OT: Virgin

At the moment I have a landline from BT, broadband from what was Pipex, and a PAYG mobile on Vodaphone. TV free satellite and FreeView SD. I have an HD TV and get the free HD services from satellite. I'm not a heavy phone user and don't download high data stuff from broadband much.
Virgin have the street cabled, and keep on bombarding me with offers. So I'm wondering if it would be worth putting all my eggs in one basket, as it were? They seem to offer some of the other TV channels I watch in HD too - which would be a bonus. Any comments?
FWIW, I wouldn't give the dirty digger the dirt under my fingernails - and that applied long before the current fiasco.
--
*Go the extra mile. It makes your boss look like an incompetent slacker *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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On 13/07/2011 13:35, Dave Plowman (News) wrote:

I have been with Virgin (and their predecessors) - TV, Phone & Broadband - for over 10 years. In the last two years Virgin have increased the price by over one third. Although The service is good, I can &will) get the same service from Sky for about half the price. Friends do this and have no complaints. I would get any offers in writing before signing up - they are about to increase theit connection fee for a call to IIRC 12p per call which would put the price of a short local call to over 15p
Malcolm
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wrote:

The services themselves are good & reliable. But the company behind it is still poor imho, expect little regard for anything at every turn.
NT
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I have a friend...... Yes, I find it amazing too.
He rings up every time he has a computer or audio problem.
He was with some ISP that I don't remember, but we got that working.
Someone persuaded him to change to Onetel. What a bunch of shambolic incompetents they were. I think they were the ones who after my 3rd or 4th support phone call said " oh we found that the username we gave you wouldn't work on our servers, so you have to change the underscore in the name we assigned in our Welcome letter to a dot".. They continued to be a disaster so, on being approached by a blonde in the local shopping precinct, he announced he had changed to TalkTalk.
Once again, days of visits and time spent on the support line and eventually he got connected. He spent some time with them with lots of outages and hopeless service. Worse than Onetel.
Then he had Sky for a bit, but he told me the price kept rising and he objected to paying money to that bunch. The service was better than the previous providers once we got it going.
So he changed to Virgin, who he is still with. They dug up his lawn to lay the cable, but had to leave " to do the other jobs we have to complete today". To be fair someone came back a few days later and got the cable in, but the sub contractor hadn't been given enough time for the jobs. We got him connected and all worked well until the recent problem I've been asking about here (see iPad2 thread). "Support" were competent, local and friendly both when I asked them questions originally and recently. For the iPad episode, they replaced his router foc with a more recent model, and it cured the problem. He is impressed with the speed. I've been pretty impressed with the support.
I hate the mess Virgin has made of the trains. I've been priced back onto the roads, so I'll never know if they have fixed the rigid travel arrangements, smelling toilets and narrow seats.
--
Bill

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Well making a accurate comparison between a railway company and a former cable Telco isn't perhaps that scientific;!..
That said we have used their phone and BB for many years now. The phone has been absolutely reliable no crackles never once off service the only problem now is rising call, and more annoying, connection charges which make VoIP ever more attractive. We haven't had their TV services for many years as here theres not that much of a call for it, we get some furrign TV via satellite which keeps the furrigner here happy..
But generally their broadband is very good the cable delivered version. We have their 10 Meg offering which every time we speed test it its right on the nail, is uncapped and beats most all ADSL services we have elsewhere some of those around 1 or 2 meg on long lines etc and even ones that connect at high rates they are rather slow.
What does let them down is their customer services, they are around the same as BT. However as we've only had to speak to them once or twice in 12 years not that much of a problem;!..
--
Tony Sayer


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Indeed... Virgin rail is actually 49% Stagecoach. As in most industries they pay for the brand and slap it on to whatever product, with minimal involvement from Branson. Virgin Media is actually NTL Telewest (of NTHell and similar 'fame') rebranded because NTL was a bit too toxic as a brand (and they absorbed Virgin Mobile at the same time too).

Tony is on a nearby bit of string to me, so our good service reports aren't necessarily independent :) Service has been pretty solid with roughly 1-2 small (few hours) outages per year which usually fix themselves after a modem powercycle. We've had one service call for a modem replacement in 8 years, I think that's been it.

They've got a lot better, particularly if you contact them via their forum where the real techies reside, instead of the 'have you plugged it in?' callcentre. 45 min waits on the phone and 25p/min premium rate support lines thankfully are a thing of the past. The real techies don't always have clue, particularly with things like traffic management[1], but it helps to be able to dump your cable modem stats there and say 'my SNR is low, oi, fix it!'. They can book service calls direct from the forum.
[1] You did know Virgin have traffic management? They managed to screw this up (as a matter of policy) and essentially block Usenet (since it's 'filesharing') for some months: now fixed, but I would watch further developments like a hawk.
Theo
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On 13/07/2011 19:13, Theo Markettos wrote:

I know about the traffic management thing; but don't know what you mean about them blocking Usenet: I've been using their server at news.virginmedia.com for years, essentially without problems.
David
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Lobster wrote:

It may be that they don't have the binaries on their server. I am doubtful that many ISPs provide those binary groups.
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They used to run a binary server in house. I think it went when they became Virgin. It made sense at the time as it stopped lots of people going off net to download stuff.
With the increased use of torrents having a binary news server is less advantageous anyway.
They restrict bandwidth as the cable network can't cope with lots of heavy users. Its a shared media at the subscribers end and it costs a lot to add new bits of shared media if a segment becomes overloaded.
Not like ADSL which is not shared at the subscribers end and costs peanuts to add new subscriber modules.
Both may have choke points deeper in the network and that varies from ISP to ISP. SKY have vast amounts of spare bandwidth in their network (its easy to max out my 18M adsl link on Sky from almost any source at any time of the day. I could probably do it 24x7 if there was anything worth doing it for). ;)
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tony sayer wrote:

Virgin is a former cut price vinyl record vendor. Somewhat in the Big Issue arena. The original venture was a bunch of stoned hippies loading boxed of wholesale albums of trucks onto shelves and equally stoned students making a bob or two buying them in bulk and selling them to their mates at 'uni'.
After that, it became a record company in its own right, and somewhere along the way Branson's image changed from stoned hippy to businesslike entrepreneur, and all the hippies got fired or wandered off in disgust. Feeling had, which they had been. well and truly 'work for almost nothing, its against the fat cat distributors, man, really subversive'
I forget what followed. Stores probably, then aeroplanes, then trains and now media distributions and banks.And a formula one team.
Just a rich boy with rich man's toys. Mostly harmless
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The Natural Philosopher wrote:

But Richard Branson and the Virgin Group have nothing to do with Virginmedia he simply licenses the brand to them, and is an minority shareholder. It was just a marketing re-branding when NTL,Telewestmerged and acquired Virgin Mobile. But did make Mr Branson £961m richer Not too bad for a stoned hippy ;)
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On Wed, 13 Jul 2011 22:55:15 +0100, Mark wrote:

Hum, wikipedia (yeah OK) says Virgin Enterprises Ltd he has 10.7% less 37pc so 6.7% of Virgin Media and Virgin Entertainment Investment Holdings Ltd has another 21 million+ Virgin Media common stock making them the 1/3 largest shareholder. Not what I would call a "minority shareholder".
--
Cheers
Dave.




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Dave Liquorice wrote:

too many Virgins
“Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Entertainment Investment Holdings Limited owns a _minority holding_ of 21413099 Virgin Media common stock as of December 2009, ...”
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On Thu, 14 Jul 2011 00:09:53 +0100, Mark wrote:

million+

Differing interpretation of the words "minority holding" I think. I get the impression that all shareholders of Virgin Media are "minority holders" in that no single entity has a majority. As in the number of votes they have determines the outcome of anything put to a sherholder vote.
However the major shareholders all seem to have somewhere between 10 and 20%. Between them Virgin Enterprises Ltd and Virgin Entertainment Investment Holdings Ltd have a significant number of votes and I wouldn't be surprised if the combined holding puts them further up than 3rd. Which to me isn't really a "minority holding".
--
Cheers
Dave.




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Dave Liquorice wrote:

I don’t see Virgin Enterprises Limited listed as a Share holder
Virgin Entertainment Investment Holdings is listed as only having 4.8% share
or were you looking at Virgin Media Investment Holdings Limited which is the top tier company for Virgin Media, Virgin Mobile, which was NTL Investment Holdings before the branding change, and not part of the Mr Bs Virgin group.
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On 13/07/2011 17:10, tony sayer wrote:
<snip>

It may be uncapped, but it is heavily throttled between the hours of 10am to 9pm. Usenet and Torrent traffic is throttled pretty much all the time now as well.

Customer dis-service is dire (at best). Support is outsourced (mostly to India), news server is outsourced to Highwinds, mail is outsourced to Google etc. etc.
Phone is expensive, TV is nothing special, Broadband is pretty reliable (apart from the throttling), but they use every trick in the book to worm more money out of their customers. Want a paper bill? That'll be 1.50, wish to pay by any method other than direct debit? That'll be 5 per month.
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Unlock Your Phone's Potential
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Which network build are you on then?, this ones ex Comcast and quite frankly if it stopped me doing what I want to do with it it'd be junked for Bethere or Zen or similar. We have usually Two Iplayer users with a couple of Skype calls going on most evenings let alone what I want to do with it, so doesn't seem like its throttled to me?.
We do by somewhat unusual means have access to ADSL thats a claimed 8 meg service thats actually 5 meg down usually, and its deffo worse than the 10 meg VM feed...

Well the news we get of E-Sept and no problems except with a SMTP server hiatus last week..

Agreed they seem to me like BT to be shooting themselves in the foot with this one..

Nope we get what we want off Freeview and Sat plus other sats..

BT I believe are the same as are some mobile Telcos...

--
Tony Sayer



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scribeth thus

Here is the throttling info - http://shop.virginmedia.com/help/traffic-management/traffic-management-policy.html

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On 13/07/2011 22:07, tony sayer wrote:

Ex Telewest here. I suppose it does depend on what you do with the connection, but if you are a heavy torrent or usenet user, then it may be better to consider someone else.
Also, anyone wanting to move to VM had better have a read of this: http://shop.virginmedia.com/help/traffic-management/traffic-management-policy.html

The problem is that the service is being eroded quite rapidly. Support used to be onshore, Telewest used to run two news servers (ok, the binary server was always a bit flaky) one of which was fast with good retention and strictly text only. The support newsgroups were good, generally well staffed and with a prompt response - these are now long gone and replaced with an online forum where dissenting posts can quietly disappear and the response times seem to vary between weeks and eaons.
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On Wed, 13 Jul 2011 21:14:30 +0100, Richard Colton wrote:

I have no problems with throttling. They briefly throttled usenet on port 119 but realised they'd made a mistake and un-throttled it.
Absolutely no problems with throttling on Virgin Broadband.
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Regards,

Hugh Jampton
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