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Virgin Media sets throttle on hardcore hogs

Policy change to target 0.1 per cent

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Virgin Media's bandwith throttling policy will in future be more targeted towards the minority of customers the firm says "hammer" its network.

It said its 50Mbit/s network upgrade programme, now completed, will allow it to restrict bandwidth during peak times for 2 per cent of customers rather than the current 5 per cent.

Within that group Virgin Media plans to contact a "hardcore" of users, who have disproportionate impact on the network through heavy BitTorrent and newsgroup downloading, to demand they ease off. The firm has made a change to its acceptable use policy to codify the policy.

It now reads: "In isolated cases (currently less than 0.1 per cent of customers) where excessive network usage at busy times (9am to 9pm) is having a detrimental effect on other users, we may need to take appropriate action in accordance with the terms of this AUP to notify users of the impact they are having and require them to move some of their activity into the less busy period."

Subscibers to the most expensive 50Mbit/s package will remain free of any bandwidth throttling and all packages do not have gigabyte download limits. Full details are here.

Broadband executive director Jon James said "Our premium 50Mbit/s product remains free from traffic management and takes advantage of our extra network capacity, however this also provides us with opportunities across the rest of our portfolio.

"By focusing our traffic management on the tiny minority who are having a direct and detrimental effect on other users, we're able to maximise the quality of service and simultaneously reduce the number of customers managed on a daily basis."

Along side the announcment its network upgrade was complete, Virgin Media said it will begin trails of increased upload bandwith with a view to increasing it for all packages. Some customers in the Midlands and North East will see up to 10Mbit/s.

The firm's current best upstream bandwidth is 1.5Mbit/s, available to top package subscribers. ®

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