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The Internet Networking Wireless Networking

Virgin Mobile To Start Throttling Broadband2Go 257

Posted by timothy
from the oh-did-we-say-unlimited? dept.
Daevad writes "Virgin Mobile sent an e-mail today informing me of their plans to start throttling the Broadband2Go Plan. The web site doesn't seem to reflect the change yet, but here is the message they sent to me: 'Here at Virgin Mobile, our mission is to deliver an outstanding customer experience. Sometimes that means making difficult choices in order to provide the best possible service to the greatest number of customers. To make sure we can keep offering our $40 Unlimited Broadband2Go Plan at such a great price, we're putting a speed limit in place for anyone on that plan who uses over 5GB in a month. How will it work? Starting February 15, 2011, if you go over 5GB in a month on the $40 Unlimited Plan: Your data speeds will be limited for the remainder of the monthly plan cycle. During this time, you may experience slower page loads and file downloads and lags in streaming media. Your data speeds will return to normal as soon as you buy a new Broadband2Go Plan. This change will only affect plans bought on or after 2/15/2011. How will it affect me? Keep in mind, 5GB is A LOT of data. To give you an idea, it's about 250 hours of web browsing or over 500,000(!) emails. So this change shouldn't affect you unless you're a heavy downloader/streamer/etc.'" Just when I was getting comfortable recommending it to people, too. I do prefer a slowdown to an absolute cap, but this sours me a bit on the (locked-to-Sprint) MiFi I bought to use the Virgin service.
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Virgin Mobile To Start Throttling Broadband2Go

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  • by SilverHatHacker (1381259) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @08:22PM (#34871184)
    You still get unlimited data, it just comes slower after a certain point. Sounds reasonable to me, compared to some other plans.
  • by rayd75 (258138) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @08:33PM (#34871374)

    Far better than the AT&T bait and switch with iPad plans... remember that? Changed before the device was even available for a full month. Still, this is the fairest cap I've seen a wireless provider implement so far. Throttling users at their limit actually makes much more sense than cutting them off cold. Unless you are one of the people who thought cellular service would be able to truly replace landline service, (having no concept of the very finite bandwidth available via RF) 5GB is a lot of data. ...and if you run into it by accident, you can still use your service for less bandwidth-intensive things like email, light web access, or reloading your Virgin Mobile account.

  • Re:Wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LordNimon (85072) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @08:48PM (#34871614)

    Then what are you supposed to do with your $150 mifi device? What about people that bought it for Christmas thinking that they'd get unlimited mobile Internet for $40?

  • Re:Not a big deal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by damnbunni (1215350) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:14PM (#34871952) Journal

    There are lots of people who use mobile broadband for their primary internet connection:

    Those of us who can't get anything else.

    I live just outside a good-sized city. I'm not in the middle of nowhere.

    I can't get cable. I can't get DSL. I can't get FIOS. I can't get UVerse. I can't get WiMax.

    My choices are 3G or satellite, and satellite is even more limited and slower than 3G. And costs more. And is less reliable.

  • by chelsel (1140907) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @09:56PM (#34872468) Homepage

    I believe most people want to use the service for "spurts" of downloading when they are away from their primary internet connection. I don't think the general case is for people to remain connected 24 hrs/day for 2 weeks straight.

  • by j1m+5n0w (749199) on Thursday January 13, 2011 @10:00PM (#34872514) Homepage Journal

    Here are some options that Virgin Mobile isn't doing:

    • shutting off a user's connection as soon as they reach the cap
    • throttling or blocking on a per-application (e.g. bittorrent and youtube) basis
    • charging a large fee for exceeding the quota

    Network capacity is a finite resource. It looks like Virgin Mobile is dealing with that in the most reasonable way. Good for them.

  • Re:Wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EEPROMS (889169) on Friday January 14, 2011 @01:20AM (#34874026)
    WOW you guys in the USA really need to define the legal term for "unlimited' in court, here in Australia "unlimited" means just that, if you throttle the service you are not allowed to use the term "unlimited" any more.
  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday January 14, 2011 @03:42AM (#34874744)

    The network you get is still unlimited. It's not like you could actually use an infinite amount of bandwidth before - unlimited simply means you can keep using the internet as much as you like. That remains true after you pass the (very reasonable) 5GB cap, it's just that it gets a bit slower at the end. I think they have hit upon the nicest possible way to offer "unlimited" internet with reasonable real-life restrictions to keep bandwidth hogs from chewing up way more bandwidth than they are paying for.

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