayer equate to?

  28. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Thumb Down

    Why bother?

    You've already bent your customers over the desk, just get stuck in and throttle it 24 hours!

    Tell you what you obviously still have some customers, Dawkin's knows how, but tell you what. They are obviously stupid enough to stay with you scumbags, so simply charge them full price for your top of the range connection and simply give them the slowest you can get away with! Everyone's a winner!

    The quicker VM go under, get bought out by someone with some bloody sense, the quicker I will go back, until then VM can get stuffed! You can pipe everyone in my street with 1GB fibre ( throttled of course ) I would never come back so long as Beardy owns them!

    Sky/BT ADSL might be a bit crap but at least I get a warning before I get bent over by them!!

  29. Simon Painter


    It's easy to shift to a network with newer technology, better definitions of fair use and a far better experience.

    I don't work for them, I am a customer, and can't understand why muppets are using services like virgin media if they can get broadband from BE.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    And that's why I moved to Sky

    and took their unlimited package.

  31. Andrew Culpeck
    Thumb Down

    Iam off

    Its about time I changed my ISP. Thanks Virgin for the push.

  32. Kenny Swan


    Web usage is on the increase, they know this. I don't see why they don't splash the cash on some better infrastructure instead of punishing customers. Most people assume that the only reason for consuming this much bandwidth is Torrents, but one game demo from Xbox Live , downloading an ISO image from somewhere or heavy data streaming will trigger the limit, sometimes long before your download is complete. All this is going to do is drive heavy users away from the service, and we're all smart enough to see that's exactly the plan. They want people who barely use the service to pay them money which is all profit and get rid of the heavy users who cost them money. They can't just kick you off the service, imagine the bad press, so they do this where only the IT community hears about it and whines about it and the average Joe is none-the-wiser. I know they're a business and they're in this to make money, but they shouldn't be selling a product which isn't profitable if people choose to use it. I hope they slowly fade away and die.

    Britain used to be known for it's scientific and technologic prowess, now look at us. Crappy broadband speeds and restricting what little we have. What must Japan be thinking of us now?

  33. Tee
    Thumb Down

    The good old days

    I remember the good old days with trusty NTHELL,

    all you could download, 24/7, so why can't Vermin handle it?

    Time to get that dual wan router i think........

  34. Tom

    Much different from other ISP?

    The main difference I can see between this and what other ISPs do is that other ISPs will charge you extra for each Gb (Mb for mobile BB) that you go over your allowance if they don't apply throttling.

  35. Mike Dolan

    "limit the number of people who have their speeds moderated"

    Yes. Lets "limit" the number of people by *increasing* the monitoring time therefore *increasing* the numbers snared in this.

    Get these PR idiots a dictionary.

  36. Rob Beard
    Paris Hilton

    Heaviest users

    I get the feeling their idea of heaviest users is a bit out of date now. With more people using VoIP, iPlayer and Youtube I wouldn't be surprised if they started to download more then 1.2GB over a few hours. I mean I can download a Linux CD ISO in about 20 to 30 minutes on my 8 meg connection or in just under an hour when I used to be on 2 meg.

    I can't help but think that Virgin should be investing in the network capacity so they can actually provide the service that their customers are paying for without implementing throttling before spending millions on providing 50 Meg speeds (which no doubt will be throttled to hell once they are released nationwide - well, throughout the Virgin Media network anyway).

    I was mulling over going over to Virgin for their 10 meg service with basic TV and the V+ box but I think I'll stay where I am for now.

    I say bring back the glory days of Telewest (I'm an ex-NTL also an ex-Telewest customer when I moved, things weren't too back a few years back).

    Paris because sometimes I wish someone would throttle her, or at least throttle that bloody crappy TV show she's in.


  37. Stuza

    Cue the moaning about VM

    Ok. I'm sure there are by now many moaning posts about VM. I won't join them, I think they do an ok service. I do however object to them suddenly changing "the rules". Surley this should be a contract change?

    On a side note, when are OFCOM going to spank these so called "unlimited" claims that are instead covered by FUP's?

  38. AndyC

    Bunch of useless.....

    Well, surly this counts as a change to the t&c's? Could people use this to cancel out of any contracts they have?

    Personnally, they are a bunch of useless twonks. I'm on their adsl package and am limited to 5GB per week (cumulitive over peak time all traffic)... on an unlimitied package of course... They were "kind" enough to knock £9.99 off each bill after their 3rd ISPA created complaint. Cant wait till the end of this month, then it is all bye bye bye to them

  39. Cameron Colley

    I blame BT for this.

    Because they're too cheap to replace 50 year old phone lines I, and others I know, are stuck with Virgin.

  40. Oliver
    Thumb Down

    What is the point?...

    ... in trumpeting services up to 50Mbps, then crippling it with restrictive caps. Watching a couple of programmes on iPlayer would be enough to trigger the dreaded garrot. What a swizz.

    I can see the way this is going. Along with the targeting of BT, I'll be seriously considering my contract renewal. I'm happy to download stuff overnight but these guys are now just going out of their way to inconvenience people.

    Proof if any were needed that VM drastically oversold their network. Where's the bloody regulator? Of course, they are like the FSA, in the pockets of the people they are supposed to "regulate"?

  41. This post has been deleted by its author

  42. Steven Foster

    Load of wank

    How about they stop overselling beyond their capacity and work on improving that, rather than punishing people who actually try and use what they advertise to the full extent.

    Yes I know, all been said before, blah blah. Doesn't make it any less true though.

  43. Steve Swann
    Thumb Down



    As one of those 'high end users', I can tell you that the 20mb line I supposedly have seems to function for about 60 minutes before being throttled. This happens regardless of the time of day, or night, I download and seem to persist for the following five hours...

    ...I think it's time I examined their T&Cs and asked for the contract I signed that lets them do this. As I was an original CableTel (pre-NTL) customer, I think they might just be on shaky ground.....

    Again: Bastards!

  44. Anonymous Coward

    What are we paying them for exactly?

    So sick of ISP's complaining when people use thier broadband to its full potential.

    Virgin have a 3gig download cap on the 20mbit connection,

    Say your lucky and and get the magic 2 meg a second speed, you hit your cap after only 25 mins!

    So you get to use your nice big 20mbit connection at full speed for 25 mins a day!

    Why cant BT and Virgin just own up, You can pay for a 16, 20 or even 50mbit connection but the reality is thier network cant handle more than a 2mbit connection for any serious length of time.

    They incresed the speed without having the capacity to feed it!

    I have 2 people using Computers and 2 using xbox 360's on my line but it craps out after about an hour.

    I dont blame Bit torrent users one bit, they pay for thier line and have just as much right to hammer it all they want

    I bet more traffic flows over Virgin from people using You Tube & BBC Iplayer than Bit torrent.

    lets face it, the vast majority of people who go for the 20mbit and now 50mbit lines on virgin are using bit torrent, One of the reasons speeds are increasing so much is to cater for these users in the first place!

    My personal view is that what ever internet connection you have, should be capable of being used for 8 hours a day at the maximum speed your package states.

    Most packages dont even last 1 hour before some cap kicks in.

    High speed Broadband! Its a Con

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Won't make any difference to me

    At he moment I never get above 2Mbit on my 20Mbit connection 5pm-1AM anyway. I've put two complaints in so far and not had a single person call me back. Their network is so oversubscribed in my area it's untrue. Boooooo!

  46. Nic Brough


    Well, normally I'd bang on about throttling being unacceptable. But it doesn't matter, because my experience of NTL and the possibility of being badly inPHORMed would drive me off anyway.

    Oh, and if the PR people are capable of lying with such incompetance (last paragraph), then I've got even less confidence in the management.

  47. Simon Neill


    "Virgin Media maintains on the trial information page that as its current national policy, only the heaviest five per cent of users will hit the data limits on a given day."

    Yes, I had no idea only 5% of their customers ever used the iplayer, downloaded a game demo, browsed youtube for a bit etc etc etc.

    I can hit their pathetic caps just by playing games, I highly doubt only 5% of users get capped.

  48. Brian Whittle

    at least the are being upfront

    schedule stuff to download out of the peak times and you can download 6GB or more an hour on the 20 meg service , so what is the problem ?

  49. EvilGav


    Glad I jumped ship a year ago.

  50. Pob


    By my maths, a size M connection could download 900MB per hour.

    You get capped if you average 125MB per hour.

    But the cap then allows you to download at 450MB per hour

    So that is bollocks to start with.

    But then the cap is active mostly during the non-peak time, so that is bollocks.

    Something stinks about Virgin.

  51. Tommy Pock

    Let's hope

    ...that Virgin can figure out how to throttle the speed at which customers leave their service.

  52. Chris Byers
    Paris Hilton

    They are killing my connection!

    I've been suffering from really flaky connectivity recently (I live in Preston) and last night it was down to between 30 and 40K, I wouldn't care, but I'd not been on all day, hardly download anything and pay a premium for a 10Mbps 'service' which is being restricted for no reason at all.

    In my personal experience they are blanket restricting users and not targeting individuals.

    Paris because she's not inhibited in any way.

  53. Dick Emery
    Thumb Down


    But you can't use it.

  54. Mad Mike
    Paris Hilton

    It's a con

    When is a 2Mb/sec service not a 2Mb/sec service?

    When is an unlimited service really limited?

    Answer to all the above..........when we're talking ISPs.

    It's a total con. If I have a 2Mb/sec service, I should be capable of running it at that speed all the time. None of this rubbish. If I can't, it's not a 2Mb/sec service.

    If it's an unlimited service, I should be able to download or upload what I like within my lines speed limitations. When some sort of 'reasonable use' policy is in force, it's not unlimited.

    To my mind, this is all a total con and many of the ISPs are guilty of fraudulent claims.

    Paris? Cos she knows a good size pipe when she see's it............

  55. Alexander

    the lady is a whore

    ah adding more customers, ramping up to 50mb unmetered( Aye for how long) no new infrastructure( I.e cable laying), a fibre optic network that turns to copper in your street.

    Your better of with Adsl and sky tv = cheaper just as fast (yes it is do the math )and their less likely to change the T&C's or the contract you agreed to over a directors lunch.

    Virgin media just cant admit their network is struggling becuase of a lack of investment infrastructure, they're screwing so many people even their name is a lie.

    I am so glad i ditched them , my 8 mb adsl is just as fast as my supposed 20mb fibre tastic cable i know my limits and if i want to download 4gb in one go i can virgin go play with yourself whore, you're not screwing me anymore your dumped.

    I Suggest people use their brains and dump the tramp, as she will only get worse .

  56. Mike Flugennock

    a really really weird thought

    Y'know, in another story about throttling and 'management' being undertaken in some other form by another provider, a commenter remarked to the effect that if we really wanted to bring these corporate psychopaths to their knees, we'd steel ourselves, suck it in, and go back to 56k dialup. It was one of those ideas in the category of 'sounds cool, but who's got the cajones to give up their YouTube watching, or downloading entire Dead shows from'

    Well, guess what : for the past couple of weeks or so now, early-morning US cable TV -- at least on the East Coast -- has been totally peppered with spots for NetZero, focusing on the cost aspect of broadband, and offering customers a 'deal' to downgrade to dialup. Uh-huh, they're _pushing_ dialup. Who'd have thought it? I'm not entirely surprised, given the state of the economy and what has to be a fair number of users tired of poor broadband performance in their area who decide 'screw it' and make the jump back to dialup. Meanwhile, of course, Verizon and Comcast and the like are still screaming and yelling about how their broadband service knocks dialup's dick in the dirt.

    My DSL here on the East Coast -- Washington, DC -- has performed quite well, and my provider (Covad) has no plans for capping or throttling that I know of (I don't download huge numbers of concerts at once, or watch a whole lot of streaming video). Still, on those several rare occasions when an outage of any length occurred, I found myself thankful that I bought this G4 with an internal 56k modem -- though it sounded silly at the time -- and was able to just jump over to a good old PPP connection that was solid and fast enough to get the important stuff done, even though I couldn't watch a Space Shuttle launch live, or stream the entire digitally-restored original board mix of The Fillmore West 03/01/1969 in high-rate stereo.

  57. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    So the way to increase bandwidth

    is to prohibit you from using it? Excellent; I must suggest it to the gas board... "No sir, you've had the central heating on today for too long and so we've reduced your gas pressure by a quarter."

    It's not difficult, guys; make the investment to get the backhaul, and charge realistic prices for the usage. Light up some of that dark fibre I keep hearing about.

  58. Lou Gosselin

    Static throttling

    Can someone explain why anyone should implement static throttling rules in the first place?

    I propose a more dynamic prioritization approach based on the data on the wire in any given minute or so.

    1. If the bandwidth isn't fully utilized for any given minute, no caps are necessary at all, and users should not be punished for utilizing it.

    2. If the bandwidth is maxed out, and packet queues grow too long, just give a little priority boast to the low bandwidth users (those who have sent the fewest bytes in a given period). Throttling is inherently accomplished through packet loss, therefor ensure that low bandwidth users incur the least packet loss until they catch up.

    This ensures that all users will have the opportunity to get an equal slice of the bandwidth available if they choose to use it. If not, then others can use it without fear of being punished. No silly static capping or punishments necessary. Where is the problem?

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Get your arse to Sky

    Was with Virgin/Telewest/Blueyonder for 10 years before this shit finally pushed me to Sky Broadband.

    Wished i'd moved years ago. Cheaper, faster, no throttling, no problems.

    Virgin may as well just push a button that ejects 10000 users a month from their service, this idea is the same thing.

  60. Alexander
    Paris Hilton

    @Darren Coleman

    Got to love your attitude darren well not really. so your are happy as a consumer to sign up for a product then have the terms of usage of that product constantly changed all the while watching false advertising about a product cuppled with a significant decrease in uptime and good service.

    I was capped by virign on my so called XL 20mb(months ago) for watching I player , the advertising states how one family can use a connection well we tried on 20mb me the missus and my 2 kids and it does not work end of story .

    And nothing downloaded was free I player( i pay a tv licence) itunes( i buy all my music), my son downloads the odd xbox 360 demo or plays online and the same with my daughters wii , my network set up in the house cost about £5000 my BB was £35 pound a month plus the electriciy to power said computers.

    Darren unless you understand the demographics your are talking about I would move on to flame another topic.

    Paris: because even she knows when she has been screwed

  61. Dave

    24/7 Throttling

    Ha, my brother is with VM and we both know a couple of lads who work for VM - one of which is able to cancel/reset the throttling/usage for my brother whenever he needs it - after a quick phone call, which he makes all the time these days tbh. Furthermore, the VM lads both said that throttling occurs at just about ANY time and the "4-9pm" stuff was, basically, bullshit. I must say, the 3-4 weeks I remained with VM after they started throttling seemed to suggest that it occured outside of the stated hours and my brother is of similar opinion. Anyone know of any tests done on this?

  62. JAB
    Thumb Down

    BitTorrent? How about legit video streaming

    These companies blaming their bandwidth woes on the "minority of P2P users" will be crumbling under the strain once the minority of illicit P2P users are replaced with the majority of legal on-demand video streaming users. It's already happening.

    They need to get on with it and stat radically updating their infrastructure. Maybe the government will come and bail them out! Hey, look at that, they already are!

  63. Neil


    If they don't have enough bandwidth to provide the service then they should invest in some more.

    Or, just limit everyone to 10MB per day, and cut them off then they reach it. Then the network won't be under strain.

  64. Anonymous Coward

    No alternatives unfortunately.

    I'm pretty much stuck with VM. I've been on cable modem since it first came out and I had to buy my 3COM modem.

    Unfortunately I live a fair way from the telephone exchange so I could only get about 2Mb max from ADSL. No-one else is

    The best thing would be for the regulator to make VM unbundle their infrastructure so someone who isn't crap can provide a service.

    I've already gone to Sky for TV due to rubbish TV from VM. I wish I could do the same for broadband.

  65. Jim Coleman
    Thumb Down


    So on a 2Mbps line, I'm limited to 1250MB (10 Gigbits) of data over 10 hours before I get throttled.

    That's an average of 1 Gigabit/hour or 0.28 Mbps, or just 14% of the advertised throughput.

    To put it another way, I will run up against throttling after just 1.4 hours of full usage. The remaining 8.6 hours would be throttled.

    Another way still......I can only download the equivalent of one tenth of a DVD or just two uncompressed CDs before I get throttled.


  66. Brian Miller

    Tricky PR Maths whizzes

    By only throttling the top 5% at any one time that means...

    top 5% throttled at earliest time say 10a.m

    This means that there are now a completely different top 5% of users from 10 a.m

    Say they get throttled at 10:30. Now we have the Top 5% of people that were originally only in the top 85% of "resource hoggers"

    by 12 noon they could easily have throttled 80-90% of there clients as each were at some point in the top 5%.

    Rip-Off Britain. Eternal state of Britishness = Getting bummed by Da Man

  67. OFI
    Thumb Down


    So glad i'm not with Virgin. How can people cope with these limits? Sure sometimes I might not download much at all but for instance the other night I went on Xbox Live and downloaded 2 demos and an update for Burnout Paradise. In total 3.6GB.

    So you would hit the throttle only part way through the download :-/

  68. tony72


    I have "tested" this extensively using bittorrent, and have seen no deviation from Virgin's stated policy. In case it isn't clear, the evening capping period is 4pm-9pm, but the throttling starts from the point that you reach the cap, and continues for 5 hours. So if you reach the download limit at 8pm, you will be throttled until 1am.

  69. Darren Coleman
    Thumb Down


    Well given I work for an ISP I have more of a clue than most how much things cost in the real World as opposed to the fantasy land where bandwidth costs £35 a month along every hop of the network.

    Consumer broadband works on economies of scale, when you pay £35 a month do you seriously think you're getting your own private tunnel to the Internet? No, you're sharing with thousands of others. In any other walk of life if one person was hogging all of an available resource and leaving next to nothing for everyone else there would be outcry - how would you react if one person drank 90% of the alcohol stocked at a bar, or ate 90% of the available food at a restaurant? Now imagine that person paid the same amount of money as you. Annoyed yet?

    Fact is people who earnestly believe that £35 a month does or should entitle them to 24/7 uncontested & unrestricted bandwidth is at best naive and at worse idiots. Businesses have to pay through the nose comparitively for uncontested throughput, ISPs likewise have to pay other businesses a fortune for their transit. Maybe VM and co should just absorb these costs out of the goodness of their hearts?

    Educate yourself on how much bandwidth costs in the real World:

  70. Edward Miles


    I used VM last (academic) year for my broadband and TV. this year didn't even look at them.

    Basic sky TV+16Mb broadband (of which, I get a constant 12Mb)+Evening and Weekend calls = £27. Plus my £12 line rental, and I'm *still* paying less than I was on VM last year!

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Other options?

    So is there any provider that does broadband + TV that's worth getting? I was going to move to Virgin because Tiscalli's gone crap. Sky doesn't have any on-demand stuff which was the best thing about Tiscalli so does anyone have a recommendation?

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leaving Virgin

    Took me almost 40 minutes to leave Virgin with the 'customer retentions' guy trying to explain that speeds in my area would improve. (Our area was upgraded in February last year so I can't see them doing it again in the near future).

    I wish I'd seen this article before I called them, would have been another thing to shove down their throats. I've cancelled XL BB, XL TV, V+ and extra V box. Currently getting 18Mbit constantly from TalkTalk (with the £4 speed boost!).

    Oh well, Sky are installing the HD+ box next Thursday and Virgin are collecting the V+ box the week after.

  73. Stuart Harris
    Thumb Down

    Annoyed by Virgin Media

    I bloody hate Virgin Media! If I didn't have to pay BT £100 plus to go back to them, I would. Their service is shambolic, whereas was far more reliable and consistent with NTL.

    I was a 10MB customer with NTL, but with Virgin they failed to give me any more than 4MB so i'm now on 2MB (Medium).

    All less for the same money, yet continually boast how 'great' fibre optic cabling is, and how beneficial it is to us. Poppycock!

    Broadband was always meant to be 'always on with complete freedom and fast downloads'. To have the speed and download throttled is just a showing of poor network infrastructure on their part. If they cannot cater for their customers with a full service, cut the price or invest in improving the service.

    Tired of their continual excuses!

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    magnificently under-disclosed propaganda

    I am also one of the majority of Virgin/ntl users whose service is being attacked by this revenue play. It makes no technical sense to tier the trigger levels inversely - a 2 mb connection cannot impose more load than a 50 mb one. Some Virgin/ntl documentation suggest that the attacks go on for a week. etc. etc. etc.

    The company does much more than its publicity material declares. I pay £18 per month for the obsolete M tariff. For that money I can’t use p2p, I couldn’t use VOIP, can barely use internet radio and it takes three weeks to populate a 84 gb mozy backup. That suggests interference.. Tech help admit to having attacked my service even when it wasn’t being used. If the help line is to be believed the attack systems operate relatively so the trigger threshold is reduced if no-one who shares your postcode is using their service. Attacking 5% is not true.

    I can’t change provider but can someone somewhere please ask some questions.

  75. Cameron Colley

    RE: No alternatives unfortunately.

    You have my sympathy.

    @Darren Coleman: They should provide what they tell the customer they are paying for. Not my problem that their marketing dedpartment are fucktards or their directors like bonuses too much.

  76. Alexander


    Being the head of operations for my company, we re-sell zen to our buiness clients in the SME market and work very closely with them.

    Darren you miss the point by miles, it is you who needs to wake up. virgin media who are making false claims about their product then re-drawing the boundries when it suits them.

    And claiming that most users effected by this are some how doing some thing they should not is behind the times by oh half a decade or so , there was nothing illeagal being done when i was capped i was just using the product as advertised.

    maybe if VM just come out and admit honestly what they actually offer is a very nutered watered down version of what they claim, or a tech support telling my 14 yr old to dl his stuff after 11 pm is rubbish he is in his bed by then.

    the only people ever claiming this little nugget of stupidity is virgin media

    "24/7 uncontested & unrestricted bandwidth is at best naive and at worse idiots"

    And your point was caller ? darren read before reacting , think before typing.

    A 20mb connection should be just what it claims to be, of course if you belive misrepsentation or misselling is fine ...then would like to buy a second hand car i have ex company car that would suit you down to a tea

    Thumb Down

    Great way to destroy your customer base

    Virgin media's internet offerings continue to be a joke. Some questions for the lead tech at virgin media broadband.

    1. Whats the point offering the 50mb service if your network has to be throttled to cope with the customers you have already?

    2. Are you saying you want folks who don't download much to join your 50mb service? If thats the case why would they need 50mb exactly?

    3. With Virgin media (as I am currently on your 10mb offering) 1gb per day is pitiful, I have 10mb broadband for approximately 1 hour a day, yet you continue to sell it as a 10mb service, that's not a 10mb service, its as good as you decided to really give me when it suits you.

    4. How much longer do you think you can pay off OFCOM to not come down on you like a ton of bricks? Sooner of later you will be stung hard for your continued mis-selling practices.

  78. Alexander Holland
    Thumb Down

    That's me gone

    And that is why I've just left Virgin after 4 years. Transfer rates were a joke anyhow and throttling extended into "free" periods. £35 (£29 with 6 month tie in) a month was a joke. If they wanted to improve their service and their revenue they should tackle their systemic problem of cloned modems and hacked set-top-boxes.

    I'm back over to ADSL

    £9.99 phone line rental including unlimited evening and weekend calls

    £17.50 24Mbit ADSL2+ with be* (live next to the exchange)

  79. Anonymous Coward

    This Virgin needs ****ed

    Got to say that I was a pretty satisfied customer of Telewest, and imho the merger/takeover by NTL was an unmitigated disaster.

    If I use my "L" service from 8am - 11am then it's damned brilliant. I've consistently seen sustained download speeds of 1100-1200 KB/s, which surely is pretty damned close to what they claim to have sold me. Download a Fedora (etc) DVD iso in about an hour - I'm very happy. :D And I really don't mind that much the idea of throttling in theory - much better than a hard cap in my book.

    Outwith these times you can just about guarantee that the blocks will come down, and that's the deal for the rest of the day. Sorry, there's just no way I'm staying up until 2am to download what I need. Worse still is the degree of throttling imposed - my 1200 connection drops to about 250KB/s and I've seen it <100KB/s sustained (for the same website).

    So then they twist the knife by bombarding me with all these adverts for "XL" - wow, 50mb/s - aye, for about 10 minutes ... a**holes! It's a real shame because the service is pretty reliable (uptime not speed), and when it's going it's pretty rapid. Oh, and the UK-based tech support are really good. (Plus if you use VM's Debian/Ubuntu repositories then they're _not_ throttled to death - thanks VM!!)

    On the downside, is their totally duff management (a Homer Simpson clone and Paris Hilton could definitely do a better job), the damned, damned throttling and those utterly useless digiboxes (for the TV service). And what is the fricking point of try to sell a 50Mb/s service when it's obvious to a 10 yr old child that their current info-highway can't cope with the _current_ traffic - a**holes! And with a 500MB daily cap, if you got full rate on the XL service doesn't that mean you'd hit cap in about 2-3 minutes - what a load of ...

    I sometimes think that I'd like to move my BB provision - but the alternatives are all much slower/more-expensive ADSL. Plus I'd have to deal with either BT (useless data whores) or Sky (surely the worlds most useless technical/customer service). Of course if someone was to offer me a slower but guaranteed service (1-2Mb would be great, but I could live with less) for my 25 quid then I'd be real interested.

    So much for Digital Britain.... :(

  80. Anonymous Coward

    I don't see the problem.

    If you want unlimited 20MB access you can have it - but you'll be paying over a £1000 a month for it. This is just economics - Virgin are selling the capacity they have - and it's shared between a lot of users.

    If you want to pay £30 a month then you'll get either a low headline speed or download restrictions. If you want more then you'll pay more. It's howling at the moon to complain about Virgin - it's a competitive market, there are lots of suppliers - take your custom elsewhere if you're not happy with what you're getting and you think others offer better.

    I'm amazed how many people don't seem to understand how consumer Internet access works and yet feel the need to share their 'wisdom' on how they should get something for less than it costs their provider to give it to them. Your last mile connection is simply a connection into shared infrastructure that ultimately is connected to the Internet. Creating larger shared infrastructure costs the provider more money which means they'll charge you more to pay for it. The current model gives most people want they want at a price they're willing to pay. Why would any company want customers who cost more than they generate in revenue? It just reduces the offering to the greater majority and serves to make prices higher ultimately.

  81. Darren Coleman


    Am I supposed to be impressed that you're head of operations for some random company? I've met and spoken to plenty of people, particularly in management, who act like they are the Worlds authority on everything and yet have very little clue about the realities of their business.

    Incidentally I wasn't blowing my own trumpet about what I did to make it sound like my point was more valid as a result - I just said I work for an ISP. As I said originally I have pretty good knowledge of how much IP transit costs us, our suppliers, their suppliers, etc.

    I never said that VM (or anyone else) advertising a 20Mb service as "unlimited" wasn't "being creative with the truth", that said it is what it is - I'm sure if there was a meritous legal challenge to be made against their advertising it would've happened already, certainly if you believe half the armchair lawyering you see around the 'Net it's a wonder they are allowed to advertise at all.

    The reality of it is that VM offer a service which - to most of their customers - ostensibly is unlimited. The fact 5% of their customer base happen to believe they are the majority voice is academic really, go on any populist forum/community on the website and they will claim to be the best thing on the Internet - doesn't make it so.

    As I stated before that link I gave explains the real World situation a lot better than I can in a comment. Bottom line - bandwidth costs considerably more to provision than your regular consumer is prepared to spend. Some of the blame for that has to lay at the doors of ISPs chasing subscriber numbers and speed upgrades, after all it wasn't so long ago that there wasn't even a 0800 number for dialup connections and many of us were paying several hundred pounds a quarter for ISDN/HomeHighway, etc.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Upgrade networks plz.

    If this crap existed five years ago then we might not have things like YouTube.

    I'd say it has the potential to really hurt this "cloud computing" that a lot of people are interested in developing further.

  83. Pabs


    Everytime this soubject comes up I hear "Move to another ISP and show them you're not happy!" statement.

    For me that would mean a BT like ADSL of 2Mb, switching to a BT line and either SKY or some other TV service (BT?) all this is more expensive.

    I do need 10Mb, nothing more. I got 2 PC's using the net, PS3, WII, handhelds.

    I do not agree with STM, but I enjoy the TV service from VM rather than SKY. My only problem with STM is the download limits in place.

    10Mb line, 1.2Gb limit,breached in 30mins, STM'ed for 5 hours.

    So I get punished using my, paid for, service for 30 mins use!!! The limits need to be atleast 10 times more than what they are. Then I would be content but never be happy with STM.

    Now I just wait till 2300 and download anything I want, this mean either leaving the PC on over night or my PS3, which in turn increases my carbon foot print, lol!

  84. Defiant
    Thumb Down

    There just a bunch of thieving gits

    A few years ago they gave themselves £25 Million in bonuses while spending just £3 million upgrading the network. This goes to show that VM are just extracting the urine"

  85. Ad

    The usual smokescreen and anti-customer propaganda

    "only the heaviest five per cent of users will hit the data limits on a given day."


    On day 2 there will be another 180,000 customers throttled. And day 3, another 180 thousand.

    180,000 homes is a lot of people per day. As usual VM hide behind figures to (try) make what they do seem minor however we know it hits FAR more people day to day than they would like to admit.

    Going forward, I've always wondered how long will it take for them to throttle 1 million unique customers. Of course we don't know how many people get throttled on multiple days, however I get the feeling most people aren't being STMed every day. Given 180,000 a day, even assuming a huge 50% repeat rate (simple***), then by day 10 just under 1 million unique accounts would have been throttled.


    ** VM stated they have 3,625,700 broadband customers in their 3rd quarter results. If we take 5% of these, that is 181,285 broadband accounts throttled, per day.

    *** I couldnt be bothered to work out compound, if i did the number would diminish the longer the time period extended, but even accounting for that, at a 50% compound rate, 1 million accounts throttled should be reached by day 14 - a fortnight.

  86. micheal

    I cant think of a reason to keep broadband

    My Virgin M package averages 0.61 download, 0.33 upload over the last 3 months, every so often (I speed test every 2 hours) 2.2 download for a few hours. This has only been the case since they announced the 50Mb in october last, and as a 10 year plus (dial up then dsl) subscriber I'm thinking of moving to Talk-Talk (I had sky, but their "pay extra or let us rule your phone service" didnt please me, they also are mulling talks with Phorm.

    When i mentioned leaving, they started bartering and now i'm down to 7 quid a month for 0.66Mb dsl.....I'm still leaving tho. I also can see the cable header 30 foot from my house, so no excuse for the poor service

  87. Alexander


    Darren you still have not read the story correclty, NOBODY expects umetered unlimited access, i now use adsl with a capped limit per month , and i am fine with that as are everybody who use their service.

    The problem is Virgin dont want to admit they have to do the same thing like all other ISP, they live unlimited fantasy land and we the users dont, because of this they are now making their service unuseable for the average family ,so read this slowly Darren "WE DONT HAVE A PROBLEM WITH CAPS AND LIMITS", understand now ."Virgin Do"

    Your not the brightest candle are you.

  88. Arclight

    Legal ad?

    "What does 50Mb broadband let you do?

    In a nutshell, you'll get a download speed3 of up to 50Mb, with an upload speed of up to 1.5Mb. On top of that, you can also enjoy unlimited downloads4. If you want to know just how fast 50Mb lets you download5, we're talking an entire music album in as little as 11 seconds; a TV show in around a minute; a high quality movie in less than 3½ minutes and a High Definition movie in around an hour. Now that's fast. "

    Lifted directly from the VM site. There is no mention at all about any form of cap or throttling, and it even says 'unlimited downloads'. Surely this is false advertising?

  89. Darren Coleman


    "Your not the brightest candle are you."

    Ironic? It's "you're", and you're a head of operations? Jesus.

  90. Alexander


    Darren my staff are gramaticaly correct and spelling gods..I don't need to be :)

    And no my name is not Jesus just alexander.

    The point here is Darren if Virgin would just use a proper business model with reasonable caps rather than the throttling of the most stupid type any of us have ever seen, we would all be fine.

    But as Virgin seemed more corcerned with misleading the public rather then provide a functional service which is fit for purpose and if i was trying to dl my 60 capped limited from my adsl provider over virgins throttle peak time it would take me 2 months , so who is getting ripped off again maybe you like to hard done to , but me I se a business model which is just pie in the sky, still it worked for fanny mae might work for virgin to....not

  91. chris

    Appeal to register for 'hinformation'

    As I can't get any info on this from the Virgin misinformation site; as a L customer, could you Register chappie tell how much throttling and what times?

    Appreciate it, ta mucho etc

    Because although I am not a heavy user, I'd like to know.

    Damn knows they didn't inform me last time either or respond to me question.

  92. chris

    No details on Virgin site

    I'm an L customer of Virgin

    No way can I find any information on the existing throttle times and limits on the Virgin website; never mind any new ones. B' all.

    So i Tried to use the feedback form.

    It asked me to subit my password over an unsecured line.

    Plus lots of personal identify details and just for feedback?

    again- WTF??

    No seriously, 'WTF.'

    Thank you so much,


  93. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You wrote: "But as Virgin seemed more corcerned with misleading the public rather then provide a functional service which is fit for purpose and if i was trying to dl my 60 capped limited from my adsl provider over virgins throttle peak time it would take me 2 months , so who is getting ripped off again maybe you like to hard done to , but me I se a business model which is just pie in the sky, still it worked for fanny mae might work for virgin to....not"

    That's about as clear as a mud pie.

    I am a VM customer and I've downloaded hundreds of Gb of data in the last few weeks. The service is stable and reliable and I have never hit these "barriers".

    Maybe they just haven't implemented them in my part of the country yet?

    What are the "60 capped limited" that you seem to be trying to download? Why would you stop the download outside of peak time?

    And anyone who thinks that *their* ISP isn't throttling - you might be right. They just don't cut the bandwidth because they want to, they cut it because they *have* to - all ISPs have over sold their bandwidth. Dry your eyes and get used to it!

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