Saturday, 13 June 2009

Peering over the edge of despair

It was 3pm on Friday and time to satisfy one of humanity's most basic urges. No, nothing lavatorial, and not that once a month Saturday night messy business after Match of the Day. It was time for my first daily dose of blog reading. Whizz and whirr went the creaking computer, able still to make all the right noises after almost six years of heavy use.

Meanwhile, on the cable modem something was amiss. Of the six lights "power" was illuminated as was "PC", "data send" and data receive" were quiet and, ominously, "cable" was a pit of blackness rather than a shining beacon of lime green to connect me to the outside world. Virgin Media had isolated Highbury from the rest of civilisation. The same Virgin Media that promised me a bells-and-whistles broadband connection for just a few extra pennies a month. The same Virgin Media that cut-off my landline telephone a few weeks ago when it meant to disconnect someone living four doors away and still hasn't reconnected me. The same Virgin Media that provides a helpful free service to those with broadband queries - free if you call from a Virgin phone, that is, which I would have done had they not cut me off. The same Virgin Media whose helpful free (provided they haven't erroneously cut you adrift) service is a recorded message saying their engineers "hope to have the service restored as soon as possible".

From time to time over the years there have been problems. On those occasions the message on the free (provided they haven't cut you adrift) helpline has always given an estimated time for reconnection. Such a message provides reassurance, it suggests they know what is wrong. To hear that they "hope to have the service restored as soon as possible" paints a very bleak picture. Not only do they not know what is wrong or when it might be fixed, they aren't even prepared to say it will be restored as soon as possible, merely that they hope so.

On returning to FatBigot Towers at 11.30 this evening the world was saved. No doubt Gordon Brown will accept claim credit. Service is resumed. Now for more than a day's updating on the latest thoughts of others.

I suppose we all like to think we have the fortitude not to be addicted to anything. A day without cheese? No problem, there's always tomorrow. A day without booze? That's self-discipline. But a day without the internet is in a different league.

1 comment:

Alex Brown said...


This doesn't sound good - am happy to look into this further and get one of the technical support team on the case if you want to send me some details.

You can get hold of me on firstname.lastname (at)



Alex Brown
Internet Product Development & Management
Virgin Media