Goodbye Virgin Media, hello BT Infinity

Today marked the end of relationship that has lasted almost 16 years.

One January day in 1998, I got online with Virgin Net. I liked the quirky, informal brand. The service was just as likeable. We’ve shared five houses over the years, but the last year or so hasn’t been so good. Virgin’s ADSL service has been painfully slow. I’ve resented paying £20 a month for it. So when BT launched Infinity, I decided that our days with Virgin were over. Today was the day we said goodbye to Virgin, and hello to BT.

It’s been a very easy switch. The man from BT Openreach arrived just before 9am, and by 9.20am we were up and running with BT Infinity.

The best speeds I’ve achieved recently with Virgin? 3.55 Mbps (download) and 0.85 (upload). The best today with BT was 39.6 (download) and 10.45 (upload). The chap who installed it told me to expect fluctuations in speed at first, but this is a really good start.

I was sorry to say goodbye to Virgin, despite the really poor recent service. When things hit rock bottom a few years ago, they admitted they had underestimated demand and were adding capacity – which they did. They’ve been very responsive on social media. But in the past six months I got fed up with paying a premium price for a poor service.

The big lesson is not to have your email address with your internet service provider. This makes switching much more hassle. At least with your own domain name or Gmail you can move without changing email address.

PS: I did have a two year separation from Virgin 10 years ago. When broadband came along, Virgin was slow to offer it. So I went with BT. In June 2004, I complained about Virgin Net’s lack of broadband in a letter in the Guardian’s Technology section. To my amazement, I got an email from Sir Richard Branson early on the morning of publication apologising and offering a return Virgin Atlantic Upper Class ticket. We took up the offer and switched back to Virgin as soon as they offered broadband. No wonder I’m sad to leave now after all these years…

PPS: I should add that I had an ADSL, rather than a cable, service from Virgin. I know from my parents that Virgin’s cable service is excellent.

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