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Virgin Media Demos World's Fastest Internet Service In the UK

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the rising-tide-hurls-all-boats dept.

Networking 115

siliconbits writes with word that yesterday, "UK-based cable broadband provider Virgin Media announced that it has begun testing internet speeds of up to 1.5Gbps in London using four startups from the 'Silicon Roundabout' hub as lucky guinea pigs. The 1.5Gbps trial, Virgin Media claims, uses the same cable infrastructure and technology that powers the broadband service for millions of households in the UK and is even faster than the projected 1Gbps speed that South Korean ISPs are proposing to implement in 2012. Earlier this year, ARRIS announced that it is working with SK broadband to deliver speeds of up to 800Mbps by combining 16 Downstream channels."

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Speed vs Bandwidth (-1)

jonescb (1888008) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897184)

I'll be the first to complain about the summary. 1.5Gbps is not a speed; it's a bandwidth.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897260)

Do you care to explain?

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897416)

1 VS 110001101010100101010101010101001

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897612)

bits per second has the same meaning if they march in single file or not, if your going to post you should have at least the faintest idea what you are talking about.

bps = bits per second
cps = cars per second
A road that carries 20 cars per second, still carries 20 cars a second if it has 1 lane or 8 lanes, unless there is some new math that I'm not aware of. lol

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897970)

But their speed isn't changing. 20 cars going down a highway in 20 milliseconds are going at the same speed as 20 cars going down a highway in a single file. Each bit is going the same speed, but you are able to send more bits at once.

Try to avoid looking like a moron next time you post. By the way, it's "you're", not "your" going to post.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (1)

ForresterInc (785824) | more than 3 years ago | (#35898050)

Seriously? If 20 cars travel down the freeway in one second, in a single file, then they are traveling 20 times as fast as those 20 cars in parallel, if they travel the same distance in that same second. The only way you could speed up this caravan to the degree you refer to would be to have 20 high speed lanes (i.e. 20 network cables plugged into you monster of a NIC.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (1)

gparent (1242548) | more than 3 years ago | (#35898156)


If 20 cars travel down the freeway in one second, in a single file, then they are traveling 20 times as fast as those 20 cars in parallel, if they travel the same distance in that same second.

Correct. It would take longer than 20 milliseconds for my single-file cars to reach the end of the highway, since they are going at the same speed than my parallel cars, but using a single road rather than 20.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35898056)

If you're insisting on referring to "speed" as distance/time, then yes, all the bits travel at kc, where k is slightly less than 1 through copper and 1 through fiber and c is the speed of light.

However, that usage of the word "speed" is not the one meant in this context, and in the realm of computing "speed" is generally accepted to mean "low-latency and/or high-throughput". This is a throughput.

I can understand your frustration with the word "speed" being thus appropriated, but that doesn't make the use wrong. There are many words in the English language that have become horrendously overloaded, and speed is now one of them.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (1)

Lobachevsky (465666) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899432)

You're forgetting switching latency. A single high-end switch adds 600ns latency, and a single low-end switch adds 200us latency. If you have 20 hops, that's 12us vs. 4ms. And crappy wifi-routers can add 20ms of latency each. So, no, their average speed is not k*c where k is slightly less than one. One crappy wifi-router's latency is equal to light traveling 4,000 miles (more than the distance from NYC to London).

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35900178)

speed == |velocity|
velocity == d/dx(position)

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (1)

jonescb (1888008) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897486)

Think of it as a multi-lane highway. By adding more lanes you can send more cars down the road simultaneously. If there is only one lane, the cars will pass by one by one. Increasing Internet bandwidth simply means you can receive packets in larger chunks. It takes a single packet the same amount of time to arrive which is your ping. It's easy to understand why there is a misconception about "bandwidth == speed" because it takes less time to download large files if you're receiving several megabits per second rather than kilobits, but the time it takes for the packets to go from point A to point B is the same.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897518)

I think Speed is so ambiguous it should be applicable to bandwidth, otherwise we would be saying things like "Worlds Broadest Internet Service!" and use latency to describe the... uh.... network latency.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897600)

You're talking of the difference between latency and throughput. Both latency and throughput are measures of "speed" and it wouldn't be wrong to talk of increased throughput as increased speed. It is confusing, however, to conflate throughput and bandwidth. Bandwidth is traditionally the measure of the signal band, measure in Hz, and is related, but not equivalent, to the throughput. I guess it's been confused enough over the past decade that the wrong usage of bandwidth can still be used, just like with the cracker/hacker debate.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897786)

I think it is pretty clear that they are refering to throughput when speak of speed in this aticle. As for latency the higher bitrate would likely help that a little because only one packet can be on the wire at any time.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897922)

Bandwidth (In the digital sense, not analog) is the rate at which data can be transmitted - specifically an arbitary string of bits. Speed is the fuzzy subjective thing which users experience and complain about. Bandwidth is one of several factors which determine the percieved speed, and thus the frequency of their complaints.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (1)

rogueippacket (1977626) | more than 3 years ago | (#35898398)

A mod point for you. One most never forget that analog bandwidth refers to the size of the pipe, whereas digital bandwidth refers to the rate at which one can transmit bits. For example, your analog telephone operates in a wide enough band to allow your voice to be transmitted clearly. This band is a couple Kilohertz wide, and you may saturate the entire band at once depending on the range - such as if you try to play music. In the case of this story, the digital bandwidth is 1.5 Gbps - that is to say, 1.5 billion bits are transmitted across the link each second, in order.
The confusion is at least partially understandable - every Internet connection today still relies on having sufficient analog bandwidth to support a digital link. So long as we use photons and electrons for our connections, this will be the case.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899246)

You gave him a mod point, then commented to tell him you did this, removing all moderation points you gave out in this article in the process?

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (1)

rogueippacket (1977626) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901470)

Because some people don't have friends with accounts and/or more than one account.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897312)

Surely it's a datarate, since bandwidth refers to a range of frequencies in an analogue signal.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897490)

Sadly, most technology worker equate bandwidth with bitrates, even though they aren't the same at all. It depends on the encoding scheme. This was finally made clear to me when I learned about Huffman coding, and later, about Shannon's idea of "information". Tanenbaum has a gentle introduction in his Networks book.

Bitrates are rates, and so, in some sense they have to do with velocity. I'm OK with calling that 'speed'.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897894)

Huffman coding has nothing to do with it. The bit rate on the wire is the rate for the compressed signal, not for the uncompressed signal. Let's say that Huffman coding or some other sort of compression reduces the size of a text file from 200 MB (1.6 Gb) to 20 MB. Then you add error correction codes to get ~25.0 MB. With header overhead, sending that file is sending ~27.2 MB. If it takes 145 ms for that data to get to its destination, that's a bit rate of 1.5 Gb/s, not 11 Gb/s. If someone includes any kind of compression (and yes, Huffman encoding is a form of compression) when they quote a bit rate to you, they're a charlatan. The bit rate on the pipe is about how many bytes pass over the pipe, not how many bytes the file uncompressed at the other end is.

On the other hand, as a basic, non-technical term, I'm ok with referring to "speed" and "bandwidth," as long as the person using it will never have any use for the Shannon-Nyquist equation.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897966)

To be honest, as long as it's clear from context it rarely matters. Speed is a convenient term for anything that is measured in quantify per unit time and gives you the "fast"/"slow" vocabulary.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897528)


Data speed = Bandwidth
Lag = Latency

To complain otherwise is like bitching about someone using the term Baud instead of bit-rate, Who fraking cares

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897702)

No, 1.5Gbps is data transfer speed. Binary data transfer speed. You normally measure bandwidth in Hz. You can use a lot of bandwidth to inefficiently transmit 1.5 Gbits per second. Or you can efficiently use your bandwidth to to transmit 1.5Gbps in under 1GHz or 1MHz or what ever. I think it's you the one who has it wrong.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35898452)

I'm with Virgin on their 30Mb/s package and looking at the advanced panel of the modem/router it looks like has multiple download channels that increases the speed.

Downstream Channels
Lock Status Modulation Channel ID Max Raw Bit Rate Frequency Power SNR Docsis/EuroDocsis locked
Locked QAM256 92 55616000 Kbits/sec 322750000 Hz 5.6 dBmV 43.9 dB Hybrid
Locked QAM256 89 55616000 Kbits/sec 298750000 Hz 6.6 dBmV 44.2 dB Hybrid
Locked QAM256 90 55616000 Kbits/sec 306750000 Hz 6.2 dBmV 44.6 dB Hybrid
Locked QAM256 91 55616000 Kbits/sec 314750000 Hz 6.0 dBmV 43.9 dB Hybrid
Unlocked Unknown 0 0 Ksym/sec 0 Hz 0.0 dBmV 0.0 dB Unknown
Unlocked Unknown 0 0 Ksym/sec 0 Hz 0.0 dBmV 0.0 dB Unknown
Unlocked Unknown 0 0 Ksym/sec 0 Hz 0.0 dBmV 0.0 dB Unknown
Unlocked Unknown 0 0 Ksym/sec 0 Hz 0.0 dBmV 0.0 dB Unknown ....

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (4, Informative)

Ragzouken (943900) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897856)

The ps stands for "per second", it's a measure of something over time, which is a speed.

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (0)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 3 years ago | (#35898716)

To use the all important car analogy, if you have a road where there are 10 cars passing every second, what speed are they travelling at?

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899330)

Wait -- how many lanes does this road have?

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35898122)

Certainly is speed

Re:Speed vs Bandwidth (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899262)

I work for an ISP. If someone is only getting 4Mbit out of their 30Mbit connection, we class it as "Slow speeds". If someone's getting ridiculously high pings, we class it as "high latency".

if by worlds fastest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897214)

you mean more marketing BS.

Goody... (2)

Retron (577778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897282)

Yet more broadband out of reach of pretty much everyone. I'd find it far more impressive if Virgin were to, you know, actually expand their current cable coverage....

Fat chance of that happening though. I'd say it's about as likely as BT bringing faster-than-ADSL1 speed Internet access to the majority of rural parts of the UK this decade.

Re:Goody... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897400)

No kidding. I'm about 2 hr from london and the best I can get is 1.5 down.

Re:Goody... (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35898288)

That's not possible, I heard that Europeans get a billion megagigabits per second and the ISPs pay them for the privilege of providing service.

Re:Goody... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899546)

I'm out in South Wales and I get 10Mb/s from Virgin Media. They offer 50Mb/s, but I'm a cheapskate. I'm tempted by their 100Mb/s service once it's rolled out, but only because of the 10Mb/s upstream. 10Mb/s down is fast enough for me at the moment (I'm sure it won't be forever, but it is now).

Re:Goody... (1)

Goose In Orbit (199293) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897480)

Anybody know if Virgin have put down any cable in, say, the last 5 years?

The block of flats I used to live in are no older than that... and not one of them is cabled, despite the other end of the street having it.

Didn't stop them putting leaflets in the post box every few weeks trying to get us to sign up though...

Re:Goody... (1)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 3 years ago | (#35898110)

Didn't stop them putting leaflets in the post box every few weeks trying to get us to sign up though...

I think that's the standard amount for "we can't actually provide this service in your area". VM cable actually is available here and I've received two A4 packages from them each week since I moved in (nearly 1 year ago). They make the 90s' AOL and Compuserve mail barrages look tame by comparison.

Re:Goody... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899560)

They make the 90s' AOL and Compuserve mail barrages look tame by comparison.

They send me things, addressed by name, telling me that I should sign up for their service - and I've already signed up for their service.

Re:Goody... (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#35900620)

They do actually lay down new fibre in areas near existing fibre. They're SUPPOSED to do a feasibility study on places like yours - near an existing fibre installation, if there's enough subscribers and the amount of cable required is below a certain length, they'll cable up the place. Like I said, supposed to, but it seems this process is very selective.
As far as I'm aware, they haven't actually "enabled" any new towns (apart from a recent trial of some town to see if they could deploy fibre over a telegraph pole), but they do a bit of expansion to nearby areas.
Right now, they're definitely focusing on upgrading the existing network. I don't just mean enabling faster speeds, like the 100Meg or this 1.5Gbit trial, I mean they're deploying a massive upgrade through the whole network to enable larger amounts of subscribers and reduce contention, as I'm sure you're aware, a lot of where Virgin Currently covers is oversubscribed. And it makes sense - why spend millions deploying to new places when you can spend a lot less to capitalise on the demand you already have?

1.5 Gbps? I only have a 1Gbps Ethernet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897292)

So how does this work? I need a special adapter? 10 GbE?

Re:1.5 Gbps? I only have a 1Gbps Ethernet (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897500)

Simple, it scales holistic infrastructures and engages cross-platform partnerships to generate vertical web-readiness and incubate frictionless bandwidth, which targets interactive markets and cultivates collaborative portals.

(Courtesy of the "Web Economy Bullshit Generator" [] )

Re:1.5 Gbps? I only have a 1Gbps Ethernet (2)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897938)

You forgot to add synergy in there

Re:1.5 Gbps? I only have a 1Gbps Ethernet (0)

richlv (778496) | more than 3 years ago | (#35898454)

well, they will have this smallprint about a monthly limit of a few gb, so you might want to reconsider getting that adapter...

Bullshit! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897346)

Speaking as a Virgin Media customer I can say this wheeze is just more marketing. Their network is mostly a pile of shit that's degraded and throttled to hell if you use it for what it's built for longer than ten minutes during peak time. Fact is, if you're one of the overwhelming majority of customers you're probably going to put up with an even shittier service when this is rolled out.

This is the same tired old Branson formula. (Yes, I know Branson doesn't own Virgin. He's just a major shareholder and sold out the customers to pocket a license fee each year for the Virgin brand.) Create impressive sounding headline, "borrow authority" from some young and desperate startup and schmooze all your media pals with juicy but meaningless drivel, gouge as much as you can then sell it off for three times what it's worth before you get rumbled.

Re:Bullshit! (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35898180)

I have to say this doesn't mirror my experience. When I was living in London last year I was on their 50Mbps service (partly because it was the only one without throttling or transfer limits, partly because BT wanted some absurd amount of money for the privilege of flicking a switch at the exchange to allow us to pay them a monthly subscription) and it did what it said on the tin - a house of four fairly heavy users managed to get speeds consistently within about 15% of that advertised, which is perfectly acceptable to me, especially bearing in mind how much extra it would cost to get a line with an SLA.

I still think they're utter asshats for the Phorm debacle, and their throttling on the lower tier services sounds pretty onerous, but having paid for the unthrottled service, I was fairly pleased.

Re:Bullshit! (1)

trewornan (608722) | more than 3 years ago | (#35898376)

Virgin Media are an appalingly bad company to do business with, they seem to see customers as victims for them to rip off at every opportunity. They lie without conscience or remorse whenever it suits them. Never do business with Virgin Media or at least read the small print VERY carefully and if you think to yourself - well that means they "could" do x but they never would, think again.

Re:Bullshit! (1)

Joe Jay Bee (1151309) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899002)

To be honest my time with Virgin Media's cable service was excellent. 50MB did what it said it would, all the time. Full stop.

Now Virgin Media National, their ADSL arm, is a completely different and infinitely more frustrating matter.

Re:Bullshit! (1)

Jezza (39441) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899678)

Yep same here. The service has been at least as reliable as anything else I've used, and the speed is usually about what they claim. All in all, I'm pretty happy with it.

Now I've never had a problem with it that needed more than just a "cycle the power" style solution (and even that isn't required very often). So they've not given themselves a chance to screw up (you only really find out what a company is like when things do go wrong - if they "do the right thing" then well that's when it matters).

Re:Bullshit! (1)

ydrol (626558) | more than 3 years ago | (#35898238)

Even for standard browsing their network is poor. I'm on Virgin 30mbps service, and had snappier browsing on BeThere's ADSL where I could only get 3mbps,
Also I seem to have more random outages with Virgin that with ADSL.

Re:Bullshit! (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899050)

That's the exact opposite of my experience in two separate houses in two different areas with Virgin. One with 10mbs and the other (my current place) with 50Mbs. I haven't had a problem in either place, and routinely get the full 50mbs with almost no service outages or other broken issues.

Virgin have been excellent in my two experiences, to add to your anecdote.

Re:Bullshit! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899636)

Same on their 10Mb/s service here. Never had any problems getting 1.1MB/s downloads (here or my last house), and the throttling has only rarely kicked in for me. In fact, the only time that it's happened was when I had to upload 10GB of videos to my publisher. Their traffic management policy [] only lets me upload 800MB between 4PM and 9PM, and after that it drops to 25% of the normal speed for 5 hours. Avoiding uploading between those hours and I got it all off in a fairly reasonable time. For downloads, I can get 4500MB at peak times (no limits off peak) before I hit the throttling, and I've almost never done that, in spite of working from home.

Sure, speed is good, but... (1)

fishwallop (792972) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897358)

This will come with a 1.5 gigabit cap to keep the "bandwidth hogs" at bay.

Re:Sure, speed is good, but... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35898190)

And slashdot will throw a hissy fit about it as usual. An uncapped 1.5 Gbit/s line could transfer 475 TB a month. If you take something like Amazon EC2 they bill bandwidth at $0.1/GB give or take a little. That means 475 TB works out to $47,500 per month. Sure sometimes the marketing is dishonest, but truth in advertising would only get you the truth - not fifty grand worth of bandwidth for a fraction of the price.

Re:Sure, speed is good, but... (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35898284)

As I've said (somewhat unpopularity) several times before: overselling is not inherently a bad thing, it's a necessity for efficient use of resources. Similarly, bandwidth caps are not an inherently bad thing, since they help to make the usage of the shared resource fair. What is very bad is (a) calling a capped service 'unlimited' and (b) setting the caps in the hope of limiting usage and running up overage charges, rather than using a straightforward formula based on total capacity divided by number of users, maybe averaged over a few months worth of billing.

Re:Sure, speed is good, but... (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899700)

Virgin doesn't charge for going over their limits. They publish their traffic management policy [] (currently no caps on their 50Mb/s service, and ones that I've rarely hit on their 10Mb/s one). If you go over the caps, which only apply at peak times, then you are throttled for 5 hours, and then your connection resets to the normal speed after that.

On the plus side... (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897366)

I can get up to 60Mbps with Powerboost Technology (TM). Just wish the bloody benchmarking utilities wouldn't keep lying to me saying I only get 7.6Mbps... I don't know why they're being so dishonest. Seriously what could they possibly gain?

Re:On the plus side... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35901856)


yay? (1, Insightful)

vawwyakr (1992390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897370)

I am sure in this crowd I'll get booed...but what would I use this for? I can already stream HD video. I suppose it might be good if I was downloading HD videos for viewing later, I guess amazon is letting you do that now. But my bandwidth I get on basic FIOs is more than enough about 99% of the time. I find more often that the source is the bottleneck not my pipe. I'd rather see them focusing on widening their pipes so they can't whine and complain (or charge you to hell) when people actually use the bandwidth they're given.

Re:yay? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897654)

At some point we can stop waiting and just have things at a perceivably instantaneous rate. It isn't about filling the pipes 24/7 it's about getting what you want when you want it. 5sec at 1.5Gbps or 50sec at 150Mbps. Who would go for the latter?

Re:yay? (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 3 years ago | (#35898022)

I have this image of an old guy in the left lane, with his blinker on, complaining about how 150 Mbps is "good enough" and it's his right to go 150 Mbps.

Re:yay? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899248)


Brilliant. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897372)

Now I can hit my monthly bandwidth cap in what? 27 seconds?

At what speed does it become irrelevant (for now)? (1)

Boss, Pointy Haired (537010) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897394)

You could have a 1.5Pbs (peta* bits per second) connection to your ISP, but when the rest of the Internet sucks, at what point does how big your pipe to your ISP become irrelevant.

I know that the big UK ISPs are all peered with the BBC so things like iPlayer don't even touch "the Internet" so it could be good from an IPTV point of view with established players, but that's only a transient benefit.

From a wider point of view, would I notice much difference between my current 8MB (give or take) ADLS and 1.5Gb fibre?

* lots of

Re:At what speed does it become irrelevant (for no (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899800)

iPlayer's HD streams are only 3.6Mb/s, so even Virgin Media's slowest package can happily stream two of them at once. BluRay is typically about 30Mb/s, so 50Mb/s gives you a bit of head room and 100Mb/s goes above the maximum quality for BluRay, or lets you stream two BluRay-quality movies at once.

When I was doing my PhD, I had a GigE connection on my desk, which went to an Internet connection that was fast enough that I was never aware of the contention. The bottleneck downloading from somewhere like was my laptop's hard disk. I learned to be wary of clicking on links to stuff there - data came so fast it filled up my RAM in a few seconds and then the machine basically froze until the download was finished.

Aside from stuff on, I rarely noticed a difference in speed between that and my home 10Mb/s connection.

Pointless (5, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897440)

Virgin aggressively traffic shapes its network 24/7 and has download limits in place most of the day. When you go over the limits your connection is throttled back by 80% or more (combined up/down speed).

This is just a publicity stunt. They like to claim they provide a high speed service but the reality is that their network just isn't up to it. If it was there would be no need for throttling. VM should fix their current problems before rolling out ever faster and ever more pointless speeds.

Re:Pointless (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897558)

Get your facts straight, they only do that on the budget services. Go to the 50mbps service and you'll have no caps and no throttling, you just need to avoid their shitty "super hub" rebranded Netgear modem/router.

Re:Pointless (2)

MrWeelson (948337) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897886)

Even the 50Mb service is traffic managed, although only upstream from 3pm to 8pm []

The superhub does appear to be a pile of horse manure - I can get the 100Mb service now, waiting until they've sorted the superhub.

Re:Pointless (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897956)

I have one of those!

It's sitting on a shelf, unused. No way I'm using that piece of crap, I'd rather stick with the modem. Maybe once they get the modem-only mode working and fix the many bugs and speed issues.

Re:Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897576)

But that would imply doing something that actually makes sense?!?!

On a serious note, the actual reason is because investing in technologies that would allow them to live up to their established agreements won't allow them to charge additional fees and reap additional profits. Imagine, if companies had to actually live up to existing agreements?! Madness I tell you. No, its much more profitable to spend money on new ventures then on supporting old models like giving your your customers what they paid for.

Re:Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897736)

Spot on.

I recently moved to a 50Mb connection to avoid the caps. Everything was great at first, esp. because they were over charging me so much on my old plan the upgrade was actually cheaper! (true story btw, if you have an old VM account from the blueyonder/ntl days call to see if they're over charging you!) Life was so great, top speeds 24/7. Then, without warning, caps and throttling all round, no matter how much you spend! Any brits know a better provider?

It's not quite that bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897804)

Virgin Media throttles all but the very cheapest cable service between 10am and 9pm, divided into two blocks - 10am - 3pm and 4pm - 9pm. ( [] )

On the approx. £25/month 10Mbit plan I have I can download 3GB in the first period before getting throttled and 1.5GB in the second. If you go over the limits you get throttled down to 25% of max speed for 5 hours. It can be a little irritating to hit these caps but I don't think letting people download 4.5GB during the day and as much as they like at night is particularly bad - and the caps are higher for higher-speed services.

How many people downloading that much are downloading legal material, anyway?

Re:It's not quite that bad (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897982)

Steam users, I imagine.

Re:It's not quite that bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35898278)

This. I have three Steam games that are larger than 20GB, and about a third are between 10GB and 20GB.

Re:It's not quite that bad (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899780)

Apart from HD video streaming, Steam, XBL and so on the whole point of having a super fast connection is that more than one person can use it. In a house with three or four users those limits will get eaten up in no time.

Speeds to go shit bang on 9PM as everyone's BitTorrent clients automatically restart downloads.

By the time VM throttle you the damage has been done anyway so it is just a form of punishment. Punishing users for using the service you claim to provide... I would switch if I can but my phone line is incapable of supporting a stable ADSL2 connection.

Re:Pointless (1)

ydrol (626558) | more than 3 years ago | (#35898100)

A useful link with the exact numbers []
This is excluding p2p shaping - but still more readable than anything on Virgin's website.

Re:Pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35898380)

If their anything like Cabovisao here in Portugal, the new high-speed fiber optic will completly ruin those with slower doc 1 and 2 cable modems. My area was recently added to their fiber optic network of 60 and 120Mb/s, "somehow they forgot" to upgrade their backbone so now anyone with and under 30Mb/s gets an absurd high latency, and with luck, half, yes halff the subscribed bandwidth.

Re:Pointless (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899236)

Wasn't Virgin Internet one of the few ISPs in the UK that is definitely into the 3-strikes thing and all that? Plus, actively managing traffic to prioritize paying content producers?

Whatever (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897484)

Here's the problem 1.5Gbps download, 0.5mbit upload. Still takes you a week to send grandma a video of your childs first word because the uplink is unreasonable. May as well burn it to dvd and drop it in Royal Post.

The ISP's should be required to have uplinks that are no less than 1/8th of the of the downlink.

Re:Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897890)

Virgin Media have claimed that they are "not aware of customer demand" for faster upload speeds. This is straight from the mouth of Alex Brown their internet product manager. This is the same Alex Brown who pretended never to notice an issue he never wanted to see before Virgin Media closed down their support newsgroups.

Alex Brown is also famous for saying Virgin Media have "no plans" to screw over the customer two weeks before they screw over the customer. He's rumoured by ex staff posting anonymously to have taken all the credit when it suits him and bullied staff out of their jobs when it didn't suit him. He also closed accounts of customers he disagreed with and created a policy of rule by fear.

Re:Whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35898498)

Did you make those numbers up?

From TFA:

we know that the upload speed reaches 150Mbps

Re:Whatever (1)

Durzel (137902) | more than 3 years ago | (#35898910)

Not sure why the above is marked Informative.

I'm on the 100Mbit service with Virgin Media and I get over 9Mbit/sec upload. Obviously you're never going to get equal download/upload capacity because you'd have businesses hanging their racks off them.

Proof: []

Re:Whatever (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899880)

I wish they'd offer a symmetric service. 10Mb/s down is fine for me (for now), but I'd love to have 10Mb/s up as well. They haven't rolled out the 100Mb/s service in my area yet, but I'd happily pay the same for 10/10 that they charge for the 30/3 service. apologists liars=infinite bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897508)

lying faster is now as/more important than just lying more often. the neogods' weapons peddlers' talknicians are just eugasmic over the expanded air time, & faster than the truth speeds.

disarm. that would free up immeasurable fast bandwidth right away, as the neogods' fabulous fibber talknicians could then take a break, or get down to the facts about the history of hymenism, &/or the 'jesus was a queer unemployed caveman who also had a girlfriend' rumors, which might help us all.

Imagine... (1, Funny)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897582)

Wow, I hope we can get that in the US as well! Can you imagine how awesome it would be to be able to hit your monthly usage cap in 3 minutes?

Re:Imagine... (1)

jonescb (1888008) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897710)

Data caps are based on how much you actually download, not how fast your connection is. If you download 250gb in 3 minutes, it doesn't matter that you could have downloaded that 250gb in 3 weeks on a slower connection. Either way, you have 250gb of content. Just loading up isn't going to cost you 1.5gb because you only download ~100kb just like you would on a slower connection.

Re:Imagine... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897824)

Hence the reason the parent used "to be able to". His attempt at humor and subtle complaint about the continuing use of low bandwidth caps, even as data transfer rates continue to drastically increase, was apparently lost on you.

Re:Imagine... (1)

N0Man74 (1620447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899474)

I like to think of it as being more than a mere "attempt" at humor... and more of a mocking jab than a complaint, but aside from niggling differences, the modded down AC gets it. ;-)

Re:Imagine... (1)

irontechv1 (2057336) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901902)

Move to Chattanooga, Tennessee and you can get close with 1Gbps:

I realize it's 500 Mbps slower than 1.5 Gbps, but given those speeds and current consumer capabilities, what's 500 Mbps among friends? (at least for the next few months)

Virgin? Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897622)

I've already got 1Gbps speed available to me if I should want it, which I don't, because 50 Mbps is more than enough for me now.

Canada's low grade internet (2)

defiantredpill (2056302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35897862)

And here in Canada we top out at 16-24 Mbps.

50MBS is enough for now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35897972)

I downloaded over 15 gbs this weekkend on my virgin connection to get Portal 2 and The Potato Packs from steam. I also have downloaded well over 100gB of videos plus apps for my ipads and other devices.

1gb is not needed for consumers but for cloud computing real time.

Would rather they spent money on infrastructure (2)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#35898114)

i) What the hell does anyone need 1.5Gbit/s for, unless they are a business.

That's more than 50 HD video streams. Know anyone with 50 TVs? Maybe when full immersion holographic projectors are invented, you'll need that much for conferencing.

ii) For that matter, what the hell does anyone need their current top tier product for?

Apart from warez, of course. About the only answer I can come up with is more immediate delivery of videogames ; it took me 3 hours to download Portal 2 on my 10Mbit/s connection, and I had to wait until after 2100, or I would have been throttled back to 2.5Mbit/s after the first 750MB. 3 hours is mildly annoying, but I'm prepared to put up with that occasionally to save some money on recurring service fees.

iii) Because they don't invest in infrastructure, I don't get to use the service they advertise.

Sure, 10Mbit/s isn't the coolest new thing. But it sure would be nice to have it all the time. Now I'm back to doing things I hadn't done since the modem days, scheduling any big downloads to coincide with un-throttled periods (ie - the small hours of the night). If I need to download a DVD ISO (e.g. Knoppix) during peak hours? Tough underpants, all the people running torrents spoiled that because they didn't anticipate it (despite "downloading movies, music and games, faster than ever before" being the core platform of their marketing).


4 modems does not equal 4 times the speed! (1)

whitedsepdivine (1491991) | more than 3 years ago | (#35898248)

Ok, the article stated by combining 4 modems will get you 4 times the speed. Except that would require each modem to be on it's own 4 channel bonded system. As we all know cable single is distributed, so each connection isn't dedicated. They would require 4 docis3 head ends that connected to each modem. Currently there isn't funding in most areas to get 1 docis3 head end. Additionally this cuts into your cable channel lineup. Each digital stream is 6mhz wide and have 2mhz on each side to reduce channel interference. that means this will take around 160mhz (8mhz * (4 down stream + 1 up stream)) of your cable stream. Currently they are only able to use something around 10mhz to 1000mhz so that means you will only have 840mhz left for channels. If you think everyone is getting a dedicated 1.5Gbps that is a ways off.

UK is the WORST place for broadband (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35898440)

If you live in a rural area, forget it, you have mobile GPRS / Edge if you are lucky.

If you want to actually use high bandwidth, forget it. They have so tight quotas per month you may aswell buy a cheaper option.

UK deserves no medals for broadband roll out, the government is a farce.

Fujitsu will do the job if they can get BT to open up their ducts and poles for not arm and leg prices.

The monopoly is cripling the country and should be forced in front of the EU anti competition commitee.

Re:UK is the WORST place for broadband (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35898512)

High bandwidth for all in the UK is always 2 to 3 years away. That has been the excuse for the past 10 years in the UK.

UK is the dumphole of the EU.

Virgin to sell 1.5Gbit Internet to complete cocks (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899288)

Virgin Media will shortly trial 1.5Gbps cable Internet, but only to festering dot-com media cocks [] who live actually around Shoreditch itself.

"As the pace of technological change increases," said the ISP in the press release all the papers copied word for word, "it is vitally important to public health that these people have as absolutely much incentive as possible never to leave their homes. Wanking themselves silly over gigabytes of high-definition porn also reduces their likelihood of reproducing."

With the warmer weather, the Hoxton toxic waste pool has been growing and spreading, with reports of hipster infestations washing up as far afield as Hackney.

If the creative industries cannot be kept under control, by 2015 the entire population of Britain may be beret-wearing latte-sipping surrender monkeys telling you how much they just can't stand hipsters. Virgin Media is currently rolling out 100Mbps broadband to two million of the most endangered residential premises in the hope of effective quarantine.

In the wider world, high speed Internet will apparently let consumers access all manner of as yet nonexistent socially-redeeming services made of magic beans and pink unicorns, which actually means BitTorrenting a pirated movie in under five minutes. And hitting your download cap in another ten.

Virgin Media also announced that its overall revenue for the first quarter was up 5.7 percent to £982m, as a result of the utter lack of any connection between making money on a service and actually being able to provide it in a manner even slightly resembling reliability or competence.

Faster than I can get.... (1)

ShivasEye (168351) | more than 3 years ago | (#35899970)

Living in London...
and yet...
Can't get anything from Virgin Media except via my BT phone line.
I am surrounded by areas that have cable access and yet it is not available here, and every time I check there are never any plans to install it.
Just waiting for BT infinity to become available. This keeps slipping but at least I can be confident it will happen this decade.


Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35900440)

No sloppy seconds, for one, she said.

Apart from the Virgin specific publicity stunt... (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901352)

...>1Gbit/s is currently not on the top of my list of residental broadband problems. Sure, more bandwidth is always nice, but there is a long list of issues that impact me more, like the crappy unreliable modems/home gateways that is provided by ISPs, the bufferbloat issues in them that cause latency to be intolerable, the lack of IPv6, the underprovisioned networks, etc...
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