Virgin Media has introduced new throttling “trigger levels” for customers who make heavy use of its network.
The updated policy was brought into place yesterday and will throttle both download and upload speeds if users go beyond a usage allowance. If the cap is broken then a speed reduction will take place for five hours.
As part of an upgrade that saw some speeds doubled for some users, the company said it needed to impose restrictions on its 50Mbits/sec and 100Mbits/sec services.
The internet service provider said that its move to “moderate” the speeds of heavy users is designed to give all of its customers the best broadband service and not “just a few”. The firm justified its policy by saying that, when someone is downloading or uploading a particularly large amount of information over a long period of time, it will slow down the broadband speeds for other users in their area who might just be checking their email or browsing the web.
It added that at peak times it will also slow down the speed of filesharing traffic, including services like Limewire, Gnutella, Bittorrent and Usenet Newsgroup traffic. Customers will, of course, still be able to use these services, but downloads and uploads “will take longer during these peak periods”, it said.
According to Virgin, the policy is necessary to prevent networks being overloaded and would affect fewer than 5% of customers, but that hasn’t stopped complaints from customers.
Meanwhile, complaints about over-utilisation have begun to pile up on Virgin Media’s customer forums as well as those on ISP related newsgroups.