back to article Virgin Media promises speeds of 1Gpbs to 15 million homes – all without full fibre

Virgin Media has promised speeds of 1Gbps to 15 million homes by the end of 2021 – although that won't be on full fibre. The company's daddy, Liberty Global, has spent billions expanding its network, said the firm. As part of the blueprint, more than a million people will be able to access broadband speeds of 1Gbps by the end …

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  1. TrevorH

    Have they fixed their crappy "superhub v3" so that it actually works yet? The one with the dodgy Intel chipset.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My wifi died about a week after I got it a few months ago, it's not worked since.

      Absolute crap.

      ( I have a range extender which I thought would be better than arguing with their support )

      1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        I put mine into modem mode and bought Netgear’s Orbi network mesh system. It does the job and Virgin is the fastest you can get in my area (measuring 350 Mbs download)

    2. Anonymous Tribble

      I had to use mine in "modem mode" with a separate router because I couldn't change its local subnet to match the range I was using. Also I couldn't disable the dreaded SIP ALG option which was essential for the VoIP phone I was using.

      I was happy with the original superhub until it died.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I used to but moved house with different virgin modem and it just refuses to work... I need to do some troubleshooting as I reckon it's a packet issue but not got time...

    3. Mrs Doyles Teacup

      It works fine.

      As soon as I learnt that was patched I upgraded to a v3 and have had zero issues with it, gaming and torrenting daily. Lots of internal network use with Plex also.

      1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Re: It works fine.

        Works "ok", it simply cannot work properly, there are hardware bugs.

        If you start using the wify a lot, then it wont work properly..

    4. phuzz Silver badge
      Meh

      We used ours for a little while when there was something wrong with modem mode, and I found that the wifi password had to contain two numbers. One was too few, three was too many, none was right out. It had to be exactly two.

      Then we went back to using modem mode with an Asus router with Merlin's firmware and it's been just fine. I think we're on whatever their highest tier is at the moment and it's more than fast enough for a house of four.

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    202?

    Don't worry BT, 5G will come to your rescue. It is the promised land isn't it?

    Personally, I'll possibly start to believe their [cough, cough] promises when Openretch start putting fibre in for people with phone lines that arrive overhead.

    1. Zola

      Re: 202?

      > when Openretch start putting fibre in for people with phone lines that arrive overhead.

      Don't forget ADSL users stuck on Exchange-only lines for whom Openreach have no fibre migration plans whatsoever - you'd think these users would be a shoe-in for Openreach fibre, particularly when the exchange is less than 200 metres away. But no.

      Not that I care any more - the development where I live (Exchange-only ADSL lines, 20Mbps down/1Mbps up) recently had Hyperoptic installed so now I'm on 1Gbps up/down with VoIP telephony for about the same price I was paying BT for a landline and their 20Mbps/1Mbps service. It's like night & day.

      1. sebbb

        Re: 202?

        It's all about willingness. In Italy VDSL on exchange-only lines (or "rigid" as they call them) has been deployed with 8b (higher power, frequency shifted) profile and off you go.

  3. Oliver Mayes

    My virgin media connection is sold as "upto 200Mb/s". It runs at between 50 and 80 at all times. If they can't yet deliver the advertised speeds to their current customers how are they going to achieve any of these ridiculous speeds outside of London?

    1. cosymart
      Happy

      My virgin media is advertised as upto 150Mb/s and is up there 90% of the time so no complaints here. What has London to do with anything? Their "superhub" is anything but and easily fixed by flipping to Modem only mode and attaching a decent router. Simples :-)

      1. Dan White

        I tried running mine in modem mode. Didn't work, wouldn't talk to the real router. I've had to resort to leaving it in router mode with WiFi disabled which is bloody stupid.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "I tried running mine in modem mode. Didn't work, wouldn't talk to the real router. I've had to resort to leaving it in router mode with WiFi disabled which is bloody stupid."

          Did you read the instructions? In modem mode, there is a specific port you must use to connect your router. The other ports don't work if you turn off the internal router.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "...easily fixed by flipping to Modem only mode and attaching a decent router. Simples :-)"

        Easily fixed by re-configuring and adding an additional piece of equipment that you purchse yourself and then configure yourself. That's not easily fixed or simples. Hitting it with a hammer on the top once to fix it permanently would be an easy fix. Even better the 'easy fix' would be for Virgin to acknowledge their hardware doesn't work and stop sending it out and replace it for everyone who has received it, rather than pretend you're the first person they've heard of with 'this issue'.

        If you think that is an easy fix then tell your non-technical friend how easy it is to fix and see if they also find it easy.

        1. illiad

          so be a **good** friend to your non-technical friend, I am sure they will get you a pint or two (or similar units of gratitude! :) ), as what they understand by the main sentence is

          ' ..easily fixed by fling flin minn only nnnng and attaching douubie roood.. simples (is he selling insurance??) '

          You have to remember that FREE things come with the service, and are made to a PRICE, NOT performance...

          Anonymous Coward

          "...easily fixed by flipping to Modem only mode and attaching a decent router. Simples :-)"

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "You have to remember that FREE things come with the service, and are made to a PRICE, NOT performance.."

            You seem to be an apologist for VM. They are not free, you pay for it by signing up to their service and paying a premium price. Just because this is 'made to a price' you would still expect it to actually work and you would expect them to fix it if it doesn't - especially as the service relies on it. They should not just tell customers to reboot it and say they haven't heard of this problem before.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >My virgin media is advertised as upto 150Mb/s and is up there 90% of the time so no complaints here.

        Don't boast, just means they've not reached their target saturation yet - tell all your neighbours it's utter crap and recommend they go with BT - maybe you'll continue to ride the crest.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      Mine is 70 and I get 70 100% of the times I’ve checked it.

      My complaint is that I can’t have a slower service for a lower price, I don’t need half of that speed.

      1. David Harper 1

        Mine is also allegedly 70, but it drops to half that (or less) every evening and most of the weekend. I know, because I monitor it.

    3. Michael B.

      My anecdote is that my VM connection is sold as up to 350 and often I get 105% of that. My connection was, until recently, monitored by Sam knows so I know for certain that I got the speeds promised.

      1. Bronk's Funeral

        Mmm, I regularly got around 400 on mine—faster than the Hyperoptic GIGABIT ULTRABLAST package I ditched it for often manages.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Another VM with SamKnows monitoring

      I've had SamKnows logging my VM connection for many years now. Always makes me laugh when I see "AVG 251Mbps" on my 200Mbps line. I'm Brighton based and do home IT support and see the awful connections some people get on Openreach cables. Comically shocking.

      Note: I also have the hub in Modem mode using my own router behind it.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      220Mbs

      i get 220Mbs from the advertised 200Mbs connection. Best and most reliable ISP I've had. So I can't complain either. And I'm nearer to Birmingham than London.

    6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "these ridiculous speeds outside of London?"

      Mine VM connection is advertised as 100Mb/s and that's what I consistently get. And I'm not even in London!!!

      (I could upgrade, but don't see the need just now)

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I get every bps of the 350Mb/s that was advertised and I'm from the north.

      ( The actual north, not the North of London )

  4. Gonzo wizard
    FAIL

    Don't forget the price cut

    I'm dumping Virgin Media next month. The internet connection (for me) has been fine. What isn't fine is the regular (slightly more frequently than once a year) price rises - the next one is 7% in September. I'm off to pastures new for a faster connection and lower price. Their notification even had the cheek to tell me that if I cancel before 21st August there will be "no cancellation charges". Uh guys, I'm outside my contract term...

    1. Alan Sharkey

      Re: Don't forget the price cut

      I was told about a price rise. I had 200mb + free phone calls and all TV apart from the movies.

      After a couple of false starts, I spoke to a lovely lady who offered me 500mb/s, free phone calls, all TV including movies and a sim card for my mobile with unlimited 4G - for £15/month less than I was paying. All on a 12 month contract.

      Of course, I said yes!!!

      Alan

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't forget the price cut

        Always check what discounted prices and packages VM are offering to new customers as that can give a solid "why are they getting more than I am paying more for" basis for complaint. Even if you only wrangle a no cost upgrade it becomes better value than it would have been.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't forget the price cut

        Beware the introductory offers, you pay more in the long run

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't forget the price cut

      Ring them up and if your polite they will drop the price. To be fair to Virgin nothing comes close to them in regards to speed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't forget the price cut

        I rang them up and told them I was leaving and they did offer a price drop but I'd already done my sums to realise that there's no way they could match what I could get. Their standard TV package is so basic that both freeview and freesat offer much choice and for free. They also have the option of often being integrated directly into the TV so you don't need to use a separate box and remote unless you want multi channel simultaneous recording. The Virgin Box I had was also sooo slow. The thought of using iPlayer on it just sent a shiver as it's be like walking through a pool of treacle. The iPlayer built into my TV worked at least 15 times faster.

        However you can't get it cheaper by removing the TV package. So to switch my TV top freeview/freesat and get a different phone line and broadband with a WiFI router that actually worked and didn't stop connections once there were more than 10 connections cost 1/3rd of Virgin for a better service in every respect. Plenty left over to pay for the odd Amazon Prime/Netflix/Now TV subscription as required.

        1. Sooty

          Re: Don't forget the price cut

          that bugs the hell out of me, i don't want the TV, I don't want the phone, I just want the broadband. but it's cheaper to get a bundle, or such a tiny amount more that i might as well.

          also that if you actually speak to someone they'll randomly go, oh, our current offering for your package is higher than that, and increase your speed straight away, but will only do it if you speak to someone, not automatically.

  5. James Anderson Silver badge

    Here in Spain the fibre rollout is well on the way.

    The main difference is that dozens of small local companies are driving the process.

    The enabler for this is small companies have the write to use Telefonica's existing cable ducting. I.E. they get to run thier fibre through Telefonica's holes in the ground. This was regarded as fare as most of this was built with tax payers money before nationalisation, and, the more recent infrastructure was put in place by property developers and handed over when development was finished.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Gosh!

      We should have that over here. If only there was some sort of trans-national organisation this country could join where standards could be raised across member states.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Gosh!

        A United Nations Organisation, AC?

      2. sebbb

        Re: Gosh!

        In Italy, Open Fiber (wholesale-only, 50% owned by the national electricity provider) is also rolling out FTTP at speed re-using their ducting and poles (outside cities), also when planning with councils they reuse as much as possible public lighting ducts to reduce the amount of digging. In 2015 we only recently started to have FTTC available, now every major city has access to 1Gbps FTTP. But it was the government, no EU legislation needed...

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Some rural parts of the UK are getting fibre thanks to local councils and fibre providers. My folks in the Cotswolds were approached by someone coming to the door asking whether they'd be interested in Gbps internet through fibre. The village had just had a company digging up the verge and installing it. Mum enquired whether it made emails go any faster or shopping on the M&S website. Saleswoman suggests that streaming would be faster etc. Mum says she doesn't do that and laughed out loud when she found out how much a month it was and the installation charges including the long way down the drive would be.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Coat

    "speeds of 1Gbps"

    Um sorry, that would be "speeds of up to 1Gbps".

    There, FTFY.

    1. simonlb
      Go

      Re: "speeds of 1Gbps"

      And for the majority of domestic users anything over 100Mbps would realistically be superfluous for them as they won't use anywhere near that bandwidth for well over 99% of the time, Windows updates notwithstanding.

      I'm on normal broadband with a fibre package and currently get around 15Mbps on an average day (just a bit too far from the exchange) and it's bearable unless I'm trying to run updates on two or more machines at the same time. At my old house I got 38Mbps and never noticed any issues no matter what anyone was doing on their machine/device. We have friends in a 10-year old house and they get 78Mbps all the time and never have any issues.

      Full fibre, when it finally gets here, will be a great thing to have, but for most peoples use-cases once you get above a certain speed the additional bandwidth benefits are marginal. Not that it's a nice thing to have though.

      1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Re: "speeds of 1Gbps"

        1Gbps down, 25Mbps up, I suspect...

        1. Mintyboy

          Re: "speeds of 1Gbps"

          "0.1Gbps down, 2.5Mbps up, I suspect..."

          FTFY

      2. Ragarath

        Re: "speeds of 1Gbps"

        Famous last words from many a person.

        1Gbps may not be required 100% of the time but when you do on occasion need it and it is not there you wonder what you are paying for.

        If we can (and we can) build the infrastructure to take more than that then we should. Let me use your above example with requirements now (not in the future) with that 78Mbps connection.

        My wife and I usually watch the same programs (streamed) at 1080p which is enough for us at this time but 4K is starting to look like the future more and more. Services for this vary on their recommendations (and I can't be bothered to do the maths now) between 15Mbps and 25Mbps. I'll settle in the middle at 20Mbps.

        Me and My Wife = 20Mbps, Daughter = 20Mbps, Son 1 = 20Mbps, Son 2 = 20Mbps, your 38Mbps is way too slow. If my wife and I want to watch separate programs then add another 20Mbps and I've already blown your 78Mbps. Yes it's not all the time but as I said when it's needed it's needed.

        And 8K is here too. I see no need for it but higher and higher fidelity is the future so double that in a few years, again a few after that and you can see why we need the provision and I've not even touch on other uses aside from TV that gobble as much bandwidth as possible.

        Let's actually build for the future for once rather than accepting second or third best. Do it once do it right, or am I too much of an optimist?

    2. PC Paul

      Re: "speeds of 1Gbps"

      I have the 200Mbps service and also signed up for a SamKnows white box - one that samples the speed and feeds it back for public viewing and to the ISPs. I don't know whether that helps me get better service (that was clearly my intention ;-) but I just checked the last six months data and apart from one or two week-long dropouts to a mere 45Mbps it's been 190-220 all the way. I'm happy enough, but these price rises are tiresome.

  7. DontFeedTheTrolls
    Mushroom

    Boris: "If the Spanish can do it, why can't we?"

    Since the Europeans are so good at things why are we cutting off our arms and legs in desperation to get away from them?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Taking back ctrl,my keyboard hasn't been right since the 70's

    2. Fonant

      1) Disaster capitalists like Rees-Mogg want to make their fortune.

      2) Avoiding EU tax-avoidance directives, our leaders like their comfortable tax havens.

  8. AndrueC Silver badge
    Meh

    It's great how the DOCSIS standard has evolved over the years but when all's said and done the cable is contended. Supporting Gb speeds is one thing, providing them to everyone who wants it at the same time could be another. Plus VM seem to always run their network hot. It's infamous for jitter and big swings between peak and off-peak speeds.

    On the plus side at the moment less than 2% of their customers have signed up to the fastest package so the cable contention is probably not an issue at the moment.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There's zero reason that all the customers will want 1 Gbps at the same time though. There's no use case for such speeds for the home user.

      DOCSIS 3.1 provides about 10 gigabits of download capacity, so it is oversubscribed but to what extent depends on how many people share the same node.

      An amendment of DOCSIS 3.1 uses the same RF spectrum on the cable for simultaneously upload and download, and thus provides fully symmetric speed. If this offering from Virgin is coming rather than already installed, if you're lucky they'll use equipment that supports that. Because usually it is the much lower upload capacity that causes problems - a few people doing bittorrent is all that's needed to soak it up and then ACKs get delayed and everything slows down.

      Presumably someone has designed or is working on a switched DOCSIS node, then you won't share your bandwidth with anyone on the node. It will be just like DSL and fiber at that point - the only barrier to getting your full speed will be upstream of the node.

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