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Virgin Media in first steps to divest itself of its TV operation
Monday 03 March 2008 13:05:13 by Andrew Ferguson

The quad-play nature of the Virgin Media cable based products has been a big part of the marketing effort since Virgin Media launched, but the group has announced plans to concentrate on its flagship cable broadband product. It is perhaps thus not surprising to see Goldman Sachs given the job of analysing the TV division with a view to selling parts of it. The website brad intelligence has the original item.

Any sale of the groups TV assets will be complicated by the fact that BBC Worldwide (the commercial arm of the BBC) has a half share in UKTV. No suggestion is being made that any sale would include the cable infrastructure, which is of course the core product that Virgin Media is built around. It seems more likely that the TV production and content side of things will be up for sale rather than the cable TV and broadband services that people subscribe too.

Given that a degree of investment is needed to get the fibre/co-ax hybrid network upgraded to handle the much vaunted 50Mbps broadband product, a sale of some of the family silver could fund this work. A big question is whether enough consumers will be willing to pay the price premium a 50Mbps connection will command when the 20Mbps product is currently £37 a month. Looking at the upload speeds for Virgin Media customers, the number of tests with an upload higher than 512Kbps was 12,600 out of 44,000 tests (in the period 1st December to 25th February and between the hours of 18:00 and 22:00). Which if use of our speed tester is representative of the whole Virgin Media consumer base suggests 28% of the groups customers are on a 20Mbps product now.

Comments

Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
ahhhhhhhhhhh Poor old Virgin what a dilemma indeed, how much to charge. Well lets see 50mb speed online for 30 mins 8 gigs downloaded, er speed CUT to 5mb as punishment. Guess you cann charge the mugs £45 a month for this service
Comment based on past behaviour of this lot

"not surprising to see Goldman Sachs " No it isnt.
Posted by aaaashy over 9 years ago
there has been a real slowdown with the virgin media 20Mb line since the beginning of this year, right now i cannot even do the speed test due to a communication error - and this has been ongoing (at night) for weeks now

and i am in central London......
Posted by AdamGz0r over 9 years ago
Remember the new docsis3 50mb network will not be running on the same system as the current docsis1.1 20mb network. It will be running along side it on completly different frequencies and with its own seperate backhaul I believe.

Sounds like thats more likely to be a problem with your computer aaaashy.
Posted by Guzzo over 9 years ago
i think its time to complain to the advertizing standards brigade. I am sick of seeing Virgin ads stating they have the fastest broadband in the UK. Both O2 and BE both can provide faster at 24mb. OK you must be 400 yards max distance from the exchange and get all the radiation from the Microwave part but, "hey" you gottta take a risk for 24mb. Besides they don't cut your speed for using the service like Virgin do.
How do they get customers in the first place?
Posted by AndrueC over 9 years ago
@Guzzo:Don't bother. Other ISPs did exactly that and the ASA produced one of it's most ridiculous reports yet refuting every single complaint.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 9 years ago
AdamGz0r - Basically, per a cable tech, "nuts". What actually happens is it ALL goes DOCIS 3. This can *up to* triple the avaliable bandwidth, but for NTL is likely to roughly double it.
Posted by chrisac over 9 years ago
yes but how many of the 28% you say are on the 20mb service can actualy get anything like 20mb,
my maximum speed is between omb and 3mb i have
been waiting for nearly 12 months for work to be done on my ubr and cable, it just keeps getting canceled when the fix date arrives,
yet they still want top dollar for their services, i got rid of their v+ service due to daily problems and constant false promises, the way virgin media are going they wont need to sell off the tv part of the business, as their wont be any business to sell off,
Posted by comnut over 9 years ago
why do so many not remember, never think???
- 56k dialup never got that speed, and I bet 24M never will get full 24MB!!! ADSL+ uses special DSP to squeeze this out of the normal phone network - Cable is intrinsically better bandwidth - I bet if they were foolish enough(given the many problems with the system) they would get 100M!! - if you do not mind the dropouts, bad service, bad speed, etc, etc....

"radiation from the Microwave part" what do you mean?? I think all the mobile phone masts make a lot more... where is your tinfoil hat??
Posted by comnut over 9 years ago
The TV service can be improved by simplifying the TVGUIDE menus... If they use 'guideplus' it would be much better...
Posted by penfold69 over 9 years ago
Omgg i cant belive people stay with virgin, they treated me really bad and blamed me and my equipment 4 the poor speeds, i finally decided to leave and join plusnet, it was the best thing i ever did speeds r excellent :)
Posted by comnut over 9 years ago
Is that virgin CABLE or ADSL???

oo, just wait until plusnet 'bandwidth shaping' kicks in!!!
:O :O
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"Is that virgin CABLE or ADSL???"
Does it matter you would have to be a virgin to broadband to go with this mob nowadays anyway.
Posted by AdamGz0r over 9 years ago
Dawn_Falcon: That is not true at all, the existing docsis system will run along side the new one, it would be too much work to migrate all the users, maybe if you was a 'nut' you would know this already.

Traffic shaping on Virgin is reset on a daily basis and it only lasts for 6hours during certain hours.

I do not agree with Virgin Medias new advertising campaign either, especially the one saying it is fibre optic.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"Traffic shaping on Virgin is reset on a daily basis and it only lasts for 6hours during certain hours."

Oh thats cool then, throttled a quarter of the day every day and they have the nerve to call the upcoming service 50Mb lol... 50Mb except when most people get home from work and little billy or the mrs has destroyed the allowance leaving you throttled to death.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
finally they heading in the right direction, ntl aka virgin media never really made money of tv at best it was generally break even, the profits are all from voice and broadband. I have long said they should concentrate on their strength which is the cable broadband network.
Posted by chrysalis over 9 years ago
andrew your article forgot to mention the 50mbit rollout is tied in with existing upgrades as the biggest contention point the ubr is been changed for 50mbit users.
Posted by comnut over 9 years ago
you will have to be a REAL IDIOT to not know the diff. between CABLE and ADSL... esp. if you claim expertise...
Posted by comnut over 9 years ago
penfold69: waiting for *your* answer...
Posted by comnut over 9 years ago
also on the forum, go add a comment....
http://bbs.adslguide.org.uk/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=virgin_cable&Number=3287811
Posted by comnut over 9 years ago
also on the forum, go add a comment....
http://bbs.adslguide.org.uk/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=virgin_cable&Number=3287811
Posted by AdamGz0r over 9 years ago
lmao @ carpetburns comment

It isnt the worst throttling and like I said reset meters daily, so Im sure it makes it one of the better systems, although with all the crap speeds people seem to get on here I doubt they will trigger the system, although it doesnt really affect me as I prefer to rent films online and buy the music I appreciate online.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
AdamGz0r i dont deny for some people virgin CABLE may be ideal for their broadband service, their advertising and costs to call support along with the throttles and so much more though is something they conveniently neglect from their "this is wonderful" gumpf.
Posted by AdamGz0r over 9 years ago
I am not here to fully defend people critiscising Virgin, but I personally have had a good experience. I think it depends on the region you are in, NTL users seem to have the worst of it, Im in an ex-TW area and CS/Service I am generally pleased with.

So called Fibre Optic broadband they now advertise definately makes me sneer at the brand though. Business is business at the end of the day though.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 9 years ago
quote"Business is business at the end of the day though."

Pity they didnt use some of the money they made from customers of their business to pay sky for the channels people wanted isnt it?
Infact pity they didnt reduce the price along with the content also!
Posted by AdamGz0r over 9 years ago
Think they lost enough customers over that issue not to have money to use, myself being one of them.
Posted by chrishoops over 9 years ago
"Given that a degree of investment is needed to get the fibre/co-ax hybrid network upgraded to handle the much vaunted 50Mbps broadband product, a sale of some of the family silver could fund this work."

Errr try giving your existing customers what they pay for first.

The average customer doesn't need 50meg anyway... I have left Virgin for ADSL24, and with a consistent 5mb connection i can download (legal) media content faster than I can watch it.

The whole thing is so NOT about meeting the needs of the customer. Its all about 12 month contracts and revenues.
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