Saturday, 3 May 2014

Virgin: The plot thickens

I do mean the plot don't I? Not sure.

After they wrote to me and stated:-

Just to inform you we provide copper coax cable till the main box and from there we use the fibre optic cable to install the services at the customers property.

I wrote back:-

I am still slightly puzzled. You are stating, quite clearly, that you "use the fibre optic cable to install the services at the customers property". This is what I expected for "fibre optic broadband" ordered at my home. However, I watched the installation and have looked at the cable used, and I can be 100% sure that you did not "use fibre optic cable to install the services at the customers property". Please let me know when you will be back to "use fibre optic cable to install the services at the customers property" as it is clear from your letter that this is what should have happened. Let me know if I need to take more time off work.

I also asked about the install being delayed and who they use for ADR. To my surprise their reply today, from someone else in Virgin, is :-

Just to inform you we provide copper coax cable till the main box and from there we use the fibre optic cable to install the services at the customer’s property.

They then invite me to call them if I want to discuss further. They did not say who they use for ADR.

This seems to suggest that rather badly worded phrase is in fact a stock answer.

This could get fun!

13 comments:

  1. I guess it's a question of point of view. If they start at your end, then they do use coax to the main box (presumably the street cabinet), then fibre to wherever. In this way they install the services at your property.

    This does not alter the fact that their advertising is mendacious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, that is the reply I expected, at which point my argument is that I asked for "fibre optic broadband" *at* "my property" not *at* "the main box". In some ways their backwards worded or badly worded reply confused the matter enough to stop me asking that question. Maybe that is deliberate.

      Delete
  2. "Rather badly worded phrase" is *extremely* charitable to them. My reaction would vary from uttter cobblers through to blatantly and deliberately misleading. There is (in my not so humble opinion) no way even a complete idiot (qv Virgin representatives) could confuse fibre and co-ax

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If they changed the phrasing around it would be more correct:
      "Just to inform you that to install the services at the customer’s property we provide copper coax cable till the main box and from there we use the fibre optic cable."

      It would be most correct if they wrote,"
      "We use fibre optic cable to the main box in your area, and from there on in we use coax cable to the customer's property."

      Delete
    2. I quite agree - I was ready for that - I ordered "fibre optic broadband" to my home, not to "the main box"... etc.

      Delete
  3. Perhaps VM's defense is that even if they deployed fibre in the last mile, it would give you the same speed service as their copper. I'm sure you recall the Feb 2008 ASA ruling that what matters is "the technical performance of its cable rather, than its component materials per se." i.e. they can legally use the words "copper" and "fibre" interchangeably as long as the service performance they offer is the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, that is, of course, crazy as they themselves state categorically how copper is bad (slows down as you get further away) and fibre does not. In their adverts they make it clear that the materials matter. And anyway, that is "legally" in an advert. That does not change matters of "did they provide what they agreed to provide" it just means the advert is allowed. Also, as we all know, fibre is better, even in terms of what services may be offered in the future now that it is installed.

      Delete
    2. Would this be the remit of the ASA? Would it not fall foul of the Sale of Goods and Services Act in that the goods/service supplied are not as described?

      Delete
    3. That is my point. ASA may decide if an advert is"'allowed", but that does not really change if the description is correct for the service being sold.

      Delete
  4. How are you finding jitter on VMs coaxial based service? I am seeing something quite horrific from 2 smokeping monitors but as it's as a simple icmp probe I can't tell if it's the VM Superhub 2 slacking on replies or what.

    Purely out of interest it'd be great if you could set up an L2TP session from your "fibre optic broadband" to one of your firebricks just to see some real world stats from LCP echos.

    I mean, if the jitter is down to DOCSIS... :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of the things being done at the office with the ORG lines is also to set up loss, latency and jitter monitoring as well as remote trace route and ping test functions. We may expose some of that for testing as well.

      Delete
  5. VM's stock statement you are discusing here sounds to me like it was written by a 12 year old who isn't in the top set for English. Almost everything about it is badly written, eg. starting "Just to inform you", use of the word "till" which as a shortening of "until" should have an apostrophe and only one 'l' ie. 'til. My English teacher would have covered the entire thing in red ink. This is VM talking to customers, not a drunken conversation with your mates down the pub.

    ReplyDelete
  6. In fact, till is the correct spelling, even in the British Isles, and does not have an apostrophe as it's an absolutely ancient word. It always looked wrong to me too.

    ReplyDelete