UK: Virgin Broadband really that bad?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by netdog, May 29, 2009.

  1. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    I have TalkTalk now, and I can get out of my contract this week. Usually it works as promised, with dowload speeds of about 7MBit which isn't quite the 8 advertized, but is okay.

    That said, every couple of months (or more sometimes) it goes wonky for a night or two, and I get absolutely terrible speeds with dropped connections (really great when you are in a major online backgammon tournament match). I think it's a problem with the lines, but BT never got it sorted and neither has TalkTalk.

    I'd really like to get away from using ADSL, but mobile broadband rates all seem to be capped and are rather high. Fibre would seem to be the only other option, and that would leave Virgin as the only player.

    I'm in London (Maida Vale) and am wondering what you guys think? Virgin now claims to be unlimited, and 10Mb most of the time would be just fine by me. I'd switch off my phone line altogether and use Skype for phone service.

    Any opinions?

    Anybody who can think of any other options?

    I browse heavily. Download maybe 10 movies a month from iTunes. Don't do P2P. Upload website refreshes frequently. I am a pretty heavy user, but nothing like somebody who downloads their music and video through torrents.
  2. bartelby macrumors Core

    Jun 16, 2004
    VM use traffic profiling in "peak times" if you exceed the threshold they'll knock your speed back to 1MB IIRC.

    There is no monthly limit though.

    The quality of VM service varies dramatically, depending upon where you live.
    I'm in Wales and apart from the profiling I have never had a problem with the broadband or the customer services.

    People I know in London tend to hate VM...

    VM Updated their traffic management the other week to this:
    Picture 1.png
  3. netdog thread starter macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    According to that, if I tried to rent an iTunes movie in the evening, they'd start hosing me early into it, and I'd have to stay up until 4am to see the end. Is that right?
  4. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    I agree. I've had my cable broadband with Telewest / Virgin since 2002 and have had no major problems.

    I've only fell foul of the traffic management twice, once when I subscribed to the MacWorld keynote podcast and downloaded about 8GB of videos and the other time when downloading 32bit and 64bit Windows 7 at the same time. :eek:
  5. bartelby macrumors Core

    Jun 16, 2004
    On the 10Mb you have a 1.5GB threshold in the evening. I have no idea how big movies are on iTunes...
  6. arkitect macrumors 603


    Sep 5, 2005
    Bath, United Kingdom
    Not bad at all for me… 20Mb/s and I get just a tad under that.
    Never had my speed throttled — but then again I am not downloading gigabytes of stuff 24/7.

    However, YMMV. :)
  7. netdog thread starter macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
  8. arkitect macrumors 603


    Sep 5, 2005
    Bath, United Kingdom
    Yes, I am… ;)
  9. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    I'm in London, SW3.

    Since my disastrous times with Tiscali, I've always tended to use ISP Review to check out various ISPs before switching. I've been through BT, Tiscali and now I'm with Zen, although I'm probably overpaying at the mo due to Zen having many extra features to their packages, which I don't use. It seems like they've slipped from their perch some time ago as well.

    I get a lot of Virgin junk snail mail and their packages seem far better value if they're bundled with TV and phone, but because I don't have a TV it doesn't make much sense to me. If you think you might use one of the bundled packages with a mobile and/or landline, then it might be worth considering.

    Orange have been bombarding me recently with emails and text messages offering 'free' broadband to monthly mobile contract users, which seemed tempting. But after checking out Orange at ISP Review's site I rapidly changed my mind. Check out their top ten and reader reviews.
  10. Osarkon macrumors 68020


    Aug 30, 2006
    As someone who is currently with Orange, steer clear. Their customer service is non-existent. It took us 6 months to get our second line working with them - all their support is in India, so it's as good as useless.
  11. harry20larry macrumors 6502a


    Aug 14, 2008
    If i lived in an area that gave me fiber optic I would go straight in for the XXL package.
    However, I used to be on talktalk and as described the service was incredibly shifty, one time I was left without broadband for 5 days until one day it magically turned itself on again (probably something wrong with the exchange).
    I am now on O2 which is great, I am an O2 customer (iPhone) so I get reduced prices, basically I have just signed up and am getting 24meg/s broadband for £90 a year (£120 after that) which I think is an incredibly fair price, it probably operates around 21meg/s for me I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.
  12. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    Check what is available in your area. Most (non rural) areas will be able to get broadband delivered by ADSL. This should provide speeds of "up to" 8Mbit/sec depending on your distance from the local telephone exchange.

    However, several ISPs have invested in ADSL2+ technology which is significantly faster. The downside is that the ISP itself has to install equipment in your local telephone exchange and this means extremely limited coverage.

    I am on O2 broadband and pay £22.50 per month for 8Mbit/sec. They had some problems in the past, but it seems like things are strong again now. If you live within their coverage area it is significantly cheaper.

    Visit and type in your details. This will show your local telephone exchange. Pay particular attention to the LLU providers on the right as these are the ones who have gone to that special effort in your area and should either be able to give you better speeds, cheaper packages or both.

    For my town we have this:

    Disappointing because it means the fastest we can get here is the "up to" 8Mbit/sec. I looked up Maida Vale and this is what you can get in the way of LLU:

    The surprising thing to me is that your exchange has had LLU services for longer than my exchange has had broadband at all. The "digital divide" in Britain makes me so frustrated, especially now that your exchange has been moved to the even better 21CN service by BT. So while we're stuck on bog standard ADSL you are two steps ahead. The Government needs to do something about this.
  13. Ibanez Strummer macrumors member

    Mar 5, 2007
    I have the 10mb VM broadband in Norwich and its pretty good. We actually get around 8mb and it is shared between 7 students though there we are never all on at once so its good speed, especially compared to my ADSL at home. There have been a few throttling occasions, (normally because 3 or 4 were downloading at once) and I'm sure it was throttled to below 2.5mb, but the majority of the time, they are very good.
  14. windywoo macrumors 6502a


    May 24, 2009
    Living in Belfast on a 20Mb connection and it regularly gives me about 17Mb so thats pretty good.

    What I have found though is that 20Mb and even 10Mb are overkill, since so few sites will actually give you that speed.

    The traffic limit can be a real pain, for instance I downloaded a big patch for a game forgetting about the limit and it took a whole hour longer than was expected because I "went over the line".

    Just remember to schedule big downloads for the right times and you will get great speeds.
  15. Saladinos macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2008
    I live bang in Central London (as in, I could probably hit the BT Tower with a BB gun) and I hate my Virgin connection. It's pretty unreliable and slower than I would have expected, given the location.

    On a side note, living here is great. I can see the gherkin and even hear Big Ben when its quiet.
  16. Loge macrumors 68020


    Jun 24, 2004
    VM has been fine for me in SW London, been using it for about 9 years including when it was Telewest. I will probably upgrade to the 50 Mb/s service soon.
  17. The Phazer macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2007
    London, UK
    I don't have Virgin personally in London, but a co-worker does and says he's regularily traffic managed out of all usability, citing online video as virtually a waste of time.


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