The answer to this question ought to be just one. Unfortunately, over the last month I have lost count of how many engineers have been involved. The most recent one ‘fixed’ it by declaring that the router Virgin Media supplied was not capable of delivering a wifi signal if you chose a channel for it to broadcast through. Apparently it has to use the “auto” setting. That’s ridiculous. Why can’t I just set it to a channel which none of my neighbours use?
Over the last month, I’ve had 6 engineers visit my home in 4 visits. They’ve had to liaise with numerous other people over the telephone. Sometimes that has involved them going out into the street to make a private call. Doubtless they were somewhat embarassed at having to negotiate with their own managers as to whether they could use a laptop or not. I could hear every call. I refuse to let them use my own machine, partly because it is in my private study (which I fondly call my library), which contains much of my as yet unpublished fictional writing scattered around – I keep it there knowing that it is safe from prying eyes, partly because there are some private legal documents in there and partly because I’ve read loads of stories online about Virgin Media engineers messing up people’s computers and blaming the problems on “a virus”. I tend to believe these stories because of the amount of demonstrable bullshit I’ve had to contend with from these people.
In many ways, the last fellow was the most honest. When faced with simple questions like, “Given what you know about the history of my service connection, wouldn’t you agree that the problem is caused by your company turning the signal on and off?” he just stayed silent. He also told me that there were 18 company engineers in the Brighton area but only 10 of them had there own laptops. (All the rest told me that there were only “two or three” laptops kicking around.) @VirginMedia on twitter told me that their engineers don’t need their own computers generally but if they do, they can call up a manager for one to “pop round“. Therefore, this last chap was a manager. Yet he couldn’t work his own laptop. He didn’t seem to know how to reboot it – that took him over 10 minutes. He left me with a reset wifi cloud unprotected by a password because he couldn’t get his laptop to work at all. Looking over his shoulder it really did look like someone had thrown a proper spanner into the works (Windows XP). Clearly, I was right not to let them near my machine.
I pay Virgin Media £25 per month. For every day my internet is down or substantially below what they promise in terms of speed, they give me £5 credit. I have to ring up and ask for it. Each call takes about 15 minutes. It will be some time before I have to pay for the service again, due to the amount of credit I have accrued.
Several people have asked me on twitter why I stick with this terrible company? Without a landline, an ADSL connection would cost me a similar amount I suspect. However, the real reason I held out was the promised holy grail of very fast speeds. Finally, it looked like I have got my hands on the holy goblet. At least it did when the engineer left. Here’s what speedtest.net says my speed is:
That’s another £5 for me, more bad publicity for that wanker Richard Branson who is buying swathes of our NHS and more trouble for his company Virgin Media to come… by the way, the manager engineer who didn’t like to answer tricky questions made a phone call to establish that there were no contention ratio issues in my area.