April 03, 2012

Broadband throttling limits announced

Virgin Media has published the download and upload traffic management constraints that will accompany the new "double" speeds as they roll out. Full details at thinkbroadband.com, but here are the XXL limitations:
XXL 50Mbps and XL60: If you download more than 5Gb between 4pm and 9pm your download speed will be halved for five hours, if you upload more than 12Gb you'll have to put up with operating at 25% of your normal speed for five hours. XXL 100Mbps customers hit their speed bumps at 10Gb on the download and 12Gb on the upload.
Now I'm not a heavy downloading demon so these won't affect me (half of 100mb will be the speed I currently enjoy and I don't need 100mb to be truthful) but many will be unhappy.
What makes me very unhappy at the moment is the unreliability of the broadband in South East London of late: up and down on a daily basis after years of stability and where once I had an impressive 48mbps I'm seeing speeds of half that. I'm told by CS that it's due to the engineering going on (we're due for the speed doubling in July) but the nightly loss of service is turning out to be a huge problem for my daughter's exam prep. Come on Virgin, sort it out please!


Moroboshi said...

Oh wonderful, so Virgin no longer have an unlimited tier. Every tier, even the most expensive is capped and throttled.

For a company which so heavily focussed on broadband, they seem remarkably capable of screwing it up.

I'm on 50mbit and the evening cap is 10gb. That's one movie from the Xbox Zune marketplace. One single file is all it takes to trigger the cap. Nice forward thinking there Virgin, top marks.

Oliver James Spicer said...

Hi :)
So I just had a look at the think broadband link and truthfully I'm quite happy about the arrangement. I didn't honestly think that I would get unlimited broadband forever although it has been a great counterweight to Virgin's failings. However, as they're doubling my speed from 50 to 100 for free and then putting traffic management on my account, I'm not so worried as I essentially get 50 even when I'm "being naughty". As they're putting internet on one line and tivo on the other, the quality of my line might well improve substantially so really I have lost little from this announcement. In fact, I'm glad that the traffic management isn't more severe.

However, the upload speed restrictions are quite frustrating - does the management only apply to the upload speed. If it does then I suppose I can live with that too as it'll just go down to 2.5 instead of 5 (10 during the hours when I'll use Crashplan :D).

Hopefully the other blog viewers see it as positively as I do. At least this way we have traffic management without download limits like in the US :)

Dogsbody said...

I'm confused. What about the 120Mb speed that the 100Mb are being "doubled" too?

Stonedofmoo said...

Regarding your broadband problems count yourself lucky! I've had awful packet loss and occasionally unusable broadband since November. VM doesn't appear to care, didn't respond to my official complaint or follow up survey remarks and certainly hasn't done anything to fix the issue.

I'll be cancelling when we move house shortly. It's a shame as for the preceeding 7 years I had nothing but good service from their cable broadband. It seems the company has grown too big to care.

Oliver James Spicer said...

Stonedofmoo, I had a technician over on Friday who said to me that until they move the tivo onto one line and the broadband onto a second, they are simply over capacity. They told me to state that there are "utilisation" issues in my area and apparently that's the golden word for getting compensated. I have now got someone who I ring up every month, they get onto my comp via remote access, I prove that I can't get over 30mb download and they give me money back. Last month I called and for some reason I could only get 5mb and so this month I have been compensated enough that I do not have to pay for my entire package at all. I hope you can sort something like this out for yourself :)

I do agree though, if they have a large amount of new tivo subscribers each taking 10mb lines then I can see how their network must be rammed.

Jordan Alexander Hartley said...

You need to change your 9am to 9pm in the post.

That really dissapointed me until i went to think broadband and realised you made a typo.

The evening restrictions are 4pm to 9PM

Jordan Alexander Hartley said...

Im on the 30Mb tier to be doubled to 60Mb, and Im pretty sure the restrictions are much looser than the current ones, only reduction to 50% speed is not too bad either.

Krankor said...

Perhaps I'm wrong, but I'm sure Virgin have always throttled your bandwidth dependant on usage.

I'm pretty sure this isn't anything new (before more people start moaning).

Apologies in advance if I'm wrong, but I'm convinced my download speeds where drastically hit if I'd downloaded 'x' amount of GB's per day (and I'm going back a good year or so ago).

Krankor said...

Virgin have actually relaxed/improved the capping/throttling with it's new double speed roll out.

Square eyes said...


can you please stop saying capping/capped, this would meam that VM stop your service and we don't.

the service has a traffic management policy which has been relaxed not tightened, also with the doubling of speeds you are still going to get well above the national average of any other providor inc BT infinity.

Just one more thing the service is still unlimited, you can use as much as you like without incurring additional charges, unlike other providors that charge if you use over the fair usage allowance

Richard said...

the following link is the official vm page on traffic management.


much more detail... and it sounds like when you read the info... it is still 5 hours or midnight which ever is sooner.
(but only scan read it as I'm at work!)

nick said...

What Oliver James Spicer said...

I'm getting my speed doubled for free from 50mb to 100mb then a bonus 20mb.

So even if I do download more than I'm allowed (not that I do anymore) I'll still be running faster than I am right now :-)

Not really a problem unless you are a dirty pirate (we've all done I'm not pointing any fingers).

Jay said...

pretty poor show by Virgin, never hit my 10mbit, max 6 and usually 1-2, thats when its not dropping out, an engineer has been out which has stopped it a little but the speed isnt there, i was thinking of going to 30mbit but with Virgin still capping my service i'll have to look around for a service that doesnt

Richard said...

For those complaining bout the traffic management... It's not much different to the last few years... In fact you get more now than previously before they 'slow' your speed.
Other ISPs actually stop your service or charge more if you go over the limit they impose... Stop worrying about what you are reading now if you never read the old traffic management. VM policy is very good and 50% performance of fast, is still fast! Unless you are streaming Multiple HD streams at once, it ain't gonna be a problem.

Moroboshi's comment is flawed... An hd movie will be about 4gb give or take a bit... He ain't gonna go over the cap in one movie. And as has been pointed out... It is unlimited. We can all download as much as we want, they just slow the speed by 50%

For those getting performance problems during the upgrade... I can only sympathise. I've always been at about 95% of the service offered. (and i took cable bb with telewest as it was being tested over 10 years ago.)

Ive also been in 3 different geographies serviced by ex telwest and ex ntl systems) Friends on adsl are frequently at 10% of what is offered.
I personally would trust it will be at the level expected once the upgrade to their comms centres is completed. Why? Because even ofcom say VM is the best broadband provider.
I hate adsl with a vengeance. Love cable bb. BT infinity might become an option, but watch their traffic management policy... Will it be similar to adsl or similar to VM? Not read so don't know, but I know I,ve always had a great service from VM and its always their and always worked.

Moroboshi said...

@Square Eyes

The policy isn't being relaxed, it's being radically tightened. The current 50mbit and 100mbit tiers are completely uncapped and unlimited.

The new plan has a 10gb cap, with speeds dropping 50% once the cap has been hit. As I said in my earlier post, 10gb is one movie from the zune video store. Virgin evidently think a single movie rental is excessive use. They're utterly deluded.

For me on 50mbit my speed will go up to 100mbit when they finally get around to upgrading it, so if I dare to watch a movie I'll be back at 50mbit. Not the end of the world, but for those paying for 100mbit, they're getting half of what they should do. That's totally unacceptable.

Moroboshi said...


A 720p movie is 3-5gb. A 1080p (as delivered by the Zune store) is 8-10gb.

Square eyes said...


capping a service means stopping it, the service is not being stopped, it is only having a speed reduction, its called fair usage, just like all other providors have.

For those who will be getting 100mb plus, being reduced down to 50-60mb well hey sorry they will not be able to see any difference with streaming.

Don't forget the reduction is up to 5 hours only in a 24hour period, but if mdnight arrives before the 5 hours has elapsed, then the speed reduction is cancelled and normal service is resumed. So someone could hit the limits at 11:55pm they would only be on half speed for 5 minutes.

I could understand your arguement if it was going to reduce the speed to a point were the service could not handle whatever you are doing, but most people who have 100mb have it so they can boast about it. I do....

Phil Baxter said...

I'm pretty shocked to see people defending Virgin here. Dress it up how you will, but the reality is the service is going from unlimited, to limited. This is a negative move.

As an aside, I can't say I'm looking forward to the 100mbit upgrade in my area. When the 50mbit upgrade happened it took several months, during which time my connection was either completely dead, or maxxed out at around 0.01mbit. I didn't pay Virgin a penny during that time due to spending hours on the phone complaining to CS, but I'd sooner of just had a working service.

At the time ADSL was a joke in my area, but if BT Infinity is available by then and Virgin once again goes down the toilet, I'll be gone.

Krankor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Krankor said...

Hey.. Phil Baxter and Moroboshi are the same person!

Moroboshi link points to : https://plus.google.com/109751758743954100117/posts

That's so lame...


Phil Baxter said...

Yes, because I just updated my Google Profile. It's not a conspiracy, it's just a profile change.

Oliver James Spicer said...

As there are quite a few people reading this section (counting Phil and his alias ;D), I was just wondering if anyone knew what Virgin's plans for the Olympics are? I've just seen this on Engadget http://www.engadget.com/2012/04/06/london-2012-olympics-live-sky-3d/ . Aside from Stephen Fry getting paid plenty of money, are we out of luck with regards to 3D Olympics content? I know ESPN does 3D so might get the feeds through there. What does everyone else think?

Lester said...

VM have announced they'll carry the 24 BBC streams for the Olympics in SD and HD as stand alone channels. Also, ESPN 3D and BBC 3D coverage of the games. About time we had some good news regarding 3D as the current offering is pathetic