back to article Virgin Media only adds another 127,000 homes to Project Lightning

UK cable biz Virgin Media added just 127,000 extra peeps to its superfast broadband programme during its second quarter – putting the outfit behind its 2017 target for the £3bn Project Lightning network expansion. Virgin Media had intended to connect an extra 700,000 to 800,000 homes in the UK this year with speeds of up to …

  1. Richard Jones 1
    WTF?

    Time To Re-Brand?

    Perhaps as Virgin Mirage?

    Maybe it explains or at least aligns with a little of the BT issue with growing its service capabilities?

  2. Plunn

    Perhaps signups are not as expected as potential customers are not wanting a cable modem that opens them up to a DoS attack or being the point of a botnet as well a being laggy as hell for anything real-time.

    Virgin and Intel continue to sweep this under the carpet and role out these models that are full of vulnerabilities without warning customers. All this and Virgin are increasing prices in November. The upside is that the price increase opens a window to leave them, there is a clause in the contract.

  3. Ryan Kendall

    Would love to join

    Would love to be a customer but they drag their knuckles of giving me an estimate date/year.

    1. Mark 110

      Re: Would love to join

      Likewise - I was a very happy customer for over 10 years until I moved house two years ago. Moved two miles up the road into the city centre and now the best I can get is 11 Mbps adsl.

      1. Blueman

        Re: Would love to join

        Hey, I live in a "fully cabled" city in the middle of a "fully cabled" estate in a "fully cabled" postcode where VM decided to end the cable 50 yards before the end of the cul-de-sac.

        Me, I'd sign up with them tomorrow, pity they can't be arsed to connect the dozen or so houses they ignored first time round

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Would love to leave

          Me, I'd sign up with them tomorrow,

          One of the few.

          The failure of Project Lightning to recruit vast numbers of new customers (and the poor ratio of properties passed to properties connected) is probably down to the poor value and reputation Virgnmedia have for ever-escalating prices. Just been told the thieves are putting up prices again by 5% of my total bill, making the price increases over the past three years 31%. I'll wager that VM staff haven't had a 30% pay rise in that period.

          Obviously, if you have no other broadband alternative, you may feel compelled, but otherwise I'd recommend staying away from Virginmedia. Generally works well, but reliability can be patchy, support can be poor, but its the price that is the real killer. I'm phoning them up to give them notice, and going back to VDSL, where I can at least have some choice of provider.

        2. circusmole

          I've given up on them.

          For the past 6 months or so Virgin have been digging trenches and laying cables in the streets in my area (and causing chaos, I might add). Several times I have spoken to them and they ALWAYS say that they can connect me "by the end of next week" - they have been saying that for at least 2 months now. I, and several people in the area, have given up on them and are now trying to get get BT/Openreach to connect us to their FTTC service instead - one person has been successful so far. Me? I'm still waiting for BT and Virgin and having to exist on my 2Mb ADSL service :-(

      2. aaaashy

        Re: Would love to join

        i was a happy customer of theirs for nearly two decades, and then i moved 15 doors down the same road (3 years ago), went through a different street box and watched my speeds tumble from "as advertised" to nowhere near the advertised speed (300Mb/s only gives me 6Mb/s in the evening and weekends)

    2. ICPurvis47 Bronze badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Would love to join

      I was a VM customer since the ntl: days (ie, before VM even existed). I have recently been forced to move house, but I chose to move to a small village near the welsh border. VM refused to extend my connection, they apparently don't include Wales as part of the civilised world, and they refuse to use Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) to install their kit in a BT box, despite the fact it is only 3 miles from their nearest hub. I was extremely pissed off that they tried to charge me £30 "disconnection fee", I had a big argument with their Regional Manager and pointed out that it was they that disconnected me, not the other way round, as I was still asking for their service to continue. I am now with BT, but their service is nowhere near as good as I had with VM.

  4. mdubash

    VM are building a network in my town and I have to say that, on researching it more thoroughly, I'm just not that impressed with the offering.

    It's mostly gazillions of channels full of crap I wouldn't want to watch anyway, plus the much-vaunted 300Mbps broadband speed with the top bundle. I'm now on VDSL over FTTC which gets me 70Mbps and that's fine for high-res video streaming and the odd download. As for content, Freesat delivers most of the stuff I watch anyway (er) free, and the odd bit of content I do want really isn't worth the £100 a month that VM is asking.

    What's not OK about the VM offer is the upload speed, which is pegged (if you look hard enough for the details) at 20Mbps - which the same as I have now. Were VM offering a more symmetrical service, that would make it more attractive. But at £40 a month and up, this offering doesn't cut it for me.

    1. Mark 110

      Its not pegged iirc. Can't remember the details as its too long ago that I worked for Telewest but seem to remember its a constraint of the DOCSIS standard. Might have moved on these days but thats how it was in the old days.

      1. Korev Silver badge

        You can get cable connections with 50Mb up here in Switzerland with UPC. I assume Vigrin could also do the same.

        1. Korev Silver badge

          I just realised that Virgin and UPC are now the same company (Liberty Global), so they really have no excuse!

        2. inmypjs Silver badge

          "You can get cable connections with 50Mb up here in Switzerland"

          Virgin deliberately cripple upload speeds to discourage P2P bandwidth and (as one their sales droids told me) running servers. I think their offerings are 50/3 100/6 200/10 or 200/20 if you pay extra for the 'gaming' package. They put additional restriction on uploads during peak times. It really is quite crappy, although I might be a bit out of date with their offers.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not pegged

        Docsis 3 does not force you to use more channels for download than channels for upload.

        https://volpefirm.com/docsis101_upstream-rf/

        and

        https://kb.netgear.com/24802/DOCSIS-2-vs-DOCSIS-3-differences

        and

        http://www.cablelabs.com/full-duplex-docsis/

        If you look at 3.1 full duplex that solves 100% of the problem... still..

        The new hub supports 3.1, and the project is basically docsis 3.1 and as far as I know, the full duplex version (or at leas capable).

        Still, with old modems they are capable of offering 100Mbps.. yet refuse to do so, maybe they have a fixed number of down/up channels ratio in their equipment.. that would mean really old equipment.

        Anon, as I would not say "no" to a job offer from them...

        1. Carl Thomas

          Re: Not pegged

          The newest hub does not support DOCSIS 3.1, let alone full duplex DOCSIS, which has no CPE available right now commercially as it's barely off the drawing board.

          They cannot run with as many channels up as down. There are no 3.0 CPE that support more than 8 x 6.4 MHz, 64 QAM channels up, while they support 24 - 32 x 8 MHz 256 QAM channels down.

          With standard DOCSIS 3.0 kit and a mid-split network they are looking at 80 MHz total for upstream, with some of the lower bandwidth unusable, and 900 MHz + for downstream, all usable where not used elsewhere. Slight asymmetry.

          Upstream will increase once VM have completed the program to bond 4 upstream channels.

          Other than those minor factual inaccuracies an excellent post my Anonymous friend.

      3. NeilPost Bronze badge

        So, what their fibre's don.t go to the proprety - shame on Ricgard Branson and Usain Bolt.for giving the impressions that their "Fibre" was all the way.

        I guess their Copper to the property is a little better being co-ax than BT's twin pair.

  5. ida71u

    Dig some holes

    WSM is crying out for cable, as are many other places, but they can't be bothered to dig more holes, its cheaper to upgrade existing fibre provided cabs than add new ones in new areas :(

    1. Carl Thomas

      Re: Dig some holes

      WSM may well be a long way from existing VM network. They aren't going to spend a fortune getting to WSM before even passing any premises if they've no network nearby when there are a bunch of premises near existing core network they haven't deployed to.

    2. NeilPost Bronze badge

      Re: Dig some holes

      Don;t forget digging holes bankrupted NTL Telewest, allowing VM to weasel out debt free into Richard Branson's arms.... destoying £bn's of shareholder value.

      Highly unlikely Liberty Media are going to spend money on resuming the digging, when they have F1 to pay for,... wonder how long until they bin Sky's rights for F1 and make it VM exclusive.

  6. Slx

    The Virgin Media UK cable network spec must have been lower bandwidth than what Liberty / UPC were doing elsewhere. For example, Virgin Media on the former UPC network in the Republic of Ireland offer 360Mbit/s domestic and 500mbit/s business connections almost everywhere that's cabled.

    We're still trailing the UK on average broadband speeds, but I'd say a large drag factor is the high level of rural homes in the Republic, urban broadband is pretty decent if you are able to get cable and FTTC is 100mbit/s

    1. Carl Thomas

      Indeed it is. One of the first things Liberty did was rebuild much of the network. It was in a terrible state and most of it couldn't handle broadband of any description.

      The network VM had in the UK was mostly okay, so they had less of a commercial case to upgrade it. In addition VM are rather bound by the need to offer the same service everywhere. They offer different services in different areas and people lose their excrement.

      1. Commswonk Silver badge

        people lose their excrement.

        Is that spontaneously or do they get sufficient warning to be civilised about it?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Is that spontaneously or do they get sufficient warning to be civilised about it?

          It is when you get yet another email telling you that the bastards are stiffing you for another double digit annual price rise. Virginmeda & Liberty Global management are thieving tossers, I hope they go bust.

  7. Chris 125

    The best thing VM have done recently is to increase their prices so I can leave my contract halfway through.

    I went two weeks without any connection at all. I was lied to and fobbed off every single day by call agents. I've now gone a further 6 weeks with repeated disconnections - 10-20 times per day on average.

    Now the price is going from £25 a month for 50/3Mb to nearly £30, I might as well jump ship to Plusnet for a 76/20Mb for £29.99 and I can use just a VDSL router, not a router plus their Superhub. They guarantee me 58Mb down which is fair

  8. NeilPost Bronze badge

    Are they expanding thhe netowrk or not ??

    I could not make head nor tail form this story, if they were expanding their network, or it was just new customers. to the existing infrastructure ???

    Customer: "I live in a large village, not in the deep sticks but one quite close to a larger town. Can I get Virgin Media."

    VM: "Guffaw, sorry we don't do out of town", it smells of cow poo don't you know.

  9. Nick London
    FAIL

    I am a Virgin Media customer is this related to the call from a call centre by a foreign lady whose English was so poor that I could not understand her. She also rang me on my VM mobile and asked my address but I know they have it so I asked her to prove she was from Virgin and she could not so I said e-mail me the information.

    No wonder they cant sell their broad band. VM Community Forum has many examples of this way of not selling.

    I suspect it is a case of penny wise pound foolish.

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