Virgin Broadband unlikely to win any races if startup founder's experience is true (Updated)

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Broadbandgenie.co.uk, the UK’s long-established independent broadband comparison website is today adding a Home Broadband Awards to its roster. The winners will be announced at the end of January 2011. Why do we raise this? Well, with many entrepreneurs running their businesses from their homes, home broadband is becoming a big issue.

More independent measurement of home broadband can’t come too soon for one Virgin customer. Startup founder Azeem Azhar, a former board member of Ofcom and CEO of PeerIndex, wrote an excoriating post about his home connection to Virgin Broadband in which he lambasts the service and concludes that “the Virgin network leaks packets”:

I sent approx 15,000 packets out on Sunday 19th to a range of different servers via my VirginMedia connection:

To my local router: 0% packet loss – my network is fine
To http://www.bbc.co.uk: 10.51% packet loss, RTTs all over the place
To http://www.bt.com 9.7% packet loss, RTTs 49ms average, but all over the place
To http://www.virginmedia.com (their own webserver) 10.9% packet loss
To 213.105.174.226 (a core VirginMedia router) 10.9% packet loss
To 81.97.255.5 (a core VIrgin router) 10.5% packet loss
To 62.30.250.33 (another Virgin router) 11.4% packet loss

In other words, the core Virgin network is leaking like a sieve.

He goes on to say:

I tested them for nearly two years in parallel with another ISP. I’m no neophyte, having been a telecoms and tech correspondent, and having sat on advisory boards at Ofcom (for several years) looking at just these issues. It is an epic fail–and one which I cannot believe lives up to their contractural obligations or their marketing claims. Virgin, of course, don’t have the grace to accept these problems and have refused to let me out of my contract.

We’ve contacted Virgin for comment and will update the post with their response.

Update: Virgin has now responded. A Virgin Media spokesperson said: “We take pride in delivering the best broadband service in the UK and have been independently recognised as the only provider that delivers consistently on advertised speeds. We are very sorry to hear that Mr Azhar is suffering problems with his broadband service. The issues Mr Azhar has reported are very rare, and having run some remote diagnostics we can see Mr Azhar’s modem is reporting a number of errors suggesting a physical problem with his connection causing packet loss, potentially related to damaged cabling. We have spoken to Mr Azhar and are sending a senior technician to investigate at Mr Azhar’s earliest convenience. We apologise for the inconvenience.”

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