Traffic Flow Policy
In order to protect the experience of our members when they're using data on giffgaff, we've introduced some measures, which we call Traffic Flow.
What is Traffic Flow?
During certain hours of the day, some parts of the network can become congested, which can result in a less consistent data experience for members.
Traffic Flow is the name we give to the initiative which helps us to ensure that members are getting access to a fair share of the network, even during the busiest hours of the day. Ultimately, Traffic Flow is in place to improve the data experience on giffgaff.
Why are we taking measures?
Without Traffic Flow, at times, we are seeing a huge inequality in the way that network resource is being used, for example, during the hours where the data experience is degraded, as few as 1% of members were using around 30% of the total network resource. This unfair distribution causes an inconsistent experience for the majority of members.
It is only during our busiest hours where this type of inequality can deteriorate experience, but we think that the impact that a small number of members has on the vast majority during peak hours is unfair. Our aim is to reduce the impact that the usage patterns of this minority have on the data experience for the vast majority of giffgaff members.
What are we doing to protect your experience?
We contact members with an Always On goodybag who have been using the network in a way that impacts other members, consistently over a period of time. We send them an email and an SMS to explain this policy, and offer advice on how to reduce their impact on other members.
Where members are either not able or unwilling to change behaviour which impacts the data experience on giffgaff, we have a responsibility to make the situation fairer and protect the vast majority of members. This is particularly true at giffgaff, where we have been built on the principles of fairness and mutual giving.
For this reason, when reaching the end of their current goodybag, members who have been warned but not modified their behaviour will be prevented from repurchasing an Always On data goodybag in the future.
Importantly, members with an Always On goodybag will never see their allowance removed from them (unless they have already been barred from buying the £25 Always On goodybag on another account) and there is no limit to the amount of data that one of these members can use. A member is only contacted if their specific usage pattern is impacting the service of other members, not when they reach a given volume of data.
What can you do to avoid creating congestion?
At this point, it is important to repeat that only a very, very small minority of members have usage patterns which impact the experience of other members.
The type of usage we are talking about is extreme and there are examples of members using double the average monthly network resource within a single day, during peak hours, so unless your usage is extremely unusual, then there's no need to worry about receiving an email.
If you think your usage is unusual and might be impacting other members, then we have listed below some advice which will help minimise your impact on other members during peak hours:
- Download large files, which do not require an immediate use, over Wi-Fi. Where possible, carry out larger downloads overnight, or outside of busy hours.
- If you stream movies for many hours a day to your phone, perhaps see whether you can have lower resolution settings - often it's not possible to tell the difference on small mobile phone screens.
- Avoid creating hotspots and use the WiFi connection instead when possible.
This advice will help to reduce the volume of data used when it matters the most to the members, while having little or no impact on their own experience.
Fair usage guidelines (while travelling within the EU and select countries)
goodybags with inclusive roaming are intended for giffgaff members who typically reside in the UK, but may take trips to other EU and select country destinations from time to time.
We have some fair usage guidelines to protect this and other misuses of the service. See our guidelines here.
Traffic Management Indicator
We're committed to being transparent about the data service that we provide, so we've signed up to the voluntary Traffic Management Transparency Code of Practice from the Broadband Stakeholder Group.
If you'd like to get any more information about how we manage the network to provide the best possible data service to our members, you can refer to the Key Facts Indicator.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many members will be affected by this?
The impact of this policy is two-fold:
- We are talking truly exceptional usage here, so this policy will only impact a very limited number of members - we expect it to be less than 1% of our active members.
- For the vast majority of members who are not impacting the network, the overall data experience will improve since they will get access to their fair share of the network.
I received an email/SMS, what did I do wrong?
You haven't done anything wrong. However, there are certain usage patterns that affect the data experience of other members and this appears to match your natural usage pattern. Sometimes, these usage patterns are seen when very data-heavy services (such as high definition streaming or large file downloads) are carried out very regularly during peak hours.
Isn't this a fair usage policy?
No, you are still free to use your existing data allowance as you see fit and your Always On data allowance will not be removed. We are simply improving the online experience for the majority of our members during peak times.
All members can use the full allowance of any goodybag they have purchased. However, members who are found to be in breach of our terms and conditions could be prevented from purchasing an Always On goodybag in the future.
Please note: If you are travelling to the EU and selected countries and are using the £25 Always On goodybag then a fair usage policy does apply.