Posts Tagged ‘virgin media’
Virgin Media have announced to anyone who’ll listen that they are going to be spending £3bn on improving their fibre optic broadband network. And you thought your broadband bill was high. This’ll increase Virgin’s network from 13 million homes to 17 million.
They reckon that this is the biggest investment in over a decade for broadband infrastructure in the United Kingdom, which is some claim. One great thing that will come out of all this, is that all this investment will create 6,000 new jobs.
The company also predict that this investment is going to be worth £8bn in terms of giving the UK’s economic activity a shot in the arm. As well as widening their reach, this money is also being spent on improving existing networks, but sadly, it seems they’re not looking to sort out the broadband in rural areas, which has long been neglected by providers.
So, plainly speaking, this investment is particularly good news for London, Birmingham and Manchester.
Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge thinks that everyone who wants to switch to faster broadband speeds now have the ability to take up the ‘Cable My Street’ option, adding: “In virtually all of the areas we have identified for expansion, BT is the only option available right now. Its ageing copper telephony wires are not capable of the ultrafast connectivity that Virgin Media delivers. Soon we will offer unbeatable services to even more homes and businesses across the country.”
The thing is, Virgin Media need to start making some money with all this. The company was formed in 2007 with the merger of NTL and Telewest, whose vast programme of digging up the roads of the UK means that there’s still some huge tax losses looming over them. They’re also paying a fee to Richard Branson so they can use his brand.
Still, Virgin Media’s operating profits are up by 41%, but with Sky and BT throwing their weight around on an almost constant basis, Virgin are going to have to be smart in 2015.
That Virgin Media advert with Usain Bolt in a variety of outfits has been banned after complaints from BT and Sky.
BT were first to get a bit narky, and complained to the ASA about the claim “you’ll be able to download five times faster than BT’s regular broadband”.
BT argued that the web page referred to in the Virgin Media ad did not provide sufficient information to verify the comparison, which is fair enough. Thanks for that BT, you little snitches.
The second complaint was made by both BT and Sky, arguing that Virgin Media’s claim about its speed was misleading, reckoning that it implied that customers would always be able to “download five times faster” than its rivals’ broadband customers.
The two companies argued that this wasn’t the case at all, and was dependent on the speeds of that area.
In its defence against the first complaint, Virgin Media claimed that the web page referred to in the ads relied on up-to-date data. This included information on the average speeds of its service at peak time and over 24 hours. The website also provided Ofcom data on broadband speeds of its competitors.
Defending itself against the second complaint, Virgin Media argued that the claim “download five times faster than Sky and BT’s regular broadband” would not be understood to be an absolute figure. Which, thanks to the pesky smallprint in the ad, made clear the circumstances in which consumers would be able to download five times faster.
It’s not the first Usain-based advert for Virgin Media to be banned. The ASA ruled that one in 2012 as the company could not definitely deliver the superfast broadband. Full of fake promises. What are fake promises but LIES.
The ASA ruled against Virgin Media over both complaints.
Regarding the first complaint, the ASA said: “the information provided was not sufficient to ensure the details of the comparison could be verified”. In the second case, the ASA ruled that the claim “download five times faster than Sky and BT’s regular broadband” was misleading, and said the ad should have made it clear that the claim was based on an average, and not an absolute figure.
The ASA banned the ad from appearing again in its current form.
The hike will see tariffs increase by an eye-watering £1.50. Think of how drastically your life is going change after that.
You’ll have to get on the scratchcards and hope for a windfall.
Those of you who signed up to a broadband-only contract before May 2014 will be charged an extra £1.50 per month, which follows the £2.50 a-month increase that came about in 2013.
Virgin Media have said that, should you be appalled at this rise, you will be able to cancel your contract free of charge. That’s not a random act of generosity – that’s thanks to those new rules brought in by Ofcom.
At the start of the year, Ofcom said telecoms companies have to give at least one month’s notice if they change an agreed monthly subscription price and, if they don’t, customers can ditch them without penalty.
Virgin Media director of Broadband Joe Lathan said, “As part of a review of our services, we are changing the price of taking just broadband from us. Virgin Media is the only major provider able to supply broadband without a phone line because of our unique cable network and so we remain unbeatable value for money.”
So there you have it.
We all know advertising is supposed to make you want to buy stuff, but we have a reasonable expectation that the adverts we are subjected to are not a bunch of outright lies. That’s what the Advertising Standards Agency is there for,right?
However, just because businesses can’t lie, doesn’t mean they aren’t found guilty of stretching the truth a little bit. Strictly speaking, you might consider it lying but the ASA calls it ‘misleading’. A new ruling from the ASA has just banned a Virgin Media advert claiming that Sky customers could save over £400 a year by switching, when chances are, they actually couldn’t.
A regional press ad for Virgin Media Ltd compared Sky’s ‘The Family Bundle’ with Virgin Media’s ‘Premiere Collection’. The ‘receipts’ shown in the advert listed the features and monthly total price of the respective packages. Sky’s Family Bundle was priced at £103.65 and Virgin Media’s Premier Collection at £67.99. The advert stated an “Annual saving with Virgin Media £427.92″.
The problem was not, actually, with the facts- while Virgin had handily included the cost of BT Sport, which is actually paid to BT rather than Sky- Virgin maintained that 100% of Sky customers who took the exact combination of services set out would achieve the claimed saving. Nor was this disputed by the ASA. Virgin also claimed that the trifling detail of the exact amount of consumers holding this particular combination of services did not affect the comparison being made or a consumer’s understanding of the price saving.
However, on this point the ASA disagreed, given that fewer than 0.1% of Sky customers did have those services, and could therefore possibly save over £400. The ASA noted that the ad was phrased conditionally, and that Virgin Media did not claim that all customers would save over £400, however the ASA felt that “it was necessary for a reasonable proportion of consumers to achieve the claimed saving,” adding that “using the comparison in this example, only a relatively small proportion of Sky customers would save to the degree claimed. “
As a result that advert was banned on the grounds of misleading by exaggeration. Moral of the story- don’t believe everything you read in the papers and do your own research when comparing costs of broadband and television services.
Anyone pressing ‘reply all’ on a recent customer service email was sent out, was able to message everyone on the mailing list.
The email was sent to inform the company’s customers of new changes to Google services.
Soon many customers inboxes were filled with up to 700 emails, many of them spam or just customers having a bit of banter.
Virgin Media said the problem related to a “sub set” of its virgin.net email customers, but it did not know the precise number affected.
According to the BBC, Bob Alexander, 69, from Taunton, said he had suffered “a great deal of inconvenience and stress” after receiving more than 700 emails.
“I am a quadriplegic and to delete 700 emails from my Blackberry handset has taken me all evening.”
Naturally a Virgin Media bot was on hand to trot out the traditional “We apologise for the inconvenience caused.”
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.”