back to article Virgin Media to add 500k homes to cable network

Virgin Media plans to connect about half a million more premises to its network in the next few years in the first significant expansion of cable coverage since the 1990s. The firm hopes if it targets the expansion carefully it will get a good return for a relatively small investment. The first 50,000 homes and businesses are …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How can they compete with FTTH?

    How can Virgin possibly compete with true FTTH from pioneers like H2O Networks, and their FibreCity project(s) in Bournemouth, Dundee, etc?

    Whaddya mean, H2O Networks haven't actually delviered anything yet? Virgin haven't connected anybody new for years either !

  2. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Oh dear

    My sympathies for those heading to VM for services, my sincere apologies for what you are about to receive.

    Oh and good luck with PHORM while you're with them!

  3. Craig


    All city centre apartments round my way (Birmingham) including my own are plumbed up for freeview, BT and Sky, but never cable it seems. You'd think it'd be fairly easy to cable up an apartment complex for cheap, and with the poor freeview reception or lack of Sky+ provision in most places I've been to, I'm sure most would give cable a punt.

  4. Lee Sexton
    Thumb Down

    @Anonymous coward

    Living in Dundee I can tell you this, FTTH H20 network arent an isp, all they are doing is laying the cables (which they are still doing, still no sign of mine), they are then opening it up to providers to supply the internet, so of course VM can compete, they are more than likely going to be bidding for the opportunity to provide the service across FTTH.

    So there you go :)

  5. Ross Luker
    Thumb Up

    They might actually finish the job then

    About 15 years ago C&W ran cable down all the major roads in our town (including one about 40ft from my front door) - and then never turned the network on. Maybe now I'll get more than 1.3Mb download...

  6. Ash
    Thumb Down

    Realign objectives

    Start delivering the connections you've promised to existing subscribers.

    I'm glad I don't have cable where I currently live; No chance of Virgin Media getting anywhere near my house.

    Further, it makes me Phorm-Phree Phorever! :-D

  7. Steve

    Here be titles

    "there are plans for a system to allow members of the public to report unused ducts"

    Excellent, I'll just nip out and get my crowbar and go nosing into all the manholes up the road.


  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Easy win

    I've often wondered why they haven't done this before. I lived (briefly) on an estate in Slough (typical Slough - burnt out cars, 90% Sky ownership). The hard bit had been done - the flat, and presumably others on the estate, had cable coming out of the wall but they just never put a wall box on it.

  9. Rob Welsh

    Virgin Media?

    How ironic given they're everybody's whore. Phorm, 3strikes rule..... I fired them off and won't be going back.

  10. Jon Press


    There's a duct immediately adjacent to our building with cabling in it and I haven't had much success in getting that connected over the years..

  11. Geeks and Lies

    Does this finally mean....

    .... i might finally get a fibre connection in Milton Keynes? bloody nusance the whole city was built on a cable network and Virgin havent properly hooked us up with it but they were willing to dig up half of Luton and Dunstable 10 mins down the road to put it all in grrrr!

  12. dek

    One word...


  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A title is required.

    Why bother? Their business model is shot already, unless they commit to dumping Phorm soon.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's just madness...

    It seems crazy to me that this 'infil' hasn't already been taking place. I'd assumed (wrongly) that where cable passed a new development in an existing cabled area that the Cable Co was obliged to cable the new development.

    The government could have enforced this, thus automatically creating a competitor to BT to the majority of new buildings, particluarly in urban areas.

  15. Jolyon

    Never had a problem with them

    Been with VM a year or so and bar an idiot in a call centre on the day it was (eventually) connected I haven't had a problem.

    What's not wrong with my service? Why aren't I as angry as all these other posters? I like a good justified rant.

  16. Paul

    Phorm overreaction as usual

    I do find it silly that this 'phorm' thing has been blown up into this big boggy man.

    If it gets implemented then fine use it as an excuse to cancel your VM contract but to use something that 'might happen in the future' as a reason not to do something is plain stupid.

    I'm not going to cross the road any more because I might get run down.

    I'm going to stop breathing in case I inhale some asbestos.

    As a VM customer for many years I can say the service has not been perfect but generally its okay and I think lots of people who can't get it at the moment will appreciate the advantages of cable (and remember you could just sign up for the TV without the internet if you are phormophobic) such as the higher speeds and the ever more useful VOD.

  17. Grant Dow


    Would this possibly mean they would look into taking over Atlantic Telecoms defunct network in Aberdeen?

    since they went bust in 2001 not 1 company's utilised the fibres laid.

    i guess there would be a fair bit of remedial work on a network that's been dormant for so long but i'm sure it'd be a damn sight cheaper than installing new fibres.


    we're currently stuck with copper as the only option and being from Dundee i'm seriously considering moving back once the new services are being offered.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Any useful information

    like where it'll be covering? We could do with one up in Aberdeen- and, apparently, used to have a cable network.

    And think of the large volumes of corporate data you could carry as well as the residential market, Virgin!

    ... we could do without Phorm, though. That'd definately be something to route us round.

  19. Maverick


    > . . get my crowbar and go nosing into all the manholes up the road.

    don't need no crowbar here dude, we have all ducting, boxes & street cabinets on my development - just that the silly muppets never pushed anything down it from the end of the road where their cable is. Confuses new residents on our street somewhat LOL

    still I've had a few Friday afternoons (post pub) ringing them up trying to place an order - on speaker phone so the office can enjoy the sport :)

  20. Ben Rose

    Worked for me...

    I live in a new build in an existing cabled street.

    When Pipex started swallowing Bulldog, I called Virgin last year to see if I could get connected. A week later, they dug up the pavement and wired me in.

    I went from an ADSL speed of 3-4meg out of a an up to 8 meg service to a permanent 20 meg on Virgin for a tenner less. Sorted.

  21. kissingthecarpet

    I know VM can be crap..

    but I've got their 10Mb service & I can d/l updates from Debian's servers at over 1.2 Megabytes per second, which ain't bad in my book. However, they're the only servers that I can get full speed from. Everybody else's seem to be restricted, so,at the moment, unless you're a Debian user don't bother with fast speeds as they won't help, cos the ISP doesn't seem to be the limiting factor.

  22. George Forth

    Major roads only?

    I live on a cul-de-sac in Slough of only 25 residences which has cable running across the end of the road, but not down our road. Amusingly, Virgin didn't know this until about 9 months ago when our next door neighbour tried to get it. The men came along to plumb her in and we watched in amusement for some time as they serached in vain for an access point. Eventually we chatted with them about it and they said we'd be unlikely to ever get it as a road of only 25 possible customers wouldn't be cost effective to cable, despite the fact that every road around us is cabled up.

    Anyway... getting back to the point - what chance has anyone got if Virgin don't even know which roads are cabled and which aren't?

  23. Richard Austin

    Step in the right direction...but

    Any competitor should be enforced to cover the whole of the UK as part of their remit, yes they would need time to build their networks, but it really is not fair to let BT's competition set up shop in the ripest areas whilst ignoring the rest of the UK. This is a start but how can we have competition when their coverage is so low. I among others get really frustrated by the fact that neither BT or cable provide decent service yet ramp up the speed where they already are. FFS spread the love.....

  24. David Hendy


    save the isle of wight and buy out Wightcable. I always thought their network was pretty spanky when installed.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Well they can have my cable...

    Seriously, it's a pretty good service (as long as you pick your times to do downloads) from VM, and as long as they continue to merely talk (very quietly) about Phorm and not do anything productive about it, then I'd be happy ... normally. The service is acceptably fast (most of the time) and quite reliable.

    Note to FuzzyWotnot et al - Virgin don't have Phorm in place, they're still just at the 'we're thinking about it' stage - wish they'd hurry up and decide how they're going to tell Kent & co to "---- off!".

    What's got me hot-under-the-collar is that as an existing "L" b/b subscriber I was paying £25pm, then I find out that they've dropped the price of "L" for new folks to a fiver less - and this isn't one of their limited time tasters (that's £15pm for 3 months). So I phones up to get my bill adjusted (downwards!) only to be told that I get a lot of special features that the £20pm-ers don't. None of these special features are ones I use, so I wanted the fiver "in me 'and" ... no dice from Vermin!

    I'm so p'd off by this (and the shitty attitude of the non-Indian helldesk) that I'm seriously thinking of telling them to take the lot away and I'll go pay Sky a tenner less for a way better TV package but only 1/3 of the broadband speed ... I'm patient, I'll be quite happy to wait the extra time, (or go find something else to do). VM? What a shower of ....

    Still could be worse - I could be with Etragul's mistress ... BT! :D


  26. Chris

    Waste of time

    I live in a block of 80 flats (originally cabled up for analogue services with Yorkshire Cable) with a cabinet (which I've had confirmed is supplying digital to other places nearby) 15 yards from the front door.

    They won't offer digital services to the flats, as it's apparently not cost effective to pull a new cable through.

    I can, however, have a selection of analogue channels and dial-up internet if I like...

    It's their loss, as I would be willing to have the highest package TV and broadband, but if they're not willing to pull about 40 yards of new cable (distance from the cabinet + the extra to my flat) through, fuck them.

    FreesatHD & UKOnline will do nicely.

  27. Muscleguy
    Thumb Up

    Virgin is fine here in Dundee

    Have had cable here in Dundee for years and it is rock solid, reliable and fast enough. Don't see the point of fibrecity for us here, but there are parts that don't have cable so good for them. I appreciate that some have troubles (largely ex NTL it seems), just want to point out it isn't everyone.

    Absolutely no connection with VM or connected companies, simply a satisfied customer.

  28. Maverick

    @ George Forth

    to quote a VM sales dude "any connection between our sales / marketing people and the real world is purely coincidental sir!"

    a REAL Friday afternoon quote on speaker phone -> see the Smash robot Advert types in my office :))

  29. Nightmare

    Sounds good

    I find it weird that so many people seem to hate VM.

    I have been with Telewest/NTL/VM for over 8 years.

    Never had a significant problem.

    In fact it has been so good when I have twice moved I have insisted it is to a placce that has cable. Why? Because when I compare the broadband I get (20mb = 20mb. I can d/l at a solid 2.1mb/sec) to my friends "up to" 8/16/24mb services I see how bad the general standard of ADSL is in this country.

    Glad to hear Virgin is finally looking to fill in the new estates. Its a no lose thing really. Every £ spent connecting up new build estates will bring in several more £s to the company coffers, which ofcourse we know they need due to their gargantuan debt.

    And for you lot shouting PHORM. Who is worse? VM havn't ran trials. BT has. And since most other networks run over BT kit presumably most of those were caught up in those illegal trials.

    If VM start running secret illegal trials like BT then I may consider leaving on principle. But for now, I have nothing but praise for the service I have had.

  30. Anonymous Coward

    Brownfield New Builds Only...

    infill as in dense estates in the middle of cities that were not there in the 1990.. like my estate then?

    well I dont care I get 24MB ADSL2 (2.5MB up) 1 month contract No PHORM and I aint switching...

  31. Matt Sprigg

    FAO Virgin Customers ( Anon Coward)

    If you want the same deals as new Virgin Customers call them and select the option that says your thinking of leaving. That puts you through to the retentions team - quote to them Virgins own Offers for All policy (a policy that states that all customers new or old are entitled to the same deals) and they will sort it out - I had my bill reduced by £30 a month by doing this and I know alot of people have done the same- works a treat

  32. greg
    Paris Hilton

    I dont get it...

    Why is my VM service not as shit as everyone is saying?

    20meg - 100% uptime and full speed 99% of the time. Only time I see slowness normally is when I'm downloading stuff from slow servers (Asus support website for example!)

    I dont give a rats arse about Phorm as long as it doesn't affect my speed, or delve into my porn browsing habits.

    Paris, cos she's on my search criteria from time to time.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I been stung with such promises years ago - no thanks until i see it

    I been stung with such promises of cable broadband years ago, promises that the service would eventually be available if I took out the phone service, and 18 months later nothing (that was years ago), in the end out of frustration I canceled the phone service. Only believe if I see it!

    In a positive note, I got to say for many years VM were misleading customers by stating that they could get cable broadband in their postcode checker, when in fact they were hipping the results and referring to ADSL services which is too far for many of us to receive such services, they may not know that but most customers to far from the telephone exchanges now exactly what they want/need.

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