Virgin Media – Diluting the brand and the board

Virgin, the brand what does that mean to you..

Are you looking to fly the Atlantic, or become a space tourist, or are you a concerned saver of the Northern Rock bank, in such cases virgin is probably a positive association, innovative products, good customer service etc., indeed these are the aspects of customer service that has made the virgin brand so valuable to Sir Richard Branson… however the problem with allowing others to exploit you brand is that they may not value your principles to the same degree.

virgin mediaA case in point, Virgin Media…

Virgin Media until yesterday when I finally snapped was my ISP and cable TV supplier.

For the past year or so since the combined Telewest/NTL companies have been known as Virgin Media, the quality of their customer service and more importantly the quality of their actual service has plummeted.

Through under-investment and poor technology choices their cable TV PVR system has become a running joke, rarely running for more than 24 hours without crashing, poor quality images (Dumb choice to use MPEG2 as a broadcast standard), and only a single HD channel due to bandwidth constraints.

The final straw for me has been the appalling quality of the virgin media broadband offering, I have been paying £37 per month of their top of the range product “XL” which should offer 20Mbs download delivered via their dedicated fibre network, sounds a good if expensive proposition does it not… well for the past couple of months this is the network performance I have been consistently achieving with virgin media..

Speed test

Yes that’s £37 per month, for just over 1 Mbs .. well no longer.. I’m off to O2 broadband who can also offer 20 Mb/s over DSL, so I say farewell to Virgin media and join the last UK based director of the company who left the company today.

BTW Richard, if you don’t want mud all over you nice logo be careful with who you let use it !!

Written and submitted from home, using my home 802.11 network.

19 comments

  1. Simon

    ive been with virgin media for last 8 months. Cust Service was nothing special.

    Im XL as well (no tv – 27/mth) and noticed recently that the speeds have been dropping.
    Is that thinkbroadband test a 1-off test, or a log of your speed over a period of time?

    I will test mine later.

  2. Bull

    Customer support does suck (unless you use the newsgroups, they provide great support), TV is useless, I cancelled that a while ago along with the phone (switched to vonage), luckily my broadband speeds aren’t bad, I hit 20mbits quite often (but I generally use it late at night, partly to avoid the stupid usage cap).

    I currently get XL for £33, after threatening to leave, my only current complaint is I can’t access NASA WorldWind’s servers, they claim it may be ‘bogon filtering’ and are investigating.

    But I do agree since Virgin took over things have gone downhill, to be fair though Telewest was pretty bad too.

  3. Ed

    Hi Simon,

    It has been poor since christmas, the 1.1 Mbs is the worst I must admit, usually its around 3-5 Mbs…

    I’d be interested to hear your experiences

    ed

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  5. Simon

    did a couple of speed tests and was hittin 15-17mbs. Still not 20 but nothing to cancel about. I didnt realise Virgin throttled/capped the XL service. Any links to the criteria regarding this?

  6. Bill Roy

    Does anyone else see the irony of your blog ripping into Virgin Media running alongside a Google advert for, yes, Virgin Media?

  7. Ed

    Yes 2GB.. that would be a HD Movie rental from iTunes.. ah yes I can see why Virgin might not like that.. who needs net neutrality then

  8. Matt

    I read this post with some amusement as the Google ad next to it advertised Virgin Media. Loved that! Is there some interesting algorithm going on there I wonder that can’t detect a bad review? 🙂

  9. chris

    I agree virgin customer service and pricing sometimes leaves something to be desired, I do wonder if your slow speeds are perhaps your problem? Slow ethernet card or perhaps a crap 82.11B wireless connection? I consistently achieve the full 19-20Mb…..also have no complaints with their TV service, (since swapping a dodgy pace for a new V box)

    http://www.speedtest.net/result/233746164.png

  10. Ed

    Hi Chris,

    Yes that could have been part of the problem if I had not got 20 Mbs once, the service had then degraded I guess as more people started to use it and contention rates increasing.

    I’m now on O2 ADSL+ and getting a consistent 15-18 Mb for £15 a month.

  11. Richard Perzyna

    Recently all attachments from ‘btinternet’ addresses to my [and three other NTL/Virgin Media subscribers] NTL/Virgin Media Broadband account are being stripped out. This does not happen to other ISP address from ‘btinternet’ receiving the same messages. Not just to me but other NTL/Vigin customers. I rang a Virgin ‘premium’ helpline which may be in a distant land – as the operator just kept reading out of a book at me – in a language that was not English at its best! He promised to ring back within 30 minutes. FOUR DAYS AGO!
    OK NTL/Vigin – ypou now have six customers looking for a new ISP, next week!

  12. carsie

    virgin media is a joke fastest broadband yeah right we always had bt and sky downstairs and ntl upstairs but then we changed just to virgin wish we had of stayed away virgin didnt keep to there contract so i have told them im not keeping to my contract so if you have problems with virgins service contact ofcom and complain about them

  13. Paul Wilkinson

    I’ve just run the same check as my Virgin connection has got lamer since we had it swapped from BT (which was always on/off/on/off).

    1.9 downstream and 0.2 upstream at 09.23 in the UK.

    I’ll run it a few times during the day to build up a picture to present the tech geeks with. It sucks!

  14. Tim

    It must be nice to have a choice. I’m are so far from our exchange that I can only get half a meg over the phone line. I’m not paying for an “up to xMb” service when I know that’s the best I’ll get – apart from the well priced offering from O2 which I would go for if they did it in my area! So my only option would be to get broadband over cable which means Virgin (correct me if I’m wrong). I don’t live half way up a mountain or anything. When am I going to get a decent choice of broadband services?! Do these companies not want my business?!

  15. Matt

    Yeah, I have to say that I left the TV service as it was always freezing for 5-10mins when the rugby was on 🙁 so it had to go.

    All of sudden I cannot access my work email / website and I have called three times and they have blamed my server provider, firewall and “the internet is expanding and it is a “bogon filtering problem.” Well no my internet and both laptops work well at work or even in the Starbucks too. My server provider has no problems and I have been charged (which I have desputed) £8 to be told “we haven’t been trained in MS Outlook….whaaaaat!???”

    Grrrr – Off to O2 broadband me thinks. Cheers Richard it was nice (not) while it lasted!

    Matt

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