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BT accidentally chokes bandwidth to 'superfast' customers

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BT has said sorry to subscribers to its "Infinity" packages, who have seen their "superfast" broadband connections slowed to a relative crawl in the evening recently.

It blamed the problems on a "technical fault", but did not provide any further details.

Hundreds of postings on BT's customer forums in the last week report a similar, dramatic cut in downstream speed between 6pm and midnight across the country. Subscribers typically report their usual 25 to 35Mbit/s is slashed to about 2Mbit/s.

BT said in a statement today: "The slow speed experienced by a number of customers was due to a technical fault that was highlighted through individual complaints and our customer forums, this has now been fixed.

"We're sorry for the inconvenience and grateful to customers who highlighted this. We worked on this over the weekend to establish the cause and as of now it is fixed.

"The technical fault caused a limited number of customers to see their speeds reduced to 2Mbit/s at certain times."

Infinty is the brand name for broadband packages based on BT's ongoing fibre optic deployment. Most lines are being upgraded to fibre-to-the-cabinet and VDSL2+ technology, which offers theoretical maximum downsteam speeds of up to 40Mbit/s. Prices are at least 40 per cent higher than its cheapest Total Broadband package, which is (or should be) significantly slower.

Because of the way their connections have been slowing at regular times every day, coinciding with peak evening bandwidth demand, Infinity customers in the BT forums have angrily suggested they are being deliberately throttled.

"Oh come on," pleaded user "cherkhan" in a typical gripe.

"These are NOT isolated incidents. We have been reporting this problem from all over the nation. This is a throttle.

"In my opinion this is due to over selling a product. Why say this? look at the hours that the speed returns. Look at the times that the speed dies off. Peak times of when people are home and using the net."

Under Hanlon's razor it's most likely the recent speed restrictions were the result of genuine mistakes. BT does deliberately use bandwidth throttling on its Infinity packages, but the fair usage policy restricts bandwidth to 2Mbit/s once a subscriber downloads 300GB in a month, which several of the complainants insisted they were nowhere near.

They will be monitoring their connections closely this evening. ®

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