Virgin Media plan to rival BT's WiFi network

23 November 2010

Sky buys Virgin Media for £160 millionVirgin Media is planning to create a huge Wi-Fi network in an attempt to rival BT. Virgin are hoping to follow the lead of American firm Cablevision, who created thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots on the back of its network in New York.

"We have been inspired by what Cablevision has been able to do in New York and are actively exploring the possibility of creating a similar network here," Kevin Baughan, said Virgin's director of advanced technology. "It takes the sheer power of the cable broadband network and puts it where people need it."

Virgin will place routers alongside street cabinets to create the Wi-Fi network, which look like they'll be free for Virgin customers. It is unlikely that the speeds will be as fast as their domestic service, but still. Better than nothing right?

BT's Openzone Wi-Fi network recently claimed to have added its two millionth hotspot in the UK, so Virgin have got some work to do if they want to compete in that field.


TOPICS:   Technology   Broadband   TV


  • Gunn
    I didnt rate Virgin well at all but they seem to be doing better and better, much prefer Virgin Media to Sky now.
  • Tim
    They could never deliver a reliable cable service to my house. Doubt a WiFi service will do any better. It will just mean yet another damn WiFi signal to clash with my home WiFi and the other dozen neighbours. And good luck with ordering it. Their customer service is one of the worst in the world. The name may have changed over the years, but they are still the same useless muppets they were back in NTL and CableTel days. The Virgin name is just the brand they bought and suddenly people thought they were great. Sky may suck also but in the field of customer service they are leagues ahead of Virgin, and that's saying something as their's isn't wonderful either!
  • John
    I have both Sky (TV) and Virgin (broadband) for 10 years - going to Virgin for everything in the new year as the service I have recieved from the broadband connection is second to none. The broadband service I get it absolutley fantastic - add free wifi wherever I am is the icing on the cake - goodbye to 3GS on my iPhone. Customer service - Virgin is great whenever I've had to speak to them ( on very few occasions) Sky - appalling AND you've gotta pay for the priviledge !!
  • -]
    Virgin is the brand they bought? That isn't how it worked at all. There used to be two companies - Cableinet (Telewests internet arm) and NTL. Cableinet rebranded to become Blueyonder. They offered a fantastic product backed up with some really good customer support. NTL offered a very good product (for most) with some quite bad CS. Then they merged. The CS of Telewest got dragged down in the process, until it was atrocious and the service started to suffer. Then along comes beardie-branson, who buys the merged companies and has them in his "virgin empire" (a little like heaven - lots of virgins and a dirty old beardie man). This is when the service started to REALLY suffer. I'm using a sky connection now - the service is much worse than virgin and the customer support is about the same; non-existent.
  • james d.
    -] That isn't what happened at all, you got the merged bit right, but what actually happened was that NTL owned a call centre in cleppa park in newport in which it ran several VISPs, both dial up and some ADSL with a combination of ipstream and datastream. This included Tesco internet, which online, NTL ADSL (i cant remember its exact name it was something like ADSL unlimited) and I should know I used to work for NTL merged with blue yonder and of course decided this was a good time to do a re-brand. They did some surveys and discovered that out of all their brands the brand had the best customer reception, they also discovered that people didnt like the NTL brand and it was associated with poor quality service. They also of course had virgin mobile which was also doing quite well. The logical progression here was to change the whole company to their best brand, virgin. Mr. branson got a big pile of shares in exchange for letting NTL/blueyonder use his well regarded brand.
  • -]
    Not quite true - wasn't their brand, as you say it was simply a visp. The share exchange you are talking about was also for virgin mobile - part of the deal was that Virgin Media merged with NTLTW, and Branson got ~20% (can't remember the exact figure now) of the shares for the company, making him one of the top shareholders. It wasn't a simple rebrand in the slightest - if only it was, the company may be in better shape.

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