Bandwidth Costs Money!
I foolishly signed up with Virgin ADSL 8Mb product, and for the first month it was blistingly fast with the full 8Mb. (Just long enough to get out of the grace period which you can reject the product) Then from then on it was incredibly slow - I even moved house (and exchanges) but this made no difference at all, proving that it is their network that was at fault an not the line.
Speeds I received were close to other people's speeds at circa 18Kbps (even from virgin.com servers, both FTP and HTTP). The funny thing however was the speeds reported from speed tester websites were constistantly higher - talk about traffic prioritising! When I eventually obtained my MAC so that I could leave the service went back to a much improved speed (3.5Mbps actually which is my line speed in my new house).
Draw your own conclusions, but I'm never going back.
When I moved providers I did some thinking, and came to the conclusion that you get what you pay for, and best to avoid providers that offer cheap products.
I think most people here realise that Bandwidth Cost Money!!!
... For ADSL products (excluding LLU) costs to the ISP ex VAT are... (From BT 1/1/2009)
£6.72 per month per user IPStream (from house to BT Network)
£1,029,000 per annum per 622Mbps Central (From ISP to BT Network)
A 622Mbps central can support a maximum of 25,600 users, equating to average 21.7Kbps throughput when inefficiencies are taken into account. This gives a minimum central cost per user of £1,029,000 / 25600 / 12 = £3.34 per month.
£6.72 + £3.34 + VAT = £11.82 / month / user.
Service with such an over subscribed central will be poor to say the least. Using 15,500 users per central will give better expeience, but will cost £5.51 / user / month + VAT, which brings the minimum costs to the ISP to £14.37 / user / month.
Then there are IP Transit Charges to get your data from your ISP to other ISPs, Peering costs (same reason, but cost neutral), Data Centre Costs, advertising, admin, "Free routers"... you get the idea!
Can Virgin really provide a service with just £3.63 (inc VAT) slack to cover all the items listed above? I think not.
Vote with you feet people. Pay a decent price, get a decent service!