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12th August, 2009 by Daniel

There’s a lot of stories about at the moment saying that broadband now is just one of the necessities for the home these days. Our current broadband situation I setup when we moved into the flat as has barely changed at all in those three years. I’ve been trying to think who i’ve had as an ISP over the years, since leaving home it’s been Pipex who kind of screwed us on disconnection, can’t remember the next one – the signal was very patchy in my room anyway and then post Uni it’s been BT the whole time and i’ve never had any problem with it. I suspect it’s slightly expensive for what we get, but it’s certainly fast enough but working in a data centre I have a warped sense of what’s fast when it comes to home internet.

The new house we’re hopefully moving too is in a cabled area and we want to have Sky Sports and HD. However, Virgin don’t really seem to provide much in the way of HD and at the moment I don’t really see the point of paying for TV channels on my nice big TV that aren’t HD).
So do we get Virgin’s nice shiny Fibre Optic broadband and a phone line with them or get the broadband and phone with Sky which overall works out cheaper but isn’t fibre optic (which as i’ve mentioned is shiny). I’ve always said if you have the option of cable, you should. But this cable broadband thing is new to me – we had Cable back in Loughborough but at that time it was TV & phone only.

Sky will do the whole lot for £55 or £45 for the TV bit only (Sky Sports, HD, etc) and the Virgin Media bit is £25/month for 10Mb/s or £31 for 20Mb/s).

I’ve pretty much convinced myself to do it this way, especially having done the sums on how much we’ll be saving when it comes to not renting anymore. The only other question is how good is Virgin’s router? I’d like an excuse to have to get a Linksys WRT54GL or maybe one of Apple’s Airport base stations, I think i’d prefer the Linksys.


  1. Tom says:

    Virgin don’t provide a router, they provide an ethernet bridge.

    You plug in a single (firewalled) PC, and it gets a public IP address via DHCP.

    Alternatively, you connect a router of your own choice to the bridge to do NAT etc.

    I don’t think they can provide > 1 public IP address, but I may be wrong.

    “Fibre Optic Broadband” is actually fibre to the cabinet, then coax to your door. You can then get them to do a multi-room installation, with a splitter on the incoming cable coax feed and boxes wherever you want. I would assume you can locate the cable modem (bridge) wherever you want in your house by connecting it to one of the splitter ports.

  2. Daniel says:

    Oh didn’t know about the bridge thing seems to point at providing a router. Is that from experience or did you hear it from someone? That’s the way it used to be when we got our broadband via NTL circa 2005, I stuck a belkin router on top of it and that worked fine (not that I’d recommend the pain of a Belkin router again).
    I’m not too fussed about >1 public IP’s.
    I knew about the fibre to the cabinet thing, hey it’s better than you’re gonna get with anything else – can switch over once they do start offering it to the home proper.

  3. Tom says:

    Personal experience from a new cable installation last week near Reading. The bridge was stamped “NTL” actually. I wonder if you buy “wireless broadband” they send you a Netgear router *and* the bridge? (There was a netgear router at this installation that noone seemed to know where it came from, so I guess Virgin could have supplied it…)

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