back to article Virgin to offer 100Mb/s broadband by year's end

Virgin Media is to offer 100Mb/s broadband by the end of 2010. The 100Mb/s service will allow users to download a music album in as little as five seconds, an hour long TV show in 31 seconds and an HD movie in seven minutes 25 seconds, the cableco claimed. Virgin currently offers three broadband packages: 10Mb/s, 20Mb/s and …

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FAIL

I'm sure I'm not going to be the only one to say this...

Such speeds are all very well and good, but not much use if you hit a usage cap in seconds, or if the the wet piece of string that connects Virgin to the rest of t'interwebs isn't upgraded.

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I would settle for a working service

Having just moved house where I had an 8mbit Zen ADSL connection (I have been a Zen customer for 8 years) to a house already connected with Virgin 20mb, I have to say the difference in service quality is absolutely shocking. 100mb to the door is only going to be any good if Virgin improve their own backbone and external links to the rest of the Internet.

Random disconnects, high latency at ALL TIMES and those irritating customer service droids culminate in a product that is not 'fit for purpose' IMO. Youtube runs dog slow even at 2am, playing online via xbox live or PSN is jittery. Video games doesn't cause people to kill, serious network lag does!

Luckily I am moving again in a few weeks time and will be resuming my good ol' trusty Zen connection, Virgin can suck my plums!

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This

As a Virgin customer I have to say that their service sucks donkey cocks.

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For the first 15 seconds

I'm guessing.

How about a* guaranteed* minimum speed?

Have we not seen this sort of maximum broadband speed oneupmanship before?

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Anonymous Coward

It's called marketing

Unfortunaly 75 mbps garunteed still doesn't sound as good as 100 mbps to the trendy bearded marketing yuppies who expect only the best quality pr0n 'experience'.

Their relationship with their right hand deserves it.

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Anonymous Coward

Broadband divide?

I was one of the first to get BT Openworld Broadband @ 512kb/s back in the day. I remember seeing that test file download the engineer did, watching the progress bar speed across the screen. Oh yes I thought, I am truly an INTERNET GOD!

Some ten years later and I'm sitting on the Virgin 50Mb/s service, and yes, will upgrade when available. Amazing stuff, but then you think that a good proportion of the Country isn't that much faster than that 512 connection all those years ago.

I don't have an answer, but one thing is for sure, we're rapidly evolving into internet haves and have nots.

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Attention grabbing only

It'll be limited availability, and they still won't upgrade the old UBRs (e.g. the one serving my bit of EH11), so the lucky few in the spotlight will get the speed, many will struggle on with evening speeds in the kbit region.

When VM work they're the biz, when they don't they're not the best at fixing things - and they'd rather introduce headling grabbing figures than fix general problems

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Hahahahaha

Did Vermin Media say anything about keepint their 'fair usage policy' AND traffic shaping in place as they have currently? Being able to download a complete HD movie in 7 min. 25 sec. sounds great, but is it any good if you already hit the download limit of your 'unlimited' broadband plan after 3 minutes and are then throttled down til the end of all times? Just wondering.

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100Mb Sync, 3Mb actual!

If you're lucky that is.

I looked at the 50Mb package as I can "only" get 13Mb on my line, but everyone I know who is on it said it wasn't worth it because they didn't actually get anything like that speed. Unless of course it was 4am, on a Monday, and the wind was blowing in the right direction. About right, I dropped NTL/Virgin years back, and I was so happy I did. Their "Technical Support" couldn't understand why I was getting annoyed that their optimistically named Broadband Service was running slower than the bonded ISDN I had previously!

I'd sooner use AOL, at least they TRY and get the speeds working as they should!

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Re: 100Mb Sync, 3Mb actual!

"I know who is on it said it wasn't worth it because they didn't actually get anything like that speed"

Allow me to be the first so say otherwise then. I'm getting fairly consistent 47Mb/s or so.

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Happy

Same as with 20Mb/s cable-modem service

I haven't had the need to upgrade to 50Mb/s -- been on 20Mb/s since it launched -- and I get a consistent 19.5Mb/s.

Not only in tests, but I can run HD streams from BBC whilst downloading from other sites and other members of household are streaming and running stuff too.

Occasionally it slows at peak times, but off-peak it's pretty much always top-notch.

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Big Brother

Who needs speeds like this

Considering that Virgin are going to packet sniff (CView) all your downloads and perhaps cut you off, or report you to the RIAA/FACT Mafia or murder your children (depending on which version of the Mandybill makes it to law)

Oh dear do I hear the rumble of Linx Distro's coming..........

I think I will just stay at my 20mb connection. After all if I can't download what I want, and copyright law is so complex that even the people the write the laws can't work them out what you are and aren't allowed to download. Why bother. The kids will just have to watch old fashioned TV and I can just STEAM away.

It will be a cold day in hell before the Big 4 get anymore of my money for substandard DVD's. Its the only way to fight back. Hit them where it hurts,. In their pocket.

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The "up to" isn't the problem...

...I always got the top speed without difficulty. The problem arose when I actually tried to USE the bandwidth. Then they throttled my ass back into the 1990s. I'm immensely happier with the ca. 13Mbit/sec I get from BE (which I can actually max out 24/7 if I want to) than I'd ever be with 100Mbit/sec from NTL (whoops, I mean "Virgin") if I can't download for more than a couple of hours without being strangled.

I will NEVER go back to Virgin BB, until they provide an unthrottled service. That and a half-decent upload speed would be good.

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Unthrottled service

An unthrottled service, you say? Why, you must surely mean their 50Mb package which comes without any limits whatsoever?

http://www.virginmedia.com/help/traffic-management.php

As for maxing out your Be connection 24/7...

"If it’s felt that any Be member’s Internet activities are so excessive that other members are detrimentally affected, Be may give the member generating the excessive web traffic a written warning (by email or otherwise). In extreme circumstances, should the levels of activity not immediately decrease after the warning, Be may terminate that member’s services."

Nice.

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Go

I don't even nearly need it

But I wanna be the first to have it

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Great news!

Faster than ever DPI to make sure those files you're downloading aren't copyrighted!

Virgin Media can take a running jump onto a pike.

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Slow lane

...... and still OFCON think its acceptable for BTw to screw Market 1 exchange customers for the over priced upto almost 8 meg ADSL Max "service", with no sight of an upgrade until BTw have tried to get a few crumbs from the already over supplied LLU & Cable areas.

A DECENT regulator, with teeth, a backbone and that wasn't held on the leash by an abusive incumbent would act for the consumers and either reduce prices for the out of date service levels or force an accelerated timetable for cn21 activation - maybe 1-2-1for a cable/llu area activation.

I guess the writing was on the wall way back when BT were allowed a to market the service as upto 8 megs - a speed no adslmax consumer outside of the exchange will actually see. It doesn't help that clearly OFCON = BTs Glovepuppet!

Lets not get started on how pathetic 100 megs makes the Govts 2 meg commitment look (whatever that 2 meg actually means)

Paris because even she has some speed to her - unlike ADSLMax

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Market 1 = Back end of beyond

Sorry but if you're a market 1 exchange then you are probably so remote that it is difficult to connect you to the main network and/or there's too few of you to make it worthwhile.

Rather than slagging off BT you should perhaps consider that services are never as good in remote areas because of the difficulty and cost.

/That/ is why you don't have LLU. You're basically in the back of beyond and you should be grateful to BT for being the only telecoms company prepared to provide any kind of high speed connection. In point of fact a market 1 exchange is likely supplied at a loss and subsidises by the market 2 and 3 exchange customers.

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I'm very interested (if it'll even work around my way) ...

But first, I want to be sure what their position now is with Phorm style tracking, as I refused to use Virgin before for this reason. (Paying them so that they can then totally spy on me is taking the piss).

So does anyone know what Virgin's current position is with all kinds of Phorm style tracking? (not just by Phorm, but all Phorm style companies).

As a consumer I vote with my money, and if Virgin want my money then they have to do what I want, not what they want.

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@ For the first 15 seconds

I think over cable Virgin have the highest sustained speed don't they? Something like 8.26Mb on the 10Mb connection?

It's still pretty meaningless though, the limiting factor will no doubt be the site you're looking to stream/download from. And if the streaming software/site uses P2P that'll probably get traffic managed to death anyway.

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@ Alex Walsh

The limiting factor is actually VM throttling your connection after you've downloaded a paltry amount, almost all of the time between 10am and 9pm. Once they reduce your speed to a quarter of what you are actually paying for, they keep you throttled for five hours. Really annoying if you accidentally hit the throttle level at 8.55pm, you are then on a quarter speed until 1.55am !

Basically, you pay for the speed, but you can't use it for more than about 35 minutes between 10am and 3pm, and about 18 minutes between 4pm to 9pm without your speed being throttled down to a quarter.

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Paltry?

If you look here: http://allyours.virginmedia.com/html/internet/traffic.html

Then you will see that traffic management is not applied to 50Mb connections at all, and only applied to 20Mb connections after 7Gb, I can't see the 100Mb one getting hit with traffic management at all either.

If you're hitting that regularly then you're probably spending a fortune on storage too, you might be better off with a commercial connection. Or pay the extra £8/month to get the unfettered 50Mb connection.

OK, you *can* hit that 7Gb limit in about an hour, but that would represent ~7 hours of high-def video from say the iPlayer, or a couple of Linux distributions.

Are there really 14 Linux distros each week? And do you need to download all of them during peak periods?

Personally, I think this is a better approach than some of the ADSL providers who simply stop your connection altogether when you reach their cap and leave you disconnected until the next billing cycle.

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title required

That depends what you're doing though doesn't it? If you have a huge queue of bitorrents or newsgroup binaries downloading, you'll hit your ceiling for throttling in the 4-9pm slot fairly quickly I expect but 1.5gigs is a lot to stream via iPlayer, and would never be used up via surfing, especially considering that most people are still at work at 4pm.

I don't think I'm unusual and I don't get online until around 7pm of an evening.

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@Alex Walsh

The limiting factor is actually VM throttling your connection after you've downloaded a paltry amount, almost all of the time between 10am and 9pm. Once they reduce your speed to a quarter of what you are actually paying for, they keep you throttled for five hours. Really annoying if you accidentally hit the throttle level at 8.55pm, you are then on a quarter speed until 1.55am !

Basically, you pay for the speed, but you can't use it for more than about 35 minutes between 10am and 3pm, and about 18 minutes between 4pm to 9pm without your speed being throttled down to a quarter.

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We'd switch to them in a shot...

... if they could be bothered to lay cables in our (suburban Surrey) street. It's easy for them to offer these super duper rates when they so blatantly cherry-pick the places they choose to serve.

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Virgin Media need to expend where they cover!

Well I live just out the north end of the blackwall tunnel, i can see telehouse and practically canary wharf from my place and yet virgin have only just changed from "not in my postcode area" to

"in my postcode area" but not at my place, how annoying.

I have dual Bethere into a business class router with dual WAN fail-over ability. A while back a workman with a digger cut through both connections and as the repairer showed me BOTH cables are in the same same pencil size bundle. I would love to change my second connection to 50MB Virgin,true redundancy as I cannot get satellite broadband and everything else is the same BT line!

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Unhappy

"The air would be sucked out of the carriages!"

Can internet really go that fast? Wow! I'll have it!

Oh, wait...

We don't have cable here. Our bit was to subsidise digging the roads after HMG said it was the future but before they changed their mind.

I got my speed up a little from 1Mb/s when I disconnected the bell wire.

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Anonymous Coward

One word

Contention?

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100Mb for how long?

It's like advertising a car that does 100MPG*

Like other have said, try actually using the bandwidth and you hit your download cap very fast then get throttled.

* for 12 minutes per day, then 15MPG for the next x hours.

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FAIL

Like others have said

... there is no usage restriction on 50Mb and there probably won't be any one 100Mb either.

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Anonymous Coward

Ofcom

I would like to see Ofcom put some sort of contraint on Virgin.

Remember when all the cable was originally laid by small operators before they got bought up by NTL and Telewest? The operators and the government made promises that the rollout of cable would continue. Of course that changed once big business got involved then the phrase "ecomically viable" came into play. However before Virgin got involved Telewest were still promising to rollout cable to our area in the medium term (whatever that meant) as soon as Virgin took over that changed to their being no plans to rollout fibre to our area. Even new developments in cities don't have access to Virgin's network.

So the contraint I'd like Ofcom to put on Virgin is that they are only allowed to keep improving services on their very limitted network *if* they increase their coverage by a certain number of households per year.

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WTF?

Never mind the DL

What about the upload speeds?

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No traffic management?

I hope this comes to my area, as I'll be first in line!

I've been using Virgin's 50Mb service since the price dropped at the start of the year. The only reason I signed up to it was because it wasn't being traffic managed. Hitting 6000Kb/s in the afternoon/evening is a joy! I can downloads tens of gigs of "Linux distro's" in no time flat. If they continue that trend with 100Mb/s and don't charge the earth for it, I'll be there!

The second that traffic management is introduced, I'm gone.

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RE: traffic management

there is none on the current 50MB you are right. That is why i also went up from 20mb to 50.

Virgin have moved to Docsis 3 which will support much greater bandwidth and users.

I wish some people knew what they were talking about before slagging Virgin off.

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Pint

No ripping but I am genuinely curious

Seriously, with that kind of home bandwidth what do people actually do with it? The only reason I can think of to climb out of the cesspit that is ADSL, is try to attempt to backup every torrent you can find just for safe keeping!

I download two maybe three distros CDs a year, the odd copy of Oracle software ( 5GB tops ) and the odd BBC TV episode off EZTV, when I can be arsed to find anything worth watching! My piddly little 8MB line more than surfices. Alright O/S patches can reach hundreds, but start it before bedtime and get the machine to shutdown on it's own later on.

That's another thing, am I only one left on the planet who shuts their machine down at night? Stuff the bloody penguins and polar bears, I like a warm house but gutting it by flame is not really my intention. I like my house fire-risk free!

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Anonymous Coward

'Scuse my ignorance

But is VM FTTC or FTTH?

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Very much FTTC

Only it won't be a cabinet local to you. it will be fibre to A cabinet, and then distributed from there to other cabinets and then to you.

Unless you are really lucky and live near the first cabinet I suppose.

The VM engineer who installed ours draw a quick diagram and was puzzled as to why no-one complained that they didn't get a 'fibre' in their house*.

Come the glorious revolution I think we will all have fibre to our homes, but untill then it will be business as usual.

ttfn

*I don't care as long as I get my 50Meg, which I do :-)

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Re: 'Scuse my ignorance

FTTC.

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@ 'Scuse my ignorance

It's FTTC. There would be barely any improvement in performance if it was FTTH on the sort of speeds available at the moment. I think you'd need to be on at least a 1Gb/s connection to get a measurable performance increase by having FTTH.

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Boffin

Not the same FTTC as BT

It's FTTC but unlikely BT's offering the entire street (or several streets) shares a single coax cable. That means you are potentially competing with your neighbours. BT's system maintains their star-layout with every line having an uncontended connection back to the exchange.

VM's network is better suited to sharing a single stream between several houses (which is sensible - it was originally a broadcast network) whereas BT's is better suited to every house doing its own thing. If BT can get their multicast working (it's supposedly built-in to FTTC) it would be the best of both worlds - at least as far as topography was concerned.

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Anonymous Coward

I find it funny ...

... that everything they have listed as being able to do, are the most common things that are downloaded via torrents.

While its good to have high bandwith speeds like that, does no good if your limited at , or maxing the source of the material you are attempting to download from.

Although it if works, would make it possible to download a torrent (encrypted of course), play a game on steam, and if comp is capable watch netflix video on another screen (or just use multiple comps to do all this) without to much impact on your playing..

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I have the 50meg service

And it works very well for us - we have 3 PC's, laptops, Wii, PS3, DSs' and other kit using the link at various times, and there is no slow-down due to the connection.

The limits really come down to the intertubes sites, very few (if any) can possibly feed data that fast, so the biggest difference we see is no hold-ups and very fast speeds.

I was downloading 3 Steam games at once - the peak speed was 8.8Mbs, which is nice.

I can't see that 100 or 200meg would be useful unless you run LAN parties from your house - though of course it would be nice if, say, the BBC offered the iPlayer on a 50Meg+ link since we'd probably use that rather than the TV's normal shows.

ttfn

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agreed

... I'm only on the 20Mb service but even on that you notice how well/poorly the service you are connecting to can cope - Steam normally copes very well >2MB/s (>16Mb/s approx) - whereas other sites/services have been <1MB/s.

It's nice to play TF2 with between about 5 and 15 milliseconds latency though :)

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Stop

Honestly

Might be worth people checking stuff out before slagging off Virgin.

I've been on the 50Mb package since launch and other than one day when I had no connection due to an outage in my area (and it only lasted a couple of hours) I always get at least 46Mb/s, at any time of the day.

Is that not better than advertising up to 8Mb/s and only getting 1-2/Mb/s?

There is also NO traffic shaping on the 50Mb package and though they've said they may bring something in in the future, they haven't yet so can only assume it'll be the same on the 100Mb service.

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You're lucky....

well, not really. The fair usage policy and traffic shaping does not apply to the 50 MB/s as you stated yourself. For the the time being, that is. I don't believe it's going to stay like this knowing that they have not the network capacity to support this. Anyway, this puts only more pressure on customers on lower price plans and they will need to be more 'traffic managed'. I recently moved house and I'm stuck again with VM on 10 Mb/s plan (on paper). Honeslty I would be perfectly fine with 'just' 10 Mb/s and even wouldn't mind getting only 6 or 5 Mb/s due to network infrastructure (distance to cabinet/exchange and contention), but my very first AOL dial-up modem in the mid-90s was faster than what Vermin Media actually delivers.

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Headmaster

anyone @ theReg an EE or NW Engineer?

Virgin should be called out for this....at the end of the day a huge amount of speed comes to POTS in 85% ++ of Blighty, which can handle 8mbps on a good day. You'd have to REWIRE the whole of the UK to get anywhere near, as NBR collisions in local neighbourhoods will shoot them down. 21CN's a complete failure for BT, so we should just suck it up as a nation that nothing's going to change UNLESS you're dead in the centre of a major town, where Colt's wired fibre to all locations.

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WTF?

You would imagine....

.. that with all this available bandwidth, Traffic Management wouldn't be required.

Unfortunately it seems that it is, so it's pretty clear that congestion will be much much worse at such high speeds, unless ofcourse, everything VM have been saying with regard to congestion is complete BS?

Frankly, when Virgin is involved, you can't trust a word they say.

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network port speeds

Anyone know what speed the ethernet port on the back of a Virgin cable modem is capable of? If it's not 1Gbps, then you're never going to see 100Mbps broadband sppeds anyway, as the network just can't work that fast. Ditto the network port on the back of the computer.

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Ethernet port speed

The ethernet port on the new 50Mbps modems is 1Gbps not 100Mbps, so we should see a good download speeds.

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Traffic Management

The 50MB service doesn't get throttled so I doubt this will. Even the 10 and 20 only gets throttled to half speed, which whilst (intentionally) lame for downloading anything is still very usable for email \ browsing.

Of course if you live in the wrong place (Selly Oak, Birmingham) then your broadband isn't so broad: every house is a student house and they all want some thing resembling the advertised speed so instead get ~1MB, depending (slightly) on time of day. I live 20 minutes down the road and get headline speed pretty much all day every day (expect when I'm throttled, being as that I don't have the 50MB service)

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