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.
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 …
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.....
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 :(
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!
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...
...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!)
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.
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.
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...
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).
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.
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.
"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.
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".
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)
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 ...
You'll be lucky to see anything like that on your average ADSL line, so that's knackered.
Infinity? Probably, however....my 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...
potentially yes, in reality perhaps not, but you stand a better chance it may if you do.
the so called upgrade offer like all their offers is VM's way to get you to pay in a round about way for their new DS3 modem you are legally renting in your consumer contact.
and in effect connecting and using that DS3 cable modem puts you on a separate virtual network and so virtually routed to different kit after the card at the other end and so you may get the better and more consistent speed your paying for.
now the world class Virgin Media PR Innovators may say its good for more family use as a way to bullshit you.
but the fact is they dont and cant officially allow you to pay them more to do the simple thing and get a second cable modem per household, as their billing system they payed massive amounts for only a few years ago simply did not allow them that option to officially add moor than one modem per house account, crazy as that sounds its true.
For the first time ever, I didn't upgrade from 20 to 50Mb because they charged for something I didn't see as worth it, then they call me repeatedly and offer it to me for an installation fee and an additional monthly charge. What sort of idiot do they take me for? Now, they want me to can a perfectly good 20Mb connection AT MY EXPENSE to go to 30Mb? No chance. If you want me off it, just do it.
Now, 100Mb. That's a whole new ball game :)
... which are not a drop in replacement for the old kit.
The new kit cannot (yet) operate as a bridge, so that those of us running our own firewalls with a slightly unusual configuration will find things stop working.
They have been promising for quite a while that a firmware update to enable bridge mode is coming 'soon'.
They're a bit sneaky - they don't actually advertise the "deals" they offer to CURRENT subscribers - give them a ring and try getting the call escalated to UK support (if you're REALLY lucky you might get straight through to UK support apparently) and find out what they can do; remember, shy bairns get nowt.
"what are the chances of them giving me a "goodwill" upgrade?", zero to none
but saying that , IF your new and so they give you a cable modem as part of the rental.
then IF they give you/install the new Docsis3 curvy black case cable modem with 5 lights on the top rather than the old DS2 blue with 4 lights on the front than you are all set for the faster speeds as its just a case of them remotely sending the new cable modem config to that modem by upgrading your account details.
and they (retentions usually) May or not be convinced to give you that upgrade for free at some point if you protest and chase up the reduced costs they say they will give you but dont many times until you complain and complain again until someone takes notice and puts on the account as an official note.
Before spending your hard-earned money on more bandwidth it might be an idea to see how much bandwidth you're currently using.
The Speedtest website can tell you what speed you're currently getting and using a simple tool like NetMeter can tell you if you're currently actually making good use of that bandwidth. No point in buying a Ferrari when you're only using it for the shopping run.
Finally take a close look at how much you're currently spending and compare it with the current deals on your provider's website. If you're spending over the odds for a poorer service then try bargaining for a better rate. I've known people who have more than doubled their bandwidth and halved their monthly bill with a half hour phone call.
"No point in buying a Ferrari when you're only using it for the shopping run"
Actually, that's exactly one of the reasons to buy a Ferrari - so you can show off on the way to the shops. Pretty much the same reason they are offering 100Mbs service - so that geeks can boast about their service. As you say, the vast majority of users need nowhere near the speed they're paying for.
I recently upgraded to 20mb from 10mb, and I'm now getting erratic pings and packet loss in the evenings. Looks like the DOCSIS 3 UBR in my area is overloaded again. I'm seriously thinking of going back down to 10mb, as that's on the older network which isn't oversubscribed.
VM do like their "free" offers which you pay for, especially given that extra 12 month lock-in and costs tied to phone plus TV bundles. It is all about customer numbers and keeping those customer numbers. You have to be pretty slow off the mark not to realise that.
As long as it also suits me I don't see it as a problem as I don't plan on defecting to another ISP; VM's broadband infrastructure has been brilliant in my experience, 19.8 on 20Mbps almost all of the time, STM hasn't been a problem for my usage. Upgrading to 30, 50 or even 100 Mbps would depend on the cost and what that really bought me; 20 is fine for me at the moment.
The rest of VM is a different story, especially off-shored customer support and out-sourced services.
I've been on VM for a couple of years now, and must be the only one with no problems? Get my downloads through the day, avoid the evenings. Got a 10MB service and phone, free calls 24/7, all for £28 a month. I got the calls because I run a business from home through the day. Just threaten to leave and you'll get the loyalty bonus. Lovely cable. No copper cable that gets shitty when its cold or wet.
Been with BT, Plus net, talk talk, BE, AOL, and Zen. Virgin have been OK. Zen where great till they offered a higher speed package than my old solid 2MB package. Never got 2MB again or the up to 10MB promised. So left.
Now, when do I get either a price reduction for 10MB or a free upgrade?
I got a free upgrade from 10 to 20 last year.
I wasn't even looking for one, I'd gotten bored and tried to access the customer portal thing. I couldn't because I'm a migrated NTL user and they didn't provision my account properly.
The nice chap pointed out that he could upgrade me to 20Meg and reduce my bill by a fiver without me committing to another 12 months. The only silly thing was that he had to ask me if I wanted to go ahead with the upgrade.
I had never noticed throttling before ( we generally just have general Internet use over a couple of laptops/phones) but I had a demo download session a few weekends ago, and saw the DL rate tumble after about 4Gb.
I thought metering was only at peak times - must check the fine print.
Otherwise I've been delighted with my NTL/Virgin cable over about 10 years now.
I'm supposed to be with one of the warmest and cuddliest ISPs, The Phonecoop. Last month I was charged an extra £9 for over use - using 17Gb extra than my alloted 40Gb.
I've used NTL then Virgin for years and their support is no worse than anyone else's and we had fewer outages over eight years with them than the problems we've had with ADSL over the last two.
Their throttled rates are significantly better than my full bandwidth ADSL.
I'm probably signing back up with them.
I constantly lose my 20meg connection, which is great when its up but for any kind of gaming you regularly drop out.
Several calls to the no help centre, of course nothing can be found whenever I call and all I end up doing is restarting the modem 13 times... Wish they would get what they have now working properly before they constantly upgrade?
Although isnt the 30meg just a sofrware change anyway? Pretty sure the modem I have can go upto 50meg anyway (if not beyond).
"Although isnt the 30meg just a sofrware change anyway? Pretty sure the modem I have can go upto 50meg anyway (if not beyond)."
that depends on your modem they installed , if it's the old doc2 as is the case for most users although some are probably still on the older kit even today, then that DS2 can technically go above that.
however with that old DS2 VM choose not to allow that config file , if you now have the shiny curvy DS3 CM however then yes its just a remote config sent to you after they update your computer account (takes around 2 minutes at best, days when they screw it up).
all told if your getting a new install make sure you get the DS3 today and your all set for everything from the lowest to the highest 100Mbit, even the 200Mbit if they ever get around to that config in the future.
as a sade note will someone with the 30Mbit activated, PLEASE tell us what the actual real
UPLOAD rate as set in your modem is set to ? that info is here
under the "Primary Upstream Service Flow" options Max Traffic Rate :=
I'm on the 10Mbit package because I upgraded to the 20Mbit package and saw precisely ZERO difference in speeds, measured at various times over a several day exercise. At no point have VM comitted me to a new package deal for upgrading - that's one of the advantages of a VM contract; once you've done your initial period you're free to chop and change at will. And 2 weeks to get a modem replaced? You're 'avin a giraffe!! My faulty modem was replaced in two business days, in the run up to Christmas. Maintenance and reliability is NOT a criticism you can levy at VM Cable services in general - OK so maybe you had a bad experience but in general they are good on that front.
Where they fail is customer service - call centres in Bangalore who have zero technical knowledge and operate via scripted question and answer sessions. I'm technically competent and if my problem falls outside the script you damn well better be able to help. VM Call Centres can't. (p.s. I've told them this too before the self righteous brigade start.)
Just phoned them about an upgrade, was told that because of the new router/modem all-in-one, it'd be a new 12 month contract. I didn't really want a new contract.
Since I wasn't going to pay £30 for 20Mb/s when I could get 30Mb/s for £28.50, I downgraded to 10Mb/s.
I just called them and asked how much it'd be to upgrade to 30Mb and was told an extra £6-ish per month so decided to it, but wanted to see how much I get off the £30. So I got transferred from India to the UK (FFS) and was then told that the 30Mb would be an extra £15 per month!
No thanks, but upon querying about how there is now a large price-gap in their products she went off and found out she could put me onto the (now discontinued) 20Mb for an extra 4 quid a month with no fee. So I took that.
So I wonder if I want to upgrade to the 30Mb soon then I could pay the one-off £30 and then get the new 20Mb I've got upgraded to 30Mb for the same price...
VM has done this so it can free up some iPV4 allocations so it can simply reship out 10Meg broadband services, getting most if not 90% of its customers to switch to the brand new IPV6 Box "super-hub" will not only be cheaper for virgin media in the short term it will show investors that VM is doing something "for the future" the only thing i can say is wait til them superhubs got faulty and you speak to some poor person in a call center in India who doesn't have a clue what the difference is between RAM and Memory so send out 2 men with not much education to unplug and plug back in again the superhub only to call the same guys up and complain "oh its faulty"
tbh i can see virgin media being purchased this year by a compeitor (BT)?
If you THINK that you are actually getting FREE CALLS TO VIRGIN MOBILES from your Virgin landline, I suggest that you carefully check your invoices/bills because I too was under that ILLUSION when suddenly, after several months of free calls to a Virgin mobile number they started charging me for calls. I knew 100% it IS a virgin mobile but they were adamant and insisted vigorously that it was NOT a Virgin Mobile. I then provided them proof. They then told me the rules have changed and they are NOT free after all.
Virgin talk the talk, but do NOT walk the walk . Check your bills carefully.
I recently had terrible connection problems. An engineer visited and switched me to the new cable modem/router which I assume is the Docsis 3 one. I now have rock solid 20Mb download and 2Mb upload speeds but having major issues with packet loss running a pingtest. It's currently losing between 30% and 90% of all packets. Engineer is booked to visit Friday morning, fingers crossed.
I was told today by VM Tech that they can only help with speeds if it's slower than 30% of the headline speed.
So a 30 meg user will be able to get 9 meg. Nice..
It's the first time I have EVER been told by VM Support that their service is only a "Up-To" service and I shouldnt expect the headline speeds.
This is just some strange ploy to get wifi&docsis3 into everyones homes. I expect a firmware update is going to give us a new "wifi" zone company really soon!
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