News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Virgin Media arrives in Folkestone

Folkestone has, over the past few days, become one of the first parts of the country to experience the rollout of Virgin Media. The first quad-play provider of TV, Telephone, Broadband and Mobile Communications has been born out of the three way merger of ntl, Telewest and Virgin Mobile last year.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to tell you about it until now, as the first thing the system upgrade caused was a seizure of our digital box. We've had virtually no TV or Internet access for the past few days. Jonick's Virgin mobile is out of operation too, but I don't know whether that's related. The good news is that the engineer came today, and after much persuasion has furnished us with a new box. It has immediately become apparent just how outdated our old Pace box had become. The speed is a massive improvement and the interactive services are now actually worth having. After years of suffering box crashes whenever trying to do anything remotely complicated, and long pauses for channel changes and EGP searches, we now have proper television, courtesy of our Samsung box (which is much better than my old Samsung E720 mobile, but that's another story).

The question I really have to ask, is why on earth have ntl not replaced the antique Pace boxes sooner. There must be people up and down the country like us, who are suffering appalling service and have no idea that it could easily be so much better. The Cablecos wonder why they have such high churn rates and low revenue per subscriber compared to Sky, but here's a major part of the answer. We were seriously considering switching back to Sky until now, and have been unable to use any of the premium services without our box crashing.

Sadly, the Virgin man did his best not to give us the new box - he should have known that he had met his match when he met the Hassetts! That doesn't bode well for the much hoped for improvements in Customer Service now that the Virgin brand is dependant upon ntl getting their backsides in gear.

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