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Virgin Media to close flagship Oxford St store in August

Anonymous Coward

Flogging the dead horse?

Both VM and Sky had 'kiosk' in my local shopping centre. VM has a poor reputation around here so it was no surprise that only Sky remain. They keep trying to flog me their service but Freesat works fine for me.

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Trollface

The store in the Bullring is closing

Whatever will I do now?

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They still have stores?

Thought they only had those irritating people standing by kiosks in shopping centres.

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Re: They still have stores?

They still have a store in Basingstoke's Festival Place shopping centre (though, it appears, not for much longer).

Not that I have any reason to go in there, I don't live in a cabled area, not interested in their TV offering and quite happy with my VDSL service.

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Their offers are better online anyway, I went into a store when I was considering swapping to Virgin TV and he just offered me a flat rate with a distinct "Well do you want it or not?" attitude.

Went online and 30 seconds of searching later found the same package for half the price.

Wish I hadn't bothered, their TiVo box sucks balls. But they must know it as a year later I dropped the TV from my package and the price hardly moved.... They know there's decent competition for the TV service (I ended up with Sky's rather desperate "You've been away for a year, come back to us for 75% off and £30 bill credit" offer so £9 a month), but they know that in a lot of areas BT OpenRetch can't touch their service for speed, so no reason to drop the price.

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Virgin do seem somewhat random.

Recently, they came and installed a signal booster when I complained about losing TiVo services and a flaky network connection, and upgraded my router at the same time free of charge.

On the other hand, they wanted to charge the woman my other half works for, for exactly the same router upgrade.

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Anonymous Coward

"Recently, they came and installed a signal booster when I complained about losing TiVo services and a flaky network connection, and upgraded my router at the same time free of charge."

Let me guess, from a Superhub2AC to a Superhub3?

They're trying to claw back as many SH2AC units as they can to keep a hardcore band of complainers happy. If you read the community forums, there's some issues with SH3s - low WiFi speeds mainly, affecting people who use the 200Mb/sec service to the full extent.

It seems to be if you shout loud enough and often enough, an engineer will "miraculously" have a SH2AC on his van and he'll swap it. Anything that gets sent out from the warehouse is a SH3 though.

To keep stocks up, reading between the lines engineers are encouraged to upgrade to a SH3 whenever possible even if it's not the cause of the issue.

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Yup it was to a SH3.

Can't really complain though (I don't need 200Mb/sec at home so that issue doesn't affect me) - the WiFi range seems to be much better than the SH2 and I get full coverage now - the SH2 struggled to get to the front of the house, or into the back garden.

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They want everyone on Shub3 to reduce support scope, and hence, reduce support costs. They will try and charge you for the upgrade, but if you keep refusing, they will offer it for free.

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They want everyone onto the Superhub 3 if possible because it tunes more channels and, in theory, delivers better performance.

Most areas are on 16-24 channels, the 2 and 2 ac can only tune 8 of them.

Customers on the Gamer 200 and Vivid 300 tiers shouldn't be provisioned on anything else. Provisioning a 300Mb tier on a 400Mb bonded group is a bad idea.

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Consultation?

"We will not be going into detail of all the roles impacted as we want to make consultation meaningful, however we can let you know there are further reductions proposed to the head office teams. Once collective consultation has concluded we will share with you the impacted roles.”

Not sure what effect any consultation will have as they seem to have already decided who gets the chop! Notification would probably closer to the truth, though I do understand that the law very optimistically calls it a consultation.

Anyone ever heard of a 'consultation' changing what was planned?

Also the obvious question: How many stores will be left?

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Re: Consultation?

"we want to make consultation meaningful" .... well it would be a first in my experience. the best thing you can say about consultation is it gives you a month or so longer to look for another job.

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Virgin, Oxford Street.

The only one worth mentioning was when it was Virgin Megastore on the corner with Tottenham Court Road, and still sold records and CDs.

I spent many happy days there in the pre-Amazon days, and in the HMV further down the road.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Virgin, Oxford Street.

Upvoted for nostalgia.

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Thumb Up

Re: still sold records and CDs.

and much more. Sheet music, music bios and books, and imported magazines like (cough) "High Times" and the US version of Rolling Stone.

In fact, for a brief moment, I had better access to US mags than my Orange County penfriend :)

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Thumb Up

Re: still sold records and CDs.

Double nostalgic upvote for 'penfriend'

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Re: still sold records and CDs.

Aww friend. Thumbs up for pen friend.

Friend!

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Re: Virgin, Oxford Street.

I'd have thought that Oxford Street of all places would have a profitable store.

I think before the Virgin Megastore in Piccadilly Circus was that it was Tower Records, which is when I knew it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Virgin, Oxford Street.

No, the rates for an Oxford Street site would make you shit a unicorn.

That's a lot of records you've gotta sell before you even sniff profit.

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Re: Virgin, Oxford Street.

+1 for the Piccadilly Tower Records.

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Re: Virgin, Oxford Street.

Very fond memories of Virgin, HMV, Our Price and Piccadilly Records as well as Eastern Block, Probe, Omega and Hot Wax. There was something about the sheer amount of paraphernalia they flogged which made you comfortable to browse for hours.

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Re: Virgin, Oxford Street.

Remembering happy times looking through the windows into the CD-pressing plant in the basement....

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Anonymous Coward

Stevenage store

Hopefully to not be replaced by another pound shop!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Stevenage store

or a combined card/mobile phone/discount shoe/estate agents where you can get a nice frappacappacino whilst you choose between avocado smash and feta-on-feta ....

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Anonymous Coward

Was anyone thinking?

Sales & Marketing posts only.

No real people involved

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Facepalm

The Same Virgin Media

That when you get a business phone line fault insists that it must be reported by..... phone! I am sure that some companies are run by products from Jim Henson inc.

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Anonymous Coward

an incentive for its sales staff to go on an all expenses paid trip to Mexico

oh dear, this is not going to end well...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: an incentive for its sales staff to go on an all expenses paid trip to Mexico - no return??

One way trip ???

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WTF?

They have stores?

Who knew?

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Nothing to do with Lightning

'However, one insider said staff were told specifically that they were losing jobs because of not hitting the projected Lightning figures due to the numbers having been exaggerated.'

Either this is the usual excellent communications within a comms company or someone is stirring. Lightning's funding is nothing to do with BAU operational expenditure and these redundancies are nothing to do with that project.

Lightning going over cost per premises passed gets resolved either by reducing costs or passing fewer premises.

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They don't even know where their fiber runs

TLDR - VM Staff on the ground appear to be competent and friendly. Back end systems not so much. In my limited assessment, VM are less reliable than OpenReach supplied providers.

My own personal experience of VM:

When I first moved into a new build house, on the site of an old commercial premises, I enquired with VM if they could service the property as BT FTTC was not quite ready yet. I could see the VM fiber ran most of the way down the street, and also along the road bordering the other side of my new house, yet it stopped short about 70m from the pavement at the front; I was in a dead zone. None the less, I called VM and they assured me I could get the service, until an engineer turned up, looked at the same ducts as I had and said sorry, no way.

Fast forward through five years of receiving VM begging letters desperate for me to become one of their customers and I decided to bite; after all they can hook me up no problem!

So I make the call and after spending 30 mins or so on the phone negotiating what was actually a very good deal, I insisted they send an engineer to confirm service availability before notifying my current supplier of the switch. Two days later a very nice chap turns up in the dark, so armed with torches I take him on the guided tour of VM cable runs around the property and he agrees with me; it's a JCB job to extend the cable run to the property.

I phone VM the next day to explain, yet the chaps in Mumbai insist it's all still good for the agreed go-live date, so I figure I will just chill out and kick off for compensation if / when it all goes wrong. A few days later, some blokes wearing Hi-Viz and armed with a mini digger appear up the road and start digging up the pavement; this is looking promising!

At this point I’m convinced, beyond all expectations, that VM have sensibly decided to extend the fiber run down past my house, probably influenced by the current building of some 200+ new houses just a little further down the road. But no, of course not. What was I thinking?

So I get a phone call the next evening to inform me that despite having already dug the trench two thirds of the way from the existing fiber termination to my house, this was simply an ‘investigation’ and that extending the VM service to my property was not ‘economically viable’. Never mind the other six properties they dug past on the way which are also now potentially missed sales, or the fact that to deliver services to the 200+ houses on the new estate they will have to go past my house anyway....

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Re: They don't even know where their fiber runs

I had the same experience the other way around. I could see their cable run outside my house, but my sales enquiries were met with an implacable "computer says no" response. According to their records their cable served random addresses the length of my cul-de-sac, from beginning to end, yet somehow bypassing a few houses including mine along the way. It took a letter to the CEO before they sent out a chap with his divining rod to confirm that their cable run was in fact contiguous. I recall my neighbours' surprise when I told them I was now on cable, they'd long been told the cable did not pass their properties... I never did receive the multiple referral rewards I should be due.

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Re: They don't even know where their fiber runs

I could see the VM fiber ran most of the way down the street, and also along the road bordering the other side of my new house, yet it stopped short about 70m from the pavement at the front; I was in a dead zone.

This used to be the case with me. However, a few months ago they had a big programme of digging up our pavements & roads and all the houses that were in the null zone now have cable spurs going to just by their house. And my dog now has a nice new VM grey cabinet to pee against when he goes out for a walk[1]..

A couple of weeks later I got a doorstepper who asked me whether I would go over to VM. I explained^W ranted to him for a couple of minutes (we had previously used VM Business at work and had shocking service from them - including billing us for lines we had terminated[2]). Plus, I run some websites and email domains from my server and so buy a commercial line for home (otherwise my SMTP traffic would get blackholed by a lot of ISPs - just like I generally blackhole SMTP traffic from consumer IP ranges..).

After my 5-minute rant his comment was "I'll put you down as a no then"..

[1] I'm assuming that their line cases are vaguely waterproof - putting a big grey box on a pavement is an open invitation to be used as a marking spot by every passing dog (and probably a few cats as well).

[2] Their excuse was "well, you didn't request that we terminate the billing did you?". A pointed letter from our legal department soon sorted things out and they payback more than paid for one FTE - the person that had the job of sorting things out..

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Joke

Presumably...

...the one-way fare to Mexico works out much cheaper than statutory redundancy.

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Virgin Media is frecking AWESOME

My broadband consistently tops out at 192-196Mbps download - completely unlimited and all for under £40 a month. A few sites blocked by the courts that are easy enough to find proxy of...

Could not be happier.

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Coat

You have to be mad to want to work for VerMin !

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I’ve been with VM since NTL first came to Oxford with dialup, over 16 years ago and in general, it just works. Speedtest at 50-70Mb/s consistently. Don’t use the wifi or tv though so can’t comment on that. However, when I wanted a fixed ip address for a server / work, I called VM and after negotiating a deep tree of menus, still couldn’t get a real person to talk to. Called BT and a real person answered the phone in seconds, so they got the business. That just works as well with similar speedtest results. May be different now, but it seemed like VM just weren’t serious about business internet at the time…

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Anonymous Coward

VM, still the only serious game in our town

Had BT about 4 years ago, they couldn't get above 1.5 meg, got VerminMedia and they gave me 50 meg for the same price. Now have 200 meg and BT still haven't put fibre in our area and we're only about 10 miles outside London. VM might be a bit crap to deal with but at least they're delivering 21st Century broadband, unlike BT who are leaving people stuck with speeds we had back 90's.

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If you are standing in the doorway of the L/Spa shop you can connect to "3" free WiFi, 2 doors down. Actually connect to Virgin anything, live in the real world people. So I will miss the store, as they miss the point, free candy canes at Christmas, nice but what about connectivity?

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Bah!

Not much in the way of expert music consumers in an online store though.

Can't get a recommendation based on actual music appreciation filtered through a human brain as opposed to some Bayesian algorithm using my previous purchases to show me stuff "others looked at".

No more happy discoveries made by walking in to browse and hearing something amazing on the PA system. Just more of what I already know endlessly on and forever.

Never thought I would collude in bringing about the sort of nightmare I used to read about in the dystopic SF of the early 70s.

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Just a refresh

I visited the Leamington Spa store this very morning. I asked if they did free WiFi for customers, and "NO we are a business store that's retail only".

I was disappointed and the member of staff telling me they were with BT and they were the same did not help.

Who are VM's customers?

Me and who else, maybe some of the employees,making a sound business model for he future.

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