back to article Virgin to offer 100Mb/s broadband by year's end

Virgin Media is to offer 100Mb/s broadband by the end of 2010. The 100Mb/s service will allow users to download a music album in as little as five seconds, an hour long TV show in 31 seconds and an HD movie in seven minutes 25 seconds, the cableco claimed. Virgin currently offers three broadband packages: 10Mb/s, 20Mb/s and …

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  1. Jay 2
    FAIL

    I'm sure I'm not going to be the only one to say this...

    Such speeds are all very well and good, but not much use if you hit a usage cap in seconds, or if the the wet piece of string that connects Virgin to the rest of t'interwebs isn't upgraded.

    1. Mr Shouty
      FAIL

      I would settle for a working service

      Having just moved house where I had an 8mbit Zen ADSL connection (I have been a Zen customer for 8 years) to a house already connected with Virgin 20mb, I have to say the difference in service quality is absolutely shocking. 100mb to the door is only going to be any good if Virgin improve their own backbone and external links to the rest of the Internet.

      Random disconnects, high latency at ALL TIMES and those irritating customer service droids culminate in a product that is not 'fit for purpose' IMO. Youtube runs dog slow even at 2am, playing online via xbox live or PSN is jittery. Video games doesn't cause people to kill, serious network lag does!

      Luckily I am moving again in a few weeks time and will be resuming my good ol' trusty Zen connection, Virgin can suck my plums!

    2. Chris Collins

      This

      As a Virgin customer I have to say that their service sucks donkey cocks.

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    For the first 15 seconds

    I'm guessing.

    How about a* guaranteed* minimum speed?

    Have we not seen this sort of maximum broadband speed oneupmanship before?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's called marketing

      Unfortunaly 75 mbps garunteed still doesn't sound as good as 100 mbps to the trendy bearded marketing yuppies who expect only the best quality pr0n 'experience'.

      Their relationship with their right hand deserves it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Broadband divide?

    I was one of the first to get BT Openworld Broadband @ 512kb/s back in the day. I remember seeing that test file download the engineer did, watching the progress bar speed across the screen. Oh yes I thought, I am truly an INTERNET GOD!

    Some ten years later and I'm sitting on the Virgin 50Mb/s service, and yes, will upgrade when available. Amazing stuff, but then you think that a good proportion of the Country isn't that much faster than that 512 connection all those years ago.

    I don't have an answer, but one thing is for sure, we're rapidly evolving into internet haves and have nots.

  4. EddieD
    FAIL

    Attention grabbing only

    It'll be limited availability, and they still won't upgrade the old UBRs (e.g. the one serving my bit of EH11), so the lucky few in the spotlight will get the speed, many will struggle on with evening speeds in the kbit region.

    When VM work they're the biz, when they don't they're not the best at fixing things - and they'd rather introduce headling grabbing figures than fix general problems

  5. collateral damage
    Thumb Down

    Hahahahaha

    Did Vermin Media say anything about keepint their 'fair usage policy' AND traffic shaping in place as they have currently? Being able to download a complete HD movie in 7 min. 25 sec. sounds great, but is it any good if you already hit the download limit of your 'unlimited' broadband plan after 3 minutes and are then throttled down til the end of all times? Just wondering.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    100Mb Sync, 3Mb actual!

    If you're lucky that is.

    I looked at the 50Mb package as I can "only" get 13Mb on my line, but everyone I know who is on it said it wasn't worth it because they didn't actually get anything like that speed. Unless of course it was 4am, on a Monday, and the wind was blowing in the right direction. About right, I dropped NTL/Virgin years back, and I was so happy I did. Their "Technical Support" couldn't understand why I was getting annoyed that their optimistically named Broadband Service was running slower than the bonded ISDN I had previously!

    I'd sooner use AOL, at least they TRY and get the speeds working as they should!

    1. Gerard Krupa

      Re: 100Mb Sync, 3Mb actual!

      "I know who is on it said it wasn't worth it because they didn't actually get anything like that speed"

      Allow me to be the first so say otherwise then. I'm getting fairly consistent 47Mb/s or so.

      1. StooMonster
        Happy

        Same as with 20Mb/s cable-modem service

        I haven't had the need to upgrade to 50Mb/s -- been on 20Mb/s since it launched -- and I get a consistent 19.5Mb/s.

        Not only in tests, but I can run HD streams from BBC whilst downloading from other sites and other members of household are streaming and running stuff too.

        Occasionally it slows at peak times, but off-peak it's pretty much always top-notch.

  7. irish donkey
    Big Brother

    Who needs speeds like this

    Considering that Virgin are going to packet sniff (CView) all your downloads and perhaps cut you off, or report you to the RIAA/FACT Mafia or murder your children (depending on which version of the Mandybill makes it to law)

    Oh dear do I hear the rumble of Linx Distro's coming..........

    I think I will just stay at my 20mb connection. After all if I can't download what I want, and copyright law is so complex that even the people the write the laws can't work them out what you are and aren't allowed to download. Why bother. The kids will just have to watch old fashioned TV and I can just STEAM away.

    It will be a cold day in hell before the Big 4 get anymore of my money for substandard DVD's. Its the only way to fight back. Hit them where it hurts,. In their pocket.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    The "up to" isn't the problem...

    ...I always got the top speed without difficulty. The problem arose when I actually tried to USE the bandwidth. Then they throttled my ass back into the 1990s. I'm immensely happier with the ca. 13Mbit/sec I get from BE (which I can actually max out 24/7 if I want to) than I'd ever be with 100Mbit/sec from NTL (whoops, I mean "Virgin") if I can't download for more than a couple of hours without being strangled.

    I will NEVER go back to Virgin BB, until they provide an unthrottled service. That and a half-decent upload speed would be good.

    1. mike__
      FAIL

      Unthrottled service

      An unthrottled service, you say? Why, you must surely mean their 50Mb package which comes without any limits whatsoever?

      http://www.virginmedia.com/help/traffic-management.php

      As for maxing out your Be connection 24/7...

      "If it’s felt that any Be member’s Internet activities are so excessive that other members are detrimentally affected, Be may give the member generating the excessive web traffic a written warning (by email or otherwise). In extreme circumstances, should the levels of activity not immediately decrease after the warning, Be may terminate that member’s services."

      Nice.

  9. Rob Haswell
    Go

    I don't even nearly need it

    But I wanna be the first to have it

  10. The Original Ash
    Thumb Down

    Great news!

    Faster than ever DPI to make sure those files you're downloading aren't copyrighted!

    Virgin Media can take a running jump onto a pike.

  11. Da Weezil
    Thumb Down

    Slow lane

    ...... and still OFCON think its acceptable for BTw to screw Market 1 exchange customers for the over priced upto almost 8 meg ADSL Max "service", with no sight of an upgrade until BTw have tried to get a few crumbs from the already over supplied LLU & Cable areas.

    A DECENT regulator, with teeth, a backbone and that wasn't held on the leash by an abusive incumbent would act for the consumers and either reduce prices for the out of date service levels or force an accelerated timetable for cn21 activation - maybe 1-2-1for a cable/llu area activation.

    I guess the writing was on the wall way back when BT were allowed a to market the service as upto 8 megs - a speed no adslmax consumer outside of the exchange will actually see. It doesn't help that clearly OFCON = BTs Glovepuppet!

    Lets not get started on how pathetic 100 megs makes the Govts 2 meg commitment look (whatever that 2 meg actually means)

    Paris because even she has some speed to her - unlike ADSLMax

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Market 1 = Back end of beyond

      Sorry but if you're a market 1 exchange then you are probably so remote that it is difficult to connect you to the main network and/or there's too few of you to make it worthwhile.

      Rather than slagging off BT you should perhaps consider that services are never as good in remote areas because of the difficulty and cost.

      /That/ is why you don't have LLU. You're basically in the back of beyond and you should be grateful to BT for being the only telecoms company prepared to provide any kind of high speed connection. In point of fact a market 1 exchange is likely supplied at a loss and subsidises by the market 2 and 3 exchange customers.

  12. MinionZero
    Thumb Up

    I'm very interested (if it'll even work around my way) ...

    But first, I want to be sure what their position now is with Phorm style tracking, as I refused to use Virgin before for this reason. (Paying them so that they can then totally spy on me is taking the piss).

    So does anyone know what Virgin's current position is with all kinds of Phorm style tracking? (not just by Phorm, but all Phorm style companies).

    As a consumer I vote with my money, and if Virgin want my money then they have to do what I want, not what they want.

  13. Alex Walsh

    @ For the first 15 seconds

    I think over cable Virgin have the highest sustained speed don't they? Something like 8.26Mb on the 10Mb connection?

    It's still pretty meaningless though, the limiting factor will no doubt be the site you're looking to stream/download from. And if the streaming software/site uses P2P that'll probably get traffic managed to death anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      @ Alex Walsh

      The limiting factor is actually VM throttling your connection after you've downloaded a paltry amount, almost all of the time between 10am and 9pm. Once they reduce your speed to a quarter of what you are actually paying for, they keep you throttled for five hours. Really annoying if you accidentally hit the throttle level at 8.55pm, you are then on a quarter speed until 1.55am !

      Basically, you pay for the speed, but you can't use it for more than about 35 minutes between 10am and 3pm, and about 18 minutes between 4pm to 9pm without your speed being throttled down to a quarter.

      1. chr0m4t1c
        Thumb Down

        Paltry?

        If you look here: http://allyours.virginmedia.com/html/internet/traffic.html

        Then you will see that traffic management is not applied to 50Mb connections at all, and only applied to 20Mb connections after 7Gb, I can't see the 100Mb one getting hit with traffic management at all either.

        If you're hitting that regularly then you're probably spending a fortune on storage too, you might be better off with a commercial connection. Or pay the extra £8/month to get the unfettered 50Mb connection.

        OK, you *can* hit that 7Gb limit in about an hour, but that would represent ~7 hours of high-def video from say the iPlayer, or a couple of Linux distributions.

        Are there really 14 Linux distros each week? And do you need to download all of them during peak periods?

        Personally, I think this is a better approach than some of the ADSL providers who simply stop your connection altogether when you reach their cap and leave you disconnected until the next billing cycle.

      2. Alex Walsh

        title required

        That depends what you're doing though doesn't it? If you have a huge queue of bitorrents or newsgroup binaries downloading, you'll hit your ceiling for throttling in the 4-9pm slot fairly quickly I expect but 1.5gigs is a lot to stream via iPlayer, and would never be used up via surfing, especially considering that most people are still at work at 4pm.

        I don't think I'm unusual and I don't get online until around 7pm of an evening.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      @Alex Walsh

      The limiting factor is actually VM throttling your connection after you've downloaded a paltry amount, almost all of the time between 10am and 9pm. Once they reduce your speed to a quarter of what you are actually paying for, they keep you throttled for five hours. Really annoying if you accidentally hit the throttle level at 8.55pm, you are then on a quarter speed until 1.55am !

      Basically, you pay for the speed, but you can't use it for more than about 35 minutes between 10am and 3pm, and about 18 minutes between 4pm to 9pm without your speed being throttled down to a quarter.

  14. David Gosnell

    We'd switch to them in a shot...

    ... if they could be bothered to lay cables in our (suburban Surrey) street. It's easy for them to offer these super duper rates when they so blatantly cherry-pick the places they choose to serve.

    1. smooth1x

      Virgin Media need to expend where they cover!

      Well I live just out the north end of the blackwall tunnel, i can see telehouse and practically canary wharf from my place and yet virgin have only just changed from "not in my postcode area" to

      "in my postcode area" but not at my place, how annoying.

      I have dual Bethere into a business class router with dual WAN fail-over ability. A while back a workman with a digger cut through both connections and as the repairer showed me BOTH cables are in the same same pencil size bundle. I would love to change my second connection to 50MB Virgin,true redundancy as I cannot get satellite broadband and everything else is the same BT line!

  15. Mike Shepherd
    Unhappy

    "The air would be sucked out of the carriages!"

    Can internet really go that fast? Wow! I'll have it!

    Oh, wait...

    We don't have cable here. Our bit was to subsidise digging the roads after HMG said it was the future but before they changed their mind.

    I got my speed up a little from 1Mb/s when I disconnected the bell wire.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One word

    Contention?

  17. Pointer2null
    Thumb Down

    100Mb for how long?

    It's like advertising a car that does 100MPG*

    Like other have said, try actually using the bandwidth and you hit your download cap very fast then get throttled.

    * for 12 minutes per day, then 15MPG for the next x hours.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Like others have said

      ... there is no usage restriction on 50Mb and there probably won't be any one 100Mb either.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ofcom

    I would like to see Ofcom put some sort of contraint on Virgin.

    Remember when all the cable was originally laid by small operators before they got bought up by NTL and Telewest? The operators and the government made promises that the rollout of cable would continue. Of course that changed once big business got involved then the phrase "ecomically viable" came into play. However before Virgin got involved Telewest were still promising to rollout cable to our area in the medium term (whatever that meant) as soon as Virgin took over that changed to their being no plans to rollout fibre to our area. Even new developments in cities don't have access to Virgin's network.

    So the contraint I'd like Ofcom to put on Virgin is that they are only allowed to keep improving services on their very limitted network *if* they increase their coverage by a certain number of households per year.

  19. Craig McGill 1
    WTF?

    Never mind the DL

    What about the upload speeds?

  20. TMinfidel

    No traffic management?

    I hope this comes to my area, as I'll be first in line!

    I've been using Virgin's 50Mb service since the price dropped at the start of the year. The only reason I signed up to it was because it wasn't being traffic managed. Hitting 6000Kb/s in the afternoon/evening is a joy! I can downloads tens of gigs of "Linux distro's" in no time flat. If they continue that trend with 100Mb/s and don't charge the earth for it, I'll be there!

    The second that traffic management is introduced, I'm gone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      RE: traffic management

      there is none on the current 50MB you are right. That is why i also went up from 20mb to 50.

      Virgin have moved to Docsis 3 which will support much greater bandwidth and users.

      I wish some people knew what they were talking about before slagging Virgin off.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      No ripping but I am genuinely curious

      Seriously, with that kind of home bandwidth what do people actually do with it? The only reason I can think of to climb out of the cesspit that is ADSL, is try to attempt to backup every torrent you can find just for safe keeping!

      I download two maybe three distros CDs a year, the odd copy of Oracle software ( 5GB tops ) and the odd BBC TV episode off EZTV, when I can be arsed to find anything worth watching! My piddly little 8MB line more than surfices. Alright O/S patches can reach hundreds, but start it before bedtime and get the machine to shutdown on it's own later on.

      That's another thing, am I only one left on the planet who shuts their machine down at night? Stuff the bloody penguins and polar bears, I like a warm house but gutting it by flame is not really my intention. I like my house fire-risk free!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Scuse my ignorance

    But is VM FTTC or FTTH?

    1. Paul_Murphy

      Very much FTTC

      Only it won't be a cabinet local to you. it will be fibre to A cabinet, and then distributed from there to other cabinets and then to you.

      Unless you are really lucky and live near the first cabinet I suppose.

      The VM engineer who installed ours draw a quick diagram and was puzzled as to why no-one complained that they didn't get a 'fibre' in their house*.

      Come the glorious revolution I think we will all have fibre to our homes, but untill then it will be business as usual.

      ttfn

      *I don't care as long as I get my 50Meg, which I do :-)

    2. Gerard Krupa

      Re: 'Scuse my ignorance

      FTTC.

    3. Alan B

      @ 'Scuse my ignorance

      It's FTTC. There would be barely any improvement in performance if it was FTTH on the sort of speeds available at the moment. I think you'd need to be on at least a 1Gb/s connection to get a measurable performance increase by having FTTH.

    4. AndrueC Silver badge
      Boffin

      Not the same FTTC as BT

      It's FTTC but unlikely BT's offering the entire street (or several streets) shares a single coax cable. That means you are potentially competing with your neighbours. BT's system maintains their star-layout with every line having an uncontended connection back to the exchange.

      VM's network is better suited to sharing a single stream between several houses (which is sensible - it was originally a broadcast network) whereas BT's is better suited to every house doing its own thing. If BT can get their multicast working (it's supposedly built-in to FTTC) it would be the best of both worlds - at least as far as topography was concerned.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I find it funny ...

    ... that everything they have listed as being able to do, are the most common things that are downloaded via torrents.

    While its good to have high bandwith speeds like that, does no good if your limited at , or maxing the source of the material you are attempting to download from.

    Although it if works, would make it possible to download a torrent (encrypted of course), play a game on steam, and if comp is capable watch netflix video on another screen (or just use multiple comps to do all this) without to much impact on your playing..

  23. Paul_Murphy

    I have the 50meg service

    And it works very well for us - we have 3 PC's, laptops, Wii, PS3, DSs' and other kit using the link at various times, and there is no slow-down due to the connection.

    The limits really come down to the intertubes sites, very few (if any) can possibly feed data that fast, so the biggest difference we see is no hold-ups and very fast speeds.

    I was downloading 3 Steam games at once - the peak speed was 8.8Mbs, which is nice.

    I can't see that 100 or 200meg would be useful unless you run LAN parties from your house - though of course it would be nice if, say, the BBC offered the iPlayer on a 50Meg+ link since we'd probably use that rather than the TV's normal shows.

    ttfn

    1. CD001

      agreed

      ... I'm only on the 20Mb service but even on that you notice how well/poorly the service you are connecting to can cope - Steam normally copes very well >2MB/s (>16Mb/s approx) - whereas other sites/services have been <1MB/s.

      It's nice to play TF2 with between about 5 and 15 milliseconds latency though :)

  24. rcdicky
    Stop

    Honestly

    Might be worth people checking stuff out before slagging off Virgin.

    I've been on the 50Mb package since launch and other than one day when I had no connection due to an outage in my area (and it only lasted a couple of hours) I always get at least 46Mb/s, at any time of the day.

    Is that not better than advertising up to 8Mb/s and only getting 1-2/Mb/s?

    There is also NO traffic shaping on the 50Mb package and though they've said they may bring something in in the future, they haven't yet so can only assume it'll be the same on the 100Mb service.

    1. collateral damage

      You're lucky....

      well, not really. The fair usage policy and traffic shaping does not apply to the 50 MB/s as you stated yourself. For the the time being, that is. I don't believe it's going to stay like this knowing that they have not the network capacity to support this. Anyway, this puts only more pressure on customers on lower price plans and they will need to be more 'traffic managed'. I recently moved house and I'm stuck again with VM on 10 Mb/s plan (on paper). Honeslty I would be perfectly fine with 'just' 10 Mb/s and even wouldn't mind getting only 6 or 5 Mb/s due to network infrastructure (distance to cabinet/exchange and contention), but my very first AOL dial-up modem in the mid-90s was faster than what Vermin Media actually delivers.

  25. s. pam
    Headmaster

    anyone @ theReg an EE or NW Engineer?

    Virgin should be called out for this....at the end of the day a huge amount of speed comes to POTS in 85% ++ of Blighty, which can handle 8mbps on a good day. You'd have to REWIRE the whole of the UK to get anywhere near, as NBR collisions in local neighbourhoods will shoot them down. 21CN's a complete failure for BT, so we should just suck it up as a nation that nothing's going to change UNLESS you're dead in the centre of a major town, where Colt's wired fibre to all locations.

  26. Shamalam
    WTF?

    You would imagine....

    .. that with all this available bandwidth, Traffic Management wouldn't be required.

    Unfortunately it seems that it is, so it's pretty clear that congestion will be much much worse at such high speeds, unless ofcourse, everything VM have been saying with regard to congestion is complete BS?

    Frankly, when Virgin is involved, you can't trust a word they say.

  27. Fat Jez

    network port speeds

    Anyone know what speed the ethernet port on the back of a Virgin cable modem is capable of? If it's not 1Gbps, then you're never going to see 100Mbps broadband sppeds anyway, as the network just can't work that fast. Ditto the network port on the back of the computer.

    1. MohammadRasool

      Ethernet port speed

      The ethernet port on the new 50Mbps modems is 1Gbps not 100Mbps, so we should see a good download speeds.

  28. Chris 22

    Traffic Management

    The 50MB service doesn't get throttled so I doubt this will. Even the 10 and 20 only gets throttled to half speed, which whilst (intentionally) lame for downloading anything is still very usable for email \ browsing.

    Of course if you live in the wrong place (Selly Oak, Birmingham) then your broadband isn't so broad: every house is a student house and they all want some thing resembling the advertised speed so instead get ~1MB, depending (slightly) on time of day. I live 20 minutes down the road and get headline speed pretty much all day every day (expect when I'm throttled, being as that I don't have the 50MB service)

    1. ed2020
      FAIL

      @Chris 22

      No, 10mb and 20mb connections get throttled to 25% of their headline downstream limit. Check your facts.

  29. Jason McQueen

    Check Your Facts Before Posting

    Ok, lets just redress some of the issues here:

    1.VM do not traffic manage their top package during peak times.

    2.There is also no download cap before throttling back for the top package.

    3. They are examining how much of their network is being used to carrier copyright infringement but have already said that if people encrypt their torrents then their monitoring would be useless (get the hint in their statement). Also, VPN anyone?

  30. Simon Buttress

    count me in!

    I'm on the 50Meg connection just now, love it, and will upgrade as long as it's unmetered and a half decent upload speed (5Meg or above please Virgin).

    I don't mind paying the premium either if I get the same solid fast-as-fook unmetered connection that I do now.

  31. Rodders27

    Maxed Out

    I have used Virgin Media for 18months now, 50MB service(had 20MB service previously) and can easily max out the connection to newsgroups using SSL 24/7, its expensive but at present for home users, able to get it, likely the fastest. The Traffic shaping and download limits only seem to apply to 20MB service and below as per their website"Traffic management applies to our M, L and XL packages, but not XXL". I did find my old Linksys cable router was not up to the job of throughputting that much traffic and had to swap to the supplied Netgear router, which does the job. I agree that having that much speed is useless for a lot of web file downloading because of caps/limits/max speed the other end, its not the limit by VM, people just don't understand, they see their download not hitting the speed limit and get confused, its a marketing issue.

  32. ShaggyDoggy

    Minimum/Sniffing

    I would like to see Internet connections sold on the basis of MINIMUM speed not "maximum".

    That would be fairer all round.

    Also the packet sniffing thing is going to sniff packets as they fly by at 200Mbps ?

    Thought not.

    1. James Halliday

      Yes - but minimum speed to where?

      Everything you do on the internet is the going over a load of hops and the actual speed that you get it limited by the slowest hop on the route.

      Currently advertised 'max speeds' whilst a useful indication are just one factor.

      Just off the top of my head, when I wished to choose a provider I'd like:

      1) The 'theoretical max speed' my modem can connect at.

      2) The average speed customers of this service can actually connect at.

      3) Speed and latency to a dozen interchanges around the planet.

      4) SLA

      5) Throttling (on transfer, ports etc)

      I'm a Virgin 50M customer and would probably echo what others here have said. Actual technical service is really rather fantastic. Their customer service in call centres is atrocious - but then when I've needed an engineer to come round, they've turned up exactly when they said they would, couldn't do enough to help and have sympathized with complaints about the call centres.

      One real complaint I have though is around dropouts on the service. Reasonably often the internet drops out for 10 mins or so. Have a quick look at your modem (http://192.168.100.1) and you can see it churning out errors and trying to re-sync.

      Can't see myself upgrading to anything faster than 50M though - but then I was happy enough with 20M, until they started with the caps. I have a nasty feeling that once 100 or 200M services are up, then the only way they'll shift people onto them is by capping the 50M.

    2. Josh Fisher

      Re: Minimum/Sniffing

      Of course they can. Sniffing only increases latency, not transmission rate. They claim high transmission rates, but make no claims of ultra-low latency.

  33. deadbeef
    Thumb Up

    Caps

    Virgin don't cap their top tier service (currently at least). I suspect it will remain this way for the 50MB+ crowd simply because the 50MB+ modems can't be cloned like the slower packages and uses bonded channels which have less contention impact I believe.

    From what I understand, all the cloned modems on the 10MB/20MB services is why virgin has to use caps. A huge percentage of the traffic usage on their network is due to cloned modems and so to restrict the impact they cap the hackable 10MB/20MB services. Once all the services move up to the newer DOCSIS modems (currently only used on 50MB+) *hopefully* the capping will be relaxed or eliminated for all. Again it seems like it is a few rotten apples that have to wreck things for people.

    For me, my 50MB service is top notch. No caps and I get the full 50MB at all times of the day and rock solid up time.

    1. Mictester
      FAIL

      50 MB? Don't make me laugh

      Virgin can't actually ever provide the service they advertise. The poster above is obviously a Virgin shill. Their "20MB" service is actually 5 MB with occasional bursts to nearly 20 MB. If you download as little as a single CD (800 Mb), your "service" will be deliberately crippled for at least the next 24 hours.

      Their "fibre-optic" network is mostly nasty, rotten, cheap and nasty coax, and they will consistently and persistently lie to their customers.

      The sooner this bunch of misbegotten charlatans get sued and go out of business, the better for the interweb business in the UK.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Badgers

    A Game of Two Halves

    Virgin Media are a company with two faces; having a quite impressive, high-speed, infrastructure on one hand and being an atrocious service provider on the other; difficult to understand script-based customer support from Bangalore, email moved to Google, pricing schemes that favour new customers and penalise long serving loyal ones with customers held captive by minimum contract terms when taking advantages of improvements. Unfortunately it you cannot have one without the other.

    It seems that Virgin Media are intent on jumping aboard the Web 2.0 bandwagon and customers are forced to follow or go elsewhere. Those in minimum contract terms are effectively stuck with that.

    Roll on unrolling.

    1. CD001

      indeed

      Even their customer service is of "two halves" - I think I've only ever rang them a couple of times (and I was a Telewest customer originally).

      Most recently was a couple of calls with regards to billing. The first (in the evening), yup, a call centre in India who whilst being quite polite were not able to actually do much if it was outside the script.

      Then, when working from home (so rang through the day) I got through to a UK call centre - and had the issue sorted in minutes.

      I was querying, with a hint of harrumphing, a deal on the website that meant that new customers got a much better rate (if they took the deal) than existing customers... I was told about an upgrade available for existing customers that matched it - which in my case meant upgrading from the L size TV to XL (with V+) and from the 10Mb to 20Mb broadband connection for only £5 a month more than I was paying plus (discounted) V+ installation... which we went for.

      Unfortunately since the other half has had series link and all the V+ "Catch up on demand" type stuff - I've barely managed to get 5 minutes of TV/PS3 time in... NCIS, CSI, etc....

      I think the moral of the story is that, if you're an existing customer and you have to call them, do so through the day and use just a hint of harrumphing.

      Cable is great - it's just VM that's a bit flakey at times.

    2. Rob Beard
      WTF?

      BT

      Hang on, you just described BT, at least the call centre in Bangalore anyway. Every time I've spoken to Virgin it's been someone in Manchester or someone in Scotland. BT have a rolling contract too which is hard to get out of without penalty.

      Personally I've been with Virgin on their 20 Meg service for about 9 months now and only had one issue a couple of weeks ago when the South West went off - both TV and broadband. Even then it was only for about 12 hours or so if that, and luckily I don't rely soley on Virgin for TV (actually I have a TV box but the majority of the time I don't use it, it just came free with the phone and broadband so it can be handy occasionally for TV catchup services).

      Now BT on the other hand... I had BT Vision for about 3 months, crap box, crap service, and anything of interest was subscription only.

      Suffice to say, I probably won't cancel my Virgin service when my 12 months is up, I might however look at what they could possibly offer me on faster broadband and a V+ box, not that I can see a use for faster broadband myself, 20 Meg is doing me just fine.

      Rob

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Im running 50meg at the moemnt and cannot wait..

    And guess what - I get a 50meg speed on nearly all downloads :o) Does not matter the time of day

    At least Im not with BT and their utterly unambitious plan with pointless restrictions to only supply cities...

  36. phuzz Silver badge
    Go

    50Mb

    We got hooked up to VM's 50Mb package yesterday, and so far I'm happy (as TMinfidel

    points out, traffic management doesn't apply to their top package). A speed test last night at about 10pm got me 43MB/s down and 1.5MB/s up.

    Although, personally, I'd be just as happy with an actual 20MB down and a better upload speed (say, at least 5MB).

    Also, why don't VM do a business package? Even if they put their prices up to £100 per month, it would still be the cheapest way for a business to get that sort of bandwidth.

    1. Chloe Cresswell

      ref 50Mb

      VM do a business package, it's from their NTL:Business side.. 10Mb is £49 + VAT, plus extra for a static IP.. Plus £100 install..

  37. YouDontNeedMyName

    Fair Usage

    There are a lot of comments on here relating to traffic management that VM use ... Most of which sound like they are based on FUD, not reality. Have you actually read the policy? Its publicly available (http://allyours.virginmedia.com/html/internet/traffic.html) and adhered to quite strictly. However, for most consumers (even heavy downloaders) you can get your fix of legal content without issue. I have the 20mbps service and have hit the limits approx 3 times. I then get 5mbps download, which is still better than most ADSL users. And I actually get those bandwidths, never spotted a time that I haven't.

    Ok, upload becomes an issue, but again, this is only for a short period of time and then returns to normal.

    And if you really need no limits on how much data you use there are a couple of obvious options:

    1) Get the 50mbps which has no throttling

    2) Pay a LOT of money for a business grade service

    Some people really need to have some perspective ... You get what you pay for and this is a cheap service.

    1. Rob Beard
      Thumb Up

      Usage limits

      I've found that I too hardly go over the usage limits. I tend to schedule anything I want to download for the evening anyway (as running it full whack can slow down general web browsing for the wife when she's on Facebook etc). Even then the limits aren't that bad during the day, I'd say I wouldn't have the drive space to download say 10GB of stuff a day.

      Rob

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ah, VM Spin Doktorrs

    I'm on the 10Mb package, and, most of the time, I get peak transfers at around 9.2 Mb/s, when their network screws up, this drops to approx 200 Kb/s on a bad day (well, a really bad day it's totally fubar, that hasn't happened for a while).

    For the money, I'm fairly happy with this, I'm averaging 19GB data transferred per month (over past 12 months - peak was 42 GB one month - Linux and BSD distro downloads)

    STM I can live with, not happy about it, but can work round it, though would love to see figures proving it has actually helped remedy the problems it was implemented to solve.

    The transfer of their mail services to the Chocolate Factory, well, as I hardly use their email service anyway, no great problem there for me, but has caused issues for others.

    Now their planned DPI and their stated reasons for it, that worries me (as did Phorm), I'd jump ship, but distance from the exchange and the state of the installed BT lines (last time an engineer checked, we only had one working pair left, and were told that if we wanted this remedied, we'd have to pay silly money for the new cable to be run. (besides, I'm assuming the way the wind is blowing, such monitoring will be, ahem, MandyTory, for all ISPs sooner or later.)

    What I would say, based on monitoring of the signal levels of the modem, and from the stuff posted in the (soon to be removed) vm support newsgroups, is they'd be better spending the money actually improving their existing kit and infrastructure to work at *current* advertised maximal speeds, and maybe extending the much vaunted fibre-optic part of their infrastructure, rather than jacking up the up-to-max speeds they offer in some sort of 'dick size' contest with BT et al, (waste of time really, as we all already know the biggest dicks work for VM marketing...)

    It doth royally annoy me that their advertising drones still fib with their continued bloody insistence in calling their patchwork quilt of an infrastructure a 'fibre-optical network'.

    The backbone yes, a fair percentage of the infrastructure maybe, but the link from the green box to my house is still a bloody copper coated steel cored co-ax cable, and, as such, subject to all the usual problems that they suffer.

    I've seen weirdies with other peoples VM connections which ran fine for years at 2 and 10, but started acting up when upgraded to running at 20 and 50, which were solved (eventually, after the usual dance-of-the-modem-change and power level tweaks much beloved of VM) by a new cable run.

    It'll be fun seeing what happens when they do roll out this 100/200 service..

    I don't know the extent of VM/NTLs fibre, I don't even know if its a fibre running to the green box at the end of the road which then feeds the co-ax, the next time the local 'Neds open it I'll have a looksee, If it is, and, as they claim, they've a fibre optical network, then I'd like my fibre to the house please..then maybe you'd be able to run a reliable 100 Mb/s service, and maybe I'd actually go for it.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      You're not on VM's network :)

      If distance from your exchange is a factor then you are not on VM's cable service and that makes most of your comments irrelevant. You are on BT's IPStream service and that's a completely different beast to the main subject of this article. The limitations and issues around IPStream are well known. Partly BT, partly (maybe largely) Ofcom.

      Your problems are:

      * ADSL.

      * The high cost of backhaul using BT's IPStream service.

      The latter is a complicated subject. Some argue it's just BT price gouging - others (like me) think it's inevitable when a service covers the entire country and a regulator sticks their oar in to try and avoid high costs in remote areas.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oh,But I am :)

        @AndrueC

        Err, the same AC here as @12:56 GMT

        If this was in response to my earlier post

        I *am* on VM cable service (maybe I didn't make that too clear in the posting, though the bit about the co-ax running to my house should have given that away) the reasons being twofold;

        1. The line running from the nearest BT box to my property has only one fully working pair left according to the last engineer who looked at it. BT will replace the cable, but we'll have to pay for it, they quoted silly money, we declined (then cancelled the BT landline contract, and bought mobile phones).

        2. Even if we did pay to replace *that* line, it leaves the problem that I am so far out from the exchange and the lines back to the exchange are so shyttie and old, I wouldn't get a decent ADSL speed above 512K, maybe even above approx 256K (this is based on neighbours experiences who do have BT ADSL setups).

        Hence my comments in the original post re: distance from the exchange.

        VM cable is the only reasonable option for a fast broadband connection I have here, people in other parts of the country are in a similar position, and they (VM) know that..

        All other comments wrt cables etc are about the VM cable service, not the ADSL one (not common at all in this area as far as I know, and with which I've had no experience).

        Again, I have to say personally, I've not had too much in the way of problems with the cable service VM currently provide me with (however, I do hate the way VM are acting as a corporate entity), the jump in speed from 2-10Mb did throw up a couple of weirdies, nothing fatal.

        However, other people, some within a 10 minute walk from this address, have all sorts of VM cable horror stories (and guess who their IT/computer support is? so I've first hand experience of some of the problems I've seen others report on the forums and newsgroups, but on other peoples VM cable connections, not mine..so far..touch wood).

        And this is the point really, based on what I've personally seen, and from the stuff in forums, newsgroups and other places, if they, VM, can't currently provide consistent and reliable services across different parts of the UK (or even the same town/city) at their current speeds of up to 50Mb/s, WTF are they doing talking about trying to roll out even faster ones?

        Marketing drones and management twonks gone mad.

        Ach well, back to the turbine blade design...

      2. Rob Beard
        WTF?

        I think you read it wrong

        He said about the deep packet inspection, he'd jump ship i.e. leave Virgin and go to another ISP, meaning he'd have no other choice but to go back to an ADSL provider since he can't get sod all else over cable.

        Rob

  39. Tim King

    Sounds good to me...

    ...being able to get things downloaded in a few seconds fewer isn't needed, but is kind of pleasing in a dull way I find. Currently sitting on Virgin 50mb with no problems at all and all traffic encrypted and never have find them to be shaping traffic at all.

    *checks tin foil hat is on properly*

  40. Michelle Wright
    Unhappy

    What about the upstream?

    Lovely to have all the downstream but I guess we'll still be stuck with a useless upstream in comparison?

  41. Peter Kay

    Impressive, but perhaps excessive?

    I've got the top end Be Internet package - up to 24Mb down, actual sync is about 13Mb, throughput maxes out at 1.1MB/s (partly limited by a crappy built in network card in the firewall). That's on POTS - do remember ADSL2+ is a lot faster than MAX.

    To be honest that's perfectly enough - even 4GB plus of Solaris comes down pretty quickly and time critical applications (i.e. streaming) never have an issue. I suppose if you wanted to stream high bitrate H.264/VC1 in real time it might be an issue.

    What I'd prefer is a higher upload speed; remote desktop over a 1.3Mb link whilst the remote system is doing something is considerably better than 800Kb/s.

    100MB has to be excessive for most people, even most businesses. Still, it's nice to know it's there.

    1. Stuart Oram

      Be Pro vs VM

      ADSL 186m from exchange, sync 18Mbps down 2.2Mbps up

      Real speeds 15Mbps down 1.8Mbps up

      8IPs, No traffic shaping, No cap, £31pm

      BE support is off-shore, call centre not so great on the few times I've used it, but email support top-notch (handled by the same call centre I believe).

      Still yet to see Virgin match what I'm getting on BE, although I have to say if I relocated further from an exchange, I might have to go for the VM XXL.....

  42. Jacqui

    Nthell is still 2Mb/s ro over 20UKP/mo

    NThell is still only a 2Mb/s package for 20UKP/mo and has recently underwent a 50p price increase. Time to jump ship methinks.

  43. Jacqui

    traffic shaping

    NThell have a habot of dropping connections that have any form of heavy traffic.

    I telework periodically and if I transfer a lot of data batweeb work and home via the openvpn tunnel I find that NThell has dropped the link the next morning - the modem does not reconnect for up to 24 hours. One call to "support" (via the cancellations number0 finally admitted that flagged lines will be "off hooked" for a period if heavy buirst traffic is detected.

    1. Alex Walsh

      hmmm

      If you want to use it via a VPN for work, perhaps you might consider getting a business connection>

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Troll

        Vermin and work

        Actually I use VM's 10Mb/s service for work (I work from home!) and it's been very solid - and by doing big downloads in the morning (between 8am and 11.30am) I can get downloads that report to be at 1.2MB/s or slightly above - so that's nearly 100% of the claimed speed.

        I checked last year about VM's attitude to me using the line for business, and their attitude at the time was "it's a home connection, but if you want to use it for business, then that's fine with us".

        Good point that folks are making about VM punishing loyalty - worse still if you phone the helldesk and explain this - you'll get no where. I ended up going to 'disconnections' and they were really, really helpful in getting me a deal I was happier with.

        If they are going to bring in the new service, then I'd expect the current ones to get cheaper, in which case it'll be time to renegotiate again.

    2. Blubster
      Unhappy

      @Jacqui: Couldn't agree more

      My NTL/Virgin connection gets dropped at least once a week at around the 5gig download level. Just have to down-power the modem, count to 20, then restore power to get back on the network. A pain in the arse but works every time.

      It really pisses me off that they do this considering the amount of money I throw at them every month.

  44. Was Steve

    Tup'pence ha'penny

    I agree with other posters about the upload speeds (faster would be better, please!), but it's not vital. I do however wish I didn't need to reset my modem every other night, because it's lost the signal. *Again*. (I'm on 20mbit, btw.)

  45. stuart Thompson

    (untitled)

    Stil only 768kb up though i bet :-(

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dont see why BT havent at least done FTTC at least in urban areas

    As the phone market has more or less stagnated, (free evening and weekend calls for consumers BT probably make nothing off the consumer market, and the corporate phone market being very competitive means their margins are probably tiny). It would seem the best place to add value is in data, and obviously that means fibre.

    Granted its a massive technical challenge, but surely if the commited to at least urban and suburban areas they could take advantage of massive economies of scale, and they must have a legion of (and i say this in the loosest possible sense) technicaly competent staff already on payroll which they could use.

    I know it doesnt answer the question of those in the country, but mebbe they could try some partnership schemes or someting, i dunno.

    I'll shut up now.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      BT is doing FTTC, but slowly...

      BT has started running FTTC, upgrade happening at a few exchanges at the moment (see: http://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/products/nga/downloads/FTTC_%20pot_exchs.pdf). Granted, this is a very slow roll-out because BT just hasn't got the budget to invest wholesale across the country at the moment or in the foreseeable future.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    ShaggyDog gets my vote

    Stipulating both Min and Max speeds seems way to go for all ISPs

  48. Stuart Halliday
    Grenade

    The Writing is on the Wall...

    Virgin Media knows it needs to rapidly get up to 200Mb/s or it will find itself outpaced by BT when in a few years it has a substantial customer base using its OpenReach Fibre Optic service.

    Then the path to even faster speeds will be available for the masses and therefore a great deal of extra services like TV on Demand, Games and home shopping will be offered to everyone.

    Virgin Media knows that it has only 10 years or less left..

  49. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    DPI @ 50Mbs

    The future for surveillance is bright.

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