A Branson pickle! Students complain of “appalling” Virgin Media broadband in Hyde Park

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Tell my wi-fi miss her…

The Gryphon has received a number of complaints from students living in the Hyde Park area about poor Virgin Media broadband service, a problem which seems to have been recurring for over a year now, with many customers trying to claim money back.

Oliver Howarth, a disgruntled fourth year economics student, told The Gryphon:

“My house, and I’m sure many hundreds of others, opted to use Virgin as our internet provider. The service can only be described as appalling. Virgin told us there is a local area network issue.

“They have also refused to let us leave the contract because in their eyes there is ‘some degree’ of internet. If we leave, we have to pay off the remaining balance. This is absurd given that we entered into the contract on the basis of receiving an internet service from them that works.

“I managed to get £109 out of Virgin after a few phone calls, which is no real win because we are still going to have very poor internet for months.”

Broadband in Leeds has been systematically upgraded over the last few years to fibre-optic cables as part of the government’s scheme to give 95% of  UK homes access to ‘superfast’ internet speeds by December 2017.

Despite this issue, the Virgin Media website continues to advertise broadband speeds of “up to 200mb/s” for properties in Hyde Park.

On contacting Virgin about the apparent issues, they informed us they were working to resolve it. A spokesperson told The Gryphon:

“We recognise that there is an issue in the area and we are working hard to resolve it as quickly as possible. We’d like to thank our customers in Hyde Park for their patience while we complete the necessary fix.”

A customer service worker had more to say over the phone. After being asked why the internet in the area was slow, he stated that the “utilisation in the area is really high.”

“According to my readout the utilisation in the area is at around 90% from around 5pm to midnight. We are planning to increase uptakes in the area but the fix date for that is the 15th of February, although the time it takes could be longer or shorter.”

However, some customers are not content with the speed Virgin are working at. Ellen, an English and Theatre student, spoke of how the slow internet has been a recurring issue.

“I lived on Brudenell Mount in Hyde Park last year [2015], and the internet was just as slow then. After multiple calls, they told me that the fix would take place in February, like they have told me this year. But as the problem still exists I have my doubts.

Ellen went on to suggest that in some circumstances refunds might be available from Virgin on a month-by-month basis where customers lodge their complaints with the company.

It seems that the situation won’t improve until at least February next year so, if you want to watch Netflix – I mean do your work, of course – maybe a trip to the Laidlaw will be the way to go. If you can find a seat…

Euan Hammond

(Image: Virgin Media)

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