back to article Warrington first to get Virgin Media 50Mb/s

Virgin Media has invited 200 customers in Warrington in Cheshire to be the first to try its forthcoming 50Mb/s broadband package at no extra cost for two months. The cable firm has upgraded its network to support the DOCSIS3 standard. The rollout has recently been cited by regulators and politicos as evidence of the UK's …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Surely this increased bandwidth will ultimately end up being throttled like their other services if you use it too much.

    Have 50Meg, oh no you've used it too much, its now 2Meg.

    Whats the point??

  2. Steven

    <title> :)

    Looking forward to an extra 30meg for free :) Just hope they don't throttle the crap out of it!

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Now you can hit usage limits faster than ever

    Welcome to your new 50Mbit/s connection, Just dont use it for anything more than browsing the web, else we'll hit you with a fair usage policy and throttle it down to slower than a 56k modem.

    Call me when I can get a 100Mb/100Mb connection to my house and atcually use it without getting throttled to the floor.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Virgin Media

    Hopefully they'll now get similar speeds to most other normal ISPs out there...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    faster speed, faster throttling

    All this speed means you just get your connection throttled quicker!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I agree with the first poster

    What is the point of a faster connection if you cannot use it? You will just hit their unlimited* limits that bit quicker.

    I actually downgraded my 20mb service due to the idiotic limits - which coincidently, they seem to do to all users at peak times regardless of whether or not you actually hit the limit.

    *subject to the time of the month, which way the wind is blowing and how much money you stuff in my pocket.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    @Jim Booth

    yeah mate i did the exact same & now about to cancel my tv and phone packge and move to BT and sky

    what is the point ? 50mb for like 10 mins a day "your having a laugh mate"

    the hd tv is crap

    the BB is crap

    phone well that is ok

    and anyway check the fine print it only means 50mb access to thier network not the before you fact just dont buy from this snake oil salesman at all.

  8. Youvegottobe Joking

    VM's quality of service is rubbish, cant see that changing

    I have had about 2 weeks of no broadband service over the last 18 months, Every now and again it just stops working. It is not my modem or the street cabinet, it is usually affecting large areas of the Southeast. 97 to 98% uptime has to be the worst in the industry.

    Unfortunately my phone line can only support low adsl speeds so I am stuck.

  9. Alasdair Fox

    pretty decent throttling compared to some

    I'm on Virgin Media's 20Mb service, and the throttling is actually ok. It only actually applies during peak times (i.e 4pm to 12am), and i get throttled back to 5Mb for a few hours. Outwith these hours, bandwidth is unlimited and not throttled.

    I've also never been throttled unless i exceeded that 3GB limit.

  10. David Kelly
    Dead Vulture


    Where is El Reg getting this supposed 3GB daily cap figure from? I've read through VM's T&Cs, AUPs etc and don't see any reference to it. Their traffic management is explained here:

    As they say, you will only be throttled if you fall into the 5% of heaviest users. I've downloaded two 4.7GB DVD ISOs in one morning and still had 17Mbps+ bandwidth at 8pm at night.

    IMHO it's fair of VM to apply this policy. People whine about an unlimited connection not being truly unlimited but if they were then ISPs would have to charge way, way more for your connection. What home user really needs to download over 200GB of data daily? Just how many DIVX movies do you think you can watch in a day anyway?

  11. An-D
    Thumb Down

    50meg = 20meg actual

    In my experience of Virgin Media, you'll only be able to get 50Meg at 4am. The rest of the time, especially if you are connected to the UBR in Liverpool, you'll be lucky to get 20Meg. I complained bitterly about the fact I only got 6Meg as an average, somewhat short of the stated 20Meg. Their response? "Well, you should downgrade to 10Meg then eh"

  12. Anonymous Coward


    " In exchange for the free upgrade they'll be asked to fill out questionnaires"

    I imagine the questionnaire will not start:

    1) Did you get 50MB

    2) Are you happy with the service

    Or they'll just ignore those answers if they do ask...

    Sigh - I remember getting by first Telewest cable connection and my jaw hitting the floor at the speed. Those were the days...

  13. Blasmeme


    I am one of the 'heavy users' its aimed at. currently I have the XL package and get 60gb plus /month of video/music and play 2 MMO games nearly continuously. If you have a brain you will never fall fowl of the speed restriction. It's really not difficult.

  14. Chris Williams (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Limits

    The link you have posted is for, Virgin media's ADSL services for areas not on the cable network. You can find the cable terms, including bandwith throttling details, here:

    - Chris

  15. Stuza

    What a bunch of moaners....

    Oh my days, why is it so dificult to kick off your HD/BD pirate downloads when you go to bed? You then get up the next morning (6-8 hours later) and you have all the films you need!? Of course, you can always do this when you go to work as well.

    It's not throttled all day, or even the majority of the day. All VM want is for you to schedule and spread out your downloads. Why is that unreasonable?

    Or you can swap back to ADSL2 and by the time it gets down the copper to your phone line you will have ..... 16meg, if your lucky? And I guess you could call this "legacy" throttling which is permanent.

    "It depends which "size" of broadband you're on, and is only measured during peak hours (4pm - 9pm)."

    Taken from

    If you don't know how to schedule, then please feel free to look it up an app in google.

    (and yes, im a VERY happy user of VM previously NTL previously Telewest)

    The coat? Oh yeah, its flame proof!

  16. Ben Wissett

    If it's going through Knowsley...

    Then why the christ aren't they actually testing it there? I'd certainly have appreciated it. Warrington's a dump anyway. More of one than most of Knowsley is, at least.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Crap or not Crap, that is the question....?!

    Mmmmhh, I have ADSL as well as cable, so I have great possibilities of comparing one on one.

    I have the 20Mbps from VM and I have ADSL from Eclipse, although only around 2Mbps, because My phone line doesn't give me very much more.

    On the DSL line I have a block of IP addresses, through which I run a number of different services, mail, webmail, VoIP, etc. where as I use the VM pipe for browsing, downloads, etc.

    A few weeks ago, I was at a customer site, (I am a freelance consultant) and had a few Gigs, that needed backing up, but we didn't have anything to back up to.

    It's fair to say, that with 3x 1Gbps Internet feed, there was sufficient bandwidth to upload to one of my servers.

    Result: 6.5GB in 45min (which I then remotely burnt onto a dual-layer dvd to take back to the client the next day).

    I know this sounds rather daft, but believe, me when I say, at the time we didn't have an alternative. But the actual reason for this post:

    I have had very bad experience with NTL in the past, but when their stuff works, it works well, only when it stops working, you really have a nightmare on your hands.

  18. Steven

    @ All the moaning bandwidth hogging pirates!

    3GB per day is more than enough for joe public, I rarely ever go over that. The only people IMO who would break 3GB per day are people downloading loads of films (undoubtedly pirated). So I'm frankly glad they throttle you, so I can keep a decent speed. Also my VM connection averages 19.something meg as I test it reguarly on On my previous BT 8meg I only ever got 3meg at the best of times, usually between 1 and 2. As long as VM never implement Phorm there by far the best ISP IMHO.

  19. DT


    Over the years I've heard sp@stic@ted complaints about the most uncontraversial of developments; from new graphics cards, to new CPUs; some of them along the lines of "Great, something else I'll <have> to go and buy now". Only on this site would punters actually complain about increased bandwidth.

    What, did you think there wouldn't be a catch?!!

    So you get your connection throttled quicker, you get what you wanted to download quicker! Besides how much were you intending on downloading? 50Mbit that's what, 20Gb an hour at full capacity; even if you didn't have a job, even with HD content, you'd be downloading content quicker than you could consume it.

    If there's spare capacity on the line at certain times which they want to make available to priority customers; why on earth shouldn't they do it? The utopian ideas of unmettered, ultra high bandwidth is utterly niave.

    I'm curious, which provider isn't univerally acknowledged to be a bit rubbish? Oh please do tell, so that we all might benefit!

    It's the £2 holiday complaint all over again; only idiots expect a free breakfast.

  20. James Halliday
    Thumb Down

    More about throttling.

    I'm currently an XL subscriber and officially get 20M.

    To be fair to Virgin when my cable is working at full rate, I get precisely that (well 2.35MB/s which is near enough)

    My problem is with the throttling, which they don't handle in a very upfront manner. I *think* the way it works is that after 4Gigs of downloading in a day, you get throttled to 5M. Normally it's not a problem, but it's a real annoyance when you do hit the limit.

    At 20M you hit that limit in about 30-45 mins of flatout downloading.

    Without more details around throttling a 50M service means nothing. I cannot think of a single real requirement to go to 50M over 20M - unless they're going to provide more full-throttle download before the cap.

    If the cap isn't adjusted, I can't think of any reason I'd pay to upgrade. The only people I could see interested in the upgrade are those that consider 4Gigs in 30-45 mins as being unacceptably slow. Couple this with the fact that there's hardly anything that can serve you traffic at 50M.. I really just cannot see the point other than Virgin using it as PR to advertise a faster CIR than ADSL2.

  21. neil

    What chance?

    "Hopefully they'll now get similar speeds to most other normal ISPs out there..."

    I doubt that, we went through several isp's and a fair few disagreements at home before going with National Thieves Limted to get broadband. BT's copper was too long to work to us so it was NTL or nothing. Virgin have improved some aspects, but most of the same old NTL staff are still driving their rebranded vans around like loons and don't give a flying **** about customer care either.

    Still hopefully they'll invest in fibre research to make things even better, which should make my job more secure... or perhaps not.

  22. Matt Bridge-Wilkinson
    Thumb Down

    Not likely

    Seeing as I get worse performance on my 20meg than I ever did on my 10meg, I can only pity the trial users. No doubt by current levels of service, these poor people will get about 4meg equivilent if lucky. If it is anything like mine, it will be down between 5pm and 9pm most evenings too.

    Why dont the fools at VM sort out the performance of the network under the current model which is woefully short, rather than trial even higher performance.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    eeeekkk... 3GB

    "I've also never been throttled unless i exceeded that 3GB limit."

    omg,,, i downloaded more than that in less than a hour last night on BE... no complaints, no nothing... just top speed all the way....

  24. Rob

    is there...

    any indication they can actually deliver these speeds, I only get close to my "20 mb" when it's about 5 in the morning, now they're claiming 50?!? Isn't it best to crawl before you run?

  25. Anonymous Coward


    "50Mbit that's what, 20Gb an hour at full capacity; even if you didn't have a job, even with HD content, you'd be downloading content quicker than you could consume it."

    Nice try, but blu-ray can hit that sort of rate. Take off network overheads (between 10% and 15% as a reasonable estimate) takes you to less than blu-ray - not to mention the traffic congestions in the backhaul.

    Pedantic, maybe, but offended enough by your "s*******d complaints" to post.

    "If there's spare capacity on the line at certain times which they want to make available to priority customers; why on earth shouldn't they do it? The utopian ideas of unmettered, ultra high bandwidth is utterly niave."

    Who are these 'priority customers' you refer to? Surely not the capped ones - I think you mean 'the customers who don't use it'. Agreed that it's not a viable solution to have everyone using it at the same time, but think through the solutions that are available - such as traffic prioritisation (voip -> http -> email -> torrents). Deep level packet inspection can do this you know.

    And 'unmettered, ultra high bandwidth' is not a naive utopia. It just costs more. Introduce a clear sliding scale and people will pay it, u know, like mobile phone call packages but make it reflective of the business model. Standard over head, + capacity. The equation you're looking at is P = overhead + quantity * meter-rate. Sound familiar to how phone bills work and have worked well for years? Also known as "getting what you pay for"

    The underlying cause for people being annoyed with Virgin is (dodgy customer service aside) that while the BT network can provide BB, it has limits which are well known - fortunately they're playing in a competitive market. What Virgin have is now bordering on a selective monopoly - laying cable where it's profitable and making up their own rules because no-one else can compete in that particular market.

    Oh and for a decent (i.e. more pros than cons) BB provider, try Be. Or even Sky who are taking off their caps. Not particularly a maintainable offering (see cost argument above) but a step in the right direction.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Can't be worse than ye old ADSL

    I'd pay good money to get Virgin (except the telly - is Crap, yah?). I had a very consistent, fast NTL cable connection until I moved house. Since then, I'm a matter of a street away and can no longer get cable.

    Instead, I have to put up with Awful Damp String, Loser from Broken Telecom. That's because I'm some distance away from a knackered little exchange held together with tape and a callcenter in India, as well as the worst bureaucracy since the Roman Empire. My ADSL connection is so bad, I'd be better off using smoke signals. Most ISPs won't touch me, leaving me with basically BT, TalkTalk or Sky. Talk about rock and a hard place.

    I'm in envy of anyone who gets a stable 2Mb, let alone 8Mb, 24Mb or 50Mb.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @steven: So I'm frankly glad they throttle you

    If Virgin are throttling it's current users "because they can't support that amount of usage". Then how can they hope to support users at 50Meg. And if they are upgrading their network, reason would say that it should be used to implement the current service that they are not able to provide rather than a new, faster, service that they won't be able to cope with.

    The only way is if they are intentionally selling a service they can't provide, on the basis that only 5% of the people who buy it actually use it!!

    You may not be throttled unless you download more than the limit, but there are a lot of people who are throttled no matter what, personally i break the 800MB limit i have most days, as that's maybe 15mins downloading. if you say i should upgrade, well, i don;t need any faster

  28. Anonymous Coward


    "It's not throttled all day, or even the majority of the day."

    "It depends which "size" of broadband you're on, and is only measured during peak hours (4pm - 9pm).""

    Catch a grip ya' dippy!

    Here's two links to Virgin's throttle policy:

    I you'd taken trouble to read them (assuming you can read) before you turned up here to slaver you'll see that in fact for most of the day you are at threat from falling foul of Virgin's throttle-penalty sessions. In fact the *only* time in the day when a user is not at threat of the throttle-penalty sessions effects is from 3:00 am to 10:00 am.

    "The coat? Oh yeah, its flame proof!"

    Yeah, as much as your mind is thought-proof.

    Post your simpleton meanderings elsewhere!

  29. Anonymous Coward


    That used to be true. But no longer can it be relied on.

    I had it all calculated and did a pretty good job of dodging the throttles until (guess what) Virgin started not sticking with what they have posted at the throttle-penalty webpages.

    Needless to say neither Ofcon nor Trading Standards nor the politicos give a shit about the open fraud being perpetrated - which in my book means that at the very least Ofcon is implicated.

    I'm out in a few days and glad to get away from the lying shits.

    Good luck - but think the best policy is to jump that tub and find another ship to sail in.

    'Fair Use' = 'Virgin Clause for Umbrella for Open Fraud'

    It's about time the politicos were developing the same level of suspicion over Ofcom as they currently have over OfGen. Long time coming, long overdue. There to protect consumer interest - what a ferkin' joke.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    the challenge is on...

    right, whose going to be the first to clone one? - the supposedly un-cloneable ambit 256's were cracked in about 8 hours...

  31. Martin Simpson

    Bunch of grannies, the lot of you.

    I've had a number of different ISP's in my time, and i can say that VM although their CC sucks their broadband doesn't.

    I am one of the "heavy users" (well, at least i was) and i regularly download around 10GB/day (5 x 500GB HDD's RAID5 thankyouverymuch!). I find their capping although annoying to be relatively fair, i schedule my downloads for off-peak hours like early morning and just before noon and i never have a problem. I've been with NTL/Virgin for umpteen years ( i think 7 ) and their service has always been excellent. I experience very little downtime, when it is down they bring it back up very quickly and the speed is always a constant 19.6Mbps.

    Now, i recently went to India (and i'm still here), i've been trying to get my Internet line put in and finally managed it yesterday. What did it take?

    20 phonecalls after the engineers promised 5 different dates, another 5 to get the ADSL line activated and then another 3 to get the speed upgraded to something usable. Right now i'm stuck on a 512kbps line which is unreliable at best. I would give anything to go back to Virgin Media's "unfair" "slow" and "crappy" sevice. Just count yourselves lucky and quit moaning :)

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Only one problem with this story, it's wrong!

    I know there are folks in Dudley already on 50Mb, just don't ask how or I'll have to lie about whether I work for VM or not.

  33. jai

    happy VM user here too

    i'm also pretty pleased with VM's broadband

    recently i've had a lot of trouble with lack of connection, phoned them up and they sent me a new modem because i was still using the old grey modem i originally got when ntl first made broadband available.

    i do find that data transfer from the west coast of america is a lot worse these days than it was last year though - is that just too much traffic on the internet in general? or just on VM's network?

  34. Dex

    Swindon Cable started it all

    Having been with Virgin Media right from the very very very start back in the Swindon Cable days i can honestly say i wouldn't swtich provider at all.

    I;ve found thier service to be excellent...even back in the old 56k days when they hit me with a 300+ bill but i haven't had a sinlge porblem with them, any downtime was only ever for a few hours amd nothing i was advanced warned about.

    Throttling and limits etc have never been a problem for me and i regularly kiced my connections backside either downloadng . uploading / running home servers or gaming and haven't had a sinlge problem.

  35. OFI
    Thumb Down

    3GB throttle

    Wow so basically download one film rental or a large beta demo and that's you capped for the rest of the day. LOL.

    UK as a whole really needs to get with the times VM really isn't helping..

  36. Paul Hanley
    Thumb Down

    What about home workers?

    I work from home 2-3 days per week and spend the rest of the time in office. I have a Virgin 20Mbit connection and I am always hitting my daily limit and getting throttled. In fact I have seem to have been throttled all of this weekend :(

    I VPN in to my company network and use RDC to use our back office system. I also download a lot of big image files to work on (hence why I hit my daily limit).

    It suxs big time but is still better than any other ADSL service in my area.

  37. AJ

    @ Matt Bridge-Wilkinson

    Before spouting out your utter rubbish, I suggest you research your facts a little better before you make the assumption that people on 50MB will get 'around 4MB' if there luckly...

    Firstly the 50MB service is a totally different form of technology using DOCSIS 3.0 which can support speeds of up to 200MB - this is one of the advantages of this technology!

    In order for VM to roll out this software, they have had to make significant upgrades to their network and invest heavily so that users get the 50MB speed advertised or as very close to it - This is also the reason that VM plan to upgrade the 20MB (XL) package onto DOCSIS 3.0 also, again so that customers on that package will also get the speeds advertised...

    ... When 50MB rolls out, it will be the ONLY company in the UK to offer such speeds, using the latest technology on a more advanced network - ADSL can not come close, the average speeds on standard ADSL has been reported by OFCOM to be around 4.5MB if your lucky and no where near the 8MB advertised (even if you sit on top of the exchange) ADSL to can in theory support 24MB, but again the % of people actually pulling in these speeds is very low!

    Comparing ADSL Broadband to Cable Fibre Optic is pointless as the 2 technologies are totally different - throttling is in place on VM to avoid heavy users taking up a huge amount of bandwidth and putting a lot of strain on the local UBRs which 'could' potentially effect others users internet service - this is more to do with fairness than capacity, but again DOCSIS 3.0 is totally different in this aspect, and the network upgraded to easily cope - when 20MB also goes onto this then improvements for people on M & L broadband would also be significant as the higher packages where the heaviest users will more likely be on will cope with this where lite users and people who download a little will be on the old DOCSIS technology!!!!!!

    My VM Broadband service has been online about 99% of the time in the whole 6-7yrs I have had it with one fault I can think of where it was offline for about 4hrs - for a broadband service that is always on and always doing something that uptime is fantastic - compared to my family who are on ADSL and have issues with it every few months with connectivity issues, very slow speeds at peak times due to the contention ratio on it, and you can most certainly notice the difference with the 2 - prob why Cable ranks the best with most sites for all areas...

  38. yeah, right.

    @Alasdair, @Steven, @others.

    Ah, so they throttle when everyone with a job comes home and wants to use it. How... useful.

    @Steven "3Gb is enough for anyone except pirates". Can I make you eat your cable modem AND your computer when you're proven to be wrong, as you will be? I'll even let you salt it first. It might be enough for you, it certainly isn't enough for others who actually USE their network connections (for perfectly legal purposes actually). You and your buddies should go back to modems, they're cheaper.

    I see the UK is still labouring under the pretence that "unlimited" implies a limit of some kind. How quaint. It's obvious that their various ISPs are overselling the services and underfunding their infrastructure. I wonder when that particular house of cards is going to come tumbling down, and if the toadies in government are ever going to pull their thumbs out and start enforcing fraud laws?

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Not for speed...

    Warringtons network is only being used as to this day its the most reliable area in the cable platform.

    The head end providing the speeds for these tests is manchester and not knowsly as that provides it onto the old telewest network which doesn't interact at a local supply level with the ex ntl/c&w networks.

  40. Graham Jordan

    I'm a dirty pirate.

    I was under the impression 20mb would be upgraded to 50mb, not an additional package?

    I could really do with the extra bandwidth, queueing up full HD movies at 40gb a pot really takes it out of you, specially when you get capped less than 25% into it.

    But having said that if there's a cap involved then sod that. Even if it were lifted to 10gb it's still forking out more money for something I'm only going to get aggitated using.

    Also giganews is your friend. Full whack off that baby.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    BT Super BB

    I'm currently testing the new 24Mb service from BT. So far it's very good. I watched an episode of TV last night andit was like watching the TV, none of this stalling while the stream caught up. However, my one argument with it so far (and I had the same problem with my old version of BB) is it falling off to zero every minute for about 10 seconds. Doesn't matter whether it's wireless or cable connection or which comuter I use. It's all the same. Otherwise, signs are good.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Yeah, right.

    "It's obvious that their various ISPs are overselling the services and underfunding their infrastructure. I wonder when that particular house of cards is going to come tumbling down, and if the toadies in government are ever going to pull their thumbs out and start enforcing fraud laws?"

    Totally agree, fraud charges should have been stacked up a long time ago and Virgin standing in court with butt-buddies OfCom. The rank-rotten stench of corruption from their direction is appalling.

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