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Broadband Premier Update

Ben_Brown
Grafter
Posts: 2,839
Registered: 13-06-2007

Broadband Premier Update

Dear Customer,

We would like to explain the way that our broadband products are provided; as information published yesterday (Wed July 27th) has brought a number of questions and concerns for some customers.

Since March we have offered a choice of broadband services, including Broadband Plus and Broadband Premier. There are two main differences between these services. Firstly, they are managed at different levels of contention; Premier is 30:1 and Plus is 50:1. This means that customers on Premier will see a superior and faster service, especially at peak times, when compared to Plus.

The second difference is our approach to managing file-sharing. Broadband Plus is designed for customers that want a fast experience for email and web surfing. To maintain our market-leading price-point of £14.99, we manage the costs of file-sharing traffic on Plus, by limiting the amount of bandwidth that customers can use. This means that file-sharing download speeds on Plus are significantly reduced, especially at busy times, and priority is given to web surfing and email.

Broadband Premier offers fast access to all types of services, including file-sharing. In March, we described Broadband Premier as a “clean service”, with no traffic shaping. This was correct at the time and we have not been shaping traffic on Premier until very recently.

We would like to confirm that within the last two weeks we have chosen to apply a low level of shaping to file-sharing traffic on Broadband Premier. We have done this to positively improve the overall peak-time experience for Premier customers.

The benefit for all Broadband Premier customers is an improvement in peak-time experience for email, surfing and gaming. The vast majority of Broadband Premier customers will have noticed no negative difference following the changes we made two weeks ago.

The service has always been a contended service and there will always be some slowdown on some applications at peak times. The shaping we have implemented will ensure that this is limited to file-sharing downloads.

If you are a typical customer on Broadband Premier there is minimum impact, at worst you will see a small percentage decrease in the speed of file-sharing at peak times. For example, a file that would normally take an hour may take an additional five minutes to complete. In contrast, on Broadband Plus this same file could take several hours, particularly through peak hours.

We are aware that some Broadband Premier customers may have seen a greater reduction in file-sharing performance than we had anticipated. We believe this is linked to a network failure in the last 48 hours that has since been resolved. If any Premier customers are still experiencing very slow file-sharing speeds you should report a fault.

We aim to be the best value ISP and we believe that broadband at £14.99 and £21.99 offers great value for our customers. We don’t spend millions of pounds on advertising; we’re reliant on our customers recognising the great value and excellent service we provide. We live and die by our customers recommending our services.

We should have told our customers about this change before we implemented it, and I would like to sincerely apologise to all of our customers for this breakdown in communications.

In order to offer great value and great performance, we will make changes and improvements to our services. Before we make changes and improvements from now on, I would like to personally assure customers that we will always be as open, honest and upfront as possible.


Yours faithfully,

Neil Armstrong
Head of Marketing, PlusNet
2 REPLIES
Ben_Brown
Grafter
Posts: 2,839
Registered: 13-06-2007

Broadband Premier Update

I’d like to give you some further detail to clarify the announcement we made earlier today, following some of your questions and concerns.

We have the ability to manage our network by applying different shaping profiles to each of our products. Each of our products has distinctly different usage and traffic profiles at different times of the day, reflecting the different types of customers using the services.

- On Plus we apply a high degree of shaping to file-sharing in order to keep costs low which allows us to offer a price of £14.99 and still provide an excellent level of service for email and surfing.

- Premier's low level of shaping is in place to improve overall peak-time experience. It means those customers should only see a small percentage decrease in file-sharing speeds, relative to email and surfing speeds at peak times.

- Pay as you Go accounts currently have the same level of shaping as Premier accounts. However as the vast majority of PAYG customers don’t use the service for file-sharing the difference should not be at all noticeable.

- Business and Teleworker accounts are shaped to an even lesser extent than Premier accounts so again the changes should not be noticeable to any customers – particularly given the different busy hours and traffic profiles for business customers.

Our engineering team are tracking network performance very closely this evening and through the night to monitor the effects our customers are seeing. We believe that Premier customers should only be seeing a small percentage decrease in file-sharing speeds during busy hours. We are investigating reports where several customers are reporting 50% or more decreases in file-sharing speeds – we believe these to be isolated faults and are investigating these as a priority to ensure this is not happening across the board.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Armstrong
Head of Marketing, PlusNet
Ben_Brown
Grafter
Posts: 2,839
Registered: 13-06-2007

Broadband Premier Update

Dear customers,

As a follow-up to last night’s update on how we manage our network, I’d like to keep you abreast of some issues that have arisen.

Following customer feedback and some detailed investigations that our engineering team have undertaken, it has come to light that a small number of Broadband Premier customers have been assigned an incorrect traffic shaping profile. This has meant those customers are seeing significant reduction in file-sharing download speeds.

We believe this has affected around 2,000 of our Broadband Premier customers. Where we have assigned an incorrect profile we will be amending this during the next 24 hours and those customers should see a noticeable improvement. We applied a fix to some network equipment this morning and will apply further upgrades tomorrow morning.

The vast majority of Broadband Premier customers should only be seeing a small percentage decrease in file-sharing speeds during busy hours.

Earlier in the week we also posted a security update for customers announcing that we were blocking an increased number of ports to protect our customers. Following customer feedback that this was negatively impacting some IRC applications we will be removing those port blocks from Broadband Premier customers during the next 24 hours. As these will be removed we’d like to remind customers to ensure they have adequate security measures in place.

I would like to apologise to customers for any inconvenience this has caused you. We realise that the changes we have made has caused some angst for some of our customers. I would ask customers to be patient with us and understand that we are at the leading edge of issues that are facing the whole industry – that is how to manage services to give great performance and great value, while introducing line speed increases and changing traffic profiles as high-bandwidth applications become more popular.

Yours faithfully,

Neil Armstrong
Head of Marketing, PlusNet