With internet speeds “nowhere near as fast as advertised”, more than half of students asked claimed that the internet provider was not meeting their requirements, particularly at peak times. Some complained of drastic slow downs in speed and even being completely cut off, despite paying for expensive “super fast fibre-optic broadband”.
Promises of 30 MB/s broadband have meant little to many students who have not only been unable to access social networking sites but also the University Portal.
These criticisms come nearly a year after Leeds Student first raised concerns over Virgin’s inability to provide broadband at advertised speeds. In February, five months after complaints about their services were first highlighted, Virgin Media reassured students that they would implement “further upgrades”, in order to “help improve the service for all customers.”
Several of those surveyed expressed frustration at Virgin’s customer support team, with complaints often going ignored and unresolved. Two thirds of those who have complained to Virgin felt their problems had not been properly dealt with. Students taking the survey branded the company’s customer service as “absolutely appalling” and complained of “always being fobbed off on the phone.”
Overall, most respondents expressed satisfaction with the services they had received this year, but many agreed that progress was still needed. Jasmine O’Dell, a third year student, said: “Virgin said they would improve, but it’s still pretty bad.”
Ben Fisher, the Union’s Community Officer, expressed concern over the continued poor service that some customers receive from Virgin. “I’m glad to see that there has been improvement for many people’s broadband this year, but it’s obviously concerning if there are still service issues for students.”
Industry guidelines state that though Virgin is permitted to advertise speeds that not all customers are likely to achieve, it must include additional information “to ensure the average customer is not misled.”
As a member of the Ofcom’s Voluntary Code of Practice, Virgin Media is obliged to give all new customers a fair estimate of how fast their actual internet speeds will be before signing a contract. Should your speeds fall short of this, and Virgin are unable to fix the issue, then Ofcom state that “customers [are] able to leave their provider within the first three months of their contract without penalty.”
If you have an issue with your Virgin Media services, the Union Exec urges you contact both them and Virgin directly. Ben Fisher added, “Virgin Media were very open to feedback with last year’s complaints, so I’d urge students still unhappy with the service to contact them, and to also get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org”
Words: Max Bruges