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Virgin Media promises broadband fix for problem-hit Crawley customers

Tuesday, April 7th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Virgin Media customers in Crawley can look forward to a better broadband network after improvements announced by the company.

Virgin previously came under fire from customers in the West Sussex town who had suffered months of problems with its broadband service.

Several customers told Cable.co.uk they had suffered a raft of issues such as slow speeds and unstable connections that remained unsolved after several engineer visits.

Problems included: loss of speed; loss of connection; packet loss, which is when chunks of information do not make it to their destination, causing online games to freeze or stutter; and variable latency, the time it takes for information to travel from a games console to the internet and back.

Matthew McLaren said his father had been forced to resort to sitting in coffee shops and using mobile tethering to continue working from his home office.

He claimed that Virgin had cited “over-utilisation” – effectively too many people using the service at the same time – as the problem, but said the firm should provide enough bandwidth for all of its customers.

Other customers complained of slow speeds, accusing Virgin’s “up to” advertised speeds of being a “big con”.

But Virgin Media has now announced a list of improvements hoped to eliminated the problems and provide customers in the area with a “good performing network”.

Mr McLaren said he had been told that a plan of action has been drawn up, with implementation expected to take a few months.

'Too late'

Steps are expected to include the replacement of fibre nodes in Crawley and West Kent, which will deliver more capacity for peak-time use and allow the network to meet demand over the coming years.

Virgin also plans to move from eight to 10 downstreams – increasing the amount of bandwidth available for use by customers in the area at peak times by about 20-25%.

The company will also complete a ‘re-segmentation’, making sure the right bandwidth is available where required, and in some cases may see customers effectively re-allocated to another cabinet to free up bandwidth.

A final step expected to be carried out is the replacement of all the “amplifiers” in Crawley, making the broadband signal to every home as stable and reliable as possible as part of Virgin's ongoing network management across its whole network.

A Virgin Media spokesman said: “We’re implementing new technologies in the area to deliver the best speeds at all times.

"With many homes already benefiting from ongoing investment in our network, customers should see a series of improvements over the coming weeks.

"We apologise to any customers who have not received the same ultrafast broadband we deliver elsewhere.”

Mr McLaren welcomed Virgin's planned improvements but said it was too late for him as he has now switched to another provider.

He said: “I'm glad to hear Virgin has finally put plans with more detail in place to fix the issues within parts of Crawley and hope that this will improve service for their customers.

“Unfortunately this is news too late from Virgin Media and I've since left, but I will be keeping up to date on the issue.”

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