NTL/Telewest experiences. Soon to become Virgin Media - what to expect?

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This thread is generally aimed to discuss what is likely to happen to NTL/Telewest rebranding to Virgin Media. But Im also interested to hear of people's experiences with NTL/Telewest anyway like mine below:

Personally I've been with NTL for a good few years as it was the cheapest way of getting phone/tv and Internet. Now the time has come to start addressing paying too much for the service I recieve and to look at going elsewhere. For me, I can just about live with the rubbish Set top box and TV service speed and reliability, if the phone and broadband always stays reliable and fast and good speed for the money. I have no problem paying a little bit extra for cable, in that it usually guarantees a set speed and has lower latency and none of the ADSL hassle. However, lately ive become fed up with ntl on the basis that I can get better for my money elsewhere. I pay £24.99 for 4mb Internet and brand new customers can get it for £17.99 for 12 month contract. I pay £47 per month for tv/phone/internet and could get sky for £37 per month (including bt line rental) for upto 8mb broadband.
NTL support is pretty poor and they are consitently good at mucking up bills and getting things wrong. Finally, the speeds they give you for such services on broadband, are simply not being achieved. There are talk of trials for 20mb and even 50mb speeds, but so many people on a) 4mb and b) 10mb do not recieve anywhere near the speeds they should already. They traffic shape quite noticeably and at peak times speeds drop to often less than half of your set speed.
Now whilst new customers get better deals I have been reading of so many people ringing NTL retentions dept. to threaten to leave NTL, and are then given "one off" offers specifically tailored to that individual cusotmer at the time of that call, to get massive discounts to get them to stay.
Is it fair that so many customers are paying such differing amounts for different tiers of product/service? I have read on other forums poor old people paying £50+ per month for the same service that others get for £30 per month, all because they threatened to leave!
Well Im not having this I thought, so phoned ntl and talked about getting my monthly bill down and all she could do was reduce it down for 3 months.
There is now talk of what will happen to all of these "back door" differing offers that differetn customers recieve when the rebrand to virgin media takes place. There is supposedly a big announcement tomorrow on the 8th from Virgin Media and its all just a bit up in the air.

Im not sure whether to jump ship to sky or stay to see what will happen? Would prefer to stay to keep my rolling contract rather than commit to a new 12 month one. But frankly, 4mb broadband that doesnt stay at that speed which is overpriced and tv that is no where near as good as skies, is making me want to ditch them.

What will virgin media bring? there is also rumours of further rollouts of speed increases i.e. 4mb > 10mb, 10mb > 20mb etc.
 
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Never had a major problem with NTL in all seven years I've been with them. Yeah they make the odd mistake, but show me a company that hasn't.

Regarding speeds and traffic shaping - I'm calling BS on this. I can DL 24/7 at top speed of around 500k/sec, and I can pretty much guarantee you that that speed will never drop, unless a problem develops either side of the connection.

I usually download about 30-40gb/month (God knows how though), and NTL don't collar me about it.

Frankly the change over to Virgin Media I am a little worried about - ie: Will VM impose download restrictions, traffic shaping, etc?

Anyway, I suggest you get your cable modem and it's connection looked at by an engineer - if you're on 4mb and not hitting speeds of around 490k/sec then ask to have it looked at.

While we're at it, let's see what people suggest as an ADSL alternative, that can supply unlimited 24/7 downloads at 4mb speeds without any restrictions.
 
Soldato
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I still get a letter from NTL after 3-4 years every month saying they owe me £2.78.

They wont give it to me, but they like writing to me. :rolleyes:

Hopefully they will drive skys prices down with the competition but TBH I would never go back to them. It took me over 8 hrs on the phone to leave the lastime.
 
Soldato
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That's probably because you were on split billing at one point (did you get bills for BBI/TV on one and Phone on another at some point ?). It'd take all of 2 minutes to fix but i'm guessing they'd rather write to you ;)
 
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I'm in the same boat,
I didn't realise I was supposed to be on 4Mb till I started looking for a better deal. It certainly doesn't feel like bloomin' 4Mb...!

tbh, I could live with a solid 512K, I can download stuff at work if I have to.
I've even considered going back to dialup, but it would make remote access to work nigh on impossible.
Likewise for TV, I can get a much better deal from Sky and only lose the odd channel.

I called to cancel too, but gave up being left hanging on the phone after half an hour. :(


.
 
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basmic said:
Never had a major problem with NTL in all seven years I've been with them. Yeah they make the odd mistake, but show me a company that hasn't.

Regarding speeds and traffic shaping - I'm calling BS on this. I can DL 24/7 at top speed of around 500k/sec, and I can pretty much guarantee you that that speed will never drop, unless a problem develops either side of the connection.

I usually download about 30-40gb/month (God knows how though), and NTL don't collar me about it.

Frankly the change over to Virgin Media I am a little worried about - ie: Will VM impose download restrictions, traffic shaping, etc?

Anyway, I suggest you get your cable modem and it's connection looked at by an engineer - if you're on 4mb and not hitting speeds of around 490k/sec then ask to have it looked at.

While we're at it, let's see what people suggest as an ADSL alternative, that can supply unlimited 24/7 downloads at 4mb speeds without any restrictions.

Hmm im on 4MB and never seen over 300kbs and even then only for a min or 2 :/
 
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As I've said before on here, I have been with Telewest for 7 years plus, could be more. I was with them in the dial-up days, and got their broadband as soon as it was released (the service was simply called High Speed Internet back then).

In all that time I have had VERY few problems/faults, and any faults I have had have been quickly sorted.

I'm on the 10meg service, and I never have any problems downloading at my full line speeds, I consistantly get 1.17 mb/sec when pulling from newsgroups and good servers. I have yet to experience any shaping/capping despite averaging 300gb/month.

As for the TV, it's not bad, and the true TV-on-demand service is just great.

Only bad points for me would be:

- The TV suffers from quite low bitrates, and MPEG blocking is very noticable, especially on the non-terrestial channels.

- They badly need to provide more HD content.

- The TV-Drive (soon to be called V+) can be slow and clunky.

- They could do with being a bit cheaper, especially when you compare the price of the 10mb connection compared to a 24mb LLU connection like Be*. The rumoured free upgrade to 20mb should help with that though.

Overall though I am very happy with them, lets hope it continues when they change to Virgin Media. I hope they do roll out a 50mb connection too, I'll definately go for it if it's not too much more expensive than my current 10mb (or 20mb if the upgrade happens).
 
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bitslice said:
I called to cancel too, but gave up being left hanging on the phone after half an hour. :(


.

Why would you be ringing if you 'really' want to leave, i am sure it says you need to inform them in writing. Send them a letter saying your giving 30 days notice, but PLEASE send it recorded and keep the slip for when they try to deny exsistance of the letter.

Now if your ringing to 'threaten' cancelling... then retentions is the best to try ;)
 
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DreXeL said:
As I've said before on here, I have been with Telewest for 7 years plus, could be more. I was with them in the dial-up days, and got their broadband as soon as it was released (the service was simply called High Speed Internet back then).

In all that time I have had VERY few problems/faults, and any faults I have had have been quickly sorted.

<snip>
I echo what DreXeL says. I have been with BY since it came out here (Dec 1999) and have only had down time of maybe 2 weeks over that period in total. I have only had to call their tech support maybe once or twice which did take a while to get through (20-30mins), but then the problems were correctly quickly.
I'm looking to move out in 12-18months time and will be looking for a cabled area, to continue with them.

The TV side is ok. I have Sky in my room which has quicker menus but not quite as good quality image (although some channels on both are pixelated).

No problems with phone either, but then I wouldn't expect to really?
 
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I'm paying for 1MB NTL cable, but getting 2MB which is nice :)

Not had any problems with them apart from the initial setup. They were really good about arranging a specific time for the engineer to come and that all went smoothly, unfortunately nothing actually worked. Cost me about £40 in mobile calls to NTL to finally get them to sort it out, they hadn't properly setup my account on there end. Oh, and after that they gave me 10MB cable, but tried to charge me for it until I told them where to stick it when the bill arrived.

Now everything is sorted out, great DL speeds, no outages at all, perfect :)
 
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DreXeL said:
As I've said before on here, I have been with Telewest for 7 years plus, could be more. I was with them in the dial-up days, and got their broadband as soon as it was released (the service was simply called High Speed Internet back then).

In all that time I have had VERY few problems/faults, and any faults I have had have been quickly sorted.

I'm on the 10meg service, and I never have any problems downloading at my full line speeds, I consistantly get 1.17 mb/sec when pulling from newsgroups and good servers. I have yet to experience any shaping/capping despite averaging 300gb/month.

As for the TV, it's not bad, and the true TV-on-demand service is just great.

Only bad points for me would be:

- The TV suffers from quite low bitrates, and MPEG blocking is very noticable, especially on the non-terrestial channels.

- They badly need to provide more HD content.

- The TV-Drive (soon to be called V+) can be slow and clunky.

- They could do with being a bit cheaper, especially when you compare the price of the 10mb connection compared to a 24mb LLU connection like Be*. The rumoured free upgrade to 20mb should help with that though.

Overall though I am very happy with them, lets hope it continues when they change to Virgin Media. I hope they do roll out a 50mb connection too, I'll definately go for it if it's not too much more expensive than my current 10mb (or 20mb if the upgrade happens).


I go with all that you are saying, apart from the TV compression is great for me, never yet saw a bad picture. My only grump with the TV side though is the EPG is dire, and the general response of the TV is slow, I can compare it with SKY which is better at getting from Channel A to Channel B a lot quicker. But I binned sky and went back to Telewest TV and their new HD box, which is way better than Sky at present.

Overall doing the reading between the line's I think the switch over to Virgin will be fine, I have read that Traffic Shapping etc capping etc are all just a bit of a scare story. If traffic shaping happens, it will happen at peak times such as 5 at night till 9 at night, I Doubt this would affect anything else apart from heavy downloading. Ping and general broswing etc no probs.

Plus I expext to see all NTL/BY user getting a good boost in download speeds over the next few months, some as soon as tommorow, you lucky sod's although I am half expecting to see mine go up tomorrow as I live in a UBR area that gets it all first every time :D
 
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I expect NTL will get cheaper (correction it is getting cheaper*), to compete better with other ISP's and and TV services.

Customer Service I suspect will improve - it's already better than it was a few years ago (I got a promised call back, not once but twice:eek: ).

I expect they will introduce the traffic shaping they seem to be testing in a couple of areas to try and garuntee everyone at least gets half decent speeds in the evening.
From what i've read they are trying a system that caps you at half speed if you are downloading at max/near max speeds for 20+ minutes in the evening, then lifts the cap and does a check a couple of hours later (if you download at full speed again it repeats the process but stops it at midnight).
Not an ideal solution, but probably better than most as it doesn't limit you to a silly low speed, but does the job of limiting heavy users at peak times (whilst leaving them free at other times).


*Look at the new Virgin Media VIP pack they are doing now (PVR, second STB, 10mb cable, full TV pack inc sports/movies for £85),
 
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Vicar said:
I go with all that you are saying, apart from the TV compression is great for me, never yet saw a bad picture.

To be fair it's probably the fact that my 50" DLP shows every little detail, so MPEG artifacts are really noticeable. HD stuff is stunning though, it gets pumped at a decent bitrate and it shows.
 

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NTL website has now changed because of Virgin. Prices have changed too. Here is the website, looks different:

http://allyours.virginmedia.com/

I have been a customer with them for several months and i rang up the Cancellations dept and managed to get the 2 for £20 offer. Phone and Broadband. It was £36 a month until i rang them today! 2mb is enough for what i use the net for. I needed to save money! Well happy now.
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Been with blueyonder for a long time now started on dial up back when it was known as cableinet, moved to broadband about 2 - 3 years later never had a problem with it apart from the odd downtime which wasn't for very long at all.

The Tv though is appalling very slow to change channels, picture is not half as good as what can be downloaded on the internet, very compressed to say the least(have a 21" crt tv but it's fine with dvd's & games), but apart from that not bad i suppose. I hate the remotes they feel really cheap compared to sky's offerings, we have sky downstairs & once i can afford it i will be having a multiroom box up here too.

Cable has always been very good for the internet though & i hope that continues. I concider myself an heavy user & i hope they don't introduce download caps because thats what's made cable to be the best in my opinon. Traffic shaping i can deal with cause i don't really download during peak times normally playing games then :)

[edit] I love the false advertising for the tv on the virgin media site saying "crystal clear tv" yeah right!!
 
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Soldato
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Here are the bundle deals: http://allyours.virginmedia.com/websales/service.do?id=4

Broadband Prices: http://allyours.virginmedia.com/websales/service.do?id=2

Looks but but I'm really disappointed that the 4MB Broadband doesn't appear in any of those bundles. :(

Would be great if there was a phone + 4MB Broadband package for £25-30. At the minute we're paying £11 for the phone and £25 for 4MB cable.

I'm actually really tempted to call them up and just downgrade to 2MB. Rather wait a bit longer for my files to download and save £192 a year to be honest!
 
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Ive been on telewest since i first had the internet a few years ago. I went from 512K to 10MB last year at around march i nearley always get my full speed and stuff. I downloaded 150GB last month :rolleyes: and no phone call from telwest also one ring up to customer support and say your internet is very slow they knock your net to half price. Mind you, you still got to ring the broadband support bit up first. Also they send you a free router now. Although you have to ring about 2 - 3 times to get to a UK call center ;).
 

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GuruJockStrap said:
Here are the bundle deals: http://allyours.virginmedia.com/websales/service.do?id=4

Broadband Prices: http://allyours.virginmedia.com/websales/service.do?id=2

Looks but but I'm really disappointed that the 4MB Broadband doesn't appear in any of those bundles. :(

Would be great if there was a phone + 4MB Broadband package for £25-30. At the minute we're paying £11 for the phone and £25 for 4MB cable.

I'm actually really tempted to call them up and just downgrade to 2MB. Rather wait a bit longer for my files to download and save £192 a year to be honest!

Do what i did, ring up Cancellations dept and say you are going to leave as you can get a better price elsewhere. I am sure they will cut you a deal.
 
Soldato
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Tried that already to be honest and the best they could do was offer me £12.50 4MB broadband for 3 months.

If they could offer that on a permenant basis then fantastic, but somehow I don't think they will.

I'm just really annoyed that the L broadband service (4MB) doesn't feature in any of the bundles.

Whats the likelyhood of the 2MB service getting upgraded to 4MB in the future?
 
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