Just FYI I am trying to help with this as I have other things in the past. While I may not provide you the catharsis of displaying your complaints in public I have the right connections in the media and technical organisations to make things happen.
Perhaps I should just start a thread here and soak up the kudos rather than actually getting things done?
This is going to be a fun month. Some people need to lube up and brace themselves.
This is symptomatic of the outsourcing of various operations within the company, including sending the NMCs and other network operations to Ericsson, increasing reliance for business as usual work on contractors, meaning when they complete their contracts they take their expertise with them, and the lack of coherence within the business that this creates.
Poor record keeping has been around since time immemorial. Changing how the business operated removed the ability to rely on experienced, motivated staff to mitigate it.
Many of the causes of the capacity issues would have been perfectly evident had having experienced, permanent staff been placed at more of a premium.
There have been drives to reduce operational expenditure for a long time. Liberty took it to the next level and things like this are the result. It doesn't actually help as the business ends up throwing money at the PR and operational problems to try and remedy them.
The experience of Virgin Media staff should be more respected within the group as a whole. The UK and Ireland are markets where usage is high, prices are moderately high and expectations are high. Just because there's not a mass of fibre to the home in the UK is not a licence to treat it with lower priority than other nations. That said it's also quite fair not to have ridiculous thresholds where networks are allowed to visibly degrade severely at peak times before you even start the process of upgrade. The business in the UK has for too long clung to the 'our speeds' page and the regulatory requirement to just have 10% of the customer base hit top speed in order to permit advertising. Now that looks like it's going to change in a big way, again, the business is having to throw money at remedying the issues.
Cutting spending then having to engage in expensive crisis management is a dumb way to run a business and a cycle that's been going on in UK cable for far too long. Enough already. Focus on not having any visible contention on the network at all, launch upgrades at an earlier stage, preferably before they are a problem, and try and always ensure that capacity relief doesn't involve years of planning and work when it is needed.
I suspect however that everything I've said above is preaching to the converted and most of it has been addressed with the rest bouncing off the bean counters at group level.
I've been banging on about this for years but advertising in a similar manner to Comhem in Sweden has a lot going for it. The network is capable of delivering a manner of speed 'guarantee' and there is no excuse for customers to be hitting less than half their speed at peak times.
Get DOCSIS 3.1 ready to go so that heavy users can be shifted on to it in the immediate term, relieving the 3.0 network, and in the short term gigabit speeds are available. Larger scale FTTP at gigabit speeds is coming, and it's coming soon. Either steal a march and get there first with widespread gigabit and higher quality on the 3.1 or lose out. The Borg may not appreciate the UK asking for more money after the problems with Lightning but for better or worse we seem to be entering a period where, despite recession, etc, possibly looming, wallets are opening to invest in infrastructure.
The CEO effectively trying to pass the blame onto the sales staff, when ultimately he should take the responsibility for knowing exactly what is going on in the company does not exactly cover him in glory. I know that his email account has received a large number of complaints and although I wouldn't expect that he read any of them, with some poor customer relations employees having to make the resulting calls, I would expect that he would have been made aware of what I was told by one of said poor employees about an increasing number of over-utilisation complaints. Also, surely he should be taking regular status reports on each part of the network and again, those would have pointed to the need for some corrective action.
If I read his comments correctly, part of VM's response will be to never over claim on their download speeds, suggesting that 100Mbps would be the norm. You will have to forgive me, but I am currently only paying for a 50Mbps connection, having downgraded from 200Mbps, when VM had given me an infamous "review date" several months into the future. Given that, during peak time, I am currently only getting single figure download speeds and often less than 5Mbps, that would still leave me as a regular contributor to this forum.
I will watch this evening's programme with interest, but let's say I am not overly optimistic about a resolution, any time soon. It will be good if they do stop signing new customers up in already congested areas, as that should stop the problem getting any worse, if it could, and might actually speed up the apparently much-needed investment in their network.
VM continue to sell online in areas hit by utilisation issues. They continue to offer upgrades which they can't deliver when affected users log on to their account.
I see no commitment from VM to stop selling broadband to new customers or upgrades to existing customers in areas affected by utilisation faults. They continue to blatantly sell something they can't deliver, which must surely make utilisation faults even worse.
I see no commitment to improve planning and capacity to prevent utilisation problems, to spot trouble brewing and take action before we see the shocking impact of their failures. If there are long lead times involved, start the process early.
There is no transparency. We don't see utilisation faults when we check the service status. We get no information about what they are really doing to try to address specific faults. No dates for when various actions are completed. Just vauge Review Dates. We have to complian persistently to get any kind of action. This should be automatic.
They do need to train their Indian call centre staff to understand customer complaints and to act accordingly, even if is just to offer accurate information and offer a discount.
Will any of this happen? I doubt it.
Today's media reports will be quickly forgotten, so I expect they'll just tough it out rather than do the right thing. Losing customers is one way to solve utilisation problems.
I've just been watching Watchdog and you CEO has just said that the people on the program have had their connections fixed.
As that would appear to suggest that over-utilisation problems might not be as hard to fix as VM have been telling me for the last 6 months or so, can I now take it that your newly found fixing skills can be similarly applied to my connection and those of the other long-suffering peeps on this forum?