Virgin starts throttling customers

Blighty ISP Virgin Media has decided that it is a wizard wheeze to start throttling punters’ P2P and Newsgroup traffic.

The spawn of Richard Branson’s brand has decided that the ISP, which advertises itself as “The fastest in the UK” and offers speeds of up to 100mb, needs to throttle file sharing traffic to prevent slowness in multiplayer gaming.

Of course Beardie’s lot do not call it throttling, and prefers to call it “traffic management” which makes it appear as benign as a traffic light. In actual fact it is the law enforcement equivalent of picking out the bigger trucks on the road and ordering them to stop for three hours.

Trialling of the new traffic management plans started on March 2. For some strange reason the throttling will only apply to Upstream traffic. Effectively it means that Beardie can claim that download speeds will be unaffected – however it does mean that P2P traffic which needs upload traffic to run will slow to a crawl while Beardie can still advertise that it has a 100mb download speed. Still you don’t get to be a millionaire without being very clever.

The clamp down will apply on top of the existing traffic shaping Virgin Media has in place and will affect all packages, including the previously unmanaged 100mb deal.

According to the message from Virgin Media:

“After the successful out of hours trial of our combined upstream and downstream file sharing traffic management policy we will be trialling this new policy between 17:00 and 00:00 for one week starting on Wednesday 2nd of March.

Between these times P2P and Newsgroup upstream traffic will be managed in a similar way to our current downstream traffic management. If the trial is successful we’ll launch the new policy immediately.

We’re interested if you could tell us how this affects your gaming experience over the next few days and if you see any general improvement in latency and ping at peak times.”

We suggest writing to Branson and saying that it made no difference to your gaming, but did screw up your use of his superfast broadband.