Virgin Media has made adjustments to its broadband traffic shaping, which will apply to any customer on a 30Mbps or faster plan.
The idea, according to Virgin, is to make these super-fast connections more “flexible” and “responsive.”
Essentially, the company activates traffic management at peak times, which is between 4pm and 11pm weekdays, and 11am to 11pm at the weekend.
If you exceed your plan’s threshold for downloads (or uploads) during these periods, you’ll be throttled back. However, Virgin states that the traffic management will only be applied for a period of one hour.
If when you notice your speed slow down, you cut back your broadband activity, you’ll be allowed out of the traffic management shackles when an hour of throttling is up.
Also Virgin notes that the traffic shaping is applied to download and upload speeds separately, so if you’re breaking the threshold on downloads, only your downloading will be throttled (upload speeds will remain intact).
Want to know what your thresholds are on the various plans? Then see the table at the Virgin website.
As an example, with the L30 plan, on a week night the one hour threshold is 2.75GB for downloads, and 750MB for uploads. Exceed this and you will be throttled by 30 per cent on downloads, 60 per cent on uploads.
And if you fail to cut back on your downloading/uploading activity, a slightly heavier penalty (a 40 per cent/75 per cent reduction) will be applied, and kept in place until you fall back under the threshold (or peak time finishes).
2.75GB might seem a reasonable allowance to some, but it’s not just file sharers who can hit this limit.
These days with the likes of Lovefilm and iPlayer HD video streams, data can be chewed through pretty quickly even for non-P2P applications.
Not to mention the likes of streaming gaming, say OnLive, which gets through a huge amount of data if you have a fat pipe big enough to chug it back. As the likes of streaming gaming and HD films becomes more prevalent, this policy will increasingly penalise the average user and not just the big-time file sharers.
On a more positive note, at least Virgin is being commendably transparent about how the throttling process works.