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Home » Technology

Virgin Media installation experience

Submitted by on May 27, 2009 – 14:17No Comment

Virgin Media

Virgin Media

I’ve been on an 8Mbps (downstream), 512Kbps (upstream) ADSL broadband connection now for over five years. It has served me well with little or no hiccups. However, recent changes to the way I work has required me to look for a faster broadband connection, especially one with a broader upstream speed of at least 1Mbps.

Enter Virgin Media with their triple pack which offers cables TV, phone and broadband all in one. The broadband service in my area offers 50Mb downstream and 1.5Mb upstream. Firstly, the deal is pretty good in terms of price. With my new Virgin Media set up I am paying on average £15/month less than what I was paying when I had two separate services; one for phone and broadband and another for satellite TV.

Virgin Media came around to install their service at my home today. I was greatly looking forward to the faster broadband service and interested to find out what sort of set top box I’d set for my TV service. Here’s a run down of what happened during installation. The installer laid in the cable from the junction box outside in to the house. He then discovered that he didn’t have a wireless router for me in his van and asked me if I had been sent one by Virgin Media’s customer services. Nope, nothing. The installer calls up a colleague in the local area and asks him if he has one in his van. No such luck. Installer proceeds with getting cable TV set up. Everything gets plugged in and TV is turned on. For some reason there’s no picture coming through. Therefore, we moves on to the third item which is phone. I’m told that because I want to keep my old number I won’t have a proper phone service from Virgin Media today as my old number still needs to be ported over. So far, nothing is working. The installer proceeds to install the cable modem and we try the connection out on my Macbook Pro. As expected and predicted the installer gets rather nervous and worried that there’s a shinny Apple Mac in front of him. He proceeds to tell me to load Internet Explorer. Clearly he’s never used a Mac before. No worries, I tell him, I actually have Windows XP and Windows 7 installed on my Mac and that I could load Internet Explorer for him. Since I have a web development background, I proceed with Firefox in Mac OS-X anyway and start stepping through the various initialization pages on the Virgin Media initial setup web site. It records my requested email ID, username and password. On the last page of set up there is a long pause as the modem reboots. Unfortunately the modem refuses to allow an open connection to the web even after restarting twice automatically and one after being restarted manually. At this paint the installer gets on the phone to customer services. He is acting and sounding rather frustrated, and I don’t blame him. He’s on hold for 15 minutes, which appears to make him feel a little embarrassed. I would be too, if I was in his shoes! Eventually he gets through and describes the various issues to customer services. Within minutes my broadband is up and running. Apparently I was still behind the Virgin Media firewall and so my account way manually activated by the customer services person on the phone. OK, so next up is TV. Apparently there’s a delay at the headend for provisioning new customers and I’m told my TV service will be running within the hour. Fair dues. The missing wireless router will be sent to me in the post and I should receive it by tomorrow.

Right, so I need to take another day off work to ensure I’m around to receive the package as it will undoubtedly not fit through the small letter box. If only it was all working today, but I guess that’s too much to ask for. I’d have expected at least the physical items to be all installed and working and the rest can no-doubt be configured remotely.

One hour later, my TV service is up and running. The modem is working, but I have to sit on the floor close to the TV where the modem sits and be hooked up via ethernet cable because I have no wireless router (which arrives tomorrow). I’ve still not got a phone service. I have to wait for my old number to be ported. At this point I do not know how long this will take and I suspect it will require a call to customer services, and no doubt a long wait on hold, to get that sorted out.

All in all, from a customer perspective, I’ve not had a very good first day with Virgin Media. No phone, no wireless. I suppose 50% of what I’m supposed to get is “good enough” for Virgin Media.

Ironically, Virgin Media picked up my excitement of about getting their 50Mb broadband service on Twitter and sent me a message which said “@virginmedia: @jupiterorbit Do let us know how it goes 🙂“. I’m afraid I had to tell them the truth and let them know that I wasn’t very impressed with their installation process.

The Virgin Media Samsung set top box

The Virgin Media set top box

My final gripe is that the set top box I have got for my TV service has no analogue audio output although I did notice a digital SPDIF socket. This means I cannot hook up the set to box to my nice Cyrus amp. I’ll have to see if my TV has an audio out which I can hook up to my amps. The sound quality through the Cyrus system is vastly more superior to that of my TV.

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