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Posts Tagged ‘virgin media’

Virgin Media: How to really annoy your customers

March 15, 2008 6 comments

I struggled to decide what title to use for this article, since it covers several aspects of a company that doesn’t seem to know its arse from its elbow. The important bit first is some advice for any existing customer of Virgin media, especially those with the £37 a month ‘Broadband XL’ package and a Virgin Media phone line.

Have a look at this page, then call Virgin Media’s customer services on 150 from your Virgin Media phone line, or 0845 454 1111 from any other phone line. Select option 2 to change your package, and tell the customer services person you want the same deal as new customers. They will say they can’t offer you that deal as it’s only for new customers (I was offered a package for £55), so tell them you want to cancel all your Virgin Media services. You will be transferred to the ‘retentions’ department, who should agree to move you to the new prices if you take a new 12 month contract. Read more…

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Post Updates

March 5, 2008 Leave a comment

AriaThings are a bit quiet at the moment so I thought I would update a couple of my recent posts concerning Aria and Virgin Media. First, I returned a graphics card to Aria on Friday 15th February after it was found to be dead on arrival. The parcel was signed for at Aria on 18th February, and on 21st February I received an email notifying me that the item had been passed to the technical department for testing. The email advised that I should receive testing details within three days but please allow up to 28 days. That was the last I heard concerning the matter. On 22nd February £32.25 was refunded to my credit card by Aria. That’s pretty quick testing so thumbs up for that, but a short email confirming that the card was faulty and the money would be refunded would have been nice. One week from sending the faulty part to having the money refunded is good service compared to several other companies I no longer use, so I have no problem continuing to recommend Aria.

Virgin MediaMore good news on the Virgin Media cable modem front as well. Since the replacement arrived I have had no further lock-ups and the new model appears to be handling the 20Mbit connection better. Last week I replaced my Belkin router (manageable by internet explorer only) and benq 802.11b wireless access point with a Netgear wireless router. On Sunday morning I started a large bittorrent download and was amazed to see the download speed hitting 2.4 MB a second, way faster than the previous high of 1.9MB/s. I still think Virgin Media are being unclear about their ‘unlimited’ broadband and the customer service is poor, but at least I have a connection that can hit peak download speeds for 20 minutes before the cap kicks in.

The EU backs bittorrent

February 23, 2008 3 comments

The EU have invested $22 million in the development of an open-source bitTorrent client. The BBC are one of the largest groups involved in the effort, planning to use the new client to stream TV programs. According to the article on Torrent Freak more than half of all bittorrent users are downloading TV episodes and the broadcast companies are waking up to the this.

There’s just one problem with this. A large amount of ISP’s are currently limiting the bandwidth available for bittorrent on their network. Virgin media have had a download cap in place for a while, and also appear to be limiting bittorrent in other ways. If I use bittorrent all the other internet traffic slows down, even if the torrent is only using 500Kb/s out of my theoretical 2,500Kb/s maximum download speed. So much for unlimited internet.

At a time when software like Tribler is appearing to make it easier to find and download bittorrent content, we may end up not being able to use it at all. Just remember that bittorrent users are selfish and inconsiderate (I know that’s crazy, but it’s Virgin Media’s view). Bear in mind that this is an unlimited service they’re talking about.

The problem here is that bittorrent is become a standard for sharing content. If ISP’s don’t get on board and give their customers what they want they risk losing out. ISP’s who plan ahead and invest in equipment that can handle the demand will take the customers. Instead of demonising the ‘greedy users’, why not stop spouting marketing crap and give us what we pay for?

The new cable modem

February 6, 2008 Leave a comment

Virgin MediaThree weeks after Virgin Media told me they would send a new cable modem it finally arrived. I suppose I should be thankful since it only took 20 days to get here when they did advise to allow up to 28 days. It’s really one day to get here as the package was sent yesterday, so I guess my name was added to the next batch to be sent out (am I being cynical wondering how long new customer have to wait?).
I had to call Virgin support to get the MAC address added to their system. Fortunately this was an 0800 number so I didn’t have to pay 25p a minute to sit in the queue like existing customers wanting technical support (sorry, being cynical again). The modem, a Scientific Atlanta 2100, sprang to life within a minute of the MAC address being activated, and it’s looking good so far. I fired up a torrent download and was seeing 1.6MB/s with peaks of 1.9MB/s. Thats a bit faster than the old Motorola modem, and it was looking great until the cap kicked in and I’m now crawling along at 500KB/s.
I’m hoping that’s the last of the lockups that were pinned on the Motorola modem, so I will post again in a week or so if all is going well.

Two weeks and still waiting for Virgin

January 31, 2008 Leave a comment

Virgin MediaI wrote recently about my problems with my aging Cable modem and Virgin Media’s email response. It’s now 15 days since the email arrived, so by Virgin’s advice I should be getting the replacement modem some time in the next 13 days. My connection continues to drag it’s heels and fall over if I look at it funny.

Does this work the other way round? I was wondering if I could tell Virgin to allow up to 28 days for my next bill to be paid.

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What happened to Virgin Broadband?

January 22, 2008 3 comments

Virgin MediaI’ve been on the Telewest/Virgin Broadband service for many years. So many in fact I can’t remember when I joined. I have emails to my Blueyonder address from early 2001, so that’s at least 7 years. Without wanting to sound like a preachy old git, it used to be a good service. I started on the 512Mb connection, and always got it. 2Mb, 4Mb, 10Mb and now 20Mb speeds have followed, but the last one was a very mixed ‘upgrade’. I was happy with the Telewest Blueyonder 10Mb service. Download speeds were usually over 1 megabyte a second.
Then Virgin took over, and heavily publicised the doubling of broadband speeds. My connection went to 20Mb, but I saw very little speed improvement over the 10Mb service. The biggest shock came when my download speed started dropping. I eventually found out that Virgin were capping the download speed at 5Mb if you used too much bandwidth between 4pm and midnight. I say eventually found out because unlike the 20Mb upgrade Virgin didn’t publicise this change. The 20Mb service is still sold as unlimited, as shown here, or here. No disclaimers, asterisks or anything else to say it’s not an unlimited service. Only it isn’t, as shown here.

Read more…