On Thursday, the media regulating watchdog, Ofcom produced a report of which broadband and calls providers receive the most complaints. I was shocked by their findings, especially in the broadband sector. The Ofcom report showed that Virgin Media were the least complained about company in both the broadband and landline phone sectors. Ofcom say “The least complained about provider… was Virgin Media with 0.15 complaints per 1000 customers.”
I nearly passed out when I read that!
I currently live in a North-West London flat, which receives its broadband” from Virgin Media. I use the inverted commas around the word ‘broadband’ extremely sarcastically. The internet speed is pre-historic. If more than one laptop is trying to use the connection it works at speeds that Sir Tim Berners-Lee would have expected to see way back in 1991.
Trying to load YouTube videos or connect to Xbox Live is almost laughable. If you know you need a YouTube video you have to load it in low definition for at least five minutes to be able to watch the video through. And Xbox Live is like flogging a dead horse. There’s no point in trying. You might connect to the servers, but will never be able to play anything. It took a mere 8 hours to download the Fifa 12 demo, a file which is less that 2 gigabytes!
At peak times it isn’t even the biggest most complicated sites that suffer. After 6pm on a weeknight my mid-market connection struggles to load the likes of Facebook and Twitter. It took 30 minutes before WordPress would load to write this post (at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon). This is in an area which is meant to receive super-fast fibre-optic broadband.
It’s not like I come from a background of super-speed connections either. At my home in Southampton we have an average speed AOL connection which has always been slightly disappointing. And last year, I suffered through the extremely low-speed connection of Harrow Halls of Residence, which is serving near-on one thousand students at peak times. Yet I am more annoyed by the service Virgin Media are providing me.
Between myself and my housemates, we have spent well over three hours on the phone to different members of the Virgin Media team and , well lets face it, the service we have received has been extremely poor. One member of the Virgin Media support team even questioned if we had Wi-Fi. I think we know the difference between wired internet and wireless! Even after running diagnostics on our network Virgin Media have failed to give us the speed of internet which we pay for.
Their service was topped off when they said we would have to continue paying the duration of the contract if we wanted to cancel.
It makes me wonder the relevance of Ofcom’s findings. How many people who have had problems with Virgin Media reported them to Ofcom? Can anyone defend Virgin Media?
All I know is that Virgin Media have caused us a lot of hassle and, no matter how few other people have problems have with them, we will be joining Sky when picking an internet provider in the future.