back to article Virgin cuts broadband to a fiver

Virgin is to cut its wireless offering to a fiver a month for broadband customers who want to go wireless, but O2 reckons ten per cent of wireless broadband users feel mis-sold anyway, and reckons only they can guarantee happiness. Clearly stung by our assertion that Virgin Mobile Broadband was a rather lacklustre offering …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Money back guarantees = guaranteed no customers

    If Virgin had offered a fifty day money back guarantee with their service, I'd have taken the money back and given them the heave-ho within three weeks. Their service seemed fine for the first two weeks even if the upload speeds were decidely lacklustre from the very beginning, but as soon as we were past the point of no return it's been downhill all the way.

    When I first complained about it they offered to put us on the XL service, rather than the L service, for no extra charge, however it really didn't make any difference for more than the first two weeks and another week later the service was running as slowly as it did when I first complained. Then a month later we find ourselves getting billed for the XL service we'd been offered as a freebie apology. That took another 4 calls to get somebody to pull their fingers out and admit it was their mistake, by which time they'd tried to blame it on us and said that they hadn't actually taken out the money from the account so it was entered on the next bill too. This was easy enough to prove them wrong on, but still I shouldn't have to be fighting to to get back money that they shouldn't have taken in the first place, yet again.

    Currently looking into how I can get them for breach of contract/failing to provide the agreed service so that I can get off the super fast Mother of all Broadband ship of FAIL!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm ...

    Even a fiver is too much for their broadband

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a con

    Mobile broadband is a big fat con. Despite assurances to the contrary there is still a huge number of people in the UK for whom mobile broadband is either not available or piteously slow and unrelaible. Often the reality directly opposes the information available from the availability checkers. Rather than cutting prices for those that can have high speed coverage the providers should be forced to increase high speed coverage at a higer, erm, speed. The only way to do this is to set targets and enforce hefty fines when they are not met.

    The cable market is even worse. When there was competition in the cable market providers were under pressure to extend coverage. Now Virgin have a complete monopoly expansion has all but stopped.

    Both cable and mobile broadband are easy ways for providers to make huge amounts of money from densely populated areas, and not the public service the providers claim them to be. They will be no pressure to expand coverageuntil the existing markets stagnate.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tired

    It's a shame very few of the VM staff know about this yet.

    After being pinged around the globe on a crackly VoIP network, I finally got a few answers and the £5 per Gig penalty if you go over the measly 1 Gig cap immediately turned me off. There's also no integration between VIrgin Media and Mobile packages, so a mix 'n' match scenario with a bundled qwerty phone isn't possible either.

    So, it's really just another VM Trojan horse with a belly full of thieves.

  5. Graham Marsden
    Stop

    Virgin generosity...

    Virgin are currently also sending out advertising offering you the chance to "Experience the internet in Fibre Optic - The mother of all broadband from only £4.50 a month for the first 12 months and £9 a month thereafter".

    Of course this is only for *NEW* customers, those of us who are already on that service are stuck with paying £18 a month.

    Isn't that nice, we get to subsidise new customers...!

    I'm off to see if I can tell them I'm cancelling the service and then re-instating it because then I'll be a "new customer"...

  6. dave

    Once Virgin has opened your behind they will rape you

    with Phorm.

  7. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    Economies of lies

    Pretend a whole 10% of the population have enough sense to get near enough the best deal for their requirements. Assume another 10% somehow avoid being sold overpriced crap, or something more expensive than they need. That leaves about 80% who have been mis-sold. Only "ten per cent of wireless broadband users feel mis-sold", so about 70% of customers are happy to pay extra for things they do not need or do not actually get.

    With a customer base like that, what incentive is there for a provider to be honest?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Research?

    "One can't help wondering if O2's research was slightly slanted"

    It's pretty generous to call a press release from the marketing department research.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    T mobile 'broadband'

    is crap, typically worse than dial up, with occasional 100kB bursts. Downloading linux distros - bwahahahah. They're safe with the 3GB FUP, you've no chance of getting anywhere near it.

    @Money back guarantees = guaranteed no customers

    Best of luck proving the breach of contract; you have to document the crap download speeds, find the bit in the contract that says it's not their fault, get a lawyer to get round the bit that says it isn't their fault and be willing to bet the house on the court case. The 'regulator' doesn't give a flying fuck about any of this and won't help.

  10. Andrew Kirkpatrick

    Costs of laying fibre

    Anyone that complains that cable isn't available in their area unfortunately needs to consider the costs of laying fibre in the roads they live at; it isn't cheap and Virgin can't afford to do it everywhere. If Telewest or NTL could they probably would still be in business!

    Moaning as a consumer is one thing, actually thinking about the business ramifications is another, which sucks but is the harsh reality... :-(

  11. Ishkandar

    The joys of rustic wilderness !!

    A mate of mine moved from a little hamlet near Avignon which had *finally* received broadband coverage last year to another hamlet near Bordeaux which has only dial-up service. The "culture shock" was palpable. If people insist on living rustically out in the sticks, they should expect to get the two-tins-on-a-string kind of service !!

    Being a lifelong Londoner, I am highly underwhelmed by these complains !! So I pay more for living in London, but I get the benefits, too !! I have no problems with Virgin Broadband (both wired and wireless) !!

    WYPIWYG - What You Pay Is What You Get !!

    Ancient IT philosophy about peanuts and monkeys !!

  12. Dave
    Happy

    Its not broadband!

    Im sick of people winging about how their 'mobile broadband' is no good. when are they going to realise that its not designed to replace home broadband, its for retrieving e-mail, light web use and instant messaging.

    I think that now coverage is increasing, prices are dropping and operator competition is increasing in this market, that you could pick up a pretty good deal, providing you understand that you cant just go and download a pirate copy of harry potter in 1/2 an hour and its probably gonna cost you a few extra £££ in overage charges unless you go for something like o2s new 10 GB package.

    Well done to O2 who have bothered to go out and see why customers are so unhappy and rectify their deals to reflect customers needs!

  13. Alan Potter
    Paris Hilton

    O2 vs Virgin

    I know it's not really de rigeur to post positive things about companies, but I really must say that I've been impressed with O2. When I first switched to them from Carphone Whorehouse they couldn't have been more helpful. And they were friendly too. I was so impressed I actually wrote to them to tell them so! They didn't reply though. Bastards.

    CW and Virgin on the other hand were extremely unimpressive. Mind you, Virgin is crap with its credit cards too.

    PH because I mentioned Virgin.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NTL and Telewest

    @ Andrew kirkpatrick

    NTL are very well still in business. After merging with Telewest they bought out Virgin Mobile and re-branded themselves as Virgin Media with a 30 year exclusive brand licence with Virgin Enterprises to use the Virgin brand for their cable business. I guess they succeeded in what they wanted to do. People now think its a different company.

  15. Gareth Jones

    @Andrew Kirkpatrick

    Who gives a flying f**k whether Virgin can afford to lay new cable. When they cornered the market they promised that they were going to invest heavilly in extending the cable network, presumably as a sop to those who opposed their monopoly. Of course they then went back on the promise. They made the promise and if they hadn't done the costings properly that's their hard luck, they should have done a better job of their calculations. If, OTOH, they had no intention of keeping their promise then they are the lyin sh*ts that all right thinking people think they are. Their only function in the telco market appears to be to make BT look good.

    When I talk about competition in the cable market I'm not talking about NTL and Telewest. Short memory have you? Cable was introduced supposedly to increase comptetion and there were small cable companies all over the country laying cable. The idea of national cable provision evaporated when the big money, quick buck merchants moved into the market. What's that? A market ruined by speculators who's only interested in making a quick buck with no reinvestment? Surely not.

    Anyway I always had my doubts about NTL entering the cable market. Just because they sold off their terrestrial broadcast arm I was never entirely convinced that allowing them into the cable market would be any better for the market than letting BT into it. Of course BT are barred, but NTL somehow managed to get in.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Wish Oz would have broadband for a fiver!

    UK people hear this:

    Be thankful for what you have!

    In Australia Cable and Broadband are slow, expensive and unreliable.

    It's like going back 10 years!

    But I suppose the Internet is just ONE example of that!!!

  17. Danny Thompson
    Paris Hilton

    Costs of laying fibre

    If that were the case there would be no fibre (or Virgin co-ax copper) in the ground.

    Laying cable is not a Finance Directors 3-year breakeven dream. It is a long-investment that should be amortised in decades, nothing less. There is no reason that, properly laid, said co-ax and fibre would not last hundreds of years, physical damage notwithstanding.

    Mobile broadband from all the suppliers is at best variable, but usually takes us back to the days of 48Kbps dial-up and below. The coverage maps issued by all network providers are optimistic, to be as polite as the reality is stretched. In any other business the coverage maps would be deemed outright lies and the likes of the ASA would prohibit their presentation in marketing. Unless you are within eyesight of a transmitter mast you can consider notions of coverage as only that and be lucky for what you get.

    So more the fool anyone who buys on the basis of £5 a month or misleading coverage maps. And woe betide anyone who buys into any of the nonsense spouted by Virgin Media. Come the day they actually switch on Phorm they'll be receiving the cancellation of my XL contract with them. 20/50Mbps is great, I actually get such speeds, but lose all interest the moment they start dicking around with my information.

    Paris, 'cos she's almost as expensive as cable to lay.

  18. Tom

    The whole broadband industry needs a overhaul

    Both the wired and wireless broadband industry are in a mess. A large part of that mess is the telecoms infrastructure. I live in the middle of Swansea (OK it might not be sprawling urban metropolis but by the same token not a rural village on top of a mountain) and ADSL in my street is terrible. Not only are the speeds bad there is almost continual dropped connections. The street is cabled for Virgin so most people, like me, have moved to Virgin.

    This is where the other problem with the industry comes - the mis-selling of broadband packages. I do get almost 2Meg out of my 2Meg VM BB so I can't really moan about that, but on my 'up to 8Meg' ADSL line I was lucky to get 1Meg, and if I did it wouldn't stay up for very long. If SWALEC said we provide up to 230V, but you were only getting 50V because of the infrastructure would people accept it in the same way they do with their BB.

    Similarly with capping. Unlimited should mean just that. I have no problems with caps, but if a service is capped then say it is - not unlimited subject to FUP, and say it in big letters - not in some 4pt text in the corner, of the back page, on the separate document, after the passage in Swahili. Again what would happen if SWALEC said well you can have 240V untill you have used so many kWh then we will put your supply down to 50V?

    * SWALEC - South Wales Electricity.

  19. Ash

    @Virgin Generosity

    It's easy to get on these schemes; The same principle operates with mobile phone networks.

    Phone up and tell them you're leaving. When you're put through to the "Retentions Department" (Shaft Division) tell them you want the new service at the cost to a new customer, or you're leaving. When they say no, hang up. Write to them to say you're leaving.

    Around 2 days before the ACTUAL date you leave (contract expiration), you should get a call from some phone monkey^H^H^H^H^H^Hoperator who has reviewed your case, and wants to see what he can offer you. He will 9/10 get you the deal. After all the hassle, see if you can get out of the installation fee too.

    You'd be amazed at just which handsets are available to you if you are a good customer. N.B, though; Good customers make them money, so lower tarrifs with a little over-spending is better than higher tarrifs without the "free" usage being used up.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Laying cable

    A few years ago, in Harrow (1992 IIRC) they dug up the street and laid cable. A year later, I visited a friend on a new-build housing estate (the roads were unfinished) and they couldn't get cable, as they weren't laying cable while they built the estate (not a council estate - these were 3,4,5,6 bedroom semis).

    I often wondered how there could be such incompetence between building contractors and cable companies, to pass up an opportunity to effectively lay cable for free.

    Paris because she'd never turn down a free lay ...

  21. Gary Holcombe

    O2 are brilliant

    I have to say Virgin (sorry I mean rebranded NTL) are a useless bag of spanners. O2 on the other hand have excellent customer service and deliver what they say they can offer. I have been a customer of O2 now for the past 4 years and haevnt got a bad word to say about them in all that time..... Virgin, sorry, NTL on the other hand... nightmare.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC - Cable for New Builds

    I could be wrong but I read that the cost of laying in the standard utilities is the responsibility of the developer. In exactly the same way that they have to pay for the roads, street lighting etc. they have to pay for the installation and connection of water, drains, electricity, etc. However cable was never added to that list of standard utilities so developers don't want to pay for it and the cable providers (OK Virgin) are reluctan to pay since the other utilities don't have to pay.

    Or at least that's the way I read it.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    And how many are handling Linux?

    Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

  24. gaetan
    Go

    cable lying costs

    cable through sewers does not cost so much, and it has been done in a few cities in the UK.

    Also, eight years ago I visited a friend in Amsterdam who already used fibre optic at a ridiculously cheap rate without caps.

    Why can't we do what the Dutch were doing years ago is beyond my understanding.. Maybe having had to reclaim flood plains made them more enterprising

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