Home
 » ISP News » 
Sponsored

Virgin Media UK Confirms Trial of Faster Broadband Upload Speeds

Thursday, May 19th, 2016 (9:35 am) - Score 8,073
Virgin Media 2014 UK Logo

Cable operator Virgin Media (Liberty Global) has confirmed to ISPreview.co.uk that they’re currently trialling faster upload speeds amongst a few existing broadband customers on their network.

Earlier this week we reported on Nokia’s demo of full duplex XG-CABLE technology (here), which could one day help cable operators using DOCSIS 3.1 technology to deliver peak symmetric upload and download speeds of 10Gbps (Gigabits per second). As part of that article we also separately hinted that a modest boost of upload speed might soon be on the way for Virgin Media’s existing subscribers.

Virgin Media’s Current Headline Tiers

Current Speed: 50Mbps [3Mbps Upload]

Current Speed: 100Mbps [6Mbps Upload]

Current Speed: 200Mbps [12Mbps Upload]

Current Speed: 300Mbps [20Mbps upload] (HomeWorks Upgrade at Extra Cost)

NOTE: A 70Mbps (5Mbps upload) and 150Mbps (10Mbps Upload) option is also available as an upgrade for the slower tiers.

Over the past few weeks a number of customers have conducted speedtests on their Virgin Media connections and noted that their upstream speeds have risen several Megabits above the normal level, which appeared to reflect a 10:1 ratio of download to upload performance (e.g. 200Mbps subscribers might get closer to an upload speed of 20Mbps instead of 12Mbps). Virgin has now confirmed to us that they are indeed testing faster upload speeds for a possible future upgrade.

A Virgin Media Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We’re always exploring and testing new ideas. We’re currently trialling [faster upload speeds] amongst a small group of existing broadband customers that will provide an optimised experience to those who spend a lot of time online. This is just a trial at present, so we’ll keep you posted when there’s more news.”

A boost would no doubt be welcome, especially among those who spend a lot of time sharing high resolution pictures and video online (this is becoming quite a common practice thanks to YouTube, Facebook and Instagram etc.). On the other hand Virgin Media will probably continue to impose Traffic Management on their upstream performance, which can result in quite a steep speed reduction if you upload too much in a short space of time.

Historically Virgin’s limited customer trials of faster speeds have proven to be a good indication of future enhancements, although the operator doesn’t always deliver exactly what such tests might initially indicate. In the past an official deployment has tended to follow some months later, so we could be waiting a little while longer for an official roll-out (assuming it will happen).

Delicious
Add to Diigo
Tags:
Mark Jackson
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.
Leave a Comment
30 Responses
  1. M

    I would rather just see upload caps removed rather than higher upload speeds. What is the point of higher upload speeds when you cannot use them on VM?

    • No upload restriction on the Homeworks package, so if you really need to upload like the wind that’s an option.

    • M

      I do not need the extra downstream, nor do I want to pay for it. Suffice to say, they can only give me 4 mbit/s at the evening and weekends at the moment anyway. Ideally, I would prefer something like 100/25. Only upstream lights my eyes up nowadays being a content creator.

    • RobertM

      Well work harder so you can afford it – you make money from a residential connection which is against their terms, you can hardly complain about not getting it for free.

    • karl

      “I do not need the extra downstream, nor do I want to pay for it.”

      Fair enough

      “Suffice to say, they can only give me 4 mbit/s at the evening and weekends at the moment anyway.”

      If its not enough then change supplier

      “I would prefer something like 100/25. Only upstream lights my eyes up nowadays being a content creator.”

      Then….
      A) You do not want to pay extra for download but expect extra upload
      B) You would not get those speeds from any provider anyway
      C) Your multi posting complaints are thus pointless

  2. DTMark

    Does this actually involve a technical upgrade, or is it just raising the cap at the modem level so it can burst higher?

    I’m supposing it’s in response to VDSL’s “faster speeds” but then VDSL isn’t faster, it’s only the way the advertising is allowed to make it look (“up to 20Meg” versus “up to 12Meg”, for example). There is nothing to say that any given property will achieve faster upstream with VDSL versus VM.

    So it’s then down to the inadequacies of VDSL and copper/alu pairs that can’t ever get anywhere near the 20Meg for most, versus the VM network where everyone could be provisioned at 30 Meg up tomorrow and as long as we use the words “up to” then segment congestion is perfectly fine, cable’s Achilles Heel to VDSL’s phone lines.

    Maybe Virgin have this all wrong. Just put the caps up to 30 Meg upstream tomorrow and be done with it. Or, why not 50 Meg. It’s “up to”, after all and makes better headlines if only 1 in 10 people need to be able to see that speed for it to be permissible.

    End cynical mode.. for now 😉

    • Both – higher order modulations on the channels, more upstream channels in the bonded groups, and increasing the bandwidth caps on the modems to take advantage of the additional capacity.

    • DTMark

      Thanks for the confirmation. Do you know – does this involve an engineer physically visiting every head end and/or street cab to roll it out nationally?

    • That doesn’t have a simple answer as there are a few variables at play.

      If there are enough channels already available, just not all bonded, the devices are using next generation CMTS (not mandatory but a good idea), and there are no modems with transmit power outside of specification, then it can be done purely with configuration changes.

      If there are not enough channels available and this is due to the local network not having enough upstream spectrum to accommodate them, then components in the field need replacing to remove that spectrum limitation.

      If there are modems whose transmit power is outside specification, which changes when you bond more than 2 channels, then this will need managing, out in the field and/or through changes at the hub site / head end. Which of these is done depends on, among other things, the upstream SNR on the local network as lowering upstream transmit power to bring modems into spec in turn lowers upstream SNR.

      If the devices are not using next generation CMTS new ones may need installing, however VM have been doing this anyway to improve efficiency, increase port density, reduce power and space requirements per subscriber and allow for larger downstream bonded groups. The Motorola BSR 64000 VM released 50Mb with only caters for 12 downstream channels, the Cisco 10k needs extra equipment to go beyond 10. These are being replaced with the Arris E6k and the Cisco cBR-8.

    • DTMark

      Thanks very much for such a detailed reply – fascinating.

    • Rich

      It’s much easier to hit 20mbit upload on FTTC than it is to hit 80mbit download, as the upload tones are lower down the bandplan.

      If you pay for the 80/20 service, and can get at least 55-60m down, you probably have 17-20m up.

  3. Darren

    Reads like all talk and no trousers.

    Also a 10:1 ratio is what they should have now as a bare minimum, not something that may come at some point in the future.

    Any increase is a good thing but everyone needs to do better on the upload side of things. It will unlock the potential of widely available high speed internet connections.. not restrict it.

    • karl

      “Reads like all talk and no trousers.”

      Suggest you re-read as its already happening (or at the least learn what them meaning of the idioms you use).

      “Also a 10:1 ratio is what they should have now as a bare minimum, not something that may come at some point in the future.”

      Why? Others offer far worse, there are FTTC products out there rated as 80/2Mb and 40/2Mb thats ratios of 40:1 or 20:1.

      “Any increase is a good thing but everyone needs to do better on the upload side of things. It will unlock the potential of widely available high speed internet connections.. not restrict it.”

      Nobody else is doing better on the upload though are they?

    • Interestingly usage is actually more asymmetrical now than it has been for a while thanks to the reduced popularity of P2P and increased streaming.

      There are no FTTC products that are 80/2. All are 80/20, that’s the only variant available.

    • I should clarify that’s the only 80Mb variant available. There remain the 55/10, 40/10 and 40/2 variants.

    • MikeW

      “Interestingly usage is actually more asymmetrical now than it has been for a while thanks to the reduced popularity of P2P and increased streaming.”

      The last missive from BT, on the usage side, was that subscribers on fibre products were average 230GB per month, with 7x as much downloaded as uploaded.

      If you set speed splits based on the average usage, they’d turn out to be of the order of 200/30 and 100/15.

    • karl

      “There are no FTTC products that are 80/2. All are 80/20, that’s the only variant available.”

      I freely admit i may be wrong, i though it was Plusnet or Talk Talk that offered/planned to or changed their product line and they had/were going to have a 80Mb down 2Mb up or 80Mb down 10Mb up product. Im almost certain i read it somewhere but can find no record of it now, so maybe i dreamed it or misread. Regardless the 40Mb/2Mb packages are still basically a 20:1 ratio which is significantly worse than VM old (approx) 16.5:1 on all packages.

      “Interestingly usage is actually more asymmetrical now than it has been for a while thanks to the reduced popularity of P2P and increased streaming.”

      Agree with you entirely. In fact i have never been able to understand why any home user would have the need to upload more than or the same as they download, especially if the figures involved are several gigabytes or in more. Some obviously must download every Linux distro via torrent 😉 and re-upload it all 😉

    • Darren

      All this rubbish about curreent usage, P2P ect. Completely irrelevant. I’m dissapointed by all your narrow minded short-sightedness.

      Imagine most if not everyone had a decent upload speed. Now imagine the usage cases that would open up, remote health care is one good example and there are many more if you put your mind to it. Such things won’t be invested in untill a large chunk of the population are well connected because it just can’t be justified.

      Of course if we keep trickling small upstream upgrades out this potential can’t be realised. The internet has far more potential than the current usage patterns but untill everyone has decent connectivity in both directions that potential stays untapped and we stay in the status quo.

      If all we want is an infrastructure to watch cat videos in HD then stop upgrading now, if however we want a leading communications network that’s far more usefull and saves everyone a lot of time and money and could even save lives then upload speed cannot be neglected.

    • FibreFred

      How much upload does remote health care need?

    • FibreFred

      “I freely admit i may be wrong”

      May? You are

      The fact is you can get 80/20 so your argument went out of the door there and then.

      You can get 4:1 on FTTC, you can’t currently from Virgin so your trolling is wasted.

    • karl

      “The fact is you can get 80/20 so your argument went out of the door there and then.

      You can get 4:1 on FTTC, you can’t currently from Virgin so your trolling is wasted.”

      The only problem there if we still want to talk ratios is

      1. You can get a VM product which is 300Mb download which is more than 3.7 times quicker than the very best FTTC and has 30Mb upload which is 1.5 times faster than the best FTTC
      2. 4:1 is not strictly the ratio on FTTC as there is not a single individual that gets a full real life 80Mb down and 20Mb up.
      3. Before you bring it into the debate FTTP is not available to anywhere near enough people to make it a valid compare (Less than 1% of the country).
      4. Thus even if FTTC was a 4:1 product arguing that is pointless because compared to the competition both its tortoise slow.
      5. Wake me up when BT have made available the 10+Million G.Fast premises they have mooted, not that its ever gonna happen, like FTTP deployment that will be a real all talk and no trousers product.

    • FibreFred

      Yawn, more trolling

    • karl

      The truth hurts, your dedication waiting for replies must also.

  4. Pete

    Ironically a link on the Virgin Media forums brought me to this page.

    http://community.virginmedia.com/t5/Speed/bd-p/Speed

    You only need to spend a view minutes browsing the various posts to see that in many areas their network is being oversold, and is creaking under the strain.

    Personal experience with unusable VM broadband at peak times lead to us changing provider. We’re supposedly now on a slower connection but it does everything we need it to at all times of the day.

    VM are a prime example that some people still fall for advertising numbers, “my number’s bigger than yours, so it must be better”.

    • Colin

      Dead opposite for me, my FTTC is rubbish 26Mb down on a good day, on a bad day 15Mb and some peak times in the evening its worse than that.

      Brother in law who lives only a couple of streets away is with Virgin Media and gets a solid 202Mbps day and night at any time. When my contract is up on BT FTTC with the “estimated” 68Mb reality 20Mb if lucky is up i know where i will be heading no hesitation at all.

    • Darren

      Colin, If it’s that far bellow estimate you most likely have a fault and it will get investigated if you report it.

    • Colin

      I have had had engineers visit including an SFI visit and the situation has not improved, calling their India call centre each time and just getting to the stage they even accept there is a problem is also a PITA. To be honest im not shocked, prior to FTTC the phone side of things also had issues which they never fixed either. Waste of time messing about with them any further when i can get a far superior product elsewhere.

    • Pete

      If VM had been able to provide even 15Mbps at peak times, then we ‘might’ have still been with them. When you can’t even stream a track from Spotify without it buffering, then it gets really frustrating.

      Peak time speed tests were consistently less than 1Mbps, but off peak tests were over 100Mbps (we were on the 100 package).

      Gave them plenty of chances to complete “the upgrades in your area”, but the dates just keep getting put back. So in the end we also decided to go and get “a far superior product elsewhere”. The average speed we were getting from VM was much lower than we’re now consistently getting from BT.

      I agree with you though, if Openreach haven’t been able to fix your line, hopefully you’ll have better luck with VM. If my speed was below the minimum that BT quoted I’d get, I’d be looking to see whether I could get out of the contract early.

  5. Matt

    I do love the comments from the start… someone makes a valid point about Virgin’s poor structuring of packages and then gets eaten alive and has the finger of blame turned on themselves.

    I think its fair to say Virgin should be focusing on making uploads decent (which they are) and removing that damned Traffic Management Policy… or atleast putting a major increase on the trigger transfer ammount and reducing the impact ammount on customers.

    I’ve been very unhappy with Broadband for many years now, I used to love Virgin, but then I never had problems, I then moved and Virgin was terrible, and then when I looked into it I found it was terrible for far too many people….

    Virgin broke its own network with careless management, remove upstream management, bring back downstream management…. also increase your capacity…. not your headline advertising speeds.

    I’m not going to say the opposing infrstructure and networks are better, but in terms of flow, they’re managed a hell of a lot better and still give a very suitable proportion of allowance for most of mankind.

    I won’t be replying to comments.

  6. Haris

    I can confirm i am geting 500Mbps download and 500Mbps upload in Lithuania, isp TEO.
    And that’s because I don’t want to pay for a gigabit connection. Only problem i have now moved to the UK, any idea when in the UK we are looking to get that sort of speeds?

Comments RSS Feed

Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Promotion
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £18.00 (*22.00)
    Avg. Speed 30Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Code: CHRISTMAS18
  • Onestream £19.95 (*34.99)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £20.00 (*22.00)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Direct Save Telecom £22.95 (*29.95)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited (FUP)
    Gift: None
  • TalkTalk £22.95
    Avg. Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Prices inc. Line Rental | View All
Poll
*Javascript must be ON to vote*
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. BT (2309)
  2. FTTP (1785)
  3. FTTC (1532)
  4. Broadband Delivery UK (1499)
  5. Openreach (1249)
  6. Politics (1242)
  7. Business (1111)
  8. Statistics (978)
  9. Mobile Broadband (894)
  10. Fibre Optic (893)
  11. FTTH (838)
  12. Ofcom Regulation (824)
  13. Wireless Internet (814)
  14. 4G (780)
  15. Virgin Media (756)
  16. Sky Broadband (552)
  17. TalkTalk (530)
  18. EE (519)
  19. Vodafone (412)
  20. Security (372)
Promotion
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms  ,  Privacy and Cookie Policy  ,  Links  ,  Website Rules