The letters informing individual customers of the latest price rises at Virgin Media which at 50% UK coverage is the largest ultrafast broadband provider in the UK should be start arriving in the post in the next few days. The price rises are expected to take effect in November 2016 and a rough of what we know is below.
Includes line rental where applicable
|Super 50 Fibre and Calls||£36.99||£40.48|
|Big Easy Bundle with Super 50 Fibre and Calls||£41.99||£45.48|
|Big Bang Bundle with VIVID 100 and Calls||£51.99||£55.98|
|Big Kahuna Bundle with VIVID 200 and Calls||£72.99||£76.48|
The Broadband Solus pricing as published by The Guardian does not match any of the broadband-only options currently for sale (i.e. Super 50 Fibre at £32.25/month) but suspect the price may relate to existing customers. The Big Kahuna bundle is a bit more confusing as there are multiple versions since you can mix and match the 100 Mbps or 200 Mbps broadband service and Sky Movies or Sky Cinema.
The increases include a £1.01 increase in voice line rental from £17.99 to £19 per month, which is unusual as Virgin Media has for over a decade kept its voice line rental at the same or just below BT Consumer, it may be only 1p more but it looks a lot when people are browsing costs. It is possible that once November arrives and new advertising rules about inclusive pricing are in place that this will be less of an issue - and may be an indicator that with all the changes set to take place providers may use the confusion as a good time to mask price rises.
In a broadband market where services based on the Openreach network are receiving constant negative press one would have expected Virgin Media to have attempted to make a big land grab by highlighting its total independence from the Openreach local loop. The reality may be that the pace of upgrades needed in an attempt to avoid congestion at the local cable cabinet level becoming a nightmare and the Project Lightning roll-out to new areas means prices are under pressure to rise even in the highly competitive retail market. Additionally with the continuing shift away from chargeable voice calls Virgin Media will be seeing that revenue stream decreasing.