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UPDATE4 Virgin Media UK Boost Broadband Speeds and Add 152Mbps Package

Monday, November 11th, 2013 (11:06 am) - Score 16,438

Cable operator Virgin Media appears to be gearing up for another round of broadband speed boosting after its website was updated to mention the launch of a new unlimited 150Mbps 152Mbps (12Mbps upload) service. Similarly a growing number of existing customers are being told to expect a big performance upgrade.

The rumours of an even faster broadband package have been circling for a while now and were re-fuelled during August 2013 by Sony’s hint of a 200Mbps service, which was mooted on the same day that the entertainment giant announced their partnership with Virgin Media for the PlayStation 4’s imminent launch (here).

But now customer who access the members account pages of Virgin Media’s website are being told to expect even faster speeds and an up to 152Mbps package is specifically mentioned. However it looks as if this is all part of a general upgrade strategy, which will see nearly all of their cable customers being given faster speeds.

Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media’s CEO, said:

As people connect more things simultaneously to the internet more often, they need powerful broadband with the bandwidth to deliver a great experience for everyone in the home. That connection is what we deliver with our unrivalled network. We are boosting speeds again and ensuring our customers can get even more value from their Virgin Media subscription. Our top speed will be twice as fast as BT and all the others reliant on their old copper telephony infrastructure as we extend our lead as Britain’s ultrafast broadband provider.”

The dates seem to vary (normal for a phased deployment) but so far it looks as if 30Mbps subscribers could be getting an upgrade up to 60Mbps 50Mbps. Meanwhile 60Mbps customers will be pushed up to 100Mbps and 100/120Mbps users should be headed for 150Mbps.

The earliest date we have for the start of this upgrade is March 2014 February 2014 but it will almost certainly run until late 2014 and possibly into 2015. Generally Virgin says that their existing broadband customers should expect to receive a download boost of “at least 20Mbps“. But uploads will not be improved and you’ll have to sign-up to a new 12 month contract in order to benefit.

UPDATE 11:45am

Small correction for 30Mbps subscribers (the upgrade will boost to 50Mbps not 60Mbps as we first said). One reader has added that their older 20Mbps service will also be taken to 50Mbps.

No mention of any changes for upload speeds.. yet. We are also expecting a new advertising campaign to help promote the faster speeds.

UPDATE 1:38pm

One of our readers, Sam, has kindly sent us a picture of the notice he received for his 60Mb package via Virgin Media’s website and we’ve re-pasted that below. Still no official word from Virgin’s PR wing but that’s often a sign of an imminent announcement.

virgin media broadband speed boost

As we said earlier the roll-out will be phased so different customers will get different dates depending upon what service you currently have and where you live.

UPDATE 1:47pm

As expected an official press release has just arrived and apparently the top speed will be the very odd figure of 152Mbps, with upgrades due to commence February 2014. We’ve updated the above article accordingly. But since most people would struggle to make full use of 152Mbps then we suspect that this is more about Virgin attempting to keep a strong marketing lead over BT’s rival FTTC solution, which might also see a speed boost by the end of next year.

The PR also states that the volume of Internet traffic enjoyed by Virgin Media customers at peak times has already grown 55% in the past year and around 1000% since the company launched in 2007. It further claims that the amount downloaded by customers each month is now 50% greater than the national average and has increased by a third in just 12 months as they “can do more online with Virgin Media than with the ‘unlimited’ offerings of other major broadband providers which all rely on the BTOpenreach telephony network“.

However the operator also states that it’s starting to write to their customers in order to let them know what this means for them individually as part of their annual review of prices. Apparently some of its services will remain unchanged, such as their home phone talk plans, but “from February customers will see cable bills increase, by 6.7% on average, so we’re looking to help them get more for their money.”

UPDATE 4:05pm

Virgin has confirmed that the roll-out will last for 12 months and if it starts in Feb 2014 as planned then that means completion for early 2015. Customers will also be emailed to confirm when their upgrade is ready or they can login to the MyVirginMedia pages and pre-order their interest for more details.

Some customers will need a new Super Hub router before they can upgrade in 2014 and Virgin has promised to supply that at no extra cost (we suspect that this will mostly apply to the older 30Mbps and slower subscribers).

Leave a Comment
35 Responses
  1. Avatar Chris

    20Mbps will be get 50Mbps from March 2013 – May 2014

  2. Avatar Ignitionnet

    Zero surprise here, though it is amusing that UPC bought the Republic of Ireland stuff from ntl those years ago and offer faster speeds there having rebuilt most of it.

    Looking at the products offered in our closest UPC neighbours, the Netherlands and Ireland, the ‘standard’ UPC product set is 50Mb / 120Mb / 200Mb. Makes perfect sense that the aim will be to standardise UPC UK with UPC IE, NL and any other similar countries.

  3. Avatar Phil

    We all want upload speed increasing not download.

    • Avatar bob

      This ^ I will never notice the extra 30mb download but anything on the upload would be great seeing as it’s so pathetic atm.. especially with the 65% STM reduction

    • Avatar sam

      EXACTLY, i have 60mb xl but only 3mb upload. People upload lots of videos to youtube and elsewhere, i’m happy with my 60mb but i want the superhub2 as the wireless doesn’t work on superhub1 and i want my double upload speed already.

  4. Avatar sam

    Here is a screenshot i took, i have 60mb XL tier broadband currently: http://oi41.tinypic.com/6pm2c1.jpg

  5. Avatar sam

    152mbps – interesting. Is bt planning 125mbps or something as then they could save we are more than twice as fast as bt. That is pretty much the only reason why i can think they would choose 152mbps instead of 150mbps.

  6. Avatar Phil

    BT Wholesale secret plan to add 160/20 on their 80/20 soon. Meanwhile Virgin Media 152 will be the same upload on 12!

    • Avatar DanielM

      i think the upload will increase in line wiht the package it always has. why would they suddenly change it now (i.e not updating the upload speed)

  7. Avatar Phil

    Any word yet from BT Openreach about Virgin Media 152/15 next year?

  8. Avatar bob

    Lol @ no upload increase. Where 120mb is concerned this boost is nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

    • Avatar Phil

      152Mb/12Mb isn’t 10% percent of downstream to upstream. Tight git Virgin Media. As from 126Mb to 145Mb (19Meg extra) isn’t worth it to sign up 12 months contract.

  9. Avatar Darren

    I have FTTC delivered through the “BTOpenreach telephony network” and once uploaded at 19Mbps for 5 days straight when doing a backup to the clound.

    The connection didn’t even flinch, everything was stil usable, browsing, streaming, gaming all still worked flawlessly. And my speed wasn’t throttled at all, I have DUMeter logs to prove it.

    It’s all well and good having download speed bragging right’s but that’s only half the story, upload is already just as important if not more so for some people and the importance will only grow.

    • Avatar DanielM

      Yeh i think those DSL services are more reliable than VM. jitter/ping update wise.

    • Avatar GNewton

      With all due respect, but spending 5 days to do an upload to a cloud server illustrates how woefully inadequate the VDSL service really is, hopelessly useless for business customers. Not that Virgin Media can match up with proper upload speeds either.

    • Avatar Darren

      GNewton:

      “spending 5 days to do an upload to a cloud server illustrates how woefully inadequate the VDSL service really is”
      I disagree, but then I know how much data was transfered. On VM it would have taken an infeasibly long time due to the lower speed and speed cap.

      “hopelessly useless for business customers”
      I wouldn’t go that far but I agree it might not meet all businesses needs, even the 30Mbps upload on FoD is a bit skimpy seen as that’s aimed at business users. If VM can’t compete on upload speeds though it’s no supprise they are not being pushed, especially considering it could impact lucrative leased line income.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      “hopelessly useless for business customers.”

      So… choose another product there’s plenty out there aimed at business customers and their needs

  10. Avatar dragoneast

    I think we have to expect broadband needs to be met by a patchwork quilt of measures in a commercial world. But I’m always amused by the dramatic “savings” advocated. I’ve yet to meet the parent who doesn’t view school as free childcare, the sick person who doesn’t want to see a doctor in person and vv, and the person who has given up their car because they’ve got broadband. But yeah, parents should start looking after their kids for a change, there are way too many sickies, and far too many cars on the road. So as long as can get rid of schools, surgeries and cars, I’m happy.

  11. Avatar FibreFred

    No doubt the ASA will be pulling Virgin ad’s on this in the future

  12. Avatar Trevor Harris

    The thing that puts me off Virgin is the Trafic Management. You only have to download an HD film and you speed is cut. Uploading trafic management is even worse.

    • Avatar Gary

      Trevor,

      I was on the 30 and they upgraded me to 60 for free. With that service I’ve been hitting 816GB/mo. Despite this, when my benefits got cut the ‘retentions’ department reduced my costs by almost £10 WITHOUT cutting my services to help me cope. I have that new price for 18 months, admittedly with a tie-in for 12. In February I am getting 152mbps for free and the 6% price hike wont affect me.

      If you’re getting capped after a single movie (and I don’t care if that’s a 700mb DivX or a 4.6GB DVD quality one) then something is very wrong with your package.

      Make sure you’re on the 60 at least, I believe restrictive daytime caps do exist on the 30. Having said that, maybe it’s all to do with area… I wouldn’t rule that out.

      But as a customer for 4 years I’ve had almost no outages and have been hitting just shy of a TB per/mo

  13. Avatar Paul P

    I have been with VM since Jan 2013 and i have just the 120Mb BB service from them. So far i cannot fault the speed at all nor the reliability either.
    I am on a exTelewest side of the network in one of the first regions which telewest upgraded to Digital all those many years ago and it just shows how far its come.

    I have no problem with VM’s new Traffic management policy to be honest with you and i am classed as a “heavy user” often chewing away at probably near 700-900Gb a month, i would not be suprised if thats now gone up from when i use to be on 10Mb ADSL!

    On 120Mb my speed will only get cut down to 80Mb but that is still more than enough for me and the family, the only thing i would suggest is upping the upload rate a bit though as 12Mb is a bit measily!

    Here is my notice on my VM page: http://i39.tinypic.com/6yzfci.png

  14. Avatar Andy

    would be better if Virgin Media extended their network, whats the point in it been superfast one end if the other is super slow?

  15. Avatar Rod

    I get annoyed with people who say its not unlimited when traffic management is in place – IT IS, you are not limited to how much you can have, you are limited how quickly you can get it – if you hit a threshold often then you are going to be limited somewhat, but lets face it, even if you are on 30mb and get set back to 10mb you are still a whole lot faster than you once was, plus you have to consider the other end might only actually be supplying you a 1Mbit connection anyway so I don’t see why people get upset. Either way the connection is still unlimited.

    It is no different than driving a car, you can drive it all day if you wish, but you still have a requirement to stick to the speeds and not cause others problems while on the road.

    As for the person who said it wasn’t suitable for business needs – you are correct, it is a residential service that is in discussion here, which should not be used in a business – that is what business broadband is for, and as far as I know business broadband is not traffic managed.

  16. Avatar Ian Smith

    I am on 60mb download speed I do now want the upgrade Just please stop capping me when I use a P2P or a news server. They take 90% of my speed at certain times when I am lucky to get 6mb.

    • Avatar Dean

      Download your stuff over night.

      IIRC there is no download cap between midnight and 6am(ish)

      I want a better upload. I am current only 60meg and get 3meg upload . 5% of my download speed , this is far too low.

      I want my upload speed to be 50% of my download speed

  17. Avatar Michael Ford

    Seems part of the upgrades are already taking place. I was originally a 20Mbps customer and last year got upgraded to 30Mbps. Since the end of last week my connection is now delivering 50Mbps or in some cases just a bit more.

  18. Avatar Mitch Gersbach

    Virgin are a joke. We signed up to a contract for x pounds and within two months I received a letter saying that the monthly cost has been increased by a few pounds. If it’s ok for them to bump the price of the service up within the contract then why can’t I have the speed upgrade within my contract period?

    Over the past few months our service has turned to crap. Down from a consistent and reliable 60 Mbps to between 1 and 20. My video streaming is constantly interrupted and often pages just won’t load at all. I’m resorting to tethering from my 3G mobile every day. They say it’s because of the upgrades and it will be ongoing for months. Totally not fair – I’m not getting anything near the service I’m paying for. I will be ending by business with Virgin very soon never to return.

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