Home > computer, internet > What happened to Virgin Broadband?

What happened to Virgin Broadband?

Virgin MediaI’ve been on the Telewest/Virgin Broadband service for many years. So many in fact I can’t remember when I joined. I have emails to my Blueyonder address from early 2001, so that’s at least 7 years. Without wanting to sound like a preachy old git, it used to be a good service. I started on the 512Mb connection, and always got it. 2Mb, 4Mb, 10Mb and now 20Mb speeds have followed, but the last one was a very mixed ‘upgrade’. I was happy with the Telewest Blueyonder 10Mb service. Download speeds were usually over 1 megabyte a second.
Then Virgin took over, and heavily publicised the doubling of broadband speeds. My connection went to 20Mb, but I saw very little speed improvement over the 10Mb service. The biggest shock came when my download speed started dropping. I eventually found out that Virgin were capping the download speed at 5Mb if you used too much bandwidth between 4pm and midnight. I say eventually found out because unlike the 20Mb upgrade Virgin didn’t publicise this change. The 20Mb service is still sold as unlimited, as shown here, or here. No disclaimers, asterisks or anything else to say it’s not an unlimited service. Only it isn’t, as shown here.


Maybe Virgin have a different definition of unlimited to me, but I’m pretty sure unlimited means without limits. Virgin try to make it sound like heavy users are being unfair, but when I pay £37 a month I expect to be able to download all the films, music, linux distributions and games I want. And use online backup services. And share the connection with other people in my house.
There are other ‘perks’ that Virgin now offers it’s broadband customers. Broadband Extra’s was introduced to give free photo prints, music downloads and games every month. When I first tried accessing Broadband extra’s, I was told it was only for ex-NTL customers at that time. Now, my email and password just returns me to the home page when I try logging in. No extra’s for me.
The latest kick in the balls came when my cable modem (a old Motorola Surfboard 4100 that I have had since joining Blueyonder, at least seven years) seemed to get flaky. Over Christmas my connection started freezing, and only power cycling the modem would get it going again. This was happening 2-3 times a day. Nothing else changed, same hardware and software in use.
Then my download speed dropped, and appears to be stuck at around 4Mb. I emailed Virgin broadband support (since it’s now 25p a minute for technical support with long queues) and a week later got the following reply.

Thanks for getting in touch with the Virgin Media support team regarding
the issue that you are currently experiencing with your Virgin Media
Broadband service. We are very sorry to hear that you are having
problems, and for any delay in responding to your original mail.

I apologise for the issues you have experienced with your modem.

I have checked your connection remotely and cannot see an issue with our
network, however the modem you currently have may have issues with
locking onto the correct signal level. Therefore to rule this out as a
cause for your connection issue I have requested a free modem
replacement to be sent to you.

Please allow up to 28 days for this to arrive

If there’s anything else we can help with, please let us know.

Read that second from last sentence again. Please allow up to 28 days for this to arrive. The email arrived last Wednesday, six days ago, so they aren’t joking. I’m paying £37 a month for 20Mb, getting 4Mb, and a replacement modem should turn up some time in the next month.
There’s very conflicting reports in several forums about the SB4100’s ability to handle a 20Mb connection. Several Virgin customers have been told by Virgin support staff that this model cannot handle 20Mb, others have been told it can. My modem is at least seven years old, so I wouldn’t be surprised to find it’s struggling and finally giving up. Of course, there’s no guarantee the modem is the problem, and Virgin aren’t penalising customers for some other unannounced sin.
I’m calling BT today to see if I can get my phone line and number moved back to them to let me try an ADSL service. I remember when BT were considered the worst ISP and phone company, funny how something worse always comes along.

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  1. January 23, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    I like this is .. this is really fantastic , i like the way you write its really awesome .

  1. January 22, 2008 at 12:48 pm
  2. January 31, 2008 at 5:09 pm

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