Will this revelation prompt better standards of advertising within the broadband industry?
BBC One’s Watchdog has revealed that Virgin media is over promising and under delivering when it comes to broadband speeds, with customers in some areas suffering 3% of the 200Mbps speed they were originally sold.
According to the results of the investigation set to be aired on BBC One tonight, Virgin Media engineers know that “over-utilization” is severely hampering internet speeds in numerous regions, yet sales pitches have remained the same.
This problem is caused by the number of customers signed up to the fibre package outweighing the capabilities of the service to provide promised top speeds.
BBC One’s Watchdog has been informed by Virgin Media customers that they were experiencing difficulty streaming, listening to music, and even studying due to lower than expected broadband speeds.
In a statement to Watchdog, Tom Mockridge, Virgin Media CEO, said: “We apologise for the inconvenience to these customers and have resolved the issues they raised. All of our sales agents have been re-briefed on the Company’s sales policy and we are providing additional training to ensure everyone complies with it.
“Virgin Media invests more than £1 billion a year in its ultrafast network. This year we are also investing £200 million to upgrade network capacity where it’s needed to meet the growing demand for faster broadband speeds across the UK.
“If you are a Virgin Media customer, please take a look at virginmedia.com for guidance on what you can do to improve the performance of your broadband and ensure that it isn’t something in your home slowing it down. If you need the support of one of our expert customer agents, please contact the Virgin Media team on 0800 952 2222.”
This statement from the Virgin Media CEO stands in stark contrast to the confidence of his statement at the end of May 2017, in which he said that “eye-watering speeds” of 100Mbps would be the new average.
He added in the May statement that the new average speed would mean “leaving competitors in the rear view mirror”, and that advertising across the industry should change to prevent customers being “hoodwinked.” This latest expose has turned these comments back around on the CEO.
Watchdog Live, Wednesday 5th July, 8pm, BBC One