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Virgin Media commences speed improvement programme
Wednesday 11 January 2012 10:44:18 by Andrew Ferguson

Virgin Media is set to start in February 2012 rolling out a series of network upgrades that will see the vast majority of its customers benefit from a doubling of their connection speeds, and the top tier 100 Mbps customers will see a boost to 120 Mbps. The boost to the top tier puts Virgin Media into the position of the faster major broadband provider in the UK. The upgrades are not just based around adjusting cable modem connection speeds but are backed by a £110m investment in the network in 2012.

Existing download speed New download speed New upload speed
10 Mbps 20 Mbps 2 Mbps
20 Mbps 60 Mbps 6 Mbps
30 Mbps 60 Mbps 6 Mbps
50 Mbps 100 Mbps 10 Mbps
100 Mbps 120 Mbps 12 Mbps

"The last few quarters have demonstrated that, with the proliferation of exciting new digital services, demand for superfast connectivity among UK households is accelerating fast. Virgin Media's long history of investment in next generation digital infrastructure means we have - and will continue to have - the ability to meet this demand by putting more bandwidth in the hands of consumers at a fraction of the cost of other network operators.

This long term network advantage, combined with fast-growing consumer demand, means that today we have a window of opportunity to simultaneously step change the UK market, decisively differentiate our consumer proposition and transform our customers' digital experience."

Chief Executive Officer, Neil Berkett

Virgin Media covers just under half the homes in the UK, which means that once the programme is completed in mid 2013, some half of the UK will have access to 120 Mbps if they want it, and even the more money conscious will have access to an affordable 60 Mbps. To give some idea of the level of improvements, Virgin Media estimates that if the customers on its network after this upgrade were a country on their own, it would rank 2nd in the world in terms of broadband speed. The Governments ambition is for the UK to have the best broadband in Europe by 2015, and today's news goes a long way towards helping meet that ambition, hitting all the metrics though will depend a lot on what the implementation of the various local authority lead BDUK projects delivers.

Customers in addition to the free speed uplifts will see the traffic management fair usage amounts increased in proportion to downstream speeds.

The biggest competitior to Virgin Media in the superfast game is Openreach, and while their 100 Mbps FTTP product is due a speed increase to 300 Mbps in 2012, the footprint of this service is vastly smaller than that of the Virgin Media network. The upgrades from 40 Mbps to 80 Mbps on the FTTC product, which will see speeds boosted will only double the speeds for those closest to the cabinets, the same sort of effect as the increase in speeds from ADSL to ADSL2+


Posted by driz over 5 years ago
Wooo! Bring on more jitter and congestion in the pursuit of almighty headline speeds!

If they upgraded their network and _didn't_ increase speeds, maybe this would be a good thing.
Posted by thinkunbiased over 5 years ago
£110m Anyone else think this is a small amount?
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
hehehe yeah I was going to say, I expect a lot of their customers would like their ping and jitter resolved before increasing speeds

Nice headline speeds and great for downloading, not so good for gamers or anything delay sensitive though
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago
£110m for 4m customers, so £30 each ish.

Probably enough to make the network stable for a couple of years.

All depends on take up of faster services, which hasn't been a big seller for existing customers.
Posted by hypertony over 5 years ago
That's all good, but why are they not spending money on areas that doesn't have any cable at all? Would they gain more business doing this way, rather than keep upgrading the existing cutomer's connection to as fast as they can offer and getting no return from it?
Posted by Jimkirk363 over 5 years ago
What you will see happen is a lot of people will actually downgrade to the lower speed as it will be cheaper and will be higher than what they had before so this in itself should help with bandwith relief as they will be increasing this to.
Posted by themanstan over 5 years ago

Because they are the limit of what can be construed by OFCOM as not having SMP (significant market power). If they did become an SMP company like KCOM and BT, then they would be required to wholesale their network, this would erode their margins and potentially require them to make significant investments to ensure their network could cope with expected demand. As is any issues seen, like congestion and high latency, can be left on the backburner.
Posted by Apilar over 5 years ago
Let's hope the people suffering major congestion see an improvement.
Posted by lockyatlrg over 5 years ago
They can't even run the speed they advertise now, VM is a joke. FTTC > VM.
Posted by EnglishRob over 5 years ago
Awesome, when I moved late last year I downgraded from 50Mbit to 30Mbit to save a few quid (and took the Tivo service as well), I was considering upgrading back up to 50Mbit but I'll just hang fire. 50Mbit was more than enough for what I wanted (with three kids using the net for various things) so 60Mbit will be ample for what I need.

I can't see why the 100Mbit customers only get an extra 20Mbit though, seems a bit odd to me considering is getting double (or in the case of 20Mbit customers, triple) the speed increase.

Posted by adslmax over 5 years ago
100 Meg become 120 Meg isn't a doubled speed increasing ? Misleading by Virgin Media. Call up ASA! 100 Meg should be 200 Meg.
Posted by jroadley over 5 years ago
Always welcome speed improvements, however why are they not extending their network to get new customers???
Posted by nooneatall over 5 years ago
I did contact virgin about doing cable in my area (2 streets over has it), but they refuse to expand their network because it's "outside their budget". They also rejected the possibility of sharing ducts with anyone to expand their network.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
Some media outlets may have said 'double speeds for all' but I believe the Virgin PR is careful enough to caveat and talk of four million, with the others being those on the 100Meg and business customers.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
In terms of VM network expansion, really are waiting on the Fujitsu network.

Believe some 100,000 extra homes were passed, and for new build estates if a builder gets them on board more likely to take place.

Issue for new build is cost of doing so, as this was how NTL/Telewest ran up their debts originally. Civil works like this are not cheap, i.e. cost be about the same as doing FTTP.
Posted by chefbyte over 5 years ago
@ nooneatall know the feeling as I have 3 VM boxes around my house, all within 100 feet but as I live on an unadopted road they are not interested at all.
Posted by maniac886 over 5 years ago
Instead of investing in faster speeds VM should be sorting out over-utilisation issues for their existing customers. I am glad I switched from VM to BT Infinity.
Posted by loopfish over 5 years ago
More speed = enticing more people to saturate the network even more at peak times = more congestion misery. Woo-hoo.
Posted by otester over 5 years ago
Rather go via BTW FTTC, VM has an AUP so it isn't unlimited.
Posted by adslmax over 5 years ago
why should we paying most expensive top tied 100 meg to get extra 20% of speed increase while the rest get a massive 50/60% speed increase! not fair! 100 Meg should be 200 Meg or perhap 150 Meg!
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

Don't have upload traffic management on the 100/120 package.
Posted by djfunkdup over 5 years ago
LoL the VM haters are out in force you are like a bunch of cats fighting over a mouse ;)
Posted by abductedcraig over 5 years ago
Post code date checker from Virgin is now online....

Dates are based on our current engineering plans and may be subject to change as we develop a more detailed schedule based on your personal requirements. For example, we may need to undertake further upgrades in your area before the speed increase. Some customers may also require an installation visit to ensure they receive the full benefit of the upgrade. Postcode checker is based on existing customer information, new customers may be upgraded later than the dates displayed
Posted by MattVon over 5 years ago
Seriously looking forward to the upgrade, and to those who mentioned the unfairness of the 100Mbps to 120Mbps, I feel your pain. But it clearly states on their website that 100Mbps to 120Mbps customers will get a price cut since they don't get doubled speeds, which is good. Just depends how much of a cut it is.
Posted by tmcr over 5 years ago
For a change, my area (Doncaster) seems to be at the front of the queue as the postcode checker says March/April - last time we were quite late on the upgrade.
Posted by varlot over 5 years ago
I had an email yesterday saying that the 100meg customers get upgraded to 120 but the price drops to the same as the 50m customers.
So in effect, there is a single top tier price but those that moved on to 100meg early get 20% extra for free.
Posted by JonasT over 5 years ago
VM will never care enough about stability to fix issues, I KNOW IM WITH THEM... but only for another few months
Posted by chrysalis over 5 years ago
waiting for infinity here, my area is "in progress" for the double speed, and I am getting 3mbit/sec on the 30mbit package. VM are clueless on capacity management.
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

I expect their waiting to fix it until they do the upgrade.
Posted by Brunel over 5 years ago
There is a large Virgin cabinet outside my front door.
Will they connect me or any of my neighbours?

Answer is No.
Posted by michaels_perry over 5 years ago
So once again those of us stuck with Virgin Media ADSL services get nothing. Do VM understand that ADSL is in dire need of improvement, in our area they don't even offer ADSL2! There are significant numbers not on cable because it is not present everywhere so we are struggling with very poor services, in termittent connections that Openreach don't seem to solve, slow sync speeds (my brother is on a different exchange and he gets 8-10 Mbps ADSL2+ with O2 whereas we get a paltrey 2 Mbps with VM if we are lucky but he is only 0.5 km closer!).
When are we going to get some benefits?
Posted by Toots3D over 5 years ago
Well I must be one of the lucky ones, as I don't have any issue with VM. Speeds are excellent, I am on 30Mbs, no latency problems and as for gaming, just brilliant. For the past year me and my son have shared the line, both playing high level games without ANY problems. Seems to me that certain areas of the country DO need some looking at but where I live in Walsall has no problems. Sorry to upset any of you out there, but that's how it goes sometimes.
Posted by otester over 5 years ago

You should avoid big non-LLU provider packages.

If you want a decent ADSL1 package, go with one of the Ispreview Top 10.
Posted by jambar44 over 5 years ago
To the folks commenting about High latency and jitter, As a VM customer I really must say I have never had a problem with it, to check I just left a ping test running for 10 minutes and got a ping of 15ms and jitter of just over 1ms. Surely that's not bad?
Posted by ne0hack3r over 5 years ago
Im with @jambar44 on this. I've only had a minimum of 46.8Meg on a bad day (50 meg line) and my ping sits at just 8ms with 1ms jitter...

The thing that is rubbish is the superhub I have, it keeps locking up on me but it's only once a month or so and a quick on off sorts it.

I think these things can be very area related issues regarding contention and internal factors. WiFi is definitely not as fast as a CAT-6E cable. That's not to say I have yet to get any devices running on 802.11n at a full 50meg throughput as I have - but it's more temperamental.
Posted by GMAN99 over 5 years ago
@jambar44 it seems to be in certain parts of their network, so if you are ok keep your head down :)

For others it appears that despite constant moaning they don't appear to be getting a fix. Visit VM's own gaming forum for tales of woe
Posted by pcoventry76 over 5 years ago
It says 50Mbps customers will also go to 120mbps - so the top 2 tiers become one - wicked :)
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