Virgin Media has hit back at Sky's assertion that it is the only 'major' ISP to offer truly unlimited broadband, amid expert claims that the industry is engaging in a war of semantics.

Sky's claims were always likely to ruffle a few feathers – but Virgin Media has been quick to give its view.

However, in a direct response to Sky's claims that its Broadband Max package is the only unlimited option, a spokesperson for Virgin Media told TechRadar: "Virgin Media has always believed that customers should be able to enjoy their broadband as much as they want.

"We were the first ISP to provide unlimited broadband packages to our entire customer base, including both cable and ADSL, and have never imposed any form of 'fair use' policy."

Rhetoric

A leading expert in UK broadband has told Techradar that he feels Sky's claim of being the first major 'unlimited' package provider is rhetoric.

"Obviously we welcome any removal of small print, but there is still one 'get out of jail card' among all the public relations rhetoric," said Michael Phillips of BroadbandChoices.co.uk.

"Sky still says that any excessive behaviour – and they give the example of someone using his account to send spam mail – could lead to them being suspended from the network.

"So there is still something in place to protect the network. I think all the ISPs are playing semantics here with the 'unlimited' claims.

"I don't feel that Sky are offering anything more than the likes of Be or O2 have been offering for a while now."

Is traffic management a limited service?

Sky may well suggest that traffic management is tantamount to limitation, but the Virgin Media spokesman insists that this is in place to protect other users.

"We operate an open and transparent traffic management policy designed to ensure that the majority of customers enjoy a high quality online experience and remain unaffected by a small minority of extremely heavy users," added the spokesperson.

"We will never cut off any customer for heavy use, however if their use impacts the service for other customers we will temporarily reduce their download speeds during peak usage periods.

"As we do this automatically, this ensures all our customers are able to enjoy their broadband service without the worry of hitting undisclosed 'fair use' download limits."