back to article Virgin Media sets throttle on hardcore hogs

Virgin Media's bandwith throttling policy will in future be more targeted towards the minority of customers the firm says "hammer" its network. It said its 50Mbit/s network upgrade programme, now completed, will allow it to restrict bandwidth during peak times for 2 per cent of customers rather than the current 5 per cent. …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    does this constitute a change in the contract?

    and does that mean I can cancel my Virgin account?

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Too little too late.

    I'm gone already. Be Pro may not have 50Mb downstream, but it's sure as hell got nearly 2Mb upstream on my line. And I'd rather have my 13½Mb downstream and actually be able to use it at any time of day, than be faced with constantly fluctuating threats of caps, limits, or throttles with continually changing times when they're in force.

    Who needs 50MB down anyway? What are you doing exactly- streaming 1080p hi-def porn? Yes, yes, I know we only needed 640kB of RAM once.

  3. Scott 19
    Thumb Down


    They throttle you whatever at peak times i was watching a down load drop from 256 Kbytes to 128 when i contacted them to discuss there throttling the Customer service guys only answer was in your area you have 2 megs, when i mentoined that i was watching the download speed drop in half during peak hours he again mentoined that i get 2 megs in my area, again i said that i had watch it drop from 256 KBytes a second to 128 he replied with the same sorry answer. Maybe they don't throttle bits only bytes.

    I'm not even a heavy user, interweb is about my limit but was downloading a patch for something.

    Why not just admit unless your paying for the top package during peak hours they cut your bandwidth.

  4. eJ2095

    Speaking of which

    Has a letter off virgin saying about upgrade from 2mb blah blah blah.

    Just goto this page on the letter to agree to it....

    Seems like you was agreeing to the speed update and teh slight price increase by clicking on teh link. (and filling in your details)

    Oddly enough i have not been charged any more on bill and still on 2mb.

    Now wheres that Infinite Modem i have knocking around.....

  5. Anonymously Deflowered

    10Mb upload!

    But who needs that? Really?

    Bittorrent users, perhaps? Anyone else see the mixed messages they're giving here?

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Tut tut

    There's a reason I send back all post from Virgin Media with the words "Return to Sender - Marketing unwelcome until you provide decent Internet."

    They don't listen, of course.

  7. Adam 52 Silver badge

    packages do not have ... download limits

    They quite clearly do, some quick sums put it at roughly 63GB/day for the 10Mbit package.

    Always surprises me that that's not enough for some people.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    I pays me money...

    I pay for 50mb/sec + xxxx GB per month - surely it's up to me when/how I take it?

    Or I would if I had Fibre.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    @Adam 52. Your sums are wrong. Please see VM throttling policy for 10Mb package and try again.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Idiots, seriously.

    @ Christopher P. Martin

    Just because you can't think of the reasons to have 50Mb, doesn't mean they don't exist. Threats? They're more like warnings - and going from what you've said, they've never been enforced on you. So you probably had nothing to worry about to begin with. I have three heavy users in my household, and my service has never been throttled. What are you doing if you *have* been capped, watching 1080p porn? Grats on moving from fibre, to a less stable ADSL.

    @Scott 19

    I'm going to assume that because you're "in a 2Mb area" that you were using Virgin's ADSL service. Besides the fact that the speed of ADSL can fluctuate as the result of many different conditions, the speed of your download could've reduced due to conditions related to the server you were downloading from. Don't simply assume every drop in download speed is the result of your ISP fiddling with your line. Although as you're probably someone who knows all of this, I'm going to assume you're not that ignorant and checked your speed elsewhere, and it was Virgin causing the drop. Right?

    @Anonymously Deflowered

    People who run personal servers from their home line?

    I can think of many different reasons for doing so. Games servers? Personal websites? Vent? Teamspeak? Any combination of these?

    There's tons of reasons people might want a big upload on their home line for legit reasons. Get over yourself.

    @Asam 52

    I'm curious, how did you arrive at that number?

  11. frymaster

    @ac re "fail" (also ac re "idiots, seriously)

    "@Adam 52. Your sums are wrong. Please see VM throttling policy for 10Mb package and try again"

    2 periods for throttling, in the afternoon and in the evening. Each is defined as a maximum of 5 hours duration. Assume worst case.

    14 hours per day @ 10mbps is 61.5 gigabytes


    10 hours per day @ 2.5mbps is 11.0 gigabytes


    Total amount: 72.5 gigabytes*+2.5+megabits+per+second%29+%2B+%2814+hours+*+10+megabits+per+second%29&meta=

    Turns out adam's numbers were conservative

  12. robert 15

    10mbit upstream

    Im on be pro as well, and have almost 2mb upstream. I work abroad a lot, and the upstream is great for being able to grab files etc I need when Im away. Also, Ive got a slingplayer so I can watch my sky when Im away. 10mbit would make it a lot lot better. All legal and legitimate uses for having a high upstream.

  13. David Simpson 1
    Thumb Up

    Just download at night like the rest of us.....

    Like most people I download my stuff at night.

    If i was to download all day my internet service would be pretty crap for my wife and I.

    It's only mad download kidz who really need to fill that new 1TB drive with shit they'll never have enough time to watch who max their connection 24/7 so who cares ?

  14. JeeBee

    A counter to the haters

    Got the 10Mbit upgrade recently. It's a massive difference to the previous 2Mbit. Upload speed is also vastly higher than before, where you'd be lucky to get 20KB/s before.

    Then again apart from bi-annual "oops, cable internet is down for a few days" problems, Virgin's Cable service has been solid for a good 8 years for me. It's always provided the advertised speeds, and I'm certainly paying a lot less today for it than 8 years ago (£25/m for 600kbps I recall, now I'm paying £21 for 10Mbit and phone).

    If only their cable television offering was better. I can't even get iPlayer or 4od working on the box they supply. Guaranteed box crash.

  15. Ben 47

    Read the stuff they send you!


    The price change was seperate to the speed increase


    50Mbit downstream with no STM and *possibly* 10Mbit upstream for £28 a month isn't decent internet??!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    I thought they looked a bit dodge.

    @ Frymaster

    Yep, that sounds a little better.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @adam52 and frymaster

    Read their policy again. What you have described is a theoretical maximum download assuming the cap lasts for 5 hours twice a day.

    A 10Mbps line is capped after 1.5GB of data is downloaded. Your line is capped at a maximum speed of 25% normal speed for 5 hours. This is during the day. In the evening if you hit 750MB download, you hit the cap again.

    A single game download from Steam can easily hit 5-12GB, so you hit this cap in no time at all. Hit the cap too much and you are classed as a high traffic user and get seriously penalised. To be perfectly honest, hitting a 1.5GB isn't difficult with the sizes of game demos these days.

  18. bex

    still the only game in town

    I live a fair way from the BT exchange so if I want decent broadband Virgin is the only option.

    Looking at the list the caps have been raised so no complaints from me , anyway you have 9pm to 9am to download what you want

  19. Nexox Enigma

    Only 1.5 mbit?

    Honestly 1.5 Mbit is just about the minimum you need to be able to ack 50mbit downstream. I haven't calculated that or anything, just based on a linear extrapolation from my 16mbit downstream. Still the asymmetry is kind of pushing the bounds of logic at 50/1.5.

  20. derek anderson
    Paris Hilton

    How dare we.....

    Have the temerity to want to use the service we are paying for at the times correctly identified as those the majority of people would choose to use the service.

    Why doesn't VM stop trying to penalise customers for believing the obviously inaccurate marketing lies and maybe, oh I dunno, actually invest in a network capable of supplying the service they keep telling people they offer.

    The heavy users are not "abusing" the service, they are "using" it.

    The fact the network apparently cannot cope with that is not the users fault - in fact they may want to get the damage they do in writing as a nice legaly presentable document proving VM sold them a lemon of a service knowing that it was not fit for purpose.

    And Paris?

    Simply because the burkett customer experience reminds me entirely of a certain part of her anatomy.

    Herpes and all.


  21. Anonymous Coward


    "Here is your product that you purchased sir, but I warn you. If you use it we will limit your access to it in the future. Have a nice day"

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Load of......


    I'm on the 50Mbit and can safely say that I get STM'ed to the high teeth when I download more than 4GB of data. It goes back after about an hour but they are talking rubbish if they say their 50Mbit product is free from STM.

    Oh and I would class as a higher user as most of the time I'm pulling around 20GB a day!

    AC coz, well just coz.......

  23. Zack Mollusc

    not-so-broad band

    I have virgin media cable broadband/telly/phone on the medium 2Mb service. It looks to me that if I start downloading things at 10 am, I will be over my download limit ( a whopping 1000Mbytes ) by 11:15 am and get throttled to 128kbytes/sec until 3pm. Then I get my full 256kbytes/sec for an hour and a half, then back to 128kbytes/sec until 9pm. During this time I am an evil bandwidth hog clogging up teh bransonfibres.

    Or is it the 18kbytes of upstream, which will be throttled to 9 kbytes once i hit the 200Mb limit, which is clogging up teh bransonfibres?

    If only i could afford the XXL package I would have twenty times the downstream and six times the upstream and no limits. As a bonus, this would somehow not hog all the bransonbackbone bandwidth and my conscience would be clear.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Always makes me laugh...

    When people using their internet connection at an enterprise level complain about service. Especially when they are quite clearly paying for a cheap 'n' cheerful residential service.

    If you want uncontended, unlimited bandwidth get a leased line! Then you might see why NTL et al get a bit miffed given how much it costs them to pay for your bandwidth (external internet traffic is charged by volume).

  25. Thomas Kenyon

    10Mbit Upstream Trial taking the Mickey

    It does take the mickey a bit having 10Mbit upstream and 200Mbit downstream trials, when in some areas 2000 premises are sharing 9Mbit (total) upstream.

    They should fix their network before trying to dazzle people with pretty headlines and waving their collective willys at BT.

  26. Joel Mansford


    Does anyone know how VM get away with stating that the service is fibre?

    Especially when they bang on about ADSL being over 'old copper telephone cables', when in reality their service is over 'old TV aerial cables'.

    ASA anyone?

  27. Dave 85


    Virgin throttle ALL packages whenever they want. They always have.

  28. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face
    Thumb Up

    The only satisfied Virgin customer?

    Here at O'Gravel Balloon Face towers we have the 10Mb service (and we do get the full 10). I work from home five days a week using VPN, we listen exclusively to internet radio, the wife uses Citrix Desktop to her university, the phones are on VOIP, and between the six of us we do our share of web browsing. I use iPlayer a fair bit and also run a home web and email server for a bunch of friends. When I'm away I connect in via SSH, and the security camera (well, webcam) uploads images to a web page at regular intervals).

    If you can do all that on their cheapest advertised cable service without getting shafted by traffic shaping (never noticed it here) then I'm happy.

  29. Anonymous Coward


    A large amount of the 'copper' telephone network in the UK is actually wired up with ALUMINIUM wire and NOT copper, most of which has seen better days ! This makes for noisy lines which is a major factor in slowing down ADSL speeds --- and causing some disconnections.

    I was on the cable network years ago, when cable first spooled out in my area. The cable network is FIBRE OPRIC up to the box in the street, from where co-ax takes over to your house. There is nothing wrong with using co-ax over that distance, it is capable of much higher bandwidth than currently being offered.

    As for capping, BT will cap you if you as much as try to download something in the evening, so don't you dare try BBC iPlayer !!! I dumped BT for being unreasonable about the level before capping. Virgin's policy on this seems VERY FAIR to me. I can't get cable where I live, so I am with Be who are absolutely FIRST CLASS in every way. There customer service is second to none and they don't do capping. As for downloads, I use a download manager and fetch the stuff during the night when I am asleep --- that way I don't 'hog' bandwidth. BTW, games download at night too, so unless the addiction is extreme, why don't the gammers fetch their huge files at night?

    It isn't rocket science ! Greed is a terrible part of society today, as can clearly be seen for some of the above posts. How about some SHARING and CARING, and let's all have a good time and a fair share of the bandwidth ?

  30. Brian Miller 1

    of course they throttle everyone, only 5% at any one time

    They pretty much tell you that they throttle everyone. Here is the maths.

    Top 5% of bandwidth users get throttled immediately during throttle hours.

    Suddenly OMG, a completely different set of users comprise the "top 5%" because the previous top %5 are now slower. So throttle on to the next 5%. (10% of all users within minutes of opening throttle hours) Ad infinitum until (almost) every user has been in the top 5% during the throttling hours.

    Because the throttle is automatically applied for several hours you can see how by throttling "only the top 5% of heaviest users" means everyone in fact. Marketing speak (lies).

    Now only the top 0.1% sounds better huh? Well actually it is exactly the same. Just sounds better to users.

  31. PeterM42

    Virgin Media Upgrades Not Completed

    Virgin Media may claim "its network upgrade was complete" but we poor 2Mb/sec users promised 10Mb/sec over and over again "by summer" are still waiting for 10Mb/sec even though we have been paying increased broadband line charges since the end of May.

  32. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    What again?

    Didn't they try to cap everyone to 1GB a week or something some years back, until the backlash stopped them?

    I never understand these people who say "Oh need to download 37GB a day at max speed, so they can't stop me!". WTF are you doing with all this stuff? What is it? Trying to run you own Internet mirror service or something? There are only about 5 porn scenarios and a limited number of "actors", so that leaves roughly about 75-100 films worth watching and let's face it, after a while the camera angles all look the same..( ahem ) so I am led to believe.

    Music? Films? Only so much you have to time to take it. If you can afford multi-terabyte storage systems at home ( not just 3-4TB NAS like normal people, but 10TB plus ), then you can afford to buy your music and films!!

    So WTF are these people doing with this bandwidth then?!

  33. Donchik

    Still Ripped Off! When will the truth be revealed?

    How come the "New" rules that will only penalise we few heavy users, are actually unchanged from 12th of May?

    Are here new restrictions I must work around?

    My problem is that we're a dual language family, and Russian TV is only available through the internet.

    I need a 1Meg line to sustain the IPTV stream, but due to the TM scheme, I actually need to pay for a 20Meg line just to ensure I can sit in the evening and whatch the internet I paid for!

    FYI: For a sustained user, the limits are draconian. During the evening download, I can only sustain 7% of my 20 Meg capacity, or face being capped for another 5 hours!

    I do not believe I really qualify as a heavy user, just a user who's being ripped off!

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Virmin Sucks...

    NTL used to deliver my 2meg connection 24/7.

    I was sold a 2meg connection.

    I paid for the 2meg connection.

    I received a 2meg connection.

    No tricks, no lies, no hassle!

    Virmin you scum bags, stop stealing from the people who pay you,

    before they bite back!!

  35. frymaster

    re ac @adam52 and frymaster

    Read their policy again. What you have described is a theoretical maximum download assuming the cap lasts for 5 hours twice a day


    There are 2 periods, each 5 hours long, during which you can get throttled. Throttling lasts for up to 5 hours. Thus, in each period of throttling, you can only be throttled once. Thus, you will be throttled for up to 10 hours a day.

    Not seeing where what we're saying differers from what the policy says:

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Crapping on existing customers again!

    I currently pay £37/mo for 20Mb

    Upgrade to 50Mb would cost £50/mo plus one-off 'installation charge' £35

    New customers 50Mb £35/mo

    All other package details equal.

    Grr that really makes me feel good -not! Fuck you VM I hate you!

  37. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face


    Had the same problem. Phoned. Haggled. Sorted.

  38. Ben 47

    Everyone pays the same!

    @Crapping on Existing customers again.

    You seem to have missed the bit where everyone on XXL gets the price reduction, including existing customers.

    But the price doesn't change until the 1st September

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I use secondlife. Anyone that uses it will know that its a massive bandwidth hog. Because it is full of user created content, it's always downloading something. I can reach the cap in a couple of hours. So tell me exactly why I should be throttled for a legitimate and legal use of my connection ?

    If I could switch to another ISP I would do it in a heartbeat, but unfortunately its the fastest service I can get in my area.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    f**k VerminMedia

    Pirate their TV and get a BT line fitted then go to Be Internet. Thats what the smart cookies in the jar do.

  41. Chris Collins 1

    one sided arguments here

    what do the smart cookies do when either no BE at their exchange or they have a sucky old long copper line or dare I say it ali line.

    BT's service brings a new meaning to lottery, we have ali and we have more than 4 possible different copper densities as well as line length, then you got the variable is the line a dropwire or is it underground.

    If I were to go to VM's 10meg service, their current STM throttle speeds on that service exceed my current adsl synch speed, VM are so far ahead of adsl tech they can actually throttle above my synch speed. The average adsl synch speed in the uk is only 4.5mbit, so if you synching higher consider yourself lucky and that is not the norm.

    All this considered VM need to upgrade my area, it is one of the analogue no broadband areas. :(

  42. Steve Loughran

    I likes my VM

    We used to have DSL via BT and someone else (PlusNet?). When things went wrong, lots of finger pointing until someone from BT came round set up to test the line status by looking for dial tone, not DSL-experts at all. And PlusNet was set up to deal with problems before peak "Evening" times, not at all useful for anyone working from home,

    With the switch to Virgin Media

    * bandwidth is OK, but highly available, which is what I like

    * upload speeds could be better

    * landline phone service is overcharged, especially on things like 0845 nos. Cheaper to use a mobile phone -which is what we do.

    I dont like giving one company a monopoly, but the data rates are OK

  43. archie lukas
    Black Helicopters

    The riff-raff get what?

    I see they are upgrading the unwashed riff-raff 2mb customers to 10mb

    But I've been paying for 10mb for some considerable time.

    What do we the Gentile 10mb users get for our subs then?

  44. frymaster

    "why should I be throttled?"

    "So tell me exactly why I should be throttled for a legitimate and legal use of my connection ?"

    because you are using a far greater than average share of a contended resource at a peak time. throttling isn't a "punishment", it's a quick and dirty (and therefore low-ping-impacting) way of trying to ensure everyone gets a fair share.

  45. Dr Laurie Miles

    Virgin 20Mb

    I used to pay £37 per month for the XL service - 20Mb. I rang upearlier this year and complained, and got £15 per month knocked off that, as they are charging new customers a lower fee. 1st person I spoke to said it could not be done - had to go higher up heirachy and threaten moving before they listened to me.

    Worth giving it a go!

    Laurie Miles

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