back to article Virgin Media introduces P2P throttling

Virgin Media will for the first time target peer-to-peer traffic for throttling on its cable network, joining most DSL broadband providers. In a phased introduction due to be completed by next summer it will cut the bandwidth available to peer-to-peer protocols and Usenet at peak times, for all customers. Until now the firm …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    ....that'll be me off to another provider. How can you charge so much and then have the bare faced cheek to throttle. At least with BT Infinity you get a 10meg upload and only have to pay 27.99 a month. With Virgin they pretty much force you to have three services to get the 50MBit down to a near tolerable price but still much more than the competition.

    Only problem with BT infinity is the cap on how much you can download, ~500GB a month.

    Mine is the one with the two BT Lines and a bonded line in the pocket.....

    1. Tigra 07
      Thumb Down

      You're right...

      It's ridiculous they can assume all p2p traffic is sharing copyrighted material and even if it's true they have no right to throttle your connection.

      Why pay for internet if the isp can control what you download, how, and where you download from?!

      1. jai


        how do you mean, why pay for internet?

        how do you gets yours for free then?

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Not all P2P traffic is illegal!

        Just 99.999%

        This tired old argument about the 'legitmate' uses of P2P is just FUD. Two examples are usually trotted out - World of Warcraft upgrades and Linux ISOs which account for an infinitesimally small proportion of P2P traffic. Besides, anyone with sense grabs the latter from an FTP/HTTP mirror where they experience 10-100x the speed.

        Only the most desperate of freetards (when did we stop calling them thieves?) describe 'bittorrent' as a means to download anything but stolen content. Stop pretending that you're an innocent bystander who is being caught in the crossfire, it's just embarrassing.

        1. penguin slapper

          ftp access

          Virgin still provide mirrors of all the major linux distros on the old blueyonder address. Making the downloading of iso's and updates a fast business.

          And anyone who tells you they download several GB of iso's every week is either a lunatic with OCD issues, or a liar.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

          And you're just a moron. See - we can all namecall can't we?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC: Not all P2P traffic is illegal

          Maybe you should consider what life will be like when every song ever created as an mp3 can be stored in a memory device that anyone can afford. Add to that, internet speeds of 10s or 100s of Gb/s. How do you possibly think that today's rules on what can and can't be shared between individuals can be controlled to the level the media industries want? It will be like trying to monitor the thoughts of everyone on the planet.

          Suggest you wake up and face reality.

        4. Anonymous Coward

          @ Not all P2P traffic is illegal! → # ↑

          WTF !!!

          No it is not. How many games are now based on P2P technology

          Off the top of my head

          L4d uses it


          TDU1 + 2


          i download all my shit off rapishare :D

      3. Anonymous Coward

        Oh Come on now

        OK, apart from you downloading your linux distributions and maybe iPlayer, 4OD etc pretty much everything else using torrent is copyrighted material and as for them having the right, of course they have as long as it's in the contract and you have signed that contract then they have the right.

        Now then, it ISN'T right of course but given that Virgin (and pretty much every ISP) sells "Unlimited" broadband that they have no hope of supplying they have to find some way to make sure that most users get a useable broadband connection most of the time

        1. Chad H.

          @ AC

          The last AC comment here reminds me of the Life of Brian - What have the Romans ever done for us.

          Bittorrent makes a great distribution platform for legitamate content, as well as illegitamate content. Because some people use it for doing the wrong thing, does that mean noone should have hit?

          Congratulations, You've successully argued against the sale of Kitchen Knives to anyone.

      4. Paul Shirley

        fsck all to do with piracy

        @Tigra 07:"It's ridiculous they can assume all p2p traffic is sharing copyrighted material"

        P2P hammers networks whatever you're sharing, doubles the traffic (if you aim for a 1.0 ratio) and avoids any attempt to cache that traffic. P2P is almost a DDOS on network infrastructure.

        Copyright infringement is a totally different issue.

      5. The Avangelist

        nobody said anything about copyright

        Peer 2 peer capping has nothing to do with materials you are downloading. It is a matter of data and overheads.

        If you go on the sole assumption that it is whether Warner or Miramax are upset you are watching poor dvd rips you're quite mistaken.

    2. JimC
      Thumb Up

      If all the bandwith hogs are off to another provider

      Then their profits should go up, expenses down and performance to their customers will improve. So what is the downwside for them?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @jimc: So what is the downwside for them?

        That would be reputation. From this side of the fence, who in their right mind would want to sign up to an ISP that has no problem shafting its customers whose only crime is using the service they paid for. (I presume you're aware that downloading 1 hour of HD content per day uses around 45 GB).

        Oh and there's that thorny issue known as PHORM - you'd have thought that the prospect of the UK taxpayer having to pay Virgin's unwritten fines might just cheese off a few people. But hey, as current Virgin customers obviously care nothing for privacy (or reduction in public services just to pay government fines), they're unlikely to change ISP, so your original premise is probably correct.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "At least with BT Infinity you get a 10meg upload and only have to pay 27.99 a month."

      Which is all well and good if you don't consider the fact that BT throttle the arse out of P2P traffic, which is what this story is about in the first place. What, exactly, would be the point of moving from an ISP because they have started throttling P2P traffic only to move to another ISP who's been throttling P2P traffic for ages?

      On the subject of BT Inifinity I can't believe BT are making a big marketing deal of their fibre services when you consider hardly anybody can actually get them.

      1. leexgx


        quite sure BT hidden Monthly cap is around 100GB (if you do it over 2-3 months) very sure on BT option 3 as my friend was getting billed for going over 100GB an month on an 2-3mb connection lol

        do consider you can do around 50-100GB an Day on virgin and not get shafted as much (not that i am asking you lot to do that thought as i like my 50MB fast as it is) yes you do have day limits but not that bad all they are doing is lowering the speeds for users that send to much (50MB) and slowing speeds down for 10mb and 20mb depending on download amount

        bout time they uped the upload speed for 10mb users (256KB upload before cut back) as when that was nocked back 75% it was like 96kb {8-9KB/s} to slow for torrent's to work correctly and other services at the same time (like using the internet) as they need 128kb (or 10-15KB/s} to work (not an issue if your on 20mb as upload cut back was to around 200kb {20-25KB/s} so most users do not notice it)

        if you are an VM user do note

        they have Set the limits so they are download cap trigger takes aprox 15-20 mins to happen if your downloading at Full speed (not 50mb),

        if your Uploading data at Full speed for aprox 30mins (it may be 1hr or longer now as they put the upload cap not far off the download cap limits guess they did this for legit P2P TV apps) that will also set the second trigger off unless the first one has all ready happened, if upload or download cap has been hit it affects Both upload and download speed for 5hrs from when it happened and can only ever be triggered once as it lasts for 5hrs (it can be twice if you did the morning trigger as well but that takes 2x longer to hit them caps aprox 30mins down @ Full rate)

        (50mb not sure what happens to download speed, they better make sure it only affects the upload speed)

        still there is no monthly cap on virgin services just daily limits that lower the speed (still think 75% is a lot thought on 10mb it is any way still you can still keep on downloading about 50gb an day even with that limit in place)


        bt be funny if they do an 100gb cap on an 24-100mb service (when they say its unlimited again when its not)

        BT Inifinity will be usable for Most of the UK as its FTTC (cab) not FTTD (Door or House) once its rolled out in your area's (1-5 years) if your Exchange is enabled for 21CN more likely to get it sooner then later (as the cables and fibre has been upgraded at that Exchange to support FTTC later on, as 21cn makes bugger all dif for ADSL1 or 2 users, FTTC is what its used for)

        fibre to the cabs (or DP) in this case that's norm Only between 100yards (40-100mb users VDSL) or less then 500 yards away (up to 24mb ADSL2 tech avg most likely 15-20mb) from you all them poles goto an Point that norm Close to the streets they all merge up to that then goto the main Exchange the Fiber box going to be fitted next to the DP box where your ADSL or VDSL will be servied form if you take BT inifinity

        1. ph0b0s
          Thumb Down

          Existing traffic management

          leexgx, Not quite sure about the point you were making with your post. It seemed to be that you supported the current traffic management system at Virgin, where your speed is capped temporarily if you download a certain amount at peaks times. I completely agree the system was fair and did not discriminate against anyone. You download a certain amount of data during peak times your speed is cut for 5 hours. Great, nice and transparent.

          They then extend the peak time to be during the day as well, which I did not support. But this is one step too far. Now Virgin instead of offering a dumb pipe now discriminates against certain traffic. And most people on the forum are falling for the spin of, well this traffics is used for illegal reason's, or it uses a lot of our networks capacity. That's bull.

          What is really happening is that Virgin's network is not fit for purpose and they don't want to upgrade it, so instead they put in even more restrictions (these new restrictions now last till midnight instead of 9pm).

          Not that these restrictions will have much effect as freetards now get movies, etc from file sharing sites like rapidshare etc. So the network will still be slow.

          Do I use P2P or newsgroups, not really, so it does not affect me. So why am I angry, because if it is P2P and Usenet now what will it be next? Virgin have already stated they want to give priority to people watching streaming TV. So Virgin and other ISP's get to decide what you are going to do with internet connection. This is different to the current system that cuts your speed no matter what data you used to hit the limit, P2P or TV or Skype.

    4. Big_Ted
      Thumb Down

      look before you leap

      Before changing look into it carefully, the cap is for restricted speed at peak times for 30 days not the hours as on Virgin.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    A GB is a GB, and network congestion is network congestion, whether it's ftp, P2P, http, smtp, or crap.

    If some freeloader is downloading 10 TB of this week's US TV output by http or nntp or ftp it causes just as much congestion as if they had been downloading it by some P2P protocol.

    OK there are some time sensitive protocols that you might want prioritised but you do that by prioritising those specific protocols not by throttling P2P.

    Bring back pay per GB.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The idea of P2P?

      Isn't one of the tenets of P2P sharing that you'll get bits of data from potentially anywhere, multiple sources, and will also be sharing those back out yourself whilst doing it? It's not meant to speed downloads up, but to spread loads around in a distributed manner.

      So since you're expecting to wait a period of time for it to complete anyway (and reliant on others having completed files to seed in order to get it all eventually anyway!), it seems to me if something's gotta give it's the obvious candidate for throttling.

    2. CD001

      Ummm... what?

      If you read the article you might notice that this seems to be a shift of focus onto the upstream.

      They're increasing the upload speeds available to everyone so you can get your home videos on YouTube that little bit quicker. However, and this is the important bit, they've not said anything about illegal filesharing over P2P - merely that they're restricting the bandwidth it can consume. Could this possibly be to do with the nature of P2P, in that it uses the upstream to seed YOUR torrents?

      So ye-es, pulling down 10TB over HTTP is the same as pulling down 10TB over P2P ... except with HTTP it's a web server sending the data down (via a professional backbone connection you'd hope), with P2P it's some other twonk(s) chewing through their upstream bandwidth (on their home connection) to seed the damned thing.

      At least, that's how I read it - it doesn't appear to be about copyright infringement (which is what everyone assumes as soon as the phrase P2P appears) it's about freeing up the upstream (good for gamers).

      The question is - when do we expect they'll announce Virgin VOIP? They've got to be targeting that upstream bandwidth for something.

    3. The Indomitable Gall

      The point of net non-neutrality...

      The academic justification behind a non-neutral net is that certain applications require extremely low lag (eg streaming media, VoIP) and certain applications don't (eg bulk file downloads). The ISPs are only doing what the universities have been proposing since the 90s.

      1. Adam Williamson 1
        Thumb Down

        Latency != bandwidth

        See title. Throttling the bandwidth available to something is very different from reducing its priority so its latency may get worse.

    4. BristolBachelor Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      I agree it's madness

      When the network starts getting congested, share the bandwidth between the users, independant of what they are doing. If I have paid the same as someone else, why can't I download Suse 11.3, but the kid next door can spend the whole evening streaming (illegal) TV programs, or surfing YouTube.

      It can't be hard to do; the network already knows how much congestion there is, and there are already systems in place to limit user's bandwidth (normally just dependant on tariff). I can see that this idea will fail; p2p will change their packet type to avoid the restrictions, the restrictions will change, it will just become a race.

      Just imagine the uproar if the local council said that instead of sharing out the council bills among everyone, they said that Conservative voters can pay all the bills, and Labour voters don't have to.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    So will they now, FINALLY, . . . .

    . . . . stop seliing the service as 'Unlimited'?

    1. Jerome 0

      Re: So will they now, FINALLY, . . . .

      No. Next question?

    2. Big_Ted

      why should they ?

      Why should they as long as mobile can advertise 1 Gb limit as unlimited

  4. zar athustra
    Thumb Up


    From 1.5 Mbit/s to 5 - gratis!! Cap is 6Gigs, so no real worries there.

    Thanks again, Virgin - I loves my 50Mbit pipe. =]

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Oh joy

    Well as a VM customer on an XXL package, I'm glad that I've been notified by them before finding out about this change through El Reg.

    Oh, wait...

    1. Blue eyed boy

      @AC "Oh joy"

      Lucky you. I'm stuck on the M package (what ever happened to S?) because of the expense, so I get clobbered with the brunt of the price rises, after Vermin Media inherited NTL's policy of screwing their bottom rate customers.

      I'm just glad to get something from them for free.

      Mine's the one with the modem in the pocket, just in case I'm priced out of M.

      1. Chris Collins

        Rum buggery

        Actually you'll find that NTL ate Skanky Media, rather than the other way round. All the good customer service from Virgin has been booted out for the existing "skills" of NTL. But as everyone knows that NTL was rubbish they have pulled a rabbit made of shit out of a hat and said 'tada' by masquerading as VM. So that's the same burly man getting you to pick up the soap, just he's wearing lipstick.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    As someone called Hudon once said...

    That's it, man. Game over, man. Game over, what the fuck are we supposed to now, huh, what are we gonna do?

    1. irish donkey


      Why don't we put her in charge?

  7. James Le Cuirot
    Thumb Up

    I'm happy

    Of course, you'll get the usual army of whingers but I'm quite happy about this. Not all of us are torrent junkies. I have the occasional one going but that's stuff I can wait for. I'd rather have glitch-free VoIP calls, thank you very much. The greater upload speeds are most welcome.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I'm confused

      "army of whingers" Does this mean people who are paying for a service only to be told after the fact that they can only use the service in the way the ISP decides, which can change at a whim (although you're locked in to a contract)?

      And is it just torrent junkies? Or does it include iPlayaholics? And VOIPtards using video? And those pesky buggers playing online games? And those jackasses hogging bandwidth commenting on articles. And..........

      1. Jason Hall


        If Virgin change the terms of your contract in detriment to you, you have every right to cancel the contract.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          IANAL but...

          I'm pretty certain they have it hidden away in their T&Cs that that isn't the case unfortunately (TalkTalk are raising their charges again tomorrow and people are still locked in there thanks to small print), similar to most EULAs (Sonys PS3 "Other OS" debacle come to mind there).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Small Print

            Your supplier can include a clause in your contract that says they are allowed to make any changes to the contract that they choose. However that doesn't mean that the clause is valid. The law *always* overrides what it says in your contract.

            What we really need is a change in the law that says that any contract is automatically invalidated if it includes a single clause that is illegal.

          2. Sadie

            Not just Talk Talk

            3 did that to me, apparently they announced the price rise on an obscure page of their site 6 months before making the effort to tell their customer base.

  8. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Captive audience

    With a phone line and BT you can at least switch to another ADSL provider. With cable you're stuffed, you can't get your service from anyone else.

    This is a pretty fundamental flaw with cable and one which needs to be sorted out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Of course this could be why BT are rolling out their "Infinity" fibre service. Then they'll be able to tie you in too.

    2. Big_Ted


      But you can give up your cable and witch to snail paced ADSL from BT.

      So how can you say your stuck ?

      You could even go mobile broadband etc.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      @Captive audience

      "This is a pretty fundamental flaw with cable and one which needs to be sorted out."

      That's OFCOMs responsibility so you can guarantee that it WON'T get sorted out.

    4. J Lewter


      You can port your number from Cable to any other Telco..

      You can also port numbers from any mobile operator to another.

      Not sure why you think this isnt the case?...

      Moving from BT to Tiscal = Install charges, possibly new modem, and transfer of phone number

      Moving from Virgin to BT = Install charges, def new modem, and transfer of phone number

      Your argument is that VM isnt having to share their network with other operators.

      If you would even try to paritally understand the differences between HFCN's and DSL configurations you would see that for "Cable" to share would mean that any operator on the line would change the performance of everyone else on that line. So if O2 had users that were pegging the line 100% of the time 24-7 then other users could suffer.. Then the only isp's that would be "picked" would be the ones who had no traffic limits, thus screwing over everyone else.

      Do a little bit of research and thinking before you just jump in and start crying fowl..

      If they are refusing to port your number then you have an argument, otherwise.. FAIL.

      1. CD001

        The OP is right

        You ARE stuffed if you're on cable AND want to stay on cable... although that is changing (very) slowly as BT roll out the fibre.

        I've been on cable since it was Telewest; it's a better technology than ADSL so I'd be loathe to switch to another provider because doing so would mean that I lose cable, so yes, I am forced to use VM IF I WANT A CABLE SERVICE - which is what, I think, the OP was trying to say.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    I'm staying but I'll be more than happy if these changes cause bandwidth hogs to move elsewhere!

  10. Spotfist


    As long as most of the throttling is only done during peek times Im ok with this, I would much rather be able to have a good xbox live connection during peek hours and then p2p over night. I live down in the South West so to be fair any kind of throttling will just bring it in line with that of other providers in the area, another point would be that the true bottle neck is that of the peers in the swarm, I have only seen close to 10mb in the past and that was off a fast server no doubt... Still though for us farmers down in Devon it's a miles better than broadband over phone lines, a friend down the road was getting 0.25kb?!?!?!

    1. banjomike

      Virgin define PEAK as 10 AM to 9 PM

      with a 1 hour gap at 3PM (for some reason).

      With p2p they could have a different definition...

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Peek? Peak?

      Maybe you should give your dictionary a peek.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Well, but no but ...

    Off to BT who will promptly hand over your personal details to a dodgy (allegedly) law firm via an UNENCRYPTED xls file.

    At least Virgin Media and TalkTalk have refused to hand over customer details (source BBC).

  12. Tom_B
    Thumb Down


    Virgin Media's approach seems to be: "You can have an really fast internet connection, provided you don't actually use it for anything that will max it out"

    I think that's me gone from VM too.

    I already get throttled whenever I buy games on steam. God forbid I buy and want to play games during the evenings when I'm at home and not at midnight like virgin would like.

    Let's keep in mind there are several legitimate uses of P2P technology which I use frequently:


    -The World Of Warcraft updater, and when the latest update is over 5gb throttling would be annoying.

  13. Tom 38

    Won't make much different to usenet

    Unless they are also throttling VPN connections. The major premium NNTP provider (Giganews) now offer virtually free VPN services with their top packages.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    I wonder if VM will be advertising that they just made their product far worse!

    Chancers & lairs, that'll be VM!

    1. Magnus Ramage
      Thumb Up

      Not worse...

      ... if you don't use P2P. And I take the point that not all P2P use is by freeloaders wanting to watch American TV programmes without paying for them, but whatever the purpose, it can be pretty bandwidth-intensive. So as a non-P2P user, the idea that my ISP will throttle P2P suits me fine.

      1. ChrisC Silver badge


        "not all P2P use is by freeloaders wanting to watch American TV programmes without paying for them"

        Indeed, some of it is people who are paying for them (via Sky/VM/etc subs) but who prefer to grab the ad-free versions within a few hours of their airing across the pond, rather than having to wait days/weeks/months to watch the ad-infested versions shown by Sky/VM/etc...

        1. chr0m4t1c


          Downloading them to catch up because you missed the start of a series.

          Technically illegal, but I can't see how any real damage is done.

          I think the best you can say is "It's complicated".

          Still, it would be nice if VM gave us some tools to tell us how much data we were actually using, I have no idea if any of these changes are going to have any effect on me whatsoever.

          (Although I will now try to make sure any iPlayer Desktop downloads I make to my laptop to travel with are now done after 9pm.)

        2. Anonymous Coward

          Like the man said

          So for free then?

  15. irish donkey

    Secure FTP

    So how will this affect all the users with Secure FTP's and VPN TUNNELS?

    I was sure they rolled this out ages ago. My transmission speed through a VPN varies greatly depending on what time I connect.

    As for torrent.... that is so 90's and well past its use by date. Nice to see no Virgin customers ended up on ACS:LAW's list so they can't be all bad. SKY/PLUSNet I wouldn't be jumping ship to them if you want good download speeds. Could be a poison chalice

  16. WonkoTheSane Silver badge

    Already fixed!

    Most torrent clients have a scheduling plugin.

    Find out what VM calls "Peak Times" and set your client to only run outside those hours.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    shouldn't be a problem

    mine's the one with the protocol obfuscation option ticked?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Usenet traffic shaping?

    Surely the majority of Usenet traffic is SSL? How do they plan on shaping this unless they shape all SSL traffic?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No title req'd.

      Pretty sure if you control the line between your house and the internet you can eavesdrop on SSL connections via a MITM type attack for deep packet inspection. Not that they'd be looking inside encrypted data of course....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No need for MITM

        They don't even need to do a MITM attack. With torrents, any IP address in the world could be a peer, so you'd have to throttle the protocol and hope they don't use encryption. With Usenet, there is only a limited number of servers worth downloading from. So if I'm connected to, VirginMedia can be pretty certain of what type of traffic that is, even though it's encrypted.

  19. Neill Mitchell

    Depends on how the do it

    If they actually throttle the speed then it's not so bad. However, if they continue to achieve their "throttling" as they currently do, namely by massively increasing the packet latency, then this will be a disaster. The time I triggered the "throttling" (after downloading a Linux distro I hasten to add) my link was totally unusable until it lifted due to the massive packet latency they'd applied. 75% speed cut my arse.

    As someone else said, it's nice to hear this via a news website rather than Virgin themselves. They are very bad at publicising their usage policy. It's not mentioned when you sign up. I only got directed to their policy web page after phoning them up about it.

    Good news about the upload speed increase though. All providers rely on Joe Public ignorance about MBit/sec versus MByte/sec. 512MBit or 64MByte/sec theoretical upload is actually pretty crap when uploading home movies etc.

  20. eJ2095

    Mind you

    I normally let usenet run over night also.

    Quicker for me and stoping me being wacked by the missis for slowing there he beloved farmville (Bloody thing)

    On a different note any of you guys name a router that let you limit bandwidth on a particular ip? on my own network

    1. Richard C.

      Router recommendation

      Try a Draytek, we've got the Vigor 2820n (offers loadbalancing over ADSL, Cable/other Cat5 and mobile) which has got limiting per IP address (and even per Wireless connection: it supports 5).

  21. jai

    sure they haven't already started?

    i'm sure my usenet downloads get throttled in peak hours already whereas downloads from other sources keep a decent rate.

    or maybe i'm just in one of the areas where they trialed their new equipment over the last year

  22. Big_Ted

    Freetards suffer for the benfit of other users shock

    Freetards suffer for the benfit of other users shock....

    I for one am in favour of this. It means that I will be able to stream HD video any time of the day with greatly reduced risk of buffering.

    A definate win win in my books.

    Oh and for anyone posting "Linux Disro's etc " get a grip, we all know that well over 90% of it is illegal material being downloaded. So why should my legal use of the net be affected by it.....

  23. Rogerborg

    The crib notes

    If you actually *use* your connection at its headline rate for 10 (ten) minutes, you get throttled down to 25% for the next 5 hours.

    I'll be submitting yet another complaint to the ASA, but so far they don't seem to understand this (pretty simple) problem with Virgin's advertised speeds.

    Honest advertising would be: "Virgin Cable is quicker than our competitors, for 5 minutes a day."

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Note, this will not affect XXL Usenet...

    As they are only throttling uploads on XXL, Usenet usage will not be affected. Neither be the likes of Rapidshare etc.

    Only P2P will get it in the neck.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sticking with them

    I will stick with them, just make sure that I go out of my way to switch on my bittorrent servers from midnight onwards.

    What they have done is killed the value of their Small package, you can't work from home with those data rates.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother


    I can feel a VPN to random proxies coming on...

  27. Tom Chiverton 1 Silver badge


    How do they spot 'P2P' traffic ? Doesn't most BT client software randomise the port and encrypt ?

    1. leexgx

      post of the day

      they do not they are just going of the amount of traffic that is going tho (Uploading and Downloading happens when you use browsers, p2p, chat programs, games what ever just because its Not an file does not mean its not an download or upload)

  28. Sithlord

    Cancelling my 50mb order....

    I just placed an order for the 50mbit service.. but after this news I am cancelling.

    Lucky escape.

    1. leexgx


      why as your upload is going from 1.5mb (that i am on now) to 5mb even with 65% cut back after you have done 6GB of upload would only be droping to 1.75mb for that short time that in no way would affect download speed unless you was trying to send more 1mb/s (100KB/s) of data when trying to download at full speed (need about 60KB/s upload for overhead when downloading at 50mb {5MB/s})

      personally less users who use 50MB better for me as my service will be better (lower ping more stable connection, but i am in an none congested area so none issue for me any way)

      set utorrent set to 50KB when downloading {10-20MB users set it to 11KB when downloading} (download should not be affected that still run at 50mb {that info Needs checking thought as it does not state if the download is also affected })

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Change in fees??

    So my service is going to change, and basically provide less than it was before. Does this mean that I will get a reduce in my monthly costs (from their already over the top fees)??

    I pay for access to the internet at a specific speed. I do not pay for a tiered level of access that is decided by someone else when they feel like it. Disregarding the use of P2P to download copyrighted material, why should it be throttled?? iPlayer uses P2P, does this mean that the quality of my HD Streamed BBC TV shows will suffer???

    ...Mines the one with the net neutrality FAQ in the pocket...

    1. NumptyScrub

      Internet access products 101

      "I pay for access to the internet at a specific speed. I do not pay for a tiered level of access that is decided by someone else when they feel like it."

      Actually this is a pretty clear indication that you do, indeed, pay for a tiered level of access that is decided by someone else when they feel like it. Since this is a capitalist economy, you are free to vote with your feet and move to another provider, who also provides a tiered level of access decided by them when they feel like it.

      If you don't like it, you are also free to start up your own ISP providing truly unfettered humungo bandwidth to the UK consumer with no restrictions whatever. :)

      Only downside is that you will also have to abide by all the laws governing ISPs including (but not limited to) keeping all the emails that ever traverse your network in an easily accessible archive, allowing officials to install whatever monitoring kit they feel like so they can be a man in the middle when investigating "crime", providing remote and on-site access to said officials at whatever time they feel like turning up so they can investigate said "crime", and all the other niceties of providing a service that get abused by "criminals" (definition yet to be properly defined) every second of every day.

      You may also end up liable for any infractions by your end users that were facilitated by your product. They keep changing their mind about whether ISPs are liable for facilitating illegal downloading, spam and other "enabled" crimes seemingly on a weekly basis.

      So if you do start up your own ISP providing proper 1:1 contention symmetric fibre-based connections of the >100Mb/s truly unlimited and no throttling ever variety, I'll take one of your top package please, my current DSL is limited by the legal obligations of my ISP and it's harming my ability to download... linux distro's :)

      1. Anonymous Coward


        "'ll take one of your top package please, my current DSL is limited by the legal obligations of my ISP"

        It is not Virgin's legal obligation to throttle its customers bandwidth for downloading over an arbatery amount over a period of time. In fact I would think that it is the oposite, it is their legal obligation to provide the service that was advertised at the time the contract was entered into.

        But I get the point about having a "freetards" ISP, and all the other obligations. I just don't think this is the way to go about it.

      2. CD001

        My new business FreeISP...

        "So if you do start up your own ISP providing proper 1:1 contention symmetric fibre-based connections of the >100Mb/s truly unlimited and no throttling ever variety, I'll take one of your top package please"

        Certainly Sir, that will be £199.99 per month paid in advance.

  30. Llyander

    Time to find another provider.

    So in other words if I buy games online, they'll throttle my bandwidth. If I buy movies online, they'll throttle my bandwidth, If I download a large patch (Like the new content for Warcraft, as an earlier poster commented), they'll throttle my bandwidth.

    These limits are pathetic, completely devoid of any connection to reality.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Very tight restrictions

    Why would anyone need 10Mbit and a 750MB download limit unless they wanted to download lots of data.

    It would be better to get a 2Mbit connection, although not with Virgin as it ony has 200MB Down/100MB Up before going to around 56KBs for 12 hours, v.90 represent! Virgin are going old school.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "Why would anyone need 10Mbit and a 750MB download limit unless they wanted to download lots of data."

      Well, a 1hr HD show on BBC iPlayer is roughly 1.15GB.

      If you're downloading/streaming video (iPlayer, 4oD, demandfive, lovefilm, etc), you need a high download limit. However, none of these services require a download speed of over 2Mbit/s, so even a throttled connection is usually fast enough.

      1. CD001

        Not to mention...

        Not to mention the fact that if you're with VM anyway you can pull iPlayer and 4OD down directly through the set-top box and watch it on your TV anyway - odds are that if you're going to pull down an hour's worth of iPlayer, you're not going to be doing it on your PC ... well, unless maybe it's a laptop and you're in bed.

  32. ph0b0s


    All that will happen is that the 'freetards' will move (if they have not already) to garbing their movies etc from file sharing sites like rapidshare etc Next will be restrictions on those as well. So the congestion will still be the same, with the network grinding to a holt between 9pm ~ 11pm. Good moves Virgin, how about upgrading your rubbish network so it is fit for purpose rather than putting ever more limits on your users....

  33. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Oliver 7


      You don't pay any more, you are throttled!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  34. Gordon861


    I don't have too much of a problem with throttling during peak hours, I just wish I could get more than a 1.5mb down max on my BT line.

    Also any company expecting you to stay within a download limit for a month should supply you with software that will allow you to monitor the stats on your line from their system.

  35. Snoopy


    Guy's... and ladies, maybe I read this wrong but it doesn't affect downloads, only uploads.

    By my guesstimation there shouldn't be any real difference for end users as it's download speed we're really interested in and paying for... unless we're running a server.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  36. Oliver 7

    The message between the lines is the same as ever

    Given this looks like it only applies to peak hours, the message I take from this is the one I think VM have consistently given out. Do your downloading overnight! Just don't hammer the network when granny is sending emails and housewives are getting in some Facebook time. Come on, let's be honest, there's no point having a connection above 2Mb unless you're file-sharing. I just hope that the targeting of p2p protocols doesn't mean that it will affect my Sopcast streams, I mean that's streaming video right?

  37. Ravenger

    About time...

    A while ago my Virgin internet connection became unusable due to high upstream utilisation. I live in a student area, and they were buying the uncapped 50mbit service and torrenting 24/7.

    It was partly Virgin's fault for overselling the network, but also the fault of those who were behaving like gluttons selfishly gobbling up all the food in an all-you-can-eat buffet, leaving crumbs for everyone else. My connection was eventually fixed, and has been fine since.

    Though I'm not glad to see this P2P throttling being introduced, I can appreciate why Virgin have decided to do it, given my past experience.

  38. Big_Ted

    get it right will you

    Virgin have increased the upload speed that many users have been asking for.

    They have also looked at the useage of the traffic on their system and have concluded that the vast majority of their users would get a much better service if they restrict the bandwidth used by P2Pers and Newsgroupies during peak times.

    This means that the vast majority of their subscribers will get the service they are paying for and the freeloaders will have to accept that they must change their downloading habits or try to find another supplier who will provide the speeds they are used to and don't shape traffic etc. (Good luck with that).

    Get over it, you have had it too easy for too long already downloading illegal stuff at the expence of my internet usage.

    I'm sure i saw a little while back that P2P etc was using the majority of all traffic on the net.

    Just set your downloads to overnight and use the net for live streams etc etc or go away and leave me with more bandwidth that I can use.

  39. Froggy

    Everyones a lawyer ...

    So everyone poo-pooing p2p use because 99.9999% of it is illegal.

    It's spurious point, the point is people making high use of their supposedly 'unlimited' connection are penalised.

    Downloading hours of HD video might be more legal content than the p2p content, but at the end of the day its still as much of a hog on the wire ...

    Why should one hog feel self righteous and another penalised

    1. Anonymous Coward

      @Everyones a lawyer ...

      Why should a customer who is breaking the law be penalised whilst the law-abding customer is not?

      Wow, you're right, I never looked at it that way. This stinks, it's so unfair, boo, hiss!!

  40. Rob Haswell

    Also IPv6

    I also heard on some forums that Virgin will be offering IPv6 to customers later in the year, have you heard anything about this?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why complain on a news website...

    when you can email the VM CEO direct?

  42. SlingboxUser1


    I have to (due to living in a restricted building area) use a Slingbox streaming (VM upline) Sky+ to my flat (on BT down-line) on the other side of London, so initially I am happy that my up speed will increase from 700K to 2MB!

    I wonder how VM see the data coming from my SlingBox, I doubt its P2P, more lilely HTTP (encrypted) but the upload caps might now work out to be a little awkward. I have worked out the SlingBox would only broadcast for 30ish minutes before reaching the 3gig cap (at 2mbs). If I understand this correctly does that mean that the 75% cap would then reduce my upstream to 500kb after this until (between for example 3.30 - 8pm?)....

    I might have to upgrade to the 50mbit line PURELY for the upload speed to keep a watchable connection when the 65% cap is put in place!!

    Anyone else using a SlingBox with VM?

  43. The Beard

    \0/ More upload.

    So basically they are increasing my upload rate for no extra charge? And I can still download whatever I like however I like, as long as I don't do it too much at peak times.

    Sounds fair and good to me.

  44. Carl Thomas

    Usenet Throttling

    How would they shape Usenet over SSL?

    From the point of view of identifying it it's really not hard.

    'Oh look, someone has 10 SSL connections to I wonder what those could be?'

    1. leexgx

      download amount

      download amount is the answer and its Globe download from everything Not just from newsgroups

  45. Aggellos

    your better off dead ted your hogging my oxygen with all that jogging.

    Or maybe VM should just be honest about it's XXL package, all this freetard crap is amusing . Virgin/ntl/telewest it has always been the same launch a new supa dupa high end connection get the punters on it then change and restrict it.

    No other industry gets away with the pirate tactics the ISP's use , lets lie that we put fibre into your house, lets lie that it is unlimited and unmetered, lets get you to agree to a contract then change the TC'S when ever we like and we get over subscribed in order to avoid investing in infrastructure.

    I mean imagine some one complaining about that, think about this you buy a mobile phone get it home your told you have 3g free unlimited texts, then the next week your Moby OP send you a text saying hay you overuse this thing dude , so now if you wants to send a picture text you have to do it after midnight your free unlimited text are set at a max of 100 a month and if use the web browser on your phone for more than 10 mins you will loose your 3g speed.

    They would not last long funny how we will take it in the ass from a ISP though.

    (and before anyone starts on the fibre and coax into the house from the mux, i am the one with the degree in non linear optics)

    1. leexgx


      50mb service is going from 1.5mb upload to 5mb with an 65% cut back if you upload 6GB (between 3pm-8pm) that still is 1.75mb upload (if you really need to upload 6GB of data)

      still want to know if there is an download limiter in play but i guessing VM would not do that on the XXL service (the link does have N/A on it so i assume its upload lowering only)

      and also this title is Very miss leading from the register as well as its NOT P2P throttling if it was there be No daly cap it be like Tiscali and there lame 4KB/s bit torrent speeds at peak times (something like 1pm to midnight lol)

      the title should say VM is updating the Traffic Management for Faster Upload Traffic Management as they have affect now given 2x more data before the traffic man kicks in

  46. JP19

    My bytes are more important than your bytes

    Wish people would lay off with the my bytes are more important than your bytes crap.

    They offer an all you can eat service and people whine about those eating more than they do.

    If you eat too much the provider takes away your cutlery and pretends it is something to do with fair and usage.

    Instead of installing all this packet inspection and throttling crap and continuing to lie about unlimited services they should install dynamic pricing crap and make charges which properly reflect the cost of service provision. Users can then decide how important their bytes are and what they are prepared to pay for them at what time of day.

  47. bexley

    nothing to worry about

    Encrypting your torrent transfers is pretty standard and as simple as checking a box in your client config. With encryption enabled they cant know what protocols you are using.

    1. Neil Greatorex


      When you're looking at network traffic identifying torrent traffic is trivial, encrypted or not.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      If you believe that encrypting your torrents will prevent your ISP seeing that they are torrents then you know nothing about networking. I remember the same crap being spouted a few years ago by people claiming they could "tunnel traffic through http" so their ISP would not be able to differentiate it from ordinary http traffic. That didn't work either.

  48. Nathan 13


    There are a few ISPs who dont perform "deep packet inspections" or throttle whatsoever. They also state exactly what your monthly allowance is.

    I pay a bit extra from one of these ISPs (Fast) and having previously suffered AOL and sky, I would recommend it to anyone.

    The day my ISP starts interfering with my connection in any way, would be the day I get my MAC code.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      But many of these providers are actually going through somebody else's network and have no control over what is happening in that network. Yes plenty of smaller ISPs buy their own connectivity from a larger ISP.

      I'm not just talking BT IPStream customers here, but that one is a big issue. I know many people who think they've switched from BT to another provider, but their new provider simply routes through BT central. What if BT mess with that traffic?

  49. Richard Cartledge
    Thumb Up


    How can 10Mb, 30Mb and 50Mb be increased to ...


    "Uploads for customers on the most expensive "XXL" tariff will be accelerated from up to 1.5Mbit/s to 5Mbit/s. For "XL" subscribers the upgrade will offer uploads at 2Mbit/s, compared to the current 768Kbit/s. Theoretical maximum upload speeds on "L" and "M" packages will double from 512Kbit/s to 1Mbit/s."</i>

    1. PaulR79

      Reading fail?

      10MB, 20MB and 50MB DOWNLOAD. The increases are to the UPLOAD speeds of those packages and something a lot of people have wanted for quite a while now.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I use a server to get all my torrents then download them via either ftp or http depending on my location.

  51. JohnG

    The issue with P2P

    Broadly speaking, network components share network resources amongst users on a per TCP connection basis. UDP transfers are typically expected to be brief (e.g. DNS queries) and therefore, insignificant. This works fine with traditional applications like http and ftp, where a single TCP connection or a few TCP connections are used per application. However, P2P applications effectively "cheat the system" by establishing large numbers of distinct TCP connections with multiple destinations. Many P2P applications also use UDP, again using multiple "connections" with multiple destinations. The end effect is that P2P applications grab way more than their fair share of available network resources, resulting in poor performance of other non-P2P applications and complaints from the affected users.

    VPNs or applications using nntp, ssl or ssh on single TCP connections are limited by the normal mechanisms, won't grab unreasonable chunks of available resources and are therefore, unlikely to attract attention for reasons of bandwidth usage.

  52. Monty Burns

    Move along please....

    "As part of the changes, "XXL" subscribers will for the first time have their connection restricted based on the amount of data they upload. There will still be no limits on the volume of data they can download."

    Nothing to see here for us Usenet users then ;-) S.E.P.

    1. ProjectManager

      STM and Shaping are different things

      I don't think you are understanding the difference between STM and Shaping.

      For NNTP and P2P these types of traffic will be shaped, regardless of how much you download/upload based on the total load on VMs network.

      I think I read NNTP and P2P will be restricted to a MAX of 20% of the network traffic.

      So yes, usenet users will be affected by this.

      Interested to know how SSL usenet and encrypted P2P will be detected though, if anyone can explain?

    2. chris 130


      you can still download your Pr0n as before, no restrictions then!

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Can we please get a source for this article? The linked Virgin Media policy page doesn't seem to say anything of the sort -- it's just a minor update to the usage limits already published on the same page last year.

  54. Electric Orange

    No guarantee of upload speeds shown

    I've called Virgin Media customer service on many an occasion as my upload speed hovered around the 0.01Mbps mark (when I had the 10Mbps service and then the 20Mbps service), in the end the solution turned out to be getting 50Mbps!!! No other option as I couldn't get out of the 12 month contract, apparently even if I could prove the broadband was faulty the TV and Phone worked fine so I'd have to buy out of those services.

    On many of my calls the agents insisted that they couldn't do anything about upload speed as it's dependant upon the site you're uploading to. They wouldn't guarantee upload speeds, so goof luck if you switch to Virgin hoping for a good upload speed!

  55. Matt 5


    I invite everyone to remember that you're paying for a consumer grade service with a contention ratio of (at least) 20:1 or 50:1. While all ISPs try to give people something that looks like the service they're paying for, they've never been under any obligation to actually deliver it 24/7.

    Offcom's investigations into broadband speed have always been to do with actual achievable speed and not usage.

    So you might have a 50mbit, or 8mbit service, but unlimited has never been unlimited. Their actual obligation to you is to provide 1/20th or 1/50th the service you signed up for. This has always been the case.

    Traffic shaping and AUPs are just an attempt to spread the pain more evenly over their entire network, otherwise some shit down the road from me who's a US tv/every other linux distro/super pirate who tries to max out his connection 24/7 is going to cause me and the other 18+ people on the same line to have some serious issues. Screw him is what I say.

    Overall most people get waaaay better than that minimum. Anyone who thinks that for their £20 - £60 / month they ought to be getting an uncontended, unlimited service please go to your doctor and ask for some anti-delusion pills.

    1. leexgx


      depends if your in an congested area

  56. leexgx

    VM limits

    also users who are complaining on here VM has had Traffic Management for the last 4-5 years (about 6 months after VM taken over )

    so stop bitching they have now Given you 1mb upload for 10mb and 20mb services (was 256kb and 756kb upload before and an massive 5mb upload on the 50mb DW thats Faster then Most ADSL connections Download speed that i ever see when i service PCs) that will benefit more then 10mb users as the connection was buggered due to the limited upload speed you got when Traffic Management came into play on the upload speed

    and on top of that they have 2x the upload cap on the day limit before it was quite low and would only take 20-30 mins to take affect (setting off the upload trigger sets the download limit as well or vis versa)

    id say 98% is not legit traffic for the heavy downloaders :) 90% seem not very realistic to me

  57. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Advertising standards Authority?

    Only they seem to have shown way more teeth than Ofcom on this.

  58. Iain Bagnall


    Just use Be broadband... especially if you are on an LLU exchange. 2mbit upstream, practically no download cap (They have a Very Fair Use Policy), no traffic shaping whatsoever. Just a good old fashioned network connection. Use Andrews and Arnold if you want ipv6 and no shaping, but they charge an arm and a leg for download allowance...

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @Iain Bagnall

      "Just use Be broadband... especially if you are on an LLU exchange. 2mbit upstream, practically no download cap (They have a Very Fair Use Policy), no traffic shaping whatsoever. Just a good old fashioned network connection. Use Andrews and Arnold if you want ipv6 and no shaping, but they charge an arm and a leg for download allowance..."

      Nor do they seem to want to run a traffic snooping system using Chines hardware like some of their competitors.

  59. BOBSta
    Thumb Up


    Yey! 2MB/s upload on my 20MB/s connection? Sweet! About time too! Better to me working from home sending emails and using Skype video conference and VOIP.

    Bandwidth hogging P2P users to be throttled and most likely to leave to another network? There's no bad here. Let them go. Just means lower peer-contention for those that stay. Win, win.

  60. lotus49

    Freetards are not thieves

    To AC above.

    We stopped calling freetards thieves because they aren't thieves. I recommend you learn some law and in particular, I point you at the Theft Act 1968 which says, in S1(1):-

    A person shall be guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.

    Since copying intellectual property does not normally deprive the other of it, it is not theft.

    So there.

  61. Anonymous Coward

    Rapidshare etc FTW

    Since the new restrictions solely apply to uploads (at least for XXL users like me), the use of file sharing sites like Rapidshare will not be affected.

    Although download managers like jdownloader are not as pleasant to use as decent bittorrent clients like Transmission (my personal choice) they are a perfectly reasonable alternative.

    They never stop me, mwah ha ha...

    PS Virgin don't give a crap about illegal filesharing, they just don't want to invest to enable heavy users to get what they pay for. This is nothing to do with piracy and everything to do with load management.

  62. Anonymous Coward

    heard it all before

    had BT out in Surrey and was throttled back most evenings to the point of not even being able to browse for an "unlimited" connection apparently 300-400GBper month was excessive, to some maybe but I beg to differ.

    Throttle USENET also though?? dont virgin provide USENET hosting of Warez? I know that wont account to real network traffic as its "internal", but P2P is a major bw hog.

    Now in London and on a 19Mbps service with NO FUP nor throttling of any kind...

    and I was very dubious of getting Sky

    just the one question remains -if I am on the some recent released list ;)

  63. chris 130

    RIP BBC and Sky Players then

    I may not have got the term right, cos' I have never used them and have no intention of using them; but they are effectively dying.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      WTF are you talking about?

  64. geejayoh

    Why does nobody ever mention....

    Ummm, why don't the ISPs cough up, pay for infrastructure and then give everyone QoS over their pipes and make sure that every person has an "even" tube. That way, they can only use bandwidth given to them.

    Oh, sorry. That way ISPs still get away with selling connections well above the capacity of their networks whilst still advertising whopping speeds. And then when their infrastructure groans under the weight at peak times, because all of the iphone users out there are using youtube they can conveniently blame it on the filesharers and P2P users and their heinous, subversive and illegal practises. All Traffic Equal in equal tubes. Just saying.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    All those of you rabitting on about bandwidth (even the ones of you using the term incorrectly) are missing the point by a country mile. There is more to network performance than bandwidth usage. To stay away from technical terms P2P conversations are very chatty and therefore keep the network hardware busy. A router or switch dealing with a lot of P2P traffic will tend to have a high processor usage. A network dealing with lots of P2P users will suffer performance problems because it's routers and/or switches will be working too hard.

    I can give you a parallel if you like. Imagine a premise LAN made up of old switches that don't support spanning tree. Now imaging somebody creates a loop on that network. We've all seen what happens next, in next to no time the LAN is brought to it's knees by a broadcast storm. Everything is maxed out by relaying broadcasts that are coming in through the looped ports. Imagine that upstream of this there is a multilayer switch on the other end of a fibre link to head office. The layer 2 network stops at the port on this switch, beyond there it's layer 3. Somehow, however, everything else connected to this switch starts having problems. This shouldn't happen, those layer 2 broadcasts should stop at that port and go no further. So what's the problem? Check out the switch's CPU utilization. It's huge because the switch is having to look at each of those broadcasts and make a decision on each one. Broadcasts coming in as fast as a 100Mb EES circuit can carry them are using up all the switch's decision making capacity. Until you switch on some sort of broadcast storm control you're stuffed. Limit broadcast storms to, say, 10% and suddenly everything is back to normal.

    P2P traffic is a lot like those broadcasts. From a network hardware POV chatty applications are a pain in the arse. This is why ISPs don't like P2P. As home broadband speeds get faster so P2P can put more load on the network hardware. So more and more ISPs who are increasing the speed available to subscribers will start to restrict P2P traffic.

    A lot of people think that P2P is really clever coding. Most network engineers will tell you it's shite coding because it is done with no consideration of how networks actually work.

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