Throttled Downloads from Apple and Windows Update Sites?

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  • Problem
  • Updated 6 months ago
  • Acknowledged
Hi All,

I have spent the last 3 days during my Free Zone Time (Evolution 3 AM-8AM) trying to download software and updates after rebuilding both a Windows and a Mac machine.

Most of the sites that I am downloading from achieve normal/acceptable speeds of around 2 MB/s (i.e. nvidia.com was 1,904 KB/s); however, everything that I am trying to get directly from Microsoft or Apple slows to a crawl in the range of 3 - 55 KB/s (but mostly on the lower side)

This makes the estimated download time extend to tens of hours (or days), which would obviously defeat my intent of using Free Zone time.

If it were only happening with either Microsoft or Apple, I would think that the problem was on their end, but since it is happening on both, it seems to be too much of a coincidence.

I know people have had issues with Windows Updates unexpectedly sucking up their data allowance, so it seems possible that ViaSat is experimenting with some sort of speed throttling to combat the issue (similar to Video Data Extender).

Is anyone else having this issue, or have suggestions for a solution?

For background/troubleshooting purposes:
I have had this plan for years and have had no problems, and I understand its limitations and normal behavior
To rule out the issue being with my router, I connected a PC directly to my modem with the same results.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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AztekAl

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Posted 7 months ago

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Dave Eicher

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I know I gave up on Microsoft update 1709, I believe that was it.
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John Passalacqua

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Call customer service and see if a Via Sat 2 upgrade is available to your zip code.
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Nathan Hart

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Scarcasm right?
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Diana, Viasat Employee

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Hi Al,  Please call customer care to do some troubleshooting to allow us to determine what may be the issue.  The number is 855.463.9333. 
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laughingcat

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Personally I think Viasat shouldn't count necessary updates against our data limit.
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Mary Haynes

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I think laughing at is correct they should not. I am not happy with Vista should not have changed
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AztekAl

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Thanks Diana,

I called the support number, and after 20 minutes of trying to get through standard Level 1 and Level 2 troubleshooting (unplug / replug modem, connecting without router, etc), I was finally passed on to a Level 3 Technician.

I did a 40 minute screen-sharing troubleshooting session (GoToAssist) with him, where I was able to demonstrate the problem.

The extremely slow download speeds were still happening (outside of the Free Zone) on the sites mentioned, and not on the others.

He did not have an immediate solution, but theorized that either the update sites are being throttled or there is an error in my connection to the ViaSat proxy servers.

He will now elevate the issue to Network Engineers and provide them with a recording of our session that clearly shows the issues.

I am optimistic for a fast resolution.

Thanks again
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Doug Stevens

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I as well am having problems with download speeds only when I’m trying to update my Xbox One X games. I’m getting anywhere from 3-500kb/s which makes game updates very very painful. I’ve tried download tests from other sites and have done speed tests and all is normal 10-22MB/s. I think it’s definitely Viasat throttling those sites. I’m really curious to see what they do for you.
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Hfcomms

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That isn't on the satellite system it's on Microsoft and Apple.  When they have heavy demands on their servers for updates the downloads are a lot slower.  I've had that happen before. 
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R Frederick

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Hfcomms - That may be true for the latest update but I always wait to download a total upgrade to a Mac OS since the updates are often buggy. The last update was 6-9 months after it was first issued and it was too slow.
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John

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Thanks for the report AztecAl - I'll be interested to hear what they find out.
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Gregory Davis

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Ah, update 1709 - it has cost me several GBs of data and the install FAILED several times to boot.  And to further increase my pain it did this on three of my Windows 10 machine.  This also happened with Office 365.  After an office 365 update I couldn't load Excel and Word documents.  I ended up buying into the Assure support at $149/year.  It took several episodes of allowing Microsoft support take control of these three machines before the problems was resolved.  Yes they ended up using more of my data but finally update 1709 was successfully installed.  Can't wait for their next BIG update (NOT).
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Nathan Hart

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Microsoft has become pure garbage. Their updates are nightmares. And that’s just getting them installed.
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AztekAl

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Although it's too early for a solution, I wanted to post a bit of a correction and comment about what others have mentioned regarding Windows Update 1709.

The minor correction is that is actually took me 35 minutes to get through the Levels 1 & 2 Troubleshooting (I checked my phone log).
I understand that it is a necessary process that the support reps must go through, and although it can be frustrating, a little patience and politeness will get you through it.

Regarding Windows update 1709: Yes, this is a difficult update to make work and I have had my share of frustration with it on several machines.  So much so, that it was clear that my current issue wasn't the usual bad behavior associated with the updates, but with the download speed itself.
I then tried to use the Windows Media Creation tool to download a new installation ISO, and the speed of that download was equally slow.

Thanks again for all the interest in my issue, and I will be sure to update this thread with any progress / resolution.
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Gregory Davis

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This update was soo troublesome even with level 2 microsoft support that I opted to BUY the Windows PRO version with update 1709 on a USB "thumb drive".  It cost me $172.  After this wasinstalled I then had to re-install Office 2016, graphics software,.. most of these are "downloads" - UGH.
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James

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you bought a free update on a flash drive that you can download? lol you got screwed hard just saying.
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Gregory Davis

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Some of what you said maybe true, my purchase intent was to upgrade my Windows 10 Home All-in-One to Windows 10 Pro - The USB stick included the 1709 update.  The downside is that I had to re-install Office 2016 which was a download (more data from my data cap.  We also have another All-in-One machine with Windows 10 Home and it FINALLY successfully installed update 1709.  Not HAPPY with these BIG updates that Microsoft thinks we all need and still trying to figure out how to setup my Windows 10 machine to share these updates.  The machine I'm on now is on most of the day - the other two Windows 10 machines are on occassionally.  We have an older laptop that has Windows 10 Home installed but I plan to convert that to LINUX which gives the administrator more control over updates, which updates to install and when to install these updates.
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John Oakes

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It’s not just windows updates that are slow. I have been downloading an update to Rockband 4 for the Xbox One for four days now and it is almost finished as on today. I have never had this problem before.
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John Oakes

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Here’s an interesting tidbit. For Ss and Gs I connected my Xbox One to my Verizon hotspot to see if the updates are any faster and they are. I am maintaining a consistent 6 Mb/s downloading as opposed to 500 KB/s on my Exede connection (the fastest I was able to get on my Exede connection was 1.47 Mb/s but that was in rare spurts). My next step will be to test while hardwired to the modem and bypassing my router but I already think Exede is packet shaping traffic from Microsoft which is a problem. I have been extremely happy for the years I have had the service but I am thinking about changing to their competitor right now.
(Edited)
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AztekAl

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Hi John,

Thanks for sharing your experience.

I was wondering if the issue was isolated to me, but it sounds like yours may be related (Microsoft Server); although, if you are achieving 500 KB/s during your "problem" period, I am envious because I am lucky to get 5 KB/s.

I tried my system again this morning, with the same results as the past few days.

I know that it would be difficult for others to test an identical update situation, but because I have the same problem with direct file downloads from these sites, I will post some links that people can test for themselves, if they are curious. (Hopefully this is within Forum rules - sorry in advance, if it isn't):

As a baseline, this NVIDIA/GeForce download works "normally" for me at 1,900+ KB/s:
https://www.geforce.com/drivers/results/56378

Both these Apple and Microsoft downloads are problematic for me at 5 KB/s or so:
https://support.apple.com/kb/dl1582?locale=en_US
https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4088776
(I needed the Windows 10 x64 file, but I suspect all yield the same behavior, good or bad)

Thanks again & good luck.
(Edited)
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Michael McDowell

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I am on the "old" Gold plan and this was on an older MacBook Pro through a DLink wireless extender linked to a Linksys WRT-1900AC router. Wi-Fi is disabled on the SB2+ modem.
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Mark here

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I just downloaded about 100mb of the Microsoft 64 bit software and averaged about 1.4 Mbs
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Mark here

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and this is my "general" connection speed
this result
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AztekAl

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Thanks, Mark.  It looks like things are running smoothly for you as well. So far the problem seems to be just my issue, with the possible exception of John O's Xbox update.
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AztekAl

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FYI, Microsoft updated the file with a new KB#:
https://www.catalog.update.microsoft.com/Search.aspx?q=KB4089848
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R Frederick

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I am running a MacBook Pro and an iMac. I generally have no huge problems doing smaller updates - security updates, etc. However, to jump to the latest OS upgrade I have found it necessary to take my Macs to the Apple Store which is a bit over an hour drive from my house. The techs there do the update for me and seem happy to do so. An hour drive vs the frustration of trying to make such a huge update using Viasat is well worth it. One of the techs at the Apple Store told me that he has seen people have problems with the major updates when they are downloaded via a slow connection. No idea if that is true but I find doing it this way so much easier on my disposition. I have found that speeds during the LNZ can be so slow at times that it makes using it almost a joke. Other days it can be pretty fast. Just can't count on being able to use it one day to the next. 
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Doug Stevens

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I as well am having problems with download speeds only when I’m trying to update my Xbox One X games. I’m getting anywhere from 3-500kb/s which makes game updates very very painful. I’ve tried download tests from other sites and have done speed tests and all is normal 10-22MB/s. I think it’s definitely Viasat throttling those sites. I’m really curious to see what they do for you.
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GabeU, Champion

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It's possible that it actually is Apple and Microsoft.  I've had times where my speeds are very good (not Viasat) and Microsoft downloads are painfully slow, and I've seen other people occasionally complain about Apple downloads/updates that are also painfully slow when their speeds are good.  

I don't know if this is the reason why, but I often wonder if those two companies' servers are overly sensitive to the high latency inherent to satellite internet.  

Last year I had some updates from Microsoft that totaled a little over 700MB and the download took just shy of 30 hours.  It was absolutely ridiculous.  My speed, at the time, was around 25Mbps, and I could download files from other sites at that speed.  
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Bradley

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If you were inclined to, you might try through a VPN and see if the slow speeds abated :). That would be telling.
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AztekAl

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Interesting idea...I agree that this could be telling.
I don't have a VPN set up, but I will explore my options.
Thanks!
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AztekAl

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Update: installed a trial of NordVPN and speeds improved - see post below
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Nathan Hart

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Is anyone surprised?? VS1 has been totally oversold with Freedom and Unlimited plans with the anticipation of VS2 actually coming online which hasn’t happened for 95% of us. I suspect it will get a lot worse before it gets better. And still crickets from admins about most areas being switched back to the old liberty plans. Guess it’s obvious why.
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J&J

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Those with Windoze 10 should remember their update may not be coming from M$ but another user out there sharing their Internet to distribute updates for M$.  Their UL speed may be slow.
..... Just a guess
 
 
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johnny c

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I have 4 computers running Windows 10, 3 downloaded the update on March 13. only 1 computer had to be downloaded again.  That computer was successful the 2nd time I downloaded it. Before attempting the update, I hooked that computer with an Ethernet cable and no issues.
(Edited)
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AztekAl

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Good morning All,

I am disappointed to report that I did not receive my assured resolution call-back from the Viasat Network Engineers, and that my slow download speeds on those particular sites remain.

I tested again, using the links that I posted, with the following results:
GeForce/NVIDIA: 2.1 - 2.2 MB/s - "normal" and totally acceptable to me
Apple / Microsoft: 45 - 60 KB/s - I have never experienced these low speeds until this week, and completely unacceptable / unusable

I will continue to wait patiently for a response from Viasat Tech Support, and will contact them again if I don't hear back today.

Bradley made and interesting suggestion of trying the downloads through a VPN.
I don't have immediate access to one, but I might pursue this for troubleshooting purposes.

Thanks again.
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Michael McDowell

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Something definitely has changed!  Last evening my speeds were much lower than normal (nearly unusable, even for browsing and email). I just tried the same download  test as I did yesterday.  Yesterday I downloaded about 70MB in one minute, today I got 2MB in one minute! This was the same time both days!
(Edited)
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AztekAl

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Thanks for testing again, that is a significant drop.  Let's see if any others report similar experiences.
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AztekAl

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Per Bradley's suggestion, I tried the same downloads running through a VPN (free trial of NordVPN):

the download speed of my "baseline" NVIDIA/GeForce file DECREASED into the 400 KB/s range.

BUT

the download speeds of both the Apple and Microsoft files INCREASED into that same 400 KB/s range (even peaking in the 600's)

So this definitely says something negative about the way the data from these 2 sites is being handled when routed (to me) only through Viasat.

But what it means exactly, and what I can do with this information is unclear... 
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John Oakes

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We need a response from someone at Viasat on this.
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Old Labs (VS1-329)

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What you're likely seeing are Viasat's Network Management Practices in action. Section III of that document describer it.

Although it's common to think of congestion as only occurring during prime time hours it also extends into what were the traditional overnight free zone period as more and more folks shift their heavy lifting to them with the "unlimited data" plans. Even before unlimited data plans, the free zone periods were congested - the problem with free stuff is you can't make enough of it.

Viasat's algorithms give preference to Viasat Voice, web browsing and email (using a desktop email client - web mail is browsing) activities. Detected file transfers are at the bottom of the ladder behind even video streaming - the theory being that those downloading files know that it will take some time for that to complete and can "afford" to wait. Those browsing, checking email or even watching videos may not be as patient. During periods where they're slammed, everything suffers including browsing and email and that's probably before suffering the impacts of exceeding your plan's data usage allowance which further exacerbates the situation.

You'd really need to contrast the results with what you get during known non-peak periods (typically during the day on weekdays for me between 0900 and 1600, excluding holidays. Naturally that defeats the purpose of wanting to use your free zone. Even on a Liberty Plan with a 0300 - 0600 free zone, my "speeds" are all over the place up and down during that period as I would expect.

The reason you saw an improvement with VPN is because Viasat can't detect the file transfer (just as they can't detect video streams for "optimization" ojn unlimited data plans) although everything will suffer some speed degradation on a VPN  - others have suggested GoldenFrog VyprVPN as better performing.

Viasat utilizes deep packet inspection for it's detection and I suspect that in the case of HTTPS/TLS where deep packet inspection is problematic albeit possible, relies on the server name indication (SNI) - the Apple and Microsoft hosts for file downloads are well known while others might not be so well known and go undetected.

Good luck with getting a direct response here but other than getting some load off of Viasat-1 onto Viasat-2 things won't improve until then - Viasat-1 is tapped out during peak periods, peak periods keep expanding and few areas have been closed to new customers. YMMV depending on your service area.
(Edited)
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AztekAl

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This is a potential technical explanation of what is happening, but note that the issue does persist outside of the free zone - My tests with the Level 3 Tech were around 12:30 pm Eastern time.
I also welcome the idea of file downloads getting lower priority; however, no one should consider speeds in the <50 KB/s range acceptable.
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Old Labs (VS1-329)

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Didn't say they were acceptable - I report you decide ;)

P.S. Just noticed that you have an Evolution Plan - those have some quirks of their own from past experience and would stress that when speaking to customer support.
(Edited)
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AztekAl

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Fair enough...and I do consider your technical explanation to be a feasible one.
True, Evolution has been a bit quirky here and there, but I have had it for years and it has always met my needs.  It has been my standard process to use the the free zone to download files and keep multiple computers updated; however, near the end of last week, this became unachievable.  What is still unclear to me is whether these 5-50 KB/s download speeds (in or out of Free Zone) are isolated to my case only, or if others are experiencing this as well.  So far, the only speeds reported here were either very positive, or in the 500 KB/s range, which although poor by their standards, is still 10-100 times as fast as I am reaching from the Microsoft and Apple Sites.
(Edited)
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John Oakes

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This is a new problem though and I have never had this problem in the past.
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Old Labs (VS1-329)

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As noted and despite being tapped out Viasat continues to sell unlimited plans which place additional load on Viasat-1 - eventually the camel's back breaks with one final straw. It's a moving target - the past is the past.

Try to determine if it's always (or limited to what could be considered peak usage periods), wired vs. wireless, what your data usage status is in regard to your plan, etc. - there are more variables to consider.

But if you feel it's a Viasat issue you should go through customer support - this is primarily a customer to customer self help venue and anything we say here is just a guess, educated or otherwise. The viasatlistens route is also recommended by some but you won't get a definitive answer from an employee here.
(Edited)
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John Oakes

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Thanks Old Labs.
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Jaye Byron Lyons

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Been having problems getting a download to go on my Xbox one. So I feel the same about throttling.
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AztekAl

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Status Update:
I didn't receive my callback from the Network Engineers (or anyone else).

At 8 AM eastern time this morning, I opened a standard support chat window to see if they could lookup the status for me - they said it was a different department and that I needed to call the standard support number.

Around 8:15, I called the support number and spoke with a Level 1 Tech.  She said that my case was with Tech Premier Department, but they did not open until 9 AM and asked me to call back in 45 minutes.  I asked if there was a way to get directly to Tech Premier and she said that it was not possible and that I would need to go through the standard support number.

At 9 I called the standard support number, reached a Level 1 Tech, and explained to him that I was told to call back to reach Tech Premier.  Instead, he checked my account, confirmed my problem (read the text notes on my account) and said that the issue was escalated to their Network Engineers and that there was a new note on my account (added today) that a case number was assigned (which he provided to me) and that I would be receiving a call sometime today.  I said that I was told the same thing 2+ days ago, but no one ever called.  He apologized and said that since the note was added/updated today, he was confident that I would receive a call today, but that he could not provide any specific time window.

So now it is another waiting game and hoping that they call while I am still available.

Stay tuned...
(Edited)
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James

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you might get a call back from a level 1 customer support agent, but I would not hold my breath on it, you are being "canned"  stay on them, call them 20+ times a day if that is what it takes.