Feeds

Tiscali hits 'undo' after bandwidth throttling chokes iTunes

And cripples other traffic

Top three mobile application threats

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.

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.