Virgin Media is throttling its 50Mb connection

Throttling, a word that strikes fear into any heavy Internet user, is a reality in this day of streaming and content heavy websites. Virgin Media is the latest mega-corp to enter this arena and is doing so at the cost of its loyal subscribers. 

Virgin Media offers up its top tier 50Mb connection by saying it has unlimited downloads, which is irking many users because their traffic is being throttled to extreme measures. The Virgin Media support forums are filled with users complaining about the throttling even though their usage falls outside of Virgin Media's traffic management policy. 

Virgin media states that they reserve the right to throttle traffic on "file sharing traffic" but their support forums say otherwise. A users states,  "when I connected to my corporate network (via VPN) the download side of the connection slowed right down, I did a speed test through the VPN and found download speed was reduced to 300 - 600 kbs. Although upload was still 5mbs." another states that "this is what caused me to spend 20mins downloading 3 Rock Band songs from Xbox Live last night (average of 35-45Mb per song)."

There are countless complaints that Virgin Media is throttling outside of its own policy. It seems as if they are throttling heavy users by applying the throttling on an as needed basis, rather than sticking to their own terms.  It's a dangerous game to play when you break your own policy, especially when these customers are paying for the highest level of service that Virgin Media offers. 

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Won't services like Verizon FiOS help do away with this by theoretically offering a pipe so big it can't possibly clog. :-P

Speedtest.net shouldn't be running that slow, it's a different type of traffic and shouldn't be affected by shaping.

You sure it's not your connection at fault?

Same for me, I'm getting 200KB/s from Rapidshare and FileServe at the moment. SUCKS.

Speedtest.net only showing 300KB/s. Where's my 50,000KB/s I'm paying for!

They aren't just traffic managing either, their traffic shaping has come under fire recently when they started interfering with a lot of online gaming. WoW was showing latencies > 2kms.

Of course, their response was that Blizzard have switched to a P2P netcode (for patching yes, not for gameplay) but it didn't explain why it hit everyone on 50mbit almost two weeks after the patch dropped. Also didn't explain why other games such as Warhammer and Aion were hit at the same time.

Turns out they added new policies on 1/11 and these were responsible. They did revert at least some of the changes which made WoW playable again, can't comment for the rest though.

I also pay for a 50mB connection and as most people do download from bit torrent occasionally. the bulk of my traffic is from online gaming (xbox live etc). I have noticed lately that my connection to xbox live does seems to have slowed down. Is this service also being throttled along with file sharing? If this is the case I see no point in me paying a small fortune for a 5mB connection.

I don't see any point in you paying it in the first place, xbox live/online gaming does not require 50Mb\s, and if you only download a torrent occasionally, you are probably wasting your money.

My broadband connection is nowhere near 50MB, it's 8MB. I get what I pay for, though - and there's no throttling or fair use. I get a nice Static IP too, which is odd for this country... >.>

I knew Virgin would do something like this as they always do when they release a new speed. 100mb will be released traffic shaping free until the next speed is released then that'll be traffic shaped. I like how they blame filesharing/newsgroups however it's usually those guys who pay for the higher tier. Do they really believe ppl want 50/100mb to browse websites quicker?

Considering my background with various ISP over the years, throttling is a grey area, working between policies is dangerous because regulators can get involved and then it gets really ugly. The problem with 50MB connection is there are... it has a cancer and that cancer is Torrents and File Sharing. File sharing is not a real threat. What is a threat to any ISP is torrent downloading, especially when you have an idiot downloading a movie and it's going to take 5 days to download so he leaves his server connected to download the movie. Not only is this a pain for any ISP but the throughput peak threshold could be at 68% out of 100%. It could potentially bring the network to its knees. I am refering to more than one person here, considering that probably between 40% and 60% of users are torrent and file sharing.

I recall someone from the Netherlands in the mid 90's sending packets across the network by attacking, as it was then NTL: (that's before goatee took over) the network was nearly brought to its knees. Virgin Media Legal Team is one of the best in the business, next to BT Legal Team. Any ISP can make changes to their T&C and User Police at any time without notifying customers and/or clients. Although, Virgin Media's advertising could be brought into question, by OFCOM including the Office of Fair Trading, including the Advertising Standards Authority, if they are still advertising an UNLIMITED service. Again this is a grey area, I would imagine that OFCOM. Office of Fair Trading, including the Advertising Standards Authority has already been contacted about this. Customers on the Cable Forum are going nuts about the cap.

Read this page: http://shop.virginmedia.com/he...ffic-management-policy.html no changes made to this policy... interesting.

What makes you think it will take 4 days to download a movie on a 50Mb connection? Try 20mins for something around the 7GB mark.

There is no reason I can think of that a domestic user would need a 50Mb connection other than "file sharing", and I'm damn sure that Virgin are fully aware of that fact.

I just moved to the UK last month from NY.. I had the 10 meg connection very slow. went to 50 meg connection, NO LIE went to do a speed test i was only do a 20 meg download. I asked the cable installer while he was still here why, he said maybe a busy time of the day. I have never seen a 50 Meg download speed. Most at 20, sometimes 25 or 30. It is heavily throttled.

File sharing
We moderate the total volume of file sharing traffic on our network between 5pm and midnight on weekdays and midday and midnight on weekends. This policy is restricted to Peer to Peer ("P2P") applications and Newsgroups (which are commonly used to distribute large amounts of data)

This policy does not impact any applications other than Peer to Peer and Newsgroups, so things like watching iPlayer, online gaming, making calls via Skype, downloading music tracks from iTunes or streaming them from Spotify and sending an email or normal browsing are unaffected.

It's important to remember that these traffic management policies only apply at peak times when speeds are most likely to be affected by people using more than their fair share. Outside of peak times we do not manage traffic.

http://shop.virginmedia.com/he...ffic-management-policy.html

the clue to avoiding this is in the line "This policy does not impact any applications other than Peer to Peer and Newsgroups" the cap for vpn traffic appears to be 40mbt

Guess because I was already using port 443 for SSL on usenet, I haven't noticed any throttling. Will be ****ed if they start though.

Downloaded around 466GB from usenet last month, so that doesn't include any browsing, streaming/TV on demand, communication, gaming.

Got a pretty good speed test result the other day, **** knows what happened with the pig time http://www.speedtest.net/result/1019533871.png

This is more the norm http://www.speedtest.net/result/1022512651.png

So as you can see, I'm a pretty heavy user, which is why I pay for the top service available. **** with me and I'll take my business elsewhere.

DARKFiB3R said,
Guess because I was already using port 443 for SSL on usenet, I haven't noticed any throttling. Will be ****ed if they start though.

Downloaded around 466GB from usenet last month, so that doesn't include any browsing, streaming/TV on demand, communication, gaming.

Got a pretty good speed test result the other day, **** knows what happened with the pig time http://www.speedtest.net/result/1019533871.png

This is more the norm http://www.speedtest.net/result/1022512651.png

So as you can see, I'm a pretty heavy user, which is why I pay for the top service available. **** with me and I'll take my business elsewhere.

What the hell do you download at 446 GIGABYTES!?

50Mb here with no probs .. unless utorrent is running!

I did get an email and a letter from VM telling me about 'Detrimental Use of your Broadband Connection' .. which is a standard letter apparently .. apart from that .. i've no complaints!

Sounds like you Virgin Media members should begin boycotting their services. From what I've read (horror stories so far) they don't deserve a dime of any customers $$$ !

StevenNT said,
Just had a look and they have not even had the decency to update their policy.
http://shop.virginmedia.com/he...ffic-management-policy.html

Nor on their trial
http://shop.virginmedia.com/he...affic-management-trial.html

Look harder - http://shop.virginmedia.com/help/traffic-management.html

At peak times we also slow down the speed of file sharing traffic - that's services like Limewire, Gnutella, BitTorrent and Newsgroup (Usenet) traffic. You will, of course, still be able to use these services, but downloads and uploads will take longer during these peak periods.

Personally iv given up on ISP speeds. I've come to realise that if I want a guarenteed spped, I have to buy an expensive business class connection such as a leased line.

rtire said,
Personally iv given up on ISP speeds. I've come to realise that if I want a guarenteed spped, I have to buy an expensive business class connection such as a leased line.

Ever had one? You will get guaranteed speeds. Just not very good ones.

Good ole VM, upto their old tricks again.. this is why I left them several years ago, when they introduced traffic shaping half way through my contract... They way they work out the top 5% is ridiculous, I could understand if you were downloading 100gb per month or more, but if you wimply download around 5gb in one sessions, thiswill trigger the management policy, even if you dont download anything the rest of the month!!.... I thought they took the top 5% of total downloaders, being those who downloaded vast amounts each month, and applied the restricitons to them... but no!!

Ill stick we BE, I get 22mbps constant, 2.3mbps upload, and have never seen the slightest decrease in speeds... all for £15 per month (Been with them for a few years, and haggled a good deal!)... I know some people regularly download 100gb+ per month without any problem either...

DrScouse said,
Good ole VM, upto their old tricks again.. this is why I left them several years ago, when they introduced traffic shaping half way through my contract... They way they work out the top 5% is ridiculous, I could understand if you were downloading 100gb per month or more, but if you wimply download around 5gb in one sessions, thiswill trigger the management policy, even if you dont download anything the rest of the month!!.... I thought they took the top 5% of total downloaders, being those who downloaded vast amounts each month, and applied the restricitons to them... but no!!

Ill stick we BE, I get 22mbps constant, 2.3mbps upload, and have never seen the slightest decrease in speeds... all for £15 per month (Been with them for a few years, and haggled a good deal!)... I know some people regularly download 100gb+ per month without any problem either...

Their policy has nothing to do with monthly cycles. What made you think it did?

Antaris said,
I pay for the 50mb package, and never get more than 20mb/s

Not sure why that's the case as it seems fine here, try and bitch and whine to them and if they do nothing drop to the 20Mbps tier in protest.

Antaris said,
I pay for the 50mb package, and never get more than 20mb/s

your rotuter and NIC are proberly not 10/100/1000
if your nic is a gb nic and you are using windows xp then i recomend you use
the tool from http://www.speedguide.net/files/TCPOptimizer.exe
and adjust the settings as custom and move the slider all the way to the end. this is what the installer did when he came to fit the new modem.

i havent had any issuses regarding speed with the 50mb service on normal LAN and wireless i allways get speeds of 5MB to 6MB Persec and thats MEGABytes not megaits.

InsaneNutter said,

Maybe you need a router that can cope with the 50mbit service.

You can't access the 50mb network without the supplied wireless n router

cerealfreak said,

You can't access the 50mb network without the supplied wireless n router

you dont need the router to get online with the 50mb service. and your very incorect about it having to be the suplied router also. i have my own linksys router thats been flashed with ddwrt
i connect with and with out it.

xSuRgEx said,

you dont need the router to get online with the 50mb service. and your very incorect about it having to be the suplied router also. i have my own linksys router thats been flashed with ddwrt
i connect with and with out it.

I was going with the official t&c from Virgin. As the router is the modem combined accessing their network without is actually against their t&c and according to Virgin technically fraud??!?!!? I wasn't aware it was actually possible to access their network without an assigned MAC code?

cerealfreak said,

I was going with the official t&c from Virgin. As the router is the modem combined accessing their network without is actually against their t&c and according to Virgin technically fraud??!?!!? I wasn't aware it was actually possible to access their network without an assigned MAC code?

The modem you get on the 50mbps tier is not combined, they provide the service seperately. I heard they where doing their own hub but very few customers where actually issued with one, however I heard all 100 mbps customers will be issued with new hubs. The routers that they supply with the 50mb tier, the WNR2000 and the DIR-615 are both low end and pretty cheap.

Is there any way i can get around the throttling, i've got a linksys router with DD-WRT firmware on it, i don't have a rented server incase one of those is needed.

torrentthief said,
Is there any way i can get around the throttling, i've got a linksys router with DD-WRT firmware on it, i don't have a rented server incase one of those is needed.

Using port 443 for Usenet has escaped it for me.

woaaaah there goes the 1st world, I'm on 20MB here (Argentina), and no throttling, no GB limit .... yeah I know, few users, but that kind of limits are ridiculous

(Spork) said,
wahhhh my connection is being throttled to 10mb /rollseyes

you been serious? were paying for 50mb why should I pay for something that im not going to get lately they have been doing it alot with me and its ****ing me off, don't sell something you can't handle to support god forbid people actually use their bandwidth they pay for!

DesGaiZu said,

you been serious? were paying for 50mb why should I pay for something that im not going to get.
You're paying for a broadband service, not "50Mb". I pay just as much, if not more than you do and only get about 3.5Mb because of where I live.

StevenNT said,
Typical no formal announcement that they are going to do this, what a joke.

Uhhh yes there was, they announced it when they announced their new upload speeds.

Well something needs to be done to make them stop, cause if they are getting by with it then whats to say Comcast and others don't do the same thing. I have Comcast and I have a 250G/month limit on a 20/4 package and I'll be damned if they slow me down unless I hit that cap. Closest I've gotten has been around 150G/Month but the rest have been well below 80G/month. Something has to give and its time people start raising hell if they continue to be allowed to do this shaping. In the meantime I would wish there were alternate ports to use to get around them capping usage on certain ports say for Usenet and others mentioned.

man they been doing this to me too and i just got a letter about
Detrimental use of your broadband connection

i can do anything by laugh as it pathetic

littleb2005 said,
man they been doing this to me too and i just got a letter about
Detrimental use of your broadband connection

i can do anything by laugh as it pathetic

i eventually got kicked off O2 for downloading a few steam games, when they said you have broken the fair use, i said im suprised ive managed to as the O2 service is absolute crap and has been for a few years. Unless their fair use is 40GB a year.

REM2000 said,

i eventually got kicked off O2 for downloading a few steam games, when they said you have broken the fair use.

On the flip side to this, I have found O2 to have been the best ISP I have ever had so far. Shame I had to end my contract early, although they did what they could.

That was with me downloading nearly 300Gb one month

yeah i havent got the 2mb upload either on my 20mb connection, it will take until the end of 2011 until people get the new upload speeds.

They're doing it here to me, and I haven't even got the 5mbps upload yet!

Last night, downstream on port 80 was 50mbps bang on, whilst downstream on port 443 was 6mbps.

omnicoder said,
Should get a group together and sue them for breach of contract.

I bet you that there is some clause in their Terms of Service agreement that says:
"We can do whatever the hell we want, we reserve the right to change the rules that you agree to without notification* and service may be interrupted at any time. If you complain, we'll screw you so hard, you'll never be able to be with another ISP again."

* This one isn't a joke, I guarantee it's in there.

You should try o2 broadband- my line syncs @ 5mb/sec yet i cant even play 240p low bitrate youtube clips - been like it for last 3 months - then you really would feel hard done by....!!!

since they introduced the new policy about 1 month ago usenet NEVER goes above 10mb on my 20mb connection and sometimes goes at 20k/s when downloading the list of files for the group. They said they would lower only during peak periods this is a lie, it still happens at 10am, 1am etc and i never get my 20mb on usenet anymore. torrents have also been hit loads. They have completely violated the user agreement and the govt lets them get away with this. 20k/s on usenet when it could be going at 2400k/s is criminal! Right now its going at 70-140k/s whereas 1 month ago i would get full 2400k/s or 600k/s if i had gone past the download cap, now its just completely unusable!

If you use torrents or usenet DO NOT get virgin broadband.