Virgin Media outage causes outrage, will new broadband bundles dull the pain?

News

The network went down in London for up to six hours last Friday causing fury among the ranks of home workers. Today the company announces new broadband deals.

Virgin Media acknowledged an issue in parts of London, but access issues reported in other parts of the country including Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow. The outage began at 8am and lasted for up to six hours.

Angry customers vented their frustration on social media. The company has apologised.

There were also issues with its TV services, apparently.

This is the second major issue with the Virgin Media in two months after 4 million customers across the UK complained of intermittent breaks service on Monday 27 April. The company said this was over a period of 90 minutes. Some customers said it persisted until the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Lightning in same place twice

For years telcos were criticised for their “outdated” 99.999% ethos for network reliability. In the pandemic era, clearly anything less than 100% is not acceptable when more people are working from home and many children are home schooling.

Ofcom's report, Online Nation 2020, published last week, showed many in the UK are now spending 25% of their time online.

Virgin Media, part of Liberty Global, began a £3 billion network upgrade in 2015 called Project Lightning. It is now in the throes of a £31 billion merger with O2 UK, the mobile operator owned by Telefonica Group.

The cause of the outage is as yet unclear.

New bundles announced today

Virgin Media has announced new broadband bundles today – here are the highlights.

Customers can take 500Mbps broadband with any bundle, which was previously only available with its most expensive package

Existing customers on the Ultimate Oomph bundle will be upgraded to 600Mbps broadband at no extra cost, when the network speed is available
Oomph bundles for existing customers (which combine broadband and mobile) will have more data at no extra charge
18 month contracts will replace six and 12 month ones
Personal Picks TV packs are cheaper for new and existing customers.