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UPDATE ISP Virgin Media UK Stops Selling Copper Based ADSL2 Broadband

Thursday, October 10th, 2013 (9:07 am) - Score 3,388

Cable operator Virgin Media (Liberty Global) has finally given up on its copper-based Virgin National Broadband (Virgin.net / ADSL2+) platform, which has seen its subscriber base decline for the best part of two years and recently lost another -12,300 during Q2-2013 to reach a total customer base of 168,600.

The BT and Vodafone (Cable & Wireless) based unbundled (LLU) platform, which was offered to those outside of Virgin’s cable network coverage, was never especially strong and, despite a brief resurgence during 2009 (after its packages were refreshed) and a peak of 275,900 customers in early 2011, it soon fell back into decline to become the son that few wanted to admit even existed.

Mark Wilkin, VirginMedia Support, said:

From the 1st of October we’re no longer selling National Broadband to new or existing customers who move to an area outside our cable network. As a company, we’ve decided to focus on developing services on our next generation cable network.”

Over the years we had heard rumours of alleged plans to deploy an FTTC product via the Virgin National platform but no concrete confirmation ever surfaced and the products continued decline did little to encourage matters. Apparently Virgin Media will continue to provide “services and support for all of our existing National customers” but anybody else will be redirected to find an alternative ISP.

Unfortunately this is bad news for existing Virgin National customers. History shows that once an old platform has been cast aside then ISPs tend to forget about their remaining subscribers. Yes the support and service might continue to function but it’s less likely to remain competitive and thus the remaining subscribers will almost certainly continue to decline.


Here’s another statement from Virgin Media.

Gareth Mead, A Virgin Media spokesperson, told ISPreview.co.uk:

As the fastest broadband company for the majority of the UK, Virgin Media customers expect incredible speeds. Unfortunately the ADSL technology, which is still used by three quarters of British consumers and supports our National service, cannot provide comparable connectivity to our own cable network. We will continue to serve our existing National customers but we’ve chosen to stop selling it to new customers.”

Leave a Comment
8 Responses
  1. Avatar DTMark says:

    I don’t think they ever really took DSL seriously anyway. It was only to retain people who had moved out of cabled areas.

    Scrapping that means handing a little bit less of their money to BT and will push VM further up the speed rankings as the miserable DSL speeds drop out of the results.

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Sure but at the same time they loose a shed load of customers?

      People will start moving on from National Broadband regardless, probably even quicker now they know its EOS

    2. Avatar DTMark says:

      Working with some very basic assumptions..

      Over 12 months @ 5.00 profit/month * 168,000 customers (and declining anyway) is about ten million pounds/year.

      That’s if it is a fiver a month per customer profit. I’ve no idea actually. ISPs reading this will probably giggle as it’s just a guess.

      They, like Talk Talk, probably baulk at the margin on FTTC. Talk Talk therefore try to discourage people from FTTC and sell them ADSL while Virgin have basically decided not to bother at all from the look of it since ADSL just drags the brand down.

    3. Avatar Roberto says:

      I think you will find of around the approx 5 Million customers they have only around 250,000 were ADSL so it is no shock they are ditching it.

    4. Avatar Roberto says:

      That should had read at the peak they only had around 250,000 ADSL

    5. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      I can tell you they peaked at 275,900 in 2011 from our public logs on the Top 10 page.

    6. Avatar Roberto says:

      I should had looked at those figures did not even think to. Was not a bad guess though and i did use the words “approx and around”. With figures like that out of the 4-5Million customers they have, its no shock they are ditching ADSL when it is only around 7% of the user base. Shocked they have not done it sooner, can not be making them much per customer either with the wholesale fees they have had to pay to C&W/BT.

  2. Avatar Darren says:

    FTTC/FTTP/Cable speedtest results really do need seperating from ADSL. It would not only help show the strongest ISPs but also demonstrate the chasm between ADSL and superfast which might help uptake.

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