Virgin on the ridiculous: Broadband problems caused by "oversubscription"

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By The Bristol Post | Friday, October 19, 2012, 08:15

FRUSTRATED customers of an internet provider say their broadband service is unusable at evenings and weekends – because too many people have been signed up to it.

They say the Virgin Media internet service is particularly slow at these times and claim that when they complained, staff told them it was "oversubscribed".

Those most affected live in the BS6 and BS7 postcode areas, which include Redland, Cotham, Lockleaze and Bishopston.

Many are angry that they are still being charged full price for their broadband, and a particular bandwidth, such as 30Mb or 60Mb, but are not receiving these speeds.

The company admits that part of its network is "underperforming" but says it is working to fix the problem.

The bandwidth figure relates to the maximum amount of digital data that can be transferred along an internet connection as people use it to watch films or download music, send e-mails or visit websites.

Usually the faster your broadband, the higher the bandwidth figure and the more you can do online.

Virgin Media offers speeds of up to 60Mb or 100Mb, which it claims is "super fast".

One of the unhappy customers is Claire Bush, 49, who lives in Leopold Road, St Andrews.

She says she and her husband have found that on many evenings only one of them can use their laptop and sometimes they cannot load web pages or stream radio.

Ms Bush, who works in publishing, told the Post: "We both use our laptops all the time for work and it is frustrating when at evenings and weekends we both cannot use our laptops at the same time.

"Sometimes we cannot stream radio, let alone YouTube, and web pages will take ages to load.

"We've been customers for quite a few years and recently paid to have our internet speed upgraded from 10Mb to 30Mb.

"But in the last three to four months the problem has got even worse. We have been complaining nearly every day, and after technician after technician checked the problem wasn't our fault we were finally told by someone in customer services that the service was oversubscribed.

"We think this is ridiculous – obviously Virgin being oversubscribed is nothing to do with us and we should not be charged for something the company cannot deliver."

Toby Morse, 47, a translator, lives in Maurice Road, St Andrews.

He said: "I recently upgraded our internet to a faster service, but it just got slower.

"I've been a Virgin customer, and before that a Telewest customer, for years and years. But over the last few months the service has become so slow that it is infuriating.

"I've wasted lots of time speaking to customer services, and Virgin even sent a technician out to have a look at my computer to see if it was my fault. But now I've heard that the service is oversubscribed. It annoys me that I've wasted so much time on a problem that wasn't my fault in the first place and that no one at Virgin told me the real reason for what was happening."

Frustrated customers from Bristol and some from Yate have vented their anger in a forum on Virgin Media's website.

Forum user Geoff Leonard, of Ashley Down, said: "The forum is full of frustrated Bristol residents, especially in the BS6 and BS7 areas, complaining about the broadband service in the evenings and at weekends, which is often unusable. I'm just one of them.

"Virgin is saying that the problem could be fixed by January but it could take even longer. However, in the meantime they are happy to keep taking our money and signing up even more customers."

Mr Leonard said he believed the company must have known it would not have been able to cope with the extra demand as it signed up new customers.

Virgin Media told the Post that customers in certain areas share a bandwidth, which is delivered through hardware known as 'nodes'.

A spokeswoman said each node had enough bandwidth to cope with the customers connecting to it.

For example, each node could have 1Gb bandwidth of capacity, which would then be shared between customers on a range of different packages such as 30Mb or 100Mb.

The spokeswoman confirmed that "a small number of customers have been experiencing slow broadband connections, specifically in the BS6, BS7 and Yate (BS37) areas".

She denied this was due to overselling and said there had recently been "large scale capacity upgrades and network optimisation" in Bristol.

"The issue has instead been caused by the need to make some network upgrades to some hardware known as nodes and we are working to rectify this," she said.

"To give some context, our network in Bristol has approximately 230 nodes overall, but four of these are in need of an upgrade.

"As part of our Double Your Speeds programme, we have been installing additional capacity and upgrading customers in the Bristol area for faster speeds at no extra cost.

"While the vast majority of customers in the area are now benefiting from an improved service, we have discovered a small localised area that is underperforming, intermittently impacting the broadband speeds for a small group of customers.

"Remedial works are underway and are expected to be completed by December at the latest.

"We apologise for any inconvenience in the meantime."

      

Comments

       
  • Profile image for tall41

    Hi All.
    i live in the RG postcode area and have had a similar experiance as those above .Upgraded from 10 meg to 30 and everything is now slower not my system as nothing has changed i just swaped the hardware and let them set it up. complained about it went through the usual hoops no result or explination was forthcoming........saw some engineers working locally seems a little better but i still cant stream youtube as fast as before.almost as if vm are doing it on purpose especially to the skinflints like me who only want the cheap connection(30 meg) do a speed check at any time of day even busy times and it is always fine but i cannot get utube to run at better than 360 even in the middle of the night.My resident xbox addict is now bemoaning the cronic lag that we never used to get and i am fed up with vm for not being straight with its customers. look out the competition is catching up!!

    By tall41 at 00:57 on 20/02/13

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  • Profile image for Shadow60P

    Cardiff Is also experiencing the same problems as Bristol, I am a heavy user of the Internet and also play many games and yet my Internet service with virgin has degraded rapidly over the years, from bad to worse, to unbearable over the years, now I am getting no Internet service and still having to pay, which frankly Is extorcionate of them, whats more Instead of telling us the truth they constantly blamed us saying the problem was our end and then saying It was their end and that they have fixed It even though the internet still was barely working at best and Is still cutting out constantly.

    Me and my family detest lyers and are going to join BT If they dont have this problem solved by January and thats just In Bristol really god knows how long they will take to get to Cardiff and It's not even that far away, yet we have no mention of anything being fixed on our end, no date or truth from them at all.

    I hope that everyone with virgin has their problems fixed soon and that virgin get whats coming to them for the disgraceful service they have given people over the years.

    By Shadow60P at 13:34 on 28/11/12

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  • Profile image for matrix

    I am a clan leader of a not so well known game but I have 50 good people that look up to me in my gaming world sad as it may seem..My clan is on the verge of collapsing after 4 years of hard work and BIG money. How can a company get away with upsetting so many people with no consequences..I was told January 2013 it will be fixed which means I miss all the fun I am used to with my clan that took 4 hard years to bring together but never mind I will be back online when I am back to work. Thanks for nothing Virgin media you just wrecked my year....

    By matrix at 21:46 on 16/11/12

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  • Profile image for Geoffers007

    Tonight in my part of BS7 it's the worst yet. Packet loss of between 25 and 50%, ping timeouts, download speeds of 2.6 Mb. All this on the day Virgin tells me of an increase in my bill of £3 a month!

    Recently it took Virgin 2 weeks to reply to a request from me that I swap my landline for a Virgin mobile, since I so rarely use the landline it's not cost effective. Their reply? A standard "We are sorry you are thinking of downgrading your package" email.

    Grrr!

    By Geoffers007 at 21:52 on 13/11/12

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  • Profile image for Tayleure76

    I live in BS37 in Yate and our Broadband is totally un-usable between 4pm-2am the exact time i want to use it,Im supposed to be getting 100mb download speed yet for the last 8 Months ive been getting 0.32 download speeds,0.34 Uploads,And Ping of around 40-119ms which is a total disgrace,Virgin constantly give me false fix dates that NEVER Happen,I know that is a Utilisation problem(Over Subscribed) Yet still to this day im receiving leaflets through my door every other day advertising Virgin Media and trying to get more people signed up to a service they already can not provide.
    Ive been given many dates in the 8 months ive had this problem and still nothing has been done,I have now been told Jan 2013 which is a Total Joke,VIRGIN MEDIA should be ashamed of themselfs its a disgraceful service and just goes to show how much they care for there Customers,I would advise anyone thinking of Joining them to Avoid them like the Plague.

    By Tayleure76 at 12:14 on 08/11/12

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