Posts Tagged ‘virgin media’
While you’re merrily downloading apps and watching ‘Christmas in Handcuffs’ on Netflix, spare a thought for the broadband network, which is gurning like Santa carrying his heavy sack.
According to Virgin Media, Christmas internet traffic will peak at 1.6Tbps, which, in layman’s terms, is the equivalent of half a million families streaming an HD version of the George and Mildred Christmas special at the same time.
Virgin Media say that this will be the most digital Christmas yet, as families find increasingly fiendish online ways to get the hell away from each other. Whether they’re watching movies together or bitching about Gran’s farts on Twitter, it’s estimated that 88% of customers plan to use the internet over the Christmas period.
We’ll also be obsessing over the weather – which Virgin claim is one of the biggest influences for web users.
Peak times are between 8pm and 11pm, when the conversation (ie shouting) is exhausted and we’re all playing with our new gadgets. So if the Wifi gets a bit slow while you’re trying to look at festive porn, you know what’s to blame.
The TV Anywhere app is new to Android and already available on Apple devices, and Virgin have added another nine channels to their line-up, prompting Virgin Media to claim that they’ve got “more channels in total than Sky Go”.
“Virgin TV Anywhere offers more live channels than Sky Go, with 90 available online and 67 to watch on mobile and tablets. 39 of these channels are not available on Sky Go, including BT Sport, ITV, Channel 5, CBS Reality Premier Sport and many more,” said Virgin Media in a statement.
So what are these new channels? You get Alibi, Dave, Drama, Good Food, Home, Really, Watch, Yesterday and CBS Reality. Presumably, they all come under the ‘Meh’ package elsewhere.
The app is free for Virgin Media Tivo customers, which means you’ll be able to remotely control your Tivo set-top boxes, setting timers for shows and all that jazz. You can also rate programmes too, should that be of any interest at all. The app isn’t available to anyone who isn’t a Virgin customer.
The data is disappearing! Could this be the end of the world? Is Kim Jong-un launching some kind of cyberstrike against his sworn enemies? Or are there just some random cock-ups that are happening simultaneously.
Probably the latter.
The ever-popular Three network currently ensnarled by tech-demons, with data services intermittent at best, although there’s lots of reports of NOTHING happening whatsoever. Grim.
Three’s phone calls and texts are still working as well as they ever do, but the boffins are working flat out every second in an attempt to try and get the data supply back up and running again.
If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s CHAOS going on in Portsmouth and Southampton right now, after a digger at some roadworks in Cosham ploughed through an important data cable, rendering the good people of that part of the world without cable TV and cable broadband.
Vince Cable is believed to be still at large.
Virgin Media said: “A part of our network was damaged by roadworks to the north of Portsmouth this morning affecting customers in parts of the city and the surrounding area. Our engineers have been on site today and will continue to work through the night to repair this damage in order to bring services back as quickly as possible.”
Insiders reckon that’ll be later today for TV services but possibly as late as Thursday for broadband – a nightmare scenario.
So all in all, we’re confident that it ISN’T the end of the world and that Kim Jong-un isn’t coming for us all up our internet pipes. YET.
Virgin Media have been forced to drop an ad that claimed they gave ‘unlimited’ broadband after BSkyB and BT secretly teamed up and grassed them up to the ASA. Virgin Media users will know that their service isn’t exactly unlimited, and many will have found their download speeds cut by 50%.
This is bad news for Branson’s internet wing, as their whole marketing campaign is based around being faster than their rivals.
The Advertising Standards Authority received three complaints (the two from BSkyB and BT, and another from a member of the public) who said the advert was misleading consumers, saying that Virgin Media operates a “traffic management” policy that significantly cuts the internet speed of users who download a lot.
Virgin Media argued that a user would have to download 11,000Mb at peak times to have their broadband speed slowed temporarily, which wouldn’t affect 97.7% of their customers. However, ASA pointed out that consumers would invariably want to partake in “bandwidth intensive activities” thanks to Virgin’s marketing.
“In that context we considered that the restriction of reducing users’ download speeds by 50% was not moderate and that any reference to it was likely to contradict, rather than clarify, the claims that the service was ‘unlimited’,” the ASA said. “We therefore concluded that the claim ‘unlimited’ was misleading”.
The ASA banned the advertisement and told Virgin Media that they can no longer claim to be ‘unlimited’ or crow about ‘no caps’, unless they change the way they do things.
A spokeswoman for Virgin Media have come out swinging, saying: “Our customers receive unlimited, superfast broadband and, even if they’re one of the tiny minority traffic managed for a short period of time, Virgin Media customers can download more than other ‘unlimited’ services, including BT Infinity.”
“Unlike BT or Sky, all Virgin Media customers can download as much as they like, safe in the knowledge we’ll never charge them more.”
There could a major shake-up in the UK media firmament (and it IS a firmament) with US firm Liberty Global on the brink of buying Virgin Media in a deal worth £15 billion.
Once the deal is done, Liberty will be the biggest broadband company in the world, bar none, with 25 million customers in 14 countries around the world. Liberty already has a strong presence across Europe and is coming for our UK pounds sterling now as well.
Virgin Media appears to be in rude health and has reported a 30% rise in operating profit to £699.1m last year along with the sale announcement, adding a record 88,700 new customers to its cable business during the year.
The merger is subject to the usual shareholder and regulatory approval, but if and when it goes ahead, BSkyB could find itself facing some hardcore opposition over the coming years.
Here’s our second and final batch of semi-finals in our Worst Company of 2012 poll, with the others available for you to play with here.
In our first pairing this afternoon, we’ve got a clash of the mediocre delivery giants, with the Royal Mail going up against Yodel. After that we’re pitching British Gas and Virgin Media, the only connection being that they dig up the roads and paths a lot. Oh, and that lots of you hate them.
Voting will close at midnight on Friday night, unless the Mayan prediction that the world will end before then comes true. The final poll will be held over the weekend ahead of a Christmas Day result so please make the effort to come back if you want to be involved.
All of our Worst Company of 2012 match-ups can be seen and analysed here, if that kind of thing tickles your fancy.
Here’s the second of our Worst Company in 2012 vote-offs. This time it’s between modern broadcasting oafs Virgin Media and old-school broadcasting oafs the BBC.
You’ve got until the end of Wednesday to let one of them have it and all the other quarter final polls can be found here…
Here’s another enormous boon for EE customers – well the London-based ones anyway. Once the free period of Underground-based wi-fi from Virgin Media comes to an end at the end of the year, you’ll still be able to get the service for gratis, nil, nada etc if you’re part of #TeamEE.
EE tweeted the news yesterday, before deleting it again, suggesting that the official announcement wasn’t supposed to have actually been announced yet. It seems probable that other mobile providers will also hook up with Virgin by the end of the year too.
Meanwhile though, the free tubular wi-fi will be available to all until the end of the year. Well, in the stations that have actually got it that is.
Virgin Media has gone and unveiled a new cloud-based entertainment service called Virgin TV Anywhere.
The service will be available online through your computer, as well as tablets, smartphone apps and will stream (up to) 45 live TV channels (depending entirely on the package you have). So, you’ll be able to watch Sky Movies in bed if you want.
Virgin TV Anywhere will also cover on-demand services from Sky, BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5.
The app is already available for you to get right now, provided you’re the owner of an iPad or iPhone. Android users are going to have to wait a little longer before they can get their hands on the service. They’ll have to wait ’til 2013 in fact, which is a bit lousy.
Is this going to challenge BSkyB’s Sky Go or Netflix? Probably not, but if you’re a Virgin Media customer, this is certainly good news.
If you are crashingly dull, you might want to buy someone a new Skype prepaid giftcard this Christmas! You’ll soon be able to get your hands on some thoroughly un-exciting £10 and £20 cards in shops like Asda, Currys, WHSmiths and Sainsbury’s for people you simply don’t like enough to warrant the use of your imagination over the holidays.
Katie Walley, head of Cards and Lending at Asda Money, said, “At Asda we are committed to helping our customers save money every day. We see Skype as an ideal way to make communicating more affordable, and the Skype Prepaid Cards will be available in over 200 stores over the coming months.”
Now, if you want to save money, just use all those lovely free-services that Skype has or indeed, lie elsewhere. And if you’re a Virgin Media customer, you’ll be able to use an app called Smartcall, which looks to challenge Skype by allowing subscribers to make free phone calls over WiFi.
Virgin Media say that the Smartcall app will automatically detect whether a free call over WiFi is possible and it will even work abroad. Graeme Oxby, Virgin Media’s executive director of mobile and home phone said: “SmartCall will stretch the home telephone cord all the way to wherever you might be, whether in a coffee shop in Cornwall or on a beach in Bali. All you need is a home phone from us, a smartphone and a WiFi connection.”
BT and Virgin Media are spitting feathers after the Competition Commission confirmed that they wouldn’t be intervening in the pay-TV market for premium films, which was obviously good news for BSkyB.
BT said the decision “flies in the face of BT’s experience as a retailer and the experience of other retailers”, with Virgin Media chipping in with a weak wristed “extremely disappointing”.
The commission said that Sky’s position “does not adversely affect competition”, which wrapped up a huge two-year inquiry and looks like something of a turnaround. Up ’til now, it looked like the regulator agreed with BT and Virgin.
BT and Virgin have been arguing that the wholesale price which Sky charged them to carry its Sky Movies channels was far too high, but the regulator said that sites such as NetFlix and LoveFilm has changed the market, and therefore, introduced more competition.
A Sky spokesman welcomed the ruling, saying: “Sky considers there to be overwhelming evidence that UK consumers are well served by strong competition between a growing number of TV providers.”
Earlier this week, when we were looking at how the Co-Op was trying to make millions out of ‘customer service’ we were looking at the difference between 0845 and 0844 numbers. Everyone knows that 0845 numbers are ‘local call’ rates but do you really know how much that is? What about 0844 and 0843 numbers? It seems you need a doctorate in telephone charges to be able to know just how much a phonecall is going to cost you before you pick the phone up.
Starting with the simple one, 0845 calls are charged at ‘local call’ rates. This means that you call you are charged just over 4p a minute during the daytime (7am to 7pm) and just over 1p per minute at evenings and weekends. And remembering to add on the 12.5p connection charge (or 3p if you are on the BT Light User scheme).
However, if you are on BT’s unlimited weekend or unlimited evening and weekend scheme, so long as you aren’t calling an internet service provider, you can get reduced 0845 call rates. At weekends (or evenings and weekends) you can call 0845 numbers for 0p a minute for up to 1 hour. At other times you pay slightly more than 2p (daytime) and 0.5p per minute. If the charge is 0p you don’t even get the pesky connection charge.
But it gets worse if you are on Virgin Media. 0845 calls are specifically not included in call plans and the connection fee per call (including VAT) is almost 13.5p. The cost per minute, regardless of whether you ring at 10am or 10pm is a fairly huge 12.264p per minute. Ouch.
So, BT’s costs for 0845 are a bit fiddly, depending on your price plan, and Virgin’s are simple but more expensive. Surely 0844 and 0843 are similarly fiddly-but-not-impossible to figure out?
Unfortunately not. There is no standard call rate for 0843 and 0844 numbers (and practically any other non-geographic number other than 0800 or 0870). Each number is assigned a different price code which determines the price charged per minute. That means that, before you call one of these numbers, if you want to know how much you are charged you need to look up the first seven digits on either the BT or Virgin price code list, and then dig out the tariff (BT/Virgin) and find the right number for your fiddly little code from the previous list to find out how much it will cost per minute.
Let’s take an example. If we wanted to ring, say the Co-op bank from a BT line, the code for their 0844 844 number is g6 and we would pay 6.126p a minute including VAT. If we were to ring Facelift training, on the other hand, we would pay only 1.224p per minute on their 0844 26 number, plus the 12.5p connection charge in both cases.
If we were calling from a Virgin line, it would cost us the much huger 14.892p per minute (plus a connection fee just shy of 18p) to call the Co-operative Bank, and 6.12p per minute to call the training company.
The same palaver and random pricing applies to 0870 (standard national call rates) and 0871 numbers.
From what we gathered over at Co-op, the difference in price relates to the amount of profit the telephone number holder can generate by setting a higher call cost. But if Co-op is getting the extra 4p (ex VAT) profit on the BT number, who is pocketing the extra 7p on the Virgin charges? Perhaps we should ask billionaire Richard Branson.
So before you pick up the phone to call one of thses numbers in future, remember, you have been warned.
Virgin Media has switched on the free Wi-Fi at four of London’s tube stations ahead of London 2012: The Festival Of Grating Disappointment.
So, if you’re at King’s Cross, Warren Street, Oxford Circus or Green Park, you’ll be able to tweet ‘I’M ON THE TUBE! TWEETING! OMG!’ at everyone until the entire online world blocks you for being a hooting poo-hammock.
Of course, this will roll-out to more stations, 120 in total by the end of the year, with Victoria and Euston going live this weekend.
Neil Berkett, CEO of Virgin Media said: “This is a truly historic moment as we connect millions of Tube passengers to the wonderful world of the internet for the first time ever. Our plans for getting London Underground online were very ambitious from the start and, in less than just three months, we’ve launched a major new service, making London one of the world’s leading connected cities.”
Users will need to register to use the service which will be free to anyone for the summer. After that, it’ll be restricted to Virgin Media customers, while those not on Virgin will have a restricted service, which means you’ll only be able to get live travel news, Time Out, Spotify and MyMovies.net.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “Our partnership with Virgin Media to make WiFi available on Tube platforms will be of tremendous benefit as building world class connectivity is critical to supporting new businesses and the jobs they create, especially in the high-tech and creative sectors.”
He then fell over a hat-stand and said something that sounded a bit racist.
London, a great sprawling clogged-up lung of dreadfulness, is getting wi-fi down the Tubes. And Oxford Circus, King’s Cross, Liverpool Street and Leicester Square are just some of the first London Underground stations to offer it as Virgin Media revealed the 80 stations that will get the service over the next couple of months.
Wi-fi will be free ’til September, which marks the end of the Paralympic Games. After that, it’ll be offered as a PAYG service.
London Underground director of strategy and service development Gareth Powell said: ‘Our customers will soon be able to connect to the internet for live travel information while they are on the move through stations. Bringing a next generation wi-fi service to one of the world’s oldest underground transport networks is progressing as planned and the forthcoming service is testing well.”
“The first stations include some of our busiest and most well-known destinations and we’re on-track for a successful launch this summer – all delivered at no additional cost to fare payers or taxpayers.”
What an incredibly boring man. Either way, we can all look forward to trying to work out who is looking at filth on their phones during their commute. Our money’s on mucky MPs looking at dog porn.
Virgin Media executive director of broadband Jon James said: “In partnership with TfL, we’ve been working around-the-clock to install and test wi-fi on London Underground and are about to connect some iconic and world famous Tube stations with a wi-fi service London will be proud of.’
An internet tenner on it failing miserably at some point in the near future.