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Virgin Media highlights that third of UK can get its 100 Meg service
Thursday 03 November 2011 10:11:57 by Andrew Ferguson

Virgin Media is still on target to meet its coverage target of the Virgin 100 Mbps service being available to the complete cable network by the middle of 2012, representing roughly half of UK households.

The latest areas to have the 100 Mbps service available are Harborne (Birmingham), Lincoln, Seven Kings (Greater London) and Solihull (full rollout information (pdf)).

With the latest BT and Virgin Media figures to compare it is interesting to see that both providers had around 50% of new connections signing up to their faster tiers of service, i.e. 30 Mbps or faster for Virgin Media and BT Infinity product for BT Retail.

This competition is going to increase as firms chase to get customers onto their premium products and we urge providers to avoid superlative laden advertising that makes it ever harder for the consumer to understand what is actually on offer. We are already in the position where 'fibre-optic networks' that are not totally fibre based are marketed, and it is not unusual for consumers to wonder why there is all this talk of new fibre networks when they think they have fibre all the way into their home already.


Posted by undecidedadrian over 5 years ago
Looks like a quick press statement in response to BT's results.

They have almost twice as many properties passed as BT yet almost half the customers on 50meg or 100 meg services.

Not looking good for Virgin as BT passes more and more properties.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
BT will have an advantage as they are opening new areas to their products. Whilst, VM is effectively offering a more potent product to the same clients. If the 50Mbps product doesn't sell, how will a 100 Mbps product? Without expanding their footprint, they will have a fixed customer base who will ignore the new products.
Posted by teadrinkingtim over 5 years ago

Well my 30mb XL package in NR2 Norwich gets a download speed of 0.92mb, so in theory 100mb should get me 3.06mb!!
Posted by KamHo over 5 years ago
"available to the complete cable network by 2012". What about the Milton Keynes cable?
Posted by omnius over 5 years ago
As usual stan is right, fighting over customers is one thing but heres a thought for the big boss man, if VM plugged the gaps where BT refuse to go (and considering he is not only running a F1 team he is also going into space so you carnt tell me that the virgin group dont have the funds!) then not only will they get major kudos but quite possibly some very happy customers. Its just a shame that BT didnt go the full hog with FTTP i personaly wouldnt have minded waiting a few more years for it to get to me
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Agreed, tts a battle Virgin can only loose, they aren't expanding their footprint and FTTC is coming into their areas with multiple ISP's (and more coming) able to offer similar speeds and better latency at cheaper prices.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
To be honest I don't believe Virgin Media is attempting to gain a dominant position, it appears to enjoy its current position in that it is not forced to do things by the regulator.

Also the VM network is not totally closed, there is some expansion, we covered news of 100,000 extra homes passed. Not massive but at least some growth.
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
gmann bashing bt's rivals again,
you are such a good corporate lackey gmann
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Not bashing, just realistic. If you don't expand your always fighting for the same customer base, what is wrong with saying that?
Posted by olisun over 5 years ago
Not sure how accurate that PDF is as Hayes is coming up as "Being Planned" but I have already got 100Mb
Posted by keith969 over 5 years ago
And in other news, Virgin Media announces that two thirds of the UK can't get its 100meg service, and for those that live in small towns and villages, probably never will.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
@keith969 true, but then how many countries have one third with option of 100Meg now?
Posted by New_Londoner over 5 years ago
So how does this compare with the 6 million premises that can get FTTC/P?

I don't mean whether they are the same areas as I know increasing numbers can get FTTC/P that are not covered by cable, just wanted to get a sense of how the total numbers covered compare? It seems pretty close to me but I may be wrong?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
~27m homes, so a third is 8 million, BT say 6 million.

In terms of overlap has a VM layer and you can only display FTTC exchanges too

In terms of numbers close, and there will be a fair amount of overlap. Hence why the coverage of superfast will be 66% in 2014, i.e. most in this 66% will have the choice of two.
Posted by Firefalcon over 5 years ago
As far as im concerned VM offering 100Mb is a joke, what use is all that speed when bandwidth is throttled/managed and games are laggy and problematic. This is even before you get to deal with their "tech" support.
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
would it not be easier to use bonded adsl,
cheaper, less disruption, and more bandwidth,
for the final third {where BT are too stingy to roll out} but im sure gmann will wade in with an exscuse as to why bt won't do it it can give you 400mbps without much hassle.
Posted by djfunkdup over 5 years ago
@ firefalcon..I don't know what side of the moon you inhabit...100Mb tech are based in liverpool..also i don't suffer from any lag and their is NO throttling or management apart from p2p..nothing problematic you have virgin100 ??
Posted by djfunkdup over 5 years ago
I could not be happier with my virginmedia100 connection.since getting it installed (4 mnths ago)i have had no downtime and it does exactly what it is meant to is as simple as that...roll on 200Mb Q4 2012 or early 2013..:)
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Not sure what you mean creaky? Bonded ADSL will give you x times whatever connection you have now.

So if its 0.5Mbps it just increases by that each time you bond another ADSL line. Did you mean BET?

Not sure where you are getting your 400Mbps ADSL link without much hassle?
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago

Don't you mean where VM and BT are too stingy? VM are a major player here too.
Deliberately not rolling out further so that they don't have to wholesale.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Its not about stingy its about profit and returns creaky, everyone in the broadband business is a private business, they don't have to roll out to anywhere they don't want to broadband isn't a right. BT, Virgin, Rutland , The Open Network will go where there is a profit to be made, just like any other business. Last time I checked giving things away at loss was bad business sense.

BT and no other telco owe anyone anything in terms of broadband its up to them where they sell their products
Posted by Bob_s2 over 5 years ago
VM are looking to expand. They do not though have a viable cost effective solution at present.

If VM do not expand they know that there revenues will go flat and in fact will probably fall as FTTC expands.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago

not in the conventional sense... they want to hop on another wholesale network, e.g. Fujitsu, so that they don't have to open their own network and expose the deficiencies/have to invest more in their core network. Hence, the 0.4% per year expansions.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
Exactly, cake and eat it
Posted by Guzzo over 5 years ago
Its interesting to note that as a virginmedia customer on the 50mb system they are unable to tell me when I can get the 100mb servide and the downloadbale PDF of areas and schedules does not even list my area. SO I have NO idea of when or even if i can get the 100mb service.

I would have thought that with this country and the world at large being in the biggest financial depression in history a large company like Virgin would bend over backwards to inform its customers of if and when they could get a service from them?

I must be wrong
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
so those outside the money making areas can get f'@ked can they?
Posted by polemonkey over 5 years ago
"so those outside the money making areas can get f'@ked can they?"

Yes :)

Posted by polemonkey over 5 years ago
I know it's not the answer you (or anyone on a long line) wants, but unfortunately BT, VM, et al are businesses not charities.

The laws of physics and economics prevail in this market so learn to live with it.
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
exactly the reason you can never trust the private sector,{unless you give them a kick up the arse}
i suppose gmann will jump in to staunchly defend his bt bohemoth,
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
judging by your username either you're an current or ex bt engineer, another sign of post
code lottery. they will continue to sit on the copper goose, as cd one said, overcharge for poor service, just as the gas suppliers do, without investing, it's still a monopoly, despite what gmann says.
Posted by polemonkey over 5 years ago
BTOR I suppose, strictly speaking and all that :) I'm not going to be uber critical of BT, but I can empathise with your views on post code lottery: geography (distance from the exchange) is the biggest detriment to your speed and sometimes stability...
Posted by polemonkey over 5 years ago
But realistically, how much control do BT have over this and what can they do about it?
They can't bring subscribers closer! So what, build more exchanges? Not quite, but FTTC is effectively just that, is it not. Surely, it's a move in the right direction...

Posted by polemonkey over 5 years ago
"they will continue to sit on the copper goose, overcharge for poor service, without investing."
Beg to differ on them points. I think they need a copper (golden) goose so they can make money with a view to reinvest in fibre...

Posted by polemonkey over 5 years ago
Sitting on said goose, however, is over: we know it and BT know it too. It's fairly well publicised that they (BT) have massive fibre ambitions, but work can't be done instantaneously however desperate people are...
Posted by polemonkey over 5 years ago
It's is a huge and complex network spanning an entire country: common sense says it's not a 5 minute job replacing all that copper infrastructure with fibre :)
They have to pace themselves because they (and many others) do not have the luxury of £30 billion free cash flow in the business!
Posted by polemonkey over 5 years ago
Kudos to NTL, Nynex, C&W, and any other cable operators I missed out. What they did with an all ducted UG network based on fibre/coax hybrid was brilliant, a telco engineer's dream. Just a shame it was 20 years too early and they all went "pop" along with the dot com bubble. After this you can understand the cautious approach by BT and VM, possibly misunderstood as lack of investment.
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
i do agree on gmann's point, offcom not allowing bt to do it earlier in the decade was a bad mistake, the point i'm trying to make is why not let bt do the populated areas, and fulitsu, VM, BE and others serv the the outlaying areas, i know we're not south korea, but their BB, is about to be upgraded to 1gb, with government investment.
i doubt even our grandkids will see that speed.
seen as our telecoms industry is run like a banana republic
Posted by polemonkey over 5 years ago
"why not let bt do the populated areas, and fulitsu, VM, BE and others serv the the outlaying areas"

It's funny you mention that actually because if you look at the current situation BT are FORCED to do outlaying areas by way of USO, whereas other operators have no legal obligation to provide service. With power comes responsibility I guess...
Posted by polemonkey over 5 years ago
Ironically, the outlying areas are hardest to serve, cost the most in capital investment (trenches, ducts, poles, cables, joint boxes etc.), are the most costly to maintain and repair; but despite this the subscribers in outlying areas are generally the least satisfied because their speeds are slowest!
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
i say again use bonded dsl from genesystechsystem.
if fibre is too much costly to deploy in rural areas. are you telling me that bt are being forced to fibre non urban areas?
Posted by polemonkey over 5 years ago
No, not fibre; USO just covers 1 copper pair per premises. Sorry for the confussion there.

On the point on bonding. Viable solution it is, but it requires more pairs from exchange to CPE. Some rural areas may already have limited or no spare pairs in some extreme circumstances, ruling out bonding. Or requiring potentially massive cabling works...
Posted by polemonkey over 5 years ago
In which case they may as well have pulled fibre instead!
Posted by michaels_perry over 5 years ago
What about those of us who don't have the option of a cable connection? We are the 2/3rds that are not able to get 'super fast' anything. Virgin are my ISP and can't understand that any sort of DSL is unable to provide anything like the speeds they talk about. String fibre on existing poles and we might get somewhere nearer our suburban, urban and city dwelling users.
Posted by creakycopperline over 5 years ago
@ michaels it's actually possible to fix fibre to poles, but BT thinks that too easy, and cheaper.
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