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Virgin Media's new 50Mbit/s broadband offering has gone on sale today to about 1.5 million homes, costing up to £51 per month, plus £50 installation fee. For a while at least, it will be the only cable broadband package without a bandwidth-throttling policy. Technology to serve the "XXL" package will be rolled out to about 40 …

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Heh...

I'll be surprised if it delivers at peak times, but that said, BT/Sky think my 1.6mb service is adequate because there's no exchanges nearby.

The UK average is 3.6mb apparently, well, I think this is down to 50%+ getting very fast connections and the rest getting sub 512k speeds.

Everyone where I live is surprised I can get 1.6mb, they're hovering around 1mb.

Speaking of Virgin though, Cable doesn't exist where I am and virgin aren't cabling any new areas either, so this sucks.

It's going to equate to a split between those who 'can get' fast broadband and those that can't...

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Abs*lute B*ll*cks

Thats what i thinks of the Virgin services, and yes i am presently suffering customer, don't hurry to join this. All you are going to get is disappointment.

Wait for somebody else to start this service, hope everybody will be doing so over the next year

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Gold badge
Stop

Edit required for accuracy.

"We're in a position of no interference^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcompetition while we develop^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hsqueeze the pips out of this market.........."

That's better.

Oh, and presumably "Scotland" translates to "some small bits of the less geographically remote parts of Scotland" as well.

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Anonymous Coward

If it sounds too good to be true...

....It is.

50mB broadband would be closer to the mark with a bit of string for the backbone and customer services outsourced from <insert third world country> to <insert name of somewhere else>

The facts, shown time and time again prove you can't have a sensibly priced, well run, unthrottled, profitable broadband service in the UK.

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50Mb to begin with

50Mb, great. But they can't even supply 10Mb very well, not even 2Mb. As soon as you've downloaded your daily allowance you're capped to 75% of that speed. Why not first try and deliver a service that is 10Mb 24/7 ?

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Gates Horns

Sprat to catch nobs

Nobs will be queuing up to be the fastest on the block. Within 6 months they will be whinging on the forums that they're running at dialup speed for 23 hours a day and have used up their allowances after 20 minutes.

5o mb connections are as useful as tits on a bull.

(Bill 'cos you don't have the bearded Branson)

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Never mind the line speed, what about the Management?

Still waiting for something to be sorted out since August.

They keep writing to me about a Customer's invoice. Does not affect my credit rating as I am not even a Virgin Media customer. No chance of ever becoming one after this demonstration of their abilities.

What difference will potential speed increases make if their administration continues to be this incompetent?

What sort of Customer Support hides its phone and fax numbers, even on their own letter-headed paper?

How long before Branson stops his brand name being sullied?

Answers on a postcard, please.

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what's it for?

I'm with Virgin, I have the lowest tier of BB, 2Mb I think.

Apart from the very occasional large download, new linux iso or something of steam I can't think of any reason I 'need' faster access.

Most downloads are things I start, and then walk away from, they're finished when they're finished. Access to the web, voip, even video on demand isn't going to be affected greatly by faster access, it's already fast enough.

So I can't see any compelling reason to pay for more than the minimum they provide.

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Ash

I've whinged and moaned...

... about Virgin Media before, but i'm starting to accept that this is the way things are. Metered / throttled usage is their fault for over-selling, but jumping on your soap box won't all of a sudden provide them with the billions of pounds needed to build the infrastructure required to give everyone their full bandwidth allowance 24/7. Pipe dream, it is. Plus, that kind of allowance isn't economically sound, as for 8 hours of the day you're at work, and another 8 hours you're asleep. That's 2/3 of the day with negligible usage.

What you REALLY want is full speed at peak times. Goodluckwiththat.

I find their 2Mb connection more than satisfactory. Good uptime, no slowdown at peak times, and even when i've reached my daily cap (slowdown in effect) I can still watch the High Quality iPlayer shows.

Those who need 50Mb, fine. Enjoy. Personally, i'll stay with 2Mb. I don't need a Ferrari to go shopping in town or pick up the g/f, and I don't need 50Mb to check my bank account and watch Merlin.

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Bad Maths

"Virgin Media opens bandwidth choke for 50Mb launch"

"If you've £51 per month to spare" and are incredibly stupic

"Customers who agree to take £11 per month Virgin Media home phone line rental will be offered 50Mbit/s broadband for £35 per month"

£35 + £11 = £46 / month vs £51 / month.

Is anyone actually going to pay £5 per month NOT to have a phone line?

Personally I think it's a good price for the broadband, even if you have the phone line installed and never use it. Of course I remember paying £40 / month for 512k ADSL from BT and that wasn't including the statutory BT phone line.

Can't wait for it to reach my area.

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Availability Discrepancy

From your FA:

The "XXL" package will be available to about 40 per cent of the 12.6m premises covered by Virgin Media's cable network by the end of this year, the company said.

From their FAQ:

This month though, we'll be able to sign up around 1.3 million homes

Now it's been a while since I've done any mental arithmetic, but I think "this month" and "the end of this year" are the same thing and 40% would be about 5m and 1.3m would be about 10%.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Availability Discrepancy

Hi Jamie,

Today is December 15 and I assume the work is ongoing, but it's a bit confusing, and I suspect the result of some PR jiggery pokery.

Their announcement says: "By the end of 2008 Virgin Media will have completed deployment of its next generation infrastructure to 40 per cent of the network".

They repeated this figure during the briefing as "it will be available to..."

So I suspect they are able to sell it to 1.5m today (the updated figure given by CEO today), and a few more by the end of the year. Whether the 40 per cent that have the tech on their line will be able to buy it is unclear, so I've tweaked that sentence to reflect.

- Chris Williams

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Not for me thanks

Assuming the upgrade of the dongle3 thing (or whatever the heck it's called) could quite happily handle every man and his dog downloading 40gb blu-ray movies at peak time and at full speed that still negates the fact its fucking expensive as hell.

Cashing in on the fact no one can offer anything half as good as that me thinks.

Back in the real word you sharen't get a penny more off me until you lift the fair usage bollox. And even then you sharen't get an approved nod in your general direction until you fix the crap speeds during peak time.

And then of course you sharen't get anything off me because quite frankly 20mb is more than enough to fulfill my pirating needs. And believe me I'm a BIG pirate whore.

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neat

so you can hit the patheticlly low bandwidth cap and be gimped even quicker! why dont virgin roll out a better sevice on their existing plans before overselling more

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"50Mbit/s in a couple of years will not be enough"...

– a clear indication of the quality of the service they intend to provide. Stop chasing headline figures and FIX YOUR FUCKING NETWORK.

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HMmm

so 50mb.. wonder how long that will last... Also Vmedia have been giving all new customer ambit 256 modem which are capable of running DOCIS 3 (50mb and higher)..

Also intresting part as well in Sandwell Area of Midlands they have changed all the TFTP address as well...

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Stop

Ha!

Virgin can't even serve the 8MB customers they have - they've got awful peering to other networks and dreadful QOS.

Why would anyone think they can run a 50MB service?

It's like driving a car where the engine can deliver 300 break horsepower but the wheels are blu-tacked on.

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Tim

It's better than nothing

At least Virgin are trying to develop the broadband product, admittedly to those lucky ones (unlike me) who have cable, whereas what are BT doing... their product development seems to have entirely stopped in 2002 when ADSL Max came along.

Tim#3

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LOL

You've got to be kidding - i'm still planning on getting a BT line and BE internet installed then say adios to VM.

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@ash

Other countries do manage to deliver what's on the box. Where I live I pay for 4Mb and get about 4.2, whenever I want it. So it's not true to say that it doesn't make economic sense.

I don't even think I've got a cap, but if I have I've never reached it.

I know it's been said before but they should be made to only advertise what they can guarantee to deliver.

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Customer Services

For crying-out-loud why are there so many people on here moaning about Virgin Media's Customer Services? They give you a modem, a box with flashing lights on and an Ethernet socket to the Internet. Occasionally the cable light may flash and you're off-line but it's always working again later. How hard can it be that you need to ring them??

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capped?

I pay 10 quid a month for the 'unmetered' sky package. Its not that fast due to poor copper/aluminum mix in the local loop, but i dont mind, its not capped.

What i would mind is paying 50 quid a month for 50Mbit and then still getting capped.

There seems to be a hole in everyones maths when it comes to internet speed (everyone being ofcom).. the amount you can download IS A PRODUCT OF THE SPEED.

A download rate of 8 Mbit/s is about 1Mb per second. There are 3600 seconds in an hour so the download limit is 3.6 GB / hour.

The artificial limits imposed are taking advantage in confusion between data transfer speed and the amount you can download. And it seems to suit everyone in the industry to keep this confusion going so they can charge more for giving less.

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Useless

And according to the website, the upload speed is slipped in the small print as "up to 1.5Mb".

The ratio of ~192kb/s upload speed to a ~6mb/s download speed is absolutely rubbish! I know that most people don't need much of an upload speed but please.. this is just ridiculous. I for one won't be upgrading to this.

Some examples to VM's 50MB/1.5MB: lyse.no offer 50MB/50MB, Ucom.jp offer 100MB/100MB and Verizon.us offer 50MB/20MB.. this seems alot fairer to me. All UK isp's seem to suffer from poor upload speeds, I think it's about time this changed.

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MGJ

But can they sell me just cable TV?

No. They won't. I have a very stable ADSL connection, a phone that I pay little for, and cannot get satellite TV (I live in an old Edinburgh tenement - no dishes for us) but Virgin won't just sell me the cable TV. There is no option on the website and apparently you have to get a supervisor to approve it. Pants.

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Oh dear.....

Yes, the short piece of fibre between you and the exchange may be running at 50Mb/s but I doubt that the rest of the line is up to it.

Most of my mates are on Virgin and are moving to the provider I use as I get 7.2Mb/s out of an "up to" 8Mb/s line (which will be upgraded to "up to 24Mb/s" in the new year). Thats probably because no-one has heard of cutyourbills.net ;-)

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Overpriced...

For the package price one could also get 2 BT Phone lines and 2 22Mbit DSL lines which would give you load-balancing and failover, plus a pick of numerous suppliers for the DSL of which there are sufficient who don't throttle.

This doesn't include TV but your options there are a Sky Basic package - the same channels at the same price, Freesat - less channels but free, Freesat HD - less channels but free and some in HD, or regular terrestrial broadcasts - FREE!

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Anonymous Coward

Broadband Speed

It doesn't matter how much faster the broadband speed is going to be your favorite site will still send you the data at the same speed even those sites that are throttled because they too popular.

As for P2P you may have 50mb download but the guy on the other end will still have a cr@ppy upload speed.

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Well considering they cant even run adsl right...

Bunch of useless goits... If you hit the top 5% of users during peaktime on ADSL, then you get capped for the entire next weeks worth of peak time (thats 4pm till 12pm and 8am till 12pm on the weekends). It wouldn't be so bad if you could see this mystical top 5% but nope, one week you download 20gb and your fine, next you download 12gb and your capped. Service is shocking and I really cant wait to get out of their service...

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Unhappy

What about the rest of us?

I have a 10 Mbit/sec connection with Virgin and have been a loyal cable customer for over 10 years. Currently and frequently I cannot even obtain 512Kbits/sec and downloading email, for example, is a painfully slow process.

So my question, already voiced above, is what about the rest of us? Will we be banished to an ever poorer service as a result of preferential treatment to the higher speed and bandwidth users?

I am a steady user but not an excessive user and would very rarely hit, or even approach, the published limits before shaping/throttling is supposed to kick in. It is clear to me that Virgin infrastructure is not adequate for reasonable current demands, let alone future demands.

I'm inclined to think that Virgin's 20Mbit and 50Mbit services are a bit of a gimmick at the expense of a satisfactory service to customers on lower speeds which really should still be more than adequate for most users, but are not.

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Anonymous Coward

Watch TV *and* use the internet...

Quote:

"Berkett said upgrades to Virgin Media's broadband network will pave the way for consumers using the internet while watching TV"

Like when I use my laptop while watching TV ?

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That's expensive!!

I'm an expat living in Sweden and I have a 100Mb/sec connection from Bredbandsbolaget (one of the larger ISPs here in Sweden) for 320sek per month (£26.60 - using the latest conversion from google). Just another case of rip-off Britain I suspect. I can't see how they can justify prices that are more than double the price of a country like Sweden where most things normally cost slightly more than in Britain, not more than 50% less.

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Capped even fast and paying for it

So a 50MB line which means you will reach the cap even quicker and then be down to a slow crawl same as the rest of us.

When the hell are they going to get round to being able to supply the bandwidth they "claim" to offer on the normal services instead of just headline grabbing.

I guess this means they can oversell what little bandwidth they have even more and complain that people ...shock horror... actually want to use what they have paid for.

No different to buying a pint in your local and being told you have to share it with 5 other customers as the pub has sold more beer than they have.

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Too bad its virgin media

As they will be incompetent enough to screw it up somehow, not to mention the fact that they still seem to be friends with that spyware company...

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"Virgin Media opens bandwidth choke for 50Mb launch"

Except, they haven't. STM is still applicable to 50Mb, even if their network could cope, which it can't.

As with everything else Virgin do, the end customer is going to get ripped.

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Flame

"For crying-out-loud why are there so many people on here moaning about Virgin Media's Customer Services? They give you a modem, a box with flashing lights on and an Ethernet socket to the Internet. Occasionally the cable light may flash and you're off-line but it's always working again later. How hard can it be that you need to ring them??"

Because VM's customer service is total shit. As for ringing them, did that 3 months ago, service still fucked. Q.E.D.

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Paris Hilton

Phorm and I'll be off

VM can offer 100Mbyte a month for nothing.

As far as I am concerned the moment they move off their fence and adopt parasitic Phorm and their spyware webwise crap I will be off.

(Sooner if these 50Mbyte users use up all my tunnel!)

Paris because I am sure she would agree. Bigger is not always better.

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Anonymous Coward

Happy VM customer

My entry level VM 2M connection is always 2.0Mb/s. I've never hit a cap and the one time I called customer service (Scientific Atlanta STB failed) they promptly replaced it with a nice new Pace STB.

VM are far more likely to deliver a viable 50M service than BT, who can't even provide digital TV in some parts of Birmingham - even though they are still selling it.

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AJ
IT Angle

Hmmm

My 20MB service always runs at 20MB, I never hit the cap during peak times and my speed is that of what is advertised - so what the fuck is everyones problem?

People just moan for the sake of moaning, I think some need to get a life and get out the house than sit in front of the computer crying when they hit a limit and their speed decreases!

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Pirate

FIFTY QUID?

I'm going to go for Super Awesome Broadband when I win the lottery, it's only £60 a month and totally unlimited

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Upload Speeds

What's the upload speed - still something stupid like 256K

Nigel

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No VM here

Despite living in West Sussex's capital city of Chichester along with around 30,000 other residents, there's no cable here at all.

I get a bit sick of all these VM adverts telling me to get their wonderful broadband and TV when it's not even available here! Grrr!

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Paris Hilton

"Berkett"

what an apt name for the CEO of a bunch of Berks.

VM is a virtual isp , they virtually work, but never in practice.

Me , I never want to use an ISP that traffic shapes, port blocks,

randomly caches stuff, shags around with DNS,

and can't supply a static ip .

So that means I never again want to use virgin media.

Getting 50MB/s of Virgin Media will be like being given a

Bugatti Veyron by your local Traffic Cop, whilst he's waving

his speed gun around. You can try and use, just wait

until we catch you.

It's quite ironic really how a company called virgin, will screw

you over.

Paris, well at least I can dream of being screwed over by her.

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Flame

Re "No VM here By Jon H "

I am now about to sound like the old codger in the Life of Brian ( by monty python team) who's been chained up on the wall for years.

"Jon , you lucky BASTARD, you don't know how lucky you truly are, never to have to have dealt with a bunch of useless berks, be grateful that you have to use broadband supplied by someone other than virgin-on-the-ridiculous"

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re "Hmmm By AJ"

some of us moan because they have found Virgin to be a completely useless bunch of berkish fucktards.

If it was an article about Pipex ( of a few years ago ) or O2 broadband I would be singing their praises.

As it is with Virgin the experience was so bad , I can't . ( Misbilling, threatenning letters, crap service , and yes it was also slow )

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Flame

Let the flaming begin...

I know it's not a very popular view and one you don't hear very often.. but I'm generally happy with my Virgin Media service.

We're on the XXL 20Mb service, actually getting roughly 15-18 in speed tests that we have run. We do (fairly regularly) hit the bandwith cap and get throttled - Which takes us down to about 8-10Mb for a few hours... Which is still faster than any other net service I have had running at full speed. I'd obviously rather not be throttled at all, but I can't complain too much, we are slurping down shed-loads of high-quality video.

Presumably if they run a similar level of throttling on the 50Mb service if we did hit the cap we'd be throttled back to 20-25Mb/s for a couple of hours, returning to full speed once we got outside of peak hours. That's still pretty fast.

I agree that their customer service is a joke, but that's only if you let them fob you off with talking to call-centre bozos in India. Kick-off and demand to speak to someone senior in the UK. We made a fuss and they ended up giving us a different number in the UK to call and now we just ring them if we have a problem and it is sorted right away.

For those that say it's too expensive.. I just checked the BT website and they charge £25 for 8Mb and (I think) you have to have a landline too, so £35 + landline charge seems pretty reasonable for >6x the speed...

I've said my piece, so get it over with and flame me.

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Unhappy

@ Julian (that's me)

My Virgin cable 10Mbits/sec service dropped to 12Kbits/second this evening!

Ugh!!!

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Pirate

"You get what you pay for," said CEO Neil Berkett.

Not with Virgin Media you don't!!!!!

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sure it's all un-throttled ..... for now

But as the service gets in more and more homes the service will be limited. They have to get you on the hook before they can start pushing you around. Once they hook you and make sure they have no competition good luck.

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Let's Remember Folks

Virgin Media are in bed with Phorm. Until they publicly reject Phorm and the invasiveness and control freakery it stands for, Virgin Media should not be trusted. Virgin Media have had a number of opportunities to reject Phorm but seem hell bent on doing anything for money.

Of course, Neil Berkett wouldn't mention that because the official Virgin Media line is that Phorm is wonderful and everyone should have it.

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Anonymous Coward

Screw them

Ive got talktalk. 8 Mb FREE (inclusive in phone line rental). Never exceeded 40GB. Get around 6.8MB average speed.

Beat that VM ??

Bastards them.......

About time they are forced to share their network to outsiders (like BT), since they have the cable monopoly and competition always good for customers.(R u listening OFCOM)?

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