I have been a Virgin Media customer for over 10 years and today I recieved my second ever (first was last November) notice regarding detrimental use of my broadband connection. This shocked me as I am not a persistent heavy user, though there are rare occassions when I do need to move a lot of data and don't want to be restricted to a daily 12 hour overnight window, as this makes everything take twice as long.
I called the Virgin Media telephone number provided in the notification (unbelievably this was a chargeable 0845 number costing me 10.22 p/min not covered by my talk unlimited package) and the chap I spoke with (for 30 minutes), though very polite, was unable to assist is helping me avoid future excessive use. This means that the next time I exceed some threshold in my daytime downloads I will be sent a form to fill in and will have my connection cut after 9 days, until the form is returned.
I can't do without my internet connection as I use it for both work and play, so being cut off without warning is not acceptable. If I don't receive the form (e.g. lost in post), or I am away from home at the time, or return it, but it doesn't arrive at Virgin, then I could be cut off.
Following my first infringment I upgraded to 50Mb XXL broadband with the understanding that there was no daytime bandwidth throttling, and Virgin promoting this service as suitable for users that have requirment for large downloads, and hence was under the impression that there was no download limit on this service. It turns out this is not the case.
Personally, I feel the traffic management policy, as applied to XXL broadband customers is grossly unfair for the following reasons...
1. The 50Mb service is marketed as suitable for heavy users and the lack of daytime traffic management on this service reinforces this impression.
2. Following two notices that you have exceeded the fair use policy the next notice can result in your connection being cut off without warning. This remains in place for life, as the first two notifications never expire, even if you do no downloading at all for the next year!
3. Virgin Media cannot and will not provide guidance as to what constitutes infringment of fair use policy, therefore making it impossible for customers to manage their usage withing acceptable limits.
I was told that the top 0.1% of highest daytime users in each 14 day period are sent notices of infringment, and because this is dependant on activity amoungst users in my area a specific 'safe' download limit could not be advised as it varies.
What this implies is that with a 50Mb connection you are more likely to infring the fair use policy than with a slower connection ... the threshold is the same, regardless of which service you have, this makes a mockery of the 50Mb service, which gives you speed, but doesn't increase your download quota. Surely 50Mb users are likely to make more use of their service, so why isn't this accounted for in the fair use policy?
The person I spoke with at Virgin regarding my case, agreed that the fair usage policy was unfair and that I wasn't a heavy user except for the two periods (in 10 years) during which I received notices of infringing the fair usage policy. He was anable to help further and said that they have no influence of policy, so could not suggest further course of action ... hence I am posting here.
So Virgin, I hope someone in the right department is reading this post and realises the dilemema customers face...
With no clear definition of what constitutes 'fair use' to assist customers in managing use of their services effectively, and a 50Mb service targeted at heavy users, but which makes infringing the fair usage policy so much easier, and with no expiry on warning notices and lifetime threat of possible disconnection once two notices have been received, isnt it time someone with the right connections took another look at the policy and make it easier for customers to manage themselves?
Why don't they base it on a fairer calculation ? either work out a download ratio over a larger period of time... e.g. see how much people have downloaded in a 6 or 12 month period rather than 1 month. There are bound to be peaks and troughs which even out. Alternatively base it on the size of the package the customer has bought and a customer with 50mb broadband should be allowed to download at least 10 times what a customer with 10mb broadband can. My workmate has 20mb broadband and he downloads 14 hours per day and has never received a warning but as you point out because your service is faster you can reach these invisible limits that slower services might not reach. Strange it's as if they are trying to punish you for using what you pay for.....
I read that using over 350GB in a single month is enough to trigger a warning letter from VM. On BT's FTTC Infinity Option 2 "unlimited" service it's gets even worse, use more than 300 GB in a month and your superfast fibre connection will be cut back to 1 Mbit during peak hours, FOR THE REST OF THAT MONTH, welcome to stoneage UK broadband.
A 300 or 350 GB "allowance" is a pittance for these new superfast internet connections and will easily be reached on VM's 50Mbit service, you wont find mention of allowances from their sales staff or on the main webpages selling the product but both VM & BT do have these allowances in place, so please do us all a big favour and stop calling your product "Unlimited" when it clearly isn't.
Obfuscation as related to "Fair Use Policy"
dic–noun is the concealment of intended meaning in communication, making communication confusing, intentionally ambiguous, and more difficult to interpret.
I would hardly call using 350GB of data (for uploads + downloads) in a month "downloading the internet", particularly on a 50 Mbit down / 5 Mbit up connection, 350GB is easily reached.
If the most you download + upload is 67 GB in a month I would seriously question your need to be on an XXL package, seems like your wasting your money to me, you could do 67 GB on a 10 Mbit connection.
My brother sent me 6 tiff pictures today for photoshop they were over 5GB even though they were in rar files.... if he had sent me 14 pictures I guess I'd have got a notice.... JUST 14 PICTURES not the entire internet...
....If the most you download + upload is 67 GB in a month I would seriously question your need to be on an XXL package, seems like your wasting your money to me, you could do 67 GB on a 10 Mbit connection.
... yeah but at 1/5 of the speed and thus waiting for 5 times longer. In my case, it was noting to do with need - just to do with desire. I don't do anywhere near 67 GB/month. But what I do like is sending emails with large attachments very quickly. Try doing that at 1 meg.