Virgin Media meet my robot protester

To be honest nobody likes their ISP, most of us are usually happy to pay the monthly bill as long as the internet works reliably, praying that nothing will go wrong requiring us to waste time and energy on remarkably poor technical support – Yes I have switched the router off and on again !

For more than ten years I have been a customer of Virgin Media (VM) who offer DOCSIS  cable broadband in my part of London, and it has mostly been fast and reliable, even though the network infrastructure is rather old dating back to the original Telewest TV Network.

It would appear that following the acquisition of VM by the American Mega Cable conglomerate Liberty Global in 2013 investment in infrastructure has reduced further  resulting in my current issue.

Despite not improving the network infrastructure, VM have continued to aggressively add new broadband customers making the network less robust and as a result the 152Mbps I used to see as a download speed is often reduced to 10-20Mbps during peak times. This state of affairs has been confirmed by VM’s support and complaints staff and they have suggested a fix to the network might be possible in August !

In order to shame VM and warn others of the quality of  their service, I will be tweeting automatically my download speed every 3 hours whenever the download speed is less than the 152Mbps I am paying for. Sorry if you are one of the several thousand twitter followers of mine, perhaps it might be fun to try and guess the speed reported on the next tweet, do feel free to retweet perhaps adding a kitten picture ?

Ok maybe rather juvenile, but it makes me feel better 🙂

If you are interested this is simple to do, just grab this nifty python script and run it on a server on your home network, I’m using my Mac Mini media server but you could run this from a Raspberry Pi very easily !

Roll on August then…

iPlayer comes to Virgin Media


Good News, the wonderful BBC iPlayer is coming to users of Virgin Media’s cable TV service, let’s hope the flaky infrastructure of Virgin Media can cope with the demand.

This poses an interesting question does it not, on one hand the ISP’s like Virgin Media are upset that applications like the iplayer are hogging broadband capacity, while on the other hand the same content delivered to set top boxes using the same fundamental network is OK.

Maybe Virgin Media is behind Net Neutrality after-all…

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

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.