Please note - I am not posting this as a question, as I already know the answer. I am posting it simply to show that this issue is still going on, and the advice in earlier threads is now out of date.
Foolishly, I neglected to download all my bills for last year, and then found that only the past 6 months' worth of bills is available for download. I then found at least 10 posts on the same subject (and I've no doubt there are many, many more), all giving more or less the same advice - you can only get access to the past 6 months, but if you contact Virgin by webchat or by ringing 150, you can get access to the past 12 months for free.
To quote abeljms on this thread: https://community.virginmedia.com/t5/Managing-Your-Account-Cable/Old-Bills/td-p/3023167 "given that online storage is nearly free, only keeping 6 months onslime is pathetic. 2 years would be a vaguely acceptable good start." I fully agree - it is UTTERLY PATHETIC (and yes, I am yelling). I've wasted my time and that of the advisor (who then proceeded to waste even more of my time) to end up no further along than I was this morning, other than to find out that the advice on earlier threads is now WRONG (assuming it was ever correct) and anyone wanting a bill older than 6 months WILL BE CHARGED £2 PER BILL. Yet my utility company can manage to keep bills online for 3 years.
Not only that, but despite Karen A's assurances from February and April last year that suggestions about having the bills online would be fed back to the team because 'we are always looking to improve our processes' and 'The My Virgin Media portal is always being looked at to make this a better functioning portal for customer access and I agree that having more bills online would be beneficial', it's clear than any such feedback (assuming it was sent at all and the assurances weren't just empty promises to smooth ruffled feathers) has been ignored.
I am exceedingly annoyed about this - it's ridiculous than only 6 months' worth of statements can be accessed online, and even at the equally ridiculous charge of £2/bill, I find it difficult to believe that this charge covers the costs of a call centre having to deal with something that could so easily be rectified online. This is something that in my opinion should be made clear to customers before taking out a contract. It is also simply not good enough that this issue is still being raised many months later.
To reiterate - if you want a bill that's older than 6 months, you will have to pay for it. Forget anyone's assurances that you won't if it's less than 12 months old - you will still have to pay. Download all your bills every month - don't get caught!