UKC

/ Virgin media broadband. Good/Bad/Indifferent?

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two_tapirs - on 09 Jan 2018
I'm thinking of switching from Sky BB to Virgin media BB. Anyone have any good or bad experiences with Virgin Media BB? Have they carved your garden apart during a lousy install? do you rarely get anywhere close to the expected download/upload rates?

Cheers
Andy Johnson - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Been with Virgin for about 15 years and, apart from a couple of very minor outages, they've been rock solid. I occasionally check and we get about the down/up rate we pay for. My only real criticisms would be that if things do go wrong then their first-line callcentre people are not great, and they do have a habit of announcing small increased to their charges when you're in contract. I'd give then 7.5 out of 10.
thomasadixon - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Very quick - when it's working.

However, when it goes down (down for 20 days this December, and half of November...) they're useless. Call them and they'll give you your money back for the period, but they will take time to get it fixed and then it may well just go down again. They also arranged visits for the wrong times (when we were out) even when they were told that time couldn't be done and that we'd do another time. No apology, and no effort to rearrange to fix the problem that they've created.

I've been thinking of switching the other way! How come you're looking to change?
arch - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Been with them since they were NTL, we get what BB speed we pay for. We have the TV and phone package as well. (But IMO, Sky are better for that) Overall very pleased with the service.

One word though, I put a duct in the garden for the cable, and I clipped it around the house as well. One thing the guys fitting the service aren't, they aren't neat.
purplemonkeyelephant - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Always been as fast or faster than advertised. They doubled our speeds for free a few years ago. Installs were normally good, recently had a few outages but they sent a guy round who replaced our box for free and even gave us his work mobile number so we could ring him if something went wrong with the new box. They aren't cheap, but they are good.
two_tapirs - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to thomasadixon:

> I've been thinking of switching the other way! How come you're looking to change?

Virgin media have just installed cable in our area, and I can go from 30Mb Sky fibre to 200Mb Virgin fibre for not much difference in cost, and I think get a better TV package too

nniff - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Undecided - we have for years had a 'green snake' in a flowerbed where the contactors couldn't be arsed to bury the cable properly and just hoofed a bit of earth over it.

Periodically it goes tits up. You call the help line and the automatic disembodied voice works out who you are and 'runs some checks'. It then tells you that these checks are taking longer than expected - no sh*t, Sherlock, why do you think I called you in the first place? It then tells you to reboot the router (again) while they spin a few dials after which they suggest that things may improve, which it usually does. The cynic in me suspects some sort of load balancing - turn it down until you get some complaints, turn it back up to shut them up, and turn someone else down instead, until they complain, and repeat.

We also need a ring main-based rebroadcast thing to get any sort of usable signal upstairs.

I do wish I could have some sort of arrangement by which they get paid "up to £x" depending on how much of the "up to x megawotsits" I actually get.
WaterMonkey - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Been with them for years and I have to phone them up yearly to make sure I'm still getting the best rate and loyalty discounts. Phoned them up just before new year and said I wasn't happy with the bill.
They sent me out a new box, new hub and changed my broadband to 200meg. Once I plugged it all in my download speed went up to about 220M/s from 40M before! Oh and they reduced my bill by £8 per month.

Pretty pleased with them to be fair and they seem very helpful on the phone when it comes to negotiating new deals.

dread-i - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Faster than advertised speeds (70Mb), especially during the day, when I'm working from home, which is nice.
We dont take tv, and the phone is some sort of legacy item we had to have. No one really calls a land line these days.

A nice feature, is if you have kids, you can set up parental blocks. So you can block pr0n or violence etc. The router is a bit flaky and seems to reset to factory every now and again. If you persist with it, you can set up MAC address filtering on a timer. So if jnr wont get off the ipad at bed time, you can nobble their internet.
There are also some freebies, so you can use virgin wifi on the move or get free prints with snapfish each month etc

As mentioned their call center is a bit poor. "Have you tried turning it off and on again?". They read a script and are not much use if anything is not straight forward. If you persist you can get to talk to second line, but they can be surly.
Luke90 on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to dread-i:

> A nice feature, is if you have kids, you can set up parental blocks. So you can block pr0n or violence etc.

Every big ISP offers this these days. It's "voluntary" but the government pretty much told ISPs that if they didn't offer the filters voluntarily then they'd force it on them.

The government will soon be (trying to) block porn sites that don't offer the government's favoured variety of age verification, even for customers who've chosen to keep the filters turned off.
The Lemming - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

> I'm thinking of switching from Sky BB to Virgin media BB. Anyone have any good or bad experiences with Virgin Media BB? Have they carved your garden apart during a lousy install? do you rarely get anywhere close to the expected download/upload rates?

> Cheers

I've been using cable when it was first called TelliWest, then blueyonder and finally Virgin Media.

Virgin Media may not have the best customer service, however when ever I have called about a problem or issue, the call taker tried everything within their power to try and fix any problems.

When ever I had hardware problems such as router/modems failing or becoming obsolete then the replacements came promptly. And when I lost my land-line, a technical dude came to my property promptly. maybe not within the hour but within 24 to 48 hours.

I have to say that I am impressed with Virgin Media's customer service.

But that is pointless if they can not provide the goods.

I have the most basic service which means that I have to suffer download speeds in and around 200mbps. As I use a VPN service I have to suffer speeds between 70-100mbps. That's not the fault of Virgin but I'm guessing that my encrypted speeds exceed most BT landlines.

The only negative that I can think of is that Virgin openly admit to Traffic Shaping where they throttle back download speeds if you download large files during the day. And when you're throttled down, your still getting good speeds compared to BT landlines.

however having a VPN means that I don't get any throttling.

As long as I have access to Virgin cable services, I will never return to BT or any company that uses BT infrastructure.

I will never return to BT because of their awful customer service. And the same goes for Sky, awful customer service.
Dax H - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

I had a couple of problems with them last year.
First one was when they did the installation, the engineer asked if he could connect in to next door rather than dig our garden up, I wasn't in but the wife said no, we are not on good terms with next door so we would rather not. When I checked he connected to them anyway.

The second was the speed, I paid for 200meg and it was running speed tests at 150 for 3 days so I was happy with that but after a few days it dropped to 30meg and stayed there for a few days until I rang them up.
"I'm sorry sir, it seems your package has been reduced, I can't see why but I can soon put you back to the top package".
This smacked of we drop it and if you don't notice its all good as far as I was concerned.

Between the connecting to next door, the drop in speed and the most god awful interface on the TV box I canceled it and went back to sky.
Jack Frost on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to dread-i:

Re the device filtering, unfortunately the latest super hub 3.0 dropped that feature which is annoying.

I’d echo what WaterMonkey said. And the 1st line support is duff, I had one guy telling me I should be restarting my router at least weekly. Eh no I don’t think so. Never had a problem with download/upload speeds, just some overly complicated bills that you need to keep an eye on for increases.
richard_hopkins - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

I have found their network speeds to be fine. Currently on their bottom tier which gives 70 down and 5 up. If they could half the down and double the up speed I'd be happier.
As it is via coaxial cable (for me) rather than a crappy old copper phone line using ADSL, the rate is reliable.

Someone above posted that they increase the speeds "for free".
Whilst they have increase the speeds numerous times over the years, you do have to stay on top of them as the bill creep up too for inexplicable reasons. Getting a "loyalty discount bonus" is easy just by phoning them.

My bill went unannounced from £28 in Dec to £32 in Jan this year for no obvious reason. I have only the internet service and had to pay extra to "remove" the unused phone line. Possibly if you want a phone line and internet TV (which they call cable TV) it would be better value.

I think they're ok.
gethin_allen on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

I've been with them for ages and although I'd like to get rid of them I'm a bit stuck with them as the BT cables to my area are ancient, I don't have a line into my house and my job is a bit unstable so I can't sign up to a long contract to get deal on installation.
The other issue I have is that because I haven't got a TV and I don't use the house phone I'm getting a piss poor deal which they try to put up every year by at least three times the rate of inflation which they try to sell to you by telling you that they are increasing the speed in your area, despite the fact that I really don't need or want a faster connection and I never actually get the full speed they keep boasting about (I pay for 70 meg, I get about 45 meg down 5 meg up).

For a while I was getting loads of outages in the middle of the day and the ex was going mental with it as she worked from home and relied heavily on the internet. These may have continued but for the while there's been nobody in the house during the day.
thomasadixon - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Fair enough! The speed when it’s working puts me off changing, it is very good.
TheDrunkenBakers - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

I have VM tv, phone, bb etc. 220mb down, 12 up. Good tv and faultless home phone. About 6 outages in 4 years for up to half a day. I put up with that as whens its good, its very good.
KevinJ - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Been with them since the days of Telewest. Fastest service in my area, but their repeated outages, or service reductions are well documented. Initial installation led to the cable being laid two inches below the middle of the lawn. Needless to say, a shovel went through the unarmored cable at one point!!
Regularly get dropouts on Amazon video due to "lack of bandwidth".
A promised increase to 200MB service over a year ago has yet to materialise, and a booked engineer to attend to resolve a router/modem issue last week simply didn't turn up!
Really struggle with Virgin Customer service, often long queues for limited outcome, and for a while received repeated calls trying to get me to upgrade the service (already pay for more than I actually need with my cable package!).
I did find the Super Hub to be quite poor as a wifi router, so use it in modem mode only and have an Apple AirPort set up to provide the wifi and ethernet routing. This combination work really well and I have almost no drop outs, compared to the several a month I had using the superhub.

Although all this may sound negative, it hasn't been all bad. The general service provision is good. When it works, the speed is awesome compared with the competition.
The cable TV package and the TiVo box has been perfect for our household.
With the current new customer deals, I don't think you can go too far wrong.

mishabruml - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

https://www.zen.co.uk/

I'm on the basic unlimited home broadband deal but I signed up when it was free for the first 6 months. Its slightly more expensive but beyond worth it. You pay for what you get. Bullshit-free, totally stable, unlimited downloads, been an absolute dream since connection, zero problems. Plenty fast enough to download large files and stream HD videos/music.

The customer support is very good, especially for those who are technically inclined- but the service has been so good I've not had to use it beyond the initial sales/setup call.
r0x0r.wolfo - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to Dax H:

> The second was the speed, I paid for 200meg and it was running speed tests at 150 for 3 days so I was happy with that but after a few days it dropped to 30meg and stayed there for a few days until I rang them up.

> "I'm sorry sir, it seems your package has been reduced, I can't see why but I can soon put you back to the top package".

> This smacked of we drop it and if you don't notice its all good as far as I was concerned.

Are you serious? That would be the next scandal.


Dax H - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo:

> Are you serious? That would be the next scandal.

It just seems strange to me that my connection was lowered. Might have been a mistake but I am a suspicious bastard.
SDM on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

I have the 100Mb package. At quiet times, I get close to 100mb down and 15Mb up but at peak times, they heavily manage people's speeds due to the demand so my speeds drop down to 30Mb down and 6Mb up. Still far better than I could get here with any other provider. In an area that is less reliant on Virgin, there is likely to be less of a need for them to manage the traffic.

Overall, I think the TV box is broadly similar to Sky's. Both have their positives and negatives. The TV Anywhere app doesn't work for 99% of people and their is no functional support for it.

I haven't had any problems with the line. The router struggles to provide a decent signal to the back bedroom but the signal has to pass through 3 thick victorian walls so I would probably have the same issue with most routers.

The previous owners already had Virgin so I set it up myself without the need for an engineer which took a couple of hours but was simple to do. The 'courier' they use for self installation is Yodel so if you go this route, make sure you go for click and collect rather than delivery if you ever want to actually see your installation pack.

Generally, their speeds are good but their customer support is awful (check out their trust pilot reviews for proof). But customer service in that industry is non-existent because the alternative is dealing with Openreach whenever anything goes wrong who are one of the few companies who are even worse than Virgin at it.

If you go with them (or any other time you want to change providers), make sure to check out Quidco for any cashback deals. They don't always have any running but when they do, they can offer huge savings.
Lord of Starkness - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Been with Virgin ( Telewest / NTL) for 15 years as the cable was already to the house when we bought it.

As others have said - not the cheapest, but it is generally reliable and faster than most. On the rare occasions when there have been outages for more than 3-4 hours, I have received a credit on my next bill.

I have generally found their customer service - particularly technical service - to be very good - but then again I spent 10 years in the middle east and am used to dealing with people for whom English is not their first language.

The one thing I do find mildly annoying are the phone calls offering me an upgrade to my service / package. I always tell them that I will be happy to receive any upgrade that will not cost me an extra penny. This generally shuts them up - though some are very difficult to get away from their prepared script!

I have received Modem and router upgrades free of charge, and even had some internal cabling issues rectified. We're probably on our 3rd of 4th Digital TV box - and again have not had to pay a penny for upgrades / callouts or repairs. Customer service is very good in that respect.

I've also taken advantage of their offer of £ 50 when I've recommended other family members to switch to Virgin. (they have also received a £50 credit off thir account)

If anyone is thinking of switching - and their house is in a cabled area - just PM me and I will get Virgin to send you a sign up package! We will both benefit to the tune of £ 50!

Dax H - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to SDM:

If you pay for the 200 Meg gamers package they claim they don't throttle it at any time.
I think when I signed up it was only an extra £5 a month.
afx22 - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

The service is good - fast and reliable. Tivo box is now dated compared to other platforms.

I really have a beef with the pricing. It's gone up and up, well over inflation over the years - More than doubled in 6 years.

I'm looking to switch to Sky because of this.
Dax H - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to afx22:

How much do you pay?
Mine was £50 a month for the first 12 months then £80 a month for the remainder of the 24 month contract.

That was for all TV channels except sport, a landlines phone, 200meg gamers broadband.

At the time I was paying £85 for all the same from Sky but the broadband was only 20 Meg.

When I lost my rag with Virgin after about 4 days I set the wife on Sky and to get us back she negotiated £47 a month for all of the above with 100 Meg broadband (runs around 60 to 70 most of the time) for a 12 month contract.
Andrew Lodge - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to afx22:

Our experience was similar, we had cable put in when the house was built over 20 years ago and have been using it since, our bills kept creeping up and I think we were seen as a cash cow.

Phoned them up and told them we were leaving and we got upgraded to a much better package, a new box, new route, free installation of it all and a 40% reduction in our monthly bill.

Safe to say we obviously were a cash cow but a twenty minute phone call was well worth it.
afx22 - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Dax H:

It was £35 when I signed up.  It crept up to around £65 last year and has gone up to £78 on my last bill!

I did haggle them down about two years back but it only stayed as agreed for a few months.  I don't trust them.

Jenny C on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Take a look at Vodafone. Same fibre system as virgin but when we looked into it a cheaper monthly price (just phone broadband). 

We are thinking of moving as whilst no major problems with virgin,  their hard sell tactics in trying to 'upgrade' our package is becoming a nuisance. 

WaterMonkey - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Jenny C:


> We are thinking of moving as whilst no major problems with virgin,  their hard sell tactics in trying to 'upgrade' our package is becoming a nuisance. 

I used that to my advantage in the end and got my package upgraded, completely free of charge and given an £8 a month discount. The new box and hub are definitely worth it. 220Mb/s broadband at times.

two_tapirs - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to two_tapirs:

Thanks everyone for the feedback, certainly more positive comments than I expected! Think I'll go with Virgin, as I can only get around a maximum 30Mb with Sky due to the distance to my nearest exchange/cabinet.  For similar money I can get 200Mb and more channels (which I probably won't watch as I don't watch that many now)

 

Thanks again, all

SDM on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to afx22:

> Tivo box is now dated compared to other platforms.

Do you have the latest box?

I think it compares quite well to the Sky box I have used elsewhere. Some nice features and some annoyances on each but overall, I think the Virgin one is as good as Sky's. 

afx22 - on 12 Jan 2018
In reply to SDM:

I do have the latest Tivo box.  My understanding was that the Sky Q box had leapfrogged the Tivo box (it can record 6 channels at once verses 3 on the Tivo, for instance).  It's still pretty good but the guide is slow (compared to Apple TV, for instance).


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