back to article Virgin Media touts high-speed signups and TiVO

Virgin Media claims half a million people now subscribe to its high speed 30 Mbit/s cable service, with 178,000 on the 50 Mbit/s or 100 Mbit/s plans. The company clawed back 6,300 broadband punters in the third quarter of 2011. The company made a pre-tax loss of £74m in the quarter, compared to a £10m profit a year ago, but …


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  1. MonsieurInconnu

    90% of the speed for 90% of the time...

    then I might agree.

    However 90% of the advertised speed for the few hours nobody is actually using it doesn't really count. Yes Virgin, I'm talking about you. Dial-up speeds in evenings doesn't really cut the mustard, which is why I'm off as soon as the contract period is up.

  2. <user />

    Cutting costs, boost profit

    By stopping sending me (and everyone else) a load of shit junk mail. I just can't stop it coming through the mail.

    It really really pisses me off after all that, that they charge me a 'Paper Bill Charge' every month! Wankers.

    1. Law

      Mine's full speed... at 2 different addresses so far in 3 years.

  3. dotdavid
    Thumb Down


    Not sure how they have gotten away with it (I'm pretty lax checking my bills), but my VM bill has risen steadily for the last couple of years even without any particular change of use. Looks like I'm gonna have to do the regular bill pruning exercise more often.

    I suspect loads of people are in the same boat as me, having signed up through a deal and then finding the deal expires after 12 months.

    And don't get me started on their "chummy" marketing. I wish I could opt out of their prodigious letterbox spam.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hear.....

    via their own forums that the 30 Mbit/s package is crap and many users are asking to go back to the working 10 Mbit/s package.

    Also worth noting that VM recently got knicked by the ASA for misleading adds in relation to online gaming (i.e they're crap, but claim to be the best).

    They won't be saying that anymore (apparently). So much for their "honesty in advertising" campaign then.

    1. IT veteran

      VM Deals

      I still have the deal I got from NTL years ago - I think it works out at £9 off TV/BB/Phone package. It has been maintained through several changes to my package (currently XL TV, 50Mb BB and basic phone).

      1. Chris Pinto
        Thumb Up

        I get a static £10 a month off what it should be for TiVo, TVXL, 50mb and free weekend calls. After my first year they applied it as a "loyalty customer discount"

    2. The Infamous Grouse

      Bill creep

      With Virgin Media you HAVE to be prepared to renegotiate your bill every 12-18 months. The last CS rep I spoke to more or less admitted this straight out. You don't even have to threaten to leave as was once the norm, just tell them that as a 'loyal customer' you're appalled at the way the costs have crept up (have some figures to hand to quote -- that seems to carry weight) and they'll more than likely offer to customise and/or give a loyalty discount.

      Things have got a little easier in the last year or so now that most of the CS people are able to make ad-hoc billing adjustments (it used to be one specific department that you'd have to be transferred to before explaining the whole situation again). Despite what their literature would have you believe they are able to negotiate very specific customised packages and make pro rata reductions on tariffs accordingly. If you have the TV service and there are channels you definitely won't use, see about having them removed even if they seem to be part of a 'package'. You might be surprised what they can do.

      Beware of the 'freebies' though. When I did this a couple of years ago (before the ad-hoc changes were available) I was persuaded to keep the Sky Sports package even though I never used it, supposedly because it was difficult to remove from my service and was effectively free anyway because of the other stuff I had. Then over the next 12 months the cheeky buggers twice increased my bill because of wholesale price rises for Sky Sports. I let them away with it the first time due to apathy, but the second time I renegotiated and got a load of unwanted channels removed and a 40% bill reduction.

      It shouldn't be necessary to have these annual battles of will with customer services just to get a good deal from a company you've been with in one form or another for 15+ years.

      But alas it is.

    3. Rob Beard

      Well lots of providers have put their prices up, even by just a quid or two a month, so Virgin aren't alone in this.

      What Virgin have done though is reduce their prices on some of the packages, for instance when I signed up with Virgin (back in 2009) I was on their 20Mbit package, I couldn't afford the extra for 50Mbit. This year they dropped the price of the 50Mbit package and introduced the 30Mbit package. IIRC the 30Mbit package was actually cheaper than 20Mbit, but I opted to pay a fiver extra a month for 50Mbit (which generally I get near to 95% of the time).

      I have noticed the line rental has gone up slightly, but it's one of those things I guess, my alternative would be much slower broadband over the BT line (either from BT or another provider) which I'd rather not opt for (especially as my area is fairly limited when it comes to LLU options).

      As for the deals expiring after 12 months, well I dare say they would advise you how long the deals are for. When I signed up I got 6 months anytime calls to landlines, and sure enough after 6 months I started paying, it was hardly a surprise (although I didn't bother doing owt about it for another 6 months).

      You may find that if you're out of contract and you're not happy with what you're paying giving them a call and threatening to leave might get you an offer (or they might also call your bluff).


  5. Downside

    TiVo is great but...

    It's great BUT

    * for gawds sake rework the remote - it's bog-awful

    * Update the UI...

    Why does series link require 4 clicks and take me to a blank-out-video screen telling me to click OK to continue? fkin stupid.

  6. Gavalar

    30MB ? 1MB would be nice !

    30MB yeah right, I have an outstanding call with VM about there supposed 10MB service I have ... when I finally get through to someone that talks sense I find that they are waiting hardware upgrades across the whole of the infrastructure (in Brighton) the servers, the green cabs the lot, timescales ? who knows, they certainly don't

    One thing that happens in Brighton every year around Sept/Oct is the Students from the Uni start or come back and then get their connections reconnected or new deals, this puts a massive load on the area. In a nutshell the Infrastructure just cannot cope.

    Childcatcher cos they offer you sweeties then kidnap your service !

  7. g dot assasin

    More than half of new signups opt for 30Mbit/s....

    I thought 30 Mbit/s was the minimum a new customer could get from Virgin nowadays?

  8. bob's hamster

    Tivo is great but...

    I think the tivo is great, but it's not much use if you have no connection. 3 days without any tv, or broadband last week, also similar outages over recent months. I've been with Virgin for 3 years, the first year the service was surperb, no downtime and nice fast broadband; since then, certainly in Hedge End, Southampton area, the whole system seems to be increasingly dodgy. I'm fed up with spending my evenings speaking on the phone to an Indian called Mary or Steven who haven't got a scooby about how to sort my problems out. Hopefully Virgin are spending my considerable monthly bill payments on infrastructure improvements and not on big bonuses for Branson or whoever is in charge.

  9. Ed 11

    50MB in NW6

    Works like a dream. Slowest I've EVER seen is 39.4MB. It's exceptionally rare to see it below 46MB. Ping ranges from 6 to 19 m/s. I'm a very happy punter.

    Agree that the Tivo interface appears to have been designed by monkey's however...

  10. Jon Massey

    I guess it depends where you're at...

    I have their 20MB service in Bristol and have never had a problem with speed or uptime. Only problem I ever had was a buzzing transformer on the cable modem which was duly replaced after a support call. Their phone service has been a little more fsck-up prone, mind you. The time they disconnected my line and reconnected it to someone else was especially good!

  11. Badvock
    Thumb Up

    It seems that happy people have no stories, been with Virgin / NTL for years now, had two long term dropouts (by that i mean more than 4 hours) and always get the advertised 50Mbit speeds, no latency no packet loss. I'm sure people out there do have issues but i'm sure that having 'issues' is not exclusive to Virgin. Knowing people who don't even GET 1Mbit on their ADSL service with absoloutly NO hope of it ever improving I am pretty sure I know where i am staying. Always been happy with their service (if not necessarily their prices) and despite popular belief they do engage with their customer base (round table) even if they don't always get it right, but if someone can showw me a telco that does always get it right i would be all ears.

  12. JC_
    Thumb Down

    Virgin's Great, When They Work...

    When our 10Mb line worked, it worked at 10Mb every time. Of course, it doesn't work all that often - we've had multi-day outages due to 'rain' and at least 20 outages in the past month. The workmen that installed it didn't even label the cables at the boxes, so when Virgin finally agreed to send someone out to look at it, they didn't know where to start. This is in Shoreditch, which is supposed to be Silicon-Something-or-Other.

    Back to BT ADSL for us; despite the horror-stories, they can't be worse than the prats at Virgin.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    People warned me about Virgin

    People warned me about Virgin before I joined.

    "They're terrible". "Awful service". "Terrible customer support".

    I believed it and actually had a clause put into my flat rental contract that I could have work done to get a BT line put in (it only has cable currently).

    However, I decided to go with Virgin in the hope that I would get something of the 50Mbps. A lovely thought for a geek like me.

    -It took ~2 months go get an install - For a pre-existing installation! (i.e. they just had to plug it in - they refused to just send me the box).

    -We are plagued with speed issues and have had several engineer visits. Which have resulted in this loop:

    10 Home engineer says: "It's a building problem. You need to have a network engineer sent out. We'll arrange that for you".

    20 More poor service resulting in a call to customer support asking when the network engineer is coming only to be told that a home visit must be arranged first before a network engineer can be sent out.

    30 GOTO 10.

    We have had ~10 engineer visits/cancelled visits (various excuses) over the last year of our service and have had to take several days off. During which time my connection drops roughly once a day and doesn't reconnect until I reboot my router. I have spoken to managers multiple times. I have asked for manager call-backs many times (only to have nothing happen). I have been told to do the most stupid things by support staff (e.g. "turn off your firewall"). I dread to think how many hours I have spent listening to terrible phone support music.

    We are now back in the loop above following a particularly bad level of service over the last few weeks and it's the final straw. I am giving up and will now get the BT line installed. I never had this problem with ADSL from any of the ISPs I used to use.

    Still it'll be a shame to lose that painfully slow on-demand service through the Tivo (which also drops it's cable connection and occasionally just locks up) and my phone service (where I can sometimes barely hear someone on the other end of the line). Occasionally I even get a full 50mbs download too....before the router loses it's connection again.

    Virgin - You fail completely at being an ISP.

    Everyone else - Do not make the same mistake as I did and think "how bad can they be?".

    But anyway. Well done Virgin for signing up so many people. Great job you're doing! *slaps back*

  14. Scott 62

    I recently moved from Sky to Virgin after being tempted by half price for 6 months + lower price overall, the actual kit was awesome and my 30mb line could consistently d/l at 3mb/s, which i loved but their customer service and after sales stuff was absolutely appalling. so much so that i went back to sky after 3 weeks

    which is a shame as i did like it, but it wasn't worth the fuss

  15. DaveLeeTravis

    Spamtastic Tosspots

    A few have mentioned the torrent of crap that they ram through your letter box every month, but does anybody get as many sales calls from them as I do? I've had 6 calls this month..6! Initially I pointed out I had repeatedly asked them to stop calling me, but now I can't even be bothered to do that...

    [Ropey accented Chap] Good day Sir...

    [Me] this Virgin Media?

    [Ropey accented Chap]...Well Sir, we have been looking at your account...


    (slams down phone)

    Really not suprised they have got a few more sign ups, they have no doubt beat the poor buggers into submission with there shower of marketing shite.

  16. Fuzz

    Virgin's big selling point should be that you don't have to waste money paying for a phone line to get broadband or TV (Sky require you to have a phone line for the first 12 months of a TV contract). Yet they insist on bundling in a phone line and charging you for it, of course you can choose to not have a phone line but then the cost of your broadband or TV package goes up by about the same amount.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The phoneline *is* the cash cow for Virgin. The calls are expensive and they have various add-ons like stopping with-held numbers (which doesn't actually work), itemised billing etc. It's designed to screw as much cash as possible. They're desperate for everyone to have a phone.

      Ditch it and see how fast they try to contact you to ask why.

  17. OnTheSpecialBus

    Wish I had just left it alone

    I had years of good uninterrupted service with Virgin until in a moment of stupidity I agreed to to a 50Mb contract.

    Yes it peaked at 49Mb on Virgins own service monitor but nothing else ever got that close and it would fall apart every day at about 3:30pm for an hour, oh yeah thats when all the kids get home and spank iPlayer.

    I really do wish I had left it on the old 10Mb service, rumour has it they cannot traffic manage the 10Mb Terayon modems so they dont get constantly arsed about with to free up Bandwidth for Tivo

    They are now one customer less, all my equipment is in a carrier bag by the front door waiting for an Engineer to collect it.

    I'll take a 6Mb ADSL service over a 50Mb service thats spends an hour a day at 0Mb if thats OK with Virgin.

  18. Daniel Bower

    I think Virgin's great

    I have Virgin's 30mb line and I thinks its ace. I do get at least 30mb consistently and have topped out at 38mb.

    I also have TiVO and its pretty nifty. Shame the red button is missing (I do like my F1 practice sessions - sad I know - and the F1 forum so have to go up to the bedroom for those) and the UI is a little clunky at times but with all the OD functions built in it is, in my opinion, far better featured than Sky.

    Either of them though are bloody expensive by the time the sports channels etc are added!..

  19. ssu

    useless idiots

    I regulary get personally addressed mail from Virgin Media to sign up for the TV and broadband service. But if you put my postcode into their website check it says that no services are available where I live.

    This has been happening for years and I would have thought by now that they would have connected up the postcode checking system with the mailing system.

    I would stick with Sky anyway, never had any problems except the slightly dirty feeling about paying the owners. My previous experiences with NTL seem to be common problems with Virgin today - crap remotes, poor UI, poor customer service, incorrect billing etc. I was one of the first NTL digital customers and spent longer on hold on the customer support line than I had a working TV signal - and I am not exaggerating.

    For broadband I have found that Plus have been good. The customer service was a bit iffy for a year or so but seems to have got back to its excellent levels. As they are owned by BT you get the BT products, including FTTC, but better customer service and an option for priority traffic for gaming etc.

  20. Caustic Soda

    Virgin are good enough when they work. I have TV/Phone/50Mb BB and am usually happy but when it goes wrong, it is a disaster. They have disconnected me rather than my neighbours (when they have terminated their service) three times over the years. The last time I started out with the Fault line (ending up somewhere in Asia via what sounded like a 1950s SSB radio circuit), who told me the account was closed, so I needed to call Accounts & Retentions. Called them, they are somewhere in the UK. They blamed the Sales team, somewhere else in the UK, who had called my new neighbours who didn't want to sign up but who marked my account for closure instead. "They are always doing that sort of thing" sighed the girl in Accounts & Retentions sadly. Wasted 2-3 days of phone calls to these various people before I finally started moaning on Twitter and then, "shazaam", they asked me to get in touch again and the whole thing was sorted in about 5 minutes. I shouldn't have to gob off to 2k followers on Twitter to get the basics of customer service out of them.

  21. Select * From Handle
    Thumb Up

    something must be wrong at your end.

    "Also worth noting that VM recently got knicked by the ASA for misleading adds in relation to online gaming (i.e they're crap, but claim to be the best)."

    im a VM 100meg user and i have a 5ms response connection, and most games i have played have a ping of 15ms, so far it is the best connection i have had. i have also been on BEtheir which is touted as the best for gaming b4 fiber but it is nothing compaired to the connection i have now.

    tbh i dont think anyone needs a connection that higher than 50meg. most of the time you will never need to use it. you will only need to use it if u are downloading a game/HDfilm/bigprogram and 90% of the time your download speed will never be achieved because the site/service you are downloading it from doesn't have the upload speed to match.

    until VM and BT lower prices for business fiber so more businesses can enjoy fast upload speed most of the time my 100meg connection is wasted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @something must be wrong at your end

      Hardly, I didn't make the judgement, the ASA did.. didn't you read it?

    2. Delbert
      Thumb Down

      Ping is not everything

      I'm about due for the annual run of outages that seems to plague VM/Mercury/ C&W or whoever the hell else they have been over my subscription. The ping is now worse than it was 5 years ago never getting into single figures and this year packet losses have prevented me playing my favourite and very undemanding game UT which was smooth as milk on a 1gb cable typically at between 5 and 12ms now I have to exist with 55- 115ms progress? then I'm a banana --- oh and before somebody tries to shift the blame most of the delays are clearly internal VM routing issues try explaining that to the drones in the asian subcontinent call centres

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