We've been asked to re-open a few threads that have been locked on this topic due to breaches of our forum rules. Instead I'm going to open this thread up to try and open an area for this discussion to happen without breaking our forum rules and also give you some of the reasoning behind this policy.
Virgin Media's broadband service doesn't have any limits to the amount you can use the service, but as a shared service, in isolated cases we do sometimes contact customers who are transferring excessively large amounts of data during peaks times where their usage is detrimentally affecting the service other customers receive. In these instances we ask these extremely heavy users to move some of their usage to off-peak, leaving more resources available for other customers during peak times. This is important so customers can enjoy things like video and gaming, or even general web surfing or emailing, all of which can be affected if heavy users are using more than their fair share of resources.
If a customer receives such a letter, we only ask them to change the times they do a large chunk of this usage - typically many of these customers are using filesharing applications which can use up considerable amounts of bandwidth, even when the customer isn't actually using the computer as they leave these applications running 24 hours a day. To give an example of what some of these extreme users are doing, we have seen customers moving 4.2TB (terabytes) of data within just the period from 9am-9pm over a 28 day period - that's not counting overnight usage. 4.2TB in a month equates to over 900 full DVDs, or around 10,000 shows from BBC iPlayer.
This level of use is 2000 times what an average customer would transfer in a typical 28 day period. It is great that our network is so good that it can manage this sort of data traffic, but at the same time, these customers are ruining the broadband experience of hundreds of other customers in their area which we don't think is fair, and we're sure most of you would agree too.
As a result, our detrimental user programme is designed to help ensure these customers play fair and stop ruining the experience others get. As we've said, all we are asking is that customers move a chunk of this traffic off-peak where it won't affect other customers who are trying to use their broadband during the day. If customers help us achieve this, then even more customers will be able to enjoy a simply brilliant broadband service at all times! If these customers play fair, everyone wins.
At present, where we have had feedback from customers that they are seeing slow speeds, or we have detected abnormally high utilisation, on average we contact customers who are transferring over 350GB over 28 days during the 9am-9pm period. As mentioned, we don't count usage between 9pm and 9am as the network is less busy at this time. As such, the vast majority of normal every day customers (over 99.9%) will never hear from the Customer Internet Security Team with a letter about detrimental use.
"on average we contact customers who are transferring over 350GB over 28 days during the 9am-9pm period".
Finally customers have a ballpark figure, thank you Mark.
No, you still don't have a ballpark figure... The above statement is still misleading and it falls somewhat inline with the BT FUP limit of 300GB with the only difference is on VM the customers speeds are not slowed down...
Try downloading 100GB of it on one day and the rest of your downloads during off peak hrs and you will still receive a letter...
I don't think VM current system can differentiate between peak and offpeak usage and the current system triggers a letter based on the amount of data you download in a single day...
Please correct me if I am wrong...
On a side note, Mark seems to be playing Santa Clause by posting this message right on the hour on Christmas day.
I certainly wouldn't dispute that 4.2TB a month is very heavy usage but if there are any 50Mbps customers using only 1/2000 of this which is ~ 2GB a month then they must have more money than sense. 2GB a month is what you'd use for general surfing + email alone (I use that amount on my 3G connection) and ~ 2Mbps would be perfectly adequate for that.
The only justifiable reason for any product over 10Mbps is to download something large on demand (usually during peak times) and you'd need to do so reasonably regularly to justify the extra cost. I suspect many must take the higher speeds either for bragging rights or because their lower speed service simply isn't performing as it should if that given average is anywhere near the truth.
Thing is. Why do they sell a product as unlimited if there network cannot handle it. abit pathetic if you ask me. Can VM not just be honest with there customers?
Here we go again. That's been done to death. The VM web site defines unlimited in terms of data volumes (i.e. no monthly threshold then you pay more).
As Mark has pointed out, this is a shared service. If someone hogs it, everyone else suffers which is not right. For what my opinion i worth, the DUP is not severe enough. It ought to do what BT does and throttle the user to 1 meg for 1 month when they hit 350 megs.
The cost of providing an even 50 meg service to everyone is beyond investable (and chargeable) reach.