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Tens of Thousands Flee From BT and Virgin

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the they're-swimming-to-iceland dept.

The Internet 258

twoheadedboy writes "The two biggest ISPs in the UK are losing thousands of customers. Earlier this week Virgin reported it had lost 36,000 cable broadband customers. BT, meanwhile, has seen around 125,000 active consumer line customers flee this quarter. With that many customers leaving, where are they going?"

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IT'S SLASHDOT !! VIRGINS SCARE US !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931318)

So flee we will !!

Re:IT'S SLASHDOT !! VIRGINS SCARE US !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931472)

We are what we fear?

Wholesalers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931326)

Maybe they are going to wholesalers/resellers? That's what they do in Canada. They sure aren't cutting cords and going wireless or giving up entirely.

There is a lot of incentive to drop "TV" and "Landline" packages however. Why waste money on what you seldom use?

Re:Wholesalers? (4, Informative)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931712)

Depending on exactly how you define resellers.

What has become increasingly common here in the UK is local loop unbundling. With local loop unbundling BT openreach* owns the physical line but the provider can operate their own ADSL gear. Afaict lines can be unbundled for just ADSL or for ADSL and voice (not sure if they can be unbundled for voice only or for ADSL and voice to different providers). LLU allows providers to avoid the high costs of using BTs ADSL backend network but comes at a price in that. So there are only a handful of LLU providers of which SKY and O2/BE (O2 bought BE but they still operate services under the BE name as we as their own) seem to be regarded as the best.

There are also many BT wholesale based providers but due to the way BT prices access to their backend network these tend to be expensive, congested or both.

* Part of BT but kept somewhat seperate from BTs other operations by the regulator.

Traffic Management? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931344)

Virgin suffer every time Blizzard patch World of Warcraft, their draconian management picks up the packets as p2p traffic and lowers its priority.
With the amount of WoW players, I would imagine the recurring problems are a big cause.

Re:Traffic Management? (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931356)

Actually, the only happened twice. All of the recent issues have been caused by Blizzard's host in france, a couple of ISPs in Europe have been affected by it.

switching to smartphones? (1)

NuclearCat (899738) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931346)

I think many of users was using PC+DSL by mistake, it was just a trend.
They dont need much from internet, and they realise that a phone are enough for them?

Re:switching to smartphones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931362)

Doesn't help with the rise of tablets (ipad specifically) with 3g support. With internet connectivity everywhere you go plus many places have free wifi, paying for 2 internet connections doesn't make sense for most people and 3g is more convenient for casual users.

BT are crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931348)

I am with BT, and will be leaving as soon as my 18 months are up. will be going to sky. 18 month contracts are too annoying.and they equipment is crap, and the limit your speed at peak times.

Re:BT are crap. (2)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931398)

At the beginning of the century, Virgin were a good ISP. Price, speed and a ONE month contract.

BT is the choice of joe six-pack, and seriously piss me off. When some anti-consumer bullshit is going down, BT are always first in the headlines. (Virgin and talk talk shortly after)
And they had an advert which spun the benefits of 802.11n as a benefit of choosing their service.
"Wireless keep dropping out? Oh, you need the latest BT home hub".
Which basically translates to, the marketing department couldn't come up with one single other benefit of using their shite service.

Re:BT are crap. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931402)

BT are crap

British English always amuses me with this, treating collectives as plural.

Re:BT are crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931614)

You don't get a say in how we speak our language, sorry. Why don't you go stick some more "Zees" in words.

Re:BT are crap. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931776)

Right after I watch you stuff a crumpet in your bung-hole, matey...

Re:BT are crap. (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931756)

If it werenâ(TM)t for them you would be speaking German now. (Yes, I am aware of the Muhlenberg Vote)

Re:BT are crap. (4, Informative)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931408)

Just FYI, Sky Broadband uses the same infrastructure as BT Broadband (both use BT OpenReach cabling). If you find BT laggy at peak times, you'll find Sky just the same.

Also, I know exactly two people who have been Sky Broadband customers- both were happy Sky TV customers, but were furious Sky Broadband customers- terrible customer service, endless technical problems, appalling support, and one of them was ripped off somewhat with the pricing (charged for a high-sped package that their local network couldn't support- paid it for 6 months until they finally managed to squeeze a refund out of them).

My advice is that if you must use the OpenReach network, go with one of the smaller players; at least they tend to offer better tech support when things go inevitably wrong.

Re:BT are crap. (2)

Tx (96709) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931500)

If you're a Sky TV customer though, their broadband is cheap or even free, depending on the package, so for those people it's probably hard to beat.

Personally I'm on Virgin broadband, and if anyone was offering more than 2Mbps DSL where I live, I'd switch, but right now I don't seem to have an option. My connection used to be good, but something about the way they've implemented their traffic management, or perhaps some other aspect of their network changes over the last year, means that my connection at times is practically useless.

Re:BT are crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931594)

Just FYI, Sky Broadband uses the same infrastructure as BT Broadband (both use BT OpenReach cabling). If you find BT laggy at peak times, you'll find Sky just the same.

Also, I know exactly two people who have been Sky Broadband customers- both were happy Sky TV customers, but were furious Sky Broadband customers- terrible customer service, endless technical problems, appalling support, and one of them was ripped off somewhat with the pricing (charged for a high-sped package that their local network couldn't support- paid it for 6 months until they finally managed to squeeze a refund out of them).

My advice is that if you must use the OpenReach network, go with one of the smaller players; at least they tend to offer better tech support when things go inevitably wrong.

Except if your local exchange has LLU (local loop unbundling) then it goes with whoever has the equipment in the exchange, thankfully in my case its Easynet.

Re:BT are crap. (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931764)

Another solution is to pay a little more for the "premium" options. Unfortunately this is not what most home users want to hear - the Internet is not important enough to justify the extra if they can possibly get by without it.

I switched off Be (though I still strongly recommend them if they are available in your area and FTTC isn't or you don't need FTTC) who have their own backhaul instead of using BT's, as I wanted to move to FTTC for the extra upstream capability (I now sync at ~10Mbit upstream, and see about 8.5Mbit in usable throughput, where the best my line was capable of otherwise was ~1.5Mbit). You pay extra for the 10Mbit up (otherwise you are capped at 2Mbit) usually by way of effectively being on plan intended more for commercial users and techies (like me) than the average home user, and the extra you pay also nets you "premium" status in certain parts of BT's network which apparently implies some traffic priority and thus far (I only move a month ago) seems to have protected me from the congestion problems other people on BT based ISPs report on the same exchange at certain times of the week.

In order of preference, if you are looking for reasonable speed with reliable QoS, I would suggest:
1. FTTC with 10Mbit up (even if you don't need the speed upstream, it may help) with an ISP that does not shape traffic or filter it (someone like AAISP) *if* you can afford it and FTTC is available in your area
2. ADSL2+ via Be if they are available from your exchange and your line isn't so long that you can't get more than ~5Mbit
3. ADSL2+ via another LLU provider (though do some research, not all are as good value for money), similarly dependant on line length
4. FTTC without premium (it at least puts you on the 21C network not the old IPStream setup) with a good non shaping/filtering ISP (yes, I would suggest copper to the exchange with Be or similar instead of FTTC via BT at the moment if you care about consistent quality of service more than raw speed)
5. ADSL2+ with a good ISP that either performs little or no traffic shaping (besides the minimum traffic management required for QoS purposes) and no filtering or one that is up front and honest about the traffic management they perform (good look reading between the lines there though!)
6. FTTC without premium with BT or just about any other ISP
7. Anything else if none of the above are available (i.e. if you are on a rural exchange that hasn't seen any upgrades in ten years) or you really do want the cheapest possible (as not of the above will be cheaper than a bog standard ISP where you will experience congestion issues at peak times and have terrible tech support should you ever need it)

I'm not sure where Virgin and other alternative fibre providers fit in there, none of them are available in my area so I've not really researched the ins and outs (though I'll point out that Virgin are usually third in line (behind TalkTalk and BT) when people are complaining about bad service and other behaviour customers would be irritated by if they know about it like http://www.badphorm.co.uk/ [badphorm.co.uk] ).

This is probably why BT are seeing a drop in customers: people upgrading to FTTC but using another ISP rather than them, or people moving to LLU providers to try cure congestion/shaping issues they are seeing. For Sky I think they are just seeing a lot of people not renewing after the initial minimum contract - people that signed up because it was very cheap if you already have Sky TV but are jumping ship as soon as the contract is up as they've had problems with the service in that time.

Re:BT are crap. (1)

Stalks (802193) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931782)

What you are saying could be true in *some* cases but is largely misleading.

Sky purchased Easynet a while ago, and with that they became an LLU provider.

If you are a Sky LLU customer, then any similarities between you and BT are coincidences.

Also, ISP contention is not always on the user-to-isp pipe, but can also be at the internet-to-isp end. This means that you will get varying levels of performance depending on which Openreach-based ISP you use.

Re:BT are crap. (4, Interesting)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931678)

The systems are generally OK - I'm in the middle of nowhere and get a reasonable 2Mb/s most of the time, the home hub does the job and is fairly easy to use, but where they really fall down is whan anything goes wrong. We were recently down to 20Kb/s max for about three days and got nothing from telephone support other than "your line is rated at 2.8Mb/s" and the usual "can you reset your router" (and, memorably, "have you tried unplugging the ethernet cable?" on a machine with no wireless card).

Yup, the telephone support absolutely sucks. Their Twitter support, on the other hand, is really rather good - good communication, the guy (Keiran I think) actually seemed to know what he was talking about, and they got the problem fixed. He even got the xkcd shibboleet [xkcd.com] reference, and that is what it felt like talking to them after the phone support debacle. I seriously hope BT read this and put whoever deals with their Twitter support in charge of everything. (@BTCare should you need them).

I'll tell you something about Virgin... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931352)

Earlier this week, Virgin posted a 3.9% growth figure (http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/broadcasting/news/a331943/virgin-media-reports-39-percent-half-year-revenue-growth.html). They may be loosing customers, but the ones they have are spending more money. All year, Virgin has been doing well for itself.

Yet the very day before they announced this lovely growth, they made 50 staff redundant at one of their call centres in Liverpool. Similar cuts are being made across all of their ONSHORE sites. Virgin is well known for outsourcing their call centres and part of this reputation is how poor that support is - and it'll only get worse. Evidently, someone decided to save money somewhere so more of this growth could be funnelled into profits while the going is good, but it wont last wrong when people realise that the extra money they're paying doesn't get them a premium service.

* Disclaimer: I am a former Virgin call centre employee, however I got out of there into a much better job shortly before the recent redundancies.

Re:I'll tell you something about Virgin... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931710)

Don't you just love MBA logic? Cut, cut, cut, until the company dies.

Re:I'll tell you something about Virgin... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931754)

Heh, Xerox is busy slitting its own throat [oregonlive.com] too just now.

600 permanent staff in the USA, UK and the Netherlands just now, and maybe lots more next year if HCL manages to "deliver."

Re:I'll tell you something about Virgin... (1, Offtopic)

koreaman (835838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931772)

Republican logic too, if you replace "company" by "country". :)

FIOS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931358)

I have been forwarding all my FIOS ad mail to random UK addresses... I guess it finally paid off! Maybe verizon will move!

Overpriced (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931364)

Most likely people realise paying £20+ per month is too much for checking facebook and one of the cheaper budget ISPs have stolen the customers. I know this was almost the case a year or so go with my parents, as virgin was charging around £60 per month for the worst TV package and crappy internet which they didnt use hardly ever.

The other group of people leaving these ISPs might also be ditching broadband all together because of the increase of smartphones with enough data to support light browsing/email/facebook. I know I could easily survive on my phone's 2GB/month limit for £10 a month, which for the non mathsy people is less than £20+ for broadband AND I get unlimited SMS

Re:Overpriced (4, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931386)

Yes. There are a lot of terrible cheap ISPs.

I use Zen, and the other good geek-friendly ISP is A&A. These companies do not fuck with your connection. They just don't. They're competent, they're nice, they have customer service. However, they're not cheap - £20-30/month. When cheap, shitty ISPs are offering deals at £8/mo, people go for the cheap deal, and promptly get what they're paying for.

Re:Overpriced (2)

Catnaps (2044938) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931622)

+1. Zen are excellent; their caps are too low, but the service is *outstanding*.

Re:Overpriced (2)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931690)

Zen don't sell something they can't deliver. But when they sell you 100GB, then by damn you get every byte of it, no filtering or traffic-shaping bollocks or whatever.

We regularly use a large chunk of our allowance in prime-time hours - my daughter basically gets her CBeebies and iPlayer via computer as we don't own a dedicated television - and have never had a hiccup. The only trouble I have ever had with the service has been when BT are shit (they wholesale the DSL).

Zen and A&A also explicity and sincerely support and understand the importance of Internet freedom in general, which is another reason to give them money.

Re:Overpriced (1)

Catnaps (2044938) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931732)

Yep. I can burn through my 50Gb so very quickly, but it is *very* nice to watch the traffic graph and see no spikes or dips- just the full speed of the line, 24/7. Their CS reps are also excellent- I got passed to the same rep each time I called when I had a line fault because the phone system looks up your calling number, sees the open ticket and the rep name and passes you through to them. Compared to dealing with our Indian friends, that kinda blew me away.

Re:Overpriced (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931808)

When "8mbps" ADSL1 was the hot thing, Zen were I think the *only* ISP describing to customers in detail precisely what they would get - 7mbps theoretical maximum (1mbps of overhead), and likely 4-5mbps unless they were mere hundreds of metres from the exchange. It's stuff like that. They've set up a strong expectation that they won't mess customers around, and have consistently delivered on that in the 6 years I've been with them.

i dont get it... (1)

Bizzeh (851225) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931370)

i get why people are running away from BT, they dont like the filtering system, but i dont get why people are leaving virgin. they are the only provider that actually give you the speeds that they advertise (on the cable network anwyay)

Re:i dont get it... (2)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931384)

Because 80% of their call centre staff are outsourced to India. The training they receive is abysmal, they're rude and regularly just hang up on people. If you are with virgin and don't have an issue, you're fine, but if you have ever had an issue, it's a nightmare to get it sorted.

Re:i dont get it... (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931626)

Here in the States, we call that "World Class Customer Service".

Our marketing people really are top notch (or is it top gear on that side of the pond?).

Re:i dont get it... (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931392)

From anecdotal evidence of friends who use Virgin, it's because they're completely arse-disabled incompetent.

When Virgin bought a share of NTL and rebranded the company as Virgin Media, I know that a lot of the remaining technically-competent people on the TV side finally left the company - that it actually became worse for the workers. I therefor strongly suspect many of the remaining technically-competent people on the ISP side did too.

NTL was previously hypothesised as being an experiment in making BT's customer service look good. Virgin have continued the tradition.

The Virgin case is interesting (4, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931376)

Virgin is basically the only cable ISP in the UK. Whereas leaving BT just involves changing your DSL provider, which is a matter of a few phone calls, leaving Virgin involves setting up DSL at all, possibly including the installation of a new phone line - it's quite a bit more complicated and expensive.

The important thing to remember here is that Virgin are (a) relatively cheap (b) very fast (c) unbelievably shit. They're actually more incompetent now, both technically and in customer service, than they were as NTL. They are so shit that people give up cable to go back to DSL, even with the expensive faff involved.

Re:The Virgin case is interesting (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931438)

Not everyone can get 'cable' to describe virgin cable as nationwide would be a mistake.

Re:The Virgin case is interesting (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931476)

That's why Virgin also sell DSL.

Are there any other cable Internet providers in the UK? I thought NTL consolidated all of them.

Re:The Virgin case is interesting (1)

vakuona (788200) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931488)

It is nationwide, as opposed to being only available in Scotland, or South East England. it is not universally available though.

Re:The Virgin case is interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931510)

Virgin are complete shit so I'm not suprised:

a) The new ebilling service is full of bugs
b) They update the cable TV service without sending out new cards, so the old hardware just stops working
c) Their set top box software was so naff they eventually switched over to a tivo box.
d) There was a big scandal when they switched over to gmail - people received copies of old emails they sent through virgins smtp servers in their inbox - why were they logging these anyway?!
e) They got rid of the internal newsgroups and replaced them with forums

Re:The Virgin case is interesting (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931554)

"They're actually more incompetent now, both technically and in customer service, than they were as NTL."

Sorry, but as a former NTL and current Virgin customer (few years gap in-between), I just don't believe that is possible, although Virgin are pretty bad. But with NTL, every single time I changed anything about my account, they fucked something up, from day one. It took 2 months to get my cable modem out of them when I first signed up; I would phone up and say I hadn't received it, they'd say "sorry, it hasn't been sent, don't know why, we'll have it sent tomorrow". It wouldn't turn up, I'd phone again, same thing over and over, never got an explanation. I got free broadband from them for half a year after changing package once, they just stopped billing me; they'd cut off my connection every month, I'd phone up and say did they want some money from me, they'd say "Sorry, your account is in credit, I don't know why you've been cut off, I'll reconnect you." That went on until I changed package again. You simply cannot find a less competent organisation than NTL was back in the day.

Re:The Virgin case is interesting (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931580)

I was working in television when NTL changed to Virgin, and we were dealing with their technical side. Things got worse for the workers and several of the remaining technically-competent people on the TV side left. I therefore surmise that technical people left on the ISP side too.

Re:The Virgin case is interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931788)

Errr, well on the TV and on the ISP side the compentent people stayed, so you've not been missed, obviously!
VM did loose some good xTWers when Woking closed, as some decided rather than drive the extra miles to Hook, they'd take the redundancy.

Re:The Virgin case is interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931578)

The important thing to remember here is that Virgin are (a) relatively cheap (b) very fast (c) unbelievably shit. They're actually more incompetent now, both technically and in customer service, than they were as NTL. They are so shit that people give up cable to go back to DSL, even with the expensive faff involved.

NTL were offensive. I recall one phone call a decade back that went roughly as follows:

  • 50 minutes in a queue listening to their shit on hold music
  • I explain the packet loss issue and tell them I'm in front of a W2k machine
  • The CS guy thinking I meant Windows ME has my type winipconfig at a prompt, I transpose it to ipconfig type it and tell him what I've done.
  • I'm told that "Windows 2000 is not a home operating system and not supported".
  • "Using a router is not supported"
  • "You need to set up a Windows machine running directly into the STB before we can fix the headend problem you're reporting"

I've had a couple of problems since they rebranded. Getting the ball rolling on an issue remains difficult but my experience is that it's a major, major improvement on NTL.

Now some of the business ISPs I deal with are incompetent, silly javascript laden web forms are no substitute for working hostmaster, noc and abuse email addresses. Hello, "business customer" -- our mutual clients aren't paying me 40/hr to wait in your fucking on-hold queue... perhaps if you required the relevent technical information I wouldn't need to contact you anyway.

Re:The Virgin case is interesting (1)

AGMW (594303) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931674)

LOL: I was with Telewest from the start ... BlueYonder ... now Virgin. To be fair, mostly it's OK but I've had some howlers when seeking support! My favourite was ringing up to complain about a slow service (I had 6+ months of this too ... turned out there was a fault and eventually they found and fixed it) and I was told that I should turn off my cable modem and let it cool down for an hour or so, and more, that I should turn it off every few days to let it cool down because the problem was caused by it OVERHEATING! Let me tell you, I was not happy. When I hung up I rang through again, but this time to the "I'm thinking of leaving" people and told them to come take this fire-risk out of my house ... I was assured it wasn't a fire risk and it wouldn't over heat and everything was fine ... I passed on the name of the nob-jocky support wipe who tried to pull that fast one I can tell you!

Also, all the support crap of ... turn off the cable modem. Now unplug it ... UNPLUG IT! Holy crap ... what the hell difference will that make? ... and STARTING the conversation with "is there anything else I can help you with today" ... GGGRRRRRRRRR! Let's fix the problem I just rang about first shall we! ... and messages like "you could also check on our website ..." NOT IF MY CONNECTION IS DOWN I CAN'T! .... and going through the whole damn turn off, unplug, stand in a bucket of milk, plug back in, reboot, sing hallelujah rigmarole .. THEN they check to see if there's other problems in the area ... oh yes, I see there's a fault in your area ... WELL WHY DIDN'T YOU CHECK THAT FIRST YOU DOLT! ...

The 6 months sh1te service I mentioned meant I had to call every month to tell them how sh1te it was to get a rebate. I asked why, since they would KNOW when the fault was fixed and until that time my service would be sh1te, they couldn't just not damn well charge me until they fixed it. Apparently they wanted to annoy me even further by having me go through the damn turn if off, unplug it, yada yada yada support dance every month.

... and yet, with persistence, you can sometimes get through to someone who knows their arse from their elbow and they can be very helpful.

Re:The Virgin case is interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931610)

Just to emphasis the above point: I was using Virgin - not my choice, but as said, the cost and complexity of changing meant we stuck with what the previous tenants in my house had. But start of December last year it got cut off - break in the cable. We gave up getting the internet back from them after 2.5 months - would of done it sooner, but they lied to us, constantly, always claiming it was a few days away etc. The cable was cut off fairly far up the network hierarchy (At least, that was the 'truth' they settled on, and stuck to, after many, many lies.), and they had cut off our entire area - think 100k people in London. But the most interesting part is we knocked on the neighbours doors - found some other people that had been cut off. They were being fed the exact same lies, i.e. someone was actually sitting down and deciding how they were going to lie to us. And they confirmed to us that they were lying, accidentally, when they sent a letter stating that the cable had been cut, they needed council permission to fix it and had filled out the paperwork the day after the break, and that it took 30 days for the paperwork to go through - during, and long after that 30 days was up, they were constantly telling us assorted dates, usually a few days in advance, which they confirmed they knew were not true.

You know a company is screwed when it actively sits down and decides how its going to lie to its customers, and then provides the customers with hard evidence that they did so. Also, their network clearly has no backup capabilities, which means that pissing off your customers is a given.

Re:The Virgin case is interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931796)

Agreed, they have problems if they can't even orchestrate a lie correctly.

Re:The Virgin case is interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931640)

BT also sell cable.

Re:The Virgin case is interesting (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931646)

Whereas leaving BT just involves changing your DSL provider, which is a matter of a few phone calls, leaving Virgin involves setting up DSL at all, possibly including the installation of a new phone line - it's quite a bit more complicated and expensive.

I might be misreading, but to me TFA implies that isn't actually the case here; it seems to be talking about removing the underlying line from BT wholesale's control, not just changing from BT as an ISP. The wording is as follows: "BT’s results from today showed the company had lost around 125,000 active consumer line customers this quarter, compared to the previous three months. To run BT services, users need to have an active consumer line.". A few of the other companies (TalkTalk, possibly Sky) offer full line rental plus broadband packages now, and crappy as they tend to be, they are cheap and probably adequate for a lot of users, which I guess accounts for both Virgin and BT losing lines.

Re:The Virgin case is interesting (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931702)

Ooh, well spotted, you're quite correct. (And I did read TFA.)

Wow, that does suck for BT. I still have BT for our phone line (which we pretty much never use - but I hate phones anyway, and don't talk on my mobile either - it's basically a voicemail service, which is why I've had my phone number publicly on the internet for the last five years with almost no crank calls) but yeah, that would take severe pissed-off.

Re:The Virgin case is interesting (1)

Peter Harris (98662) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931714)

Ironically, just before I clicked to read this article, Virgin dropped my broadband connection, so I had to bounce power on the modem before I could come here to find out why *other* people are leaving Virgin.

I'm leaving because they are just not good value for money any more. New customers get a reasonable deal for TV, broadband and phone. Existing customers get the shaft. And if you want to reduce what you're paying by taking a lower TV package, you actually would pay *more* because of the way they structure their "discounts".

The only way out is to drop them altogether. So that's what I'm doing. I can get cheaper broadband, and there's better entertainment out there on the web than on the dozens of shitty cable channels Virgin provide.

Probably going to good isps (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931382)

Cant say much about virgin but BT are far too expensive. Their unlimited broadband is £20-30 a month. What's worse is the fact that they wont even sell that expensive broadband unless you also get phone service which costs an extra £10 a month regardless of if you use it.

Re:Probably going to good isps (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931528)

Our business left bt for dsl stuff many years ago when there dns server got stolen, unfortunately bt decided not to replace it and we noticed since we had dns records that where then gone. Paying by direct debit [cheques cost to much money to process at bt] also annoyed accounts and the owner.

We pay line rental via our phone providers to bt via openreach and have found life without British Telecom to be very pleasant and we talk to local staff who know things not that we ring them up very often.

I also see a lot of mobile phones which since can do both phone things and internet stuff and take pictures probably suits a lot people for there needs, no shared pc issues either. BT's recent attempt to sell pay tv was also comical. Sport fans would have to have bought everything [phone,broadband,tv] just to get 'soccer'. If some idiot mba at bt thinks that the us cable business operation is what consumers want then good for BT, since I read us cable is losing clients and not a growth industry.

I cannot get virgin cable, nor do i have the other pay tv provider.

Re:Probably going to good isps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931666)

I would like to hope they're going to ISPs like Demon, who have unbelievably good service and a pretty incredible FUP (200Gb 7:30-23:30, unlimited overnight. 30-day rolling period)

Britain is (going to be) in a pretty bad recession (1)

boombaard (1001577) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931412)

Britain is (going to be) in a pretty bad recession (soon), which is going to hit the lower/middle classes pretty hard.. That seems to me to be a pretty good (if, of course, always only a partial) explanation for this phenomenon.

They've gone to Sky (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931422)

I should know, I work there. Figures will be released soon.

Useless statistic... (1)

r0ball (1848426) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931428)

BT claimed for every customer that deserted Virgin in the last quarter, 20 joined BT.

Wow! It sounds like BT's doing really well! Until you actually think about it...

BT gets 20 new customers in the same time period that Virgin loses 1. But in that same time period, BT might also lose 2, and 30 might join Virgin....

The only way this statistic would be useful would be if it transpired that Virgin Broadband contracts required each customer leaving the service to be chopped into 20 pieces and sent to BT before their Migration Authorization Code could be generated.

Are there small ISPs in the UK? (2)

Casandro (751346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931430)

I mean I'm in Germany and how have a quite decent small local ISP. The only thing that sucks is their e-mail server. (Its DNS resolver is heavily broken and it still doesn't support IPv6!)

Re:Are there small ISPs in the UK? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931442)

Yes there are small ISPs in the UK. I run one of them - UK Free Software Network. The UK ISP market, while dominated by the large ISPs, is fairly open to smaller operators but it's a little challenging to compete with the larger operators who cross subsidise to offer services at less than cost.

The most likely route for those leaving NTL and BT however is not smaller ISPs but rather Sky and TalkTalk, both of whom offer DSL services for much less than cost of the DSL itself.

Re:Are there small ISPs in the UK? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931474)

Yes there are small ISPs in the UK. I run one of them - UK Free Software Network. The UK ISP market, while dominated by the large ISPs, is fairly open to smaller operators but it's a little challenging to compete with the larger operators who cross subsidise to offer services at less than cost.

The most likely route for those leaving NTL and BT however is not smaller ISPs but rather Sky and TalkTalk, both of whom offer DSL services for much less than cost of the DSL itself.

that doesn't sound like they're selling at less than cost. that sounds like they are moving money around, so that small isp's become less competitive(sure they charge their isp business the same as they charge the smalltime isp's business, but then moving that money back behind the scenes).

Re:Are there small ISPs in the UK? (1)

NaughtyNimitz (763264) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931466)

And that's why I like Google Mail...

Re:Are there small ISPs in the UK? (1)

alfredos (1694270) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931478)

We are not getting much in the way of IPv6 here in Spain, either. The biggest telco is deploying that contraption dubbed Carrier Grade NAT. The only way to have IPv6 here behind an ADSL is to get the service from one of the smaller providers... Who pay dearly for the right to use the cable, which belongs to the big telco, who from time to time makes a mistake that breaks things badly, but only for cables rented to other companies. I'm talking from (long, sad, enraging) experience here.

Re:Are there small ISPs in the UK? (1)

jamlam (1101193) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931492)

Yes, there are lots of smaller ISP's in the UK that tend to offer much better service than the big players. I suspect that many of these users will be moving to a smaller provider. Also the big providers tend to offer deals with TV/Phone/Broadband/Kitchen Sink etc etc which aren't actually that great value for money if you don't care about their "value added" catch up TV services, which are mainly inferior versions of iPlayer. I would imagine with people looking a little more critically at their finances these days people will be dumping the addon rubbish, noticing that without this their deal isn't actually that good and moving to a specialised ISP that just gives broadband access at a decent price.

Re:Are there small ISPs in the UK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931574)

If the smaller ISPs are any good they stand a good chance of being bought up by the bigger players and you're back where you started

Re:Are there small ISPs in the UK? (1)

Upsilonish (1250840) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931700)

There are, but they're ADSL, not cable.

Why ? Where ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931432)

Why ? Where ? .

Choices (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931450)

You have two choices for an ISP in the UK:

Slow & shit or fast & shit, they don't have fast & shit in my area so I'm stuck on slow & shit aging telephone lines.

Used both - will leave both (1)

Duncan J Murray (1678632) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931456)

BT is a bit overpriced, but I found their service ok. I'll never go back to them after I unwittingly signed up to a self-renewing contract (I didn't even know such a thing was possible), and when it came to ending my 12 month contract with them, they told me that I hadn't given them 1 month notice prior to the end of the 12 months, and therefore they had contracted me into another 12 months. If I wanted to leave I would have to pay the entirety of the line rental for that year (nearly £200).

I'm currently on Virgin fibreoptic, and while the figures look great when you go to a broadband test website, for some reason the real-world usage is nothing like this. Streaming (especially youtube and bbc iplayer) is pretty bad, and seems to hang on a regular basis. It is much worse at peak times. And I know it can be done better having previously used superjanet 6 on university campus several years ago.

I'll probably look to moving to talktalk next - they seem well-priced and are apparently pretty quick too.

Re:Used both - will leave both (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931514)

TalkTalk are the worst of the bunch, their service is lousy, they always want to pass the buck, and their customer support makes Virgin/BT look like well trained professionals.

Was with Nildram, they got picked up by TT (after a long series of other mergers), service hit the rocks within a week or two, dire throttling issues even on normal use, service not available far too often. After nearly 10 years of service with Nildram and no complaints at all we swapped (*to* Virgin) overnight.

Avoid at all costs!

Re:Used both - will leave both (1)

Catnaps (2044938) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931632)

Agreed. I used to have to deal with Opal (the business end of what used to be Nildram) as well as TT on a daily basis, and their service is so slapped-together it's hilarious.

Re:Used both - will leave both (1)

ubercam (1025540) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931520)

Depends where you are..

If you can get TalkTalk Plus, go for it. It's their FTTC offering. Our exchange isn't being updated for quite some time by the looks of things. Check out http://www.samknows.com/broadband/broadband_availability [samknows.com] for anything you wanted to know about your exchange.

We've been with Tiscali/TalkTalk for a few years. The best part is the unlimited international calls package (we make good use of it). The DSL speeds have dropped over the past year though. We used to get a solid 3.5mbps down and 800kbps up, which is fine, but it's dropped to 2.5mbps down and 700kbps up... it's tough to stream video on two machines at once. Also, they actively DOS torrents between 6pm and midnight. I say actively DOS because throttling would imply that it's based on need and network congestion, but they just murder the download down to about 1-5k/sec. Upload is unaffected.

Customer's payback time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931468)

Well, correct me if I'm wrong, but britain ISP's are among the first to provide access data to the govt. or to implement measures to fight copyright content downloading. Maybe the customer's are being tired of being treated like shit??

Talktalk and Sky (1)

earthloop (449575) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931482)

Both talktalk and Sky have been doing some aggressive marketing lately. I wonder if that's where people are going.

I don't have any personal experience but I've heard that they're not much better. In particular, I've not heard a good word about talktalk.

Re:Talktalk and Sky (1)

hippo (107522) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931530)

I've gone to Sky, proper unlimited broadband that's a bit faster than a BT line since they are using their own equipment after purchasing Easynet + free phone calls (not to mobiles) + line rental at £26 per month. First bill came in at £29 after calls too mobiles. I was with Orange and getting a £38 bill per month. BT would be the same.

It's a cost sensitive product so people will move around.

3G (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931484)

Those customers are buying smart phones and tablets.

UK Cable & DSL is just poorly invested (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931486)

I'm outside the area available for Virgin Cable, and my local BT exchange can still only support speeds of up to 4mbps to my home. With a large majority of smaller cities and towns in a similar position, I wouldn't be surprised is people are moving to mobile broadband packages, which can provide similar/better speeds in area with good coverage. For those that do normal web browsing, the typical mobile data tarrif you probably have on your existing mobile phone is more than enough to cover browsing. My mobile also acts as a wireless hotspot so setup is easy.

It is a very frustrating state of affairs in the UK, with such poor coverage and the variance in speed between areas is astonishing

People seem confused about Virgin, let me clarify. (5, Informative)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931490)

Quite a few people have commented saying that it's no surprise that people are leaving BT - they're more expensive, utterly useless and switching DSL providers isn't as much hassle, whereas Virgin is a different case since their technology is actually better - why would people want to leave? The reasons are numerous, let me just give a few examples:

*Call centre staff are outsourced.
80% (if not more) of the call centre staff are outsourced to Indian call centres. This immediately creates a language barrier, particularly with anyone from Scotland as the outsourced staff can't understand the accent.

*ALL Call centre staff are severely undertrained
The offshore agents are barely trained at all, as they're trained by people who have been trained by people who have been trained by someone from IBM (whom Virgin contracts to do all their support) who hasn't actually done the job. The net result is that it takes agents months to get even remotely familliar with the tools and equipment Virgin uses and that's assuming they last that long.
Onshore isn't a great deal better. They have a dedicated training team, however the training period is 4 weeks. That's for EVERYTHING the job entails, from fixing modems, to wireless, to email and Virgin security. Years ago before wireless and the value added services were a factor, the training period was 6 weeks.
Additionally, the training material is GROSSLY out of date. It dictates that 2 days are spent learning how to adjust the frequency of a modem that is no longer used by Virgin. If a customer still has one of these modems, it is meant to be replaced immediately because it's well over 3 years old (more like 6). However, the training material is controlled by Virgin, who refuse to let the training team touch it. This means trainers are forced to train out old, outdated material and try to squeeze in the "real" material when and where they can.
The hiring process is even worse. No consideration is given to how technically minded you are, or how much you know about computers. I've seen people show up for customer services roles and been told they're going to do Technical support - despite barely knowing how to use a computer themselves.

*The VM Hub and Superhub
BT have a "home hub", whereas Virgin have relied on dedicated modems and separate routers for years. This meant that customers had to have 2 separate devices to get wireless and the wireless routers weren't Virgin specific (unlike the modems), meaning that customers could say they were broke, get new ones and sell them on ebay. So Virgin decided to do an all-in-one soultion, much like BT's home hub. There were two models - the VM hub and the "superhub". The VM Hub is a DOCSIS 2 device, the super hub is DOCSIS 3. The problem? Both hubs have issues, serious issues. The wireless range on the regular hub is ABYSMAL, you can literally lose the signal from being in the same room. The Superhub is SLIGHTLY better, but still nothing on a dedicated router. But can you still plug in your own router? Nope, VM deliberately disabled the DHCP options within the HUB, meaning you have to rely on it (although a patch is coming that will enable "gateway" mode). Other issues include the firewall causing connections to drop randomly, the hub would occasionally and for no reason decide to stop leasing IPs from the network, forcing the customer offline and so on. The list goes on and on and it still isn't fixed - most customers that went from a dedicated modem to a SHUB or HUB have regretted it and wanted their old modems back, but Virgin won't let support staff issue modems any more, so you're screwed.

*Sheer incompetence
The hubs are just one example of how useless Virgin are at implementing ANYTHING - they recently changed their website to "make it better" and give customers more control of their accounts, but instead it locked many customers out of their accounts entirely. It caused emails to get orphaned from accounts, meaning support staff wouldn't even attempt to reset a password or fix it because they couldn't pass Data Protection. Eventually Virgin admitted there was a problem and put a process in place to have their IT staff manually fix the account, but this process wasn't trained out, it was sent in an email that many agents just didn't get. The ones that did get it, it was pot luck if they could be bothered. They were told to tell customers it could be 3-5 working days. Or was it 5-7? Oh it might have been 48 hours. It was different depending on who you asked, but it didn't matter because a massive backlog appeared that meant customers were without emails for at least 2 weeks, sometimes over a month. And what was the customer to do? Nothing. Call in again, shout at someone else but they weren't the ones fixing it, so it would do no good. Compensation? Sorry, the email service is "complimentary", tough luck. Oh what's that, you've lost business? Well you shouldn't be using a residential email service to run your business. In other words - Virgin has your money, you can fuck off.

Other examples of incompetence - the Modem virgin Brought out for their 50meg service, the Ambit 300, someone literally FORGOT to renew the support with the company that manufactured them. They only realised when a bug was discovered in the firmware that caused multiple-threaded download speeds to drop sharply and the support company told them tough shit. They had to negotiate a new support contract and was more or less scammed into paying through the nose due to not having a choice.

*Some Virgins are more virgin than others
Virgin outsources a LOT of their shit - and I mean a lot. The techs that come to your door are outsourced, the call centre staff are outsourced, they're not part of Virgin and thus they get shit on constantly. Virgin contracts IBM to do all this, but then IBM contracts other groups, recruitment agencies like Manpower and Adecco and collectively, they pay their staff pittance. The wage for new starts in the UK, who support ALL technical faults from broken modems and SNR issues, to setting up your wireless, remoting into your machine and setting up emails, etc. is £12,200 per year. On a 37.5 hour contract. That's right - it's barely minimum wage, so is it any surprise that they just don't care about you, the customer? What's more, their contract is shitty - a week's notice, holidays have to be booked months in advance because there's never enough hours free, your shifts can (and have been) be changed less than 48hours before you're due in. There hasn't been a pay rise for over 8 years. This is why they have recently started Unioning up, this is why people don't stick around for long and thus why nobody ever seems to know what they're doing - because they've only been there a few weeks to replace the droves of people who have recently left, in a never ending cycle.

*The techs are useless
If it comes down to it and someone has to come out to your house, good luck. Half the time they just don't show up because if they don't do a certain number of jobs in a certain time, they get penalised. They have 15minutes per job, that's it. So if your modem or STB needs replaced, that's them overrunning - heaven forbid if they need to replace the coax. And because of this, it's easier to just say the next guy didn't answer the door. Sometimes there's nothing they can do and a 2-man team needs to come out (for a repull, as an example), only that tech can book this, nobody else can. And they forget to book this a good 40% of the time - the result being, your problem doesn't get fixed for weeks, you call back in only to be told that the call centre staff can't book the repull you need and so we'll have to send out ANOTHER tech just so he can book it. And if he doesn't book it? Well, lets just hope you don't need your service for at least 6 months.

This list goes on and on. This is why the staff don't care. This is why people are leaving. This is why people are happier with a shitty 6meg DSL service for the same price as Virgins 10 or 20meg service.

Re:People seem confused about Virgin, let me clari (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931656)

"Well you shouldn't be using a residential email service to run your business."

Well you shouldn't. Lots of people do it as email addresses on the sides of white vans attest, but that doesn't make it sensible thing to be doing. You shouldn't use ISP provided email at all, they only provide it because once you've used it for a while it becomes a pain to switch because everyone has that email. If you run a business using an email service provided by your residential ISP you will get burned. Most people simply don't think about such things though.

Re:People seem confused about Virgin, let me clari (1)

laz74 (1640089) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931658)

As someone who was a Virgin customer for three weeks before their unbelievable poor service got so bad that we left again under the cooling off period I can say you're right on all of your points but you actually missed a few too:

  • * Broadband speed
    The burst speed of the 30Mb line is indeed 30Mb but the effective speed is much lower. The connection suffers from incredible latency, such that the time to load an image heavy page was twice what on I now get on a 7Mb line.
  • * Dishonesty
    Not only are the support staff incompetent, they're also outright dishonest. We were sold a package deal and then billed a higher price. Customer services then tried to say the deal we signed up for didn't exist despite it still being listed on the website.

After we left we complained and even the complaints process is just as bad. They fail to respond to letters, offer compensation but don't pay it and are generally a disgrace.

All in all it's a real shame since their V+HD TV box is genuinely better the Sky+HD (when it works), but I'd rather go back to dial-up than deal with them again for any service.

Re:People seem confused about Virgin, let me clari (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931734)

I probably missed more than a few, but I figured the post was long enough as it was. Honestly, aside from the technology in use (and by that, I mean using a cable network, not the actual implementation of that network), Virgin has very few saving graces.

Re:People seem confused about Virgin, let me clari (2)

blop (71154) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931680)

The Superhub is SLIGHTLY better, but still nothing on a dedicated router. But can you still plug in your own router? Nope, VM deliberately disabled the DHCP options within the HUB, meaning you have to rely on it (although a patch is coming that will enable "gateway" mode).

I have a SuperHub with VirginMedia and I use my own router: you need to set "DMZ Host" in the "SuperHub" advanced settings to the IP of your own router's WAN port. That means that your router's external IP looks like a private IP (in a different subnet from the LAN obviously) but that's not a problem in practice.

Re:People seem confused about Virgin, let me clari (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931728)

Indeed, I may have glanced over that point a bit too much - where there's a will, there's a way, but Virgin doesn't in any way endorse or support what you've done there. If average joe calls in and says "this new hub is shit, can I use my old router?" they get told no and IF the agent tells them yes, the agent will be reprimanded for it because the next time average joe calls in and gets someone who doesn't know how it, he'll get pissed off and say "Last time I was told I can do it, now you're saying I can't?".

Re:People seem confused about Virgin, let me clari (1)

Cap'nPedro (987782) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931730)

You forgot that after using the service at full speed for more than 45 minutes (I was on the M package), you go over your download quota and are throttled to 25% speed for five hours. I've just moved and instead of Virgin 10Mbit cable I'm on Sky DSL. I get 9Mbit max down, but my average speed is much higher than 2.5Mbit. I'd get fibre if it were available, but my money will not go into VM's pockets again - this older, "inferior" DSL technology gives me a better experience because of the lack of VM's shitty traffic management policies.

TalkTalk (1)

drysquib (1354083) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931536)

30 quid (inc vat) all in (line rental, unlimited GB broadband, free calls to landlines) is why.

Re:TalkTalk (1)

drysquib (1354083) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931558)

That's for businesses, btw - home users pay even less.

Re:TalkTalk (1)

uberchicken (121048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931804)

..with no comment on quality of Talk Talk's service, so let me provide one.

It's shit.

Constantly dropped connections, impossible to understand the "help" desk, frustration in just trying to get to speak to someone, letters to management ignored.

I'm sitting here at my in-laws on their Talk Talk trying to download a 3Mb file from gmail, and getting constant "Interrupted" errors, which I never see anywhere else.

Incredibly, I've spent the morning researching switching to BT, Virgin and Sky for my in-laws to switch. Got my work done (had to send instructions to customer on how to edit the code themselves rather than upload a patched application), thought I'd read a little slashdot, and wow.. this article is top of the list. I disagree with assessment of Virgin's cable service (my provider at home; they were worse than shit as NTL), FWIW; they're WAAY better than this ... this... cack.

only 30 pounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931566)

your shit is only 30 pounds ??? that is like how much just my satellite TV costs. what the fuck my cable bill is like 90 dollars just for internet!!! stinking spoiled euros

Well, I know why WoW players are leaving VM (1)

Mortimer82 (746766) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931568)

After some people I know in the UK on Virgin Media seemed to have latency issues, I did some digging and it seems every few months their traffic shaping appliance incorrectly starts classifying WoW traffic as peer to peer and consequently lag in WoW is in the 1000s of milliseconds.

See this ongoing thread:
http://community.virginmedia.com/t5/Fibre-optic-broadband-cable/World-of-Warcraft-Latency-Issues/td-p/167089/page/39 [virginmedia.com]

Any time it breaks, they take days to acknowledge the issue, when they eventually do, it then takes days before the fix is implemented. Despite no other European ISPs having the same issue, they have also had the audacity to claim in the same statement that although the fix will need to be done on Virgin Media's side, that Blizzard is also to blame because they made changes on their end without notifying Virgin Media.

Re:Well, I know why WoW players are leaving VM (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931736)

Thousands of milliseconds, eh? Round my way we be calling them seconds...

Re:Well, I know why WoW players are leaving VM (1)

xonen (774419) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931818)

Ping (roundtrip) is usually measured in milliseconds, on consumer lines varying from anything in between 25 and 200 ms as considered reasonable and acceptable. Rounding to seconds would make no sense, as 500 ms would be acceptable for an australian player on european servers, but nowhere near acceptable for a european citizen, let alone 700 ms or more. Using the 'millisecond' unit makes perfect sense here.

Apart that, i can confirm british players, typically on BT, are complaining about their ping on a regular base.

TalkTalk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931570)

I've been with BT for about 25 years, but will be switching to TalkTalk on 4th August.

I don't watch much TV, and with the recent switchover to Digital TV, I can't get any reception through my rooftop aerial, so my choices are a satellite dish or streaming services such as BBC's iPlayer.

Actually, I get a much better picture with iPlayer than I ever did through an aerial. I live in a valley - but very close to a telephone exchange ;-)

BT's over-usage charges are £5 / 5GB, and my monthly bills went up from £35 to £75.

TalkTalk, by comparison, have an unlimited package (I use 50-60GB/month, so shouldn't trigger any "fair use" problems), and are a fraction of the cost.

Even if they do suck, there's a 30 day cooling off period, during which I could presumably go back to BT, and take advantage of "new customer" discounts.

Re:TalkTalk (1)

uberchicken (121048) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931816)

See my comment earlier in different thread; good luck.

too expensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36931600)

they probably can't afford broadband anymore as unemployment is increasing and so are food prices.

They are going mobile (1)

BigFrankUK (1015157) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931644)

Having worked in a Jobcentre Plus, I can tell you that one of the first things people give up when they lose their job seems to be internet/tv and as Virgin package the two (three if you include phone) it's a big bill and unemployed people cannot afford it. Secondly, as more people buy mobile devices and internet enabled phones, they are not seeing the point to home broadband as many people (particularly women, and we have a lot of single mums in the UK) only use the internet for email and facebook.

Mileage may vary (1)

mattsday (909414) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931662)

I have the Virgin 50/5 cable service and am very happy with it.

OK, I pay well over the standard rate (£44.99 a month - ~$70 USD) but I get a genuine 48Mbit/s down and 4.5Mbit/s up. I've found their technical support to be excellent and when I used to play WoW I'd have a consistent 30-40ms latency. I run my home office via a Cisco IPSec VPN tunnel and use HD video and voice all the time with almost no issues.

When I contrast this to my BT DSL service in my old place, I was lucky to sync in at 1Mbit/s down and 500Kbit/s up. Whole weekends of sparse connectivity weren't a surprise and I got used to having to go in to the office to work on my regular "no internet" days. All over a "super fast ADSL2+ line". My experience isn't unique, anyone living in an area with ancient cables far from the exchange is stuck in this situation.

So for me at least, Virgin can take my money. It works great, I have had almost no issues and when they say 50Mbit/s I'm pretty much getting it. I'm looking at moving house next year and a genuine criteria is decent internet. Virgin cable will be a good sign for me.

I will be another one.. (1)

mrthoughtful (466814) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931668)

The reasons are a lot to do with combined internet/telephony packages, which are wrapped up with significant monthly savings, an inability to be flexible in what must be one of the most fast-changing industries in all history, and an inability to meet the specific needs of individuals.

I have been with BT since before it was privatised, but now I doubt I shall stay with them. The reason is because they cannot (will not?) offer a static IP as a part of their package. With IPv6 available, and with many years having past for them to enable it, there really isn't any excuse left for this, especially as I am happy to pay for such a service. My current DSL provider (TalkTalk, but under an old, permanent Nildram contract which they are desperate to get me off of - and I'm moving house, so they will get their wish granted) can reduce my telephony bill by about £50 pcm, and they've been more than happy to provide me with a static IP (v4!)

There's been a LOT of mergers in the UK - it's getting harder to find a good DSL provider that meets my needs. But combined accounts and flexible facilities are why the big companies are losing out.

subject (2)

GuldKalle (1065310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931670)

With that many customers leaving, where are they going?

Outside?

Local Loop Unbundling (1)

Martz (861209) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931682)

I still have a BT phone line, but my ISP is with BE There, a LLU provider who have their own equipment in my exchange.

It's cheaper and much faster. With BT I was limited to 8/1 mb/s, whereas on BE I get 24/2 mb/s. In practice I sync at 16/2. So it's twice as fast for half the cost. The support is much better, I can use the "Live Chat" feature to make changes to my broadband profile, ask technical and billing questions, without being stuck on the phone. I find writing technical questions much easier than trying to explain it over the phone.

Using smaller LLU companies really offers a lot more value to the consumer.

Friends of mine who aren't really bothered about fast internet speeds are taking our Sky Broadband as part of their satellite TV package, costing an extra £5 or £6 per month. You can't compete against that for the money, single billing provider etc.

It is quite simple really. (1)

Going_Digital (1485615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931688)

People are not leaving BT completely but rather switching call providers. BT are a monopoly in the UK, they are the only national provider of landlines. Due to regulation they are forced to allow third party telecoms providers to lease the lines at a wholesale rate. As a result there are hundreds of so called providers that do nothing more than lease the lines at wholesale prices and then sell them on to the consumer at a lower rate than the BT retail price. BT have been continually increasing their retail prices for both line rental and call charges so consumers are naturally switching their call traffic to the cheaper resellers. As others have said Virgin are useless and their prices are not competitive so people are switching to DSL either to get a better deal or better service. Note, BT retail are in fact gaining broadband customers despite loosing landline customers as they offer the most competitive Fibre To The Cabinet DSL service and many of the other DSL providers are either not offering FTTC or are far more expensive than the BT Infiniti option.

Move to Wireless (1)

Henriok (6762) | more than 3 years ago | (#36931822)

Here in Sweden we see a substantial move from wired (Cable and DSL) broadband to wireless (HSPA and LTE). There are great savings (logistically and money) to be made if you skip traditional (copper) telephony and go all cell phone. Many (most?) have smartphones with tethering and generous data plans, and the carriers are happy to sell you a companion dongle for your computer for just a little additional charge to the data plan.
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