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timfg
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Message 1 of 51
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What is the point of Virgin Service Status?

I am working at home most of the time at the moment and am constantly online using Skype for Business.  As a result, I know pretty much immediately if my connection fails - which it generally doesn't.  But every now and then, I will have a day of minor outages, lasting typically no more than 5-10 minutes.  Today I had 7 of them, which is more than little disruptive when I am working on shared documents with a team of IT developers around the country.

This scenario is not unfamiliar - I had the same about a week ago. I have the same experience perhaps every month or two, most often on a Friday (which might be coincidental). I know this isn't down to my network or equipment, because I have a homeworking friend and neighbour 20 houses away - it's generally a race to see who is the first to message the other with something like [Removed] Virgin down again'

Given the nature of the drops and the fact that they occur during the working day, this looks very much like someone doing some work on the network locally.  My response to it happening is always to check Service Status first - and, in all of the years I have been with Virgin, I have yet to see anything recorded in it. It is near enough pointless.  My next action is always to phone Virgin and ask what the heck they are playing at, register a complaint at the useless Service Status and then fail to receive a call back to follow up. I have NEVER had a call back, despite my records apparently showing that I have.

Today I did as above, but insisted on speaking to someone who wasn't following a nonsense diagnosis script that is clearly not relevant - I'm sorry, I am not going through the rigmarole of checking connections, sticking pins in the hub etc when the problem is clearly not in this house.  He could do no more than send out an engineer tomorrow - and when he comes, I will tell him not to bother looking at my kit, it is fine, if you really don't know what was happening today that ruined my and my neighbours day then you need to RCA what we share in common and understand what is causing the drops - but I suspect it will be human intervention, quite possibly by the guy who turns up.

So, my question:

What informs the Service Status? - because I have a real sense that 'someone working on local kit or the dslam that may impact area service isn't considered worthy of recording. And what monitoring of the local service is in place? - because that doesn't seem to be doing its job either. It's utterly useless and a total waste of my time.  

If there is potential for drops caused by maintenance work, you need to tell your customers.  If there are unexplained drops, you need to tell your customers you're aware and keep them informed.  I have had enough of days totally disrupted by service failures, with absolutely no-one able to tell me what is going on and when I can expect to be able to rely on consistent service delivery again. Leaving your customers totally in the dark is beyond unacceptable.

 [MOD EDIT: Inappropriate language removed, please review the Forum Guidelines]

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jpeg1
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Message 2 of 51
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Re: What is the point of Virgin Service Status?

The Service Status is only activated for a wide area issue. It would be impractical to constantly monitor and update it for every connection.

You were fortunate to get an engineer visit so quickly for a domestic connection. If you rely on broadband for business use you should be paying for a business contract.

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timfg
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Message 3 of 51
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Re: What is the point of Virgin Service Status?

I disagree.  If work is going on in the local area, I should be alerted to it. It's not hard.

And this is 2019, not 1994. Internet provision is a fundamental of everyone's existence now, like water supply. When I am working over it, I am also listening to to Radio 4, watching the cricket, messaging friends, playing music from Spotify etc etc.  These are not work tasks, so I will make as much noise as I want about them. It is not acceptable to disrupt provision of the service I pay for without even telling me about it. My gas or water supplier wouldn't dream of it, even though I would find it less immediately disruptive - and probably wouldn't even notice. Neither should my broadband supplier.

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timfg
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Message 4 of 51
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Re: What is the point of Virgin Service Status?

"The Service Status is only activated for a wide area issue. It would be impractical to constantly monitor and update it for every connection."

And it isn't.  Not at all. Every aspect of it is automatable, if the network is has appropriate configuration management and the right governance processes are in place. The only overhead is in engineers logging what they are working on - if the CM is being done, it's trivial to SMS / email every user who might be impacted by the work advising duration of potential outages etc. 

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Message 5 of 51
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Re: What is the point of Virgin Service Status?


@timfg wrote:



Given the nature of the drops and the fact that they occur during the working day, this looks very much like someone doing some work on the network locally. 

So your contention is that every few days, or once a week, VM have someone working on your local circuit? That seems unlikely in the extreme.

 

My response to it happening is always to check Service Status first - and, in all of the years I have been with Virgin, I have yet to see anything recorded in it. It is near enough pointless. 

As noted above, service status is for area faults, not local circuit faults.

My next action is always to phone Virgin and ask what the heck they are playing at, register a complaint at the useless Service Status and then fail to receive a call back to follow up. I have NEVER had a call back, despite my records apparently showing that I have.

Yeah, CSC sucks. Got to agree with you there.

Today I did as above, but insisted on speaking to someone who wasn't following a nonsense diagnosis script that is clearly not relevant - I'm sorry, I am not going through the rigmarole of checking connections, sticking pins in the hub etc when the problem is clearly not in this house.  He could do no more than send out an engineer tomorrow - and when he comes, I will tell him not to bother looking at my kit, it is fine, if you really don't know what was happening today that ruined my and my neighbours day then you need to RCA what we share in common and understand what is causing the drops - but I suspect it will be human intervention, quite possibly by the guy who turns up.

So, my question:

What informs the Service Status? - because I have a real sense that 'someone working on local kit or the dslam that may impact area service isn't considered worthy of recording.

Good news, never again will you be troubled by an engineer working on a DSLAM. For the same reason you wont be troubled by them working on the local dilithium recrystallization chamber, or the flooglebinder. Because they dont exist on VM's network, its HFC not VDSL

And what monitoring of the local service is in place?

Depends how you define "local". Dead CMTS, VM will know about. YOUR connection dropping they wont.

- because that doesn't seem to be doing its job either. It's utterly useless and a total waste of my time.  

If there is potential for drops caused by maintenance work, you need to tell your customers.  If there are unexplained drops, you need to tell your customers you're aware and keep them informed.  I have had enough of days totally disrupted by service failures, with absolutely no-one able to tell me what is going on and when I can expect to be able to rely on consistent service delivery again. Leaving your customers totally in the dark is beyond unacceptable.

 [MOD EDIT: Inappropriate language removed, please review the Forum Guidelines]


Ive long since given up preaching "business line for business use" to people such as yourself. What I would say is connectivity is mission critical (which it seems to be) you really should have a failover to VDSL or 4G if you insist on using a residential service.

Now thats out of the road- what other symptoms are you seeing other than SKYPE falling over? What do speed tests say?

As a Very Insightful Person, I'm here to share my knowledge. I don't work for Virgin Media.

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Message 6 of 51
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Re: What is the point of Virgin Service Status?

But you don't know that VM are disconnecting your service. You are just assuming that. There may be an intermittent fault that they are not aware of.Now that you have told them it's their responsibility to check it out. 

But don't expect a business service on a domestic contract. 

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timfg
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Message 7 of 51
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Re: What is the point of Virgin Service Status?

Whatever on the technology front - it's not my area of expertise. The point is, Virgin take my money to provide a service.  Every now and then, I have a day of intermittent outages - as does my neighbour at the same time. Whatever the nature of the kit, cables and doobreys my service depends on., Virgin know what it is. If they are working on it in a way that might cause disruption to that service, they should be giving me notice of it. And, if they become aware of an undiagnosed outage, they should be telling me that too. My electricity / gas / water suppliers do a much better job on that front, despite having far less ready information about who I am and how to contact me.

It's obvious to me that the model I am describing is the one to which customers will migrate, because internet provision is no longer something they can put up with being disrupted without notice. My world is fundamentally dependent on it, from my alarm going off in the morning to the podcast I fall asleep to at night. If Virgin don't want to recognise that in their business model, then they will eventually go out of business - because other suppliers undoubtedly will. I'm not doing anything more than highlighting where their service is failing their customers - eventually they improve, or I vote with my feet. 

There was a time when people chose internet provision on the basis of cost / bandwidth / latency, perhaps jitter.  We are moving past that point, for most of the country - these are now conversations around cost / resilience - performance is not a factor any more in any real way, for a growing majority. I'm not interested in being told I need a business class service, I'll just move to the next - domestic - supplier who recognise the model that their domestic customers will buy into in 2019.  Virgin is not filling me with confidence that they will be top of the list

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Message 8 of 51
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Re: What is the point of Virgin Service Status?


@timfg wrote:

Whatever on the technology front - it's not my area of expertise. The point is, Virgin take my money to provide a service.  Every now and then, I have a day of intermittent outages - as does my neighbour at the same time. Whatever the nature of the kit, cables and doobreys my service depends on., Virgin know what it is. If they are working on it in a way that might cause disruption to that service, they should be giving me notice of it. And, if they become aware of an undiagnosed outage, they should be telling me that too. My electricity / gas / water suppliers do a much better job on that front, despite having far less ready information about who I am and how to contact me.

It's obvious to me that the model I am describing is the one to which customers will migrate, because internet provision is no longer something they can put up with being disrupted without notice. My world is fundamentally dependent on it, from my alarm going off in the morning to the podcast I fall asleep to at night. If Virgin don't want to recognise that in their business model, then they will eventually go out of business - because other suppliers undoubtedly will. I'm not doing anything more than highlighting where their service is failing their customers - eventually they improve, or I vote with my feet. 

There was a time when people chose internet provision on the basis of cost / bandwidth / latency, perhaps jitter.  We are moving past that point, for most of the country - these are now conversations around cost / resilience - performance is not a factor any more in any real way, for a growing majority. I'm not interested in being told I need a business class service, I'll just move to the next - domestic - supplier who recognise the model that their domestic customers will buy into in 2019.  Virgin is not filling me with confidence that they will be top of the list


SO basically you would rather sound off than get any help?

There are many scenarios with the doobreys that will cause your symptoms, 99% of which are easily fixed. But up until you provide some answers to the questions Ive asked and then some metrics, no way to tell.

NO widely available residential ISP currently guarantees either uptime, or actively monitors if your connection is up and running or not. How would that work? You turn your router off at night (as many do) and they dispatch an engineer to fix a non fault? Thats your idea of a business model?

You have a choice- take our help, or continue to sound off about things none of us have any control over. Over to you.

 

 

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timfg
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Message 9 of 51
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Re: What is the point of Virgin Service Status?

My neighbour is out at the same time as me. It's nothing happening in my house.  Provision of service to my house - and my neighbour's house - is my suppliers problem, not mine. There is - without question - a ton of room in the way that V's service to me could be improved, mostly without increasing any opex. I don't need any help - the fact that I am out when my neighbour is out is all I need to know about what I need to do. If it was just me I'd react entirely differently.

"Thats your idea of a business model? "

Yes. I do it for a living. There are myriad ways that V could improve what they do, in a competitive market, in order to maintain market-share - and its competitors know all this just like they do. People like me, and my neighbour and - no doubt - many others will vote with their feet for the greatest £ / resilience equation, now that performance is no longer an issue that impacts my propensity to buy in any real way. V cannot compete on any other basis for me - every aspect of what they deliver to me is fine... but they keep unexpectedly allowing the provision to fail.  So, in time, I will find a supplier who does this less often, mitigates it or doesn't do it at all at a price I consider worth paying, perhaps less than I currently pay V. If they don't move toward that, they'll eventually go out of business. It's market-economics 101.

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Message 10 of 51
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Re: What is the point of Virgin Service Status?

By all means try some other ISPs. There's plenty to choose from. 

When you find one that offers to monitor your connection 24/7, and guarantees a business class service at a domestic price, let us know.

I'll follow you there. 

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