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Is this theft, still? Leyton Walthamstow Waltham Forest E10 E17 Area 22


In a shocking continuation amounting to what might be referred to as “corporate theft” Virgin Media carries on business as usual: taking monthly fees from many customers for a service they are not only unable to provide, but worst, one they have *full knowledge* of not being able to provide.

A simple search in this forum reveals that there are many customers currently facing the same inadequate service with slow broadband speed and only intermittent service. The solutions offered have not fixed the consistent and reoccurring faults in the area. Furthermore a quick scan reveals the on-going issue with faulty broadband service dates back many years. And still in 2017, no fix. Meanwhile we have been paying a monthly fee for a service we can only fully access on average 9 months of the year. The remaining time we resign and go to a café or library to use the internet.

Having had on-going problems with broadband myself for the past 4 years I've been relentlessly digging to find answers that may resolve the intermittent fault: tediously slow connection, and an unstable connection. In the past 2 weeks sending emails has been problematic, forget about streaming video! Please note I am not talking about peak time problems, i.e. evenings and weekends but weekdays also.

The steps Virgin staff are instructed to take upon encountering our feedback about an insufficient or dysfunctional service is as follows. (We may call it the "Virgin Media's grand narrative", which so many of us in the area - and I suspect in many other areas nationwide - are entangled with.)

We call the tech helpline complaining about slow speed or service dropouts.

A friendly person helps us with one, or all of the following, each time promising that the problem will be fixed:


Reset router

Switch channels

Offer an estimated fix time

Offer £10 off the monthly fee

Send an engineer out

Send a 'free upgrade' router

None of the solutions offered have in the past fixed, nor do they now fix the problem of "high utilisation in the area". In plain English: there are too many people using the broadband service and the hardware installation (aka cables) is unable to "carry the load". In other words the service is "jammed". They refer to it as “congestion”. After each complaint call, performance is only ever temporarily improved, sometimes for only a few minutes.

In Dec 2015 I discovered, after many many complaints being escalated to management level that there is a hardware problem with the cables in the area. After some relentless digging I was further told that there is no foreseeable date scheduled to upgrade the cables, as the Borough of Waltham Forest has not granted permission for the work to go ahead.

Now I'm no tech genius but the reason I have not yet terminated my custom with Virgin Media is because I assume if the consistent problems and faults are indeed to do with hardware (aka the cable carrying the data being congested), then would the problem not migrate to whatever provider we sign up for? 

Would each provider not be using the same cable?

I secretly hope that I am wrong and that users of this forum will tell me they switched and all is working fine now, because as many in this forum will vouch, talking to Virgin Media one can loose one's will to live for all the incompetence we face when talking to this company.

Now to be clear, presumably many of us here are sympathetic to technical limitations. It is after all not the fault of the provider that the council has not granted permission for upgrades/cabling work to be carried out. It is however the responsibility of the provider to adequately inform customers of the actual service they are subscribing to and to make adjustments to monthly charges where the service is not being adequately provided.

The only feasible solution to our problem is to organise and go public in order to hold the company to account.