Virgin Media slams online speedtests

Virgin Media - annoyed
Virgin Media - annoyed

Virgin Media has once more taken issue with the internet's broadband speedtest services, with the cable company seemingly frustrated with the lack of progress made in adapting for faster services.

It was last year that Virgin Media announced that online connection speedtests were far from precise, and said that it would continue to monitor the situation as promises were made about changes to the online tests.

However, Virgin Media's patience appears to have run out, and the company's latest release on the matter is a strongly worded rebuke.

Misled consumers

"Virgin Media today released the results of its latest evaluation of web-based speedtests which show that consumers are still being misled by inaccurate results and reports based on unsubstantiated data," said Virgin Media

"Whilst the latest findings show an improvement in speedtest performance, there are still many speedtest and comparison sites which are unable to provide accurate results for regular speeds such as 10Mb, and are a long way from being able to check faster speeds of 20Mb and 50Mb.

"Virgin Media's comprehensive research highlights that millions of consumers, from all ISPs, have been misled for long periods of time due to 'dirty data' published by some of the comparison sites or via erroneous speedtest results presented to consumers."

View Virgin Media's statistics

50 Mb failings

Virgin Media's annoyance comes at a time when it is pushing its 50 Mbps service to the UK, utilising its fibre-optic network.

The major issue seems to be that the higher-speed packages are not being treated fairly by the speedtesters.

"We're dismayed to find that for years, many speedtest and comparison sites have been misleading the public on ISP performance, said Virgin Media's Director of Broadband Jon James.

Rely on the facts

"Consumers rely on these sites for clear advice and honest results. The fact that many of them cannot accurately measure speeds of 20Mb, and some cannot even accurately measure speeds of 10Mb, demonstrates there is a clear need for more transparency.

"As ultrafast services such as 50Mb become more mainstream, this issue will need to be addressed quickly."

"Many of these sites profess to be 'experts' and some even generate sales from broadband providers, so I am sure that consumers would find it alarming that they are unable to accurately represent speeds accurately.

"We are pleased, however, that our campaign has kick-started most of these sites into action and we will continue to work with those that are non-compliant to get them to the standard that they need to be," Jon James added.


Michael Phillips, product director of comments: "We recognise that there is a requirement to be able to provide accurate speed tests for broadband customers so that they can compare the speed they are actually getting from their ISP versus the speed that they are being charged with confidence."

"Our speed tester is accurate for measuring speeds up to 8Mb which is the most popular speed in the UK at present and we are cooperating fully with Virgin Media to improve our speed tester's ability to accurately measure the super-fast packages. We believe that collaborating with ISPs on this issue is the best way to safeguard the interests of consumers."

"We are encouraged that Virgin Media is championing accurate speed measurement because, as Ofcom recently highlighted, the average speed being received by broadband customers is currently only 49% of that being advertised by ISPs."

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.