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.