Fury over poor internet signal

Eric (left) and neighbour Phil Mercer

Eric (left) and neighbour Phil Mercer

A frustrated Wigan resident has hit out at a leading broadband provider following a year of poor signal and a lack of work to improve the problem.

Eric Davies, from Aspull, said the 12-month battle to improve Virgin Media’s internet access had left he and his neighbours extremely unhappy.

It has been going on for more than 12 months and we’ve had lots of problems. It keeps completely closing down, it’s horrible

Eric Davies

Mr Davies, of Belmont Drive, said the long periods when his home had no broadband access at all means he had missed important messages from family members and left he and wife Gladys unable to communicate regularly with their grandchildren.

He said he and other people living in the Aspull area had bombarded Virgin Media with complaints but there had been few signs of improvement and residents had been told several different dates when work to boost the broadband was supposed to be completed.

Mr Davies, 75, said: “It has been going on for more than 12 months and we’ve had lots of problems. It keeps completely closing down, it’s horrible.

“It just cuts in and out virtually all the time. Our daughter asked us to pick the grandchildren up one day and her email didn’t come through until later on. Carry-ons like that are just not fair.

“We had a death in the family and people couldn’t get in touch by email and we are also not getting pictures of our grandchildren growing up on Facebook and can’t speak to them on Facetime.

“They said it would be ready and there would be no problems by March, then it was April, then September and I rang up last week and they said it will be the middle of December. I’ve been on to them for months and months. It’s just ridiculous, they are not interested.”

Mr Davies says he has been offered money back by Virgin Media but this does not compensate for the inconvenience of poor internet access.

Next-door neighbour Phil Mercer, who is himself an electrical engineer, said the problem should be laid at the company’s door as the system cannot cope with all the customers in the area trying to get online at the same time,

Mr Mercer, 57, said: “They seem to be overloading the network and if you go online it’s rife, the forums are awash with it.

“Between about 5pm and 11pm it can get as low as one megabyte. If everyone is using the system it just drags it right down.

“It would be a bit like buying a Maserati which can do 200mph but at certain times in the evening it can only do 15mph. You wouldn’t buy that car.”

A spokesman for Virgin Media said a team was currently working hard to resolve the issue and apologised for the inconvenience, but was unable to say when residents would see improvements.

Mr Davies has now contacted Trading Standards but Wigan Council said it was a matter for regulator Ofcom.

However, ward representative Coun Chris Ready has added his voice to the criticism of Virgin Media.

Coun Ready said: “Virgin seems to be fobbing residents off. They are promising the earth and not delivering which is not acceptable.

“In this day and age we all need the internet and it’s a lifeline for many people. Someone at Virgin Media needs to look at the issues around the Aspull area and get them sorted.”

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