Feeds

Virgin Media tightens throttle on hardcore hogs

Bust the limit, lose half your downlink speed

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Virgin Media has introduced new throttling "trigger levels" for customers who make heavy use of its network.

The telco updated its subscriber traffic management (STM) policy yesterday to "ensure the vast majority of customers get the high quality of service they expect from Virgin Media's fibre optic broadband without being negatively affected by extremely heavy users" at peak times.

It classified a so-called "bandwidth hog" as a 60Mbit/s customer, for example, who can download 5,000MB of data between 4pm and 9pm on a weekday before having their broadband connection throttled.

"During this time that customer would have to download 7 standard definition movies or 1,250 songs before a 5-hour temporary speed reduction was applied, and even then they can of course continue to browse the web and use services like the iPlayer without interruption," Virgin Media explained.

A company spokesman told The Register that around 5 per cent of users would be affected by the STM policy. Those punters can expect to see their speed usage of the network temporarily throttled by 50 per cent.

"Customers can still continue to use their services whilst having their traffic managed, however the temporary reduction in speed will help minimise the impact of their usage on other customers, ensuring more customers are able to enjoy their services at peak times,” Virgin Media added.

The traffic that will be slowed down by VM during weekday evenings and weekends will be peer-to-peer and newsgroups. The firm said it won't be targeting, among other things, video streaming, music downloads and VoIP.

Virgin Media's spokesman added that it was being "very generous" with the amount of bandwidth it was allowing heavy users to access before applying throttling to those customers.

He also told us that the company was working on ways of making the current technology it uses to slow down speeds on individual broadband connections more "intelligent".

"We're conscious of the fact that the system might capture someone who has peaked only once," he told El Reg. It appears the tech itself will need to undergo more refinement.

Indeed, the telco has told users: "We'll be trialling a variety of different approaches to traffic management over the coming months to make the system more intelligent and flexible, while ensuring the optimal quality of service. We'll publish more information on this as soon as it's available."

Virgin Media runs two different types of traffic management: the aforementioned STM and protocol shaping, which affects all tiers of subscribers during peak hours.

Meanwhile, complaints about over-utilisation have begun to pile up on Virgin Media's customer forums.

One punter said: "It seems that we are getting to the point that Virgin are selling us an ever faster service but putting so many restrictions in place for peak time, that in reality, a lot of us would be better off just having a constant guaranteed 10Mbps unmanaged service rather than paying out for 50Mbit/s or 100Mbit/s. I can't see how this can ever be done fairly." ®

Bootnote

No doubt this move will spark fury or praise from punters - upload your thoughts to our new broadband forum right here.

JavaScript Disabled

Please Enable JavaScript to use this feature.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey
This Herod network's ace – but crap reception in bullrushes
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality
Oettinger all about the infrastructure – but not big on substance
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.