Feeds

Tiscali hits 'undo' after bandwidth throttling chokes iTunes

And cripples other traffic

Boost IT visibility and business value

Tiscali has been forced to reverse a software installation on its bandwidth-throttling hardware, after it triggered complaints from customers who saw iTunes blocked during peak hours and other traffic slowed to a crawl.

Engineers have now rolled back the installation, so access should be returned to normal during this evening's "traffic management" period, a spokeswoman said.

She encouraged customers still experiencing problems to get in touch through the usual channels*. Over the last week users have reported newly-blocked ports and sub-dial-up speeds of 10Kbit/s between 5pm and 9pm.

The firm tweaked its opaque fair use policies last week via an upgrade to its Cisco kit. Complaints quickly rose as it hit speeds and blocked access.

The sudden deterioration of service brought howls of derision in Tiscali user forums. The majority of current discussions have headings like "painfully slow speeds" and "web ok, anything else = fail". Peer-to-peer, newsgroup and usenet traffic has also been affected.

The firm acknowledged the widespread issues five days ago. A company support administrator wrote on Wednesday last week:

We are aware that there is an issue in this area which is currently being addressed.

We will post in here when further updates are available. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

As well as having an impact on gaming, this issue is a cause of peak time slow speeds and is currently affecting: iTunes access, VPN/FTP/RDP just to mention a few.

An update posted on Sunday doesn't give any timescale on a fix, only telling frustrated users that forum threads on the subject will be closed to new posts.

The spokeswoman assured us the cockup is now resolved. She added that customers will be informed on plans once engineers have identified what went wrong this time.

Tiscali is currently ranked fourth largest ISP in the UK with about two million customers. It operates at the cheap end of the broadband market, on some of the tightest margins in the business. In 2005 it was one of the first to clamp down on heavy users.

ISPs who have such policies maintain publicly that are in place to protect the majority of users' bandwidth. The truth is that the structure of the UK market for bandwidth makes heavy users very expensive for the ISP. The current Tiscali policy is here.

Bandwidth-throttling is now making waves in the US, where large ISPs are trialling it. ®

*Do get in touch with El Reg too, if you have the same trouble this evening.

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.