Virgin Media is upping the price of its broadband by at least £1 a month, not long after promising to double its customers’ speeds at no extra cost. Was Virgin all talk, or is this just a drop in the ocean for its customers?
Last month, Virgin Media said it would be doubling its customers’ broadband speeds for free, giving a huge boost to the company’s already speedy services.
In fact, Ofcom yesterday crowned Virgin’s broadband with the fastest speeds in the country, with its 50Mbps customers enjoying average speeds of 49Mbps. These 50Mbps customers will now feel lucky to receive a boost to 100Mbps, with Virgin starting to upgrade the service this month.
But with broadband speeds as fast as Usain Bolt’s sprint, no doubt many of you wondered whether Virgin’s promises were too good to be true. Well, it seems you might be right.
In come the price increases
Virgin is sending out letters explaining changes to its prices that will come into effect on 1 April. And no, it doesn’t look like this will turn out to be an April fools’ joke, despite a Virgin Media spokesperson previously announcing the doubling of its speeds with this statement:
‘Most customers will not notice the upgrades taking place, nor will any have to pay for the changes to take place.’
Well, the Guardian is reporting with conviction that Virgin will be increasing the price of its ‘large’ broadband package by £1 a month if you’re signed up to Virgin’s line rental, or by £1.50 without. Some call charges will also being going up – by as much as 12%.
Plus, just like peak train times are getting longer, so are peak call times. Virgin’s phone package used to include free calls between 6 and 7pm, but customers will now have to pay from 6pm, with calls charged at a rate of 14.96p per minute. BT and other telecoms have already made this change, so Virgin’s simply falling in line. Not that that’s of any consolation to heavy evening callers.
Pay up or drop speed
Virgin has said that, on average, ‘customers will see an increase of around £2.68 per month’. So you’re looking at around £30 more per year, although of course it depends on which, and how many, of Virgin’s services you’re signed up to.
Virgin did point out that customers who weren’t happy about these price increases could drop down to a lower broadband speed tier, which it pointed out would be double the speed it is currently. Still, when you’re told that your speeds will be doubled at no extra charge, you don’t expect to hear that you’ll have to drop down a tier to avoid paying more.
Other telecoms companies have also been pushing up their prices, such as BT, Sky, Vodafone, Orange and TalkTalk, so Virgin isn’t on its own. However, we already know how you feel about companies putting up prices for services you’ve already signed up to, after the outrage expressed by Orange customers when it put up the price of its mobile phone packages.
It’s one thing to promise a free upgrade of your services, but is it fair to then increase your prices, even if this increase is small? Or, since Virgin has the fastest speeds in the country, maybe you still think you’re getting a bargain?