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Virgin Media UK Boost 1 Million Customers to 108Mb Broadband

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 10,260

Cable ISP Virgin Media UK (Liberty Global) has this morning announced that all customers still stuck on one of their slower superfast broadband packages (e.g. 50Mbps) – equating to over 1 million subscribers – are to be upgraded to “ultrafast” download speeds of 108Mbps (10Mbps upload) for FREE.

The move, which is also certain to give the provider a noticeable boost in various speedtest based league tables, essentially puts those on their slower legacy packages (e.g. 50Mbps) into line with Virgin Media’s current balance of products; these have already positioned their 108Mbps service as the new entry-level option (50Mbps was recently removed – except on their broadband-only plans).

The operator predicts that, as a result of this announcement, the “average speed across [our] entire broadband base will rise to more than 150Mbps helping to further elevate the UK’s broadband speed standing. As a demonstration of the impact Virgin Media’s continued network investment and innovation has, if the provider were a country in its own right it would rank 4th in the world – just behind Hong Kong.

The move also comes hot on the heels of last year’s push to boost upload speeds for existing customers across their network (here), which mostly saw the ISP adopt a 10:1 ratio of download to upload performance (except on their top fastest plans that are not yet ready to do 10:1).

Annie Brooks, VM’s Executive Director of Connectivity, said:

“We’re starting 2020 with a broadband bang by rewarding our loyal customers with this free speed upgrade so even more people can experience our ultrafast, future-proof connectivity.

As the UK’s fastest widely available broadband provider, we want to banish buffering and let our customers live without limits so they can do everything they want to online, at the same time, without delay. Whether they’re streaming UHD movies on demand while downloading the latest game, or simply browsing the web, we’ve got our customers covered.”

The upgrades started yesterday and Virgin Media confirmed to ISPreview.co.uk that this process for the “majority of customers” is expected to complete by March 2020 (this wasn’t stated in their press release). On top of that VM recently started to deploy their new DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade (here), which by the end of 2021 aims to have boosted their top available network speeds to 1Gbps+ (currently live around Southampton, Greater Manchester and Reading).

Until then their top package is a still 516Mbps service with uploads of 36Mbps (average), which isn’t exactly slow but oddly you can still only take this one as part of a bundle with TV.

UPDATE 10:45am

Just a small correction. The upload speed on this change will be 10Mbps and not 6Mbps. Oddly Virgin Media still advertise 6Mbps for new customers on their 108Mbps tier, which has confused matters since last year’s upstream boost.

Leave a Comment
49 Responses
  1. Avatar CarlT

    Excellent. This is what I like to see.

    Keep customers ahead of the curve in case their demands increase, take advantage of capacity being cheaper and of course it’s nice PR.

    For those worried about capacity no need. The increase in usage purely down to this upgrade will be relatively modest.

  2. Avatar Christopher Woodhead

    Wish BT did the same. I have FTTP and been stuck on there top pack 300Mbps for 4 years.

    • Avatar NE555

      Poor you!

      New 550/75 and 1000/115 consumer FTTP tiers are being launched on 23rd March.

    • Avatar Pip

      This will be changing to 1Gb soon once Openreach have swopped out ECI headend kit for Nokia.

    • Avatar dee.jay

      My heart bleeds for you, Christopher. Currently paying for 2 x FTTC circuits (~£75 a month) so I can get 130Mbps.

    • Avatar joe

      @Pip. Soon is a moveable target.

    • Avatar mike

      I feel for you. I’m stuck on Virgin’s top 350Mbps package (they won’t sell me 500Mbps and 1Gbps isn’t available in my area). It’s literally unbearable how fast everything is, and how quickly Steam games download. I can’t stand having to stream Netflix and Amazon Prime in 4K. Chin up brother!

  3. Avatar Adam Walter

    If they would increase their paltry upload speeds I would consider joining them. I currently get 9 up on my 38 down package on ADSL.

    • I assume you mean FTTC (VDSL), since ADSL lines don’t go anything like that high. In answer to your question though, Virgin only recently boosted uploads so I suspect they won’t do a general boost like that again until at least after the DOCSIS 3.1 deployment has finished in 2021.

  4. Avatar Toby Adams

    How will this affect billing? If you’d just signed up on 50 and your neighbour signed up at the same time on 100 then this seems quite unfair as you’ll have the same product in a few weeks but paying different prices and locked into a contract.

  5. Avatar Bures

    This offer may be free, but my relation has just been informed his Virgin Broadband package will rise to £38 per month, which does not include the phone
    He has no need for high speed broadband as he only uses it for emailing and the internet
    Ho was sold it years ago by Virgin when they cabled the road
    He has now jumped ship to another ISP paying £28 for Fibre inc phone & free calls

    • Avatar Jimbo

      Virgin media is a premium service, it’s a no brainer to jump ship to a slower service to meet your relations needs

    • Avatar MrNew

      @Jimbo you said “Virgin media is a premium service”

      I would argue its service isn’t but its cost is

    • Avatar Leex

      It is a premium service (in areas that are not over utilised on upstream) generally you get what you pay for be it 100-200-300-500 they provide

      Until Open reach get FTTP to every house (or majority) virgin will Always be faster

      I can only get 28/5 ish on FTTC witch is nothing compare to my 230/20 on virgin

      If FTTP Was offered on open reach network I jump ship right away (worst thing with virgin is inconsistent latency and high jitter, and possibly contention with other people on your local street )

  6. Avatar AnotherTim

    Good news for anyone in a VM area, but the difference between areas with hyperfast broadband available and those stuck on ADSL is getting ever wider.

    • Avatar Optimist

      Well you are right, but tthere are pros and cons of living anywhere. If you don’t want to live with traffic fumes, don’t live in a big city. If you want decent public transport, don’t live in the depths of the countryside. If you want good internet access, don’t live where it isn’t available.

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      Thanks for that helpful comment. I’ll move my rural leisure business to the centre of a city as I’m sure lots of people will want to come on holiday there. I’m sure my farmer neighbours will move with me – they’ll need a house with a large garden though (>2000 sheep).

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      I should add that there are people in the centre of cities stuck on EO ADSL lines too, so it isn’t a specifically rural problem.

    • Avatar CarlT

      Not Virgin Media’s problem. The taxpayer is paying for your upgrade, hold tight.

    • Avatar Optimist

      Another Tim – You might consider getting together with your neighbours to install your own altnet. Alternatively, LEO satellite services (currently under development) are expected to become commercially available in a few years.

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      @Optimist, my point was really generic, rather than my own case. I’m now using 4G, which is better than ADSL – especially for upload – but still not superfast at 16-20Mbps.
      I have described my various attempts with CFP, leased lines, FoD etc previously, so I won’t repeat them. We are still “in plan” for FTTP, but the only date Gigaclear will give is by end Q1 2022 – but that is when the BDUK money stops being available, not a plan. We should be one of the very last areas covered by Fastershire.

    • Avatar Vince

      To the commenter that essentially assumes that getting faster connections means living somewhere less rural; you’re misinformed.

      I have a customer for example who is very rural. Owns a lot of land between him (measured in many hectares) and next neighbour. Has 330/30 on openreach through us. BDUK deployed it under public funding. Good for him.

      My office – slap bang in a city centre, not EO line – no FTTC LET ALONE FTTP.

      So using your theory he’d have quite the downgrade if he followed your advice.

  7. Avatar Hamayun khan

    I have received email from virgin media telecom company that i have won the award of 1.9milloin ponds and then they said our diplomat will dilever it but i got nothing?? Is this real?

  8. Avatar Gary Leadbetter

    how grossly unfair
    I agree with Toby Adams above
    what about loyal customers of over 20 years that have been paying extra for these higher speeds now get nothing.
    but those people on the lower speeds get to come up to my broadband speeds free of charge
    whilst I am left paying extra for mine
    I think Annie Brooks has a lot to answer for
    I dont think this is affective billing at all.

    I even contacted virgin media about this who say that if I lowered my speed now, I would not therefore be eligible for a free upgrade, so I am left paying extra for my speed while 1million household will get the same speed effectively free of charge

    I am sure Martin Lewis would like to hear about this
    Gary (one very unhappy Virgin Customer)

    • Avatar Peter

      There have been a number of free speed boosts over the years (even before it became VM) which I expect you would have received. If you’re on a package higher than 108 then just switch down to it and save? Or negotiate a better price for your current one (which is annoying as you have to ‘fake’ leaving to improve it drastically but its worth doing).

    • Avatar Roger_Gooner

      There is nothing grossly unfair about this. I’ve had cable broadband for many years, sometimes I’ve had a free speed boost, sometimes I didn’t. Instead of being envious why not be pleased that VM is continuing to enhance its network, and one day you might get a free upgrade as well.

  9. Avatar James

    Could this mean that they are going to bring M500 package as stand-a-lone

    • Avatar c

      No, 500 will continue to be exclusive & there’s no plans to change it any time soon.
      But the market may open up and cause demand to grow so it would be a welcome addition

    • Avatar mike

      It’s so stupid. I don’t need two TiVo boxes and Virgin Mobile SIMs, but that’s what I have to have to get 500Mbps. It’s like they don’t want my money.

  10. Avatar Chrispie

    I reduced my package April 2018 as my husband tragically died. I was told it would be 50mbps and 375GB for £34 per month which would not go up. I’m actually on 20mbps and the price went up to £37.50 a couple of months later.

    I don’t use the internet a lot or watch much TV but often get a text telling me I’ve used up my quota and get charged another £7.50.

    I’ve had terrible service, In May TV and broadband went off for 3 weeks because someone in the office had switched it off. In December it was off for 5 weeks as their fault broke my box. Can you imagine how many days I’ve spent on the phone to Indian call centres?

    Two days ago, Sunday 5/1/20 I was called from a foregn call centre by Virgin Customer surveys. They tried to sell me ‘Up to 100mbps’ for extra money. There was so much background noise I could hardly hear the person properly and the person did not know the answer to any of my questions.
    Luckily I didn’t agree the offer.

    It must be illegal to target customers knowing it would be free just a few hours later.

    • Avatar MrNew

      @Chrispie

      Firstly sorry for your loss.

      Something must be wrong if your being told you’re reaching 375Gb of data and don’t use the internet much.

    • Avatar C

      anyone who contacts you from Virgin don’t know what’s going to happen, the employees only found out today when it was announced.

    • Avatar Cee

      Hi,

      Sorry for your loss.

      You might be better off moving away from Virgin to a more competitively priced FTTC deal (standard fibre bb only). There’s a few comparison sites you can use to find a better deal and you’ll likely end up paying around £20 month. There’s no data limit like you currently have with Virgin (375GB).

      If you don’t watch much TV, you might just be better off with Freeview.

    • Avatar A_Builder

      @ Chrispie

      Sorry to hear of your loss.

      Under the distance selling regulations you may be entitled to a cooling off period.

      I’d write to VM’s bereavement department (there will be one but the address may be hard to find) explain why you are not happy. Give them a copy of the certified death certificate. In most companies the bereavement department has considerable power and is staffed by real thinking feeling people.

      I’ve only ever dealt with them as an executor.

      Even if you are outside of the cooling off period they may make an exception on compassionate grounds.

      Good luck.

    • Avatar AndyC

      There is a old twitter post from 2017 on @virginmedia that says the bereavement team can be contacted directly on 0800 952 2302 (post is half way down)

      No idea if this number is still current as current google results suggest to call the standard virgin helpdesk and they will arrange for the brevement team to call you.

      Source …. https://twitter.com/virginmedia/status/915131925270028288?lang=en

  11. Avatar Sherculisa

    Maybe close Virgin Media, another jobs of Digital Cable UK will next time somewhere building services.

  12. Avatar hughsam

    Would this affect customers who were upgraded to the 70 a long while ago?

  13. Avatar CarlT

    A_Builder do feel free to find me on LinkedIn. It’s not difficult.

    Be good to connect.

    Unlike many here I am pretty open and have the abuse and threats from weirdos to prove it

  14. Avatar drbob

    Virgin could have simply changed their base broadband plan to 100Mbps, instead it’s only offering this as a “bonus” to existing customers.

    It’s clear why they’re doing this – to create a “lock in” effect, if someone sees a cheaper deal with another ISP and switches, they’ll lose the speed boost if they ever decide to switch back to Virgin, this discourages people from switching providers and reduces competition.

    I think these sorts of attempts at vendor lock-in should be banned. New broadband customers should get same speeds as existing clients.

    • Avatar CarlT

      If they’re base product is 100 there’s no 50 Mb tier to purchase anymore.

      100 Mb for new customers costs the same, roughly, as 50 Mb did.

      They’re trying to puff up their average speed statistics.

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