back to article Virgin Media accused of shafting customers on upload rates

Virgin Media is facing charges from customers connected to certain parts of its network that it is misleading them about the speed of their broadband connections. Subscribers to the firm's cheapest "M" broadband package are told in publicity material they are able to upload data at 256Kbit/s, but a modem config file posted at …


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  1. Sam

    Virgin Media did not immediately respond to a request for comment today.

    No shit. (VM customer until they use phorm, them we're off forever.)

  2. Andy

    For me, at least -

    - the real problem was always that those upload speeds are pitiful, compared with other broadband offerings. Well, that and the numerous other failings of Virgin's service. 32kB/s, on a broadband line? It's just a bad joke.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bring back Telewest!

    Telewest were the best ISP this country had, shame it had to be brought down to this level.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh come on...

    ...they can't possibly claim any moral high ground in the misleading advertising category when earlier today I saw one of their advert for "fibre optic broadband" - Well done ASA numnuts, by the same definition my ADSL is also fibre optic.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    >"The difference in upload speed might seem trivial"

    Errm, a full 20% difference might seem trivial to you, but if so, I've got eighty quid's-worth of tenners here that I'd like to sell you for a ton, and you can take me up on the offer as many times as you like.

  6. Rob

    those uplaod speeds sound good to me

    lucky bastards getting upload speeds, my virgin cable connection has been shafted the last 2 weekends despite their 'server status' page saying all is fine and dandy.

    on top of the fact that downgrading from 20meg to 10 got me a faster connection in the end (still nowhere near 10 though) this is enough to send me to the shops for an adsl modem.

    enough's enough, i'm going to try sky bb.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    And NTL bought "Diamond Cable", which had even crappier cable in the ground...

  8. Eddie

    What a surprise...

    The company that has said that online speedtests can't reliably/accurately measure their mighty bit-pipes, that has the most restrictive speed caps of all providers, but still advertises themselves as unlimited, advertises prices that are in fact only available to new customers for a limited period, isn't reflecting accurately the real conditions on it's network on it's public facing pages.

    I always hoped the internet would be an egalitarian medium so that companies with practices as customer-unfriendly as VM could be named and shamed and changed. Naming and shaming works, but corporations have very thick skins and nothing changes.

    That said, I use VM for my telly, telephone and internet. Because, when you come down to it, they're all the same, and you get roughly the same service, and the same prevarications with all of them.

    Sucks a bit, when you think about it.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    A few words for Mr Branson.....

    Do yourself a favour mate, as the head of the Virgin brand and VM's biggest shareholder, and force a rebranding of this pitiful excuse for a telco.

    Because, just like the Virgin Rail brand did back in the late 90's, it is just making your company a laughing stock. (Virgin Rail now sits quite high in performance tables, so things can improve on paper, but people/comedians still use it as the benchmark/punchline of a poor rail service)

    I have been (an unwilling) customer of Virgin/Telewest/United Artists for 14 years now due to a combination of poor BT cabling/distance from exchange, restrictions on satellite dishes and no DVB-T reception (I don't even get all the channels clearly on analogue and no C5 at all). I have watched the quality of service deteriorate with every rebrand, while the prices go up.

    I'm moving house in 4 weeks, and I can assure you that Virgin Media will not be moving with me.

  10. Inachu

    Terrible news for those who use remote desktop

    This continues to hurt people who use remote desktop when they are on travel.

    What does their ISP do? throttle the bandwidth where connecting becomes pure hell.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Virgin Media did not immediately respond

    They never have and never will, respond immediatly to anything!

    I left them a long time ago. and am a happy BEing with my 2MBit upload.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    Lucky sods; I'm lucky to get 64kb/s (yes, that's kiloBITS) on Virgin (ex-NTL).

  13. Graham Jordan

    DO you know what I love about Virgin's traffic shaping?


    You'd think for £37 a month they'd allow me, if not encourage me to rape the hell out of the internet so I keep paying for the dam thing. Alas I hit that magic barrier, I slow down to a demoralising speed only to see it shoot up 5 hours. When I go to bed.

    If I can hit that magic 3gb barrier in less than 45 minutes I dread to think what's likely to happen when they upgrade to 50mb. They could be shooting themselves in the foot unless they up the cap, whats the point in having 50mb broadband if you get capped to 5mb in a matter of minutes?

  14. Stephen Hunt

    You don't know how lucky you are....

    In my day, we didn't get an upload speed.

    We had to save any data we wanted to upload onto floppy disks and post the disks to our ISP.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Bring back Telewest!

    I totally agree, back when they were Telewest they offered a great service and didn't have any of this throttling crap. These days their service sucks and you can't get more than an hour's worth of full bandwidth without being kneecapped.

  16. Andy

    i keep seeing those "true 10mb broadband" adverts....

    and then i see conversation threads like this one. eff virgin.

    i've got sky bb max (unlimited) , and i'm currently torrenting at about 3.5Mb down, 0.6Mb up. and apparently i'm a bit of a way out from the exchange. but i'll turn over about 25GB down, 8GB up a day.

    i've got uploading limited to 60KBs as i need some bandwidth for my "logmein" connection from work

    its effing great! thanks sky for removing your "fair use policy" :-)

  17. Jared Earle

    Time for a change

    I switched from Virgin to BeThere about 6 months ago. I've not regretted it once.

    My internet went from unusable (Virgin's customer support couldn't work out why - it turned out I was being throttled into oblivion during peak hours) to perfectly smooth once I'd ditched big red.

    As a bonus, I got to stop worrying about Phorm.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    " i'll turn over about 25GB down, 8GB up a day."

    Of WHAT? I'm all for a bit of piracy but people like you are the reason they have throttling. I'm not saying I agree with it, but I blame mongs like you who download a billion GB of shit every day just as much as I blame them.

  19. Dave Ross

    @Stephen Hunt

    Bloody luxury!

    In my day we had to chisel the information into clay tablets and carry them to our ISP.

    And then they whipped us for being so inpertinent!

  20. Pete

    I have been

    A happy NTL, then Virgin Media broadband customer for years

    I think it depends if you are on their proper broadband or on the crappy BT line broadband you get outside of cabled areas.

    Currently I live in an area where there is no cable

    Tiscalli is what we're using and it's pants, I have to use OpenDNS as their DNS servers are slow and creaky and as for bit torrent, it just seems to be blocked completely

    Tiscalli also went through an odd phase of blocking the Opera web browser, based on the browser ID string as when I masked as IE or firefox it worked fine.

    When I am visiting my dad back in VM territory everything is just faster and more seamless.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    with ac@14:07

    Have to agree I found Telewest service excellent, the only one time I had an issue was resolved quickly and professionally and You had a website that provided all the work being done on the network so you could find out what was going to happen BEFORE it happened and if there was a sudden issue it was usually up on their site very quickly.

    Ok it may not of had answered and sometime the problem prevented you from seeing the website.

    But it was good to know they were at least aware of your issue and we're working on it.

    Your lucky if you can even get the time of day from virgin or any of the big ISP these days, they just fob you off with crappy excuses and then try to sell you something - obviously you got a product it broke you asked for help, you dont get any so the next logicial thing is to buy something else from them? you have to wonder about some of the people that work for these companies.

    *\. Dusting off my diagnostic jacket, because if I do get a problem I'll have to do it myself, pointless phoning the phone monkeys.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Re: Bring back Telewest!

    Telewest trialled teh "traffic management" for over a year before the merger, it was then applied to both networks, so all you TW fans, remember, you had it first

  23. kain preacher

    you know its bad

    When the send you a condom along with your bill.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Get A Grip Reg...

    ... What's a matter, not had out else to write about on your website lately?!

    Afterall, its not like VM are not getting things aligned in their network.

    For jesus christ, l customers have just been upgraded from 4MB to 10MB FREE and XL customers upgraded from 10MB to 20MB again FOR FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Seems the old reg has something against cable, your not owned by skycorp are you?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    SPEED your way to a throttling - great idea!

    "They make me pay for it too."

    Yeah, bring back Telewest they had a simple easy to understand business outlook - they provided a connection and maintained the technical means to do so. That was it - integrity all the way.

    I still remember on the two occasions I signed with them being told, "You have that connection, it's yours to use however you like, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week if you like."

    Straightforward no Virgin bull***t farting around with clauses sub-clauses and exceptions. No faffing around with 'new-speak' vocabulary e.g. 'fair use', 'up to' - 'Heavy user'. What is that exactly? Someone who pays for an 'unlimited' connection and expects to be able to use it when they please? No faffing with ripping your pants off so Phrom can have a go. (Ah, pimping the customer - masters of 'fair use'!)

    Speed is the least of the problems, Virgin's shaft techniques are improving all the time. Currently their throttling is conducted in ways way outwith anything posted at the site and include targeting VPN connections for that special treatment the Virgin way. Have a look at the Virgin so called 'Traffic Shaping' page and have a good think about the information there. (Even though it's not what is actually being done - that is something completely different. A suitable phrase would be 'for inexact guidance only, regard as a mere tissue of Truth'.)

    On your 'unlimited' connection the *only* time period during which you are not at threat of having your speed cut because of the gauntlet of throttle-penalty sessions is from 02:00 am - 10:00 am. That's it!

    From Telewest's 'all the time, anytime (if that's what you want to do), to Virgin's 02:00 am - 10:00 am and they call it 'fair use'. No kidding?

    DP's don't come into it. At the rate Virgin is trying to plug anything that looks like it might actually use an internet connection their customers 'ill need more holes than a sieve to keep pace with the abuse.

    Virgin's fascination with speed isn't an awful lot more than the boys on the board wanting to dangle something bigger in front of the competitions' face. (Can't say 'better' 'cause we know what they really intend to do with it).

    I'd love to see the likes of Telewest back. But for now I'd settle for just watching Virgin sink.

  26. Zmodem

    so whats 56bits

    a dialup modem

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture


    Here in Japan I have a 100bm connection which downloads at around 4mb p/s and uploads around 2mb p/s. It is also ALWAYS up and has not let me down in 9 months. Just another thing with the trains etc which shows the UK is now a second world country.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    If you want a decent service,

    use an alternative:

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Rose Tinted

    I had a phone and dialup service with Telewest - their customer service was appalling. Not sure what company you lot were dealing with!

  30. Andy Barber


    Bromley closed last year & the site demolished.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Virgin Media are nothing but chancers. Their 10Mb package that I'm currently using appears to max out at around 200Kb/s download. Upload actually outstrips it.

    Apparently a known fault, but no date set for fixing, no compensation offered and they're still claiming they're not in breach of contract because of their use of "up to". (ASA take note!).

    They also completely ignore Ofcoms "Broadband Code of Practice", which sorta makes you wonder why they're a signitory to it and why Ofcom bothered to make something they have no intention of enforcing.

    Support emails that they claim are responded to within 48 hours go unanswered for weeks on end. If you want to phone, make sure you have a VM phone line or you'll be expecting a massive bill from all that waiting.

    The company seems to be going into meltdown.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Get A Grip Reg...

    "For jesus christ, l customers have just been upgraded from 4MB to 10MB FREE and XL customers upgraded from 10MB to 20MB again FOR FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    It's not free you retard! It keeps them in line with other products on the market.

    To not upgrade people would make VM considerably less competitive.

    As one of these people that has been upgraded, the 10Mb/s service actually performs considerably worse than 4Mb ever did. Average download is now under 1Mb/s for the 10Mb service. Get capped and you're down to 256Kb/s (as I am most nights!).

    Lucky me eh

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Virgin Media are a bunch of head-ends

    "Meanwhile, customers served by ex-NTL head-ends at Langley and Bromley have to settle for slower gear."

    Couldn't have put it better myself.

  34. SteveC

    Still behind the times

    My cabling (Virgin ex NTL ex Encom) is so out of sync with the rest of the system I cannot get call-waiting from Virgin as the lines in my area are not compatible. One day maybe...

  35. TimM

    cable limits

    Problem stems as always with the company formerly known as NTL, formerly known as CableTel. The cable infrastructure was never really designed for broadband and digital telly.

    One of the big problems before I finally gave up with these monkeys and went ADSL, is that the upstream to the head end is a heavily contended and very limited resource of channels. The downstream by comparison is a broadcast resource from the head end distributing to you and your neighbours (that's right, they get your traffic too, and of course their dodgy installations also cause your crappy signal).

    It doesn't help either when the monkeys often cut corners on installs and split coax cables between neighbours.

    ADSL by comparison has always been, due to the nature of the copper phone lines, dedicated connections from home to exchange.

    It's very much like cable being old style broadcast based coax thin-Ethernet, and ADSL being more like modern cat-5 arranged in a star topology.

    It's about time Virgin literally go the extra last mile and roll out fibre to the home from the head-end, and make each of those an individual connection, not shared.

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