Broadband upgrade for around 1 in 5 Virgin Media customers
Everyone enjoys something for free, though giving some customers a free upgrade is bound to upset others and some of those getting the upgrade may feel it is compensation for the annual price rises.
Virgin Media is to move around 1 million broadband customers onto the 108 Mbps tier i.e. those on the old 70 Mbps, 50 Mbps and other legacy packages. This upgrade will affect around 1 in 5 cable broadband customers. We believe that the price will not change for those getting the upgrade at least in the short term. Moving all the customers onto what is marketed as an ultrafast package also gives them a bit more marketing oomph compared to others who are still largely reliant on distance affected ADSL/VDSL2 services.
Free upgrades are underway for BT Consumer customers where the entry level Fibre Essential (VDSL2) service is sold for the same price as existing ADSL2+ service now. So its not a unique change and in some previous years Virgin Media has upgraded the download speed across all its speed tiers, with the upload speed improvements there is a partial upgrade happening for a much larger number.
The other reason for Virgin Media wanting to claim the ultrafast battleground is the increasing number of areas where Virgin Media and one of the new full fibre operators is already available or have announced plans to roll-out.
These changes along with the wide mix of upload speeds in use at Virgin Media mean we will likely not share the full set M100, M200, M350 and M500 individual speeds until April now. We will of course keep an eye on how the speed profile changes in the next few months. The profile of the download and upload speeds seen from Virgin Media customers running our speed test in December 2019 are below. What we expect to see is the 5 Mbps upload zone and dents in the download profiles from the 70 Mbps and 50 Mbps products vanish.
Bulk upgrades like this will be welcomed by those that worry over where the UK is in the global broadband speed tables but there is a still a masssive gulf between what is available to the public and the speeds people are willing to buy. A good example of this is Luton which has very high availability of Virgin Media services and if everyone was to buy the fastest product we could see the mean speed test for Luton hitting 433 Mbps, but as things stand today the mean download is 49.4 Mbps, i.e. a utilisation factor of just 11%.