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UPDATE2 Virgin Media UK Users Hit by Internet Video Buffering Woes Again

Monday, December 8th, 2014 (8:36 am) - Score 11,957

Oh no, not again. Once more customers of Virgin Media’s cable broadband service across the United Kingdom have spent the best part of the weekend having to complain after the curse of buffering on Internet video streams returned to strike down the entertainment value of services like YouTube (Google) etc.

Unfortunately Virgin Media’s service has a long history of buffering problems, which can occur due to all sorts of reasons related to problematic network peering / routing, DNS troubles or issues with the ISPs proxy / cache servers or filters. The last such incident occurred as recently as September 2014 (here).

As before Virgin Media’s community forum has been inundated with related gripes (examples here, here, here and here), with most reporting that the latest issue began around the early hours of Saturday morning (6th December) and appeared to continue until the very early hours of this morning. Since then some customers have started to report an improvement, but we’re still monitoring.

As usual some of the customers affected by Virgin Media’s problem could get around it by circumventing the ISPs servers using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or Proxy Server and others temporarily solved it by restricting some of the related cache servers (here). Meanwhile the provider’s customer support department appears to have been aware of the issue, but initially did little to inform customers unless the subscriber called them to complain.

Customers who suffer from the problem find that online video streams can become virtually unusable due to frequent pauses in the video. On top of that they’re often forced to watch in only the lowest available quality option, regardless of whether their service is supposedly running at 30Mbps or 152Mbps. At the time of writing we have yet to see a statement from Virgin Media.

UPDATE 1:13pm

After a few hours of waiting we finally have the reply.

Dana Hashem, a Virgin Media spokesperson, told ISPreview.co.uk:

We are looking into reports from some of our broadband customers who tell us they are having difficulty watching YouTube. We are talking to affected customers to get further details that will help us identify any problems and will work to resolve any issues as soon as possible.”

UPDATE 9th Dec 2014

Virgin Media has been in touch again to claim that changes made by Google during their routine maintenance “caused a degraded YouTube experience for some customers over the weekend“. Apparently Google completed its work on Sunday evening and the service has now returned to normal. Google and Virgin Media have both apologised for any inconvenience caused.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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