‘Millions’ hit as Virgin Media services suffer outages

virgin_mediaVirgin Media has strenuously denied that its network has buckled under the strain of high demand in the lockdown despite millions of customers being hit by a series of outages last night.

Customers from Brighton, Southampton and London to Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow reported problems accessing Virgin broadband, leading to issues connecting to services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer.

The company claims its Gig1Fibre package, which costs £62 a month, is UK’s fastest home broadband service. Reports first emerged at about 5pm and carried on through the evening. Some customers have claimed they are still experiencing problems with their Internet connection this morning.

Virgin Media, which has 5.3 million UK customers, said the issue had been fixed in the early hours. A spokesman said: “We know how frustrating this was for customers and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

So far, UK broadband suppliers appear to have coped well with the major increase in capacity due to the lockdown, in contrast to the Spanish market, where the telecoms sector has warned of a “traffic explosion” on networks since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

Telefónica, which owns O2 in the UK, has reported that Spaniards are using 40% more data during the day as families are forced into lockdown. Mobile data has jumped 50%, and WhatsApp use has increased fivefold, it added.

The firm recently joined forces with Orange and Vodafone to urge customers to reduce their Internet usage during peak hours to ensure that people working from home are not affected.

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