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Legality of Virgin Media traffic management policy


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If you are downloading that volume of data for work related purposes then you really should not be on a consumer connection. It will no doubt be impacting on the speed/reliability of everyone else connected to the same UBR as you as you are effectively using the bandwidth of 40 other moderate downloaders.

 

You should be on a dedicated business connection for your work purposes.

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Ok, so what if I am paying for the full films and every channel package, and am paying for additional boxes, and every one in the house is watching TV day in day out? Should we be restrained to only watching basic TV at certain times because some other people have chosen to pay less for more basic packages?

 

Obviously not. You pay for a faster package, what you should get is a faster package. If they want to throttle the service because they can't cope, then they shouldn't advertise unlimited and fast speeds if they can't deliver them, nor sell them. To put the blame on the customer for VM's failure to deliver is nothing short of absurd.

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Contention basically allows all users to share the same connection without prioritising any given user. An urban myth has grown up that the 8.0Mbps (16/24 etc) service is shared between 50 users, the contention on BT IPStream ADSL and ADSL Max and higher speed services are manged very differently.

 

So it really doesn't matter how much I download, it doesn't effect the other users on the same connection as me. That's the whole point of contention, I cannot effect other users bandwidth. It's only where BT doesn't have the provision from exchange onwards that might become a problem. Say if we all tried to max out our connections all the time, then we would see the speeds falling.

 

Contention at least on IP Stream lines would be unaffected by a heavy user. It's about sharing the priority and not bandwidth as such.

 

However in an LLU enabled exchange where Datastream is used some ISP's might skimp on the rent and purchase minimal bandwidth enforcing higher contention levels where contention really applys in a shared manner.

 

Now I was merely stating facts about what 'could' be achieved bandwidth wise for the benefit of comparison. I thought it would be something usefull for the OP to include in any future decision making.

 

I pay for the service I get, it's a fairly simple idea really. If they are unhappy providing my service then I am happy to move. Eclipse are perfectly aware of my requirements and more than happy to provide the service. I just can't see what your problem is?

 

This isn't a bloody witch hunt so go and pick on someone else.

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th3joker, can you explain the above again in non-techie words, please?

 

If I understand you right, you are saying that VM's statement that a "heavy" downloader affects the speed of others is bull, is that right? How would I go about explaining that to a layman in simple terms (say if I have to explain it to a judge when I sue VM for breach of contract, for example? :razz:)

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I did start a lengthy response, my Mac crashed though and I can't remember where I left off.

 

ISP's use traffic management to save costs on their connection from the exchange not because of heavy users, contention controls that.

 

Basically put; Virgin have increased bandwidth to the household but haven't backed this up with an increase to their backbone.

 

With all the main TV providers going down the video streaming route and a general rise in data requirements which they haven't factored in, it leaves them a few options. They can either restrict usage or pay for network improvements.

 

When they purchase bandwidth they calculate estimated requirement and buy on the basis of that, the problem being when they go over this allocation they get billed more. These are calculated based on their projected usage by their prospective user base. Easiest way to avoid going over that is to strangle everyones connection so it can't reach this level.

 

I think we're all agreed that an 'unlimited' connection should be exactly that. Hiding behind poorly written fair use policies which have no indication of actual quantities leaves everyone in the dark.

 

There has been a couple of court cases about ISP's using unlimited in their advertising and they won. Apparently it's ok to advertise it as an unlimited even though it isn't? Can't quite get my head around that. I know you all liked my car analogy so here's another one; After buying a Ferrari which goes 180mph according to the advert you are then told you cannot drive it over 10mph. Sound fair?

 

Even if I moved to a business Tarrif I would still come through the same UBR. They are becoming the weak link in the chain with oversubscription problems.

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There has been a couple of court cases about ISP's using unlimited in their advertising and they won. Apparently it's ok to advertise it as an unlimited even though it isn't?
I mentioned that in an earlier post, apparently "unlimited" refers to the access (i.e 24/7), not the speed. Yeah, ok then. :rolleyes:
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If the unlimited is about access I wonder why they don't use the same terminology for all their products.

 

I will try and write a decent explanation today with regard the Heavy Downloader, I lost the thread a bit on the previous post.

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this is an article from PC PRO magazine which i feel is fairly relevant to this thread.

 

the interview was with a woman leading a campaign for fairer broadband advertising in the uk. her name is colette bowe.

 

she's part of an OFCOM consumer panel- a customer focused body thats independant of the regulator.

 

the body wrote to ISP's asking them why consumers aren't getting the speeds they pay for.

 

as a result of those discussions, the consumer panel has proposed a code of conduct that will force ISP's to reveal the true speed of customers lines and free them from their contracts if the speeds are 'significantly lower' than advertised.

 

Q. what type of feedback did you get from the ISP's following your letter?

A. it was a very good response. all the ISP's i wrote to responded, and 5 of the 6 came in to have a meeting with me.

Q. did the ISP's seem concerned about the way speeds are being sold?

A. thats quite hard to judge. the accurate thing to say, without sounding too prissy about it, is they were concerned that we were concerned. in several meetings, i had to point out the type of response that had been triggered by doing things such as radio interviews, when the BBC message board sprang into life with people expressing strong concern about the issues.

Q. do you think the ISP's were surprised by the public backlash?

A. not exactly. but a lot of the people i spoke to were very peeved with the difficulties of explaining quite detailed technical material to customers. now i understand that, but my point is these are your customers, find a way of doing it.

Q. so your proposing an industry-wide code of practice?

A. what were saying is there are some good ideas out there (in the industry) about whats good customer practice.

we'd like to see an industry code that results in customers feeling that, no matter who they enter into a contract with, they're going to be given clear, transparent information when they need it.

Q. but dont you object to ISP's advertising headline speeds of "up to 8mb/ps"?

A.i have some reservations about that, which is why ive asked the Advertising Standards Authority to look into this. my problem is the prominence given to the 8mb/ps in a typical headline and the very difficult- to-read caveats at the bottom of the page.

i understand the 'up to' and why its difficult to be more precise. but the relative prominence of the attractive offer and the the much less-attractive caveats that might mean you cant get the offer, is really my issue.

Q. does Ofcom now have to heed your advice?

A. it doesn't have to but, put it this way, i'd be very surprised if Ofcom didn't do something in response to this call from me.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Any users hitting this amount during peak times (4pm till 9pm) 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 5 hours from when the traffic management policy is applied.

 

I was a little annoyed at their throttling but I thought I would play fair.

 

I changed my downloading times to early in the morning between 12-4am, so I only download/upload large amounts at these times. But if I hit the 850mb at any time my internet connection is throttled between 4pm and 12pm.

 

If I download more than 900mb before rush hour I still get my connection throttled. I like to play online games in the evenings but with the 4mb pipe throttled to 1mb it causes major lag problems.

 

I have sent many emails to VM but they just ignore them now and I refuse to call their hotline at this will cost me money.

 

Another analogy:

If I go to Tesco and buy 10 pints of milk and then on the way out a bloke says "Sorry you can't have all that, we need some of that for other customers because we havent bothered to get enough in"... should I be expected to return some and should I expect a refund?

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You pay for a faster package, what you should get is a faster package.

 

I completely agree, I also think that th3joker should be able to download his 1TB. I also agree that is is a money thing and instead of upgrading the service so we can all get the service we pay for, they restrict the user.

Until such time as they do, then we all have to live together on the same piece of wire.

 

So, as elvis asks, is it legal? I guess we will never know until such time as someone challenges it in court.

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With the current tiers, here's theoretically the maximum time you will enjoy your download speed during peak hours;

 

M - 2mb max for 20 Minutes, then 5 hours at 1Mb

L - 4mb max for 26.6 minutes, then 5 hours at 1Mb

XL - 20mb max for 20.48 minutes, then 5 hours at 5Mb

 

Which is barmy.

 

I've been using BBC iPlayer recently. Bearing in mind that is a legitimate use of p2p technology, I could be throttled by downloading as little as 3hours of catchup tv.

 

iPlayer relies on you to both download and upload the programmes you want to watch. This is all encapsulated in the 3gb cap.

 

This is the same for bittorrent traffic too, though it is your perogative how you use your connection, the principals still stay the same.

 

On the 20mb plan it's roughly works out at 0.005p per hour based on a 31 day month, where the 4mb is 0.03p per hour. It would not be unreasonable to expect the pricing of your tier to be adjusted if you are subsequently capped, but Virgin Media being able to coordinate something as complex of that is about as highly unlikely.

 

From Feb 2008 users on the 4MB tier will be upgraded to the 10MB tier, fantastic, the networks are already struggling with the current capacity yet they are going to exert more pressure on this.

 

There will be a network upgrade for the leap to 50MB, so this will take pressure of the existing network but until then I'd imagine there's going to be a lot more dissapointed customers.

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With the current tiers, here's theoretically the maximum time you will enjoy your download speed during peak hours;

 

Excellent analysis :razz: btw

 

but just to re-iterate.. you cannot download more than 800mb at ANY time not just during peak times.

 

As I said before I changed my downloading to between 12 midnight and 4 am but I still get throttled for 5 hours between 4 and 12.

 

So I can't win if I want to download more than 800mb in a day.

 

I worked from home yesterday. After I had finished all my work I checked the DU meter and I had downloaded / uploaded (over 8hrs) approx. 600mb. These 800mb limits are ridiculous!!!

 

 

On the 20mb plan it's roughly works out at 0.005p per hour based on a 31 day month, where the 4mb is 0.03p per hour. It would not be unreasonable to expect the pricing of your tier to be adjusted if you are subsequently capped, but Virgin Media being able to coordinate something as complex of that is about as highly unlikely.

 

Shouldnt that be £0.03 or 3p per hour?

 

If you take the 3p per hour multiple that by 4 hours (of capping time) multiple that by number of days in a month approx. 30 then it only comes to £3.60. It isnt even worth the min £1 phone call to claim it back

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Is it legal? Well, I'd argue that it is a clear breach of contract by VM (not delivering what they sell you and KNOWINGLY so, since they admit to the throttling) and an unfair term, as they unilaterally impose it on customers who had previously signed for something different and then find themselves restricted despite the fact that they are being given less for their money than what they agreed to.

 

Put it in non-cyber terms: I rent your garage for £50 a month, and I park my car there every day. After a few months, I find that for 2 weeks of the month, when I get there, there's another car there, and when I complain, you tell me: "tough, this guy needed the space as well, and I agreed to rent him a garage too, but I only have one so you'll have to take turns, I changed the T&Cs of your rental, oh and by the way, it is still the same amount you have to pay me." Need I say more?

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Excellent analysis :razz: btw

 

but just to re-iterate.. you cannot download more than 800mb at ANY time not just during peak times.

 

As I said before I changed my downloading to between 12 midnight and 4 am but I still get throttled for 5 hours between 4 and 12.

 

So I can't win if I want to download more than 800mb in a day.

 

I worked from home yesterday. After I had finished all my work I checked the DU meter and I had downloaded / uploaded (over 8hrs) approx. 600mb. These 800mb limits are ridiculous!!!

 

 

 

 

Shouldnt that be £0.03 or 3p per hour?

 

If you take the 3p per hour multiple that by 4 hours (of capping time) multiple that by number of days in a month approx. 30 then it only comes to £3.60. It isnt even worth the min £1 phone call to claim it back

 

They should be 5p and 3p per hour accordingly, that'll teach me for trying to do two things at once.

 

Whilst your correct that it's probably not worth trying to reclaim the money, you're still paying over the odds for what you're actually receiving.

 

It is unfair to impose this during what they consider peak hours because why should we as the customer get poor treatment because Virgin are trying to do too much and not investing appropriately to support what we are paying for?

 

With 4oD and iPlayer (two very popular services) there is no way to schedule downloading as far as I know, so I either have to wait another day to watch something so I can set the downloads going before I go to sleep or risk getting throttled.

 

I would rather pay for a 10mb service with no throttling on it than what I have at the moment. I share my connection both for video on demand, playing games online and for the occasional working from home. I really don't see why after paying Virgin, I should dance to their tune.

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agree completely - but whats the answer?

 

If I moved to BT then it would cost me £130 to get a telephone connection and I would obviously have to wait and hopefully sync the shutting of one service with the starting of the new one.

 

I wouldn't be able to use anyone else beacuse BT require a 12 month contract with them.

 

If i refuse to pay them then I lose my internet connection, my telephone and my tv - rock & a hard place?

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agree completely - but whats the answer?

 

If I moved to BT then it would cost me £130 to get a telephone connection and I would obviously have to wait and hopefully sync the shutting of one service with the starting of the new one.

 

I wouldn't be able to use anyone else beacuse BT require a 12 month contract with them.

 

If i refuse to pay them then I lose my internet connection, my telephone and my tv - rock & a hard place?

 

Exactly.

 

I am very tempted to jump ship to Be for my broadband, no traffic shaping, very similar price and I'd expect the speed to be around what I'm getting now. I'm only 300m from the exchange, and as Virgin just keep go on on this trainwreck it's looking favourite all the time.

 

But yes, they do have you where the only gain is for them.

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Has anyone started anything about this?

 

As well as my day job and my CAG life I also have a sideline where I write music for things. I'm forever having to send and receive 24bit WAV files (which are huge). This throttling lark is an utter pain.

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Hi,

 

I work for a BBC1 consumer affairs programme titled "Don't Get Done, Get Dom", in which presenter Dominic Littlewood attempts to resolve issues which have arisen between consumers and companies.

 

We would be extremely keen to hear from anyone experiencing consumer difficulties to find out if there is anything we might be able to do to help.

 

If you would like to talk to us, please get in touch at:

 

dom@flametv.co.uk

02072785052

 

Thanks very much,

 

Simon

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I have once again been throttled this week about 4 times.

 

I have just checked my speed and its running at 1mb - its 00:11 in the morning!!!!

 

http://www.speedtest.net/result/230149169.png

 

I have cancelled my DD with VirginMedia and they can whistle for my money.

 

They have not only broken their contract but have also gone against their word of only throttling after 800mb has been downloaded in a day.

 

How could i have downloded 800mb in 11 mins?

 

If anyone is interested I will let you know how I get on.

 

I will not be contacting them until they start chasing me for money.

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Not sure your going the right way by cancelling your DD. You need to have the correct wording of the T&Cs, be sure right is on your side and then present that to them with an ultimatum.

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