Virgin Media offically "Throttling" users.

Today, May 3rd 2007, Virgin Media announced to users that new "Traffic Management", (or "throttling" as it's called in the real World), will be enforced for "heavy" users of their Broadband Internet service.

Virgin Media said on their website

"We don't like traffic jams
Here at Virgin Media, we want all our customers to get the best service possible from their broadband. That means speedy downloads for all users – not just a few.

When someone is downloading a particularly large amount of information over a long period of time, it can slow down the internet speed for other users who might just be checking their email or browsing online. So to make sure our service is fair for everybody, we sometimes moderate the speeds during peak times (4pm till midnight) for customers who are downloading an unusually large amount at these times.

This ensures that the service doesn't get blocked up with people using more than their fair share – which means a lot fewer traffic jams on the information superhighway."

View: Traffic Shaping - Virgin Media

Broadband Size: M - 2mb
During peak times, the top 5% on the Size: M package download at least 350MB of traffic each.

Any users hitting this amount during peak times (4pm till midnight) will have their broadband speed temporarily traffic managed – their download speed will be set to 1Mb, with their upload speed set to 128Kb. This will last for 4 hours from when the traffic management policy is applied.

Broadband Size: L (4mb)
During peak times, the top 5% on the Size: L package download at least 750MB of traffic each.

Any users hitting this amount during peak times (4pm till midnight) will have their broadband speed temporarily traffic managed – their download speed will be set to 2Mb, with their upload speed set to 192Kb. This will last for 4 hours from when the traffic management policy is applied.

Broadband Size: XL (20mb - old 10mb)
During peak times, the top 5% on the Size: XL package download at least 3GB of traffic each.

Any users hitting this amount during peak times (4pm till midnight) will have their broadband speed temporarily traffic managed – their download speed will be set to 5Mb, with their upload speed set to 256Kb. This will last for 4 hours from when the traffic management policy is applied.

Source: Virgin Media

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I have it worse, I moved to Virgin after recently moving home, I could have taken Bulldog with me but they wanted £150 to move the line as there was no BT line at my new property, BT wouldn't do it unless I took out a 12mth internet package with them so I called Telewest (virgin media) who advised that I would be able to get 10Mb service and be upgraded to free from 1st May to 20Mb, I asked about restrictions and throttling and was advised that the service was unlimited with no contentions (like my bulldog acct) so I agreed. I was told that I needed to wait 3 weeks to get installed, I was a bit p***ed at this but thought hell, Ill be getting 20Mb soon after install (my install date was 24th April).

Guys came round and installed, but couldn't hook me up as they said the software wasn't compatible with Vista (which I use) and that I would have to sort the connection out myself, not hard, connect the cable line to the modem they gave me (yes I had to wire the modem to the cable line, not just connect it to the PC and then call for the modem to be allowed on the network as it just flashed all the time) After all that I tried some speed tests and was getting like 50k down and around 20k up. I called customer services and was advised the email system was down? WTF does that have to do with my download speed? I gave benefit of the doubt as I spoke to an asian call centre.

Anyway long story short, I am now being told officially by tech support that I am a heavy user and that my speeds are throttled to the 50k and 20k speed. This never alters and I cannot get out of the contract as they said I signed up for 12mths, nor can I download my internet package as I was told that my speeds would be restricted even further.

How can they say Im a heavy user when I haven't even been with them 2 weeks yet? They asked me to download some files from the gamefiles site at blueyonder so the could monitor my speeds from their end, which is when they confirmed that I only had 50k (they said I should be getting 1200k or there abouts) and that is when they deduced that I am a high user.

I have tried calling customer relations (0800 0730591 for those who want the number) and they said that they were aware of the throttling and whilst it wasn't against the TOS they agreed it was false advertising but I couldnt get out of my contract, nor could I downgrade the internet package They did however offer to change my charges from £37 for the broadband and £11 for the phone line to 28 all in which included the 10Mb line (50k?) and the phone line with talk unlimited as well as mobile calls and international (the latter two I will never use) I reluctantly had to agree. However does anyone know how else I can proceed? I am a bit peeved at only having 50k and 360 gaming is severely affected as well as general browsing

Well i have complain to virgin and contacted watchdog. To think that they do this and don't even send a letter.

This isn't traffic management this is traffic punishment.

virgins company motto used to be we are sticking up for the little man... now it is we are sticking it up the little man.
how much more are we virgin media customers expected to go throu... i dont think virgin wants any customers. in our house virgin is a swear word. but at least the other companies. bt, sky are all laughing at mr branson while his customers want out

LOL Virgin Media upgarade all their 10mb connections to 20mb..... and then have to throttle speeds.....

LMFAO and I thought Branson had some brains...... FFS

I've just switched my PC on for the 1st time today to find my 4MB connection is STILL throttled to 2MB!!!! Looks like the restriction is not 4 hours... Grrr!!!

Spoke to the guy at support last night to be told that it definitely isn't happening. I told him it was, but he assured me that Virgin wouldn't do that lol.

bod said,
I've just switched my PC on for the 1st time today to find my 4MB connection is STILL throttled to 2MB!!!! Looks like the restriction is not 4 hours... Grrr!!!
I can vouch for this, if this is true, ive been throttled for 4 weeks upto now, from 4pm til midnight. My 20meg speed has been lopped to 256k for the past month, this has got to be illegal

People, please voice your complaint to Virgin using the link above (post 35)!!!

I've also contacted BBC Watchdog lol Mainly because Virgin haven't actually notified me they'll be doing this - I've only found out via Neowin.

So that's why my speed has been slow the past few weeks. This sucks. I'm on the 4MB service and must go over 750MB quite often.

How much bandwidth would online gaming use ?

With many UK tv stations now offering video on the web (4OD, BBC iPlayer, ITV's new...err thing) then watching TV on your computer when you get home just goes out the window. 350MB? That's a riduculous limit to be giving you half the speed that you are still paying for.

And if your network can't handle it, sort that out before giving people 20Mb, when alot of them are still struggling to get 10Mb.

I dropped Virgin when they tried telling me losing channels was a good thing and there was lots of exiting things to come. I had cable from them for 12 years. Ive been with NTL?Virgin since 2002 but i guess Im ending that now as well.

I think most ISP's are slowly introducing more traffic management measures.
Perhaps Virgin ought to invest in more central pipes to cope with it... ISP's in England are becoming so hard up.

I'm angry but at-least the traffic shaping only lasts for 4 hours...

Soon as a better company comes along I will be switching. Lost a customer Virgin Media. The only reason I stayed was because they didn't use Caps. I've been on 10Mb for over a year @ £35 while other suppliers were offering 24Mb @ £25 a month. Now Virgin Media are just an expensive ISP with caps like the others.

If you think you have it bad; just look at Australian telcos.

Average ADSL1 service is like 512 down, throttled to 32-54-72 range after 10gb (read: not a %, not peak time, just throttled until the end of the month). And it's way more expensive.

to all the people who think they are entitled to the speed of their service 24/7 are utterly clueless, if you want the advertised speed 24/7 you'll have to pay for you own dedicated line. home connections are all shared to an extent so if everyone downloads in your area at the same time you will get a slower speed, thats how it is, how its advertised and how it will always be

The problem is that many ISPs will not openly admit what the limit is. I give Virgin kudos for at least saying a number.

I suspect in many cases, it's not even a hard number, but rather if they identify you as an outlier.

If they don't give you a number, you can't find the real value of the service until after you've spent a fair amount of time and money getting it installed and running.

For example, If I want to download 3 4Gb Linux distributions or the like a month, a slower rated service with a 30Gb limit is better value than a 'faster' service with a 5Gb or 10Gb limit.

I have a 40GB download limit per month.

And I like that, at least I actually know what the limit is. I'm never, ever, ever going to go beyond it. I'm no downloader.

I know its so wrong and annoying, but theres a few things you can do to make it "easier" to cope with this:

Set Access Policys up in your router if you have them, I know with my Linksys router running DD-WRT I have now set it up to block all P2P traffic on every PC on my network during 4pm and midnight.

uTorrent also has a built in schedular which you can set to either have limited speeds or not download/upload at all during a certain time, then all your torrents will be paused during that time.

By doing that, you can download them at full speed at times which wont affect there crappy throttling, and during the 'peak' times your have full speed for the casual internet use.

Won't help everyone, but may help a few.

Though I would still recommend in the long run a switch of ISP. People don't pay £37 a month for 20mb to view websites and email super fast, they pay that much for fast downloads, pretty simple. They just killed there main 20mb userbase.... Vote with your wallet.

At least they're being open about the restrictions, unlike most ISPs. The restrictions aren't nice but they are very transparent and limited to 4hrs, rather than a week or month like some or banning users like others.

What I object to most is the way ISPs can advertise "unlimited" services but they impose severe limits - that is a SERIOUS trading standards issue and it should have been stopped a long time ago.

Well my complaint has gone through. This is absolute crap. Never a problem with Telewest and now all this. After the ridiculous SKY One nonsense and the recent troubles with their tech support. . .

Time to seek a good alternative.

Does such a thing as an ISP which actually provides its customers with what there paying for actually exist?

NTL aside i personally cant name a single ISP that will actually make good on its promise of unlimited downloads, theres always a fair usage policy to redefine unlimited as being just couple of GB's these days I mean what are "heavy" users supposed to do, if i want to be able download alot of stuff, at any time of the day, there really should be at least once decent company out there that will allow me to do it "/

Yeah I'll be switching aswell,

It was the worse thing that could of happened to Telewest, first the merger (read takeover) by NTL - which I believe always throttled/restricted the amount their customers could download...

Now it gets even worse with Virgin Media, WTF is with restricting the upload speed? - it's already a joke! at 378kbs, takes ages to upload jpgs to flicker, etc...

I would not bother phoning customer services either, if you do manage to get through, its a sodding call centre in India! - they can hardly understand you and don't have a clue on how to help you!

Anyone recommend a good replacement, I have BT for telephone, so I guess I could get ADSL/2?

my reply:

I'm angry about the "throttling" that's now in place. If you sell a package, give us the whole package speed, or *DON'T SELL IT*.

It's not *OUR* fault as customers that *YOUR* network is incapable of supplying our needs.

Regardless of what you say, you're refusing to upgrade your network to cope with demand, so you're downgrading people's packages at whim.

I, for one, am not impressed.

I can't even send them a complaint because I get the error:


Software error:

Failed to connect to mail server: Illegal seek
at /opt/htdocs/help2.virginmedia.com/cgi-bin/formactions/kanamail.pl line 534

For help, please send mail to the webmaster (support@virginmedia.com), giving this error message and the time and date of the error.

Perhaps they are overrun with complaints?

Motherlicking NTLVirgin ******s. WTF is this happy horsesh!t? If I DL more than 350MB between 4pm and midnight I'm getting my speed halved??!?! What happened to NTLVirgin ISP being "unlimited"? Oh sure, it's an unlimited service, but if you DL more than we say then we stick a big one up your ass. This really ****es me off. 350MB is nothing on my 2mbit connection. That's 23 minute of downloading by my calculations, and then BAM! Half-speed. Disgraceful. Absolutely disgraceful. Virgin media can suck my nutsack. (Oh, and if that beardy bollock-brain Branson thinks I'm ever going in one of his Virgin shops again, he's sadly mistaken - I'm doing all my shopping in HMV from now on.)

Virgin Media offically "Throttling" users.

Well they should sue for assault and battery then.

Edit: Oh well, it seemed funny at the time.

I suggest that everyone finding themselves throttled calls customer services and logs a ticket for it.

They claim that they receive fewer calls when throttling "heavy" users. That'll soon level out their fault call stats.

Not a fan though of having my 20meg connection throttled to 5meg... why not throttle it back to 10meg as it was previously? (the other packages get a 50% reduction)

Did anyone get a phone call from them today? I didn't pick up cause I was busy.

This actually sucks, if you stream alot of TV and stuff this is just totally useless, I've got 3 computers on my network which are practically doing things on the net all the time.

So basically were paying for a 4mb connection but were only going to be allowed to use it at 2mbps when you think about it.

We have 4 people who use the internet in our house, so each person is only allowed to download 187.50mb per night or we get our internet connections speed halved

So you come home and think right ill download the new episode of Lost since I can no longer watch it on any of the channels Virgin Media offer, bang your internet speed is halved for the rest of the day.

The next day, oh look a new demo is on Xbox Live, oh its more than 750mb, oh now my internet speeds halved again.

Or the demo might only be 400mb, but my brother downloads it too on his xbox... yet again another day where we can’t use the 4mbps we pay for.

Smart thinking eh Virgin? Only allow people to use there full internet speed when no one’s gonna be home.

So my 4MB connection is only 4MB when VM feel like it? I'm simply not getting what I'm paying for.

750MB isn't a lot of downloads in an evening really.

1. "We sometimes moderate the speeds during peak times (4pm till midnight) for customers who are downloading an unusually large amount [3GB] at these times."

2. "We want to deliver the best possible value to all our customers. That's why we're starting to double the speed of our top broadband package up to a supersonic 20Mb."

What a hypocritical thing thing to say! Who would want 20Mb if it's going to be throttled after just TWENTY MINUTES of downloading at full speed?

Do they really reckon customers will complain that emails are not delivered fast enough at 'only' 10Mb? Lies!!

This is just a load of croc. Sure it could be worse. But this is just dictatorship B.S.

If you pay for twenty megs (which we can't even get around here) you should full well be able to use every last bit of it at all times. They're the one advertising the service and selling it as a 20mb link.

All I've got at home is DSL. If I ever get higher than that (which I'm sure will happen in the years to come as DSL becomes antiquated like dialup) and I end up getting throttled, I will be down at the ISP's door with a flaming torch and a pitchfork. This throttling crap can take a running jump.

I hate that ISP's get away with this nowadays. Trading standards should smack them with a stick.
They should upgrade the network to cope with it. Thats what I pay them for.

However they do only lower you to 2mb from 4mb if your on the L service which isn't all that bad I guess. It would get on my nerves tho if I had just downloaded a big .iso file or something
and I guess at least its only for 4 hours at a time they limit you for, unlike my friend on demon internet who lowered him to 256k(i think...) every weekday during peek hours for a MONTH.

I've made countless posts here stating that they have already been doing this for months on their XL package - yet noone believed me.

So that 5% in M is me.. I noticed this about 3 days ago... Speedtest.net (at the time of writing) showing up <900Kbps download, <90Kbps upload which is not that bad, considering it will ONLY be applied for 6 hours starting from 4pm EVERYDAY!!

Note: No other internet applications was running when I tested the broadband speed...

Excatly they wont see any difference at all. chears "mr i cant fly a hot air baloon properly branson" would you also like to restrict how long i can use the phone for too! . because it might just affect mrs tiddles at number 10 from calling the talking clock.

I doubt users "who might just be checking their email or browsing online" are going to notice/care as much if their internet is slower more than people who download a lot

I'm switching from Virgin soon. I need a fast internet connection for school and when I get home (4PM), I can't open any streaming content at all, and downloading large PDF's is just a joke. Youtube takes ages to.

Can't wait to switch :P

So... lol. does anyone wana explain to me how i'm going to play BF2 while my girlfriend is playing FFXI and my other friend is playing CounterStrike on a 128K upload??? This is do friggin stupid

bt have started doing this on torrents after a certain time you just dont get any speed. but im changing to be there (adsl2) so hopefully they wont do that.

creamhackered said,
This sucks! Looks like i'll be switching to be.

It hardly sucks!!

You're getting capped to either 1MB, 2MB, or 5Mb speeds.

Other isp's throttle you to ISDN speeds (64k), so what's the problem?

there should be laws against this practice.

this company (and others before it) sell more bandwidth than they have. they advertise a sports car, but pop the tires when you try to go fast with it.

they should never punish people for using and PAYING for a service they advertised!

My ISP did that to me twice in two months. This is indeed stupid. I do consume like 5 Gigs per month just for updating my linux machine. Basically if you use a rolling release Linux distribution, you'll need to download a LOT.
I use another 5Gigs/month for other stuff.
But if you can't handle the traffic, don't be an ISP in the first place.
ISPs do this when they sell more subcriptions than they can actually handle.

water.hammer said,
My ISP did that to me twice in two months. This is indeed stupid. I do consume like 5 Gigs per month just for updating my linux machine. Basically if you use a rolling release Linux distribution, you'll need to download a LOT.
I use another 5Gigs/month for other stuff.
But if you can't handle the traffic, don't be an ISP in the first place.
ISPs do this when they sell more subcriptions than they can actually handle.

And they say Windows has a lot of updates.... 5Gigs? jesus...

If you live on the bleeding edge of software then you can easily download around 3GB a day - when I used Debian I dist-upgraded everyday - was pretty much pulling the whole of KDE down everyday near release date.

Remember that in a Linux distro these updates are all software as well, so it's not just the OS - the equivalent would be downloading Windows updates + Office updates + Firefox updates + everything updates - and not just official updates, but ones as they come.

I don't do it like this anymore - what's the point really!

Whilst I don't agree with throttling, you can still game. Even if you are on the slowest package and suffering from throttling you'll be on a 1Mb connection which has been fine for games I've played.

I really felt like sticking with virgin because of Sky but now I feel like going to sky to spite them. I can live without TV. But living with slow internet - no chance.

LiGhTfast said,
God this sucks :/

you think this sucks? I'd rather have this then what comcast does here... if you go over an invisible limit they will never tell you they ban you from their network for 12 months! I'd rather be throttled then banned

Oh dear. And to think I switched from tiscali because I was being throttled - at least this isn't as severe.

It was only a matter of time really. Doesn't seem too bad for those on 20mb, I can't see how you'd download 3GB in one evening really but 750mb on 4mb is a joke.

Downloading one DVD sized file is 4.3GB (Linux install DVD for example), and even on a 6Mbps connection I can easily do that in a couple of hours.

roadwarrior said,
Downloading one DVD sized file is 4.3GB (Linux install DVD for example), and even on a 6Mbps connection I can easily do that in a couple of hours.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in favour of throttling at all, but how often do you do that though?

Brodel said,

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in favour of throttling at all, but how often do you do that though?

I download stuff that size pretty much every day.

bloody stupid they should be ugrading their equipment such as UBRs, Routers and Network cards. Their equipment plays very big part in slow downs in the first place. They have too many connections on UBRs already apart from what they can handle.

Sounds Gay. I think my ISP is throttling (TP - Telecommunicatia Polska - Its under Orange I think.) but they're not telling us unfortunately

Skwerl said,

That's classy. Maybe people should start saying, "That's Polish."


That comment in itself was soo Polish!

Sorry If I offended anyone with that rude comment :(, including you Skwerl. My Bad.

Sigh, I find it wrong though for the service to throttle your connection. You pay for it, and you should get what you pay for. They shouldn't change the rules halfway through the game, if you know what I mean. :S

Hey Nestea, Happy Polish Constitution Day!...Just wondering, are there alternatives to Telekomunikacja Polska? I haven't been to Poland in years, so I'm just wondering...