Virgin Broadband’s “Fair Use” policy

I recently switched over from BT to Virgin broadband, primarily because we hardly use the land line and also because the upload speeds on copper are slow unless you are prepared to stump up cash for a business product. Virgin currently provide a broadband only service @ 30Mbps down and 3mbps up, the cost is £17.50 for the first 3 months then £22.50 per month and the contract length is 12 months.

Their website proudly boasts:

Unlimited downloads – no caps no hidden charges

However if you scroll down and read through the small print you’ll see this:


Downloads without hidden charges: Acceptable Use Policy applies. Traffic Management operates from 4pm to 9pm and 10am to 3pm, to ensure a consistent user experience.

If you read through the traffic management you’ll see this means is you’ll be capped if you use the service too much at peak times, the really restrictive part is that Virgin do not average use over a week or a month they simply have daily hard limits, if you hit the limit your capped immediately. This really sucks for me as I had intended to run a nightly backup of photos and home videos. This means that occasionally (once every few months) I need to upload ~20Gb of footage. This would take some time even without the capping but when the cap kicks in it renders my broadband unusable. So even though I am a light user and don’t download or upload much during the rest of the month I get the unpleasant experience of have unusable broadband for a couple of days every few months.

All Virgin products are currently subject to this policy although the cap does vary according to product. I don’t think this policy is evil per se but IMHO Virgin are guilty of miss-selling their broadband by stating there are no caps there is a speed cap if you breach what they deem to be fair use.