Matt Warman got given the media round this morning, to brag about the success of the government’s broadband rollout. His performance was, unfortunately, scuppered as his internet connection died mid-interview. Nick Ferrari had already covered questions on the £5 billion Project Gigabit rollout before moving on to other topics. As they moved on to the weekend’s events at Notting Hill Carnival, Matt’s picture froze and he fell offline.
“This is handy as you’re the broadband minister, you can’t hear me can you? That is sensational and the picture’s frozen so there we go – you’ve got the government banging on about how many billion pounds it is about gigabit and he can’t take the question.
Matt tells Guido fibre optic broadband is being deployed in Boston as we speak and is already operating in some limited areas.
Digital minister Matt Hancock has emailed MPs to update them on progress being made with superfast broadband in each of their constituencies. It has been less than a stunning success in North Cornwall, where the £3 million funding has not been well spent:
“Your constituency is located within the Cornwall project. The project has been allocated over £3.0m of government funding for Phase 1 and/or 2 of the Superfast Broadband Programme.
In North Cornwall Constituency the BDUK scheme has made superfast broadband available to 0 more premises.
Average take up of superfast broadband in the BDUK Cornwall project area is 0%.”
Instead of sending the awkward North Cornwall email to North Cornwall MP Scott Mann, Hancock mistakenly sent it to Labour’s John Mann. Guaranteeing it would be publicised in superfast time…
Virgin Media is trying to force customers using their 50Mb Broadband package to sign up to a new contract, by refusing to fix problems with their internet connection if they don’t. For years Virgin 50 Mb customers have have been subjected to intermittent connectivity problems, only to be told by Virgin engineers sent out to fix the problem that there was a “fault” with their broadband hub. A fault that could only be fixed by being signed up to Virgin’s more expensive 152Mb Broadband package…
For customers who didn’t fall for this wheeze, Virgin are trying out a new tactic: blackmail.
I hope you are well; I have just tried to contact you via phone but could not get through. We are currently giving all our 50Mb Broadband customers a very quick courtesy call as we are aware we have a fault with our 50Mb Broadband.
To reduce any risk of having any issues for you in the future, we are offering you a free upgrade to 152Mb broadband with no change in your monthly rental what so ever, simply starting a new contract term. This would mean we could get the hub changed over for you, giving you an up to date and faster speed.Kind Regards,Tom Cudworth | Account Manager
Virgin Media Business | Campaign & Customer Value Management
Virgin is, in essence, telling customers who have paid them for a broadband connection, that they can’t have a functioning broadband connection unless they shackle themselves into a new long term contract. When asked why they were requiring a new contract to be signed in order to fix a fault, a Virgin Media spokesman admitted to Techno that “maybe something hasn’t been done quite as it should have“. Quite…
UPDATE: As a result of this publicity the customer concerned is getting the upgrade without any contract strings. A Virgin Media spokesperson admitted: “In this case, the wrong procedures were followed and we have apologised to the affected customer for the confusion this has caused.” Not sure what this means for other customers with faulty 50mb broadband services…