Virgin Defends Updated Broadband Throttling Policy

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe’s Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Virgin says its policy change will reduce the impact on heavy users

Virgin has defended a change to its policy on throttling broadband connections, claiming its traffic management would actually give hardcore internet consumers a better deal than before.

Changes to traffic management implemented yesterday will see speeds of extremely heavy users – around five percent of the Virgin customer base – reduced by half. Prior to the update, Virgin was cutting services by three-quarters.

So where a customer is running on up to 100Mbps, they would see broadband connections throttled to 50Mbps, rather than 25Mbps, a spokesperson told TechWeekEurope.

Throttling policy shift

Virgin started throttling traffic in 2007 and has been running it across most of its tiers since then. “It’s one of those necessary evils,” the spokesperson added.

“As part of the significant investment we have been putting into our network for our Double Speeds upgrade programme, we have updated our traffic management policy to help ensure customers are able to enjoy more of their faster speeds even during peak times,” they added.

“Broadband services are by their nature shared resources, so Virgin Media’s traffic management policy is designed to ensure the vast majority of customers get the high quality of service they expect from Virgin Media’s fibre optic broadband without being negatively affected by extremely heavy users using more than their fair share at the busiest times.

“Customers can still continue to use their services whilst having their traffic managed, however the temporary reduction in speed will help minimise the impact of their usage on other customers, ensuring more customers are able to enjoy their services at peak times.”

Virgin has been pushing on with its speed doubling project, announcing last week that it’s baseline speed for almost all customers would hit 30Mbps.

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