Should they email you notices
via that internet connection that doesn't work? =-}p
Virgin Media, one of the UK's largest broadband and TV cable providers, is suffering an outage right now. If you can't access the internet or watch the telly, then it's not just you. It's quite a few of you. It appears the blackout includes business and home connections, and kicked off around 4pm BST today. At the time of …
Really should have an auto service that sends an SMS to customers to let them know their service may be experiencing issues in their area, and hopefully, an estimated fix time.
It sounds like a no-brainer basic concept. Less people would be likely swamp their customer lines to find out what is wrong.
Disadvantage is an easily accessible record of how often the service goes down for the customer though.
"Really should have an auto service that sends an SMS to customers to let them know their service may be experiencing issues in their area, and hopefully, an estimated fix time."
That requires competent company staffs and real ITs, which is too expensive. Better to get cheap high-school drop-offs on the customer service line and monkeys on the technical support line.
I can't see them being keen on paying £X000+ each time they have a fault for text messages.
Perhaps the additional cost will be an incentive to keep large scale incidents to a minimum?
For that matter surely SMSs would only represent a significant cost if they keep on failing to provide the service to such a large number of customers? Small scale outages would presumably be less of an issue.
For me personally Virgin Media has been on the whole reasonably reliable. It's when things inevitably fall apart - as it will always do occasionally with technology - that the problems start.
Keeping customers informed isn't their strongest point apparently and when I asked them via Twitter this morning what had happened the previous day they couldn't give me any information. Given the scale of the outage I don't think being willing to tell such a large chunk of customers why they weren't getting the service they were paying for is particularly unreasonable. Apparently Virgin Media disagrees.
Ive found the virgin mediia fibre service very reliable.
The eTV they claimis 300 chaannels is really 100 channels, then the same 100 channels in HD, annd then the same 100 channels an hour later. And then you subtract all the dross (reality TVv, repeats, cooking, travel, sport) you end up with about 30 actual usable channels, that merely show the same repeats over and over.
The customer service is dismal to average, providing you dont mind sitttitng with your eart to a phone liistening to lift music for half an hour or more.
But the worst bit is the way they relentlessly jack the price up at regular intervals, you start off paying £40 a month and the next time you look at the bill its £70 or £80 and still rising When Bransons Necker Island got trashed by a hurricane, the bills went up the folllowing week..
I told them to stick it many years ago.
> Really should have an auto service that sends an SMS to customers to let them know their service may be experiencing issues in their area, and hopefully, an estimated fix time.
Any company will think that's a terrible idea. It's telling the customer "we broke your service, you really should switch to someone else." Many won't realise because they're out at the time or weren't using the network. Many will think it's the just some problem with the interwebs and not know who to blame. But tell them it's your fault and they all know.
its still pointless. when my vm broadband goes down i usually check the status page via my mobile, it always shows 'no issue'. Then you click on the diagnose and it says 'unknown issue', finally phone up and after the switch off and on again 'what colour/lights do you have' they tell you it is down in your area. useless.
While mine, in London, was fine when I logged in after 6:00pm the comment about VM's status page is something I can confirm. I've experienced outages in the past when not only was the status page not showing it, but their own front line staff hadn't been told. So they took me through the usual checks, then passed me onto an engineer who promptly says, "Oh yes we've had a lot of reports in your area..." or "Yes there's an outage..."
If your internet connection is important to you, you should have a backup circuit.
I have a Zen primary circuit and a cheap crappy Plusnet secondary and automatic failover, its not rocket science.
Stop whining when your only provider goes down and you're too cheap to pay for a backup service.
Someone quoted complaining about lost clients... Well they actually lost them the moment they made the cost decision to use residential broadband with no failover.
Even if you don't want an additional fixed circuit then tethering off a 4G connection is perfectly acceptable to get things done these days.
It didn't just affect residential connections if the updates from our leased line provider (runs on a VMB tail) are anything to go by. At least we had a backup connection that ran over FTTC so whilst it wasn't anywhere near as quick we still had an element of connectivity. But it's back now so I'll see how many pence we get back in SLA credits for our 3 hours of "downtime".
We have a VM leased line. That stayed up.
We also have a VM-managed, but BT-supplied leased line. That one was down on the timing in the article.
We also have half-a-dozen staff complain that their Internet was "really slow" at home last night (quite what they think I can do about that, I'm not sure!)... almost all of the BT.
I'd be inclined to think that this is at least partly "BT equipment not joining to VM network" rather than just VM on its own - a lot of their connections are now just ordinary BT-resell stuff, not VM at all.
I keep an unlocked Alcatel portable hotspot into which I can insert any spare live data SIM. Then, should the broadband go down, I still have connectivity. (It's been handy a couple of times.)
Why this is beyond Mr. Whining Businessman up there is beyond me. Incidentally, if you think he's whining now, wait until he receives his £1 per day outage compensation.
Helpful VPN advice. Ironically my Virgin BB was restored after being down for most of Monday morning a few hours before this big outage and it stayed up. I was busily shopping for one of those Wifi routers with in-built 4g Modem when it came back.
In the meantime I was running over my phone tether and can confirm that 3 sims don't have the VPN restriction. At least their 'full fat' phone sims any way, cant confirm their data-only sims, but 3 are usually less 'death of a thousand cuts' than the rest of them. ie no extra charge for tethering etc etc.
Stop whining when your only provider goes down and you're too cheap to pay for a backup service.
Or simply don't have the money.
Stop assuming people are living sufficiently comfortable lives that they can afford this. It might not be much to you (even for a 'crappy' line). It might not be feasible for many others.
I can just about manage without gravy at the chippy here in the midlands but have to return back to the northwest on a regular basis to get a steak and kidney pudding fix.
It seems completely unknown elsewhere in the country and the efforts served up by gastro pubs cant complete with a Hollands steak and kidney pudding chips peas and gravy
Phones stopped working, still do now and then its just you probably never noticed or just waited until it started working again. It was just usually never vital to make an instant phone call. At worst case you'd ask a neighbour or use a phone box. We didn't demand perfection and just got on with life rather than acting like the world had just ended.
We didn't demand perfection and just got on with life rather than acting like the world had just ended.
For businesses relying on a working internet connection the answer is simple - have an independent backup. For all other uses, crumbs, no internet or TV for a couple of hours is not the end of the world. Annoying perhaps, especially if it's for much longer than that and you miss your favourite serial, but you can always catch up later, and in the meantime, don't you have any books in the house? Any DIY that needs doing? Have a long relaxing bath? Walk the dog? An "old fashioned" radio to listen to? A family to play Monopoly with?
Or - and here's a thought - the TV that you are using to watch cable via a box is pretty much guaranteed to have an aerial socket on the back*. If TV is such an important part of your life, pay an aerial fitter a few pounds to have an "old fashioned" aerial installed and take advantage of normal broadcast TV forever after, for free. Many TVs will even operate as simple PVRs if you plug in a USB drive, though usually without the ability to record one thing while watching another.
And when the dust has settled there is usually some kind of compensation available, if you want to chase it down.
*yeah, my old Trinitron has a socket but is analogue only, but let's face it, just about everyone will have a digital-capable TV these days
around 50 quid for the aerial), they said 100 or more just to get on my roof
Bearing in mind these are "Joe Public" prices, and an installer can undoubtedly find cheaper elsewhere; bog standard TV aerial about £11 or a really nice one able to pull in over quite long distances about £42. Very nice aerial cable, about 54p/m when bought on a reel.
Climbing on the roof is a dangerous task, particularly for older houses with steep roofs and maybe slates instead of concrete tiles, but unless there are real reasons to do so, it is often safer and easier to screw an aerial onto the wall of a house, rather than strapping it to a chimney. Wall bracket about £20 or a chimney mounting kit (you are not allowed to screw into a chimney), under £5 plus a mast of some description.
I've done a few DIY aerial installs in my time, but there are some roofs I will not climb on to - an aerial installer will have roof ladders; I don't. Our current house, with a low-pitch concrete-tiled roof is very easy and relatively safe :-)
And the point made earlier about monthly Sky or Virgin subscriptions is extremely relevant.
"I can't remember in the old Post office days having outages, phones just kept on working, or is that silver lining."
That's just silver lining, plus the fact that you would only notice if you were making a phone call at the time of the outage.
The chances of you noticing the outage were proportional to the number of teenage(*) kids you had.
(* 'teenage' back then meant 13 to 17, not 8 to 35 like it does now.)
What do you count as a reliable service? I have VirginMedia (and no, I don't work for them or anything else) and in the last decade you can count the number of noticeable outages I've had in the last decade on the fingers of one hand - I'd call that pretty damn reliable.
Chris Addison on Mock the Week summed it up (this is a slight paraphrase) "We have the total knowledge of the Universe at our fingertips which is utterly amazing, but let it go down for five minutes and we're all 'AM I LIVING IN A THIRD WOLD COUNTRY THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS OH MY GOD THE HUMANITY'"
He has a point. We should all know that things can happen to IT systems that you can't plan against - what is most important - and here I will accept the criticism of VM - is communicating with the customers. Having a recorded message on your helpline that tells you to consult a webpage when your internet is out is pretty awful.
Sounds like a power issue alright..... in their regional routing place
I keep losing connection to game servers as my packets go AWOL.
I'd call their helpline....... but since my vermin media phone seems to only work for 5 days after an engineer has tried fixing it again..... I cant be bothered
Just wish there was an alternative beyond crappy open retch 'fibre broadband' around here
You don't remember the "transparent proxies" that used to fail all the time?
Isn't old age is wonderful! It allows you to forget things. I'd completely forgotten about those.
Yes, the proxies were bad, but affected only small amount of what I was doing online. And as you said were easy to work around.
Ah, the battle cry of warriors bravely fighting First World Problems®.
Dammit, Janette, I wonder how you would've survived in the 70s. You know, pre-Internet. Pre-everything, really.
We used to have to walk 200 miles to work each day, and it were uphill both ways, etc.
But seriously, I fully sympathise with people paying for stuff that doesn't work, and strongly endorse the implementation of service level agreements to compensate you when it breaks, but unfortunately the plastic modern world in which we live would simply collapse entirely if legislators mandated that everything had to work perfectly all the time - or else.
So rather than whining about teh internets being brokeh again, as it (and everything else) is on an alarmingly regular basis, why not just chill out, drink a beer and read a good book?
Pretty sure there's already legislation in place in the UK such that if your service breaks then You're recompensed for the days it was down automatically.
I don't know why this is getting downvotes. It's absolutely correct.
The recompense as defined by law is pro rata per day on the retail cost of your service.
So, if you're paying £30 a month, and (for example) it's April, you will be refunded a whole £1 per day of the outage.
If your business turns over less than £365 per year, then, that's really good news!
It is rather amusing when punters rage when something breaks and they don't know how to deal with it other than to jump on social media via their phones and more or less declare their lives are over because they can't access the internet from their computers!
And it's not just ISPs, but major websites in general- if Twitter, Facebook, Instagram; or online banking like Nationwide, Barclays, NatWest etc - if they go offline for more than 15 minutes, people will post where they can declaring that said websites are fucking useless, terrible services, have lost business, need money boo fucking hoo!
They then declare "I'm leaving this useless bank" or "I need to post on Facebook urgently so people know how I am coping!" But they never leave the bank, they never leave Facebook because they know it's too important to toss aside
First World problems indeed - we have become too reliant on so many things but never consider a Plan B for those random Tits Up moments.
Shit happens: end of.
... and many months before that it was a sick joke, with frequent timeouts on web and mail, and 'phone unusable.
The difference between Virgin and BT is that when BT went titsup they delivered a next-day fix. For Virgin, a next-year fix is clearly too much to expect. Good thing I've got that 4G backup connection from a real provider.
Do you have any details for the BT that fixes things next day?
I’m familiar with the services of British Telecom, but they typically are only in the early stages of being surprised that something isn’t working (particularly if the service has built in redundancy over diverse paths - or at least that’s what the customer is paying for...). Typically account and service managers “urgently looking into the issue” lasts two to three days before the the excuse bus comes rolling into town. “Urgently sourcing replacement hardware”, “vendor is addressing a major system fault” and finally “we really don’t understand how we missed the thing you have been telling us is the issue for the last week”. They aren’t too bad if you have existing services and have no faults with them and never have the pain of ordering new services or believing their delivery times...
"1. Single point of failure, `nuff said.
2. How long does it take to replace a "faulty power supply"?"
I'm not sure I know, given that nothing important I've worked with ever had a single point of failure ;) but British corporate management seem to have plenty of expertise on the subject.
To name but one widely and implausibly reported example:
... I get that. But tweets from people raging that they 'lost 3 clients' etc, also really annoy me. Especially in London. If your business relies on stable internet... ensure you have at least one failover. Even if its a mobile phone dongle. Although why it takes ISPs so long to route around problems is beyond me, especially when this is what routers were literally designed for.
Thank you Reg !
Business service been down here since yesterday (Monday) morning the the cunts don’t even acknowledge an issue.
I thought it was due to rain as a small amount of that such as we get in East Anglia does seem to upset their flaky wiring.
Just got a call from them and visit imminent, Might just be my cable.
In southeast, but not in an orange zone., somewhat southwest of peterborough.
Virgin actually better than usual yesterday, watched youttube lastnight, and no sound stuttering at all (usually, a fair amount of the time, it can't even reliably play an SD video without sounding like it's going through a tome zone like in White Hole
If you depend on the internet, especially for your business then you should have backups... I work from home, and i have 2 lines (cable through virgin and a separate adsl over bt infrastructure), i also have 4g tethering available if necessary. I also have battery powered devices (laptop, phone) which can continue service for a while in the event of a power outage.
Home internet connections are designed to be affordable and for casual use, where it's only a minor inconvenience if it goes down.
I was looking at that and thinking "who doesn't have a smart phone for business?"
While it's entirely possible he's unable to connect his PC to the internet via tethering (your business means going to homes and you don't have a laptop?) it's almost unthinkable that he wouldn't have access to email. Even for the most basic of businesses there should be multiple ways to access emails. He certainly seemed able to get onto Twitter at least.
This to me just strikes me as someone who hasn't thought about any contingency planning and is trying to do everything with the bare minimum. Hopefully this will persuade him to actually consider how he runs his business.
(Edit - just looked at his Twitter feed and it would appear that he's a serial complainer with a huge sense of entitlement. Also, why are people still using gmail for their business emails?)
Think it's about time that regulations are brought in to force ISP's to refund customers automatically for every 4 hour or part period of time service is down or impeeded, similar to to airline delays, but without so many dodgy get of jail clauses written in to stop them paying up. Then the network may improve, if it hurts their bottom line profits !
As good as that sounds the likely result is no better service just a reduced guaranteed service level so less chance of them having to pay anything.
And why should anyone who suffered no inconvenience be compensated?
I wish I had a pound for every tree which fell without a sound in the forest.
The majority of ISP faults are down to third parties damaging cables. To address that, ISPs generally have some form or SLA around restoring service. At Virgin, this varies between 12 and 48 hours depending on the package (https://www.virginmediabusiness.co.uk/connectivity/internet-access/business-broadband/?ds_rl=1255746&CMP=sbr_bb-mar-0001761_perisco-4377&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI45LtiPGL3gIVw7XtCh0c0gbvEAAYASAAEgLhnPD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CLWIwo3xi94CFYytewodn4kMbQ)
Assuming the top package and service being restored 24 hours outside SLA, you’re probably entitled to a couple of quid as a refund... Lucky you paid for redundancy to avoid any impact to your business huh?
I have been with Virgin since it was Telewest, BlueYonnder and Yorkshire Cable
All told about twenty years
It fails maybe once or twice a year and then only for a couple of hours.
Most failures are caused by Mains Power failures because I live in a village on the edge of town and the local SubStation keeps failing
340 down, 26 up, v6, tivo, phone. £50.00 beat that anyone?
yes, they bought up NTHell, and all the other bad ones, took them a while to get them going properly...
They were going pretty well up to a few years ago, then liberty global bought them...
when a MAJOR cable was cut by the local building site nearby my office, at least a low speed line was still maintained (BT would have calmly said 'no internet for a month', why my boss hates BT... )
a few months after that, though, we were exposed to the utterly clueless liberty global support staff.... :O
I've been with Virgin since about 2002, and almost no problems until the current place. After I had five multi-day outages in a few months, I switched to one of the BT resellers (not plugging them 'till I know they're actually good).
Sometimes, you get wired through a bad cabinet (in my case, mucked up by years of landlords turning houses into 4-7 bed flats for students until the cabinet is 60% splitters by volume) and it'll just keep failing. Not much you can do, since they're not willing to put the effort in to actually fix it properly - they just unplug someone else and hope it's not in active use. Most of the customers on the box will move out next summer anyway.
You can guarantee the Twitter moaners are on a residential service but are using it for business, expect tier one SLA’s but on the cheap service.
Typical with this kind of event, somebody has no internet, lost three clients but magically happens to have “enough internet” to rant on twitter. Wankers.
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