back to article BT to throttle P2P for faster broadband

Hopes that BT's new faster broadband technology might improve peer-to-peer downloads have faded with the firm's confirmation that subscribers will be subject to the same restricitions as those on less expensive tariffs. The firm announced "BT Infinity", based on its fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) rollout and theoretically capable …


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  1. Lionel Baden



    wow caps was usefull for once .....

    1. Disco-Legend-Zeke
      Thumb Up

      Gamers don't use much data..

      Gamers send many, many, packets, but don't generally consume much of a provider's bandwidth.

      Two hours of *duck* *move left* *fire* *fire* *fire* *reload* etc. Is a tiny fraction of a two hour movie, or even a few tunes.

      By de-prioritizing data heavy traffic, ISP's should be improving the gamer's connection.

      The important message here is that providers are bcoming honest about what they are selling.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Your right, gamers don't use much traffic. That isn't the problem however.

        The problem is when I'm trying to connect to a game server, and BT are dropping the packets because it's identifying them as P2P, which is a common occurance with TDU.

        Trying to get on that game during peak times results in a lot of 'Login Failed' and 'Failed to connect', add to that the frustration of the mid-race 'The network connection has been lost', and BT can stick their fibre connection up their collective backsides.

        The only good news is that you can use the lines with other providers, who aren't quite as annoying as BT.

      2. Annihilator Silver badge

        re: Gamers don't use much data..

        It's not about how much gamers send. If it's identified as p2p, they'll throttle it regardless. Throttling in this case either means dropping packets or (worse) de-prioritizing/queuing the packets - i.e. "oh this is P2P stuff, it can wait"

        "By de-prioritizing data heavy traffic, ISP's should be improving the gamer's connection."

        Nope, they'll push pings up.

        1. Roby
          Thumb Down

          online gaming peaked in the late 90s

          The lesson here is don't use p2p as a gaming protocol. I don't see why p2p and lag compensation (aka people with bad connections have wallhax) is better than they way it used to be (people with bad connections can't hit anything).

          In a lot of modern games it seems that pings (as a number) are being replaced by green bars (where green can mean anything from 0 to 2500 depending on the game).

      3. alphaxion

        what about

        Um, what about an aspect of gaming that will chew thru a bit of bandwidth - voice comms... xbox games have it built in, a number of PC games have it built in or they'll use the likes of teamspeak.

  2. Christian Berger

    If there would be competition

    If there would be competition, no ISP would even think about doing that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There are other providers....

      who don't shape traffice - but you'll pay for it. And that's competition for you.

      1. Chris007

        Exactly - you get what you pay for.

        If you want to pay sod all for your bandwdith then expect sod all in bandwidth!

    2. Steen Hive
      Thumb Down

      If there would be competition

      Your traffic wouldn't get beyond the end of your street, because the ISPs would all be using different-sized connectors.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Does that include things like gaming? Iplayer? and legal p2p sharing apps then?

  4. Geoff Mackenzie

    @AC 16:04

    Of course it does. It's not like they're saying 'that's illegal, so carry on slowly' - it's about quality of service. I honestly don't mind my P2P traffic being shaped a bit - even if it took 2 weeks to download Debian it's just a case of kick it off then forget about it until it completes, so who cares?

    Shaping traffic between gamers would be a bit evil though; it's that sort of time-critical traffic that I don't mind my torrents being throttled for.

  5. cs94njw

    Umm... the quickest way to upset the people you want

    Um... so P2Pers, the people who perhaps might want the fastest and most unlimited bandwidth, are now being told they can't have it.

    Which means that only people watching Strictly Come Dancing on iPlayer, or World of Warcrafters can make effective use of it.. er... and use about 1% of the capacity they're paying for.

    Er... who the hell is BT's target customer?!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      But isn't iPlayer actually P2P?

      If they throttle that as well, then what IS there to use the bandwidth for?

  6. blackworx


    3.5GB?! On a "20Mbit" Virgin Line?! In five hours?! On a weekday evening?!

    Not even on a good day with a tailwind mate.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      to be fair

      on my basic (is it "meduim" now ?) Virgin cable connection I got 700Mb (Linux Mint disto) in 35 minutes ...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up


        "Linux distro" eh?

        Is that what you guys call freetarding these days?

    2. Rob Beard

      All fine here

      All fine here in Torquay, I tend to get 20Mbit 95% of the time, slowest I've gone down to is about 15MBit apart from when I'm throttled.

      I tend to leave any big downloads until after 9pm, even later than that sometimes. I do wish Virgin offered a higher upload speed though, say 2 Meg or something like that as sharing stuff with my fellow LUG members takes ages, I find it quicker to burn off a couple of DVDs and hand them out at LUG meetings so other members can seed them too.


    3. Lupus

      Well now...

      ... I managed about 8gb in an hour or so the other night.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Obviously... don't use VM or at least haven't recently. I can download a 700Mb file* in about 20-25 mins, even during the throttled hours (depending on the speed of the seeders). Surprisingly my 10Mbit line IS a 10Mbit line, which is more than can be said for ADSL providers "up to" speeds.

      * because no-one really believes the "Linux Distro" excuse any more!

    5. John70

      Star Trek Online

      I'm on Virgin Media 20Mb and I downloaded Star Trek Online 7 Gb in size within 3 hours.

      And that was on a week day evening.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    what/who do the restrictions apply to? Any protocol that can utilise the extra speed, and any person who would dare utilise the extra speed.

    and when do they apply? When you actually want to use the internet.

    So what's the point? It's like they're renting you a Lamborghini with a CCTV camera inside, and if they catch you driving it fast or enjoying yourself, they'll come round your house one night and swap it for a Ford Fiesta, and happily bill you for the Lamborghini anyway.

    Why do people put up with that crap?

    1. Steven Knox


      "and when do they apply? When you actually want to use the internet."

      Ummm, yeah, that's the point. When *you* want to use the internet is about the same time *everyone else* wants to use the internet. So BT is basically saying, "Set up your P2P transfers to run in off-peak hours, please ('cos we'll make sure they run like crap during peak hours...)" Queue 'em up in peak hours, leave your computer on overnight, and tomorrow morning you have your favorite (non-infringing, of course) music/movie/linux distro and have shared it with however many other internet users out there have at least half a brain.

      I don't see the point of heavy p2p use during peak hours anyway, unless you get off on watching the progress bar, in which case your problems range far beyond internet connection speed.

    2. Brian 6

      @AC Friday 22nd January 2010 16:55 GMT

      "So what's the point? It's like they're renting you a Lamborghini with a CCTV camera inside, and if they catch you driving it fast or enjoying yourself, they'll come round your house one night and swap it for a Ford Fiesta, and happily bill you for the Lamborghini anyway." That must be the worst Analogy ever. Do UK speed limits stop people buying sports cars NO. Are u penalized for driving your sports car too fast YES. Does that stop sports cars being desirable ?? Hell NO.

  8. Mectron


    BT is puting a ultra fast service, charge a ultra high price for it, but says that nobody will be able to use it?

    Someone need to fired

  9. frymaster

    re: "peer to peer"

    neither BT or virgin media mentions peer-to-peer; the article even states it's applied across all protocols.

    it's about the amount of BANDWIDTH you're using, not how you're using it

    personally I think the VM system (short periods of throttling and no monthly cap) is the best compromise betweem true pay-for-what-you-use-and-get-a-perfect-service and pay-a-standard-fee-and-fight-for-the-contended-resource, if for no other reason than p2p downloading is ludicoursly aggressive when it comes to aforementioned fighting.

    what difference does it make to my downloading? none... I suppose if other people were sharing the line, I might restrict my downloading to off-peak times, but that would, in general, be the polite thing to do anyway...

  10. Blake Davis

    This comment is throttled

    So if you cant download anything from a peer with this service, what exactly are you supposed to use it for?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Greedy bugrs

    BT are building a network that can carry dedicated IPTV traffic for a new range of Video on Demand content services - it's these types services you need 40MB/s for, not to download that DVD you can buy for a fiver from ASDA.

    1. Rob Beard

      BT Vision

      Actually, DVD quality video over BT Vision works at about 2Mbit. Not that the BT Vision hardware is any bloody good.

      I gave up on mine when the HDMI handshaking kept failing.


  12. M.A


    Remind me not yo use the Iplayer or Skype or Spotify when i want to.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    No surprise!

    This comes as no surprise. BT have always been exceptionally bad value for money. You know their current service is shit because the only good thing they have to say about it is the wireless range of the router, and I don't expect any different as time goes on.

    BT will always look to provide a bad service for an OTT price, it's what they do.

    I'd rather stick pins in my eye's than use BT ever again.

  14. banjomike

    virgin pretend they are better

    Virgin might not have download caps but since they can/will/do restrict download speeds for up to TEN hours a day to 25% of what you have paid for (except on 50MB) they probably don't need to.

    If you have Virgin 2MB they can restrict you for 24hours per day.

    Having said that, 20 GB per month is PATHETIC.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    They'll throttle 1% of their 5 million subscriber base? Does anyone else think that's a crazy notion? It's ridiculous, I mean, where did they find that many mugs to sign up for their broadband?

  16. K1M

    40 Mb/s not MB/s

    40 Mbps @ £19.99 (cheapest rate)

    = 300.00 MB/min

    = 5.00 MB/s

    = 40.00 Mbps

    = 4.77 MiB/s

    = 18.00 GB/h

    40 MB/s

    = 40.00 MB/s

    = 320.00 Mbps

    = 38.15 MiB/s

    = 144.00 GB/h

    = 2.40 GB/min

    a 100MB/s seedbox @ approx£15

    100 MB/s

    = 100.00 MB/s

    = 800.00 Mbps

    = 95.37 MiB/s

    = 360.00 GB/h

    = 6.00 GB/min

    I know which one i would rather have.

    1. Octopoid

      Thanks for clearing that up.

      Let me guess - you just got a new keyboard with one of those calculator shortcut keys?

      I was half expecting you to start using furlongs.

  17. JWS


    Just bypass it by encrypting the traffic or use a different port, job done.

  18. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  19. VDarthDside
    Thumb Down


    So at the moment the only "decent" broadband package seems to be Virgin's 50Mb which is not throttled for as long as the package is available to less than 10% of the population that can get cable... It's a shame that even on my type of connection (BT Business option 3) I can't get a decent upload speeds - I mean c'mon - 40kb/s in 21st century - someone is taking a pi$$ here...

    Imagine my surprise/shock when I went to visit an old mate who now lives in Poland and he gets unshaped/unthrottled 20MB/s DL, 2MB/s UL delivered to his apartment via proper UDP cable. What's more, when applying for BB/internet contract (ongoing 30 days) they asked him if he'd like to be put on the network with some of his neighbors and whether or not he want's to share/open certain ports (gaming, P2P and so on...)

    That's the type of service I'd like to see here...and they say that WE are technologically advanced and THEY are not. Something smells like a huge pile of B$ here...

  20. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Virgin? They are one to talk

    Remember (As reported on El Reg) that 40% of Virgin users are going to be subject ot DPI.

    Sorry No Thanks Virgin.

    I have a 15Gb/month peak D/L limit with no P2P throttling thank you very much. btw, I don't get speed drops in the evenings as ALL my neighbours on Virgin do.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm with PlusNet and have a 20Gb/month "peak" cap (and truly unlimited off peak cap), 20Gb a month between 4pm-midnight is more than enough for me. Sure I'll usually get through 40-60Gb/month but hardly ever more than 15Gb/month peak rate. I refuse to upgrade to ADSL2 also unless I can stick with my current (no longer available) plan, even though the current plans offer an 80Gb cap which I would not go near. Why? Traffic shaping on my current plan is better than on ADSL2, at certain times of the day my ADSL performance is twice as fast as ADSL2 due to throttling.

    Sure, I might be able to download less per month before being throttled heavily, but I can download it quicker before ADSL2 peak rates hit.

  22. Absent

    Ha, your strap line made me reminisce about the old days......

    when modems were so slow and phone calls were so expensive that the fastest and cheapest way to distribute stuff was through the post. Floppies stuffed into Jiffy bags wrapped in cellotape so you could rub off the post marks and re-use, going back and forth until they fell apart.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Just Wait ..

    So P2P is again the great bandwidth evil, see how long it takes before they start throttling iPlayer and the like because the system can't handle it.

  24. Anonymous Coward


    When I mentioned last year that I was having a 120 Mb/s connection installed at home here (in Amsterdam) to a friend, he responded 'Fiber..? yes I have that in my country home, two hours drive from Stockholm. Had it for years.'

    The UK's targets for a little bit of pipe are a bit of a joke around these parts.



  25. Adam Oellermann
    Thumb Up


    I have a better answer than throttling. Just filter out all the vowels. For binary content, just drop the low-order two bits - video you can do even better with "lossy" compression (ie leave out all blue pixels). No traffic shaping necessary, no caps, no worries: the customers will beat a path from your door.

  26. Greg J Preece

    Well, you do surprise me...

    BT, an ISP that has time and time again shown themselves to be not just arrogant and greedy, but plain old-fashioned eeeevil, is touting a high-speed line where people using the advertised speed for any length of time are punished?

    Shocking. No really, I never saw that one coming.

    If it's all the same, I'll stay over here on Titan, where they don't illegally dive my data, or throttle my connection, or restrict arbitrary protocol use, or charge me through the nose for the privilege.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    There's one feature missing...

    Deep Packet Inspection.

    If ain't got that, its not worth having ;)

  28. Matthew 4


    Well you do pay for what you get. If you pay enough then you can still get high speed p2p for your games

  29. JetSetJim Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Moving from Shitscali to BT, I can say that...

    BT's throttling is a lot less intense than Shitscali's throttling.

    TV over IP is going to swamp the UKs rather underpowered network - there needs to be more investment in it

  30. supermoore

    The only surprise... that anyone is surprised by this. This whole upgrade will do nothing to change the fact that the network backwards from the exchange is congested. In fact, it will only make that worse.

    This is a result of the end user's constant quest for "higher speeds" at the expense of netwrok capacity. The money being spent on this would be far better spent doubling bandwidth capacity from exchanges into the backhaul networks.

    There are still ISPs who just about provide an uncontended, unrestricted ADSL2+ service. O2 are creaking under the weight of their own success now, but Virgin ADSL in LLU areas is an example, and there should be another mass market player with this as a key selling point coming along soon,

  31. cannon

    net neutrality

    with sir tim in the government why isnt he pushing for net neutrality like he was in the USA?

    the question is why would BT want to make skype, which runs on p2p technology unusable, i suppose they cant compete with free so the best way to deal with this is throttle it to death.

    spotify is also p2p technology so score one for trying to alleviate the media industry's failed business model by destroying its ability to adjust.

    comments on Net Neutrality by Sir Tim Burners Lee:

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    P2P does save me from actually BUYING stuff like music and films!


  33. Adam T

    You forgot to mention

    This article only covers half the story.

    The £19.99 package has the 20GB limit, but for an extra fiver you get unlimited traffic.

    Also, more important to me anyway, BT Infinite has a 10Mbps upload (compared to Virgin's 1Mpbs 20Mb / 1.5Mbps 50Mb).

    BT FTW in price and practicality, if you're not a P2P nut.

  34. Charles 9 Silver badge


    The article also mentions throttling traffic across ALL protocols if necessary. If they notice you create a lot of encrypted traffic, they'll probably peg you as a BAD bandwidth hog and simply throttle ALL your traffic.

    1. James R Grinter

      and that's already happening in the USA

      where Comcast have begun throttling in such a way that if you seem to be generating or retrieving a lot of data for a sustained period of time (about 15 minutes, if I remember correctly) during a busy period then all your traffic is delayed behind everyone elses.

      It's causing trouble for online backup and particularly retrievals (the latter where you *really* want to be able to get your data back ASAP.)

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What if P2P changed protocols...

    If P2P is being slowed right down by your ISP what if P2P started using file/data transfers over the http protocol? That would really bugger up the sniffing machines at BT and Virgin...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You clearly don't understand how deep packet inspection works. It doesn't matter what port number you use, a packet shaper can identify what the traffic is.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    I've said it before, I'll say it again:

    BE. I got 13Mb/s down and 2Mb/s up. I don't need 40Mb/s- and I abuse my bandwidth (e.g, 150GB a month sometimes). When they start throttling we're all doomed!

  37. Charles Smith

    100 mbs

    If you are inside the M25 (the motorway around London) Easynet are offering 100mbs unthrottled and uncontended on Fibre to the home. A snip at a mere £15,000 a year.

    Installation is "subject to survey" which means you will often have to write another large cheque, unless of course you happen to already have a POP in your building.

  38. inverse

    Backwards Britain

    I don't know why England doesn't give up, the tech is so far behind it is a joke.

    Here we have 1Gbps for 5,460 ( US$60/ GBP37)

    No cap no throttle.

    Bandwith should be like water.

    I dread going back to the UK, overpriced last gen tech, bleahh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Bandwidth should be like water? WTF is that supposed to mean?

      1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

        Bandwidth like water

        Bandwidth _is_ like water.

        When everybody turns their tap on full, nobody gets the pressure that they used to, and some people get none.

  39. kwikbreaks

    Just what is the point of ...

    ... a 40Mbps connection that is limited to 20GB a month?

    20GB a month equates to basic surfing/email plus a bit of iPlayer / YouTube - you can do that OK on a connection that delivers (a genuine) 2Mbps.

    The only real advantage of 40Mbps over 2Mbps is for downloading as you'd be hard pressed to notice the difference when browsing so if downloading is severely restricted why bother paying a premium for this other than for willy waving rights?

    At least one LLU operator offers a pretty genuine no caps, no throttling, and from my own experience little contention service. Any BT based service tends to be abysmal and unfortunately that boils down to most UK ADSL services. The BT infrastructure may be very old fashioned but their pricing structure certainly isn't.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Beware "no caps, no throttling" promises

    I know people who are customers of companies making such promises (both LLU and IPStream types) who have found that they get their bandwidth throttled after a certain amount per month. On complaining one such customer was directed to a "reasonable usage" policy which had never been referred to before. In essence this stated that although there was no cap downloading more than a certain amount per month was not considered "reasonable use" (whatever that means) and that downstream speeds would be restricted for the rest of the month.

    Likewise I have seen clear evidence that some ISPs are shaping traffic, the likes of video streaming (particularly iplayer) and P2P are routinely throttled by many ISPs with nothing being mentioned in customer's contracts. The only excuse I have heard for this is that it falls withing the description of "up to 8Mb/s". In other words the ISPs reason that if some traffic is slower than others it's not a problem unless they have clearly stated otherwise.

    So before signing up with a particular ISP bear in mind unless they clearly state that they don't shape traffic, they may still do that. Likewise just because the contract is for "unlimitted downloads" check the small print for any conditions relating to reasonable use.

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