BT's approach to broadband traffic management

At busy times, internet providers can slow down traffic on the network. This is called ‘traffic management' and it’s a way of making sure you get the best possible service.

At busy times, internet providers can slow down traffic on the network. This is called ‘traffic management’ and it’s a way of making sure you get the best possible service.

We’re proud to say that our broadband packages don’t have any speed restrictions. So, if you're on one of our packages, you don't need to worry about us slowing you down even at peak times. We won’t slow down peer to peer file-sharing either, so share away.

If you want to know more, check out our Key Facts Indicator tables below or visit the Ofcom website >

We've also signed up to a voluntary code of practice which aims to make traffic management easier to understand.

Find out more about the code, and why it's used on the Broadband Stakeholder Group's website >

Traffic management Key Facts Indicator (KFI)

The key facts indicator gives an overview of how traffic management affects our products. It doesn't cover events outside of our control that may impact on network congestion levels.

Not including during busy times and places to manage network congestion.

Use and availability of services, content, application and protocols on this product
Broadband product name Broadband 15GB Broadband Unlimited Faster Broadband 30GB (existing customers only) Faster Broadband Unlimited (existing customers only) Superfast Fibre Essential 30GB,
Superfast Fibre 30GB,
Superfast Fibre 1 30GB
Superfast Fibre Essential 50GB,
Superfast Fibre 50GB,
Superfast Fibre 1 50GB
Superfast Fibre Essential Unlimited,
Superfast Fibre 1 Unlimited,
Superfast Fibre 2 Unlimited,
Superfast Fibre 3 Unlimited,
Superfast Fibre 4 Unlimited,
Superfast Fibre Halo
Ultrafast Fibre 100,
Fibre 250
Are any services, content, applications or protocols always blocked on this product?** No
If so, what? Not applicable
Are any services, content, applications or protocols always slowed down? No
If so, what? Not applicable
Are any services, content, applications or protocols always prioritised? No
If so, what? Not applicable
Are any managed services delivered on this product? If so, what is the impact? Yes
If so, what?
What impact?
BT TV Multicast includes all TV channels delivered over BT multicast - that's all channels not embedded in the Freeview receiver. These channels are prioritised in the customer's part of the network over their other traffic. It isn't prioritised over other BT Consumer broadband customers' traffic.
BT SmartTalk is a mobile app that automatically connects via wi-fi to allow customers to make calls, change settings or for accessing help on their mobile. The BT SmartTalk traffic is prioritised in the customer's part of the network over the customer's other traffic. It isn't prioritised over other BT Consumer broadband customer's traffic.
Data caps and download limits
Broadband product name Broadband 15GB Broadband Unlimited Faster Broadband 30GB (existing customers only) Faster Broadband Unlimited (existing customers only) Superfast Fibre Essential 30GB,
Superfast Fibre 30GB,
Superfast Fibre 1 30GB
Superfast Fibre Essential 50GB,
Superfast Fibre 50GB,
Superfast Fibre 1 50GB
Superfast Fibre Essential Unlimited,
Superfast Fibre 1 Unlimited,
Superfast Fibre 2 Unlimited,
Superfast Fibre 3 Unlimited,
Superfast Fibre 4 Unlimited,
Superfast Fibre Halo
Fibre 100,
Fibre 250
What are the download/upload limits or data usage caps on this product? 15GB Unlimited 30GB Unlimited 30GB 50GB Unlimited Unlimited
Is traffic management used to manage compliance with data caps and download limits? No
Under what circumstances? Not applicable
Level of speed reduction? Not applicable
Duration of speed reduction? Not applicable
Is traffic management used in relation to heavy users? No
Level of speed reduction? Not applicable
Duration of speed reduction? Not applicable

**This excludes any service, content, application or protocol that an ISP is required to block by UK law and child abuse images as informed by the list provided by the Internet Watch Foundation.

What happens during busy times and places in addition to traffic management described in Section 1.

Traffic management applying to the following products:

All BT Broadband packages

Is traffic management used during peak hours? No
When are typical peak hours? Weekdays: 4pm - 12am

Weekends: 9am - 12am

What type of traffic is managed during these periods?*** Blocked Slowed down Prioritised
Peer-to-Peer (P2P)
Newsgroups
Browsing/email
VoIP (Voice over IP)
Gaming
Audio streaming
Video streaming
Music downloads
Video downloads
Instant messaging
Software updates
Is traffic management used to manage congestion in particular locations? No
If so, how? Not applicable

*** If no entry is shown against a particular traffic type, no traffic management is typically applied to it.

What we mean by certain words and phrases:

Traffic management: Traffic management is the term used to describe a range of technical practices undertaken to manage traffic across networks.

The different outcomes achieved by the use of technical practices can include:

  • the prioritisation of certain types of traffic in busy times or busy areas to ensure that it is of an adequate quality
  • the slowing down of certain traffic types that are not time-critical at busy times or in busy places
  • ensuring compliance with a consumer’s contract, for example slowing down of traffic for the heaviest users
  • supporting the delivery of managed services, for example to ensure a guaranteed quality of service for a specific piece of content

Managed services: The majority of internet traffic is delivered on a "best efforts" basis. A managed service, on the other hand is one whereby an ISP offers "quality of service" that can guarantee a certain level of performance, so that the content, service or application can be delivered without risk of degradation from network congestion. Such a quality of service arrangement can be made between an ISP and a content or service provider or directly between an ISP and the consumer.

Best efforts: This phrase relates to the delivery of internet traffic where traffic management is applied without distinctions based on the source of that traffic.

Slowed down: This outcome is achieved by the deployment of technologies that can decrease the priority of traffic types deemed to be non-time critical on the network (for example, slowing down traffic such as downloads during busy times and busy periods).

Prioritised: This outcome is achieved by the deployment of technologies that increase the priority given to certain traffic types (for example, time-critical traffic such as video). This outcome can also be achieved as a consequence of slowing down other selected traffic which reduces the overall data flow on the network.

Heavy users: Heavy users can cause peak traffic volumes to exceed the engineered maximum load. In practice this refers to a very small proportion of users of a network whose use is excessive to the extent that it impacts on other users.

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