Virgin Media eases back on throttle

Virgin Media - a little less on the throttle
Virgin Media - a little less on the throttle

Virgin Media has changed the limits on its traffic management, with the roll out of the DOCSIS3 standard across its network seeing a lightening to the way in which the company throttles heavy users at peak times.

Virgin's stance on traffic management has always been transparent, although it still remains hugely unpopular to those who believe that uncapped should also mean unfettered access.

Virgin's flagship 50Mb service is completely free of traffic management and the move to the more efficient DOCSIS3 standard has now brought about a lessening of the constraint to users of some smaller packages.


The total daily download allowance in peak times (between 10am to 3pm) for its L broadband package (10Mb) has increased from 2400MB to 3000MB, whilst XL users (20MB) have moved from 6000MB to 7000MB.

The evening peak times, between 4pm and 9pm, has seen L move from 1200MB to 1500MB and the XL from 3000MB to 3500MB.

That's a total daily allowance increase of 25 per cent for 'L' and 43 per cent for 'XL'. There is no traffic management outside of the peak windows.

Users of the M and S packages have less luck with the changes - which are detailed on Virgin Media's website.

It should be pointed out that exceeding the limits puts a huge 75 per cent throttle on speed, that the throttling can last for up to five hours, and that upload speed is also traffic managed.

A necessary evil?

Virgin Media insists that, although it's unpopular, traffic management is a necessary evil to prevent abuse from the top few percent of users who can slow down the network for more casual users, although this stance has never been popular.

Some have suggested that buying an 'unlimited' package at a certain bandwidth should mean that traffic management should not be put in place, but Virgin's counter-argument is that it does not have a fair usage cap hidden away in the terms and conditions that would see it charge for those downloading (and uploading) huge amounts of information – something that some other ISPs have in place.

Jon James, executive director of broadband at Virgin Media said, "Today's changes just go to highlight how the major investment in our new DOCSIS 3.0 network is enabling all Virgin Media customers to enjoy the best of today's web, whether viewing full screen HD video on a PC or unlimited downloads.

"Few of our competitors' broadband is fast enough for these applications and some of our competitors actually block higher speed applications and charge customers when they download too much."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.