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Virgin Media 50Meg product - is it a revolution?
Sunday 14 December 2008 19:39:31 by Andrew Ferguson

The Virgin Media 50Mbps cable broadband product that relies on DOCSIS 3.0 to offer 50Mbps speeds initially and could run at 200Mbps by bonding channels together in the future is the worst kept industry secret of December 2008.

The unanswered questions are what price will the service be, and whether it will have traffic management like the other products in the Virgin Media cable range. We think there are two likely options for the product:

  1. A monthly fee of £42 per month and retain the existing traffic management scheme but with different amounts, perhaps 10GB during the day, and 6GB during the evenings.
  2. Alternatively they may plump for the more catchy 50Meg for £50 and drop all forms of traffic management, at least until take up of the product starts to fill the capacity that the new DOCSIS 3.0 network will have.

The 50Mbps product will, once roll-out is completed, bring the option of next generation broadband speeds to some 46% of UK households. The big question that everyone is wondering is how popular the service will be. Currently 10% of Virgin Media broadband customers opt for the most expensive 20Mbps product, with a massive 71% watching their pennies by opting for the slowest 2Mbps product.

If within 18 months, Virgin Media can have 10% of its customers on the 50Mbps product, this is likely to encourage its competitors to push on with next generation investment. A price point that makes it unpopular may impact on how willing investors are to spend money on getting next generation services to the remaining 54% of UK households.


Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Alternatively they may plump for the more catchy 50Meg for £50 and drop all forms of traffic management,"

Id happily pay that.... AS long as it does actually go at 50Mbps and not ten percent of that speed (5Mb) like other Virgin packages do for many people.

Back to reality though..... Of course its gonna be traffic managed if they couldnt supply 10 and 20Mb services 24/7 they sure as heck wont be able to give 50Mb (Even with the new DOCSIS system before someone says how different, cheaper or other chaff fed spill you believe).
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
Assuming you mean 10GB/month during day and 6GB/mo evenings, I think it's way under what I would expect for a product costing over £40
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
10GB per day, i.e. would be 300GB per month, but as Virgin Media do their management on a day basis
Posted by KarlAustin over 8 years ago
It might as well be 10GB/month though - how many people have even downloads throughout a month? I know I don't, I'll download very little, then one day I'll need to download quite a lot - I imagine most people are like that. I'm sure there will be some leechers that do, but your average person, won't.
Posted by citizenx over 8 years ago
I think it is utterly pointless and unnecessary at present - great marketing gimmick though.

As for the "worst kept secret".. doesn't anyone think that this is intentional? Get people talking ahead of launch and you've got even more PR for nothing...
Posted by MarcusJClifford over 8 years ago
It looks like it will be £52 per month.

Source: Screenshot at
Posted by keith_thfc over 8 years ago
I won't touch VM with a bargepole given their traffic management history. Even if they gave this away.

I'm amazed others would even consider it.
Posted by cskla over 8 years ago
in the current financial climate, I think they're going to struggle to get people to pay over £40 for broadband, even if it's 50MB! Their 20MB package which is the one I have doesn't go over 10MB during the day, after 11pm, I get the full speed and it has served me fine so far, download anything big after hours. If they include TM on this new service, it becomes an even less attractive offer!
Posted by betty over 8 years ago
Lucky you out there I can't even get half a MB.Why can't they upgrade all those that are having problems first.
Posted by citizenx over 8 years ago
Betty - Probably because those having problems are a tiny percentage of customers, the costs of fixing their problems are probably high.

Easier to target a broad base and maximise returns.

Posted by stevegreen1 over 8 years ago
£42 is seriously pushing it, £52 would be utterly ridiculous, and IMO it'll be a flop if they do go with and stick with £52.
Posted by betty over 8 years ago
Yes citizenx I realise that the small people are in the minority but it would be nice if we could have an upgrade. If it was not for ZEN I should probably be still on dial up.
Posted by dragon1945 over 8 years ago
Betty, BT will only give me half a MB, but from the same Exchange, same phoneline etc. I get 1.6 MB from Talktalk. Can't wait for BT to roll out fibre LOL. As they can't even match Talktalks 1.6 MB, I'm not holding my breath. They won't improve services in areas like ours because it isn't cost-effective. Too few houses for them to recoup the costs, let alone make a profit, and BT's Shareholders want a profit.
Posted by fox-uk over 8 years ago
Virgin 'management'
20 meg Current caps are -
10am to 3pm - 6GB
3pm to 9pm - 3GB
Outside those times 'unlimited'.
DAILY download limit 134GB

It would be very hard to see a 'legal' home need for anything in excess of 134GB daily.

The limits are annoying for people who work from home or are 'housebound' but can be managed by using free software.

Posted by fox-uk over 8 years ago
The proposed cost of 50MB is out of the question for the vast majority of home users.

If Virgin have any sense at all they will upgrade all 20MB users to 50MB at the same cost.

The continuation of a 10 MB heavily capped service at the present price for their 'M' service would be beneficial.

Even with their problems they would (again) be on a heavy expansion curve and profitable.

The fixed costs are met by creation of the service - variables increase with the number of users - simple economics.
Posted by pigfister over 8 years ago
Its a revolution is spying on their customers.

Virgin use PHORM a spying technique to troll all your none encrypted information including all, MSM/Windows live messenger chat, all emails, passwords and user details entered onto all none encrypted url's, every http request from your pc logged.
Posted by citizenx over 8 years ago
pigfister - I'm not aware that Virgin are in any way operating Phorm as yet.

Phorm may be a bad thing but misinformation does the anti Phorm cause no good at all.

Please clairfy your remarks.
Posted by pigfister over 8 years ago

fta: Simply put, three of the UK's largest ISPs (Virgin Media, BT and TalkTalk) have decided to sell your private browsing history to an advertising broker. Yes, the entire content of every web page you visit gets sent to Phorm in real time, as you click. A personal profile is created, allowing Phorm to send you 'targeted advertising'.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
Virgin Media has not put Phorm onto its network as yet, do not spread dis-information.
Posted by citizenx over 8 years ago
Pigfister, you'll find most people here are well aware of the in's and out's of Phorm, it's data collection processes, legal status, dodgy (unlawful - potentially) tests by BT and so on.
Your posts make it seem like this is live and in use now on Virgin. It is not.

There is some clarification on their site:

Posted by citizenx over 8 years ago

"It may be that, as part of the evaluation process, we want to test the technology among some of our customers but we are not currently doing so and we will not conduct any such tests without individual customers' prior consent. Moreover, should Virgin Media eventually decide to roll out Webwise, customers will not be forced to use the system."

I support the "anti phorm" campaign 100% but we have to be careful when talking about this to get the facts absolutely right!
Posted by betty over 8 years ago
Dragon1945. My BT line is too far from the exchange. Bt tried to connect me twice but the line kept dropping, they rang up the other day and tried to get me to go back, had to explain all over again said they would call again when the line was updated (probably not in my life time) good old ZEN keep it up
Posted by Netwizzard over 8 years ago
Everyone talks about 20Mb // 50 Mb download, what about UPLOAD. Why is VM's so low? 02 can do 1.5Mb upload on phone line. Ain't worth paying any extra if the upload aint goning to be any better !!
Posted by fox-uk over 8 years ago
It was on their site at £51 a month and NO real details.

My area isn't available yet............ even though we're cable.

My wallet isn't available ever for a product that has NO information before I buy.

Once bitten twice shy!
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
well there is no shortage of takers here....

Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
But hey, if you buy a supercar that will do 200MPH, why moan that there are too many speed limits, and not enough road to manage to get that fast??? Top gear did it, only just enough road, + extra for braking!! - it still almost crashed the fence.... :D
Posted by Denis over 8 years ago
I think that for many people 10Mbs/20Mbs will be sufficient, although it would be nice to have 50Mbs especially if you're like me, always downloading large files. I would happily pay £52 per month for a non traffic managed broadband.
Posted by xrio over 8 years ago
sounds good tho i wonder how much the allowance is on this threshold as with my 10 meg connection i get about 2 hours at full speed (from 6pm) throttled back to 1 meg between 8pm - 12pm :( the allowances and acceptable use policy are a joke!
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
Currently no threshold - now when and if one comes is something people are free to bet on, but then the same applies to all products from all providers that have no allowance/trigger at this time.
Posted by veryslowlyslowly over 8 years ago
Betty. I have had been lambasting Bt for a couple of years or so now about the dismal line speed.
Originally I had pay Bt to open a new account for a new line to get B/band installed.
After a short while the speed diminished to where it is now. 0.7 Mbps. It's annoying that within a virtual stonesthrow, across a road, the speeds are up in the 3Mbps plus range.
All down to being connected to the wrong exchange, irronicaly that exchange is on my side of the road ?!
Bt did however offer an olive branch .... downgrade my line to 512 Kbps !!! now thats what I call progress?
Posted by comnut over 8 years ago
er, WHY are you with BT???? This article is about VM CABLE - and AFAIK 50M is not possible over BT wires.... Be will get 24M, but some do not get this...
Posted by dbcook over 8 years ago
I have the Virgin 20 MEG package (with phone and TV) and am very happy with it. I typically get 18 MEG download. I wouldn't pay nay more for 50 MEG though
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
They're stepping on L and XL users to provide the bandwidth for XXL. This isn't really a surprise, since they want to force upgrades to the higher service.

Once it's got the uptake, they'll add the traffic management back in.
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
"The proposed cost of 50MB is out of the question for the vast majority of home users." - Nah, it's the price of a tank of petrol, a pint of beer every other night, etc etc. A matter of choosing what to spend your money on.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Agreed Herdwick £51 is not that much for a 50Mb service, infact its about what i was expecting and what i personally think serious users would be willing to pay top end wise.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Do agree with Dawn though give it between 6-12 months and it will be traffic managed to hell once they get peoples interest and sign ups.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Well they've stated outright that's how it'll work. Also, they've told The Register they're going to degrade people's connections with DPI and interfere with p2p apps.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
LOL if they interfere with p2p thats going to be interesting, quiet what you will use your super fast 50Mb connection for with the likes of iplayer, itunes and similar crippled to death remains a mystery... Maybe Virgin think we all need 50Mb for email and web surfing... The dullards obviously miss the ball completely they could introduce a HDTV service over broadband kinda like sky have only better quality with 50Mb... Someone in their research and development needs a kick to the skull to encourage creative and sensible thought.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
No, their business department needs the kick. They could offer 10MBit, which actually stayed at 10MBit the vast majority of the time. But no, they have to offer crippled "faster" packages.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
does this service have to have high take up for it to be worthwhile? not really as they offer cheaper services.
Herdwick another rare occasion we agree, people think nothing of spending £50+ a month on drinking etc. but on broadband they consider it a fortune.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Its like the recent batch of VAT idiots chrysalis, get all worked up they aint going to get their service for 30p or so less and SAY because of that they will change ISP... Id seriously like to watch these people prioritise cash flow... Fags, check!, booze, check! daily shopping spree, check! Broadband for £50 quid..... Oh i cant afford that, it will cost me far too much of my hard earned money.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
'because of that they will change ISP'. And change back when VAT goes up again.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"'because of that they will change ISP'. And change back when VAT goes up again."

LOL you are probably right, i guess some fools would sooner save say 30p a month than stick with a reliable service... Maybe they dont understand the term you get what you pay for ;)
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