back to article Virgin Media scales back Project Lightning target in first quarter results

Virgin Media added an extra 102,000 UK customers to its super-duper Project Lightning broadband programme in the last quarter - the same programme it was forced to admit having overstated by 142,000 connections back in March. The operator’s £3bn Project Lightning network expansion intends to cover a total of 17 million UK …

  1. Ben Rose

    Smoke and Mirrors

    Having equipment and a port speed capable of supporting 300meg is far away from actually having the bandwidth to support it.

    They've just upgraded my area from 200 to 300 meg maximum speed, yet fail to achieve 200 meg a lot of the time at peak times. What's the point in paying extra for an increased connection speed to the green cabinet if there is no local bandwidth to back it up?

    1. wolfetone

      Re: Smoke and Mirrors

      Well when they get the bandwidth you'll be sitting pretty at 300meg.

      But don't forget, there are paupers like me still rolling around on 40meg. And even then I'm better than the proper 3rd world internet users in the countryside who are lucky to get 1meg.

      So stop complaining and enjoy your superfast pornography.

      1. Ben Rose

        Re: Smoke and Mirrors

        Trust me, my 200meg connection is lucky to get 40meg at peak times - I'm not much better off.

        I can get that speed all the time on Virgin if I wanted, but I pay for more. I expect to get what I pay for, this has nothing to do with countryside availability.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge

          Re: Smoke and Mirrors

          Bandwidth may not be the problem, or not in the 'expected' sense. Cable is also often limited by the number of properties that a particular cable services. If a cable happens to pass a lot of properties or several of the properties it passes are particularly heavy users it will adversely impact the performance of all the properties on that cable. The only solution in that instance is to split the cable by installing additional nodes. Unfortunately that requires relatively costly civils so cable companies don't rush to do that.

          Cable was originally intended for multicast use - TV services. As such its topography is ideal because just one TV signal can feed multiple properties. But internet use requires unicast and there cable suffers somewhat. A single coax cable has way more bandwidth than a single twisted-pair telephone cable. But a telephone cable only has to service one property. Sometimes (not often) that can lead to a good FTTC connection offering a better experience than a cable connection at peak times.

          The biggest issue though is in upstream speeds. Cable has to use TDM to synchronise the user modems. This causes various issues that together explain why cable upload speeds are often a bit poor compared to xDSL.

          1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

            Re: Smoke and Mirrors

            I too do not get the speeds I pay for. Pay for 100Meg, often get 105Meg.

            Woe is me.

            1. lawndart

              Re: Smoke and Mirrors

              Same here. Paying for 70, getting 77.7

              Sort of makes up for the years that they wouldn't replace my 16Mbit max Motorola Surfboard even though the service I was paying for had been raised way beyond the capability of the kit supplied. Eventually it expired and the engineer was shocked when he saw it. He had thought them all retired some years earlier.

            2. illiad

              Re: Smoke and Mirrors

              again, is that speedtest result??? can you actually download a good VIDEO at that speed?? where???

          2. NeilPost Bronze badge

            Re: Smoke and Mirrors

            NTL, Telewest, Telecentral etc should have stuck fibre in the ground when they had the road up. D'oh.

        2. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: Smoke and Mirrors

          Are you using torrents? Likely you are being traffic shaped.

          Change your torrent port to something that should get max priority (554 is a good example) and then ensure that encryption is forced on in your bit torrent client. That will give you a significantly longer time until VMs traffic shaping hardware works out you are using torrents by behaviour analysis and limits your bandwidth...

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Smoke and Mirrors

          If you put the screws on VM, they will improve your speed and charge you about the same, but it usually takes a written letter to motivate them and then when you speak to them, tell them you should not be paying for an inferior service at a superior price - that's when they start DOING something.

          But you have to keep the screws on them.

      2. illiad

        Re: Smoke and Mirrors

        And PLEASE verify what speed you are downloading the pron!!! :)

        NO, **seriously**!!! :) I get rather sick of hundreds of 'speedtest' results, and wanna know what is actually real world possible.... :E

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Smoke and Mirrors

      I have 200 Mbs and get this speed all the time with Usenet and Torrents.

      Very rarely do I get full speed downloads from a single website, but that is a factor of that website rather than the bandwidth Virgin Media provides. But for web browsing/ email/Facebook etc that is not a problem

      1. Ben Rose

        Re: Smoke and Mirrors

        Trust me AC, I used to get all the advertised bandwidth all the time and respond in a similar way to how you did - going back to original 1Mbps broadband days with NTL.

        I was one of the first UK customers on 50meg and got it every second of the day. Same with upgrades to 60, 100 and 152. I even got all the 200Mbps all the time at first, but then they gave all other customers a "free" upgrade which presumably tipped the balance over on available bandwidth and they just couldn't deliver.

        Now we struggle to watch a sinlge iPlayer stream at dinner time without interruption.

        Like I tell everybody, VM is great when it works but when it doesn't they're the worst. Tech support waste hours of your life requesting modem reboots and blaming Wi-Fi for problems on a gigabit wired link.

        They make you pay for big download speeds in order to get a reasonable upload speed, and then don't even deliver the speed anyway.

        1. Sir Sham Cad

          Re: Smoke and Mirrors

          I started with the 10Mb package and have since been upgraded to 30Mb and that just works nicely for me until they dig up the road yet again and have a hack at the cabinet at which point I have shit all and spend ages pissing about with the Superhub until I give up, go to work/the pub and see a virgin van next to what looks like a large impact crater. I'd be well pissed off if I paid for the top whack.

  2. Rich 2 Silver badge

    Bloody Virgin!

    I wish they would scale back digging up our bloody village!!!

    They are a pain in the bloody arse

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Bloody Virgin!

      Apart from the thread title sounding like stage directions to the make up artists in a Hammer film production, is "The Bloody Arse" the name of the village pub?

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This explains why they have stopped working in my estate. They dug some nice arrow trenches here and there (not even close to the 100m per day) about four weeks ago but have since disappeared leaving some open trenches and uncovered customer termination points. There was a roll of blown fibre tubing outside every house but the day they took those away I knew something was up.

  5. Oneman2Many

    Are the figures the take up or availability ?

    Also anybody heard how DOCSIS 3.1 testing is going ?

  6. David Lawton

    I will never deal with these monkeys again. They technical support is about as far from technical as you can get.

    My Router packed up , non of the WiFi lights would come on, it would not work off ethernet either. I phone support and tell them my router has stopped functioning and only the power light will come on nothing else. They then tell me to open my browser and type in http://ipofmyrouter , i say that wont work, my laptop is not connected to any WiFi or any network for that matter because the router is broken. They tell me to try anyway, absolute idiots!

    I swiftly cancelled Virgin and went back to Zen who actually have technical people at the other end.

    1. TMinfidel

      The thing to remember about Virgin is that as long as it works, you're golden. When it breaks, you're basically screwed.

    2. <BLINK/>

      My superhub(s) - all 3 of them - kept disconnecting (logs showed an upstream connection issue), rebooting would "fix" the issue, phoning up and going through the same repeated script, which would involve rebooting the superhub and great lines such as "I can guarantee you that your issue has been 100% fixed in this instance" after phoning up a third time on the same evening. Contacted trading standards and under their advice cancelled direct debit and wrote a letter stating I refused to pay anything until they provided the service I was paying for (by resolving the repeated issue). A week later and an engineer had been round, noted the error messages on the router, identified excess noise on our street, replaced cable. Following day after I got the first day in a long time without a disconnect, I cancelled my contract and told them I was not paying for the noticed period as compensation for the time I had spent and went to Sky.

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        "My superhub(s) - all 3 of them - kept disconnecting "

        There was an issue fixed where the Ethernet port on the SH3 kept regularly shutting down - a firmware update fixed it. Now we just have the Intel chipset latency issues...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do they still employ inept customer services ?

    Do you still use unreliable and poor Super Duds ?

    Do think still have poor upstream speeds with latency issues ?

    Do they still screw up DNS regularly ?

    Do they still lie about what packages (internet speeds) are available and when ?

    I suffered all of the above under Virgin Media (after having zero problems with Telewest/Blueyonder and NTL).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I suffered all of the above under Virgin Media (after having zero problems with Telewest/Blueyonder and NTL).

      Service is a bit flakey, main problem is the sheer cost. They've made it like car insurance and energy - you have to switch every two years to get any acceptable deal, because they can make most money by fleecing customers who don't want to change.

      I'd advise anybody thinking about joining Virginmedia to look at their standard pricing plans, and ask yourself if you'd be happy to have a c 2 year intro deal, but then have to go back to Openreach to avoid being robbed blind.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "I suffered all of the above under Virgin Media (after having zero problems with Telewest/Blueyonder and NTL)."

      You do know that until the Liberty Global buy-out last year that Virgin Media was just a trading name of NTL:Telewest, don't you?

      1. Oneman2Many

        They actually made quite a few changes to their customer relations department and billing system while under VM brand. Apparently more changes coming now they are owned by LG

  8. Nifty Bronze badge

    Would the 2 VM employees doing the downvoting care to identify themselves?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      You probably got a downvote because

      there are more than two VM employees reading and commenting on this forum.

  9. Nifty Bronze badge

    One downvote, and and the other one please?

  10. cosymart

    VM OK

    Pay for 150MB get 165MB, when I had a router fail they swapped it out no problem.

  11. jason 7 Silver badge

    I wish...

    ...they would finish off Norwich after they quit at about 60% capacity.

    Would love to get rid of my landline.

  12. mr_souter_Working

    Speeds are not consistent

    I pay for 200Mb (I did register my interest in the 300MB service that is available in my area, but so far they have not bothered to contact me) - but regularly get less than 100Mb

    the upload speeds are laughable - 12Mb maximum, but at least I always get that

    if you dare to use the internet at peak times and hit their bandwidth cap, you can expect to have your speed throttled to about 40Mb, until it resets at about 1am

    I am a SamKnows tester (have been for years) - so get a monthly report card on my connection - so i know exactly how dire the service is, and how often it fails completely.

  13. TRT Silver badge

    I frequently have periods of around 5-10 minutes...

    where the connection drops out completely, or grinds to a crawl akin to dialup days. Can happen any time of the day or night. My SuperHub 2 is in modem-only mode because I basically have a lovely little Cisco VPN router / firewall, small business class, and a whopping great big Cisco WiFi AP, which has a capacity for 100s of simultaneous WiFi connections, and it's all just for myself and my flat mate.

    Can't understand why it does what it does. Usually in the middle of a game of Battlefront, or when I'm uploading a revision to the work website. I've got a 70M package, and I get that most of the time, it's just these annoying blips.

  14. NeilPost Bronze badge

    Digging up your street is expensive

    I guess Virgin Media must have turfed out all the knowedgable and experienced people who came to them from NTL, Telewest, Telecentral etc who know from the shareholder value bonfire/bankrupcy/administration of NTL-Telewest that Virgin Media emerged from debt free that digging the roads up costs loadsamoney.,

    BT have been labouring this point for years, and it's why Sky and Talk Talk decline to shove their hands in their pockets to deliver any infrastructure, and Vodafone have done little with the purchase of C & W infrastructure.

    Virgin media out of town??? ...........nah.

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