back to article Lightning speed – how fast is that again? Virgin plugs in another 102k to superfast broadband

Virgin Media has so far managed just 1.7 million Lightning connections, nearly halfway to its original stated aim of connecting 4 million premises by the end of 2019 to speeds of 300Mbps. The British ISP continued to expand its superfast broadband network, Project Lightning, at a relatively slow pace – adding 102,000 " …

  1. g7rpo

    Truly Terrible Service

    I gave up 200Meg to drop to 63 from BT purely due to the shit service I recived due to massive contention delivering less than 1meg during the day.

    3 AM was lovely

    would never go back to

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Truly Terrible Service

      Had Virgin Media with Basic TV, Phone Line and Broadband.

      It was costing £65 per month (other half signed up for it before I was around). I had been meaning to get rid of it for ages but didn't get around to it.

      However the WiFi hub would stop supporting devices after a certain amount were on and the box would need rebooting. Very variable speeds from it. iPlayer buffered a lot through the vbox but was fine on a laptop. The vBox was ridiculously slow. It would take about a minute to open iplayer and find the program to watch, on the Samsung iplayer on the TV it would take about 15 seconds. Even had the broadband data reduced to a tiny level because a CCTV camera had been storing video to the 'cloud' for most of the day as it was detecting motion while working outside (very limited amount of upload was allowed for some reason, only found this out buried in their Ts & Cs)

      So moved over to Freesat (there was an old satellite on the side of the house from previous owners and got more channels for free than the Virgin basic TV package, since swapped to an Aerial and Freeview and get more channels again). Can still record and timeshift with a USB stick in the side of the TV although can't record/watch more two channels at once.

      Have a faster broadband connection, much better wifi hub, never need rebooting. Telephone line still there and the cost is now about £20 a month.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Virgin Lightning at 300 Mbps

    Once upon a time, circa 2:17pm on 23 April 2014, our house was connected to the Interweb with a strand of fiber optic cable.

    We started with 200 Mbps, which was very nice.

    A couple of years later, after we made an inquiry about cost, the Telco backspaced out the "200" and typed in "300" Mbps. And it was so.

    Then, at some point where we failed to even notice, the Telco silently backspaced out the "300" and typed in "500" Mbps. They forgot to tell us. And we didn't even notice any difference, because FAST is nearly as fast as F-N-FAST.

    None of this required anyone to visit our house (all equipment is inside, so we would have noticed).

    A few weeks ago, after we made an inquiry about cost, they sent out a nice technician to install a new ONT and Router. He then clicked on "1.5 Gbps" and it was so.

    Point being, once you have fiber optic connection, the sky is the limit. Ours will probably go to 10+ Gbps at some point, maybe.

  3. wyatt

    One of the reasons I've just had 'full fibre' installed by BT/Zen. Once it's in, it's an (fairly) unlimited pipe.

    1. CountCadaver

      Migrating to Zen currently, albeit on FTTC fibre1, mainly as FTTP is still "on demand" in locale as is G Fast.... and I hate to think how much it would cost to connect up over about a mile and half between me and the cab.

      Though rumour has it they are looking at fibre nodes in the underground chambers (under the concrete panels) which would cut my FTTC distance down to <50 metres, though they are talking more and more about FTTP/FTTH over GFast due to Gigaclear et al encroaching on "their" turf and rolling out full fibre, which has forced openreach to up their game, albeit it'll probably still be closer to 2030-2040 if at all before they do my town... :(

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why downvoted?

  4. Tromos

    "...continuing to deliver excellent returns on investment."

    If I understand correctly, the above statement is an admission that the service is grossly overpriced.

  5. Kev99

    I'd be ecstatic 50Mbps sevice instead of our current POS <2.75Mbps from Frontier. And Frontier refuses to do anything to upgrade our service.

  6. Donchik

    Revenue Generating Units?

    Really?

    As the only way to get a marginally acceptable cable price was to accept a "Loyalty" bundle including a landline phone that has not been used in 6 months it's not surprising to see voice revenue decline. Their phone was always over priced, only the early fibre made it a viable option.

    Fibre has been generally ok, but always necessary to chase them about price rises.

    I'd happily shift to alternative fibre options but do not have, or want, a fixed telco line installed. I suspect that makes me an easy mark for Virgin as well...

    1. pogul

      Re: Revenue Generating Units?

      Just be careful... I ported my phone over to a VoIP provider and asked Virgin to cancel my phone line - based on the bill breakdown they provided each month, this should have saved me a substantial amount of money each month.

      My bill went up.

      Virgin explained this is because it was in a bundle price - strange that the bill breakdown didn't show it that way at all - and that it was cheaper if I got phone too. I ended up pursuading them to give me internet only at a reasonably sensible price (the new customer price) but only after a fight.

      All this came after an enormous argument to get them to lay the cable under our drive way in the conduit I'd got builders to install.

      1. Nick Kew Silver badge

        Re: Revenue Generating Units?

        Careful with that!

        When your Virgin line plays sillybuggers, you could find yourself where I was two years ago, with a line that's unusable for VOIP (or much else). I found I had to switch my telephony to exclusively O2: either my mobile number, or VOIP over their 3G and 4G data.

        And Virgin's customer service is in a class of own in terms of fortification against ever being contacted when your service fails.

  7. Rudolph Hucker the Third

    Any Gigaclear customers out there who can provide feedback on their experience?

    They say 900Mbps FTTP (?)

    1. Douchus McBagg

      My parents are out in the sticks had to suffer 1.5/2down and 0.5up for years. are now getting their payback as they have gigaclear FTTP, on the lowest tier, and that's 100down/100up with no issues for the last few of years. they could go gig up/gig down, but they "don't see the need" to pay for it.

      they've certainly not had any snotty letters on downloads; as i think i've been dumping about 2TB a month (when i remember to kick off an offsite backup), onto a server i've got stashed at their house, and they've not noticed anything making their netflix/iplayer stuff glitch.

      I've been running on Plusnet with my own static IP (£5 one off charge), 80/20 speed, and they've not complained either about the 2TB a month upload from my house.

      while Virgin offer drool worthy speed. i'm skeptical about contention ratios if that's even a thing with cable, "unlimited" limits, and historically their upload speeds have always been pants.

  8. steelpillow Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Air fibre

    Utterly unable to get domestic FTTP (fibre to the premises) here, not even BT's fibre-to-a-nearby-cabinet substitute. But wa-hey, I have a 4G signal. One trip to my phone provider's shop and chat to a sales bod, and now I have a nice Huawei 4G/LTE/Wifi/Ethernet router humming away noticeably faster than my bad joke of a never-got-near-the-specced-2M landline could ever muster. Cost is also a lot cheaper than any BT landline + conventional ISP combo, so guess what is about to go bye-byes.

    Will be interesting to see how takeup compares to FTTP. Roll on these "5G" enhanced 4G technologies, I say.

    (Ironic icon for Huawei conspiracy theories. Frankly, even in the remote chance that there is anything to them, the Chinese government will be even less interested in my shit than the UK one.)

  9. dave 81
    Unhappy

    Anything but Virgin

    Would love high speed internet, but after multiple bad experiences, with NTL/Virgin I will almost certainly stick with what I can get elsewhere (currently a crappy 35Mbit) than go back to the lying thieving bastards.

  10. DJV Silver badge

    "While there is a lot of talk on network build, Virgin Media is delivering"

    Not on IPv6, they're not! It's still only rolling out to a few customers.

  11. bobjimwhit

    i must have a different Virgin to all those who complain.

    I have been with them since before blueyonder, before yorkshire cable became virgin

    350 internet, weekend phone (only because it's cheaper to have a phone line then not)

    TVMix, (two boxex a V6 and a Tivo)

    let me down once in all the years I can remember,

    £67.00 a month

    for the second box to show the same selection of programs as the first (multiroom) £7.50 a month,

    thats in the £67.00 allready quoted.

    even get a "magic eye" for virgin these days, and its hdmi quality not the silly old coax you use with sky.

    BT and SKY have both tried to poach me but the best either could offer was 16Mb, and SKY wanted over £80

    no chance.....

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "TVMix, (two boxex a V6 and a Tivo)"

      You'll get a free self-install V6 to replace the Tivo sometime.

      When I first upgraded to Tivo, they sent it and told me I could keep the old box and it would continue to work (I already had a second tv Coax in another room). Then a free upgrade to a V6 happened and I was told I could keep the Tivo. The other week, I got a phone call to say they would be sending out a V6 to replace the old Tivo, so now I have two V6 boxes. I've never paid for nor requested any sort of multiroom other than many years ago when son still lived here and had his own cable box in his room. I also got a free 500GB HDD out of the Tivo before I dropped the rest of it off at the WEEE section of the recycling centre.

      Also, never had any issue with VM/BlueYonder/Telewest/United Artists other than one failed cable modem that got replaced within two days and The Great New Year Outage when, IIRC, the major headend at Knowsley flooded and pretty much the entire network keeled over for a day or so.

  12. mazzy2u2

    I'm on Virgin and have had no broadband for 5 days so far.... As for the auto compensation thing, ofcom stated "2 working days" so as it went down Friday, the weekend didn't count nor did the bank holiday so the 2 working days rule didn't kick in till Tuesday... So no compensation but still expected to pay the bill in full, assuming that Virgin fix the problem before Thursday. Customer service is absolutely shite. No access to fibre as my line is an exchange only one and this is in central London... I have zero confidence in Virgin so while thir fast speed is enticing the dreadful customer service is making me think twice about staying with them.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      That's only the Ofcom mandated minimum compensation plan. Once it's fixed, and assuming you rang to complain when it first went off, phone customer services and complain about how long it's been off. They'll almost certainly credit your account with £10-20, usually without quibble.

  13. DuncanLarge Silver badge

    Uploads

    Does this lightening upgrade fix the disparity with upload vs download speeds?

    I have 50GiB of data I wish to archive to Amazon S3. Doing the sums it looks like I will be waiting a while for that to finish at the measly 6Mb/s Virgin currently give me with my "upto 100Mb/s" package.

    That 50GiB is really just the icing on the cake as I must also capture many of my HD miniDV tapes, to which I still record home videos to. Each tape is holding about 10GiB of video per hour.

    Then there are all the photos I have taken over many years, many more of which are on film and are going to be digitised. This is on top of the new film photos I'm taking plus the RAW images from my DSLR.

    I'm backing this all up to HDD and certain files also to BD-R. Amazon S3 is the last stage in this backup process. But my current upload speed from virgin is pitiful to say the least.

    Oh and the router is a 6 year old superhub 2 and is crap.

  14. GreenReaper

    I was one of those 37,000. No wonder revenue is flat when they were offering 100Mbps @ £18.75/month for 12 months after discounts, including install. I think they're trying to lock in customers to fend off G.Fast/FTTP. Turns out a little competition helps!

  15. Yakuzah

    Virgin are shocking

    Virgin wonder why they are not making money. Here is why... Two years ago they started installing fibre in our area. Working throughout the summer. By Christmas of that year they had stopped. They never came back! They called half a town and then abandoned the installation.

    Virgin apparently run out of money to finish the installation!! They reputedly spent around 3 million installing fibre only to abandon everything and never go live. What sort of business decision is that!? Shocking

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