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Virgin Broadband Slapped Following BT Complaint

Gordon Kelly


Virgin Slapped Following BT Speed Complaint

Virgin's recent attack on net neutrality coupled with its rather zealous P2P crackdown and complex traffic management means it isn't our favourite ISP at the moment and now the last of these schemes has got it into hot water with the Advertising Standards Agency as well...

Lodging a formal complaintby British Telecom, the ASA has pulled up Branson's boys for their ‘Hate to Wait?' campaign which is used to show the service's superiority compared to rival solutions. The big oops in all this is Virgin forgot to mention its rather convoluted speed throttling which comes into play after certain amounts of data have been downloaded.

So intricate you need virtually a PhD in mathematics to memorise those restrictions they essentially break the day down into three monitored time zones: 10am to 3pm (for downloads), 4pm to 9pm (downloads) and 3pm to 8pm (for uploads). During these levels ‘Broadband M', ‘Broadband L' and ‘Broadband XL' customers are given differing download and upload limits which - if surpassed - see their services' speeds proportionally capped for five hours. I'm not digging deeper because it's something of a Gordian knot.

Perhaps unsurprisingly then the ASA is backing BT's complaint and has ordered Virgin to clearly state the restrictions on its service. Hopefully such newly enforced transparency will see Virgin rethink this overly elaborate policy - especially with services like iPlayer seeing everyday users download more than ever before - because it does run a good network, just an overly bureaucratic one...



BT Broadband

Virgin Media


July 2, 2008, 6:36 pm

i miss the days when ISP's were like postmen: they delivered your letters and never took a peak inside, no matter how appealing it looked to them. now we have ISP's left, right and centre taking looks into what people are doing then running off to some "higher authority" or capping u/d speeds whenever someone appears to do something they reckon is wrong (like, as mentioned, when i want to use iPlayer to catch up on doctor who)

Barry Ward

July 2, 2008, 6:42 pm

Haha. Funnily enough, I have just left Virgin for O2, and it was well worth it, even though I had to install a BT line too. I got FED UP with my speed constantly been throttled to a quarter (4meg down to 1). The last time it happened was when I just wanted to rent a film off iTunes. They are over a gig in size, and the download went fine for the first half. Then I got throttled, and the film didn't finish downloading till 12:30am!! And there I am paying &#16325 per month for this service!!! I am now paying &#16311 line rental from BT, and &#1637.50 for 8meg O2 broadband, which is cheaper than Virgins broadband price alone, not counting it's phone line rental!

When I tried to explain to Virgin why I was leaving, they told me all the other ISP's throttle speeds too, which is a complete lie! O2 do no such thing- I am getting what I am paying for all day, every day! And Virgin are to bring out 50meg speed?!! They're a joke.


July 2, 2008, 7:48 pm

You both make excellent points. I think the card Virgin has is some areas simply cannot receive fast broadband over DSL due to line lengths. Here Virgin is virtually unchallenged...


July 2, 2008, 8:43 pm

If you want to know if your ISP is throttling torrent traffic you can use this link. Purely for research purposes of course. Beware, the servers are nearly always busy.


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