back to article Virgin Media boasts more subscribers and more losses

More households than ever before switched to Virgin Media in the last quarter, as the company reaped the benefits of network upgrades. A net 38,300 new households joined the cable network in the first three months of the year, beating every quarter since Virgin Media was formed four years ago. A net total of 72,300 customers …

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FAIL

Shame...

That they can't get their arses in gear and upgrade the analog network in my area in Southampton!!

I'd probably go for a bundle package if they did.

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Anonymous Coward

And...

They could net even more customers if they actually bothered deploying more infrastructure.

I moved house from just before the Virgin takeover and was a Telewest customer at the old house. The new house was not in a cable area, but Telewest assured me that they would be rolling out cable into that area within the next two years. A few months after the Virgin takeover and things changed. Now they had no plans to roll out cable to my area. Checking a few other areas at random it appeared that they had no plans to roll out any new cable anywhere.

But they also want to be allowed to use any new fibre that anybody else is rolling out.

You have to speculate to accumulate. But VM seem only to be interested in the accumulation bit.

OK so the national rollout of cable was a flawed plan since beyond the initial rollout there was nothing built into the plan which would force the cable companies to continue the deployment, nor was there anything to force the connection of any new developments to the cable networks. However VM could play the good guy and at least do something to roll out more infrastructure to show they are committed to improving things.

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Unhappy

I'm tempted...

...to go back to VM just for the broadband, you can keep your crap TV and expensive phone though. Unless BT get off their high-horse about rolling out fibre nationally, lots more will crave the 50MB+ specs that VM offer.

For those on VM, is the 50MB as good they make out, is it worth the £40/month? Each day of running my ADSL at a staggering top speed of 150k/s ( seriously my 20MB/s line is only running at about 1.5M/s!) is making the VM option seem very nice indeed!

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50meg rocks

I've been on Virgin 50meg for over a year now, upgrading from their 20meg service.

20meg was solid, never dropped, never changed IP in the all the time I had it.

50meg switched me to the new DOCSIS3 network and a new modem. I initially had some stability issues when the upload was maxed it but it was tracked to a fluke faulty firmware on a bit of kit in my local "exchange".

Since then I have had 6months of solid uptime with my local connection not dropping once. I've only lost about 2.5hrs since November due to national routing issues, not local stuff, but this still leaves me with a >99.9% uptime and better stability than our corporate WAN.

As for speed, I always get 53meg down and 1.6meg up, any time of the day or not. Speeds are only dependant on the external host and its ability to send the data fast enough.

On top of that, unlike the 20meg service, there are no traffic limits whatsoever.

I really can't recommend it enough. I initially signed up at £52/mth but this has since dropped to £38 - bargain.

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Happy

Happy 50Mb user here

Been on the 50Mb service since it was launched in our area last year, having spent the previous 2 years on the 10/20Mb service. Whilst the 10/20Mb service in our area wasn't particularly bad compared to some, it did suffer some noticeable drops in performance every now and then. Since switching over to the 50Mb service though, it's consistently delivered the advertised speeds provided the server on the other end of the link is capable of sending data that quickly.

The other benefits are that along with the higher download speeds you're also getting one of the fastest upload speeds available without forking out serious money, and unlike any DSL-based offering the speed you get isn't affected by distance from exchanges, type of wet string used to hook your landline up to said exchange etc. Also, whereas the old Surfboard modem they supplied us with for the 10/20Mb service needed a reboot every couple of months, I think I've only needed to reboot the new 50Mb modem a couple of times in the past year, and one of those reboots was just to let it see the new router I installed recently...

Is it as good as they claim? In my experience, yes. Is it worth the money? For my net usage patterns, yes. For you, only you can answer that.

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Thumb Up

Virgins s'ok for me ...

I'm lucky enough to be in a properly cabled area. Have the standard Virgin "bundle", and no complaints can d/l 350Mb in 20 minutes, consistently. V+ is great, and phone works.

Maybe a tad more dear than having separate suppliers, but is worth it for hassle-freeness.

Meanwhile M-in-Law, who's very price concious has had 7 different ADSL suppliers, all of whom have caused problems, and outages.

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Bronze badge

Hey Virgin

Extend your network and subscriber numbers will increase by more than this rather comical 1% rise every month. you provide a reliable service that beats ADSL so your refusal to dig a few trenches will hurt in the long run. In my city they halfway through a massive gas pipe upgrade and I was saddened to see that you didn't think to jump on board and lay a few cables.

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Anonymous Coward

A better quote

"More customers than ever before are choosing faster broadband, for the 20 minutes it takes before you're capped"

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cap?

on the XL package 20Mb/sec, you get a 7gb limit between 10am and 3pm. if I break 7gb in those 5 hours I get throttled until 20:00. After that it's unlimited. Playing MMOs all day and the odd usenet download still doent rinse it. After 3pm the internet is your oyster.

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Absolutely

Their traffic management is utter shite and combined with their Mumbai Monkeys call centres just goes to show that customers are an afterthought.

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Anonymous Coward

No cap

No cap on the 50 meg service. Plus, see comment below yours.

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Here here

Their CS department in Wales is fucking wank, as well. I think they're expensive if you take into account the throttling. Who the fuck needs 50 Mb/s at home, for 50 quid a month? That's a whole night on the pop. My mate hit his limits quite easily on the 20 when we were trying to track down some stuff.

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still poor customer service

I signed up in September. They gave me a recycled number which was plagued by daily calls from debt collectors and Lord knows who else wanting the previous owner. The Indian call centre rep couldn't say anything other than the script on his screen and was completely useless so I just unplugged the phone.

I then recently requested a change to a new address and was spammed with "sorry you are leaving, please come back" emails. I'm not leaving the service, just taking it to a new address.

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Unhappy

Rock & hard place

Virgin would love to get more subscribers but have MASSIVE debt which limits the scope for cabling "new" areas, this means that there is very little budget for that kind of build out.

Most of the "profitable" areas were built out when the cable companies were just little franchises, now Virgin has to deal with the legacy of debt AND try to build customer base. Until they can shift some of the debt mountain there ain't going to be a mass buil out of new cable areas.

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Pint

Agreed

I wonder if the other posters here read this article.

£6.1bn debt and people are complaining that in some places they aren't digging more trenches!

Do they not get the enormity of that problem?!! To me it sounds like Virgin will go under sooner or later.

If the country weren't all ready up sh*t creak I would say Cable should be nationalised. Meh.

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FAIL

a title here

They would not have so much debt if they hadn't bought so many other companies and screwed them up. Think (Telewest consumer and business).

They would also have more profit if they stopped treating customers like second rate citizens and actually offered some products which worked properly. I used to have all three services until (like a previous poster) I had numerous calls for previous owner relating to debt collectors that I had the line disconnected. The TV box kept playing up so much I got rid of that too. The final nail in the coffin was the ridiculous caps on the broadband ( I had the 20 meg back then) that they introduced all the while increasing the price. Oh and the Mumai Monkey call centre.

Even if I were on dial up - I would not get Virgin services again.

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Stop

What's the point of it all??

I can't really see the point of their claims. As was inferred by AC, yes you can get a whopping load of stuff (WLoS) (Note the uppercase in acronym but lower case when spelt out), but as soon as you use it for large files you get capped.

It is a better service than ADSL but on average both offer the same speeds, ie uncapped ADSL v Capped VM.

I will stay with my £5* unlimited (cough!!) ADSL 4.5 Mbps Down 0.5 Up which my ISP lets me do what the hell I like with.

* Got a good deal ;o)

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WTF?

Cable rollout

I can't get cable where i live... I live at the end of a small cul-de-sac and people further down can get cable, but up here i can't. It wouldn't have been much effort on their part to extend the coverage a few more feet up the road, they just didn't bother.

The worst part is, their system didn't realise this a few months ago... I actually went through and ordered cable internet from them, the order process went through and then i heard absolutely nothing. When i went back and looked again more recently, they had updated the system to say it was no longer available for my address. But i still get regular junkmail advertising their service.

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Thumb Down

Sewers?

What happened to the idea of feeding cable into currently none cabled areas via the existing sewer network?

Currently I'm saddled with a rediculously slow ADSL connection or at the other halfs house a fairly respectable 12meg connection that drops every hour or 2.

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RE: AC and Jim Booth

"More customers than ever before are choosing faster broadband, for the 20 minutes it takes before you're capped"

There is NO cap on the 50Mb package.

"Their traffic management is utter shite and combined with their Mumbai Monkeys call centres just goes to show that customers are an afterthought."

VM don't traffic manage (i.e. slow specific traffic). They cap after X GB download on non-50Mb services but that's capping not traffic management. I agree about the monkeys in the call centres though, but I very rarely have to call them thankfully and certainly not on broadband issues as mine has been pretty much rock steady for the 10+ years I've used their broadband services.

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Happy

@ RE: AC and Jim Booth / deadbeef

"There is NO cap on the 50Mb package."

Yet.......... though they have publicly stated it's coming.

The OP's statement is true for all other tiers.

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CKN
Unhappy

Blocked.....

I'm in a Virgin area, and after being bombarded with junk mail decided to sign up for broadband and phone. The house next door is on their broadband. It then transpired that the conduit through which the fibre is fed to the cabinet on the street is blocked at a point where it crosses the road. About a dozen other properties are downstream of the road crossing, of which two are on fibre. Virgin say their profit model cannot justify providing me with fibre - so it appears that they have no obligation to maintain the infrastructure they acquired from TeleWest, unlike the water supplier, electricity suppliers, the gas suppliers or even BT. I feel like rodding the pipe myself....!

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Thumb Up

Capping on VM.....

has never happened to me. Then again I do not dload Knock Off Nigel Films all day long... Sorry did you say Linux Distro's... Coff

VM Is a fantastic stable service but their support does suck but there are ways around the scripts... Only outage I ever get is when the crappy sub-power station round the corner konks out..

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Silver badge

People talking about non-availability of cable

People seem to be moaning/stating that if only Virgin would dig up lots more of the country, they would sign up. Did they fail to read the bit of the story where it says that Virgin is saddled with massive amounts of debt, wiping out their profits, due to...digging up lots of the country.

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Grenade

They might grow more if customers werent jumping ship too

Virgins problem is they dont look after customers once they have them. I wager the growth is slowed by the users who are leaving them due to unresolved problems. Wondrous "special deals" which after months of complaining still costs me considerably more than I signed up for. Computer says no syndrome is rife in that company.

My 20meg broadband has got worse and worse over the past year, with more and more downtime and their usual response is some incredibly polite guy in Mumbai called Bernard who cant understand that I dont want him to tell me how to restart my router. I want my problem fixed, their support function is nigh on broken and can't it seems do that.

I've came close a few times to telling them to stick it ( I did once and came back some years later). I pay for a landline I dont use (or want), tv thats crap and broadband and loses half my packets at best and doesn't work at all when I need it.

They need to try to retain their customers not just shove new ones onto a network that can't cope with the volume in some areas alraedy. I guess support is expensive (hence scripted indian call centres that are as much use as a chocolate teapot) so they concentrate on sales. I get 2 or 3leaflets a week through my door, even though I'm already with them.

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Badgers

VM - excellent cable infrastructure, everything else rubbish

Title says it all. If Virgin Media were forced to allow other providers to use their fibre and cable infrastructure as BT are then one of three things will happen -

1) Prices would drop

2) Services would improve

3) They would go out of business

Virgin Media are in a 'process of continual improvement' which generally means making things worse, withdrawing previously existing services, out-sourcing services to someone else, and increasing prices, all the while telling their customers how good it is for them and how much they'll love it. Bah, humbug!

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FAIL

What about that email cockup a week ago?

Last week, couldn't send email (blueyonder). After much wasted time (and 0845 cost) with the incompetent customer service non-service, eventually to a south Asian person whose English I could not understand, then by Googling I discovered 'My Virgin Media' (to which Virgin does not contribute). Virgin are in breach of contract: without my agreement they changed my SMTP username to the mailbox name that they use to send me marketing emails. That's the last straw after the outages, the high cost, the deluge of marketing rubbish. Soon I will be leaving them, as have others down my street (lots of Sky dishes now).

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Anonymous Coward

the problem the seem to have

is with their customer service, not getting new customers. Unless you bug them, they won't do anything.

I rang them about the replacement smart cards, as i hadn't recieved one, and spoke to a remarkably Indian sounding woman called Jenny. After 15mins of pain trying to get a new one posted out (The script writers didn't seem to have factored the royal mail into their scenarios) I got, oh and by the way, you're currently paying x, we can knock that down to y and double your net speed. ("does that mean you've been overcharging me?" wasn't on the script either)

They make no effort to apply changes to existing customers, you have to ring them! I know someone who regularly rings them up to complain about something, just so he stays up to date.

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