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Virgin Media defends its broadband speeds following Which? report

Friday, May 18th 2018 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Virgin Media has hit back after a report by Which? claimed that UK broadband connections are, on average, 51% slower than advertised.

The consumer website said customers on Virgin’s 200Mbps package were in fact getting an average of 52Mbps – just 26% of the speed promised.

Its analysis was based on data from its own broadband speed tool, which was used 235,000 times by consumers between May 2017 and April 2018.

But Virgin said there are “a number of flaws” with the collection of the data and pointed to its own measurements, which show VIVID 200 customers actually get an average download speed of 213Mbps.

New ASA guidelines kick in next week requiring providers to advertise the average speed available to most customers as opposed to an ‘up to’ speed only achievable by 10% of users.

But while the advertised speeds of most providers will be going down next week, Virgin’s will be heading in the opposite direction as the majority of customers on all four of its broadband packages actually get speeds in excess of those advertised.

'Straight-up on speed'

Which?’s findings are also at odds with those of Ofcom. The regulator’s most recent Connected Nations report found that customers on Virgin’s 200Mbps package were getting 92% of this speed on average, even at peak times.

“The vast majority of our customers receive their advertised speed or above, even at peak times,” said a Virgin Media spokesperson.

“Under the ASA’s revised guidance our median peak-time speeds, taken straight from our routers, are actually set to increase.

“We believe in being straight-up on speed – that’s why we repeatedly called for a change to what were unfair and misleading advertising rules so that consumers have clarity on the speed they can expect to receive.”

Virgin also said the Which? speed checker relies on consumers entering correct information and has no way of determining what broadband provider each user is registered with.

It said the actual speeds measured could be affected by a number of in-home factors including the positioning of a router, the wi-fi channel a router is using and the condition/specification of a customer’s equipment. Virgin said it tracks speed directly from the router to give a more accurate picture of the speeds reaching customers’ homes.

The Which? report didn’t just look at Virgin’s broadband packages. It also analysed the speeds achieved by customers on 17, 38, 52 and 76Mbps deals delivered by a number of providers using the Openreach network.

It found that customers on standard ‘up to’ 17Mbps packages received an average of just 6Mbps, while Ofcom’s latest research found the peak time average of all ADSL connections to be 9.6Mbps. Cable.co.uk has reached out to Openreach for comment.

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