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FTTP New User Install Experience

Joining in

Hi All

In the spirit of giving back (as I'd found a lot of useful info here) I thought I'd post about how getting Virgin FTTP installed went and how it's been for the first month.

The sunny seaside town in the south west where I am is quite well served broadband unless you happen to live in the old Victorian / Edwardian part around the seafront. The new build and estates near the motorway and the those from the 60s, 70s and 80s have the choice of BT and Virgin fibre and some also have City Fibre and Grain available as well but here in the old part we were stuck with BT FTTC. To add insult to injury, due to some bad luck all the properties attached to the same pole as us could only get the most basic BT "superfast fibre broadband" so 32 down and 6 up. This was just about ok pre-pandemic but isn't so great now with 3 of us working from home most days (and one of that number a YouTuber).

So imagine my excitement the week before Christmas last year when workman arrived in the street and started opening up BT manholes. The next day they dug a hole next to the pole that serves my house after blocking the pavement and putting up signs saying "Working on behalf of Virgin Media".

To cut a long story short the ensuing work to pull cables through the Openreach ducts, various roadworks, fitting the street cabinets, laying cables where the houses weren't served from poles end fitting the CBTs to the poles took until around the end of July. Around June a Virgin guy turned up on the doorstep asking if I'd be interested. Despite some of the horror stories on these forums the answer was a definite yes as for us, Virgin are the only FTTP offering for the foreseeable future.

From the end of July daily availability checks showed nothing yet available and then one Friday afternoon in mid August a different Virgin guy appeared on the doorstep to tell me I was a "priority customer" and the service was ready to connect. I signed up there and then and later that evening all the paperwork came through by email with an activation date two weeks later. A couple of days later I got a text message saying the prepull would be the following Wednesday. On Wednesday a couple of guys arrived in a van with a cherry picker and after discussing where the cable and wall box would go (no problems as it could follow the old BT drop wire as I wanted it on that side of the house anyway) they set to work and half an hour later they were done and on their way.

On activation day the engineer arrived and I asked him to run the fibre up to the first floor which wasn't a problem. Once he'd drilled through (his longest drill was only just long enough) he fitted  the internal wall box and connected up the Hub 5x.


After a few minutes everything was connected and updated and the service was up and running with 1Gb down and 110Mb up.

After he'd gone I swapped the old BT Home Hub out for the Hub 5x in home network and rebooted everything. The network came back up with no issues, including the BT Whole Home mesh (it helped that the BT Home Hub was set as which is the default v4 IP for the Hub 5x).

So all in all a very painless install with no issues or complications.

So how would I rate Virgin after a month? I'd give them 4/5 as we had one day (07.00 - 23.00) with an outage and a flashing blue light on the Hub 5x. Luckily I'd kept the BT service active (after reading many horror stories on these forums about missed activation dates and other issues) so was able to swap back to that in the interim.

When it's working it's very good. You pays your money and takes your (only) choice!