Terrible internet service from Virgin Media

We moved into our current property in July and shortly after had Virgin Media come round and install our TV and 30mb broadband package. For the first 2 months the service was fantastic, super fast and very few problems. By the middle of September the internet started to get slower and slower and became unusable. In a house of 5 students, 30mb should be sufficient to cover most of our needs but having done numerous speed tests over the last few months and receiving on average 1mb or less during peak times, the connection has made even web browsing tedious.

Getting to the bottom of the problem required many phone calls to Virgin Media’s customer service, and we also approached their reps on Twitter. Initially we were told it was a known fault in the area (Leicester, LE2 – F001984096), we didn’t think too much of it, we thought they would be getting it fixed as soon as they could.

“The issue itself is a result of a high amount of traffic and data passing through the port that provides your broadband, and this is why you’re performance is being affected. We had hoped to have things back performing super fast again quite soon, however things have been a little more complex to fix than first thought.

I’ve had a chat with our Network guys and they’re confirmed we’re working towards getting your broadband working perfectly by the 5th of December 2012.”

The customer service rep in the call centre credited our account for the bad service and also arranged an engineer to visit, to check there were no other problems with our individual line. A new Super Hub was installed, but even this took a number of attempts as the connection was so bad the engineer struggled to get the new box to activate. Surprised by how bad things were the engineer made a few calls. It was explained that the bad connection in the area was due to Virgin Media installing 250 new connections into the new student accommodation block at the end of the road, subsequently overloading the network in the area. This is why our connection has been bad since September, all the students moved in and there wasn’t enough bandwidth to go round. Our engineer told us at this point that it wasn’t due to be fixed until January 2013.

By 5th December 2012, the supposed fix date, there was no change to our terrible connection so we continued to pursue the issue. Another email was sent and a new fix date was received.

“Thanks for getting back in touch, sorry to hear things are still not any better for you.

Looks like the estimated fix date has now been pushed back to 16/01/2013.

I appreciate this isn’t great news for you and wish I had better news for you.”

It would seem that the 5th December was a date pulled out of the air to keep disgruntled customers quiet for a few weeks (like they’ve never done that before..). Yes we have received credit for the bad connection, they sent the engineer out to us pretty quickly and the responses we have received through phone calls and Twitter have been quick and detailed, however it isn’t acceptable to have a connection this bad, which Virgin Media have known about, from September to January. The only reason we have received credit is because we have chased the problem. I wonder how many people in the area are still paying full price for a service that is known to be under performing?

The icing on the cake was the letter received yesterday detailing that Virgin Media were putting their prices up in the new year. Amazing, can’t knowingly deliver a reliable service but perfectly happy to increase prices.

It isn’t fair that we have to wait this long to get the problem fixed, are we expected to sit around quietly until January like this is acceptable service? I decided that for every day of advent (and the 12 days of Christmas by the time we get to it) I will be tweeting my peak time connection speed, just so the problem doesn’t go unnoticed.

#vmadvent #fibreoptic

rlbadland: 9th day of advent my 30mb #fibreoptic broadband gave to me,0.45 downstream,0.80 upstream & 38 days ’til it gets fixed @virginmedia #vmadvent


UPDATE (06/01/13):

After receiving a reply from a reader who was suffering the same bad connection I got in touch with Virgin Media’s Twitter team once more to find out the fix date has definitely been changed again.

“The projected fix date is now 30/01/13. Apologies that we’re having to push this back, sometimes unforeseen circumstances can arise, that delay the engineers in getting this sorted out. Rest assured, the job is a high priority & we’re hard at it. – JG”

Customers in the area will have had to put up with a bad connection for 5 months, and that is assuming they will actually fix it on the 30th January. It’s not good enough, the disruption it must cause people in their final year trying to write a dissertation is awful.