back to article Virgin Media kills 20Mb broadband service

Virgin Media is urging existing customers on its 20Mbit/s broadband service to splurge a one-off payment of £30 to upgrade to its 30Mbit/s offering, which launched today. The company will no longer offer would-be punters the 20Mbit/s package, but existing customers do not have to upgrade to the new service as Virgin Media will …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Press release, schmess release

    Aye - £18.50, plus "£13" for the phone, or £28.50 on its own.

    All subject to VM's virtually non-existent service level guarantee.

    1. Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face


      Or you could always just pay for the cable internet service, buy a VOIP phone and sign up with a provider who'll give you a geographic number. (Which is pretty much what they charge you the £13 for anyway).

      1. ffoulkes

        Cable internet service? Noooooo

        Oh God no, avoid their cable service! Avoid it like the proverbial plague! Unlike ADSL, if your modem goes tits-up, you can't just plug in a 3rd party one. No, you have to wait a sodding fortnight for Virgin to send you a new one, and that only after you've finally flipped and phoned up to cancel the bloody service.....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          you just clone the old one's MAC to the new one and everyone is happy.

      2. M man
        Thumb Up

        its what i do..

        i mean i have mobile for ACTUAL calls.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          Yeah that was kinda my point - i.e. that the £18.50 quoted in the article is a fake price based on paying £13 a month for a useless landline. Well, useless to me certainly and, I suspect, a large proportion of the rest of El Reg's readership.

      3. Oliver 7
        Thumb Down

        Tried it...

        Got Skype In and Out a couple of years back, terrible lag, echoes, fragmentation. And no, I wasn't calling Oz, I was trying to speak to my mum down the road.

        Has it got any better?

  2. Jusme

    But what are they doing about IPV6?

    I'd like to hope this is part of a master plan to get everyone onto DOCSIS 3.0 ready for IPV6 deployment (ha ha), but I expect their answer to the IPV4 crunch will just be NAT - yay - 100Mbps of content delivery - the internet finally becomes another cable TV service :(

  3. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Get knotted!

    £30 sovs for a 10MB upgrade?! You keep dreaming! I'll wait, like I always do, when you force me to upgrade and I get it for free!

    Bloody cheek!

  4. Gangsta

    Big Gap?

    L should be at least 50% of XL, so L should be upgraded to at least 15mbps.

    ...Or I just want 15mbps broadband.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Fuck them.

    As an existing customer of 10+ years, I'll happily pay what they're (likely) charging new customers signing up to their 30Mbit/s package - nothing.

    1. Gavin King


      I've heard you service is slow, but milli-bits-per-second? That's positively awful!

    2. The Original Ash


      You should probably sign up to their 50Mb service then.

    3. Rob Moir

      cost of upgrade

      I rang up and got offered the 30Mb package for less than I was paying for the 20Mb beforehand. Enough of a saving that it would have paid for the £30 charge in 3 months.

      They also offered me 50Mb for a smaller monthly saving, and no "upgrade" charge.

      As a customer myself I understand the frustration but do make sure you aren't cutting your nose off to spite your face here!

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Over compression

    I wonder if this always increasing bandwidth for internet usage is responsible for the continuing degradation of the picture quality on my cable box which isn't down to signal levels or cabling or the box - all which have been checked/replaced.

    1. paulc

      poor picture quality

      no, that's just them squeezing in more HD channels into a fixed bandwidth...

      they're dropping the bit rate on non HD services and increasing the compression which is introducing horrendous artifacts into the picture...

      The Internet signal is a completely different frequency to the telly signal which is what enables the splitter box to work in separating the internet carrier off to the modem and the telly signal off to the cable box...

  7. Keith 21

    To upgrade or not to upgrade...

    ...that is the question.

    It all depends upon whether upgrading from 20M to 30M locks you in to another 12 months, and upon when they roll out their 100M service to my area.

    I didn't upgrade from 20 to 50 (the first time an upgrade has been available and I didn't take it - I must be getting old!), but i definitly want to go for their 100M when it reaches here.

    So, if I can upgrade to 30 meanwhile and still upgrade to 100 when it arrives without penalty, I'll happily upgrade; otherwise, I'll make do with 20 for a while longer.

    (Although I do like the free upgrade in upload speeds they gave us recently, 2M upload is much more like it!)

  8. Puffin

    "Urging customers"

    I've not been "Urged". Nor have friends also on the 20Mbit service. Where's this "urging" eh?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    I am on 10 MB (Business)

    To upgrade to anything faster, I have to have a new TWO YEAR contract

    Evil bastards!

    ADSL is only 3MB in my area ;-( So I am stuck with them, on 10MB out of principle

  10. PReDiToR


    No matter how nice you make your vomit look Virgin, you're still serving us something you've already chewed, swallowed and puked back up with extra bile in it.

    Get rid of Phorm and you might just be the most attractive ISP out there. Your prices, traffic shaping and service reliability outweigh your terrible customer service reputation.

    1. Usedillusion


      are you planning on not having broadband in 12 months or something? why the issue with signing up for two years if the competition is only 3Mb?

      Sounds like you've shot yourself in the foot for no reason.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Two year contract

        Maybe because things can change in that time? Two years is a hell of a long time to be stuck with a service/provider that you might want to leave.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Two years is a hell of a long time

          But with twice the bandwidth wouldn't it pass in half the time?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wait, what?

      Virgin run Phorm? That was not mentioned in any of their literature!

    3. Doc Spock


      As far as I recall, it was BT who trialled Phorm, not Virgin Media.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        ...Talk Talk and Virgin Media. I can see stories about Talk Talk and BT dropping Phorm, but not VM. So it seems like VM might still be using it, but I can't be sure.

        Oh, and thanks (to whomever) for the downvote on a genuine question. Pillock.

    4. CD001


      Funny, I'm currently on the 20Mbs service, I've never yet hit throttling as far as I can tell, I consistently get 1.8 - 2.4 MBs download speed from half-decent servers (that's 14.4 - 19.2 Mbs), a latency on (UK) gaming servers of 10 - 30 ms and I can only remember 2 outages (the longest lasting just over an hour) in the last 6 months.

      For a consumer ISP that's pretty good.

      They were in talks with Phorm a while back (when BT was trialling the technology) but it never went any further than that, I think they learned from BTs failure.

      OK, they're not the cheapest in the market and yes, ringing their call centres (which I've only had to do once) is a painful experience but really, for a consumer ISP for online gaming, including downloading games through Steam for instance, they're pretty hard to beat.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Look what I found:

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      Obviously have no idea what you're on about. Sour customer that isn't in a Virgin area maybe?

  11. LesC

    Makes no sense..

    Having been on 20Mb XL for years and having been with VM since the days of the Blueyonder blue whale I took a look at the prices.

    To upgrade from 20Mb to 30Mb: £30 + shiny new router / modem + 2Mb upstream when they get a round tuit here.

    To upgrade from XL to XXL: £20 + shiny new router / modem + wireless dongle + a couple of quid extra a month + 5Mb upstream + when they sort it out at the head end. And No STM (yet?), not that I do torr3ntz 'n' stuff but daughter #1 uses bbc iplayer on her wii.

    I went for the XXL and anyone else looking at the maths would too...

  12. Trollslayer Silver badge


    So you have 30/50/100Mbit per second - how much throttling goes on?

    1. Doc Spock

      Re: Throttling

      Take a look for yourself:

      For punters on the 30Mb/sec package, you can download up to 10GB between 10am and 3pm, before you get throttled to 22.5Mb/sec for 5 hours (i.e., still faster than the 20Mb/sec people upgraded from). Between 4pm and 9pm, you can download 5GB before being throttled to 22.5Mb/sec for 5 hours. Outside of those times you can download as much as you want (local bandwidth capacity permitting, of course). Upstream restrictions also apply.

      On the 50Mb/sec package, you only get your upstream throttled if you upload more than 6GB between 3pm and 8pm, at which point your upload speed drops from 5Mb/sec to just over 3Mb/sec.

      Everyone *may* have P2P and newsgroup traffic throttled between 5pm and midnight during the week, and midday and midnight at weekends if there is insufficient bandwidth on the local network (these are the only restrictions that apply to people on the 100Mb/sec package).

      1. Neonin

        Not quite

        Actually, when they say that the speed reduction is 75%, they mean it is cut BY 75% and not dropped TO 75%. Yes, I've been on the receiving end of this traffic management, so I know it well ;)

        1. Doc Spock
          Thumb Up


          Good catch - I hadn't realised that!

        2. Anonymous Coward

          speed reduction is 75%

          because if they were cutting the speed /TO/ 75% it would be a 25% reduction - maybe if English isn't your first language you could be excused for the confusion, but you seem to be implying that they're using deliberately misleading terms.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      No biggy

      Alright on on occasion I beat the crap out of the link, say I rebuild a machine at home and it goes ballistic downloading 1.5GB of patches and occasionally I help myself to a few US TV shows, then yes they throttle it. It only goes down by 75%, you take the hit for a few hours and lump it. The next day the sun comes up, the speed is back as was and all's well with the world again.

      VM throttling is no biggy if you're not one of these solid saturation, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week merchants.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Would be nice for 10 mpbs to bristol

    While some bits of the country get fast data rates, north bristol gets at most 10 Mbits/s, and during evenings in university term time, way below that.

    What is it about iplayer that Virgin Media don't want us Bristol folk to watch?

  14. zaax
    Thumb Down

    £30 bung to VM

    Being on 20mg I don't see this as a good deal more like getting an extra £30 from customers.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Up to?

    None of their services guarantees the bandwidth advertised.

    Last weekend I was trying to download a game that I'd bought. It was a 6.5GB download. OK, I thought, I have 10Mbps bandwidth (yes I'm a cheapskate) so it won't take forever..

    I had plenty of time to monitor the download (during off peak hours).

    The first 1GB did indeed come down at 10Mbps... great I thought.

    Then for the next 3GB it dropped to 2Mbps.

    The last gig and a half took forever at 1Mbps... In all it took a very long time.

    So basically, at 30Gbps, you'll just use up your "fair usage limit" (oxymoron?) that much quicker than I did.

  16. HMB

    Motive No Brainer

    Hmmm... Just there 20Mbps package? Why on earth could that be?

    What's that Bob? BT Offers 20Mbps?

    I'm no fan of Bar-steward Telecom, but this does seem like a cheap one-up-manship stunt by Virgin.

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      That's what I was thinking

      "Virgin Media's blurb that the 50 per cent bandwidth increase would be good for households running several internet-connected devices at once."

      Assuming, that is, that everyone in the home will be simultaneously running stuff that sucks at bandwidth like an orphan calf with a bottle of milk.

      And if they do they will be capped.

    2. Frank Bough

      You're Actually...

      ...COMPLAINING about competition driving up speeds? WTF?

    3. Frank Bough

      Well, that's because

      their advertising DOESN'T guarantee that bandwidth.

    4. Neonin

      You got stiffed by the "Traffic Management"

      As title.

      If you downloaded that first GB or so between 4-9pm, you would have hit their traffic management which would then drop your speed by 75% for 5 hours. It's supposed to speed back up after that.

      Combine traffic shaping with the poor performance (packet loss and bad pings) on the network lately to get your stated outcome.

      VM loves giving you ultra-fast broadband, but if you actually dare to use it for downloading games you bought from Steam or Direct2Drive etc, or streaming films and music from the likes of Lovefilm and Spotify, boy, you better not be planning to do it at their "peak times".

    5. Oliver Mayes

      Same here

      I'm on the 20Mb and don't really consider myself a heavy user. I do use the internet a lot but only really web browsing and xbox live, no big downloads or torrents. Last week I bought a game off direct2drive which was 12GB, 20 minutes into the download they capped me at 5Mb for the next 24 hours, took a full day to download the game. They say that if you are one of the <5% who get 'restricted' that it only stays capped until midnight, that's a blatent lie as I checked again the morning after it happened and was still on 5Mb.

      I've never actually seen the 20Mb either, normally hovers between 9-12Mb, but drops to 6-7Mb during 'peak hours' (Which they define as anytime I'm at home)

    6. CD001

      Sort of


      So basically, at 30Gbps, you'll just use up your "fair usage limit" (oxymoron?) that much quicker than I did.


      OK, pedantic correction, 30Mbs (not Gbs - I'd love that :D ) - however the traffic management kicks in at different points depending on the service you're subscribed to. You can download more on the higher packages before it kicks in so you're probably less likely to hit traffic management issues at all on the big packages (unless you watch a lot of online HD video - and does the missus know you're visiting those sites? ;) ).

      Unlike many ISPs VM (technically) have no download caps (I used to get snotty letters from BT years ago) ... you can download as much as you like BUT traffic management ensures that your download will take a LOT longer than you might expect (if it's a biggy). It caps the amount you can download in any given period of time by increasing the amount of time it takes to perform the download.

      You pays your money, you takes your choice - VM aren't perfect but after the NTL merger they were the ONLY cable ISP - although BT Infinity might be returning some choice to the punters who'd prefer to be on cable ... hmmm BT or Virgin, not quite Hobson's choice but ...

    7. Anonymous Coward

      You try getting 20M off BT and we'll talk!

      You'll be lucky to see anything like that on your average ADSL line, so that's knackered.

      Infinity? Probably, old man, who lives about 2 miles from me can get it, but I can't have it ! We live in the same town ( pop. approx. 65,000 ) about 10 miles just outside the M25. He has been offered Infinity at a top speed of 22M, so let's knock that down by 20% to a realistic speed. He was considering leaving VM until he got the facts from BT.

      So not only is the average speed of 40M that Infnitiy promises a load of cod's wallop, BT can't even get the cabling done to all areas yet, even in quite big areas close the capital. Heaven help you if you live out in the wilds!

      We all wonder at Korea with it's 100M to the door. UK broadband, just like UK railways...

    8. Bristol Dave

      Not a problem for me

      Though I am only on 10Mbit anyway, but I consistently get 9.5-10MBit, even during peak hours. Never had a single blip with iPlayer. I live in BS10.

    9. Rob Moir


      By all means you carry on feeling superior. I'm going to carry on being pragmatic and enjoy VM offering me a substantial upgrade for less than my current deal with them.

  17. system11

    Try providing 20 before offering 30.

    Every evening our 20mb service slows down to about 2.3, as it does for everyone in the area.

    I think they have their priorities slightly wrong.


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