Virgin Media hikes prices for 5 million customers

Company said rising bills were not linked to recent dispute with UKTV 

The company said prices would rise by between £2 and £4 per month
The company said prices would rise by between £2 and £4 per month

Virgin Media has announced price hikes for its cable service, which includes broadband, TV and fixed-line phones, which will affect five million customers.

The broadband provider said prices for “the significant majority” of customers will rise by between £2 and £4 per month, or an average increase of 4.5 per cent.

The company said this was a lower price hike than last year, despite the fact that broadband usage on its network had increased by almost 40 per cent since then, with approximately 60 per cent of total traffic now due to more streaming of video.

Virgin blamed a 300 per cent increase in business rates on broadband networks for making it necessary to raise bills, as it faces higher costs to build and run the network.

The changes to bills will take effect from October onwards.

A spokesperson for Virgin Media said: “Increasing prices is not a decision which we take lightly. We work hard to keep our prices competitive while continuing to invest in our network and improve the services we offer our customers.

“Over the past year we’ve invested around a billion pounds in our network and upgraded many of our customers to faster broadband while introducing a new top speed of 362Mbps – the fastest widely available speed in the market.”

The company also said the price hikes had nothing to do with a recent dispute with UKTV over digital rights.

In July, Virgin Media told customers that it would slash UKTV channels, including Gold and Dave, from its offering.

UKTV is jointly owned by the BBC and US broadcaster Discovery, and the dispute was linked to the BBC’s claim to the streaming rights of its programming, which it does not want to make freely available through UKTV Play, the company’s on-demand service. UKTV was resisting price cuts proposed by Virgin.

However, Virgin Media and UKTV have since come to an agreement which will see the channels restored on the Virgin Media service, and new ones added.

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