Virgin Offers Fasters Speeds While Throttling USENET

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Virgin Media has announced that it is providing a free upgrade for customers on its fiber broadband network, but will also throttle USENET speeds moving forward.

Upload speeds are set to be boosted considerably, doubling or even tripling in some cases. Those on the M and L broadband packages (10Mbps download) will have their upload speeds doubled from 512Kbps to 1Mbps (well, “up to 1Mbps”, of course)

However, along with these boosts Virgin has also announced a new system of traffic management at peak times. Designed to ensure that time sensitive uses, such as video streaming, are given top priority over “non-time sensitive traffic” such as USENET newsgroup activity.

In a phased revelation that is slated to conclude by next summer it will lower the bandwidth available to certain protocols including Usenet at heavy traffic times for all customers.

The company is classifying time-sensitive traffic as “surfing” and the streaming of high-definition video, while it will treat activities such as file transfers and “newsgroup activity” with lower priority in order to “reduce the possibility of annoying buffering that can occur when watching TV online at peak times”.

How tight the restrictions on USENET are at a given time will depend on how heavy the overall load on the network, but the new system will reserve at least 75 per cent of bandwidth to prioritise more time-sensitive applications such as streaming video and browsing.

With the new restrictions, the firm has also announced to boost its upload speeds for all its users. The free upgrades are being gradually introduced via the network, area by area.

Virgin customers who are members of Newsgroups are encouraged to use other ports available through our newsgroup NNTP ports page to ensure the maximum speed.

Under the changes, “XXL” users will face a spate of restrictions on their connections on the basis of the amount of data they upload.

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