If you are a user of Virgin Media's cable broadband services you'll soon have to share some of your cake...
Like many others before it, Branson's boys are to introduce a traffic management system to safeguard the quality of its offerings from the heaviest downloaders. Unlike most ISPs however Virgin has taken a rather more graceful – and open – approach.
It has announced that during peak times from 4pm to midnight users of its 'Broadband M' service (2Mbps downstream/200Kbps upstream) who download more than 350MB over this period will find their speeds capped to 1Mbps downstream and 128Kbps upstream. 'Broadband L' (4Mbps down, 512Kbps up) users who break 750MB during this time will be limited to 2Mbps and 192Kbps. Finally 'Broadband XL' subscribers (20Mbps down, 768Kbps up) will drop to 5Mbps and 256Kbps if they exceed 3GB.
I'm sure P2P Usenet heavy downloaders will be disappointed with this news, but I would argue this approach is far more graceful than other ISPs who simply warn and even cut-off high bandwith users with little warning. This way no one gets stripped of their service, bandwidth is controlled and there's still all night to get those 20Mbps downloads roaring down.
In a perfect world the phrases 'Fair Usage' and 'Speed Cap' don't exist. In this world however this is the best solution yet.