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Legality of Virgin Media traffic management policy


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On the phone to Virgin Media yesterday regarding a very slow connection (was always fine before, we are on 2MBps broadband). Told we were falling foul of a 'traffic management policy' implemented 2months ago, which means that heavy internet users have their connection speed halved in the evenings.

 

This was not present when we signed up, we have not been notified of it, and we are not particularly heavy download users. It kicked in because I downloaded a couple of demos, maybe 1.5GB total.

 

I need to know if this is legal, and would like to hear from anyone with similar problems before taking the problem further?

 

Thanks

 

(nevermind Virgin's rubbish customer service :mad: )

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This has been talked to death on a hundred (or more) forums the length and breath of the country and operates from 16:00 to midnight, and no one is very happy with it.

 

You could tell them that as they are reducing your bandwidth by 50% for 8 hours per day you would like a 50% reduction in your bill for 8 hours per day times per month.

 

My personal feeling is they are not giving you the service you are paying for so should return some of your subscription.

 

They will probably insist that as their service is 'up to' and 1mb is up to 2mb so not an actual reduction. Whatever they say, I (and a million others) would be very intereste in their reply.

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This has been talked to death on a hundred (or more) forums the length and breath of the country and operates from 16:00 to midnight, and no one is very happy with it.
Might have been, but not here, and VM have kept it quiet enough that customers like myself were totally unaware of it... until I got throttled 1 week ago. :mad:

 

It's only when I went a-searching that I found a link to VM's policy from the Register, I couldn't find it searching VM's website directly! Now there's transparent for you, not. :mad:

 

Sadly, googling finds many people howling about it up and down the country, but precious little in the way of action to stop VM from doing it. :-|

 

The thing that strikes me in VM's statement is how similar it is to the banks' one about "a few bad people spoiling it for everyone who runs their account properly", in other word the good old scapegoat method. Make it the fault of some mythical "3%" (was 5% to start with) who "abuse" the bandwidth, depriving the reasonable people who just want to check their e-mail, and let's blame "them", those selfish swines hogging the cable.

 

Newsflash: If people are paying for the 20 Mb package, it's because they want to use it more than just to check their e-mail, and they're paying for it. A LOT.

 

Whether it is because they want to d/load tons of illegal films or not is a specious argument: VM are MARKETING an "unlimited" access at 20 Mb, to then try and say "well, yes, but only people who d/l illegal shares would need that much" is breathtaking in its hypocrisy. Speaking for myself, both my boys and sometimes their friends on their laptops all play online games like Runescape, I spend my time on CAG where I u/l and d/l documents like it's going out of fashion, I use photo editing online sites, etc... But come 8 pm, I have more or less given up the internet for the last few days, because a CAG page takes over 1 mn to load... which on a -supposedly- 20 Mb connection, is a far cry from the alleged 1/4 or 1/2 throttling that is being publicised.

 

But! Regardless of this, this is not what I am paying for! I am paying for a 20 Mb, always on, unlimited, uncapped internet. What I am getting is a slower, capped so much that it makes it limited, connection. Therefore, I am not getting what I paid for, nor is it what I signed up for. VM have introduced restricting conditions to their contract without notifying me, and are construing my continued usage as acceptance of those terms. Anyone sees a flaw in that?

 

Another thing is the "unlimited" tag. It would appear that "unlimited" actually relates to access, not d/l or speed. Hmmm... Let's ask a few people on the street who have seen the VM advertising campaign and let see what they understand from the "unlimited" part, shall we? I would hazard a guess here and there that most of them will not have understood it that way.

 

DH was chatting to a customer a couple of days ago, who happens to work at OFCOM, and he mentioned the throttling. It probably won't surprise anyone to hear that OFCOM are being swamped with complaints about this. I wouldn't be surprised if the ASA weren't on the case as well, actually. And quite rightly so. :mad:

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Fist let me say that I am behind you all the way BW. I say this in case something I say looks like it is in favour of, or agreeing with VM when that is not my intention.

 

Try using a traffic monitor like - DU Meter Home Page - to see how much you are downloading, 3gb per day (includes both up and down), is one hell of a lot of downloading. I can't see why you are taking around a minute to download a page from cag, I am on 20mb and have never had that sort of delay.

The DU meter in the link is try before buy but gives you a couple of weeks of use so should be long enough for you to get an idea of how much you are using.

 

I have never had good speed, and never anywhere near 20mb. I did once get around 2.5mb when I downloaded some stuff from Microsoft, but a one off is not good enough especially as they charge £37 per month.

 

I have delayed complaining until I get my new Vista set up with core2 quad chip and can be certain it is nothing to do with me that the speeds are low.

 

There is mention in the T&C about not degrading the service:

 

You must not

  1. use the services in a way that

(i) risks degradation of service levels to other customers,

(ii) puts our system at risk and/or

(iii) is not in keeping with that reasonably expected of a residential customer.

 

I do agree that there are irresponsible users who are continually downloading far in excess of what can be termed normal, (I do know someone that was taking 20gb per night, every night), and that can only be by downloading illegal stuff.

But as you say, unlimited should mean unlimited, although VM does say that the throttling does not limit how much you can download, just the speed you can do it at. To me they are the same thing, if you are limiting the speed, you are limiting the amount.

 

I am not a big user, YouTube is probably the biggest thing I use, but even that is slow to buffer sometimes and spoils my use of it.

 

I know that Ofcom has announced an interest in the 'upto' part of BB, but that shouldn't really affect us on cable, only those on adsl using the telephone wires.

 

So what happens next year when VM introduce 50mb? If it gets anywhere near that then all the downloaders in the country are going to flock to it, but will they really be abusing it?

 

I can't really see how the top five percent are messing it up for the rest of us. Out of VM's customer base that works out at about 150,000 and they wont all be online at the same time, so if their equipment cannot service the amount of customers they have then there has to be something wrong with their equipment and they should not be advertising 20mb if that can't supply it.

 

Can you imagine what would happen if the electricity companies advertised up to 230v. They would not be supplying many homes for very long.

 

They still do say the top 5% - Traffic management

 

P.S The throttling is only supposed to last four hours at a time.

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The traffic management policy is changing soon

All my posts are made without prejudice and may not be reused or reproduced without my express permission (or the permission of the forums owners)!

 

17/10/2006 Recieve claim against me from lloyds TSB for £312.82

18/10/06 S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) sent

03/02/07 Claim allocated to small claims. Hearing set for 15/05/07. Lloyds ordered to file statement setting out how they calculate their charges

15/05/07 Lloyds do not attend. Judgement ordered for £192 approx, £3 travel costs and removal of default notice

29/05/07 4pm Lloyds deadline for payment of CCJ expires. Warrant of execution ready to go

19/06/07 Letter from court stating Lloyds have made a cheque payment to court

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Yes, I saw that too somewhere in my travels... But don't think it means an improvement, as from then on (January, I think), they will count upload as well as download as part of your allowance... :rolleyes:

 

I'll see if I can find the site where I found that yesterday, I should have bookmarked it. :mad:

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The major plus of the new system is that you can only be penalised once per day (and the trigger period is only between 4 and 9 pm)

All my posts are made without prejudice and may not be reused or reproduced without my express permission (or the permission of the forums owners)!

 

17/10/2006 Recieve claim against me from lloyds TSB for £312.82

18/10/06 S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) sent

03/02/07 Claim allocated to small claims. Hearing set for 15/05/07. Lloyds ordered to file statement setting out how they calculate their charges

15/05/07 Lloyds do not attend. Judgement ordered for £192 approx, £3 travel costs and removal of default notice

29/05/07 4pm Lloyds deadline for payment of CCJ expires. Warrant of execution ready to go

19/06/07 Letter from court stating Lloyds have made a cheque payment to court

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How can it be a plus if you're being penalised for using the service you are paying for? The only way it could be even less of a plus (if you see what I mean) is if they then said "bend over!" :shock:

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I think out of all the possible evils, I prefer throttling to having extra tagged onto the bill for exceeding a download limit. I see some customer was charged almost £300 for his continued use after he reached the BT monthly download limit.

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How can it be a plus if you're being penalised for using the service you are paying for? The only way it could be even less of a plus (if you see what I mean) is if they then said "bend over!" :shock:

 

Some people might actually think that was a plus ;) I'm in an area that along with trialling the new STM system has also been trialling 10Mb for L customers. Personally I haven't noticed being managed and I do download torrents

All my posts are made without prejudice and may not be reused or reproduced without my express permission (or the permission of the forums owners)!

 

17/10/2006 Recieve claim against me from lloyds TSB for £312.82

18/10/06 S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) sent

03/02/07 Claim allocated to small claims. Hearing set for 15/05/07. Lloyds ordered to file statement setting out how they calculate their charges

15/05/07 Lloyds do not attend. Judgement ordered for £192 approx, £3 travel costs and removal of default notice

29/05/07 4pm Lloyds deadline for payment of CCJ expires. Warrant of execution ready to go

19/06/07 Letter from court stating Lloyds have made a cheque payment to court

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This is something I have had a good deal of problems with myself, I moved house and was forced to change supplier as the old supplier (Bulldog) didn't have service in the new area. Pipex had recently bought Bulldog so moving to them seemed the best idea.

 

After a couple of months I had a letter explaining I was in breach of their FUP or Fair Use Policy and I could either reduce my download drastically or close the account early and be given a MAC code with no penalties applied.

 

I had a fairly long conversation with customer services who where pretty good and informed me that on their premium package 80GB a month was a realistic figure. Since I downloaded around 1TB per month then I decided to go with the MAC code. Cutting a long story short had loads of problems with Pipex accounts for over a year afterwards.

 

I moved to Eclipse who basically throttle all connections including premium accounts during peak hours 6pm to 12pm this limits me to about 200-300kbs and unlimited outside of those hours. I can still just about manage 1TB a month at a push.

 

When Pipex began the process of contacting me they had just changed their FUP which meant I had a way to end the contract without penalty. Now I'm not sure how this would effect those of you suffering the Virgin Media traffic management, but if this is a newly implemented policy you may be able to release yourself from the remainder of any contract.

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th3joker wrote:

 

Since I downloaded around 1TB per month .....

I can still just about manage 1TB a month at a push.

 

It's postings like that which put me in complete agreement with throttling.

That is just pure greed and you can't tell me that you are downloading that much legal stuff every month.

Your one of the ones who have messed it up for the rest of us.

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I test software from home because I'm disabled.

 

I spoke at great length with all of the suppliers because of the large amounts I would be downloading, prior to agreeing a contract. All of them where fine with this, some companies don't really cater for my type of usage, which meant calling quite a few.

 

Pipex changed their FUP about a month after the contract started and offered me the option of closing my account or reducing my usage.

 

Since I needed the heavy traffic usage I chose to move to another supplier (Eclipse) who where happy to provide that level of service.

 

There are genuine reasons for downloading large amounts of data, I don't use any P2P software on any of my systems.

 

Yes I can download 1TB a month, but it's dependent on project workload.

 

Please don't pass judgment unless you know the facts.

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And are you doing this for no fee?

 

For whatever reason this is far in excess of domestic use and you should be on a business tarrif. Your speed will be higher and you wont mess with the domestic service.

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th3joker wrote:

 

 

 

 

It's postings like that which put me in complete agreement with throttling.

That is just pure greed and you can't tell me that you are downloading that much legal stuff every month.

Your one of the ones who have messed it up for the rest of us.

 

That's one of the things that gets me as well. Even with the throttling people on the top VM plan can download 1TB in a matter of days. Since most computers these days come with hard drive capacities in the region of 200-500GB a few days at top speed will fill the computer with more files than it's humanly possible to deal with in the same time

 

And yet people aren't happy

 

If your doing P2P downloading (which I've been guilty of myself) you just set it to download outside of the traffic management time. Browsing, online gaming and even some light streaming is more than possible in the limits VM have set and is even possible under traffic management.

 

The people who will notice a drop are the people who share their connection across several PCs (and by several I mean more than 2 or 3) or people who hammer P2P software.

All my posts are made without prejudice and may not be reused or reproduced without my express permission (or the permission of the forums owners)!

 

17/10/2006 Recieve claim against me from lloyds TSB for £312.82

18/10/06 S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) sent

03/02/07 Claim allocated to small claims. Hearing set for 15/05/07. Lloyds ordered to file statement setting out how they calculate their charges

15/05/07 Lloyds do not attend. Judgement ordered for £192 approx, £3 travel costs and removal of default notice

29/05/07 4pm Lloyds deadline for payment of CCJ expires. Warrant of execution ready to go

19/06/07 Letter from court stating Lloyds have made a cheque payment to court

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm sorry but if people are paying for a service that is marketed as UNLIMITED, then why should people get there backs up for them downloading a TB. It is spurious marketing by the ISPs if they were honest and TRANSPARENT (as BW says this sounds strangely familiar to the situation we have with the banks) with their charges and policies then this complaint wouldn't arise in the first place.

 

People are always going to look for the best deal (and rightly so!) Why would someone pay a lot more for a business tariff, when they can get what appears to be a better deal elsewhere? If in fact the use of bandwidth is for business reasons then to me this is irrelevant, it's the heavy contention (for adsl) or the under supplying and overmarketing of bandwidth (from VM) that causes these issues, I think this is what needs to be focussed on. An LIMITED service should not in any way be marketed as UNLIMITED.

 

Personally I use BE and am on their pro tariff, as of yet they have no traffic management but have invested (apparently) heavily in their infrastructure, if their pipes are becoming full then they add more to their network. I'm not sure how long this will continue now that they have been taken over by o2, but for me this is a much more sensible approach from an ISP.

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One terabyte is so much information that no one could possibly use that much in a couple of years let alone per month.

 

10,000 feature length movies or

500,000 music tracks or

333 copies of Vista or

500 copies of office 2007 or

1000 programs at 1 gigabyte each.

 

Using a 24 your day

 

10,000 movies would take in excess of 2 years to watch.

500,000 music tracks would take in excess of 2 years to listen to.

 

As th3joker says he downloads software for testing:

 

Using a massive program such as Vista would only give just over 2 hours for testing.

Office 2007 would only have 40 mins per test.

The more normal (big) program size of 1 gigabyte would only give 20 mins per test.

 

You cannot test any program good enough to give a review or opinion in that time.

 

Remembering that this is using a 24 hour day every day and so is not achievable. On a 12 hour day the testing time for a normal large program would be cut to 10 mins, there is no way in this world that you can test any sort of program in that time. The time to watch the movies would move out to 4 years as would the music.

 

This takes us back to the download of 1 terabyte per month. If indeed he is downloading that much then it shows that it cannot be used and must be being overwritten all the time, unless he has 100s of 1 terabyte hard drives, and is just a waste of bandwidth, messing up the service for others.

In other words, he can download enough information in one week to keep him going for about a year, so why 1 terabyte per month?

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Coniff you really have a bee in your bonnet.

 

I'm not the OP

 

I merely use the figure 1TB a month to allow a calculation of what is possible with an unrestricted line over one month.

 

I purchased an unlimited service and pay for a premium connection.

 

I have the following storage space: 6x750GB, 5x1TB, 7x300GB, 2x250GB, 2x500GB and half a dozen smaller drives. So roughly 12TB excluding smaller drives. I have 6 x Systems a mixture of Apple, PC and Unix/Linux for testing. Also enterprise level software gets pretty big.

 

Will that be sufficient or would you like the size of my underwear as well.

 

I'm not breaking the law and I definitely don't have to justify myself to you.

 

Happy now?

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Coniff,

 

So you are basically saying if I buy a fast car I can't drive it fast because you have a slow car?

 

You don't know me, so please don't suggest what attitude you think I have.

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No - I would say don't buy a fast car because the speed limit is 70mph and to go over that would break the law.

 

(I have 20mbs by the way)

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Oooh the car analogy again.

 

So if you buy a fast car and are driving down the motorway but then there are roadworks limiting the speed to 20Mph, presumably you don't think this speed reduction should apply to you as you have paid for a fast car

All my posts are made without prejudice and may not be reused or reproduced without my express permission (or the permission of the forums owners)!

 

17/10/2006 Recieve claim against me from lloyds TSB for £312.82

18/10/06 S.A.R - (Subject Access Request) sent

03/02/07 Claim allocated to small claims. Hearing set for 15/05/07. Lloyds ordered to file statement setting out how they calculate their charges

15/05/07 Lloyds do not attend. Judgement ordered for £192 approx, £3 travel costs and removal of default notice

29/05/07 4pm Lloyds deadline for payment of CCJ expires. Warrant of execution ready to go

19/06/07 Letter from court stating Lloyds have made a cheque payment to court

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