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ajcwestlondon
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Broadband/phone cables look messy and vulnerable

Hi, I wonder if anyone could please advise? We are Virgin Media customers (broadband and landline) and the cables run from the street to the brown box on our front wall via our front garden. Until the end of July there was a thick growth of bamboo on that side of the garden, but that has now been cleared. However, the cables (which were mostly hidden by the bamboo) are now completely exposed and are looking messy and vulnerable.

We initially contacted Virgin Media on 30 July to request an engineer visit to tidy up/ make safe the cables, and so the first engineer visit took place on 02 August. He told us that there was not much he could do and that we should contact customer services to arrange a further engineer/contractor visit to actually replace the cables, as they couldn't be shortened.

(I have attached some photos of the cables. You can see two orange plastic gel seal enclosures where the cables were repaired after being damaged by foxes in previous years. There is quite a bit of slack in the thinner (phone?) cable and it's hanging a bit loose in places, also you can see a bundle of this thinner cable next to a pillar. Also there is a place close to the street where the end of a severed cable protrudes from the other cables - this isn't affecting our broadband or phone service but we don't know what it's actually connected to.)

Phone line (?) loopsPhone line (?) loopsGel seal enclosuresGel seal enclosuresGel seal enclosureGel seal enclosureLoose endLoose endLoose endLoose end

So we contacted Virgin Media customer services to arrange this second visit. I have to add that it has been difficult trying to explain the situation to Virgin Media customer services. The automated chat bot is not very helpful and the people, although polite, were not able to clarify a) when the second visit could be arranged (although I did get assurances it would be very soon), b) what exactly would be done and c) how long we might expect to be unable to use broadband while the work was being done.

In the next few days we saw confirmation that the second visit would take place on 17 August. However, I submitted a complaint, via the Virgin Media complaints web form, due to the lack of other information, as previous experience suggested this could help to move things forward. I received a call from the Virgin Media complaints department on 12 August and I was told that it was not possible to confirm what would be done (except tidy up the cables, basically) or if we would be unable to use the internet during this work (and if so, how long might we expect not to be able to use the service) - we would have to get the information from the engineer on the day. The complaint was then closed.

On 17 August the second engineer visit took place. It was scheduled to be between 1pm and 6pm that day, but he was delayed by earlier jobs and arrived around 6:30. He did somewhat tidy up the cables in some places where they were trailing over the ground, attaching one or more cable clips to fasten the cables to the garden wall, and also bundled the phone cable together (he mentioned the fact that there would need to be a service loop).

However, when he had called me earlier that afternoon to let me know when he would be arriving, he also mentioned that he hadn't received any notes about what the issue was, and I then had to tell him about the cable situation, so it seems he wasn't provided with any information beforehand. Possibly he did what he felt he could do in the short time frame he had - basically it was early evening and the end of the working day.

And the situation with the cables hasn't really changed much - as you can see from the photos, the cables still look messy and vulnerable.

Rather than raise the matter a third time with customer services via phone/chat, which would be frustrating and possibly have little chance of success, I was planning to make a second complaint in writing. However, I think the photos help to show the nature of the problem, and rather than print these out to accompany a letter, I thought of trying the forum first.

Ideally, the outcome we'd like to see is the broadband and phone cables running together from the street to our house, neatly and unobtrusively secured to the wall at every point along the way (without needing the gel seal enclosures, if possible).

My questions are:

1) The first engineer told me that the cables should be replaced rather than just tidied up - what's the best way to request this to be done?
2) Is this work (replacing cables) chargeable? Elsewhere on the forum I've seen a charge of £99 being mentioned for some jobs - would this apply? If so, we'd like to know beforehand so we can decide whether to go ahead or not.
3) It seems logical to assume that we would be unable to connect to the internet via broadband during this work - although it's difficult to be precise, is it possible to estimate roughly how long that might be? (Working from home at the moment, so that is important to us).

Many thanks in advance for your replies.

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goslow
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Re: Broadband/phone cables look messy and vulnerable

Photos look like an evolution of poor quality repairs and installations over time but by way of a comment on the replacement of cables ...

If you look through the VM forums, esp. 'Quick Start', you will find a whole bunch of recent topics about cable replacements or installation of cables where customers have been subject to a tortuous process of getting this work done, sometimes lasting months, sometimes with no connectivity during the process.

If the cables have repairs and joins in them, then a replacement should be scheduled at some point by VM but, at the moment if your connection works OK, you might be creating further problems for yourself as VM may well need to remove the old cables to install new ones. I think I recall a past topic where an old cable was removed but the new one could not be installed due to a duct being blocked, resulting in no connection.

If your old cables are faulty they should be replaced FOC. If they need a tidy up then you can read a very convoluted past topic here

https://community.virginmedia.com/t5/QuickStart-set-up-and/Cables-and-box-outside-the-building/m-p/4...

where someone tried to get that done. If you have already had two visits then you may not advance too much further forward than you are now via the 'tidying' route.

(Non-fault call outs seem to have recently dropped in price from £99 to £25, I believe).

jem101
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Re: Broadband/phone cables look messy and vulnerable

The severed cable you see in the pictures are for the legacy phone system. This isn’t really used anymore as evidenced by you having a (I assume) working landline connection. Ideally, yes the entire cable run should be replaced, but if you are not experiencing any connectivity issues and the repairs in the gel pack have been done properly, then, realistically this won’t be a problem.

If you want my advise, then if there is sufficient slack in the cable then I’d be tempted to very carefully, dig a series of trenches and bury it yourself. Should you need to do this? No!! Should VM have made a better job of the initial installation? Yes?

But it is what it is - I strongly suspect that your blood pressure will appreciate you doing this yourself rather than traversing the fourth circle of hell which is the VM system (with apologies to Dante).

John

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Re: Broadband/phone cables look messy and vulnerable


@goslow wrote:

If the cables have repairs and joins in them, then a replacement should be scheduled at some point by VM but, at the moment if your connection works OK, you might be creating further problems for yourself as VM may well need to remove the old cables to install new ones. I think I recall a past topic where an old cable was removed but the new one could not be installed due to a duct being blocked, resulting in no connection.

My understanding was that a full end to end rewire will only be done where there is a risk of spliced fix failing. If the spliced cable is working to the spec of service and there isn't a risk of it coming apart, it'll be classed as fixed and left as is.

There is always a risk of causing an address to become un-servicable if the old cable is removed and a new cable can't be pulled through.

**********************************
I work for Virgin Media - but all opinions posted here are my own
goslow
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Re: Broadband/phone cables look messy and vulnerable


@BenMcr wrote:

@goslow wrote:

If the cables have repairs and joins in them, then a replacement should be scheduled at some point by VM but, at the moment if your connection works OK, you might be creating further problems for yourself as VM may well need to remove the old cables to install new ones. I think I recall a past topic where an old cable was removed but the new one could not be installed due to a duct being blocked, resulting in no connection.

My understanding was that a full end to end rewire will only be done where there is a risk of spliced fix failing. If the spliced cable is working to the spec of service and there isn't a risk of it coming apart, it'll be classed as fixed and left as is.

There is always a risk of causing an address to become un-servicable if the old cable is removed and a new cable can't be pulled through.


I'd defer to your greater knowledge on what VM's official position is on the subject.

Unless it is causing a problem with the the service, I would personally leave well alone and just tidy it up myself to improve its appearance, as has already been suggested.

ajcwestlondon
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Re: Broadband/phone cables look messy and vulnerable

Hi, just to say many thanks to @goslow, @jem101 and @BenMcr for your replies, all much appreciated.

I'm now inclined to do some (careful) tidying up/concealment of the cables by myself and not go down the escalation route.

At least the broadband and phone service is working fine at the moment, so I'm thankful for that!

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Re: Broadband/phone cables look messy and vulnerable

Good decision. 


Tudor
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