Virgin Media troubled by poor upstream broadband performance

Virgin Media's cable broadband services are in hot water after some customers on their 'M' package complained that they did not receive the advertised 256Kbps upstream (upload) performance promised for their package (Traffic Management Policy).

Postings on both The Register and Cable Forum (post) have confirmed that some customers in Langley and Bromley were being limited to 200Kbps, while others in Knowsley near Liverpool would still receive the expected 256Kbps.

It turns out that the speed discrepancy stems from the pre-Virgin Media period, when the operator was made up of two previously separate cable providers - NTL and Telewest. Older readers will recall that Telewest's side of the network was better developed, thus those are the ones most able to receive the full upstream performance.

Virgin Media's statement: "Work to align minor differences in speeds across the NTL and Telewest customer bases is ongoing and should be complete very soon, along with further initiatives to reinforce our position as the UK's leading residential broadband service. We apologise for any confusion and will be updating our website accordingly."

Virgin Media understandably chose to advertise the higher of those two figures, regardless of whether it could be achieved. In most cases this would not be a problem because broadband is a variable service, though in this instance the physical limit placed on some connections could land them in hot water with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The operator has traditionally been faster in the downstream (download) direction than "most" rival ISPs, though the nature of cable services has often caused upstream performance to be less competitive. It is for this reason that Virgin prefers to hide such details away.

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