Virgin Media Spam Filter is Blocking Legitimate E-Mails

Not so long ago, Google stopped providing their e-mail service to ISPs which forced them to look elsewhere for an alternative. As a result, Virgin Media’s new e-mail platform doesn’t have a sophisticated and accurate e-mail filtering service which resulted in many genuine messages being undelivered. Many customers have already let their displeasure known via the company’s forum. One frustrated user said:

“I’ll add a ‘me too’ to this. All my emails to ntlworld and blueyonder addresses have been rejected for some time, which is infuriating as I have clients who use these. One such client has decided to jump ship from VM because of the problem—he can’t afford to have legit email rejected.”

Virgin Media responded to this message and clarified:

“Hi All,

Apologies for the rejected email issues, if problems remain ongoing please drop me PM and I can provide contact details for our postmaster, they’ll be able to look into why these emails are being blocked for you.”

Clearly, the system is incapable of properly judging which e-mails are spam and the problems appear to be fairly widespread.

According to The Register, a Virgin Media spokesman described the situation and said:

“Since Google removed its service for ISPs from the market we’ve moved to a different email platform, meaning some emails may have not been getting through. We are helping businesses who feel their emails have been wrongly blocked.”

Doing this on a case-by-case basis isn’t ideal and only going to make customers angry while their vital business e-mails are lost. This could dramatically impact on their profit margins and nullify contracts where communication is key. Virgin Media needs to sort this out as a matter of urgency or business customers will leave in great numbers.

Virgin Media Increases Broadband Prices by 5.4%

Virgin Media recently implemented a significant speed increase for customers on 50Mbps, 100Mbps and 152Mbps connections to 70Mbps, 150Mbps and 200Mbps. Initially, the speed boost appeared to be a free promotion to encourage more customers to join Virgin Media. However, Virgin Media has admitted there will be a price hike by up to £3.99 per month. Additionally, the line rental fee will also increase by £1 which signifies a 5.4 percent change. The company explained on social media why the higher prices are necessary and said:

“The price changes are put in place to sustain and build on our network to give you even better quality”.

Virgin Media’s managing director, Gregor McNeil, told The Register:

 “We are doing everything we can to keep prices as competitive as possible. Through the continuing investment in our network we are again upgrading our customers’ broadband speeds and providing unlimited downloads – meeting the growth in data consumption we see.” 

Unhappy customers can cancel their Virgin Media subscription as the increased prices are technically a breach of contract. I think the company has to be extremely careful as consistently increasing the package prices will result in mass cancellations. Faster broadband speeds are vital when you consider the huge data demands with modern gaming, and 4K video streams. However, the packages need to remain affordable or people will simply go for a cheaper, slower option.

Virgin Media Upgrading Broadband Speeds For Free

Virgin Media has announced a substantial speed upgrade for existing customers across various package tiers. Those on 50Mbps, 100Mbps or 152Mbps will receive a speed boost to 70Mbps, 150Mbps and 200Mbps, respectively. The initial roll-out will begin on October 1st but it could take until the year end to reach the majority of customers. According to Virgin Media, 90% of its users should have received the upgrade by the end of 2015. Gregor McNeil, managing director of consumer at Virgin Media explained:

“Our message is simple: if you want to be certain that you are signing up to true ultrafast broadband speeds of 100Mbps and above, Vivid from Virgin Media is the new standard,” 

“The speed of a customer’s broadband connection matters; when you have more you can do more.”

Currently, Virgin Media has no plans to increase the monthly fee for any of its broadband services. This applies a great deal of pressure on BT as their top package is a mere 76Mbps. Of course, BT is working on its infrastructure to improve things, but Virgin Media’s top package is more than double that of its leading competitor. Therefore, BT has a lot of catching up to do.

Image courtesy of Simply-Communicate.com

Thank you V3 for providing us with this information.

BT Promises ‘Ultrafast’ Broadband Speeds in Excess of 300Mbps by 2020

BT’s Chief Executive Gavin Patterson, has promised broadband speeds between 300 and 500Mbps by 2020. Currently, BT is one of the major UK internet service providers and aims to provide super-fast broadband to over 10 million homes. The company also said they will offer a 1Gbps service to the cope with severe network demands from heavy users. This could include 4K streaming, downloading huge games or backing up data on a home server.

2020 seems like an ambitious figures for rural areas which struggle to even access relatively low speeds of 5Mbps. BT is hoping the combination of their G fast technology and Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) connectivity can help revolutionize the service’s internet speeds. Patterson argued speed increases are integral to BT’s market strategy:

“BT would ‘never say no’ to providing faster broadband to communities, promising the company would instead explore innovative funding and technical solutions.” 

Even if BT manages this feat, I’m not entirely convinced it will be able to beat Virgin Media’s network speeds and a great deal depends on network traffic management. It’s unknown if the latest BT network will begin to throttle speeds after so much is downloaded or during peak times. This is becoming a more well-known phenomenon, and customers should access the speeds they pay for all the time.

Thank you The Next Web for providing us with this information.

Ebook Piracy Sites to Be Blocked by UK ISPs

Yesterday, the UK’s High Court ordered that websites carrying pirated ebooks should be blocked by the country’s internet service providers. The court ruled that an application made by The Publishers Association grants that the sites be blocked under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988). Within the next 10 days, BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, and EE will be legally obliged to block any and all sites deemed to be carrying copyrighted reading materials.

Richard Mollet, Chief Executive of The Publishers Association, said of the victory:

“A third of publisher revenues now come from digital sales but unfortunately this rise in the digital market has brought with it a growth in online infringement. Our members need to be able to protect their authors’ works from such illegal activity; writers need to be paid and publishers need to be able to continue to innovate and invest in new talent and material.

“We are very pleased that the High Court has granted this order and, in doing so, recognises the damage being inflicted on UK publishers and authors by these infringing websites.”

Much like the MPAA, it seems that The Publishers Association hasn’t heard of proxies or VPNs, and I would not be surprised to discover that the cost of this legal action was more than any offset loss of sales through piracy by publishers.

Thank you The Publishers Association for providing us with this information.

UK ISPs Hijacking Browsers to Force Porn Block on Customers

In order to comply with UK legislation by the deadline at end of December, UK ISPs – including Virgin Media, BT, TalkTalk, and Sky – have been redirecting users’ web connections to force them to choose to opt in or out of adult content blocks.

The browser redirects to a permission page, where the user must choose ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the many blocks – designed to censor content including pornography, violence, and gambling – before they are allowed to continue to the desired site. BT is even stopping all internet access to customers until they make a decision.

The controversial legislation, foisted on the country by Prime Minister David Cameron, is meant to user in a “family friendly” internet experience, taking the responsibility for monitoring children’s online activity from the parents and giving it to the Internet Service Providers.

Internet rights groups have described the move as “completely unnecessary” and “heavy handed”. Open Rights Group, a digital rights organisation, has been especially critical, saying, “How can a customer tell the difference between an ISP hijack and a phishing site made to look the same? There are better ways for ISPs to contact their customers—particularly given that they have our phone numbers, email and actual addresses.”

Source: Wired

Virgin Media’s KipstR Records TV if You Fall Asleep While Watching

Virgin Media has unveiled a prototype wearable device that can control the TV if you fall asleep watching it. Designed at the Manchester Creative Studio by two young students, aged 14 and 15, the wristband, called KipstR, connects to a TiVo box and can record TV programmes if the user falls asleep while watching.

The 3D-printed device uses a pulse-oximeter to detect the wearer’s state of wakefulness, and can instruct the TiVo box to pause, record, or resume TV playback, depending on user preference. “We have been exploring the possibilities of connected entertainment for some time and are very excited to unveil KipstR,” Virgin Media said.

Virgin Media plan to trial KipstR over the Christmas period.

Source: The Inquirer

Vodafone in Talks to Buy Video Streaming Service Blinkbox

Struggling video on-demand platform Blinkbox, owned by Tesco, is set to be snapped up by the ambitious Vodafone mobile network, according to The Telegraph newspaper. Vodaphone are said to have made such a forceful move that other competitors have withdrawn their bids.

Tesco is desperate to sell the struggling video service. Earlier this year, Tesco’s accounts revealed that Blinkbox had lost the company £18.5 million.

Last week, it was revealed that Vodafone is strongly considering buying Liberty Global, owner of Virgin Media, the UK broadband, TV, and phone provider. The further purchase of Blinkbox would provide Vodafone with a significant boost in content for its streaming and pay-TV services, launching next year.

Source: TNW

Vodafone Could Become Largest Telecoms Company in Europe With Takeover of Virgin Media

 

UK telecoms company Vodafone are exploring a possible takeover of Liberty Global, owner of internet and cable operator Virgin Media, making it the largest phone, internet, and TV provider in Europe.

Anonymous sources close to the deal revealed the news to Bloomberg. No deal has been agreed, nor have any negotiations have taken place, and Vodafone are said to be concerned about any potential debt the move might accrue, but serious internal deliberations are on-going.

Liberty Global has a market capitalisation of $38.3 billion, but $41.1 billion in debt after a number of European acquisitions, Virgin Media encluded. Vodafone’s market value is $97 billion, and the company has been buying up cable assets across Europe, including Spain’s Ono SA and Kabel Deutschland of Germany.

Both Vodafone and Liberty Global have so far declined to comment on the prospective deal.

Source: Bloomberg

Turns out Brits Aren’t Signing up to ISP Filters

ISP filters, you either love them or you hate them, I personally have no use for them but families with small children do. The numbers are on the decline with less and less people wanting this additional protection their ISP has to offer. It really depends on the buyer and what situation they may be in, like I said previously, some may have families with small children who use the internet for school and the parents don’t exactly want their small child watching pornography now do they. On the other hand there’s people like myself, old enough to know what’s good and bad on the internet and will automatically detect a scam or phishing website.

The stats are interesting to read through, only 5 percent of new customers accepted the filter at BT, while 8 percent did so at Sky. About 36 percent of customers signed up for the TalkTalk filter, and 4 percent bought into Virgin Media’s offer. To me this shows that TalkTalk has a lot of customers that live in family households as they have the highest sign up rate for their filter.

The Office of Communications determined that 100 percent of BT, Sky, and TalkTalk customers were immediately informed about the option to add a filter upon activation of their service. Only 35% of customers from Virgin Media were informed about their options regarding a filter.

In the end it all comes down to personal preference and whether or not you trust your kids, if you have any, when they are online but by looking at those results, it seems that British folk just don’t want to know or don’t care much for ISP filters. Can’t blame them really.

Thanks to Venturebeat for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wired.

The UK is Looking Into Alternate Solutions to Stop Illegal Torrent Downloads

The UK’s biggest internet providers in collaboration with the government and content creators are said to change the way they deal with people illegally downloading and/or sharing entertainment online. They say that instead of punishing the person, they will be sending out letters in an attempt to ‘educate’ him or her, as well as pointing out legal and comprehensive alternatives.

“We believe people will ultimately pay if they can get what they want, how they want, at a price that’s fair to them.” Virgin Media stated.

The ISPs are said to team up under the Creative Content UK campaign, which includes BT, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, as well as entertainment institutions The Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the British Record Music Industry (BPI). A significant multimedia awareness campaign is said to be the first phase, having ISPs sending out letters to users pirating content after the awareness. It’s said that people can receive up to four letters per year and nothing will happen if you choose to ignore them.

“Any alert will clearly recognise the account holder may not have engaged in copyright infringement themselves and we will be informative in tone, offering advice on where to find legitimate sources of entertainment content,” said Virgin Media. “At no point will we share any customer information as part of this campaign. By embracing digital, the creative industries can realise significant benefits, reaching millions of people with new and innovative services.”

This looks similar to what Polish developer CD Projekt, The Witcher series’ maker, did a while back. They have found alternatives to pirated entertainment by changing its focus from people who don’t want to pay and encouraging people who do.

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Eurogamer