Feeds

Tiscali hits 'undo' after bandwidth throttling chokes iTunes

And cripples other traffic

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.