Broadband News

Are the dark days over for Virgin Media customers?

Virgin Media for a number of months earlier in 2017 was causing much debate over its performance with what seemed like an increasing number of customers struggling to stream video and other tasks that should not have unduly stressed a fixed connection speed service like DOCSIS, the culmination of this was the CEO appearing on BBC Watchdog promising to do better.

At the start of July 2017 we published our Q2 2017 analysis of how Virgin Media was performing and the key message was that while Q2 2017 was bad the final month of the quarter June showed an improvement and with another month passing by we share our July results which show a significant improvement.

The quality score is looking at the stability of the download speed during a speed test and is independent of the actual test speed, put simply to get a really good score which is considered 1 or less you would expect the gauge needle to shoot up quickly to your connections top speed and stay there.

thinkbroadband analysis of Virgin Media performance
Click image for larger version

Comparison of Virgin Media quality between July 2017 and Q2 2017

Full marks to those who have spotted in the graph that the quality score is under 1 for many areas, we have removed the value of 1 cap that we usually use to display results to try and convey the level of change we are seeing at Virgin Media. To make the quality score a bit simpler to understand we plan to band results into six letter based grades A (best) through to F (worst) in the next couple of months. The monthly speed test results still employ the 1 is the best score system and similar with what the test reports to an individual and to help identify the best providers and areas to score A in our rescaled system a score under 0.75 is likely.

It is not just the quality score, we are seeing the Virgin Media average start to rise once again in June and July again after an almost static 12 months even though faster services were being sold and particularly in May there was a lack of people obtaining speed test results such as this 300 Mbps speed test result

If Virgin Media can get the code updated for its SuperHub 3 to provide a fix for the Puma issue that affects throughput and latency for some customers in addition to the amount of improvements to the local nodes and core network then it will have a product that will make millions of people happy again. Getting the core network and other issues resolved are critical before much faster DOCSIS 3.1 products are launched and with other Liberty Global providers pushing on with DOCSIS improvements and 500 Mbps and potentially Gigabit cable services the decades old coax cables will be able to stay ahead of Openreach and BT Group where while a full fibre future is in discussion in reality is still looking like a xDSL competitor at scale for some time.


@thinkbroadband How do you determine what's a poor speed test result due to the ISP and not something like wireless…

  • @Dragon2611
  • comment via twitter
  • 12 days ago

@thinkbroadband Power line* sorry autocorrect

  • @Dragon2611
  • comment via twitter
  • 12 days ago

I run Both Virgin and AAISP at home and i have to say that Virgin has improved tremendously over the last couple of months. From peak time congestion and poor single thread performance to high speed single thread and no congestion here in Hampshire.

  • clivers
  • 12 days ago

Difficult to detect with a high degree of certainty when talking about laptops and desktop platforms but wireless speed tests generally score worse on the quality metric, this latest analysis has not removed those.

Why don't we think that the slow areas are just Wi-Fi issues, because the same areas keep appearing in the poorly performing areas.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 12 days ago

if it asks are you on wifi or not that be useful on the speed test (even on 5ghz best i can do is 130mb/s) as at the moment it does not ask if you're on wifi (the old speed test did i think)

one thing i have noticed just having my phone streaming effects the single threaded test very significantly on my hardware wired pc (like as low as 20mb/s)

  • leexgx
  • 12 days ago

Don't have the numbers but we've done the asking game, and had enough people saying not on Wi-Fi when using a mobile phone and clearly on a fixed line service to suggest while it might help it may give a false sense of accuracy.

Plus the more you ask people the less information you get.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 12 days ago

still rubbish for downloading any files in any web browser (single thread) in the Temple Ewell, Kearsney, River and Dover areas.... 1-6mbps on average on VIVID 200 Gamer. The CMTS is still end of life Motorola/River Delta. Even upstream affected in evenings now and down to 4-6mbps. Latency getting higher. Not even on a crowded cabinet, and never had a history in this area of over utilisation. Power levels, SNR are fine on the Hub 3.0. Started happening towards end of 2016 when on Superhub 2AC. ADSL is actually faster.

  • unisoftuk
  • 11 days ago

The SH3 is complete junk and so is VM for gaming. Sooner BT Fiber comes to my area the better, I want a reliable service for gaming more than the fancy download speeds.

  • GMAN73
  • 11 days ago

I'm the bracket of people seeing the service fall off a cliff in the TW2, Twickenham area.

For the last 2 months the service has been so dire I'm now looking at options to move. While my upload is smashing it out at 12.2Mbps my down load has for the 3 weeks been running at 3.45. Calling the support lines yields nothing other than same rigmarole of testing and trying to prove it's my fault.

So certainly in the TW2 postcode, the converse is happening.

  • jimkirkby
  • 10 days ago

Well they've not improved for me. Getting nowhere near my supposed 200Mps

  • DJT298
  • 7 days ago


Wired or WiFi? Also have you contacted them to get an engineer out?

  • DrMikeHuntHurtz
  • 6 days ago

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