Do you use Virgin Media as your ISP? I hope you don’t like fast internet speeds and unlimited bandwidth allowances. Earlier this week, Virgin Media announced plans to throttle its internet speeds across the board by up to 50% for users that exceed their allocated daily upload or download limits.

The change isn’t expected to affect most of Virgin Media’s userbase. Instead, it’s targeted at the “5%” of users who use a huge amount of bandwidth every month. If the user exceeds a certain daily bandwidth allocation, then Virgin will reduce that user’s internet speeds by half for approximately 5 hours.

So how much bandwidth can you use without being penalized? Well, Virgin Media is separating each ‘day’ into two periods: 10am to 3pm and 4pm to 9pm. Depending on your plan, the throttling could be triggered if you use as little as 3.5GB of bandwidth during this period.

For example, if you have Virgin’s 10mbps package, you cannot exceed 3GB of bandwidth during the 10am to 3pm period with being penalized. However, that limit drops down to a measly 1.5GB during the 4pm to 9pm period. If you exceed those limits, your bandwidth is throttled by a massive 75% for 5 hours, which is a very noticeable reduction in speed.

However, those who have higher bandwidth Virgin Media plans may be able to use as much as 20GB of bandwidth without triggering the penalty. Contact Virgin to find out the specific limit imposed on your bandwidth plan.

Virgin Media is calling this policy ‘traffic management’, but it has upset many of its users. Earlier this year, Virgin Media hiked its prices across the board, and its new traffic management system may further alienate its customers.

The business impact of Virgin Media’s decision remains to be seen. However, one thing is certain: the age of unlimited, un-penalized internet access for Virgin Media customers is over.

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