On the bright side...
If they're upping the standard package to reflect their current 10Mbps one, then even once you get throttled you're at 2.5Mbps - faster than the current unthrottled speed. So I'm not particularly upset by that.
Virgin Media will begin upgrading its "up to" 2Mbit/s broadband subscribers to "up to" 10Mbit/s from May, it said today. The firm stopped selling the up to 2Mbit/s "M" package to new customers early in February, and an upgrade for the lowest broadband tier has long been expected as part of network capacity improvements. …
I'm already on "up to*" 20mb and I'm lucky if I see 4 Mb. It's all just a big marketing ploy, I doubt if any of these customers will see any noticeable performance increase from this.
*When the wind is blowing in the right direction, when Jupiter aligns with Mars, when hell freezes over and when I close my eyes and wish really hard.
Oh no! I've stuck with my 2Mbps package because Virgin have a habit of cocking up anything they touch. I have a horrible feeling that they will break my so-far reliable service for very little gain - Virgin's traffic shaping and poor upstream network speeds mean that most users probably won't get any real benefit.
If they currently charge new customers £20 for the "L" 10Mpbs package, does it mean my £10 "M" 2Mbps package is going to be "upgraded" to £20 per month too?
The only reason I'm with VM is because we don't have a landline in the flat (it's new) and that would hurt me to fork out £150 upfront to BT for a new line then £11 per month for the rental of a line I don't use (gone all mobile). But at £20 per month I'll have to think again...
most ISPs selling ADSL services do exactly the same too. Especially all the ones advertising "unlimited ADSL" with no bandwidth caps or additional bandwidth charges. They are all working on the assumption that the majority of Internet users don't actually use very much bandwidth, then they have "unfair usage policies" for the ones who actually try and use lots of bandwidth.
A couple of weeks ago VM sent me an email announcing the upgrade, but at no point did they ever say what the upgrade actually was, or what it meant for me (beyond the likelihood of a few minutes of outage during the upgrade). Their website was no help - worse, it said that 'no maintainance was planned'.
I'm no fan of any particular ISP. They all seem to have their good and bad points. VM's traffic shaping is obviously something a lot of people feel strongly about. BT ISPs do the same thing too, so it's not unique to VM. Personally, I've learned to work around the 'peak' throttle times and do any large amounts of downloading when the throttle isn't active. Is it a perfect solution? Not at all, but as I don't need to download the internet 24/7, it doesn't bother me that much.
I've been with VM for nearly two years now, and have been on their 10MB service for about a year now.
All I can say is, if I download something, I get 10MB ... every time, as do my mates who are also with VM. It is well known that the speed you get depends on where you live in the country, or if you're with BT, how far you are away from the exchange, how good/bad the wiring is etc ect.
So, for the £25 I'm paying currently for phone and broadband, I'm not complaining,
"typically charge £30 per month for similar service"... well I pay only a tenner on top of my Sky TV subscription and I'm seeing speeds of 12.5Mb/s and I'm not throttled or capped in anyway.
Meanwhile, although I live in a city, there's no cable here at all so it would be a complete FAIL on Virgin's side. At least 99% of the country can get ADSL.
What does this mean exactly. Does it actually mean kicked people off the cheaper tarrif and moving them to the more expensive 'L' tariff ?
( personally on 'L' and in general it's great, 10mbs all the way,,, until I've downloaded the latest warcraft patch and the caps' hit,, can't the caps penalise people more who hit them every day and not people who hit them maybe once a month?.)
I'm confused too...
Is this a mandatory upgrade, including price hike, to all those on 2Mbps, or will those of us on the 10Mbps service have a price cut to the 2Mbps cost, or will we be paying extra for the same service that others are receiving more cheaply?
I think that they had to do this, regardless of them having the bandwidth to accomodate the upgrade, because a 2Mbps service is risible these days. It might be why they are experimenting with an even more restrictive throttling service in the northwest - upgrade everyone to a new headline figure, then shape them to something that their rather aged network can support.
And to those that thing that the shaped speed of 2.5 Mbps is faster than they now get... wait till it happens. The way the shaping is implemented by Virgin gives you an absolutely terrible time...
I've been on the VM 2Mb/s cable modem service for over two years now and my various speed tests always showed as about 1950 kb/s download and 180 kb/s upload for as long as I can remember. There was triggered throttling (down to 1Mb/s) due to data caps and I saw this in action as my 'Linux ISO images' came down the line via bittorrent. This was all predictable and I tried to do downloads overnight.
Starting in early mid-January, strange things began to happen to my internet connection. I'd wake up to find that my torrent download had stopped at about 3am (or whenever) as the cap limit was reached. My internet connection simply did not work. The way around this was to power down the modem, wait 1 minute then power up again - back to normal 2Mb/s on the same IP address as before. Note: I have a router, a desktop PC, a laptop PC and a NAS box. The PCs and the NAS box were all in perfect communication with each other (via the router) so it was obviously the VM internet and/or modem at fault, not my router. I confirmed this by connecting the cable modem directly into the laptop. From this time, I noted that a speed test showed a download speed of 2300 kb/s down (variable) and 230k b/s up (variable)
I also noticed about 3 or 4 times a week, my internet was disconnected and I fixed it by power cycling the modem. I called VM support and they immediately blamed my router, saying it needed to be power-cycled. (Yes, it's never their fault, it's always my fault). After many such phone calls, I stopped bothering to call them, I just power cycle the modem after they cut me off. On previos occasions, they had made arrangements for an engineer to call to replace my modem. Within an hour of this, I was called by VM who told me that they had canceled the modem replacement and I was not to worry because it was all due to a network fault and my modem was ok after all. (The left hand never knows what the right hand is doing).
At one point, when using bittorrent, my internet speed dropped to some amazingly low value and only went back up to 2Mb/s when I shut down my bittorrent client. Repeated starting and closing down of the bittorrent client confirmed that the internet speed cut was directly associated with bittorrent running on my laptop (and sending it's characteristic data packets out from my house into the VM network). Over the past week, I've had no problems; data caps have limited my speed smoothly with no service cutoff and my download speed is back to about 2000kb/s with an upload of 200kb/s (a bit better than it used to be)
I haven't made written notes of dates and times and exact details but my memory is good for what's been going in over the past month or more. It seems obvious to me that VM have been buggering about with the network and getting it wrong, as they are bound to do given the way they are. They also seem to have been experimenting with a torrent killer of some kind, though they probably tried to implement a torrent limiter and got it wrong, as they are bound to do.
Can anybody from inside VM, writing as AC, shed any light on what's been happening inside VM over the past month? I'm sure we'd all be interested to know.
On the 2Mb plan right now, getting consistent 2Mb speeds. I always hit the cap, but don't really care as iPlayer still streams in high quality at that speed, and online games use far less than that.
Like any responsible and informed internet user, I schedule torrenting and bulk downloads to the early hours of the morning, when nobody uses the network.
in sunny Glasgow. On the 10Mbit/s package, and always get full speeds. OK, they throttle if you go over the usage limit, but during the day that is 2400MB so not a huge issue. Anything really big, just download it at night. No big deal.
No one I know on ADSL gets close to this.
I would not go back to ADSL, Virgin has been much better.
Getting my coat as it seems I am in the minority and should leave before upsetting all the grumpers :-)
So the only different now between the L and M packages is the bandwidth allowance for STM?
When will VM finally acknowledge that STM is purely about bringing in a pay-per-usage policy rather than harping on about 5% of subscribers bleeding their network dry?
Unlike some I'm very happy with my virgin connection after years of suffering poor ADSL out of in the sticks but I would be intersted to know exactly what happens to us existing L customers. Do we get upgraded to 20mb? Do we get a price cut?
Paris, because her throughput is above average.
Which i have? is my price going to drop to the 'M'* package or am i going to be upgraded to 20Mbit. Possibly it's time for a downgrade, as i'm perfectly fine with the 2.5meg i get when i'm actually in to use it.
*why is it called medium if it's the smallest package they offer? Surely small would be a more appropriate name. Do they even know what medium means?
@ Jerome Cheynel
I've been with Virgin since back in the days when it was the wonderful Telewest (fast, no throttling, no problems and english call centers) and so far with all of the upgrades any existing customers DON'T get charged more when the service gets upgraded (the higher prices are for NEW customers...well this has been the case so far anyway). When I first started I was on the basic pack which was 512kb up and I'm still on the basic which is now 2Mb and the price has not changed and I doubt it will change when I get the "up to" 10MB.
Had a free trial of the 10MB a while ago as they were trying to get more cash out of me (used it to the max then gave it back) and yes you hit the throttle quicker, but the up bandwidth is raised to 512 instead of the 256 we get at the moment. Just wish it was still Telewest.
I'm in the same boat as you with no BT line and the high price of getting one is the only thing stopping me moving to BE as well.
I have been with Virgin nee NTL from when the cable first went in the road and we had dial up. Never seen the speed they advertise but normally not far off. Just upgraded to 50Mb service (most I saw with the 20Mb was 16Mb). Have a look here for what I got out of it the other day. http://www.speedtest.net/result/415411631.png. I have to say it seems to work at about 48Mb on anything that can supply that fast, most can't. When I plug my old Netgear router in it drops to 16Mb, so I have a new router on order. Maybe the router was the issue with the old 20Mb service.
Maybe they should get their house in order before offering more bandwidth. They complain the network is choked but then in the same breath upgrade people's speeds. I mean my 20Mb connection rarely runs anything like it should do and dare I actually use it I go down to 5Mb as they haven't enough bandwidth to supply me with a constant service.
@AC 11:33 GMT
Probably not, this is just a devious ploy to reduce contention, by increasing your speed, which is really a policy decision by Virgin related to usage and has very little to do with the capacity of the exchange that provides your local loop , although the equipment in the exchange may be subject to a speed cap, you will reach your usage cap even sooner, so you will be online for less time thereby reducing contention.
Paris, she also has a virgin cap........... erm..... on second thoughts.........
"why is it called medium if it's the smallest package they offer? Surely small would be a more appropriate name. Do they even know what medium means?"
They do, but small is not a good word to use in the world of marketing, it sounds much better and looks better on their sales blurb if you're buying their 'medium' service. That's all there is to it.
I would have preferred to keep a lower maximum speed and to have the contention reduced. It doesn't matter what the top speed is if the available bandwidth runs out at 7.30pm when everyone wants to use the internet at once.
Of course, marketing would never agree to that because you don't get big, sexy numbers to throw around.
I used to be with NTL just before they were taken over by VM, the service was completely useless with NTL and even worse with Virgin.
I recently phoned them up to enquire about their 'unlimited' BB connections, firstly it's not unlimited as i asked about a 'fair usage' policy (who's definition of fair?) and the upload speeds of various connections.
It is totally 'unlimited' - yeah right, is satan using ice skates?
10Mb download has a 512Kb upload - I get more speed in my sleep with all my PC's switched OFF!
50Mb download has a 1.5Mb upload - and there's me struggling with a 2.5Mb upload on my Be* connection & 2.2Mb on my O2 connection (Yes, I do have 2 lines & 2 connections)
I didn't ask about the 20Mb connection at the time but I had asked about that months before & it was 756Kb upload speed (from memory)
VM caused me nothing but pain & trouble when I was with them was I glad when I got rid of the phones (went back to BT), television (moved to Sky) and ISP, went to Be* one of the few companies that do have full UNLIMITED downloads and later added O2 on the second line.
I went back to Virgin after leaving them due to price constantly increasing. In August I went back to them after four years (don't get me started on SKY and DLM) and they just tried the same. I signed up to 'L' at £16 a month fir the first year and £24 for the second. In Jan they started charging me £27! I queried this and was told that the original offer was a mistake (even though I signed up on their web site). Have since agreed £17 for a year.
In addition on Saturday I noticed that my 10MB seemed slow, after checking and calling them it transpires I had been capped for 'downloading more than 1GB between 4pm and 6pm' and my speed taken down to 2.5mb. I queried this as my son's PC has crashed and I had to reload Windows and service pack 3 and around 650MB of updates and managed to get it reset, otherwise you have to wait 5 hours. I like the performance and have rarely had any service issues other than their billing department.
Virgin Broadband - great speed as long as you don't use it!
"Branston's crappy traffic shaped broadband service can advertise itself as 'up to 500Tbps' for all the good it will do when you try and use it."
Do Branston do broadband? I thought they stuck to foodstuffs?
My 10mbs cable connection is brilliant and always has been. I started out with 512 and it has been upgraded over the years.
I would rather have a reliable fast shaped service than a crappy unshaped "upto" 8mbs ADSL service that never exceeds 1mbs.
If you know what you are doing the shaping doesn't really stop you downloading what you want.
Their customer service may be crap, and their pricing is set up so you have to follow their prices to make sure you're on the right plan -- and, yes, that means they can't really be recommended.
But, and this is the rub, they're the only ISP I know of who can actually provide me with 10Mb/s and do so consistently -- the only people know who get better are on VM themselves on higher packages or have exchanges literally underneath them.
I don't know how much truth there is in this, but I read on the review for a wireless router that older routers can't cope with the faster internet connections -- I'd call shenanigans but after buying a new router (not the one I read the review of) my speed magically went from about 4Mb/s to 10Mb/s, tested at random intervals throughout the day and night.
Dumped VM's "10"Mb/s service, which drops to 2Mb/s at any point it feels like after 20-30mins of use. In favour of Be there, despite VM's customer service insisting that I'd "only ever get 512k on ADSL" I am now the very happy recipient of a consistant 4+Mb/s.
Oh and a word to wise, if you complain to VM about their service and they offer you a discount service you are AUTOMATICALLY tying yourself into a 12 month contract by agreeing to it. Took us quite a fight to get out from under that one.
And don't expect your departure to be painless either, the day after we gave our 30 notice to quit they cut off our phone and did the same or similar things for the entire month after.
Come back Blueyonder, all is forgiven.
Paris: Because she also blows.
"I used to be with NTL just before they were taken over by VM, the service was completely useless with NTL and even worse with Virgin."
NTL werent taken over by Virgin Media, NTL bought VIrgin Mobile and rent the Virgin name off the Virgin group. Virgin Media is run by the same people that ran NTL
Even tho i'm only 1Km from the exchange i only get 13Mbit down (i should be getting about 22Mbit) and 1.3Mbit up with B.E. On the other hand i only pay £15/month (inc 1Gb of email & 1Gb of webspace) thanks to some appology why i'm not gettng a better speed, and with no throttling.
I think this is probanly the cheapest unthrottled service in the UK, and rumour has it they're upgrading from "upto 24Mbit" to "upto 50Mbit"
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