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back to article Virgin Media to hike broadband prices by nearly 7 per cent

Virgin Media is set to jack up its broadband prices early next year by nearly 7 per cent. The telco said it was writing to subscribers now to warn them that costs will rise by 6.7 per cent on average from February 2014. It said that the price hike does not affect services such as Virgin Media's home phone talk plans. In an …

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Pushing boundaries, but only in a limited way

Increasing speed is important and is forcing its competitors to work harder to do the same. However, Virgin are forgetting a key aspect of where it fails as a business - coverage. Virgin have 48% coverage.

How about they start expanding a little? Take on some new areas? Oh right, they can't, as doing so is *so* expensive that every business that tries it ends up going bust, and ends up being bought out...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pushing boundaries, but only in a limited way

They should expand - but they won't. It costs far too much and they have no money....

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Re: Pushing boundaries, but only in a limited way

With inflation so low why such a price hike?

It's all well and good giving a coverage of 48% if it's only available in towns and cities, so instead of looking at the bigger picture they charge more for the same service.

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Anonymous Coward

BT now have FOOTBALL. In their 'free package!'

But at what cost, they overpaid for the rights so if they don't get enough subscribers the Sky will be the limit when the next round of increases come into effect.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pushing boundaries, but only in a limited way

But it's not actually available in towns and cities. . There are areas in central Cheltenham that do not have cable and VM don't seem to want to do anything about it.

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Re: Pushing boundaries, but only in a limited way

More important than that, is if VM grows their coverage too much they will become an SMP player and have to wholesale... which would burn their profit margins.

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Anonymous Coward

If the high priced sports go to subscription channels and theres less football on my non subscription TV channels I don't care who overpayed for it. It should mean more money for other TV and media shows but knowing they Beeb they'll just spaff more down on Wimbledon or an Olympics.

That said did anyone at BT remember why On Digital folded, paying too much for sport (although to be honest it was the lower leagues) there was limited numbers who wanted to pay to watch.

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Anonymous Coward

But at what cost

Well last time I checked it cost Sky 10% of their share price.

If you can't increase your own price then ruin your competitors price to compensate.

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Re: Pushing boundaries, but only in a limited way

In our street there are little metal tabs outside each premises that access cable -- but Virgin refuses to recognise that they exist so we have copper instead.

BT too seem to have a blind spot for our particular stretch of this (major) outer london highway. Though the pavements are blighted by BT's enormous green cabinets within yards of our address -- can't get BT's FTC offering (Infinity ?) either.

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Re: Pushing boundaries, but only in a limited way

Energy Cost go up 11%.

Many foods go up 5% or more.

In some parts of the UK house prices have DOUBLED over the past year.

"Inflation" in designed in such a way that it often ignores some of the high ticket items.

Fuel/Energy accounts for about 4% of inflations value, yet it consumes between 10% and 20% of peoples take home pay.

Don't trust RPI/CPI... BT is putting in a similar increase at the same time as VM, in fact, BT's announcement came first and then VM's followed afterwards.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pushing boundaries, but only in a limited way

From today's government (ONS) figures - all 'change over the last 12 months' :

CPI 2.2% ( excl housing costs)

house prices 3.8%

CPIH 2.0% ( incl housing costs )

wages 0.7%

And sod the faster download speeds, Virgin, how about some improvement to uploads - the cloud is meant to be two-way, isn't it ?

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Does this mean

We will get throttled twice as fast lol

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As the justification is that their network is twice as fast as BT's then I am guessing that these increases obviously wont apply to the "National" ADSL service which is no faster than BT and is significantly lower at times due to the traffic shaping and the network issues they experience on the ADSL service. I routinely experience issues even managing to stream a 360 Youtube video on virgin with constant buffering interruptions in the evenings.

I would love to go back to cable again, but no coverage.

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So will this 7% rise be in addition to the 11.5% rise BB only subs got gouged with?

As soon as the ink was dry on the transfer of the business they put up BB only subs by 11.5%

I'm on 20Mb as haven't got nor want their useless "super" hub.

They will never persuade me to take a package (I once asked about the phone, they said I needed a BT line !!)

Can't get fibre from BT yet but the projected speeds look good. Might go to a purely mobile solution if I can't go through the hateful haggling process with VM.

Goodbye subscriber time methinks. :-/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So will this 7% rise be in addition to the 11.5% rise BB only subs got gouged with?

You want to take your chance with BT? Good luck!

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Re: So will this 7% rise be in addition to the 11.5% rise BB only subs got gouged with?

You can put the (not-really-very-) superhub into modem mode, and use your own router. I hear that makes it much easier to live with. We don't use wifi much in our house so it's shortcomings aren't so apparent.

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Re: So will this 7% rise be in addition to the 11.5% rise BB only subs got gouged with?

The superhub is not much of a hub but it as good at being a cable modem as any modem out there. 100% solid all the time. Handily VM have included a setting in the admin screens to switch off hub features and enable "modem only mode". There is no reason to stick with 20Mbps just because you don't want a superhub because there is no good reason not to want a superhub - ok maybe one - it has slightly annoying flashing lights.

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Re: So will this 7% rise be in addition to the 11.5% rise BB only subs got gouged with?

"Handily VM have included a setting in the admin screens to switch off hub features and enable "modem only mode". There is no reason to stick with 20Mbps just because you don't want a superhub because there is no good reason not to want a superhub"

When the 'super' hub first came out, the modem only mode did not exist. It was simply a planned feature for the future. This came in at the time I was moving out from a shared house with VM BB. They lost me as a customer because they wouldn't supply me with a device that behaved like a plain modem.

That situation has changed now, it may be that Pete 47 isn't aware of the upgrade.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So will this 7% rise be in addition to the 11.5% rise BB only subs got gouged with?

We were with Virgin Media till earlier this year. After two years of flaky service, outages thanks to their "good news! We're increasing your speed" , their incompetent and appalling customer service, their laughable technical support, we decided we'd had enough.

So, we took our chances with BT, and we've enjoyed a reliable, though much slower, connection that has never once failed. Speed is not necessarily the prime requirement.

I've no illusions about BT, but I know from bitter experience who I'd prefer to pay my money to, and it is not and never will again be, crappy Virgin Media.

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Re: So will this 7% rise be in addition to the 11.5% rise BB only subs got gouged with?

Why would someone downvote you for your own experience?

I have had good and bad BT experiences, and I can say their engineers are great, their customer services not so much, and it IS like pulling teeth to get them to admit fault, but still I get stable broadband with them, if a little slow for now...

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Not sure how this is news?

I've been with VM for 1 year (just for Broadband) , in that time they increased my bill by just over 12% whilst still offering the service to new customers for the same price (per month) I paid a year ago. Luckly I have choice, so I can always switch to BT.

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Anonymous Coward

Third Price Rise in 12 Months

I only have (cable) broadband with Virgin (no TV, no phone). I'm on the top package of 120mb although I only see 100mb due to my hardware restrictions (Which is my issue - I'll upgrade when they break, honest!).

They have increased the price twice in 2013 to a whopping £39.25.... and now a thrid increase - which would be the third in 12 months...

They also fail to mention that if you want the increase in speed you will have to sign up for another 12 month contract.

The one, the ONLY, good thing for me is I contacted them via online chat (much easier than ringing some foreign call centre) and asked why I was paying more than new customers.

Within 5 minutes they had knocked £5 a month off, reducing it to £30 (yep, I know it doesn't add up - but can we keep it among ourselves?) for the next 18 months - subject to a 12 month contract.

iPlayer, VOIP and browsing for £30/month isn't a bad deal IMHO.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Third Price Rise in 12 Months

If all that you need it for is iPlayer, VOIP and browsing then why not just pay £5 a month for a standard broadband connection?

I really don't see the obsession with fibre. I could get it off my current provider (plusnet) but while it's a nice to have I don't fancy doubling my bill to get it. My current connection (generally 13mps down / 1mbps up) allows me to do all the downloading / streaming / gaming / remote desktopping I like perfectly happily. Unless I really needed the additional upload speed (say I couldn't bear to apart from my digital media collection and wanted to stream it on the go) I really can't see the benefit.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Third Price Rise in 12 Months

because (a) several people live in the house (b) I work from home (c) I'll produce a more detailed list of my usage for justification shortly :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Third Price Rise in 12 Months

Surely the benefit is rather obvious? You get more bandwidth. If you don't need it don't get it. If you do then do!

Simples.

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Re: Third Price Rise in 12 Months

Standalone broadband customers won't be getting another price rise in February - as the price change for that was in October

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Re: Third Price Rise in 12 Months

Depends where you live and who you live with. You are fortunate to live in an area with serviceable ADSL and you clearly don't have a large family sucking your broadband dry like a crack pipe. For your circumstances, 13MBit is fine. Where I live the standard ADSL was 2.1Mbit. My fibre through IDNet gives me 26Mbit.

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Re: Third Price Rise in 12 Months

"you clearly don't have a large family sucking your broadband dry like a crack pipe."

Mine sit on the sofa next to each other watching the same show on iPlayer three minutes out of sync.

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Re: Third Price Rise in 12 Months

>My fibre through IDNet gives me 26Mbit.

But unlike the AC who started this conversation thread, you at least seem to have gone for a business service rather than a residential service - I take it you also work at home and so put it down as expenses...

FYI, 2mbps is just fine for iPlayer, VOIP and browsing until the family decide to get online...

My exchange isn't on the fibre upgrade list, so I've resorted to multiple broadband lines to separate family activities from work...

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Re: Third Price Rise in 12 Months

"But unlike the AC who started this conversation thread, you at least seem to have gone for a business service rather than a residential service - I take it you also work at home and so put it down as expenses..."

It was residential because IDNet were offering residential broadband at the time. They no longer offer it unless you ask.

2Mbit was just about adequate a couple of years ago, but I do work from home, and when fixing a machine that requires 800MB of updates/software which you can't get on DVD any more, 2MBit just doesn't cut the mustard.

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Anonymous Coward

Speed isn't everything

I'm on a "only" 40mb package with Infinity, whereas a friend about 20 miles away is on a 100mb package with Virgin.

So Virgin, tell me why my downloads are quicker at peak times than his? Eh? Eh? Oversubscribed was that? Traffic throttling was that? Back-haul not up to it was that?

BT may not be great, but at least the willy waving is (only slightly) less....

Shame I'm having to pay for the bloody football that i don't want.

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Re: Speed isn't everything

Spot on

I have been through various incarnations of BT wholesale or direct ADSL over the years and have had excellent connectivity. I have no chice as there is no cable so I cannot comment on VM.

About 6 months ago I went to Infinity and achieved 18MB dn, 2MB up on the supplied hardware. I replaced the hadware with a Fritz! Bix and immediately went to 40MB dn and 9MB up. The connection is rock solid and has not dropped in use.

Theoretical speed is not everything.

I have not noticed any issues in download or streaming with iPlayer. I do wonder how many people moaning about BT/BT Wholesale products are using rubbish equipment and then blame BT when it does not work.

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Increase prices for faster speeds?

Er... isn't that what they higher tariffs are for? I already pay a ridiculous amount for 60Mb and can't reduce it or the wonderful deal (read: slightly less expensive) will no longer apply. I was happy with 30Mb... hell I was happy with 20Mb, even 10Mb.

I don't need more speed especially when the increase comes with no real tangible benefits. I don't ever recall downloading something and needing it within a set time limit. The benefit of faster speeds is generally faster downloads and higher quality streams without buffering but if I can't get that with 60Mb often what chance does a faster connection have? It didn't change going from 20 - 30 - 60Mb.

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Re: Increase prices for faster speeds?

The closest analogy I could come up with is the water company increasing the water rates (a fixed charge rather than metered) but fitting a new water main so that you can use what you can't afford quicker.

Anyone do a better analogy than that ?

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Re: Increase prices for faster speeds?

I always thought the main reason for faster download speeds was so that you could install Windows Updates faster...

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Anonymous Coward

Go to love the PR departments

Here, eat some shit but hey, don't worry, it tastes nicer than a rivals.

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hmm

I'd rather some basics were attended too. Having little choice I went with a 60mb connections as I'm a long way from the exchange so adsl was getting too poor for HD streaming and BT had no fibre as I'm not luckily enough to be in one of those rural areas that get the attention (SE London - no fibre ...).

I went for 60mb as much to get the new superhub as reviews said coverage and reliability were better but it still needs regular rebooting - at least once a week - for which it has no automatic option. Nor many other features one would expect in a basic router firmware. Slow to reboot too.

Reliability and service are OK - had a few outages but comparable to DSL but I'd rather that was improved before higher speeds.

Speed is ok - I normally get over the 30mb on testing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: hmm

What do you use for testing?

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Re: hmm

Hang on, I'm on the 60Mb package and I get... 62Mb. Something's amiss with your set-up.

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here we go...

what's the bets that with prices up 7%, they still mysteriously manage to make no taxable profit in this country now that they're foreign owned?

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Re: here we go...

I'm going to bet that they do declare taxable profits in this country if possible.

The reason is that they have massive brought forward losses from the NTL days, and they can offset them against those and not pay any tax. That will be cheaper than paying American Corporate Income Tax.

By the way, they have always been an American owned company. It was a couple of Americans who set up National Transcommunications Ltd and started looking for opportunities to set up cable services. They found an opportunity in the UK, but not in their home country.

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And upload speeds are.....

Yep, upload speed on this "top-of-the range" product remains at a staggeringly slow 12Mb. And my 60Mb service is still stuck at 3Mb upload. Years after we were promised an upgrade

Didn't mention that, did he ?

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Some of the comments here are the same as my experience. Their retentions department buckle pretty quickly. The last two times there has been a price change I've called them and had a reduction applied.

Sure its a pain in the butt having to call, but they don't even question it. Also if you get one of those 'new customer' flyers through the letterbox addressed to the Home owner with a great deal in it, they'll match that, even if you are in the middle of a contract.

I agree tho that their network traffic shaping results in a shocking performance sometimes. Its false advertising speed-wise really.

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CT

"Also if you get one of those 'new customer' flyers through the letterbox addressed to the Home owner with a great deal in it, they'll match that, even if you are in the middle of a contract"

IF... what do you mean "if"? We get those flyers twice a month at least*. I'm collecting a year's worth just to be able to go up to their caravan sales thing in town, dump them on the table and say "Still no, thanks"

*26 of them since 1 Jan

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I get those flyers up to twice a week, and according to their website my address isn't even covered!

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They target my area heavily as well, possibly because there are very few Virgin Media Customers nearby.

The reason there are very few customers is because they don't offer a service here.

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Decaying Coax Network

Taking a pop at BT's network is a bit rich when all your own company does is milk some ageing re-purposed cable TV infrastructure that relies on a coax loop for the bit from the cabinet to the consumer. Just 48% coverage and no investment to increase it, despite regular price rises; it's pretty obvious that their business plan is just to wring as much cash as they can out of the assets they bought from bankrupt cable TV firms, until it rots in the ground.

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Re: Decaying Coax Network

Decaying coax network which I can't get, unlike everyone else in my street, because there's a tree root in the duct. Which indicates they are prepared to fund maintenance of the network with an amount equivalent to the square root of Branson's charisma

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Decaying Coax Network

NTL (now Virgin Media) bought a SDH Fibre network strung up on the electrical distribution network over a lot of East Anglia (and parts are also in the ground) from Eastern Electricity. They have significant capability in this region.

So, yes, the coax + twisted pair may well rot (many decades I would have thought), a lot of the infrastructure they acquired will be around for quite a while.

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Go

Blimey another price rise for broadband only customers, they really do seem determined to drive their customers over to using them for phone and/or TV too. Although they're pretty competitive if you do switch phone to them and (as people have already pointed out) negotiate on price. I did that and also went for annual line rental and we reduced our total comms bill by about £350 a year now. See http://the-hug.org/opus2233.html

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