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Virgin Media to focus on broadband
Monday 22 October 2007 08:34:54 by Andrew Ferguson

It seems longer but Virgin Media has only been around since February 2007. Since Mr Burch left the group in August, Neil Berkett has stepped into the role and looks likely to takeover at the head of the group according to The Times.

It would appear some of the sparring between Sky and Virgin Media may be being left behind with more of a focus on the broadband component of their quadruple play packages. Some sense can be seen in this since IPTV and VoIP can be run across a fast reliable broadband connection, and other providers are undercutting the Virgin Media broadband service pricing (£18 a month for 2Mbps, £25 for 4Mbps and 20Mbps for £37).

One advantage Virgin Media has is that if you can get their service you will connect at the speed you pay for, but with the introduction of traffic management to their cable broadband service, most of this advantage was wiped out. For example, downloading an episode of Top Gear via iPlayer on the 2Mbps service will get you running at just 1Mbps for the next four hours.

One side of Virgin Media that is hardly ever mentioned is the ADSL services - yes, Virgin Media offers ADSL nationwide. At the Virgin Media launch there was a lot of talk of expanding the TV side of the cable service to deliver a cut down version to ADSL subscribers. To this end, a deal was announced with Cable and Wireless but a date of 2009 looks likely for this to come to fruition. This is not good news for existing Virgin Media ADSL subscribers since we see a number complaining of dial-up type speeds in the evenings and congestion has been ongoing for some months at the provider with little outward sign of investment to resolve this.

It would be a great shame if Virgin Media was to become known as a low speed budget provider since its cable network offers great potential. Some upgrade work would be needed to offer 50Mbps connections but if this was done at a price point that undercut ADSL2+ connections, and traffic restrictions were at least on par with other large providers, the opportunity to take a greater share of the market would exist.


Posted by The_Engineer over 9 years ago
It would help greatly, if Virgin Cable spent some money on their Milton Keynes cable network so we can actually have cable broadband! As it is, we have an antique analogue system well past its use by date. I suspect that by the time the great digital TV switch occurs in a few years time, Virgin will quietly drop the MK cable system as too expensive to invest, compared with the ADSL competition. Most users will have gone over to terrestrial or sat viewing for their TV component, and other means for broadband. Who would invest in a system that would cost thousands to get users back on line?
Posted by cjyounguk over 9 years ago
god forbid that virgin should suffer the same soubriquet as orange as a low speed provider offering dial-up speeds on allegedly 2Meg or more connections. welcome to the real world.
Posted by flip412 over 9 years ago
Well I have the virgin media 20Mbts abd I only get between 500kbts and 15945kbs more over the lower speeds are more common than the higher one of 15945kbs.
Posted by kenster over 9 years ago
They already do. I was on it and it was truly lamentable. Not much faster than dial up. I doubt if even Orange is as bad.
Posted by hoodamanny over 9 years ago
I had to check if it was April the 1st when I read that article. The prospect of Virgin "concentrating" on their internet business, is the equivalent of Macdonalds focusing on their automotive arm. They don't do it really well, Their service is slow and fails regularly, they charge a premium rate for their broadband service that hardly works. My 20mb line I ordered from them was running at 256kb. I "downgraded" to 4mb and the speed went up! They have the rudest customer services in the world, I really wish they would just go bankrupt already, and bring in someone fresh.
Posted by monty1158 over 9 years ago
Originally, I was on Telewest Broadband cable, and I couldn't fault them. The network had low latency, always full download speeds, and never broke down. Since moving to the Virgin Media brand (Nothing else changed), latency's all over the shop, DNS is more miss than hit (Which ended up with a local DNS server, and OpenDNS), and the network suffered what I can only call a catastrophic failure last weekend. And they've shoved broadband support onto a 25p/min number. So even reporting a fault costs you a mint. Thankfully, I'm back to ADSL this week!
Posted by kenster over 9 years ago
I hope it's not Virgin ADSL you're going to!
Posted by gman41 over 9 years ago
I am on Virgin ADSL up to 8 meg unlimited down loads,and I to I have also been complaining vehemently without success regarding apalling slow speed. 100 kbps most evenings. I was eventually told I was a heavy user and being traffic managed. virgin told me they were traffic managing people for donloading as little as 3 gig per week !
Posted by cskla over 9 years ago
When I was with BY, it was great, was on 10MB, and I got the full 10MB, not on 20MB with Virgin, during the peak hours, I am lucky to even get 5MB, after the peak hours, usually 1am, I get close to max speed. Their support tries to blame everything else but their network being incapable of handling large traffic bandwidth. It's like I am on STM from 4-midnight every day.
Looking to leave already, don't see why I should pay £37 for a quarter of the service when I use it most!
Posted by yachtstone over 9 years ago
I have to agree with you all. Been with Virgin for several years and the service has become lamentable. Finally got fed up and am jumping ship to Sky, (following advice from a collegue, who was in a similar situation, and has already done it.) I doubt the overall package is much better, but it certainly can't be worse.
Posted by aiterry over 9 years ago
Have been with Virgin for some years, but this last year their speed has been appalling in the afternoon/evenings. I complained, only to get a robotic letter stating that any download speed over 400kbs is acceptable and not a fault. So now they will concentrate on offering this rubbish ADSL service - what a laugh!!!
Posted by jdc56 over 9 years ago
I have left Virgin after 7 yrs. The service (with Telewest) prior to the rebranding/takeover was excellent. I had a 4mb contract which after the changeover was very unreliable frequently below 1mb and often worse than the old "dial up" speeds.

I have now moved to Sky for my complete package where I am getting an improved package for less than I was paying to Virgin.
I did not move to Sky without many phone calls to Virgin who continually denied that there had been any change to their service and that my equipment (not their's) must be faulty despite this not having changed.
Posted by gjhl over 9 years ago
i cant help but agree with the posts here. i have been with virgin since inception through dial up and broadband. everything was ok until they became virgin media. i have been old that as i am in the top 5% of users i am capped at 512K downloads 24X7. I somehow managed to have 16GB of traffic on my line despite being on no more than dial up speeds. The fair usage policy restricts me between 4 and midnight. no mention of total restriction. The helpline is at best worse than useless. moved to Skybroadband unlimited for £10 a month so saving £8 p/m
Posted by trakhat over 9 years ago
I agree with all of the above. I moved to virgin adsl 10 months ago from Demon. Worst move ever. I'm on the 8Mb unlimited service and from a year ago with Demon regularly achieving 7Mb I'm now regularly below 1Mb and I don't consider myself a heavy user. I may download a single DVD title every month and windows updates - but that's about it. Customer services is pathetic and they just ignore e-mail contact! I'm out of it just as soon as my 12 months is up!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
LMFAO every time there is a virgin media story about there broadband you have to laugh.... Just the title of this article "Virgin Media to focus on broadband" is hilarious.... yes they are focused.... focused on throttling your connection to death, charging premium rate for phone support, charging more for a so called upto 20Mb service than others do and soooooo much more, I think virgin broadband management live in a cocoon. LMAO
Posted by Southyorks over 9 years ago
I too am with Virgin (2Mg) since the days of Diamond Cable when i was dial up some times I still think I am on dial up my speed is cut by half every night. Thinking of moving to another provider and they still send me leaflets asking if I want a faster speed i pay too much for my broadband as it is they are getting worse.
Posted by kenster over 9 years ago
I signed up for Virgin ADSL 8Mb and I was getting speeds of around 0.1-0.2Mb - that's right 100Kbps! Given that dial up is 56kbps, this is a pathetic effort. I then moved to a cabled are and I stuck with Virgin as I could get cable BB and I would have to pay rest of my ADSL contract anyway. I have to say that on my cable 2Mb BB I am getting speeds of 2Mb - amazing! I haven't been throttled... yet.
Posted by Chiny over 9 years ago
I was unimpressed when VM took over from Telewest and felt the urge to write to me (costing xxx) raising my monthly broadband payment by 1p/month to be the same as ntl.

Still, imagine what would happen if the credit crunch had not occurred and all us punters had been flogged to private equity.
Posted by mother over 9 years ago
Focus on broadband that's a joke! Who's working at Virgin Media? Mr Magoo??? Cos that's about the level of focus they have currently got.

Check out what my superfast 20Mbit broadband looks like every night when I get home from work...
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
So by "focus", they mean "oversell more", right?
Posted by GJaxx over 9 years ago
Was with NTL 3yrs
'til Virgin got lairy
Migrated to Be*
now I'm happy as Larry

Soz....I'll get my coat!
Posted by farrina over 9 years ago
Same here - customer of Telewest that was since 2001. Have now jumped ship to BE. Let's hope O2 don't mess them up with overloading the network as they roll out their broadband offering.

There is now a suggestion that Virgin Media are looking at throttling the upload side via STM.

Totally lost the plot - they need to invest in upgrading their network.
Posted by mr_l over 9 years ago
I have been with Virgin adsl for years. It has always been reasonable until now. I accept I am never going to get 8mb with a 8mb connection, mine has always been around an average of 1.5mb, not good (considering I am about 100 meters from my exchange) but at least usable. In the last few weeks it has dropped to a very consistent 400k, 400k funnily enough, being the bare minimum virgin t&c's consider acceptable speeds for a 2, 4 or 8mb service. It is really time isps were forced to advertise average peak speeds rather than these pointless "up to" speeds.
Posted by cinnamongirl over 9 years ago
I currently get approx 0.1 download and 0.3 upload (yes, that's correct - not a misprint) with my Virgin ADSL "up to 8Mbps" package. What a joke - I'm not laughing. The best I've had was around 3Mbps last year. I am only a few yards from my exchange. Virgin is a con!!!
Posted by jimb0123 over 9 years ago
Really poor download speeds, just avoid or move on from this ISP if your an ADSL customer. Be aware the ADSL service also employs traffic management if you are in the top 5% of users- this should only limit you to 512k. There is no notification as to whether whether your are being traffic managed and there is no URL to check. Really poor......
Posted by 2doorsbob over 9 years ago
just to point out anybody on virgin adsl having problems ..these lines are ran by bt wholesale ..using bt local loop
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 9 years ago
The lines may be Openreach to the exchange and may terminate at a BT Wholesale DSLAM currently, but used a mixture of IPStream and Datastream services.

If the issues were purely BT Wholesale based, then this should affect the other users on the exchange with other providers using IPStream. In the Datastream case Virgin are in control of the backhaul so slow speeds are more attributable to them.
Posted by RogerJM over 9 years ago
I totally agree VM adsl is totally abysmal, I had an email offering to "Upgrade & Tubocharge" my old NTL 1Mbs account to the up to 8Mbs service for the same price or keep my old service for £3 per month less, I wish I had, at least i was getting a constant speed of around 500kbps with the new one I rarely achieve 2Mbs ^ as low as 93kbps.
I feel their email should have said "Downgrade & Turbo-Discharge" & I'm sriously considering reporting them to the Advertising Standards.
Posted by kevinh42 over 9 years ago
Not sure if this is directly related to the comments, but as an ADSL user on the edge of the Scottish Highlands, I find I can get good speed, virtually the 8M in the mornings, but in the afternoon things grind to very low download speeds, often below 100K and normally not much more than 300K. In the evening things pick up again.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Could be a number of things kevin42 from the actual ISP thereself, contention at your exchange to a plain and simple noise margin drop off. I suggest that you post in your ISPs forum though and ask, in there you will be able to give line stats and so much more and someone may be able to help you :) Its worth a try isnt it :)
Posted by VirginAdslUser over 9 years ago
Have spent the last 45 days trying to get Virgin to understand that there is a fault with the ADSL service.Have spent a small fortune on the 25p a min line, been fobbed off with numerous excuses, they suggest you do 6 speed tests at BT test site, that seldom works, and when it does errors out.
Have tried finding out who or where I complain about the company, they dont and wont tell you,all in all the service is a shambles, I would never recommend Virgin to anyone.
Changed my line from 1MB to the superfast always connected 8mb service to get speeds of just 164kpbs...
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