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Virgin Promises 100Mbps Connections To UK Homes

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the depends-what-you-intend-to-realize dept.

Networking 247

registerShift writes "Virgin said it will roll out 100 megabit-per-second broadband connections to homes in the UK. The company said users will experience speeds 'very close' to what's advertised as it plans to deploy cable instead of ADSL used by competitors. 'There is nothing we can't do with our fiber optic cable network, and the upcoming launch of our flagship 100mbps service will give our customers the ultimate broadband experience,' Virgin Media's chief executive officer, Neil Berkett, said. This is just days after the FCC announced aims of 100Mbps by 2020, and companies panned it as unrealistic."

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Unrealistic? (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282240)

Of course it's unrealistic in America! That would require buying up all that dark fiber first of all (to make sure the backbone network can handle the increased speeds) and rolling out expensive FO cable to people who might not want to pay for it in the first place (personally, if my ISP rolled out Fiber-to-the-house I'd be buying a SCSI box and getting all the 1TB+ drives I could installed just so I could try and download everything I came across).

Re:Unrealistic? (3, Insightful)

bluesatin (1350681) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282344)

I'm pretty sure Virgin isn't rolling out Fibre-to-the-home, just using their existing cable network, it really irks me that they get to advertise 'Fibre Optic Network' when it's set up pretty much the same as BT Openreach's, just with newer cables to the home.

If I'm not mistaken, BT Openreach is beating Virgin laying out fibre-to-the-home by presumably a long .. long time:
http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/4068-openreach-fibre-to-the-home-coverage-to-double.html [thinkbroadband.com]

Re:Unrealistic? (5, Interesting)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282410)


Not only are they deceitful in their advertising (few if any get the advertised speeds), but Virgin are also one of the biggest enemies of fair Internet access in the UK. Witness the CEO of Virgin Media's reported comments [theinquirer.net] that net neutrality is "a load of bollocks" and that Virgin Media are arranging deals with various content providers to deliver their content faster over their competitors.

Virgin can promise me whatever amount of bandwidth they like (not that they've ever delivered on their advertising from what I hear), I'll never support them and I'll continue to explain to those that ask my advice (I'm one of the go-to technical people for a lot of friends) exactly why I don't like them and suggest competitors.

Re:Unrealistic? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282476)

Re:Unrealistic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282486)

Paying for 10, getting 9.86 as we speak, I guess I must be one of the few!!!

Re:Unrealistic? (1)

Macka (9388) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282678)

There must be more of us "few" than you think. I pay for 10 (their slowest speed BTW) and get 9.7. I switched after years of paying for an 8Mbps ADSL line that would max out at about 3.

Re:Unrealistic? (3, Interesting)

gazbo (517111) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283008)

Same here - I would never accuse them of not delivering exactly what they promised. But try downloading two episodes of something in 720p and then see how close to 10mbps you get afterwards (hint: you're throttled to 2.5). And I'm unsure how exactly they accomplish the throttling, but it seems to me that once the throttling kicks in even extremely low-bandwidth tasks like simple browsing are painfully slow. 2.5mbps should be plenty fast enough, and yet somehow really isn't.

Re:Unrealistic? (2, Informative)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282632)

I'm on their 10Mb service and getting close to what they advertise. Specifically my cable modem is reporting that it is connected at 10240000 bits/sec.

I have seen downloads (normally from steam) hit 1.2MB/s.

Even better, my cable modem's uptime is currently 108 days 18h:11m:16s, my (admittedly custom) router's uptime is 107 days, 12 hours, 12 minutes. I've never seen an ADSL connection stay up that long.

Re:Unrealistic? (2, Informative)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282874)

I've seen. Be Internet in London, around Stockwell. My uptime was the same as my Linux server - both shutdown when I forgot to top up electricity after 9 months...

Yes, it can happen, but most companies don't give a damn about that as most customers don't have a clue.

Re:Unrealistic? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282904)

my cable modem's uptime is currently 108 days 18h:11m:16s, my (admittedly custom) router's uptime is 107 days, 12 hours, 12 minutes. I've never seen an ADSL connection stay up that long.

Virgin Media had a wide-area crapout for about 3 hours yesterday; my cable modem didn't reboot at all during that time. Uptime is not an indicator of connection stablilty!

Re:Unrealistic? (4, Informative)

matjeh (1754678) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282724)

I must be one of the few, too. I'm on the 50mbit service, and getting 50.1Mbit/s and 8ms ping according to speedtest.net. My 20Mbit service before was faultless, and also my 4Mbit service when I lived 90 miles from here (with NTL, before rebranded Virgin), and also my 2Mbit from my flat before that, and also my original 600kbit service in 2000 - and everyone I know on Virgin (and NTL before) has a similar story. (no I don't work for Virgin, just a happy customer)

Re:Unrealistic? (1)

Bad Ad (729117) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282884)

Cable network doesnt have distance problems like ADSL, you will get what you pay for... only time you dont is when your UBR is under load (usually around 5-8pm when everyone gets home) if you are in a big city/congested area.

Re:Unrealistic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282978)

Huh? I'm on their 8Mbit service and I always get about 7.4Mbits (ADSL).

Re:Unrealistic? (2, Insightful)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282588)

Well it's coax rather than twisted pair cable, so it is a 'better' type of cable the the POTS for this type of data use. But yes 21CN is basically the same, just using the twisted pair as the last mile.

Re:Unrealistic? (2, Insightful)

The Mgt (221650) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282844)

I'm pretty sure Virgin isn't rolling out Fibre-to-the-home, just using their existing cable network

Correct. I'm always amazed they've got away with advertising like this for so long. It's coax to the house.
I used them for eight years through the Telewest/NTL merger and the Virgin rebranding while they got steadily worse and worse. I had their 10Mbps/512kbps service which struggled to provide half that most of the time. I suspect they spend more on advertising than they do on infrastructure.
The awful upload speeds (which they no longer even mention), the afternoon & evening 'subscriber traffic management' (bandwidth throttling) and the Phorm debacle finaly convinced me to dump them for Be DSL with whom I get twice the speed despite being a mile from the exchange.

Re:Unrealistic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282932)

virgin does roll out fibre-to-the-home im fairly sure, they only have a limited coverage area though where old cable companies laid cable for tv etc.. in the past which they now own

100MB? (2, Insightful)

NCG_Mike (905098) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282254)

I can't see why a domestic user needs that speed. I've got virgin cable and the 20MB is plenty for me. Perhaps this has something to do with their Tivo deal and on-demand content?

Re:100MB? (3, Funny)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282340)

I can't see why a domestic user needs that speed.

So that you can exceed your download cap in 5 minutes instead of half an hour?

Re:100MB? (1)

mpbrede (820514) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282384)

How many times have people been unable to "see" beyond the current paradigm? Need I remind you of the famous Watson quote that there is a need for at most 16 computers worldwide, or the quote attributed to Gates that no-one would need more than 640KB? THere are many, many similar short-sighted "I don't see the need for this" examples in history, and not only in technology (although all things at some time or another are "technology").

Re:100MB? (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282458)

It depends on the time though. I could see maybe one day wanting this, but that's like having a 1 TB hard drive on a computer made in 1990. Sure, big companies would pay a lot for that, but as an average user? You could install every operating system and every program that ran on your computer and probably use less than a thousandth of that.

Similarly, 100 Mb/s download speeds are helpful for some people (mostly big companies and schools). To a normal person, who cares if you can download a song in .4 seconds rather than 8 seconds? I'm online all the time, and 99% of the time, all I care about is that MSN and Google Talk are connected. A couple times a day, I need to upload something to a web server, but it's all text and small images. Maybe one day we'll need to transfer more data than that, but I don't see the point of mandating that everyone have access that fast when it's fairly obvious that we don't need it right now and there's no reason to think we will anytime soon.

Re:100MB? (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282878)

I don't see the point of mandating that everyone have access that fast when it's fairly obvious that we don't need it right now and there's no reason to think we will anytime soon

One household with a few "normal" users and a couple of power users could simultaneously have people doing hi def 3D chat, or on demand 3D TV, internet radio in 5.1 or 7.1 (pointless for most pop music but you can get some music in surround sound and in future probably it may become more common as we get more storage space and bandwidth to play with), hosting their own website and games servers with possibly thousands of clients, using bit-torrent, downloading updates, backing up their data to an off-site server, hosting your media collection for streaming to mobile devices when you're out and about etc (why bother to get an iPod with 1TB of storage or have to synchronise your collection on multiple devices when you can stream it all from one main server?).

So there's plenty of useful stuff that we could be doing right now if we had a better network infrastructure. And If we don't upgrade the infrastructure now, we won't be able to do those things, and neither will we be able to even have the right mindset to design new applications that can make use of the extra bandwidth.. it's a bit of a chicken/egg scenario, and it's great to have some companies pushing forward despite the usual naysayers.

Re:100MB? (2, Funny)

khchung (462899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282396)

Yeah, 640K got to be enough for everybody!

Re:100MB? (1)

djdevon3 (947872) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282424)

"20MB is plenty for me"... NOOB. You obviously aren't an advanced user and as such I'm insulted you even post here. By the way that's 20Mb (Megabits) not Megabytes... Google Megabits Conversion and you'll find a nifty tool to help you sound smarter next time.

Re:100MB? (2, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282436)

listen here, i can't see why you are wasting money on a whole 20mb. all i need for my BBS connection is my 2400bps modem. i get pages of text (in colour!) in mere minutes! after all it's all anyone should need - do you think you NEED all that HD streaming video, itunes, web applications, email, pictures......

Re:100MB? (4, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282452)

Youtube 1080p videos still require some buffering on my 5mb connection. Did I mention they're compressed 1080p? It's pretty compressed video, but it's still compressed, and only in stereo. And only 30fps. Some of us have screens that support larger than 1080p. Some of us have computers that can handle 1080p at 60, or even 120fps. Imagine if Mozilla couldn't complain about which compression method we use because everyone simply had enough bandwidth to stream uncompressed video.
 
  I, for one, welcome our 1080p+, uncompressed 120fps streaming video lords

Re:100MB? (2, Insightful)

EdZ (755139) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282636)

I, for one, welcome our 1080p+, uncompressed 120fps streaming video lords

24bpp * 1920 * 1080 * 120 = 5,971,968,000 bps
I'd enjoy a 6 gigabit connection as much as the next geek, but that's faster than some internal connection buses! Heck, until PCI-E v3.0 is ready, that would saturate a 16x slot!

Re:100MB? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282712)

I'll come out and say it then, if you won't. 5,971,968,000 bps is enough bandwidth for anybody.

Re:100MB? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282958)

But... I have more than one computer...

Re:100MB? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282686)

compressed

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. When most people talk about "uncompressed" 1080p video, they mean 19.4mbit/sec mpeg-2 video that is used in over the air broadcast TV. Not sure how much bandwidth would be needed for uncompressed 1080p at any framerate, but it'd be a lot. Even Bluray uses mpeg2 compression. Also, youtube buffers a lot on my 18mbit connection. It's just because youtube is slow, is all. Fast download speeds don't help if the servers you're downloading from aren't up to par. Still, I'd be first in line to sign up for a 100mbit service if the price was right, if only for the geek points for having it. :D (Unfortunately, the way ISPs seem to work, it'd still come with only 2mbit upload or something stupid like that).

Re:100MB? (2, Insightful)

coolsnowmen (695297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282722)

video will always be compressed, even if it is non-destructively so. It would irresponsible to implement a system otherwise.

Re:100MB? (1)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282882)

Once we have 1.18 Gbit/s connections, then uncompressed 1080 might be possible.

Re:100MB? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282972)

But why? Music started as uncompressed but we're quickly getting to the point where you can't even buy music that isn't compressed, so why would movies move in the opposite direction?

Re:100MB? (1)

nutshell42 (557890) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283020)

Youtube 1080p videos still require some buffering on my 5mb connection.

For me (and many other people, you among them apparently) Youtube videos always buffer slightly too slow. It only happens with Youtube and if I launch 3 videos at the same time, they all buffer at the same just-a-few-percent-too-slow speed.

The solution is to start buffering a few videos and while you watch them you keep buffering new ones in other tabs. Of course that's not what you'd call convenient and they periodically fsck up their client so you can't pause before the video's running. But until our friends at Youtube begin to leverage the advantages of being part of Google and use Google Maps to find their asses, that's the only thing you can do.

Re:100MB? (4, Interesting)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282462)

Personally the reason I'm looking forward to fibre-based networks is not so much the increase in downstream speed (my 24 Mbps ADSL2+ service is great for the moment), but better upstream speed (my 1 Mbps upload rate is becoming increasingly inadequate as the size of data I upload increases, e.g. uploading photos to Flickr which are 6+ MB each).

ADSL (and to a lesser extent cable) are highly asymmetrical services. You can get symmetrical DSL links (SHDSL for instance), but they tend to have lower aggregate speeds (e.g. 5Mbps/5Mbps) and be very expensive. Fibre gives us the opportunity to have some truly beefy, symmetrical home links, which we'll need as applications become increasingly two-way/interactive.

Put it this way. I'd rather have a 20/20 Mbps connection than a 100/1 Mbps connection (or even a 1Gbps/1Mbps!). Upload speed is nice!

Re:100MB? (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282748)

can you route externally to a virgin home IP address now? You didn't use to be able to when it was NTL, which meant running any server services wasn't possible.

Re:100MB? (1)

gazbo (517111) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283064)

Accessing servers remotely isn't a problem. However they still don't offer static IPs, which is a pain in the ass (although in practice you DHCP the same address).

Re:100MB? (1)

richy freeway (623503) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283112)

I can't remember the last time Virgin/NTL switched my IP. Been with them 6 years now, recently upgraded to 50mbit, couldn't be happier! (Note, the Dlink router they give you will take DD-WRT)

Re:100MB? (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283004)

Considering all the HD videos people are uploading, your best example for wanting fiber is to upload photos?

honestly my measly 1mbps up is fine, I'm more concerned with wireless. iPhone is one of the few phones that upload videos wirelessly, but to save the 3g network it first compresses the crap out of the video, and even then it takes several minutes to upload just 1 minute of highly compressed standard definition video. We really need better wireless.

Re:100MB? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282674)

I think it changes the way you use the internet. In fact I'm quite happy getting 6mbs down at the moment. What I'm unhappy about is is the 448kbs upstream. It's pathetic, and BT will not do a thing about it. Even full speed residential ADSL2+ is slow upstream, and this is a much bigger problem.

Re:100MB? (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282830)

If you move to an LLU provider (eg: Be), you can get a theoretical 20Mb down/2.5Mb up. Some of the top-end BT contracts will give you a whopping 883K up but, in general, I agree with your sentiment about upstream speeds being more of an issue now.

Something has to be done! (3, Insightful)

kamapuaa (555446) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282260)

Widespread fast broadband access is key to a healthy economy and world-leading software industry. Just look at Japan, where...ohh, wait.

Abstinence (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282270)

A 100MBs line will just create more virgins.

Yes but.... (4, Funny)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282312)

...what is she going to charge?

Re:Yes but.... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282530)

We already have 100Mbs in Romania, for ~13 USD/month. This is not available for every home, only in bigger cities.

Not fibre (2, Insightful)

tomtomtom (580791) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282328)

It really, really, *really* irks me that Virgin's advertising constantly goes on about it being "fibre optic" where ADSL is copper.

Fact is, Virgin is NOT fibre optic in the sense that their advertising implies - at best and in some areas only, they have fibre to the cabinet. They do not offer fibre to the home anywhere (which ironically BT actually are offering in some new-build areas). BT also has FTTC in some areas already and is rolling this out into more rural areas to improve speeds there.

Re:Not fibre (1)

Lord Byron Eee PC (1579911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282428)

I don't know why it irks you. ATT is doing the same thing with their U-verse; it's FTTC. But by doing so, it enables the last few dozen yards of copper to carry much more bandwidth than if you tried to do it over a 3 mile run (like you do with DSL). Plus FTTP means digging/stringing cables to every single home.

So you get the speed of FTTP with the cost of the existing copper wires. It sounds like a win/win to me.

Re:Not fibre (3, Interesting)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282432)

I agree that this is a bit misleading. Virgin isn't alone in doing this - it seems to be a common thing for FTTN (fibre to the node) networks everywhere. In my city (Canberra, Australia), there is a company called TransACT (http://www.transact.com.au) that has an extensive network which they also like to advertise as being fibre. But it's only fibre to each distribution box (each servicing 50-100 homes), then a short copper link which they run to the premises. They run VDSL at 52 Mbps over the copper, delivering IPTV, phone and Internet access. So like the Virgin proposal, it's only fibre to the node, not to the home. Some areas are being upgraded to VDSL2 which brings speeds up towards 100 Mbps.

Not to say that's a bad thing - the short copper runs mean you are guaranteed the advertised speed (unlike ADSL2+, on which you get 'as fast as your line will allow', which can be pretty bad if your copper line is more than 3 or 4 km long). But to contrast their 'fibre' network to 'crappy old DSL' is plainly wrong (especially considering they even use an xDSL technology for the last mile!).

Re:Not fibre (1)

sam0737 (648914) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282542)

But who (average consumer I mean) want real FTTH anyway? Which means you will need to pay for the Fiber-Copper converter, or get a Fiber capable network card.

Re:Not fibre (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282634)

Buried FTTH is becoming pretty standard in both greenfield developments and in retrofits in Sweden. The media converter is only $100 or so for 100 Mbit/s over single-mode fiber. It allows much better centralization of the active equipment, with proper back up power and so on.

It also allows upgrades to 1Gbit/s (also becoming more and more common here in Sweden) as an option. I am satisfied with 100/100 for now, but I do have the option of going to 1Gbit for twice the price ($100 per month). If you telecommute 100/100 is really needed in many cases, as is it to download anything meaningful or just to host your own photo album or similar.

hope not only promise (1)

indzonly (1734168) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282346)

hope this not only promise.

Hmph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282348)

Well I can certainly see why they're still a Virgin if they're capable of providing those kind of speeds.

Hmm (0, Troll)

Dave Emami (237460) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282358)

So, does that mean that when Mr. Islamist Terrorist martyrs himself, he gets a (72 virgins x 100Mbps) = 7.2Gbps connection thrown into the bargain?

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282412)

yes - and the martyr will use up his bandwidth in 5 pr0n seconds

'very close' to what's advertised (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282360)

It better be the “very close ABOVE” kind, or they just admitted to not giving you what they advertise. Which would be illegal, wouldn’t it?

Re: 'very close' to what's advertised (1)

dfgchgfxrjtdhgh.jjhv (951946) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282612)

They use the magic words "up to" in their advertising, then they can sell whatever they want as whatever speed they want to call it.

Re: 'very close' to what's advertised (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282744)

that's because it's going to be variable, as the last mile isn't fibre optic. See also ADSL connections that promise up to 8MB - your ISP can't guarantee the signal quality between exchange and your house. they can average it out over multiple subscribers and give you an indication by your postcode, but that isn't going to tell them if you have a dodgy cable run from telegraph post to your house that reduces the speed slightly.

Re: 'very close' to what's advertised (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282988)

that's because it's going to be variable, as the last mile isn't fibre optic. See also ADSL connections that promise up to 8MB

Well I can't comment on what exactly the cable coming through my wall is, but I have Virgin cable broadband and my experience is that I get pretty-much every last bit of my "up to 10Mbps" connection.

That compares extremely favourably with my old ADSL connection, which while advertised as "up to 8Mbps" actually reported a line speed of ~2Mbps and rarely delivered much above about 1.5Mbps, and that only when the equipment at the exchange didn't throttle it back to as little as 330kpbs because of perceived connectivity problems.

I'm not saying everyone will definitely get full speed, just that my own individual experience has been very positive.

Re: 'very close' to what's advertised (1)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282620)

In much the same way as they can advertise 'unlimited' data plans I assume, with some small print on the bottom of the screen essentially saying YMMV.

Re: 'very close' to what's advertised (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283202)

To be fair, Virgin do seem to be pretty good about meaning unlimited. They do throttle (aka "traffic shape") at busy periods if you've been slurping big time, but I'm not aware of them imposing bandwidth caps or disconnecting anyone.

100MB speed in principle is great. (2, Interesting)

OpenQL (1754612) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282362)

The quality of the Virgin brand is not honored by its out of date NTL service infrastructure. It really should be addressed if these services are to be of use to Small business individuals, Research students and the like. A friend of mine who's 20MB connection I share via wireless when I visit him was offline for a whole week, because he was late in paying bill by a couple of days. Having paid the bill, it required two visits by differing engineers and the modem being replaced as they knocked it out. Where is the cost effectiveness in that and in the year 2010. "Pay Bill, switch on", "Don't Pay bill switch off" my suggestion for service slogan. Beware if continuity of service is important to your use of the service.

Re:100MB speed in principle is great. (1)

mister_dave (1613441) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282404)

My mother recently switched to Virgin from BT, motivated by a long running intermittent fault with BT, and she's become a cheerleader for the Virgin service. She's most pleased by how much cheaper it is.

Re:100MB speed in principle is great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282434)

The quality of the Virgin brand is not honored by its out of date NTL service infrastructure. It really should be addressed if these services are to be of use to Small business individuals, Research students and the like. A friend of mine who's 20MB connection I share via wireless when I visit him was offline for a whole week, because he was late in paying bill by a couple of days. Having paid the bill, it required two visits by differing engineers and the modem being replaced as they knocked it out. Where is the cost effectiveness in that and in the year 2010. "Pay Bill, switch on", "Don't Pay bill switch off" my suggestion for service slogan.

That's nice. On your friend's part, I mean.

Beware if continuity of service is important to your use of the service.

I'll have to keep that in mind the next time I decide not to pay the bill on time.

Can we hear from someone who understands "quality of the Virgin brand" to mean their connectivity, bandwidth, and reliability please? When the headline says "Virgin Promises 100Mbps Connections to UK Homes", customers who create their own billing issues by their own negligence is orthogonal to the topic. Yeah it sucks that they aren't less of a hassle for people who have a relative interpretation of "PAYMENT DUE BY: $DATE", I guess, if you say so, but that really has nothing to do with 100Mbps residential service, its general feasibility at this time, and whether the UK is unique in its ability to enjoy it.

Re:100MB speed in principle is great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282700)

as a fully paid up virgin customer i can say their service sucks beyond beleif. i've been cut off, transfered to the wrong dept, lied to on numerous occasions and generally treated like sh*t. the quality of our installation is below average, the cable to the modem goes diagonally across the floor for example and our 120 year old architrave has been damaged by sheer stupidity and rediculous cabling. and they still can't get our broadband working properly. pay on demand services are worse than intermitant, but we've given up on those. the broadband drifts in and out affecting our online experience. it turns out that something "down the road" from us has been misconfigured and that at some point in the future it will be fixed. in the mean time we are waiting for vigin's local monopoly to be broken so we can go elsewhere. 100Mbps? nice to see the vigin hype machine is working up to it's usual standard.

Virgin sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282378)

I'm sure we all know by now that Virgin never actually manages even close to the speeds that they advertise. After talking to people who I know who use Virgin, I can tell this is definitely a widespread issue. What I mean by this is, on their 24Mbit plan, I would get no higher than about 200Kbytes per second, whereas on Sky I get around 800Kbytes a second on their 16Mbit plan. While I'm still not getting the speed advertised, the point is, I'm getting closer than I did with Virgin.

Re:Virgin sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282408)

Where I come from virgins don't suck, you should consider yourself lucky.

Re:Virgin sucks (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282418)

And then when it comes to try to get them to do the things that you need from an ISP - they just won't. A customer of mine has what they call a ''business connection'' with a fixed IP address (although they are known to change that with no warning) - they refuse to set the reverse name for the IP address.

Virgin suck - don't go near them. My customer is stuck with them because the broadband over phone wires is hopelessly slow -- too far from the exchange.

Re:Virgin sucks (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282706)

I just wish governments would wise up, and only let them advertise caps at 100% saturation...

You have a 1mbps cap? ok
that's 1000000bits/s * 3600s/1hour * 24 hours/1day * 30days/1month * 1byte/8bits, here's your cap

This also takes care of overselling, anyone want to promote such a regulation in the web hosting industry?

Re:Virgin sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282576)

That's weird, I am on the cheap package 10Mb/s and get almost bang on that speed. In fact they upgraded me to free 24/7 phone calls and 20Mb/s for £1.50 a month and 2 minutes after talking to the guy on the phone I was running at 20Mb/s.

This is while I have 1 HD and 1 SD channel recording as well down the same cable.

Perhaps my local node doesn't have very high contention?

Re:Virgin sucks (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282906)

on their 24Mbit plan, I would get no higher than about 200Kbytes per second, whereas on Sky I get around 800Kbytes a second on their 16Mbit plan.

You're talking about ADSL: Virgin offer ADSL in non-cable areas. Of COURSE you don't get the advertised speeds: ADSL is notorious for that. Those of us who live in Virgin Cable areas get much faster connections at the advertised speed: I'm paying for 20Mb and I'm getting 20Mb (& I checked the modem before I wrote that).

Basically your complaint is "ADSL is shit. I wish I had cable."

Re:Virgin sucks (2, Informative)

Tim C (15259) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282998)

What I mean by this is, on their 24Mbit plan, I would get no higher than about 200Kbytes per second

24Mbps is an ADSL speed not a cable one, ADSL is notoriously poor because of BT's shitty telephone wires. Virgin cable broadband offers speeds in whole 10s of Mbps - from memory, 10, 20 or 50 currently. I have the 10Mbps service and get pretty-much exactly that; downloads speeds of 1.1MB/s or higher are the norm for me, not the exception.

Re:Virgin sucks (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283028)

What I mean by this is, on their 24Mbit plan, I would get no higher than about 200Kbytes per second

OMG. I usually get those speeds downstream on a 2Mbps connection. Upstream, I get much less, though, because we can only go 256Kbps up.

Virgin Media don't deliver on what they advertise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282416)

Virgin may advertise a 100Mb/s connection and be able to deliver a connection speed at that rate but nobody will be able to actually use it on that basis. Right now they advertise a 40Mb/s service and fail to deliver throughput any better than a 8Mb/s ADSL service for the most part.

It will largely be the same for other providers on the BT based FTTC and FTTP platforms as the real costs are not the connection but rather back haul onto the ISPs own network.

The comments already posted here about nobody needing more than 2Mb/s have a point - albeit I'd use a higher figure than that. The main driver for this is HD streaming but the internet is just not the right delivery platform for that. HD streaming depends upon being able to consistently throughput up to 25Mb/s for an extended period of time. Doing that via broadband simply is not feasible unless you hand the networks over to the existing media companies so that they can install proxy devices in every locale in which case what's the benefit to anyone as that will be horribly expensive. Existing FM and satellite broadcast technology is far more efficient.

So, how much traffic can they really handle? (3, Insightful)

oljanx (1318801) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282446)

I'd like to have a 100mbps connection while downloading games, videos and the occasional large file. Beyond that, I don't really need it. With 100mbps I could pull down a gigabyte in less than a minute and a half. At those rates my household would probably spend less than two hours a month actually utilizing the full bandwidth potential. And between the four of us we're online almost 24/7. I'm assuming Virgin is expecting the same from most of their customers. And as soon as heavy users start stressing their network, you'll see caps imposed.

Availability... (3, Insightful)

paulhar (652995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282460)

> "There is nothing we can't do with our fibre optic cable network,

Apart from get it anywhere near approximately 50% of the population, and that is mostly in the very dense urban areas. Sure, wonderful if you live in an area that NTL cabled back in the 90s.

Re:Availability... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282492)

Absolutely right, I live in rural Sussex, and even though I'm about 800m from our BT exchange the best speed we ever get from ADSL is 2 Mbit.
The likelihood of us ever getting cable is very remote here. My brother in law who lives about 15 mins walk from me, and a similar dist from the exchange (in the other direction), is with Virgin ADSL and gets 512Kbit (yes you read that right!). It makes my crappy service look like greased lightning.

Totally different story for my workmates from Brighton and Crawley, who get Virgin hi speed because they're cabled. Virgin don't give a monkeys about supporting non cabled areas and improving their service, and the other ISPs are hardly rushing....
I should emphasise, when I say rural, I'm not that rural, just relatively so - I live 2 miles from the main London to Brighton rail line!

Re:Availability... (4, Insightful)

bsa3 (200) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282692)

Indeed. Has to have been cabled before all the cable companies merged into Virgin, because they haven't laid a single meter of cable since and never will again.

Re:Availability... (3, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283188)

Ding. I work in a 90's era business park that can only get crappy ADSL. The NTL/Telewest/Virgin cable runs end just across the road, and they are adamant that they have no plans to extend it. This is business custom they're turning down here, and what's amazing is that their attitude is quite openly "Nope, not interested. Go with BT."

Given that their residential service is much more expensive than a BT/Sky package, and that their only USP, content on demand, hasn't been meaningfully refreshed in months, I guess they've decided to just turtle up and squeeeeze their existing customer base as much as possible, rather than invest in getting any new custom.

Don't count your broadband before it's hatched (1)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282488)

Sure, it'll be great if they actually put this out and sell it at a reasonable price then don't count on it. What? You've never seen vaporware in the broadband market before?

Re:Don't count your broadband before it's hatched (1)

evilbessie (873633) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282642)

Well the 50Mbps package costs £38, all of £5 more than I was paying for 20Mbps and a phone. So I really don't see where you are coming from... And I've had a substantially better service from cable that I have ever had from ADSL, but as always YMMV.

Missing words (2, Informative)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282518)

Virgin Promises Up To 100Mbps Connections To UK Homes

What you'll really get is something completely different

Re:Missing words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282994)

Yes even if you can get anywhere near 100Mbps in the first place you are going to hit your peak time usage cap in about 30 minutes and have it limited to 1/4 speed for the next 5 hours anyway.

Re:Missing words (1)

The Outlander (1279696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283178)

Virgin media doesnt have a cap for its fastest broadband offering

Re:Missing words (1)

The Outlander (1279696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283118)

I have found my connection with them pretty good - http://grab.by/2H6Q [grab.by] - it does slow down when the kids get home from school until around 9pm but as I work from home it isn't much of an issue with me.

Try getting my 20Mbit to run at speed first! (2, Insightful)

TeamMCS (1398305) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282520)

Well 100Mbit is all good and well but considering Virgin have some serious traffic shaping going on (4-12 peak time speed cap if you, err, use your connection iirc). It's a shame they don't just release a plan where they WONT cap you (ie you pay us XYZ for 200gig etc)

Re:Try getting my 20Mbit to run at speed first! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282788)

They do - the 50Mb XXL package.
http://allyours.virginmedia.com/html/internet/traffic.html

Re:Try getting my 20Mbit to run at speed first! (1)

TheThiefMaster (992038) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282914)

Mod very informative!

Re:Try getting my 20Mbit to run at speed first! (4, Informative)

Bad Ad (729117) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282954)

you dont get traffic shaping on the 50mb package, only 10 and 20.

http://allyours.virginmedia.com/html/internet/traffic.html [virginmedia.com]

Re:Try getting my 20Mbit to run at speed first! (1)

g3f (1754714) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283170)

There never used to be any throttling on their other services either, but they changed that with no warning or change in pricing. There is nothing to stop them doing the same with their XXL. I left soon after that (also helped along by months of sketchy performance anyway). I'm lucky enough to be close to an exchange and get a constant 16Mb on ADSL2, completely unrestricted from Be. I've never looked back. Anyway, it's £51 a month for the 50Mb which is a ridiculous price for a broadband service. If I went Virgin and got the whole package, TV, Phone and 50Mb (which i'd want because having to plan your downloads around peak times is stupid). It would be well in excess of £80p/m. I currently pay about £30 for Sky, Be and phoneline.

Re:Try getting my 20Mbit to run at speed first! (1)

drunkahol (143049) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283168)

Being on the 50Mbit connection, I'll confirm the absence of traffic shaping.

I'll also confirm that the service runs at VERY close to the advertised speed the vast majority of the time.

To all the naysayers (1)

Chelmet (1273754) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282594)

I'm on virgin, 10Mb plan (downloading hundreds of gigs per month). I could get faster, but to be honest I don't think it'd do much good. I suppose I generally wait about 30mins for a movie to download, and that could be 3 minutes @ 100Mbps, but what the hay. Anything that's time critical is with me quickly enough, as its usually small, so I haven't upgraded. 100Mbps would be nice, but not if it's expensive.

As to complaints about the service, you should move to my area. On the 10Mbps plan, my ftp runs at 1.2MB/s for the majority of the time. If you get a calculator out, I think you'll find that that's pretty much what they're advertising. It typically drops to 300KB/s between the hours of 4pm and 9pm, but that's in their ToS, and I max the throttle at all other times, near enough.

All in all I would say that Virgin give me exactly what I pay for, and their customer service (while outsourced to india) is actually surprisingly good.

Big thumbs up for this.

Wonderful! (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282818)

DPI of your internet connection [ispreview.co.uk] at twice the maximum speed currently available on their network!

I'll stick with my favoured LLU ADSL ISP (Andrews and Arnold [aaisp.net] - No filtering, no shaping, almost constantly get max connection speed in my area (8Mb/s), first line support is an engineer, not a child with a script).

They deliver on speeds, however... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282820)

...the line quality is often shit. I was one of many that got duped by Virgin on this matter. Yes we pay atrocious amounts for 20mb (something that, in my home country of Norway, is a pretty basic speed) and yes we do get between 19 and 15 most of the day. The problem is we have pings of 300+ms (often 1000+) jitter of the same values, and anywhere between 5% to 50% packet loss (yes...50%...).

On top of this the upload speeds are terrible, and when asked about this they simply say "we don't support upload"....whatever that means.

So what does this mean for the average user? Well, if you like online gaming you can forget it. Unless you stay up until 3 in teh morning, most games are unplayable. The same goes for VoIP, and anything that requires a constant, consistent connection.
So "the country's best internet package" gets you abused by most of the rest of the world, when trying to play online games. Take my advice, don't use Virgin. Better yet, don't live in the UK (if you value good internet).

And what will the cap be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31282872)

100 Mbit/sec isn't of much use if the cap is 4GB for 35 GBP. You'll just use the cap faster.

100Mbps sounds nice... (1)

Grundlefleck (1110925) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282926)

... but I'd rather be stuck on 2Mbps than have to put up with their extremely shitty customer service again.

Broken promises for installation date, way way over what they estimated, with no communication about the delay. And when we wanted to cancel the service, we were put on hold for around 2 hours, at a pretty costly rate. Bully for you if your service gets installed without a hitch, I won't be taking that risk again.

If your have the optical in the wall (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282964)

Then its just like S Korea. Any provider can tap into the shared box and link you to their back haul network, beyond cable or adsl.
The real trick is the telco nodes seeing you as a bunch of adsl users rather than a single users.
If you live in a new estate or flats with optical rolled out then your just another consumer who would have got a customer pipe deal in the past for the $$$.
The real trick is the back haul and shared links around the UK.
If its all saturated in the city or suburbia and then onto clean wide pipes, where you are linked up to and the upgrade cycle could be interesting.
One old box might be great for many adsl2, start adding lots of optical to it and will it cope?
Will users find optical dead zones? 100mbps on the box, real world links are no more than a few 10 % of that for years unless its with in the estate, building.

C'mon guys this is Virgin your're talking about (2)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 4 years ago | (#31282986)

The stated speed of 100MB/s will only work as long you don't actually use it that often. If you use Bittorrent and/or Youtube/iPlayer too much Virgin will trottle down your connection (they do it alreay with their current 40MB/s fibre offer.

Oh, and by the way, your connection will be silently censored.

And let's not forget that Virgin is also a media company: if you, your kids, the neighbour (that managed to hack into your Wireless connection because you used no or easy encryption) or anybody else actually downloads music-tracks/videos/games/apps from some fishy place or other through your connection, expect a call from the appropriate industry's lawyers.

Last but not least, most Virgin companies have incredibly bad costumer service: even when their products are good, you can't trust them not to overcharge you, auto-renew your contracts against your wishes and/or other fishy practices. Usually they include incredible clausules in their contract designed to make it impossible for you to leave (good luck remembering to cancel your contract at a very specific couple of days in the year before they auto-renew).

Wrong (2, Informative)

Bad Ad (729117) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283040)

you dont get traffic shaping on the 50mb package, only 10 and 20. so its unlikely they will shape the 100mb either.

http://allyours.virginmedia.com/html/internet/traffic.html [virginmedia.com]

Re:Wrong (1)

Ravenger (715905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283106)

I have serious doubts that Virgin will be able to deliver 100mb reliably, as they can't even deliver 10mb in many areas.

I'm on Virgin 10mb and a few weeks ago my connection was constantly unusable due to 50mb users orrenting 24/7 (The upstream bandwidth was over-utilised on my UBR). That's mainly Virgin over-selling the bandwidth, but it's also due to selfish users acting as though they're eating all the pizza at an all-you-can-eat buffet, while the other customers are left fight over the left-overs. I'm not in favour of traffic shaping or bandwith caps, but surely there has to be some form of fair use for customers?

It doesn't help that Virgin won't be upgrading my network to cope with the demand for another FOUR months! Luckily I managed to get my connection off the 50mb network and back onto the 10mb network which isn't as bad.

I'd have left Virgin by now if I could get good ADSL in my area, but I can't, so I'm stuck with them.

Re:Wrong (1)

drunkahol (143049) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283186)

What nasty 50Mbit users they must be!!! Imagine actually USING their connections at the same time as you - how inconsiderate :-( I'd have started crying right about . . . . WOA - hold on.

As they pay more than you, what makes you think that they should be throttled more than you? The 50Mbit service has no traffic shaping or download limits. THAT'S WHY SOME OF US PAY FOR THAT SERVICE.

If you want to pay for a cheaper server - go right ahead. Just don't whine when people who pay more than you are using their service to the full.

Selfish users indeed. Pay for the service - or in your case, don't.

Sounds great (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 4 years ago | (#31283206)

When are they actually going to lay fibre to my town then? I realize 60k people is far too few for them bother with - no cable provider has ever rolled out cable to Maldon.

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