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General Chat Thread, [ISP] Thinking of switching from BE to Virgin Media in General; ...
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    Zoom7000's Avatar
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    [ISP] Thinking of switching from BE to Virgin Media

    I'm currently with BE Broadband for my Internet connection. I pay £18.26/Month for on average 10Mbps (on a good day!). In addition to this, I pay £14.60/Month to BT for standard line rental. I make no calls whatsoever using my home phone and merely use it for receiving calls and the Internet connection. So, currently in total, I pay £32.86/Month for Phone and Internet. I've been looking at alternatives, namely Virgin Media, who are much more competitve.

    Virgin Media are currently offering:

    60Mbps (£18.50/Month) + Telephone Line (£13.90/Month) = £32.40/Month (Discounted @ £23.15/Month for the first 6 months) and also, I get £57.57 if I order through Top Cashback.

    Seems like a no brainer, however, there are a few things that have stopped me from switching so far:

    Traffic Management/Shaping: Just how bad is it? I do occasionally download the odd heafty packages, ISO, movies, iTunes stuff, BBC iPlayer (HD), 4oD, Steam etc etc. sometimes all in 1 go. I've read that VM do at times throttle you down to 75% of the speed. However, right now I'm only getting nearly 10Mbps anyway, so I'm thinking it won't be all that bad if they throttle me down to 75% now and then, which is 15Mbps.

    Virgin Media Super Hub: Or as it's been called, the SuperDud or PooperHub. Is it as bad as everyone makes out? Just what is wrong with it? Currently I'm using BE's Thompson TG587n v2, which isn't anything special itself.

    Customer Service: Albeit based in Bulgaria, BE's support has been pretty brilliant everytime I have had to call and I've had no major issue. I used to be a VM customer at a previous address and I've dealt with my fellow Indian compatriots and at times, it has been rather annoying! However, whenever there has been a physical problem, VM have no issues sending out an engineer, whereas if I have a problem with BE, they usually say it's a BT issue that they need to fix and getting an engineer out with BT is next to impossible at times!

    So, the question is, should I make the switch and get better value, or should I stick to the peace of mind of BE (~80% of the time) but not as good value.

  2. #2

    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Have you looked up Sky at all? We moved from Virgin (after absolutely diabolical service, speed was good and was reliable but by the time traffic shaping hit then it was unbearable with the amount of data I munch through) We actually saved a tenner a month going from Virgin to Sky and that was before BT delayed the phone line install with their own cockups, and ended up saving a total of £30 a month.
    So ignoring all the "6 month free" crap, Sky was the better deal here but obviously that may differ area to area, and whether you have LLU enabled there.
    We *would be* paying £45 a month for Sky with Entertainment Extra, Sky Plus HD, 16Mbit broadband, phone line rental and calls never go beyond our allowances. We're actually paying about 22 quid atm thanks to BT's mistakes
    Biggest selling point here however is no download limits/shaping etc. So after 2.5GB in a night (grr, Virgin) I dont get slowed down to 2Mbit.
    Last edited by synaesthesia; 28th August 2012 at 02:29 PM.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Are you an O2 customer? You Can get the "All Rounder" which is broadband and phone rental upto 16mb for 26.50 and 12 months half price or if not you get 3 months free broadband and 25.50.

    As O2 runs over BE's network you get the same performance as you would from BE.

    O2 | Broadband | Giving You Choice, Value and Support

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Download throttling on the 60Mb package is 50% over 5GB between 4 and 9pm, or 50% if over 10GB between 10am and 3pm, and the policy stays in place for 5 hours.

    Upload throttling is 75% if you use more than 4.2GB between 3pm and 8pm. Again its put in place for 5 hours.

    I have the 50Mb package, and I barely ever notice throttling (and we've hit it regularly, due to 4 of us using it in the house).

    The SuperHub - its atrocious, truly terrible. I have mine set in modem mode, and use a Zyxel router instead. Basically, if you leave the SuperHub to do routing, it constantly crashes and needs a reset, or resets by itself. Mine was resetting about 3 times a day at its worst.

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    Superhub = appalling.

    Throttling = don't know, don't care. If I want something I put it on to download on a night anyway.

    Network latency = It's going to depend on area but where I live it can go from <10ms and 1ms jitter to 2000ms at peak times. Make using the internet a waste of time. It's been fine lately apart from the bank holiday where I couldn't play online games due to the ping I was getting.
    Last edited by j17sparky; 28th August 2012 at 03:11 PM.

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    kirchie's Avatar
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    I used to be with Virgin when I lived in Leamington, got the whole TV/Phone/BB package for around £35 I think, that was pretty good. Like others have said, you do get throttled after you've downloaded a bit. I've since moved area, and I now have BT's Infinity. I know a lot of people say BT's expensive, but I've love it. I pay £38 for up to 80Mb (I get around 70 normally), and it doesn't seem to be throttled. Their home hub's not great for wireless speed though, even on N it only transmits at 54mbps...

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    My super hub works fine here with an iPad, two laptops, phones and my gaming rig, never crashes here that I would notice, you have to fiddle a bit with the super hub to get it working well from what recall, part of the firewall needed disabling, you can find out about the guides in google about that though

    Other than that I would recommend virginmedia, I use the Internet in a similar manner to what you described and I haven't noticed the throttling here at all so far on the 50 meg connection (though they pushed my "free upgrade" to 100mb back until dec/jan)

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    Zoom7000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by synaesthesia View Post
    Have you looked up Sky at all? We moved from Virgin (after absolutely diabolical service, speed was good and was reliable but by the time traffic shaping hit then it was unbearable with the amount of data I munch through) We actually saved a tenner a month going from Virgin to Sky and that was before BT delayed the phone line install with their own cockups, and ended up saving a total of £30 a month.
    So ignoring all the "6 month free" crap, Sky was the better deal here but obviously that may differ area to area, and whether you have LLU enabled there.
    We *would be* paying £45 a month for Sky with Entertainment Extra, Sky Plus HD, 16Mbit broadband, phone line rental and calls never go beyond our allowances. We're actually paying about 22 quid atm thanks to BT's mistakes
    Biggest selling point here however is no download limits/shaping etc. So after 2.5GB in a night (grr, Virgin) I dont get slowed down to 2Mbit.
    The Sky offer does look reasonably good. They're offering me Sky Fibre Unlimited (+ Phone) for £32.25/Month (£20 Internet + £12.25 Phone, although the Internet is increasing to £21.50/Month from September). The only thing is they are only offering "up to 40Mbps". So, the VM offer looks a lot better at 60Mbps, even with the 50% throttling at 30Mbps if I go over the limits.

    Quote Originally Posted by glennda View Post
    Are you an O2 customer? You Can get the "All Rounder" which is broadband and phone rental upto 16mb for 26.50 and 12 months half price or if not you get 3 months free broadband and 25.50.

    As O2 runs over BE's network you get the same performance as you would from BE.

    O2 | Broadband | Giving You Choice, Value and Support
    I'm not an O2 customer so I won't qualify for these offers and we'll I'ds rather pay the little extra and get the much better speeds. I'm also disappointed that O2/BE don't have any plans for fibre broadband in the foreseeable future.

    Quote Originally Posted by kirchie View Post
    I used to be with Virgin when I lived in Leamington, got the whole TV/Phone/BB package for around £35 I think, that was pretty good. Like others have said, you do get throttled after you've downloaded a bit. I've since moved area, and I now have BT's Infinity. I know a lot of people say BT's expensive, but I've love it. I pay £38 for up to 80Mb (I get around 70 normally), and it doesn't seem to be throttled. Their home hub's not great for wireless speed though, even on N it only transmits at 54mbps...
    I looked at the BT Infinity offers, but it was far too expensive for me at £26/Month Internet + £14.60/Month Phone, totalling £40.60/Month.

    The common consensus seems to be to run the Super Hub in Modem Only Mode with my own router. Any recommendations as to which router I should go for?

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    I'm on the 100meg virgin package and it simply rocks.

    I don't have a super hub, just good ole fashioned modem with docsis3 and all is well.

    Support is hit and miss, but shouting loud enough gets you heard but I don't feel the traffic shaping and netflix is in frequent use here.

    EDIT: Oh, I have their DLink router but I flashed it with dd-wrt firmware and it's been solid as a rock.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post
    Superhub = appalling.

    Throttling = don't know, don't care. If I want something I put it on to download on a night anyway.

    Network latency = It's going to depend on area but where I live it can go from <10ms and 1ms jitter to 2000ms at peak times. Make using the internet a waste of time. It's been fine lately apart from the bank holiday where I couldn't play online games due to the ping I was getting.
    The downtime was due to a fibre being cut in the North Sea. So, not Virgin's fault - Sky, BT, TalkTalk and o2 were all affected too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Download throttling on the 60Mb package is 50% over 5GB between 4 and 9pm, or 50% if over 10GB between 10am and 3pm, and the policy stays in place for 5 hours.

    Upload throttling is 75% if you use more than 4.2GB between 3pm and 8pm. Again its put in place for 5 hours.

    I have the 50Mb package, and I barely ever notice throttling (and we've hit it regularly, due to 4 of us using it in the house).

    The SuperHub - its atrocious, truly terrible. I have mine set in modem mode, and use a Zyxel router instead. Basically, if you leave the SuperHub to do routing, it constantly crashes and needs a reset, or resets by itself. Mine was resetting about 3 times a day at its worst.
    we are on the xxxl package we did 8gb one day and dident notice the traffic shaping . Haven t had a problem with the super hub yet.

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    Zoom7000's Avatar
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    Well, looks like I'm on my way to Virgin Media. I'll be giving BE retentions a call tomorrow, but I honestly think I'll be cancelling as I'd rather pay for better speeds than pay less for lower speeds. Thanks for all the help guys.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for a router if the Super Hub does give me issues?

  13. #13

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Anything by Zyxel. I've had 2 different ones now (one ADSL and one Cable) and they've both been flawless.

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    Trapper's Avatar
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    I've moved from a Sky (TV)/Virgin (everything else) mix this month and with a TiVo and a second HD box in my office I'm saving well over £50pcm.

    They've changed the throttling recently and tend to traffic shape P2P traffic more. That said on the 60meg package I haven't noticed any problems. I've RX/TX'd 70GB/66GB over the past two days on P2P with no problems. The rest of the internet (iPlayer, large ISO downloads through Technet etc) is rock solid at around 6.1mB/s

    I've got a SuperHub now and I've had no problems with it over the past two weeks. No resets, no connection drops. HOWEVER! This could be a result of it running older firmware and not yet having the latest "update" applied. I've still got the old Netgear router in case it does cause problems. I'm sure my inlaws have had it for months and they've had no problems, and they download far more than me!

    One other thing with Virgin is to keep checking their packages. If they make a change say better TV/broadband combo, or even replace your current package with a new one, they will not move you across or inform you! I was on a three year old Medium TV/phone/net package for £44pcm which was a complete rip off compared with the XL package with TiVo and additional HD box with a mobile contract for £75pcm I'm on now.
    Last edited by Trapper; 29th August 2012 at 01:38 AM.

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    Zoom7000's Avatar
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    I've been following VM's offers for a while & the broadband & phone offers are pretty stagnant. I'm not looking for a TV package as we don't really watch much TV & I can't really afford the premium packages. Thanks for the info anyway!

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