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Over half of new Virgin Media customers opt for 30 Meg or more
Thursday 27 October 2011 09:46:40 by Andrew Ferguson

Virgin Media is rapidly trying to brand itself as the broadband provider for the United Kingdom with its incorporation of the Union Flag into its logo. Looking at the actual financial figures though shows the difference between the two networks they operate, the fibre/coax hybrid and the DSL based National service.

The third quarter in 2011 saw Virgin Media with a net add of 24,300 cable customers, but lose 5,200 customers on the DSL network. Figures for the first nine months of 2011 appear to show a similar pattern 61,800 adds to the cable broadband network, and a lose of 15,200 DSL customers.

Most importantly the mix of subscribers to the faster cable products is improving, some 187,000 are taking the two fastest products of 50 Mbps and 100 Mbps, and 54% of new customers subscribe to the 30 Mbps or faster service. The end result of all this is that over one million cable broadband households (26%) are on a 20 Mbps or faster service. The firm has some 4,072,900 cable broadband customers, and 260,700 on the DSL (non-cable) network.

The future for UK broadband continues to look good, with Virgin Media's 100 Mbps rollout still on plan to finish in mid 2012, which will give some eight million homes the option of the 100 Mbps service.

The doubling of take-up for the fastest service in the last twelve months is encouraging, but does not represent a landslide move towards premium products. The price difference (10 Mbps costing £13.50 a month, and 50 Mbps £25 - prices assume a telephone subscription) would seem to be the sticking point, and reflects a purchasing attitude of buying the cheapest service that is adequate.

We were going to talk about the upload speeds of the Virgin Media cable products, but clicking around the broadband sales section, we find lots of comments about download speed, but nothing on the upstream speed, even when comparing the packages.


Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
Posted by AndrueC over 5 years ago
That's interesting but new subscribers are more likely to pay a little extra due to the warm glow of consumerism :)

Existing customers still appear to see little value in increasing their monthly bills just to get a faster service.
Posted by chris6273 over 5 years ago
The only ISP I would imagine being the "broadband provider for the United Kingdom" is: BT (BRITISH Telecommunications).
As much as I don't like BT due to their poor upgrade plans, they have been going the longest and their own Wholesale division's network has the highest coverage of any other provider.

Virgin Media, well: Look at the figures on its DSL network which has close to 100% coverage (Congested and over subscribed).
Posted by dcollis over 5 years ago
It would be great if they could combine sign-ups with a decent level of service. I'm leaving them after a year of the worst broadband connection and service i've ever had.


Check their forums and you'll see i'm not the only one...not by a long way.
Posted by scootie over 5 years ago
ji tt er is what VM cable is best at giving you 24/7 there is nothing stable or britsh made brand about there network , certainly haven't got a one and only local CSC in Sheffield either like plusnet. maybe the ASA should get involved yet again if VM try the British roots sell
Posted by checker over 5 years ago
I'm happy with my VM cable BB a reliable and fast connection. 50mb down and 4.6mb up. Good enough for me. Would not go anywhere else for BB unless I moved house to a non cabled area.
Posted by jamesrender over 5 years ago
I was happy with my VM cable until it became over utilised leading to ridiculous latency. 6 weeks of no gaming later and still waiting for it to be resolved safe in the knowledge that at a p4 resolution ticket, its their lowest priority.. gamers beware!
Posted by kirbyan over 5 years ago
Headline speeds of 30, 50 and 100mb are not the whole picture - you have to consider latency and packet loss too. My 50mb connection with VM was prone to appalling latency and packet loss that made it unusable most evenings and weekends. I've switched to BT Infinity, which is a slower speed at 26mb for me but it is a world apart in terms of quality. I can actually stream music and video now!
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
^ Seeing lots of this echoed across many forums now
Posted by THEGRANDWIZARD over 5 years ago
VM Broadband should be renamed VM Narrowband!
After years of a deteriorating service I have finally had enough and jumped ship. I was on the 'upto 10Mb/s' and was lucky to be getting 1 or 2 after late afternoon this would fall to 0.2 or even 0.1Mb/s. No that's not a typo...I really am talking about 1/10th of a Mb. This is on cable too...their exchange is oversubscribed in my area of London(E17). Their own forum is full of this stuff. Good riddance!!!!
Posted by djfunkdup over 5 years ago
could not be happier with my virginmedia100 connection..looking forward to 200Mb hopefully @ the end of next year..also got the 1TB TiVo installed last week.amazing piece of kit..
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
Are those complaining of poor speeds simply blips, or are there 100,000's more. If more then it brings into question their speed claims.
Posted by checker over 5 years ago
This may come as news to some of you. There is more to the internet than online gaming.
Posted by AndrueC over 5 years ago
@checker:That's true but - in theory at least - online gaming should be easy to cater for. It's usually low levels of traffic. Just a steady trickle from end point to end point.

If a network can't deliver consistent latency for a low-bandwidth data stream then something is wrong. It means the network is either heavily congested or badly configured.

Online gaming (ignoring the occasional need to download patches) doesn't really ask for much from a network. It ought to be able to get it.
Posted by AndrueC over 5 years ago
Addendum:I should add that hosting an online game *does* require a lot of bandwidth. It increases horribly quickly the more players join in. That's actually why simply playing on a remote server doesn't need much bandwidth - the game designers have to keep it low per user in order to minimise the load at the server.
Posted by scootie over 5 years ago
@andrew. no complaints about bandwidth from me on the 30/3 product, even when latency is up the creek speed is not/ very little effected.currently pin hole resetting and reloading settings on the hub to switch upstream channels, very poor load balancing on the upstream
Posted by AndrueC over 5 years ago
Maybe upstream is the problem. That always has been the Achilles heel of cable networks.
Posted by trainrobber over 5 years ago
i just UPGRADED from 50 meg to 20 meg, far better speeds, latency and virtually no packet loss, 50 meg was giving me sub 200kb speeds in the evenings
Posted by chrysalis over 5 years ago
VM when it works is a great service. The problem is its a lottery when signing up. You can be on a great UBR port with good jitter and speeds, in which case its great. Or you can be on a port that has good speeds but dodgy latency (me) in which case its still decent but probably not good enough for gamers, or you can on a port thats completely overloaded and the service is unfit for purpose, speeds slower than isdn and packet loss galore. eg. parts of brighton are like this. Samknows stats suggest most of VM is in first 2 categories.
Posted by JonasT over 5 years ago
Ive been with VM since april this year and have had nothing but terrible mostly unusable service, and the worst part is VM do not care, they have been aware of the issues since before i subscibed, and still have not fixed the issues saying that my line is within their Key Performance Indicators, i argue for them to try my line and try stream a video or play online gaming, with regular local pings of 50-60 to the end of my street and 100+ pings to the main exchange less than 30 miles from me.
Posted by aaaashy over 5 years ago
recently VM has been breaking down, i am a 50Mb subscriber
(tho it took about a year before i got into the 40's, and now it floats between 36 and 46, the upload speed is consistently 4.6Mb)
but the system has not been working at all a number of times this week, just now it cut off for about 10 minutes, yesterday i did not have it for 14 hours, and a week ago it kept going on and off
Posted by jdoakey over 5 years ago
I've been with several providers over the years, and all had problems. VM has definately got the least problems so far and they are loads faster than anyone else I've been with, so I'll stick with them for now. Seems to me people just love to criticise and moan (I'll get someone moaning or criticising me now, hah hah).
Posted by leetk2000 over 5 years ago
I have been with VM since their cable service started. All my Telecoms, mobile,TV,BB,land line) are with VM.
I moved from BT because I was fed up with BT's appalling service and constant breakdowns & outages.
Virgin Media was and is a breath of fresh air!
I have never had any problems, their service is reliable, very fast (30mb service - dn/29.7 up/3.0 consistently) Customer service first-rate and the quality of all my products first class.
As usual it seems the minority shout with the loudest voice. I’m sure if a proper survey is done you will find most Virgin customers feel as I do.
Posted by Slowking over 5 years ago
I had the VM 50Mbps for 12 months. The first 5 months were dreadfully unreliable. Frequent disconnections and 3 routers replaced. In the sixth month, the connection vanished for 7 days, without any explanation from customer services. I did receive a £15 credit on my bill, but considering phone call charges and mobile broadband data costs to cover the disconnection meant inconvenience, without apology.I was tempted by the 100Mps/10Mbps, but after the lack of good service, I sacked them off. Worst broadband service in 10 years online.
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