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UPDATE Virgin Media UK Warns of 1st October 2013 Broadband Price Hike

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013 (1:57 pm) - Score 17,001

Customers of Virgin Media’s superfast 30Mbps and legacy 20Mbps cable broadband packages have been advised that the monthly price they pay will, effective from 1st October 2013, rise by an extra £2.50 a month.

The move, which has caused anger among some of the cable giants customer base, follows on from a similar rise in February 2013 (here). It means that some people will soon by paying around +17% more than they did in January 2013.

Indeed the older 20Mbps and current 30Mbps options are generally intended for entry-level users, which traditionally represents the more budget conscious and thus vocal crowd (Virgin’s Support Forum).

Extract from Virgin’s Letter

We wanted to let you know that, from 1st October 2013, the price of your Virgin Media broadband is going up by £2.50 a month. It’s never nice when prices increase so we wanted to reassure you that you’re still getting a great broadband service.

You’re getting an award winning service – and it’s not just us saying it.

For the fifth year running Ofcom has said we deliver the fastest widely available home broadband service*, and we offer a service that’s at least twice as fast as the UK average±. Plus, uSwitch has voted us top for speed with an award for the Fastest Home Broadband, and given us their overall award for being the Best Broadband Provider. On top of that, Netflix has rated our service above our competitors when it comes to providing Netflix members the best streaming experience.

Here’s how you’re getting great value.

When you’re with us you don’t need to pay for a phone line to get superfast fibre optic broadband, and we’re the only provider to give you that flexibility. You also have the freedom of unlimited downloads – with no extra charges no matter how much you download. And for the whole time you’re with us, you get completely free technical support, servicing and repairs.

At present it’s unclear whether any other customers have received a similar letter, although most of those affected appear to be customers of Virgin Media’s standalone broadband packages. Meanwhile the operator still has various cut-price and half-price offers on their range of bundles and these seem to be unaffected. We’re currently trying to confirm.

UPDATE 4:39pm

Virgin Media has informed us that the increase will impact “all” of their solus (standalone) broadband subscribers, not just the 20Mbps and 30Mbps ones.

A Virgin Media spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

As part of a review of our services, we’re changing the price for people taking just broadband from us and we’re talking to customers now to explain what’s happening. With our unique cable network, we’re the only provider able to supply broadband without needing a phone line and with the fastest widely available speeds and unbeatable service, Virgin Media remains great value for money.”

The rise will also impact student broadband packages.

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43 Responses
  1. Avatar DTMark says:

    A little experiment. Imagine I want to compare cable broadband with something else. Should be easy, so let’s try using my parents postcode as an example which has both cable and FTTC. Not interested in anything except broadband. Does anyone really use landlines any more?

    Zen = total fail. No BT phone number. Cannot progress.

    Aquiss = total fail. No BT phone number. Cannot progress.

    In the cases above I’m sure I could ring them and they can quote me, but do people bother? What is wrong with the sign up pages, why would they assume you have a BT line?

    Plusnet = 80.47 installation and looks to be 34.49 a month for 18 months discounted for first 3 months. 77Mbps estimate.

    Virgin Media = 0.00 installation then 34.49 a month for 18 months discounted for first 6 months. 60 Meg service.

    If Openreach were serious about poaching Virgin customers, try making the landline and FTTC installation completely free of charge rather than expecting ISPs to subsidise them.

    And on a final note, despite Virgin’s defence of not having to have a phone line, I couldn’t see any obvious way of knocking that off the order to reduce it by 14.99 a month.

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Do Openreach really need to do anything to poach Virgin customers? As FTTC is more widespread and more ISP’s sign up there’s more competition and more chance of people moving over.

      You are assuming that a free installation charge would be passed onto the customer.

      1) That’s a big assumption
      2) It would mean it would take longer to get ROI on BT’s investment if they did that.

      I suspect they are in no real hurry, people will move from ADSL that’s a cert and also where VM customers are getting a poor cable experience.

      FTTC is already cheap enough to be honest

    2. Avatar Kits says:

      @ DTMark not sure what your problem is but as someone who has used VM and Aquiss I find VM failed I had slow speeds in evening due to over subscribing. They kept putting dates back for updates after 6 months waiting I surrendered and went to ADSL not looked back. All who I know that use VM are not happy with the higher pings in game plus warping that it causes.

      To get the cheapest prices from VM you need the whole package TV, phone and broadband I had all once.. Now I have phone line for BB moving to FTTC soon so will have the faster speeds. To be honest my pings are so much better with ADSL even at slower speeds everything worked better.

      I personally would never return to VM the Indian call center the script reading for faults all are in the past for me. I have a much better service where I am with no regrets just wish I had moved over sooner instead of staying with VM for 20 years.

    3. Avatar DTMark says:

      As far as performance goes, I’ve seen complaints of localised congestion from all the major ones – Sky, Virgin, BT and Plusnet so it’s very much down to where you live.

      Other providers have an opportunity to poach Virgin customers disgruntled by the price increase.

      The key points are:

      1. In the case of some providers, the customer is stopped dead in their tracks from ordering or even checking prices because of a flawed and weird assumption that the customer has a BT phone number to type in to progress their order.

      2. Even BT’s own company Plusnet is still more expensive than Virgin Media.

      3. And accepting they’re probably one of the cheapest for FTTC services, anyone looking to save that £2.50/mo is immediately hit with a whopping installation charge equal to over 32 lots of £2.50.

      4. There is still no comparable TV package on the BT platform.

      @FibreFred – can you get one of your colleagues to look up the data on the number of customers taking FTTC in cabled areas versus non cabled areas? I suspect I know what they will show and the above is part of the reason why.

    4. Avatar Kits says:

      You can use the postcode to see what is available what you have to remember is VM and BT systems are separate. Like me if you are ready to leave then you will and a little thing like BT checker isn’t enough to stop you. Comparisons in like for like is harder but in the actual using the connections I found ADSL to be faster more responsive as latency, jitter etc was much better with ADSL. Speed is not the end line it is other technical issues that makes the overall experience better. What use is 100 Mbits download speed if your gaming pings is 45 making you warp around in games yet others on 15 Mbits has a ping of 12.

      I do find the way you posted the fail for Aquiss and Zen as somewhat hypocritical they both use UK call centers not Indian so cost will be more. Personally I would rather pay more to use UK staff for faults, already had a taste of the Indian call centers with VM then BT with phone line. Both are now with companies that have UK staff if I lived in India then I would expect an Indian call center.

      With a lot of things sometimes the speed isn’t enough it is also the quality of the service, network that makes a complete package.

      For me VM is a no go and many of their customers do as Phil has just done which if I owned a comapny would tell him bye then pay the going price like every customer or leave your choice. Sounds like VM are getting desperate for customers begging letters for me to return an giving money to phil to stay.. Not very good signs for a company while in a recession.

    5. Avatar FibreFred says:

      lol DTMark you are a joker, I don’t believe any of my colleagues have access to BT’s internal network so I’m afraid I can’t help you there 🙂

    6. Avatar DTMark says:

      I picked those two because they’re good quality suppliers.

      The “fail” has nothing to do with performance or location of call centres.

      I looked to compare offers and with those two I could not do so easily.

      If you’re a customer with “fibre optic” broadband from Virgin and you want to sign up with one of those for “fibre optic” broadband, why would you want a phone line anyway (put yourself in the user’s position, not the tech’s position) – do they now have to ring up BT and get a “BT phone number” first? Yet, AFAIK, both those suppliers can do line rental.

      The customers might just click away and find themselves at the Plusnet website. Or they might well ring up BT to get that phone line and sign up for a complete package from them instead.

    7. Avatar Kyle says:

      @ Kits: The Zen/Aquiss fail comment related to Mark’s inability to progress with the order, not the price of the services vs. UK call centres.

    8. Avatar Martin Pitt - Aquiss says:

      DTMark, respectfully, I think ourselves and Zen have a better grasp of the FTTC market than you maybe do.

      I am sure you are aware, but have forgot that using the postcode, given the current coverage maps nationally, would result in us giving mixed, but incorrect in many cases, messages to customers. Postcodes are often served in places by more than 1 cabinet, where 1 will be enabled and the other not. We air with caution by not giving out false information. Active phone number provide us with assurances, vital at the present time with FTTC and FTTP.

      You also seemingly do not know our customer base or our active regional partners, where the vast majority do call us where they need clarity.

      We would more than happy to engage in a call with you and provide a professional project deployment plan. If we fall short in that capacity, then consider us a failure, not before.

    9. Avatar Kits says:

      @ DTMark I see you selectively read my first post then!

      I was VM customer I had VM telephone line I found a supplier via using my postcode and talking to the support at a select few, Aquiss won..
      So to put it bluntly if you really want to find the answers then you get proactive and look for ways around not stop at the first hurdle.

      I was VM customer for 20 years nothing has changed I had to do leg work then to find the best offer but I wanted out.

      @Kyle the fail was DTMark for failing to find a way around others who have left VM have managed to find the answers just DTMark stops at the first hurdle as he isn’t desperate to get out like I was.

    10. Avatar DTMark says:

      The replies to this seem a little bizarre to me.

      The key point I was making was that a Virgin cable customer might think “who else could I try?” and make their way to that provider’s website so I could find the product I wanted and price it up.

      On the Plusnet site I could do that easily, though the array of charges and discounts was long enough to fill an entire right hand column. I didn’t need a “BT phone number”. I clicked a link that said “I do not have a BT phone number”.

      The Virgin website was confusing with all the bundles, but at least the pricing was fairly clear and the procedure painless.

      On the others – bearing in mind a cable customer doesn’t even necessarily have a phone line, and wouldn’t think they needed one for fibre-optic broadband in many cases (cable has a separate socket for the cablemodem), the message given to the customer is “ring up BT and get yourself a phone line and come back then”.

      At which point said customer might well get told that they’ll have to pay £129 for that *but* how about taking out an Infinity package and that will be free, and you can get BT sport free etc etc and might well be persuaded.

      This has nothing to do with the quality or competence of either Zen or Aquiss whom I regard highly. But from a marketing perspective *IMO* the average user might well be driven into the arms of BT.

    11. Avatar DTMark says:

      @Martin – in all cases, I had to specify the full address later on in order to identify what services were available. My initial wording “postcode” was unclear.

      Both VM and Plusnet were able to ascertain what I’d be able to get by doing that. No need for any phone number.

      I notice Aquiss has elected to pay the installation part for FTTC to gain market share and customers.

      And my point was – if Openreach were serious about getting customers onto their platform and making a decent offer to their ISPs, rather than you pay it, they would be the ones providing the “discount” thus driving customers en-masse rather than expecting you to subsidise them.

    12. Avatar Kits says:

      @ DTMark No once you have suffered the failures of offshore call centers in India, any large ISP like BT would be avoided like the plague. I managed without a phone number all those years ago a phone call to all ISPs you are thinking of reveals a lot. I found the conversations to those I called very enlightening and helpful in my move from VM.

      To many the way you posted would cause negative impact on the two ISPs named which I felt was very unfair to those ISPs as both work hard to give a good service.

      Like you said put yourself into the other persons positions not very IT technical look at the two named ISPs and the negative word fail. would you be likely to go with them as an ISP after reading that on a review site.

      Yet you still do not see just what was wrong about the way you put it over. I do know on Aquiss if something doesn’t give a result you are told to contact them. To me that isn’t a fail that is a company trying to assist anyone who is struggling.

    13. Avatar DTMark says:

      I rceently suffered the complete failure of the offshore call centre at my ISP, Three, when reporting an issue (intermittent connectivity) which they seem to have fixed now. But then until two weeks ago Three was the only ISP capable of providing a broadband service here – there’s now EE’s 4G to try, too.

      When we moved here we had a Zen ADSL narrowband service (1.7Meg) before we upgraded to 3G. At our last address we had a Zen ADSL broadband service (~6.5Meg as we were right next to the exchange so near the top throughput speed available on ADSL1).

      For the purpose of clarity I will always pick a quality supplier if one is available. Here, since Zen and Aquiss rely on BT, neither can supply me a broadband service because BT’s infrastructure is not broadband capable here, so I can’t even try them.

      I have however recommended both Zen and Aquiss to others on a number of occasions, the first on the basis of personal experience and the second on the basis that I believe it to be run by someone very “genuine” who will provide the best service possible within the limitations of BT’s network. If Martin didn’t “care” about customers he wouldn’t offer help to people in the forum.

      Today I had the “pleasure” of looking at “Broadband Choices” – what a farce that is. The speeds are wrong and misleading, the only quality ISP there was Zen tucked away on page 2, most of the ISPs are missing and the entire thing is predicated on the basis of price and, er, nothing else. I digress.

      I still can’t fathom why Plusnet’s sign up and quoting system can handle a Virgin customer who might be interested but the others cannot and seem to want to drive the user to BT when you’d think they would ask for a phone number, check the BTW database, get the result back and if it’s “not valid” then go on to ask “is this a recently installed line/cable line/whatever” and keep the customer moving on. Ask for the address, get the co-ordinates (PostcodeAnywhere API is great), then query BTW again – this would be what Plusnet must do.

      I still can’t see why Aquiss have to hand over eighty quid to BT in return for getting someone onto their platform via their own pockets.

      If anything I wrote discouraged anyone from Zen or Aquiss that was far from my intention and on re-reading that initial post, I do think I made clear the reason why I described it as a “fail” and the comparison I was seeking to make.

      Evidently not however, so I accept this could and should have been worded better.

    14. Avatar Literatus says:

      Nonsense. You made your point and made it clearly; you should not have to apologise for the inability of others to comprehend what they read.

  2. Avatar Phil says:

    I was being told to go for 60Mb with no price increase, as they say my 30Mb will be going up £2.50 unless I move to 60Mb with no charge but will be locked in a new 12 months contract. Doesn’t make any sense!

    1. Avatar Phil says:

      30Mb £18.65 (soon will be £21.15) or move to 60Mb £18.50 (no increase but 12 months contract required)

  3. Avatar Phil says:

    Just got off the phone complaint to virgin media disconnection team and they agree to give me £30.00 credit into my account today to cover price increase and stay with 30Mb for £18.65 and £30.00 credit on my account. Job done!

    1. Avatar NameStar says:

      I’d rather be with a company that doesn’t raise the price and then cause you the hassle of having to ask the operator for a discount.

      And VMs networks appear to be rather sucky.

    2. Avatar Steven Allen says:

      they are a joke they rang me last night saying why not have vt with them on a good deal said not at the moment two days latter letter saying broadband going up £2.50

  4. Avatar sam says:

    bloody hell, not again! They increased the price about 1yr ago by £1.50-2.50, can’t remember which. More than a 10% price increase yet i’m stuck with a terrible superhub1 which they won’t replace for free to superhub2 so i get 20mbps using 802.11g and they still haven’t doubled customer’s upload speeds yet.

    I wish BT would hurry up with their FTTC upgrade, my exchange says by end of 2014, i want to get rid of virgin asap but i can get less than 5mbps where i live which is far too slow for me.

    1. Avatar Kyle says:

      I’m consciously looking for VM coverage at prospective properties. FTTC fell flat on its face with me and apparently 10Mbps is acceptable (even though ADSL2+ is faster). So when I’m paying the premium for [superfast], I want something that resembles superfast.

      Needless to say, given the price rises, customer have the option of leaving VM given a significant change of contractual terms.

  5. Avatar JockM says:

    The Ofcom speed research is a limited study of speeds by an elite group of ISP’s. Ofcom needs to be informed of how this research is being used as a marketing message.

    As for the price rise, you get what you pay for. If you want “fastest” and “unlimited” plus all the other boasts then people be prepared to pay for it. The price is not coming down.

    Still, isn’t Richie Branson a really great bloke because since Virgin run trains they’re so cheap to use!

    ‘When I pay for Superfast, I want Superfast’ you’ve fallen for the marketing words and hype. Few people need above 10Mb, they just need it without peaks. But then who’s going to pay for the bandwidth?

  6. Avatar joe m says:

    is the increase to pay for the spending on opt-in/out filters?

    1. Avatar Anonymous Coward says:

      Funny how the price goes up for all broadband customers shortly after they stump up the cash to give XL TV customers BT Sports for free. These price increases always seem to line up nicely with some other positive event 😉

  7. Avatar diamond says:

    ANOTHER SCAM OF A COMPANY LIKE ALL THE GAS AND ELECTRIC COMPANIES GREEEEEDY FCUKERZ

  8. Avatar Screw Virgin says:

    We just had our second rate virgin broadband service upgraded from total crap to just crap. We buggering off to BT fibre – Virgin are crap

  9. Avatar finaldest says:

    I left virgin media back in May this year and cannot be happier. I am now on sky’s 40/10 fibre service and the connection is near perfect. And did I mention UK call centres.

    I had the top tier service with VM at 3 different addresses over 5 years and the connection was always poor and outages were frequent. The final straw was the traffic management policy that was introduced on the 120mb service as well as a huge row with customer services while trying to report an area outage following a thunderstorm.

    I was no longer prepared to pay for 120mbs to have speeds halved after using the connection for 15 minutes as well as put up with poor overseas call centres any longer so decided to make the switch to FTTC.

    1. Avatar NameStar says:

      re: Traffic Management

      This is what makes VM so bad, I remember starting a steam game download thinking that it would be done in 40min, I was looking forwards to playing it, over 5 hours later and too late in the eve to play, it finally downloaded.

      Their traffic policies punish everyone for simply using the service they pay for.

    2. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Name Star, apparently their traffic management policy only affects a minority of their users according to previous press releases.

      If so… why don’t they turn it off 🙂

  10. Avatar Kyle says:

    That second update in the article is an absolute joke. How can you possibly praise yourself for not requiring customers to take a landline but charge an increased privilege for not doing so?!

    Do these PR releases get reviewed before being distributed?

    1. Avatar DTMark says:

      When I tried pricing up a package the wording “with phone line at 14.99 a month” or similar was highly prominent and after I’d selected a “bundle” I couldn’t see any way of taking that off the order.

      It *might* be possible had I persevered knowing that the tech doesn’t require it. Some small link somewhere, maybe an option further along..?

      Many customers may not know that so yes, the statement seemed a little at odds with the experience I had.

  11. Avatar Darren says:

    There are many wireless companies offering super fast speeds without a phone line being required , it’s also as much a fibre service as virgins fibre to coax service, therefore their comments are untrue , they are not the only provider !

  12. Avatar dragoneast says:

    One interesting question: Virgin’s advertisements can be the subject of adjudication by the ASA. But what about their advertisements by means of press releases rehashed all over the press and by sites like this one? (Mind you like many companies they probably do themselves more damage by their own mouth than an adverse ASA ruling could ever achieve).

  13. Avatar NameStar says:

    BT line is not required, you can get the same line from a 3rd party, I was using Primus and only paying £8 a mo’ on special offer for a year, also many companies with give a big discount if you pay for 12months up front – PlusNet @ £11.82 for 12 months for example.

    And topCashBack give up to £370+ back (sky full package)

  14. Avatar Vermin Suck Balls says:

    @fred they have done in some areas.

    They are butt monkeys

  15. Avatar Steven Allen says:

    WELL THATS IT THATS TWO YEARS IN A ROW I AM GOING TO LOOK RIGHT NOW AND I BET I GET A BETTER DEAL

    1. Avatar four_eyes says:

      exactly like plusnet and they price hikes thats all they think of conning the customer but dont blame you for leaving the doyles 🙂

  16. Avatar para says:

    I cannot understand why Virgin is penalising us, that is those who only want broadband only. For two years i went without because they were charging us for a phone line. Then they said we could have it without a phone line, but upped the price, so there was no difference or very little difference to having broadband with or without a phone line. Now i have re-connected this year, they are now upping the price, twice in this year.
    What’s with this phone line business? I cannot get my head around it.
    By all means virgin broadband should be the cheapest without a phone line. Don’t they realise they would get ALL (all virgin connected areas) the broadband in UK if it was? And would make more money that way. The other companies would not even get a look in.
    I am seriously considering going without again.

    1. Avatar BLA BLA says:

      THESE COMPANIES LOVE TO HIKE THE PRICES UP BUT ONCE EVERONE STARTS LEAVING THEM THEN THEY WILL KNOW WHY AND PLUSNET HIKING THE LINE RENTAL UP BLOODY DISGRACE

  17. Avatar steve 1%er says:

    just seen the news that virgin media are sonys isp partner for the launch of ps4 i an vm s 30 meg broadband only deal using a ps3 service is pathetic god help us when ps4 goes live

  18. Avatar smiler123 says:

    Well another price rise from VM. Letter came in today to say it’s going up another £3.00 plus call charges, on 1st February 2014. I cannot afford these continual rises, I’m already paying an extra £10 a month with electricity price rises. This doesn’t include another extra £10 or more I’ll need to pay for gas when I put the heating on.

    I’m trying to wear extra layers to postpone that as long as I can. I think I may have to give up the internet altogether.

    I have the forced VM phone line which I hardly ever use, plus TV and broadband. I watch more Freeview than Virgin TV, I pay £14.99 for a phone I don’t need. It’s getting ridiculous, I take it this won’t be the only rise in 2014 with VM.

    They are going to land me with BT sports….I can’t stand sport and don’t want or need it. I can see a lot of customers leaving. I was going to try plusnet but I’m not sure after the comments here!

    I only use it to browse and for email and FB now and again, I don’t really download much at all. What can I do???

  19. Avatar keef666 says:

    Smiler123, I,m nearly the same boat as you, except only have Freeview, The letter came today its going up in Feb 2014, by £2.50 plus the vat on that,
    So far reading this letter i haven’t found out why there is an increase, the letter only says how VM gives me so many great things,
    I only want a broadband service VM don’t need or use a phone, only watch limited t.v. so why is it going up!
    I think its about time our Government started to look into the pricing of broadband,I mean how are people suppose to look for jobs if they can’t afford the internet.

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