back to article Virgin Media to demo 200Mb/s broadband tomorrow

Virgin Media will publicly demonstrate its upcoming 200Mb/s broadband service this weekend. VM's demo follows hot on the heels of the expansion of its 200Mb/s trial into Coventry. The test set-up is already operating in Kent and has been since the summer of 2009. The service operates over Virgin Media's fibre optic network, …


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  1. jubtastic1


    Does it have useful upstream bandwidth? is it going to be throttled/shaped/capped? anything on contention ratios?

    In short, is there any point to it besides winning the big number pissing contest?

    1. PerfectBlue

      The world will be watching, with baited lawyers

      For what it's worth, at the price that they are going to charge for a 200mb connection the bandwidth cap will probably be set so high as to not be noticeable by most people, like it is for their 50mb connection.

      This said, I suspect that the RIAA and the UK equivalent will try to get hold of your IP address by hook or by crook, and they will be watching you like a hawk to see if you are downloading anything that they own the copyright to.

  2. Ben Tasker

    Just Stop It!

    We've already seen ISP's competing on who has the lowest price with a race to the bottom. Result? We pay less, but the service suffers. Whether it's the contention ratio, the customer service, service availablility (or more often all three) those of us that actually care lose out.

    Now Virgin are trying to start a race on speed, yes more speed is nice and it'd be nice to see the market move forwards, but let's not have another arms race eh? Focus on rolling out the current gen to a wide percentage of the population (Sorry country folk, you get peace and quiet, we get speed!), make the service reliable and then look at speeding up.

    The last thing the intelligent consumer wants is a race to deliver faster speeds resulting in a poorer service overall because you've cut corners. Because you know what? Once they are all offering 200Mb the arms race on prices will start again and the service will suffer again!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Country Folk

      Why oh why do Townies insist on using the same dismal arguments can I stop paying on my Council tax for services I don't get? I tell you what if we keep all our Crops and Animals then you can grow and breed your own in your flat? Sound reasonable? No thought not.

      Why should there be a divide? Give me one good reason (and look at the profits of these Companies each year).

      1. Chad H.

        I think the key word is "Business"

        I think you're forgetting that these are businesses. They aren't "Internet for everyone" Charities. Their prime directive (despite their marketing campaign) isn't to look after you, its to look after the people that own the company ("Maximise Shareholder Value").

        Why the heck should they spend millions on "their childrens' Inheritence" to subsidise your lifestyle? If they aren't going to make a profit on hooking up your homestead, then it would be irresponsible of them to do so.

        Perhaps we do need a charity to look after country areas that can offer internet on a not-for-profit basis... But even then it still wouldnt be at the cheap prices that you get in the cities.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        oh dear.....

        right, i will try to put this one to bed once and for all in terms you may understand....

        first of all, you earn your living from growing crops and raising cattle, and you manage to do this with the aid gov subs (not in all cases)....

        what if, next time you go to market and you were offered some new seeds to plant in your field. these seeds cost say £100,000 per bag each bag after taking into account the cost of growing the seeds the over all cost is £150,000. but then the seller says, but it will take 10 years for them to grow big enough in open spaces to be able to harvest them and make £200,000 at market showing a profit of £50,000... but if you were to plant the seeds within 10metres of a tree they will take four weeks to grow to maturity and make £200,000 at market, but you could then replant 4 more times in that growing season total profit £250,000 as opposed to £5,000 per growing season, but you have to wait 10 years...

        i bet you a pound to a penny, you would use your ordinary seeds that make you £6,000 per bag in the open spaces per growing season and use the super grow in areas next to trees....

        Living in the country has many advantages over the city, and living in the city has advantages over the country. its your choice to decide where you want to live and work, but don't expect me to pay and deliver your McDonalds happy meal because there isn't one close to where you live or pay your petrol bill because the cinema is not just around the corner and I will not be paying for the cost of installing fast broadband into areas of low population too.

        I also wouldn't expect any company to tie its money up for a ridiculous length of time be it BT with fibre to cable or you with your bag of magic beans

      3. Jolyon

        Folk you

        If you keep your crops and animals (would love to know what you personally produce in this line BTW) then the towns and cities will buy from elsewhere - we already import a lot of food as I am sure you are aware.

        The deal is not internet for food, it's internet for profit.

        There might be a reasonable argument for placing broadband internet in the class of utilities that must be supplied to all but it is not currently the case hence the divide.

        There's an election coming up, I do assume you'll be voting for a party that favours equal provision for all rather than one that favours letting markets decide these matters.


  3. Danny 14

    what the fair use?

    50gb a month? Soon fill that in an hour then.

  4. Shady

    200mb between home and the nearest Virgin network centre...

    ...and from that point on the route will be interrupted with 10mb links, 1000ms+ latencies, and upstream will be limited to 128k.

    If you're lucky.

  5. AndrueC Silver badge

    Fantastic news! all we need is something to do with it and an infrastructure that can support it.

    I'm still intrigued to know how well this works on their copper loop. My understanding is that that has only 2Gb/s of bandwidth so it won't take many people in your neighbourhood sucking at 200Mb/s to swamp it.

  6. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    I'm on Virgin Media fibre, NOT ADSL....

    I'm meant to get 10Mb/sec, and I only get 2. But I can't complain, because I use Opera, and whenever I phone up to complain they invariably say that they will not support me because of that.....

    Joke icon because that's what the service is....

    1. David Cherry 1

      @Dodgy Geezer

      Since when do Virgin know what browser you are using, I use Linux and when I phone up I always say that I am running Windows XP (or what ever OS they support at the time)

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Same here...

        ...I also pretend to not have a WLAN because that would be unsupported (I made the mistake of mentioning it once and was told that they only support as far as the modem and 1 PC connected to it).

        Let's face it, though, if you're competent enough to use *nix then you can blag it enough to pretend you're using Windows. Just speak loudly enough so the support monkey can't hear you typing commands in the background instead of clicking on icons.

        In fairness to Vermin Media, though, I've not had to call them for technical support for a very long time because my 50Mbit connection is incredibly stable these days (which is good cause it ain't cheap!).

    2. SynnerCal

      Squash the vermin

      They can't support you because you use Opera? Well then, surely if you're using Windows then you've already got IE. Similarly with MacOSX/Linux you've got Safari/Firefox (in most cases) bundled. Have you tried them instead because, siding with the VM folks for a second, it'd certainly help to get that eliminated as a cause of the slowdown. Might also be worth checking out as there's some good advice on getting the best from your connection.

      That said, last time I annoyed VM support (my modem spontaneously decided to jump frequency) I was using an Acer netbook running Ubuntu, and the Indian call centre droid (cos it was a Sunday night) had no problems getting me thought the diagnostics needed. Although a lack of IE did kind of throw him off script. Hee-hee.

      200Mb is good news, since I'm guessing that we'll see a domino effect, with the 10Mb being dropped and 20Mb being the new standard. Actually, I seem to remember some claim that this was going to happen with the 100Mb service introduction, in which case can I expect to go to 20Mb and then to 50Mb - cool!

      By the way - my 10Mb line rates at nearly 10Mb in the morning, gets slower in the afternoon, and then stabilises at anything between 4-8Mb at night. My service uptimes have been excellent, so all in all I'm pretty happy - but YMMV of course.

      1. Rob Beard
        Thumb Up


        I'm hoping too that when 100Mbit comes out they'll do what they used to and drop the packages down, so in my case I'd hopefully go up to 50 Meg from 20 Meg.

        Saying that though, I'm happy with 20 Meg, as much as I'd like a faster connection at the moment I really can't warrant paying the extra, I'm currently more interested in getting one of those new fangled HD boxes.

        I was also under the impression that the 200Mbit connection was going to be over the cable rather than all direct fibre (although I suppose running fibre gives a bit more future proofing).


    3. Rob Beard

      2 Meg?

      When I first signed up for Virgin 20Mbit broadband they stuck me on 10MBit/sec, after a quick call to them they sorted it out, they didn't ask what browser I had etc.

      Now 95% of the time I get 20 Meg, occasionally it drops a bit but no less than 15MBit/sec. Okay I was cursing them last night when I was getting about 10MBit/sec but then realised it was down to a crap wireless signal. Stuck the CAT5 cable in to the laptop and lo and behold, got 20Mbit again.

      I guess if you're still stuck on your contract with say a few months to go then you're pretty screwed if the phone support don't help, maybe you ought to try the ThinkBroadband team, they seem to have some more clout with ISPs, and if you're out of your 12 month contract, well you can always look at BT Broadband for even slower speeds (assuming you have a BT line at least in your place).


  7. PhonicUK

    Meanwhile in ADSL land...

    Everyone else is still dragging their heels...

    I used to be on Virgins 20MBit unlimited service last year. There was genuinely no hard traffic limit over a month, but if you used more than xGB in y Period of time during peak hours, your speed was cut in 1/2 - which I could live with quite happily.

    Sadly, I'm in an area of a major city that they don't service despite being surrounded by places they do serve in every direction... So I'm stuck with 2.5MBit-ish BT...

    Here's a drink to hoping they keep that kind of policy for their upcoming 100/200MBit streams!

    1. Thomas Kenyon

      Can't get Cable

      If you are surrounded by properties that can receive cable, and you can't, Have you tried getting a spotter round to find out if they think it's feasible?

      The above page can sometimes get one out.

  8. Piggy and Tazzy

    Sort the bloody 20 meg service out first

    They really make me laugh. Why don't they sort out their appalling 10 and 20 meg services first? Hell, even the 50meg service is suffering for many.

    Add in their draconian traffic management policies, pathetic customer service and useless billing system and it's nothing but a joke of a service.

    200meg. Yeah right. My arse.

  9. Carl Thomas

    Not Fibre To Home

    It's not fibre to the home, it's using DOCSIS 3 with no downstream bandwidth limit, 4 x 50Mbit channels bonded = 200Mbit.

    Of course you need to be the only person in your area doing anything download related to get the full 200Mbit at the moment :)

  10. Anonymous Coward

    South Korea

    What I don't understand is how can a country like South Korea, who have been so universaly raped in recent years, provide the worlds fastest BB connections to pretty much its entire population?

    I'm here now on a fiber to the home line and happily download files at 100mbps. Almost no latency, no traffic shaping and certainly no download limits all for the princely sum of $40 a month with free installation.

    What are they doing right that the western world is screwing up?

    And a beer for the Koreans (You don't have a soju icon??)

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Virgin can have...

    ...the fastest speed they want, they still suck, especially with their DPI trials

  12. Matthew 3

    200MB? Two meg would do for me.

    'nuff said.

  13. jp1000

    It will still be unusable

    I've got a 4 Mb/s line from Virgin Media which is virtually unusable every evening due to ping times on the order of 1000 ms (occasionally up to 8000ms). The download speed is still OK at around 1 meg or so - VM 1st line tech support (who admitted to me they did not know the difference between latency and througput) tell me this is acceptable and such slowness is 'expected in the evenings' - and refuse to put me through to 2nd line support. So far as I can see claims of 200 Mb/s are worthless from a company that can't even provide a useable service at 4 Mb/s.

    1. mike__


      Have you tried posting on their (assuming you're on cable) newgroup? The tech support people who work there actually know what they're doing.

      1. jp1000

        The usenets groups are great, but they're being closed!

        Indeed I just discovered and posted to it - amazingly one can post traceroute results and get immediately sensible technical input. So they're checking 'utlisation' on the circuit for me now apparently. However having an avenue of support that actually works clearly goes against Virgin Media's brand image, or core principles, or something - so they're closing the usenet support groups on 22nd March...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most people are using WiFi or 100Mb home networks?

    So what's the point in having a '200'Mb connection to the outside?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      they are using more than 1 computer so the extra available bandwith will come in handy.

      and at a guess, when or if it is let loose on he general population, the router will have a built in gigabit switch....

      most modern mobos come with a gigabit network adaptor built in....

      but as per usual vm will fail.they are useless in all respects

      joke alert, because vm are one

    2. Anonymous Coward


      Gigabit home networking - even my 5 year old laptop / 6 year old desktop has a gb network card built in. yes your netbook book may only have a 10/100 card, but its hardly a machine to go downloading large files on.

      Also, ever heard of more than one person using the same internet connection. ie student houses, families with teenage kids etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Are virgin shipping 10/100/1000 modems and routers these days?

        Because unless they are, your gigabit NIC isn't going to help you.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gigabit

          VirginMedia aren't supid. They shipped wireless n routers with the 50Mb product so people could make full use of the bandwidth. Just because they aren't offering routers with gigabit switches now, doesn't mean they won't be when this product is actually launch. Oh, and FYI, the modems do have a gigabit port, and the current DIR-615 router has a gigabit WAN port.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Arrggh Matey

      It's so the thieving bastards can download pirated films, tv shows and games even faster than they are now.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        i dissagree

        on my 24mbit BE connection, I can download a movie from rapidshare in aprox 5 to 7 min.

        as the 200mbit connection is 4x50mbit lines tied together, and the cost of 1x 50mbit connection is around £50 i would expect the 200mbit connection to be £75 to £100 per month...

        at 200mbit the download time will be reduced to around 1 to 2 min. (un-raring it will take longer than the download) take into account contention and this will rise to 3 to 4 min take into account the FUP it will rise agin to 4 to 6 min

        as my BE connection costs me £18 per month, to save the extra few min is just not worth the money...

        i would say it would be only of use to business users, but the pathetic upload speeds vm offer removes this, the only thing left is tvod... but why not just use the cable tv box for this?

        its just a pissing compertition.... lets just get 10 bt lines and have them all on BE, that will cost you £180 pm for 200mbit down and 28mbit up....and I am sure you could negotiate a better price....

        1. Anonymous Coward


          So you're saying it will take 7 minites on your 24Mb connection, and 8 minutes on a 200Mb connection?

          Sorry, WAT?

          Also, what FUP?

          Also, it's £38/month, not fifty.

        2. Ottoman

          re-do your sums

          err, 10 extra lines from BT will incur extra £130 pm on top of what you need to pay BE.

  15. The Original Ash
    Thumb Up

    Sounds good!

    Grab one of these connections, a VPN to a less-restrictive nation, commercial-grade access point and offer broadband access to your neighbours. Better than being 4km+ from the local exchange.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    VM can't even provide a reliable service on it's lower tiers without draconian shaping.

    200Mb/s is simply a marketing exercise, nothing more.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The 50Mb product runs fine without shaping. The problem is there are so many cloned and unlocked modems on the DOCSIS 2.0 network. This isn't yet possible with DOCSIS 3.0.

  17. luxor
    Thumb Down

    Got your priorities wrong Virgin.

    Fix your bloody ADSL service first so that we who use it can get more than the pathetic 0.5Mb/s we are getting at peak times at the moment. Get that fixed you morons then you can do other things.

  18. davefb

    korea net

    they dont supply to all the population, they have more crowded conurbations and cities where it is possible to supply these services. then ignore the others.

    It's the same with all the other countries that supposedly have great net connections ( sweden eg), if you actually talk to users, they have the same problems of 'ahh ,i can get a great connection when I'm in my student accomodation, but at home I can only get 0.5mbit connection' .

    Or at least, the survey of the WoW guild I was in ( and lotro) gave those results :) .

    I've a vm 10mbit connection, I'd prefer them to reduce the price of that, since there's no need for me to have any faster ( don't steal things ) most of the servers I connect to don't max that out..

    Then again, I suppose vm need to be looking at this because they could probably use the bandwidth for high end tv-od system..

  19. Elsie

    But the people that ...

    .... want to use even faster speeds and be some of the first to take it are exactly the Yo-Ho-Ho-Me-Heaties that the Government / ISP's and Media industries want to get off the net. As we all know, when you download an MP3 God kills a kitten.

    Jimmy - because he'd win a fight with Mandelson.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Charge by download/upload

    Change the model so they charge per mb downloaded/uploaded. then they will be very keen to raise the speed as it means more $$$$.

  21. David 45

    Snail net

    And here I am, stuck on an eighties-built estate on the outskirts of the county town of Kent but still a long way from the exchange, with a covenant against digging it up to replace the ageing underground cables with something a little more modern. Speed? Well........... about half a meg, if you're lucky, with a following wind. Talking of the broadband tax......ooh - don't get me going!

  22. Badbob

    Oh bugger me!

    Looks like I am going to have to run some new cables.

    200Mb/s sounds nice, but my home network which is mostly cabled, is only 100Mb/s, and of course the connection from the router to the modem is only 100Mb/s.

    Seeing as that will cost me a fortune to replace and I can live without fresh holes in the walls, (and TBH I barely use the 50Mb/s I have), I think i will pass.

    I'll run some Cat6 as I redecorate the house over the next few years, but I don't think i will be in any rush.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      cat5e will do gig fine. no need for cat6. just replace the switch with a faster one. If your computers are recent then they will have gbit nic's already.

  23. Thomas Kenyon

    Gigabit runs quite nicely on Cat 5

    No need to change your cabling, Gigabit runs quite nicely on Cat 5.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    10Mb/s reliable

    I've found they deliver the right speeds, on I always get speeds very close (just above or just below minutely) to what I should be getting. Also get the right speeds when using things like gmail (downloading attachments) and other services like Steam etc.

    Though obviously I get lower speeds on a lot of sites, but that's because of limits imposed by those sites. I might have to get a download manager to get around that one day ;P

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