back to article Credit crunch prompts Virgin Media bid to shift debt mountain

Virgin Media has persuaded banks to hold off calling in billions of pounds of debt from 1990s cable rollouts until 2012. Traders in New York, where the firm is listed, liked the plan and sent its stock up 25 per cent yesterday. Virgin Media beancounters still require permission to restructure the £4.3bn of loans from some …

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Tough!

I hope they do go to the wall, then someone with some sense might buy them up and run the company properly. The charge twice the going rate for broadband just because they have fibre as standard. I dumped them a while back, due to price and the obvious Phorm business!

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How Convenient

I wonder what excuse Virgin Media's executives will come up with when their reprieval expires. The company simply doesn't have the cash to start repaying their loans, and nor will it in the foreseeable future.

It's a vicious circle, as they need to invest heavily to remain competitive yet can't afford to do so and provide better products/services. Hell, they've not got enough cash to upgrade their network - let alone maintain it sufficiently - to be able to compete with the number of HD channels available from Sky, or the speeds that FTTH will bring about should BT decide to upgrade their network (contrary to VM, BT could afford the upgrade but don't want to spend the cash).

VM are screwed whatever they decide to do. At long last, after many years of incredibly inept senior execs calling the shots, Virgin Media's chickens are coming home to roost.

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I

Who has ugly road scars up and down their streeets? I do and I hate them!

This should be fun to watch - I wonder if they will get bailiffs coming round to collect the TV's before 2012?

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Happy

fanboy - just load ballancing

I have to speak up for VM. Signed up with the 18 months ago and haven't look back. It may well be pricey, but it's reliable and fast. (touch wood). I can't help thinking that had they been given a network much like BT, they would be in a better position today.

Only 1 fact counts for me, My BT line is cr4p and my VM line is great.

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Easy tigers

Virgin Media bought NTL. NTL have 800km of fibre on the electricity network in East Anglia alone as well as other high capacity networks in the UK . They also have a growing business sales unit - many companies use NTL (now Virgin Media) for their telecommunications backbone.

OK, I'm not a Virgin Media customer, so I can't comment on poor service, but they do have some tangible assets.

BT have been talking about FTTK and FTTH since the early 1990s - they behave like an ex-government body (i.e. don't want to take any risk) but they want to reap the rewards of a large incumbent user base. They have only just identified two locations where they will now carry out some field trials. Expect the giant to move slowly...

In the UK we need competition - if Virgin Media shares increase by a quarter then someone has some faith in their ability to succeed...

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price??

I get XL TV, XL broadband (20meg > 50meg) and a phone with free calls for £60 a month.

That's a fair price if you ask me!

Anyway at least this gives me another 4 years before I may have to go ISP hunting again. I've used NTL since they first launched cable BB and haven't looked back. Been mega quick and reliable.

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"reliable and fast"?

Not since the Telewest branded days, since VM took over "reliable and fast" are not realistic descriptions of the service.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Easy tigers

I'd take BT as the incumbent over VM any day.

BT moves a lot more quickly than you give it credit for. It just tends to do it quietly, keeping its cards very close to its chest. Every advance they make has to be substantially in-place and substantially provisionable to the vast majority of subscribers before they can start banging the feed-time drum. With a network as big as theirs it is a massive undertaking every time. No wonder they're canny with their cash when each major advance means committing such huge amounts of it, not to mention the massive jumps in required backbone bandwidth that go hand in hand with every such advance. BT started beefing up their backbone for ADSL almost a decade before all but the most tech-savvy consumers had even heard of it ("Project Colossus" iirc - don't bother Googling). I would expect BT to be well on their way to being in a position where they can provide the kind of bandwidth required for FTTC/H and are only now moving on to serious trials of the line infrastructure. They have in fact already trialled FTTC kit on more than one occasion since the mid-90's, usually in isolated new-build housing estates.

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Anonymous Coward

@Easy Tigers

"Virgin Media bought NTL"

Erm... ntl bought Telewest (though for certain licensing restrictions involving Flextech, in practice Telewest bought ntl). The company is still registered as ntl and they pay Branson £££ to use the Virgin name...

;-)

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