As we all know, Virgin Media abuses its monopoly position over cable broadband in the UK. After three days without any internet and futile attempts to contact Virgin Media customer support, this morning I got up at 5:30am and called them again at 6:00am. At last, I got through to a human being and arranged for an engineer to come to me to fix the connection. I was told that the engineer would come between Noon and 4pm. He turned up with a few seconds to spare.
The engineer plugged a special handset into my cable, took some readings and declared that he thought that an open cable had been noise blocked. “What?” He looked blank when I asked him that so I asked again, “What do you mean?” He told me that some noise could have crept into an “open port” and that was something Virgin Media couldn’t allow because it would interfere with their service. “What do you mean, open port?” He told me that if a cable was exposed… “do you mean not plugged into the router?“… yes, he said, that noise could get into it and then Virgin Media’s noise blocker would kick in. I pointed out that my cable had been plugged in continuously but the internet service had packed in on Friday. Later on he realised that there was a second connection coming into my house and said that would have been the source of the problem, “which can be caused by power tools – they are very noisy“. Amazed at his audacity, I asked him if he really was talking about audio noise. He confirmed that he was.
Anyone walking into my house right now can see that power tools have recently been used. However, I stopped using them some time before the fault developed. I followed him outside, pointing this out. He examined the box outside my house and mumbled something about the noise blocker not being present in the connection. Then he ran up the road to their junction box. When he returned he announced, “well, that’s that theory blown away” and then revealed that the signal strength which Virgin Media had delivered was too low. He had bumped it up and lo, the internet came back.
This ‘theory’ of his is, of course, utter bullshit. Audio noise cannot get into a coaxial connection, let alone make its way down a fibre optic cable. Whilst he was entertaining me with this ‘theory’, I played the fool. Obviously, his job is meaningless and dull. Presumably he told me this barefaced lie to liven it up. Perhaps it is a game he plays with his workmates – who can get away with the biggest porkie? Some of Virgin Media’s customers will not know their technical elbow from their arse. I can imagine some older people creeping around their house, worried that they might interfere with their internet connection. If he’s prepared to say that to the middle-aged me, just think what’s he prepared to do to a little old lady. Bastard. Official complaint will follow but in the mean time, Virgin Media’s twitter team kept up the game.
The fact is that my internet connection was okay until Friday. Of course, it never reaches the promised speeds, is frequently throttled even when I’m not using it much and often breaks down.
Plainly, my signal was turned down on Friday by one of their engineers. That was the cause of the problem. Perhaps it was the same oik that thought it cool to lie to my face? Whatever the reason, can this simply not be divined and cured from afar? I’ve been given a £10 credit on my account. That’s not the end of the matter. Virgin Media, you’ve got me on your case now. When can I have my 30Mbs service? You know, the one I’ve paid for? If I never get it, surely you are committing an offence? I doubt you’ll let me pay my bill on the same basis that you charge me? You’ll be hearing from me again.