Vergin' on the ludicrous
I was an NTL customer before being a VM customer, Before that I was a CableTel customer, and that was before cable broardband.
I had analog cable TV, and Two phone lines, cos there was free dial up internet if you had two, and that was handy if you had a linux box set up as a "dial on demand" router.
I had dropped Sky, because they rammed a "free" magazine through my door every month, with a cover price of around £2.50, and raised my bill by around that much. I didn't want the mag, and was not going to be forced to buy it. Also sick of being "advertized" ("And We Will Swtich You On!") the same chavvy repeat-riddled "channels" that I was already paying for and watching. Sky /needed/ the boot, asked for it, got it.
Along came cable broadband, 600kbit, as fast as it was, and I got that, keeping the other services, including the second phone line for backup internet.
Until they decided to charge for the dial up internet, which I promptly dropped, along with my second phone line.
I trialled digital cable TV.. It was an "on demand" service, very nice. Acorn STB. Quality. However. Trial ended, gear went back etc. Back to Analog Cable.
Digital TV came. Other peopel had it, blocky pics, poor movements, lots of cracking and popping noises. And they wanted /more/ money. So I didn't bother with that. When they decided to push people to digital and phase out analog, i dropped my TV subscription. Phone and BB only. Freeview box filled the gap niceley thanks.
After struggling with increasingly complex billing, and the sheer hell of dealing with the phone systems, and yet another CSA (Customer Service Advicer) stressed out from using their CMS etc. systems, and after realising that I had made /no/ calls myself, other than to NTL regarding billing, and was basically paying for people to call me and ask me to fix their broken Microsoft software, over the phone, for free, on christmas day, or to get me out of the bath to tell me about great double glazing offers, or <last straw> ask me if I would like to subscribe to an NTL TV package, this camels back went, and so did the house phone, leaving just the fastest broadband package on offer, and my fine selection of vintage pay-as-you-go mobiles.
This worked well, for a while. Each month I would trot to the post offfice (Anyone else old enough to remember those places??) To pay my £25 or whatever (including "rent" of cable modem) for what was now a 1Meg, this went up, not that gradually, as each of the "free" upgrades went through 3M, 10M (which was optimistic, and the effects of contention, and the 10bastT half-duplex connection between the CM and my router made themselves fairly obvious on many occasions. The upstream always remained pitiful, and upstream is something I've always needed more of.
At some pont management NTL decided it would be a Good Idea to charge an extra £5 per month to people who did not pay what was now already £39 per month, by direct debit. That got up my nose, and I considered reducing my connection speed to /more than cover the difference/, or drop NTL entirely.
Then came the "VM takeover". Lots more junkmail through the door, the serious impact of STM, with things taking a ./long/ time to download/upload, and players on my UT server moaning about crappy ping times.
The 2OM upgrade was completely invisible to me (20M via a surfboard CM with a half-duplex 10baseT anyone?) and with the increased contention, I was getting equivalent performance to the old 3 meg connection at best, and sometimes worse than that if I got hit with what i suspected was "traffic shaping".
So soddit. I phone them a couple of months ago (and wend through the bloody aweful phone system, stressed CSAs etc. *three times* before anything /actually/ got done, despite assurances that it had been done.) and reduced my connection to "Medium" (which is nominall 2 megabit, the smallest/cheapest at under £19 a month (plus no doubt another five pound FINE for the crime of coughing up by methods other than direct debit.
The outcome if their actions are that VM are now £20 a month worse off, my internet connection is less useful, thus less used and (I closed my mirrors, and am co-loing my downsized home mail/web/game servers to a friends Debian/Xen virtual box in a datacentre at zero cost, due to me having provided him with tech help setting it up.) less important to me, other than checking my email in the evenings, doing the odd remote fix, and the odd bit of porn surfing.
I suspect they might make another "smart move" real soon.. or I might even get a fault that lasts more than a couple of hours, that might do it. A "day one" customer will walk. Actually with the fiver a month "fine" for not doing DD, its probably inevitable when I overcome my intertia.
I do DD with /all/ my other monthly fixed stuff.. VM, back when they were CableTel and NTL, showed themselves too complex and thus error-prone with billing, and tardy to rectify mistakes. I had considered it, until the fine started, and I will not be pushed into that.
With the geniuses CableTel, NTL, Virgin Media have had at the helm, its no wonder they are listing a tadge.