On the search for better internet. Part 1

Let me answer a couple of questions about the internet. Is the internet a human right? No. Should it be? Not really. Would I become a raving lunatic if the internet was taken away from me? Probably! The reason I say this is that I have had enough of ADSL, it’s crap and that is putting it mildly. We have two ADSL lines coming into the house. Measurements taken at 1240 on a Sunday afternoon reveal that the main BT Business broadband connection manages a pathetic 3.15Mbps down and 0.38Mbps up with a 19ms ping through a Cisco 1841 router. This is slower than 79% of the UK according to speedtest.net

Then we come to our secondary connection which comes free with our TalkTalk telephone line. This manages 1.91Mbps down, 0.47Mbps up, and a 55ms ping through a shoddy Linksys router, making it slower than 81% of the UK. What’s more, it’s not even possible to make use of the slightly better uplink bandwidth, since it comes with a crippling 40GB/month bandwidth limit.

Something needs to be done and the obvious answer is Virgin Media. Sadly, after working my way through their website, I am presented with the unfortunate news that they can only offer me an ADSL connection of a similar quality to what we currently receive.

Doing a little research revealed an email address to which you can write to Virgin asking your area to be cabled, something I did back in December 2011. A few days into the new year I received this reply from them.

“Hi Callam

Thank you for your enquiry to cable my street.

We have recently conducted a feasibility study into your postcode through another enquiry, unfortunately our surveys highlighted a number of infrastructure build issues that prevent us from doing this at this time. It would now be prohibitively expensive for us to excavate all the roads and pavements between our nearest network access point and your property to create the necessary network extension that would be required to provide you with service.

Also the previous study highlighted a number of wayleave issues due to shared driveways and also the boundaries of the service strip.

Regrettably we are not in a position to offer service at this time, but we have a clear understanding of the need for provision in this area and as new ways of serving pockets outwith [sic] our existing built network change, we will look for technically feasible and cost-effective options with a view to providing service at some time in the future.

Best regards


Alison Reid
Cablemystreet Co-ordinator
Virgin Media | 1 South Gyle Crescent Lane , Edinburgh EH12 9E”

Disappointed, I thought nothing more of it, assuming that as I previously thought, there was no service anywhere before the end of the road. Then, one night while walking home from work, I spot at the end of the road a Virgin Media cable going to a house, so I follow the trench along the road and sure enough more houses are cabled. I keep working my way along and discover that in fact there is Virgin all the way up to the second house from mine. Damn. In fact there has been one of their cabling boxes there for the whole 12 years we have lived in this house!

So let me ask you a question, how often do you really pay attention to the things around you, I mean I had missed the fact we were on the cusp of getting Virgin internet for years! Anyway, that brings us up to now, where I am going to get back in touch with Virgin and will try to get them to install the Cable to my house. Wish me luck!


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