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Oversold capacity on the local broadband

Hi - A neighbour and I have been having problems with using the BB internet, it is constantly buffering and two nights ago, at about 9:30pm we'd have about 4 seconds movement on our smart TV to 20 seconds buffering.  Capacity is so bad that even checking an iphone for email (low data content) can throw off the TV.  We've lost money paying for Netflix movies as watching them a few seconds at a time is just too frustrating.  Using a single iphone on the wifi should not break the system.  We aren't working from home or online gaming or anything data intensive, other than sometimes watching TV via the wifi link.  We regularly have discussions at home - could he come off facebook on his phone so that I can check email on my phone - both cannot happen at the same time.  We also go home and turn the Wifi off using our precious and expensive phone 3G data allowances so that at least we get some sort of connection, this is fine until the allowance runs out...

The speed and buffering have been getting steadily worse over the last few months and before Christmas became unbearable and has stayed terrible ever since.  The Indian call centre has assured me that this was a known fault (to be fixed by the end of Jan), that we'd been notified about the problem (when? how? We have no recollection, except that we were contacted by email before Christmas to be told that the cost was going up), that they don't support wireless devices (disappointing as this is primarily what we use the internet for - I don't have a cable to plug my iphone into the router).

After a small refund to apologise for a couple of days of slow usage but I kept ringing to complain about no improvement.  There has been endless tinkering about remotely to improve our signal and going through the turning it off, turning it on routine.  When the wifi indicator on our tablets shows a strong signal this tells me that there is no problem between the devices and the router, but that the problem is outside.

Eventually I was told that Virgin had oversold capacity on our network and that there were too many users in the neighbourhood.  I was advised to avoid using the internet between 4pm and 11pm - peak times.  Yep, I've taken to watching murder dramas and the news on my phone while getting dressed in the morning!  What I was also told is that the "fix" won't be applied until the end of April.

  • Why weren't Virgin proactive to let us know that the date of the fix had been moved? 
  • Why did they think that we wouldn't notice that the service level has dropped? 
  • Why have they kept charging until we complain?
  • Why keep making out that I'm using it wrong when the neighbours have the same issue?  How long do I leave it before moving back to BT?
  • Why is a single device checking email too much data?

I've had a further refund/credit but frankly I'd rather just receive what I pay for and Virgin are contracted to supply.

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Message 2 of 3
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Re: Oversold capacity on the local broadband

Let's answer your questions in order. Can't quote on phone to make it easier reading but will take the bullet point. As a start though, don't take any date phone staff say as a fix date, despite them calling it one. VM cannot guarantee when works will be completed (or started) so forum staff use review dates as a point where hopefully more information into how far the progress is getting along is. These get bumped back a fair bit though (just like your 'fix' date from the phone staff)

Not proactive: money

Notice: most people won't notice a small drop it speeds, it's pretty common to happen, your speeds have just dropped to a point you cannot help but notice.

Charging till you complain: Again, money. They are a business.

Using it wrong: ultimately VM supply you with a 'pipe' of Internet to your house, the follow up of that is a wired connection to a computer. Wireless is a very flakey medium at best, prone to lots of interference from many things outside yours and VMs control. Ultimate if you want the speeds (once your locality is fixed) then you will need to be wired as much as possible.

One device too much: it's less of it being one device it's more of how many of your neighbours are on, and using, VM services at the same time. VM tend to oversell in areas to the point no one has usable services.

Contracted to supply: You were sold an 'up to' service and you receive an 'up to' service. Your internet will be perfectly usable between midnight and about 3/4pm so retroactively you are getting full speed for a considerable chunk of the day. I appreciate it isn't the time of day you would like to use it but this is their argument point for why the credits are small.

Ultimately if you are not locked in contract your best plan of action is to look at alternative suppliers for Internet.
All posts made are personal opinions as I do not work for VirginMedia.
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Message 3 of 3
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Re: Oversold capacity on the local broadband


When the digital congestion in an area is so bad you're getting ripped off on the smallest package, everyone has a right to complain. I'm in an area right now where 200Mb lines are going as slow as 1Mbps in an area, we've heard zip from Virgin and after complaining, I finally got the money knocked off the bill. But only for a reduction to 50Mb for the last several months.

Virgin oversell areas, that's fair. But saying I can get 200Mbps speeds during 12am - 4pm Mon-Fri is a kick in the teeth. In fact, there's a good reason for that. I and a great deal of others, sleep and work during those hours.

It's not difficult for a company as large as Virgin to send a letter or email to alert customers. But that would cost them money. If I hadn't complained I'd be paying £45pm for 1-50Mbps broadband. So do you think that is fair? It's so far taken them 6 months to get enough Fibre laid out to get my area up to speed.

Personally, until Virgin lay out enough lines to handle the traffic, they shouldn't even advertise 100-200Mbps lines in an area. But that would make them honest. 



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