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Virgin Media announces free 4 to 10 meg upgrade
Monday 28 January 2008 09:40:03 by Sebastien Lahtinen

Virgin Media has this morning announced the beginning of a major upgrade programme for its broadband customers. Customers on its 'L' package will receive a free upgrade from 4 to 10 Mbps rolling out region by region starting towards the end of February. This is likely to be a direct attack on the ADSL 'up to 8 meg' market to encourage more users to consider cable broadband options. The upgrade will be completed by late summer.

This move was not unexpected with next generation ADSL2+ services coming up on the horizon. Virgin is clearly targeting users who are looking for speed at good prices before the BT 21CN network is ready. Quite how the cable operators NTL and Telewest didn't take advantage of their network in the past years is a mystery, but Virgin is certainly on the right track.

"Virgin Media's cable network gives us a natural superiority over other broadband services and we're delighted to reward our customers with this free upgrade. We've barely scratched the surface of what's possible with our cable network, and we will continue to look for new ways to satisfy the growing demand for even faster broadband in the UK. We're proud to be leading the country's superfast broadband revolution."

Neil Berkett (Acting CEO), Virgin Media

Virgin has trialled the 50 Mbps service in Kent and will be extending the programme nationwide to reach over 9 million homes by the end of the year. More information is available on


Posted by therioman over 9 years ago
I tried a Virgin Connection a one place I visited regularly, subscribed to a basic package. I don't think I got good speeds anywhere close to the advertised rate once, but given it got used maybe once a week, I got traffic managed on 2 occasions. 4 months in, I told them to stick it and decided to just use my t-mobile data card.

Virgin's connection is utter junk, how they'll realistically provide 10 meg is anyones guess.
Posted by amips over 9 years ago
If Therioman used Virgin at a "place he visited", how did he tell them "to stick it" ?

Sounds like sour grapes to me! Do you happen to work for BT?

How can anyone compare old copper cables with optical cable? I'm a PC engineer and spend my week at users homes sorting out their broadband-99% of the time it is always -through a BT line). I've had NTL BB for over 4 years and NEVER had a problem - granted they call it 4Mb and I can only get 3.7mb, but at least it's stable and never takes 5mins to connect like a lot of BT-lined setups do

Posted by hoodamanny over 9 years ago
The Major problem with Virgin, is that a) its more expensive and b) they have a ridiculous 25p per minute support line. It doesn't matter how fast it goes, when it doesn't go you can either sit out and wait for it to work, or take a chance on a REALLY expensive phone call
Posted by Royf over 9 years ago
I guess Virgin cant compete in the non cable world so have to push for cable.They gave a free upgrade to max some years ago and although fine for a short while , as time went on the problems grew and although they said they were dealing with them they have steadily got worse.
Posted by saintlyboy over 9 years ago
I'm with Virgin & there are loads of things I despise about them: 25ppm tech support (which is rubbish). Calls are supposedly capped at £5 - gee thanks. PC Guard is over-cautious and blocks lots of genuine packets etc to do with online gaming and you can't get in to the finer details to tweak it (since removed from my PC in favour of Zone Alarm). The TV service is cranky & really expensive and unlike every other ISP they dont give you a free wireless router BUT...10Mbps over cable versus a dodgy 4Mbps over copper? No contest and that's why people like me stay with Virgin.
Posted by Rocklett over 9 years ago
I have been with Virgin for the last 7 years on their cable service and have found it very reliable and one can't overstate the inherent advantage of achieving the stated line speed, i.e. when you purchase a 20Mbps connection you get it, which is very different to any ADSL service unless you happen to be within a few feet of the exchange.

This does not mean one will get a data throughput of 20Mbps to all sites as that depends on network congestion and location. But at least one only has that to deal with and not guessing what speed your line is running at like MAX ADSL
Posted by Gitface over 9 years ago
Maybe they'll upgrade the Milton Keynes cable system so we can actualy get anything other than a few channels that are on freeview, probably happen when Wimax reaches anything other than the houses right next to an exchange.
Posted by john_beck_uk over 9 years ago
I mut be the luckiest person on Virgin. I have used their service for approx 7 years, including dial up before Broadband, and have had excellent service. I agree the customer service after Telewest is not so good, though I have hardly had reason to use it. My service is only 2Mb but I always get in the region of 1.98Mb. This is consistent and still at the price I originally signed for 768Kb. I think I am very lucky.
Posted by therioman over 9 years ago
Re @therioman

"If Therioman used Virgin at a "place he visited", how did he tell them "to stick it" ?"

It wasn't my home, but my partners, but I paid for the Virgin Service there. So I told them to stick it, since I paid the bill and signed the contract. Good enough for you?
Posted by Locky over 9 years ago
in october i ditched virgin (been with them since 2001 i believe it was) £37 a month for 20 meg i WAS NOT seeing the area is well over subscribed and the upload capped at 768k i think somebody high up is digging smack. everytime i download a ddr dureing "peak" hours i get capped to 5 meg ? had enough of that as well, so instead i switched to 02, pay £15 a month have no traffic shapeing, FREE CS, 3 x the upload i had on virgin the download is a LITTLE slower but that isnt the end of the world, i save £22 a month!

and this is what i get

Bandwidth (Up/Down) [kbps/kbps]: 2,290 / 19,301
Posted by Locky over 9 years ago
and may i finaly point out, that is to the "inferior" copper network
Posted by herdwick over 9 years ago
"How can anyone compare old copper cables with optical cable" - Virgin Cable connections into houses are made with copper cable of the coaxial variety, usually heeled into the turf of your lawn or similar. Their advantage is having the "other end" in a nearby street cabinet instead of a remote Telephone Exchange.
Posted by danman7_200 over 9 years ago
What's the advantage of an over subscribed cable network to an over-subscribed copper network? ;)

Only way to get a decent service in this country is LLU.

Posted by john_beck_uk over 9 years ago
I think Herdwick your understanding of "old copper" coaxial cable is getting confused with copper twisted pair, as per BT. Coaxial copper cable is quite capable of handling 100Mb lan traffic and though not as good of long distances as fibre is far superior to copper twisted pair.
Posted by rutland1 over 9 years ago
I have had Virgin, formerly Telewest, for some years. It is utter rubbish: if I get 2 Mbps it is a good day. Unfortunately there seems to be no alternative here. BT says that we are too far from the pathetic is that?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
LOL as if their network wasnt for many falling to pieces before im sure it will now.
Posted by DaDDeh over 9 years ago
I have been with Virgin since they where called Diamond Cable, my service was fine until I went to the 20Mb service since then it has been bad, 3 engineers later I am told it is the networks fault over subscribed and they need to sort it this will take a few months to do, in the meantime I am left with speeds of less then 1mb sec during peak and weekends on my 20Mb service.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
Typo there, Mr. Berkett:

"Users are barely able to scratch the surface of what's possible with our cable network"

Further overloading the network is not the answer. Dropping speeds to give reasonable access is. So sorry you're addicted to headline speed, but you're killing your product.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
I was lucky to see 5-10% of the stated speed, has 3-4 second pings and 25%+ packet loss in several locations within the same town after the VM speed hikes.

Most of the areas are overloaded, and are like this.
Posted by kitkatnodogs over 9 years ago
I must be very lucky living in Edinbrgh.I have been a customer of Virgin and before that telewest for about 5 years. I am on the 20Mbps per second and have just taken a Speed Test with your Speed Test tool(the time is 19.45hrs.) Download 17.9Mbps. Upload 0.7Mbps with the time of day I don't feel I can complain.
Although this is the good side of the coin I must agree some customer services have gone down.
By the way I have found that if the fault is on their side of the network, if you dig your heels in phone calls will be refunded.
Posted by oddsey over 9 years ago
Happy with VM on the whole.
Reliable and consistent,as recent speed tests show.
28/01 21:58 3819.3/376.4
20/01 20:14 3846.2/376.5
07/01 21:48 3835.2/376.0
30/12 01:33 3846.8/376.3
26/12 18:33 3848.1/374.5
05/11 14:36 3631.5/278.1
07/10 14:01 3847.0/376.3
The price is good if ya take 3/4 services.I pay £47/month for 4meg broadband,all the standard tv channels with a V+HDbox(£75 installation),land-line and mob with 100min+txt a month(+free new phone)
Yeah,helpline isn't cheap,but it's a free call if ya got their land-line! If ya not then you can find a national rate number on the net!
Posted by cwhiley100 over 9 years ago
50 meg not a chance for the last month my 20 meg has not even reached 10 meg they say they are working on it
Posted by AdamGz0r over 9 years ago
The 50mbit network will be using DOCSIS 3.0 and be on different frequencies than to they're current DOCSIS 2.0 network, and Virgin have already stated that they will use seperate backhaul to cope with the faster speeds.

As for people having slow speeds this can only be due to 2 things, either that person is on ADSL and can not tell the difference or the UBR is oversubscribed. Virgin have plenty of backhaul so most problems are localised unfortunately.

Also like somebody else said earlier tech support is free via 150 if you own a landline with them.
Posted by RepairExpert over 9 years ago
Yesterday evening VM were obviously experimenting with traffic management. Several of us on the VM ADSL forum checked our speeds to discover we were all throttled to just under 500kb, despite receiving ping times varying between 40ms and 125ms. Thankfully speeds returned to normal this morning (5Mb+ here). I wonder if this is a quick fix to try and overcome their lack of capacity in their ADSL system. Of course it is unacceptable to get 10% of your maximum speed at peak times, and I sincerely hope this experiment is not going to continue. Any idea of what they are up to?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
Adam - In most areas UBR's are heavily oversubscribed and have been even before their headline speed increases. That is and allways has been the issue.
Posted by RepairExpert over 9 years ago
It's happened again on VM ADSLmax.
All throttled to 500kb or less after 4pm.
Off peak...
Just before and after 4pm...
The results speak for themselves.
And thats with TSTools test 3; the maximum on multiple downloads, surfing speed will be quite a bit less.
Anyone know what's going on?
Posted by jrawle over 9 years ago
I have just left Virgin Media. Although I still believe cable in general gives a superior connection to ADSL, the push for ever faster speeds has ruined the service making it unreliable and inconsistent. VM's policies of usage caps and premium rate support made my decision much easier. The high cost of cable simply is no longer worth the money.
Posted by AdamGz0r over 9 years ago
Dawn_Falcon: You say most areas are heavily oversubscribed, where are you getting this trash from? Do you work for Virgin and know something we don't.
Posted by RepairExpert over 9 years ago
Anyone using VM ADSL will tell you that the whole system is oversubscribed and has been for a couple of years! Hence the appalling speeds some get at peak times. Just look at some of these comments...
Don't think there's any doubt about it!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"Dawn_Falcon: You say most areas are heavily oversubscribed, where are you getting this trash from? Do you work for Virgin and know something we don't."

Their statement is NOT trash, I have numerous friends and family scattered around the country which has suffered the inept over subsciption of their network. You may be one of the lucky ones AdamGz0r that doesnt mean the rest of the country have a connection as good as yours.... Unless of cause you can back up your statement that someone elses comment is "trash" even though they have experienced it.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
Adam - From what NTL and then VM have been saying about performance? Plus it's pretty simple to see when a UBR in your area is oversubscribed.

Repair - Talking about the cable network. The ADSL is another disaster.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
Not to mention if they had plenty of bandwidth/network space/whatever you wish to call it...... They wouldnt of introduced throttles would they.
Posted by AdamGz0r over 9 years ago

Dawn_Falcon: NTL no longer exists, and people still dont seem to understand VM have multiple networks, ADSL, ex TW cable, ex NTL cable and also ex CW cable, they are not all the same network. I myself and others from other regions seem perfectly cable of getting 20mbit no matter what time of the day it is. Maybe if you was on cable yourself you would know.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago just a selection of things i defended and welcomed... You probably missed all that though as you were too busy sucking up to virgin media.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
Adam, I've been on cable. I was recieving 5% of the bandwidth with 25% packet loss and 2-3 second latency. Tech's answer? "The UBR is massively oversubscribed, upgrading it in 5 months". (Which ended up being pushed back repeatedly)

You're just shilling at this point. The vast majority of users are seeing their connections become less useable as a result of headline speed upgrades.
Posted by AdamGz0r over 9 years ago
Just because 1 UBR is oversubscribed does ot mean they all are, and like I said in a pprevious post it is obvious they have a massive amount of backhaul as the problem is region specific, as contradictary to your statement plenty of users can perfectly hit 100% of the speed they have been quoted as having.
Posted by AdamGz0r over 9 years ago speed seems fine to me.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
virgin is on the right track? hard to say as increasing marketed speeds is not much to the consumer if achieved speeds do not increase in line with it. The real result will emerge as to what happens after docsis3 is rolled out and if the relief on the docsis1.1 improves things or now.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
when I was on cable (ntl days) my performance was around this mark.
10mbit service.
3am to 7am - 10mbit or close to it
7am to 2pm, 1am to 3am - around 4-6mbit
3pm to 1am - anything usually from 2mbit to 4mbit
when I downgraded to 2mbit - the speeds on peak were actually about 0.5mbit so as compensation I was put on 10mbit for 2mbit price.
Posted by michaels_perry over 9 years ago
So what about those of us not in a cabled area? I'm rural so have no cable and have to use copper from exchange to house. I pay for 'up to 8 Mbps' but usually get about 2.5 Mbps. When are we non-cable customers going to be upgraded?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
^^^ Your 'Upgrade' will come in the shape of BT21CN and ADSL2+, at some point within about 2 years. Many here of the BT gospel will tell you it will be wonderful, even BT thereself spout how great it will be...... The reality for someone like yourself getting 2.5Mb is you are unlikely to see a big increase in speed, if any at all... You will be more than lucky to get double your current rate let alone 10, 20 or 50Mb... So forget all about it.
Posted by RepairExpert over 9 years ago
The problem is, that even if Virgin upgrade to ADSL2+, and in theory offer a system that is capable of much higher speeds, unless they invest in enough capacity in the system then we will all be back to square one again.
Remember that when these faster systems come on-line people will want to take advantage of all the new available options like Video Streaming, etc. which will put an extra strain on the system. A good analogy is a chap's garden shed, no matter how big you make it it's sure to get filled up.
Posted by user589 over 7 years ago
Virgin Media is the worst ISP I have ever had, the connection is unreliable. They took 7 times as much money as they should have from my bank account and never gave me back my money and then disconnected my internet because I complained about their services on the web
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