back to article Déjà vu: Virgin Media jacks up broadband prices

Virgin Media is once again hiking up the price of its broadband service, while at the same time championing its cable network. The telco has begun telling subscribers who are only signed up to Virgin Media's broadband offering that their bills will increase by £1.50 a month from October this year. It comes after the company, …

  1. cs94njw

    As it's a change of price, and due to new OFCOM rules, customers will be able to cancel their contract without fee....

    ... at which point Virgin will then waive the fee, and everything will go back to normal.

    1. tmTM

      Isn't there a get-out??

      Like with mobile phone contracts, if it's only a couple of percent increase then it's allowed??

  2. Daz555

    "Virgin Media is the only major provider able to supply broadband without a phone line because of our unique cable network and so we remain unbeatable value for money."

    ....and yet they won't let you have TV without a phone line....because errr, errr. Who the hell knows?

    1. AbelSoul

      Virgin Media is the only provider to supply broadband without a phone line

      Except when: "Sorry, your home isn't in a Virgin Media area"

    2. Santonia

      wrong

      I've just extracted myself from VM BB and phone after about 2.5 years. Having the wired connection broken for a month or 2 did for me.

      However, to your point, we are able to pay for just the TV (ie no phone or BB cost) so not sure this is correct...

    3. Ben 47

      Virgin definitely do allow TV on it's own http://store.virginmedia.com/digital-tv/compare-tv/index.html

      For instance

      More TV:

      Price:

      £16

      a month

      No Virgin Phone line

      12 month contract

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a rip off. They may be the only provider to do broadband without a phone line (on a large scale) but it's actually cheaper to get a landline + ADSL than is to get Virgin Media broadband. I'll be leaving them very soon. Their service isn't very good either

    1. cynic56

      Good luck to you on leaving. Virgin make it as difficult as possible. They are the Ryanair of telecoms. An appalling company in every respect.

  4. Anomalous Cowshed

    I'm not surprised they are increasing their prices

    I receive so many glossy brochures from them, sometimes ONE A DAY in the post. They must have spent tens of £ on me alone, and I'm just one of millions of their non-customers. I now recognise their letters just by the standard markings on the outside and bin them without opening them, but oh, what a waste! I mean, apart from alienating their potential customers, bombarding every potential customer like this must surely cost them even more than running their fibre optic service...

    1. NogginTheNog
      Devil

      Re: I'm not surprised they are increasing their prices

      Agreed: I now have such a negative opinion of VM thanks to their incessant junk mail, all because I went on to their website and in order to look at what services and prices they could offer I entered my postcode and house number! That and their rip-off pricing if you DON'T want a landline with your broadband, that they'll have to be offering a VERY good deal before I'll ever consider switching to them.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I'm not surprised they are increasing their prices

        "I entered my postcode and house number!"

        Tip: Use a different house number for those sort of enquiries. Ideally that of a neighbour you don't like.

    2. Test Man

      Re: I'm not surprised they are increasing their prices

      Ha! They do the same to me too, because the previous owner had Virgin Media.

      In my house, it hits the mat and bounces straight into the (recycle) bin.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm not surprised they are increasing their prices

        Virgin Media appear to send me junk mail just because their cable is laid in the street. I am not a subscriber - and lived here before the Virgin brand. The postman pushes a generic envelope through the door at least once a month - and another arrives addressed to "The Householder" at this address. It took ages to stop the other duplicates that used my name from the old days of selling unedited electoral registers.

        Anything with a return address gets put back in the mailbox - although no complaints channel seems to stop that stream.

        To me the Virgin brand for anything is toxic. A number of poor service experiences with the various franchised users of that brand name have alienated me for decades. Virgin Trains - filthy and overcrowded. Virgin Wines - spam emails to my trawled usenet reply address. Virgin Records - disorganised and excruciatingly slow service. Virgin Media - continuous junk mail that they won't stop. Haven't tried Virgin planes - but there is a definite disincentive based on their other brands.

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: I'm not surprised they are increasing their prices

          > To me the Virgin brand for anything is toxic....

          A friend once said he wouldn't fly on Virgin Air, because he didn't want to fly on an airline that doesn't go all the way...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm not surprised they are increasing their prices

        In my house, it hits the mat and bounces straight into the (recycle) bin.

        Nah, collect a pack and then return it to them, but don't put postage on it. You may want to add a brick, just to keep it from blowing away :)

    3. mythicalduck

      Re: I'm not surprised they are increasing their prices

      > I now recognise their letters just by the standard markings on the outside and bin them without opening them

      I hope you mean "recycle" instead of "bin"... then there can be something salvaged, no matter how small

    4. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: I'm not surprised they are increasing their prices

      They constantly delivered them to me also, when I lived in places that they did not even serve.

      Presumably, they must know what locations they serve, so why they felt the need to send me weekly invitations to sign up for the worst sort of broadband available to me at that location, a poorly managed rebranded WBC from BT Wholesale, I have no idea.

    5. Ken Darling

      Re: I'm not surprised they are increasing their prices

      BIn them? No. I just write 'Return to Sender' on the envelope and pop them back in the post.

      Let the Post Office who delivered this junk to me sort it out. Eventually one or the other of them will get the message.

      Regarding the pricing: Phone line with PlusNet - £10 a month, including evening and weekend calls; Broadband with PlusNet - £2.99 a month. If I want fibre broadband, over the course of 18 months, PlusNet will give it to me for £11.24 a month. So £21.23 a month all in. Cheaper than Virgin and better customer service (from my experience. YMMV.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Vince

        Re: I'm not surprised they are increasing their prices

        Actually I think you'll find the plusnet deal is...

        £15.95 for the phone line

        £2.50 for 12 months

        then £9.99

        ....still cheaper than virgin, but somehow even worse than Virgin.

        Avoid both.

    6. Down not across Silver badge

      Re: I'm not surprised they are increasing their prices

      I receive so many glossy brochures from them, sometimes ONE A DAY in the post. They must have spent tens of £ on me alone, and I'm just one of millions of their non-customers.

      I am a customer (similar situation to another poster where DSL would barely support 2-3Mbit/s) so no choice. I get twice as much junk mail from them as non-customers since I get "To the householder" and addressed to me as well.

      I have manged to convince them to stop them to constantly calling trying to flog their mobile. Hasn't affected junk mail but at least that doesn't interrupt like a phone call.

    7. Nifty

      Re: I'm not surprised they are increasing their prices

      The also blanket bomb properties - e.g. new blocks of flats - with flyers, where they have no intention of providing a service even if the VM junction box already touches the property.

      What's needed is CABLE competition.

  5. Oli 1

    Still the best service by a mile in my area (and all areas ive lived in since leaving home)

    Not had to call them in over 5 years

    1. Andy Barker

      Same for me. When we moved into this house, was either 100 MBit VM, or 3 MBit ADSL. Guess which we chose.

      Does flake out every few weeks for 5 minutes a time, but I can live with that.

      When I had Sky broadband and phone at the previous place (fairly remote, 1.5-2.0 MBit), their customer support was pants. Like most companies, if your problem fits into their expected list of problems you can do well. I gave up calling to report failures on the line, and just waited for them to fix it after other people reported the fault.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Bye

    Bye

  7. Tsung

    Junk Mail gets me everytime.

    I've even requested they stop sending it. They claim to mark your account "no junk" and yet sure as mustard, I get the marketing crap from them at least twice a week.

    As for putting prices up? they seem to do it whenever without reason. It does seem strange they are now trying to offer me their full tv services + phone line + highest speed broadband for less than what I pay for broadband (£35 a month is the offer, apparently*).

    *I'm sure that excludes line rental at whatever they like to charge for that.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Junk Mail gets me everytime.

      "trying to offer me their full tv services + phone line + highest speed broadband for less than what I pay for broadband (£35 a month is the offer, apparently*)."

      It's likely that if you read the small print, that it's an offer price for 6 months of a 18 or 24 month contract. Probably.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Junk Mail gets me everytime.

      A lot of it comes through the Royal Mail unaddressed spam system, ie delivered to everyone. Have you opted out of their service?

      1. Tsung

        Re: Junk Mail gets me everytime.

        Oh Yes!

  8. RonWheeler

    Might go back to BT

    Been a Vrigin cutomer for 3 years now. Back in the day they were wayy better than ADSL. Now with FTTC and streaming services, their shoddy old sucky Tivo boxes and now midrange broadband aren't all that special. Might even go to BT as I only pay the Tivo tax for BT Sport to watch UFC.

    Price rises not at a good time.

    1. Oliver 7

      Re: Might go back to BT

      Yeah, I was with them when it was BlueYonder all the way up to a couple of years ago. In those days dial-up and ADSL services were about as expensive and complete pants. The annoying thing was they knew to price the bundles only just higher than the cost of dropping the landline (and why would they need a landline network when they have fibre cable right?), really cynical!

      Anyway, I moved to the sticks a couple of years ago and I'm getting 10Mbs-15Mbs with a TalkTalk bundle for half the price! It's amazing how far ADSL has come, always worth a look if you haven't checked for a while.

  9. psychonaut

    upload

    just upgraded to 152mb bb with virgin. was promised "between 10 and 20 mb" up. im getting 8 up (im geting 160 down which is awesome though)

    i run a vpn into here, so i wanted the extra upstream grunt.

    had engineer out (for a different reason - V+ box hard disk gone to shit again....was only replaced 3 months ago!) and he checked the signal and said thats is really good, but that round here you will not go over 8mb up.

    so...a bit peed off but may well just keep it anyway. i only had 2 up before.

    apparantly they are overhauling the trunk round here in a few months so you never know...

    1. Peter 26

      Re: upload

      You're in a similar position to me using it for VPN and upload speed is very important. I moved away from Virgin to BT and got theoretically slower internet at 73Mb Down and 18Mb Up. But the up speed makes up for the lower down speed. The best thing is BT actually provide the speed they say you will get and don't do throttling like Virgin.

      It's amazing how things have changed, BT used to be the worst for actual speed and Virgin Media (NTL) the best. It's easy to advertise and sell faster speeds, but actually providing those speeds seems to be something that is very rare.

      If I had shares in Virgin Media I'd be selling them. They had the advantage in bandwidth to the door, but didn't make the most of it. Now BT is almost caught up and will soon overtake with their FTTP in the next 10 years, at which point Virgin Media loses its relevance.

  10. MrWibble

    Déjà vu?

    A company raising prices approximately a year after doing it last. Who'd have though it? Is this unique to Virgin Media, or are we going to get a "news" item about this for every company in the tech world?

    1. Daggerchild Silver badge

      Re: Déjà vu?

      Feel free to switch to the other cable provider in your area, where you aren't forced to pay for increases in things you can't use and don't want.

  11. Sebby

    Nah, 'salright.

    I extracted myself from VM when they started traffic shaping without warning, causing my nightly backups to stall long into business hours, and text-only newsgroups to run so slowly as to be of practically no use whatsoever. That and their terrible habit of murdering your ping times and speeds after some unspecified amount of downstream allowance, which always runs suicidally fast in the beginning but then slows to a crawl.

    No, thanks. You keep your price rises to yourself, and I'll stick with FTTC with A&A at consistent 80/20 (more like 68/10) speeds, good ping times, and the flexibility to have proper static addresses (both v4 and v6). And if you could avoid sending your greasy sales droids 'round while I'm consistently streaming WWDC, that'd be a plus. It's not all about going faster, you know. I suppose this bit about not having a phone line would be nice, but while I've got one and our regulators have no teeth to take BT's infrastructure as national property, it'll have to do.

    1. dotdavid

      Re: Nah, 'salright.

      Their latest doormat-spam claimed they don't throttle connections which isn't true. There wasn't even any small print saying that actually they do throttle upload speeds when you download over a certain amount (which really mucks up my SIP phones resulting in me having to set QoS to the throttled speed full-time just in case I watch too much LoveFILM one evening).

      I considered reporting the spam to the ASA, but hey they'll only say not to run the ad again in its current form...

  12. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    The

    only 2 gripes I have against VM ( or liberty global.. or NTL or NYNex or whoever else lays claim to the green trunking buried outside the house) is that the customer service dept is s*** until you finally get through to their english call center who generally have the flexibility to go off script and order an engineer for the next day.

    And the dire junk mailing... for gawds sake VM CHECK to see if the houses you are mass mailing are already customers!!!!!!!!!! You pay an extra £1.50 for a VM monthly statement posted to you or £0.00 for an e.mailed version..... and I get at least 5 or 6 junk mails a month..... they gotta be hoovering up your sodding profits

    Oh and the super(fail)hub only ever works properly if you put it in cable modem mode and use your own wireless router

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The

      "for gawds sake VM CHECK to see if the houses you are mass mailing are already customers!!!!!!!!!!"

      Back Ye Olden Days of Blueyonder and the early days of the VM branding when some senior staff posted in the support newsgroups, they made it clear that it's much, much cheaper to carpet bomb "To The Householder" than to maintain sanitised mailing lists. They do use mailing list when sending "offers" to existing customers but using that to exclude said customers from a carpet bomb is significantly expensive since the "junk" then has to be properly addressed which means the PO has to sort it through the full process instead of just giving each posty an allocated batch.

  13. NotWorkAdmin

    I really dislike Virgin

    Crap service, crap router, high (IMHO) price.

    But at least in the UK we have a choice. Some aren't so lucky (warning, video link).

    1. Pete 47

      Re: I really dislike Virgin

      Thank-you for introducing me to the phrase "Optimum cock-bag levels".

      Priceless..

  14. Chad H.

    Breathe people.

    Read it all. The increase is for BB only customers.

    Clearly this is more about getting people onto their bundles, you can probably get one at the same price as standalone now.

  15. Enrico Vanni

    Could be worse...

    You could be getting conned into a two-year broad-band/TV contract with the sweetener of a new European Football Channel (which after one year becomes worthless when said provider loses their right to European Champions League games).....

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    50Mbit/s

    "£26.50 a month for entry-level download speeds of up to 50Mbit/s"

    I would pay them twice that to get that connection.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: 50Mbit/s

      Back in Sept. 2000 when I was one of the first in my area to get cable, it cost nearly twice that for 512Kb/64Kb and NO ONE could offer anything better yet. At least not at a consumer price.

  17. mtp

    Rotating price rises but cable broadband is excellent

    I have virgin cable tv, phone and broadband. Every 6 months to a year I get a letter saying

    TV prices are going up by X% but dont worry - we are not touching phone or broadband.

    6 months later....

    Phone prices are going up by X% but dont worry - we are not touching TV or broadband.

    6 months later....

    Broadband prices are going up by X% but dont worry - we are not touching TV or phone.

    The annoying thing is that I only have the phone line to report faults on the broadband and at the moment the phone line is broken. I must find a way to get that fixed - probably when the broadband next breaks.

    The cable TV is rubbish - the bandwidth is so tiny that even the static logos on the top right are shimmering with artifacts.

    That being said the broadband is excellent - this is the only reason why I stick with them. Just switch to a alternative DNS such as 8.8.8.8 because the standard one produces non standard responses to invalid URLs.

    The fact that there is a broadband only service is news to me - that has been well hidden!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Rotating price rises but cable broadband is excellent

      "alternative DNS such as 8.8.8.8 because the standard one produces non standard responses to invalid URLs"

      You can switch that off. Don't ask me where or how. I did it as soon as it was made available in my area after hearing about when it was first being trialled some years back. It's somewhere in your account settings on their website. The setting is serverside, linked to your account so applies to all devices at your end.

  18. Daggerchild Silver badge

    In *my* day...

    I have fond memories of getting Internet cable connectivity from Virgin (or whoever they bought who bought whoever bought whoever originally laid that cable) at speeds plenty good enough for me, for about half what I have to pay them now for the same usage.

    I also remember them forcing my bill up by unmaking my low speed tariff and 'force upgrading' me to bandwidths I neither wanted nor needed, several times.

    I dump Virgin next month. Yay!

  19. K0de

    Where else?

    To the people gleefully telling us they left VM, please let me know where I can get 120mbit (soon to be 152mbit) for around the same price?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    disappointment

    as I've wanted to both ditch adsl and stick a finger at bt (landline rip-off) in exchange for the "world-renown" (not) virginal (not) cable internet.

    no, I don't need to watch porn at 4K all day, but I do have a lot of data to shift via ftp, and adsl ftp "shaping" is tedious (past-midnight traffic is unmetered, but it still sucks up electricity). While virgin appears to offer indecent customer support, the speed factor is (was) considerably attractive. But then, beggers can't be choosers, and with the hikes over the last year, virgin has moved out of my price bracket.

  21. damien c

    Will Stick With Them

    I don't really care about a £1.50 price increase or what ever it turns out to be, since they are the only provider that can give me a decent speed with 99% uptime and also a really low ping for games.

    I have no issues uploading or downloading, I downloaded nearly 2Tb of data last week and uploaded 45 to youtube each video was about 3.5Gb, thanks to having to use a stupidly high bit-rate to avoid the video looking like garbage, thanks to youtube compressing every video and killing the quality.

    BT and others can only offer me a maximum of 37Mb down and 18Mb up, and a ping of around 45ms to game servers within the UK, on Virgin I get 120Mb down and 12Mb up every day every hour without fail and a ping of around 19ms to UK gameservers, and if I go to a server in France or Germany it increases to around 35ms which is still better than, the ping I would get on BT to UK servers.

    I do know that my area is about to have allot of work done on it, so the pings and reliability will get even better, and I do know that, that work is going on round the country as one thing that LG are doing is making sure the network can handle the speeds, and then those areas get the 152Mb upgrade.

    1. e^iπ+1=0

      Re: Will Stick With Them

      Sounds like you're just happy to roll over for the latest price increases from a monopoly provider.

      OK, you could just switch to ADSL. However, isn't it time that cable providers such as Virgin are obliged to share their last mile networks in the same way as BT etc are.

      Hello regulator.

  22. Vince

    You have to love Virgin Media (NOT).

    We're the only operator you can have broadband without a phone line.

    Sure, but you're also the only operator who doesn't need It for any technical reason that charges more not to have a phone line you literally don't need making the pricing basically the same.

  23. David 155

    Monopoly

    In the name of competition, why arent they forced to open up their network to other 'providers'? Is that not what happened to BT?

    1. e^iπ+1=0

      Re: Monopoly

      Agreed,

      However they probably fall outside the current definition of monopoly (is a BT line available).

  24. Lallabalalla

    So - lots of whining, but.....

    as a VM customer with cable.... who SHOULD I be getting broadband from? Not BT, not Plusnet, TalkTalk NEVER .... any suggestions?

    1. Lallabalalla

      Re: So - lots of whining, but.....

      Nobody, then. They're all crap.

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