The Broadband Fiasco
By Will O'Connor on 3 April 2012
As I write this article in my top floor N10 flat, my twitter feed tells me that Virgin Media have posted their first ever profit, reporting a net income of £75.9m for 2011. The accompanying quote from the Virgin CEO reads "The combination of the best TV experience and the best broadband has enabled us to acquire more new customers in the quarter."
The best broadband? Really? You'll be pushed to find a handful of households in Muswell Hill who'll attest that statement. You only have to read the constant drip of twitter comments lambasting their broadband service being consistently down to know that it’s a big problem.
‘Nice that my broadband went down all night :p thanks virgin media....’
‘Virgin Media Server Is Down AGAIN, I Got No Cable Or Wifi, Sort It Please Asap!!
In some cases customer’s broadband had been down for days on end. There's been so much disdain for Virgin that according to one MyMuswell member, there have been over 100 complaints this month from N10 customers.
I've lived in and around Muswell Hill for the last 7 years. Having done extensive research on comparison sites for broadband deals, Virgin always offered a very competitive rate. I gave them a go. Barry, the nice BT engineer that installed my phone line, told me that the local exchange was so close that i should get the fastest broadband speed possible. All the music, movies and surfing i could ever need.
Not once have I been able to stream iplayer without interruption. I have to leave my computer on overnight to download films or music, and even then its not always finished in the morning. I’ve tried complaining but after the ninth of tenth occasion, what’s the point?
A little research will tell you that both Virgin and BT, two of the biggest broadband providers in UK, have attempted to trail faster broadband technology in the past. On both occasions their plans have been halted due to protests from local residents who say the roadside cabinets are too big and ugly, blocking pavements as well as causing inconvenience to car drivers. I wonder if we all still agree with this protest now.
So what’s the future?
Although Virgin Media boastfully promise broadband speeds '13 times faster than the UK’s average’, they are currently under investigation by the Advertising Standards Authority following complaints – did any of these come from Muswell Hill?!
So it seems we’re stuck with temperamental broadband for the time being, at least on Virgin Media anyway. I know there are many Muswell residents who are trying to get out of their broadband contracts. If anyone has had any joy quitting Virgin or can recommend a more reliable service, please post comments below.