Vodafone has admitted that a "technical issue" is to blame for some broadband customers being unable to stream video from popular sites for months.
A lengthy thread on Voda's own customer forum that started on 4 January and is still receiving posts today, revealed that some of the ISP's frustrated users were unable to watch live footage from game-streaming site Twitch or online telly sites IPTV and Netflix.
"Once I vpn out of the vodafone throttling wall, twitch is working perfect (sic) at full video source," stated "mrmarkyuk" who started the initial thread, with others weighing in on the 18-page-long discussion to moan that they, too, had experienced similar problems – but only with specific, streaming-heavy sites.
Another forum denizen added days ago that he'd logged a job with Voda's Tech2 broadband support team:
"Single thread performance is slow. Now around 16Mbps. Multithread download X6 simultaneously downloaded streams are 80% or 80Mbps of max speed. Video and IP TV are using single thread download. According Tech2. Single Thread throughput shouldn't fall below 75 per cent of line speed. He said it is threshold to investigate fault."
With consumer broadband line speeds forming a naturally very large part of ISPs' marketing and advertising campaigns, the suggestion that Vodafone might be selectively throttling users' connections irritated several customers. Vodafone itself currently offers "superfast speeds to your router or money off until it's fixed" on both its 35Mbps and 63Mbps connection offers.
When El Reg asked the network whether it wanted to comment on the cause of its customers' ire, the network operator told us it had found problems with "some line cards" that affected "a small number of customers", and flatly denied the underlying cause was the throttling of connections.
A company spokesman said: "We are in the process of upgrading our network configuration and discovered a technical issue with some line cards which means a small number of customers may experience slower speeds when accessing certain sites. This has nothing to do with throttling or traffic management, which we do not use on our broadband service. We are working hard to fix the issue in order to give any customer affected a great online experience. We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused."
El Reg has asked Vodafone why a line card, a piece of street cabinet-level connectivity equipment, would affect download speeds based purely on the site accessed by a customer. We will update this article if we hear back from them.
Neither has Vodafone answered why it has yet to fix a problem customers have been complaining about since the start of last month, or why it has yet to give customers refunds or cancel their contrct without charges. ®