Geekery General Chunterings

NTL troubles

NTL are a little bit shit at customer service. It’s something that many, many people have complained about over the years and something that I knew about before signing up for their services.

I figured that I could cope with crap customer service as long as I got a reasonably priced deal. I get TV, phone and internet all packaged up and so far it’s been fairly priced and worked a treat.

That was, until last Friday night. For some unknown, unannounced reason the internet stopped working. It was quite late when I found out, so I phoned them up on Saturday afternoon. The status line had a lengthy message about scheduled maintenance for network upgrades that were currently being carried out across the country – Nottingham wasn’t due until the following Tuesday (today) so you’d think that this wasn’t the cause. There were no mentions of outages due to faults.

I then phoned the broadband helpdesk. There was a message on there that users within a collection of Nottingham postcodes (including ours) might be experiencing degraded service or total loss of service due to a localised fault. Well, that seemed to be the reason that ours was out, but it would have been nice to have that on the freephone status line rather than the 10p a minute tech support line.

So, the broadband still isn’t working on Sunday, so I phone up the tech support again. I end up speaking to some nice Indian lady. I explain the history of the fault, that there was an announcement of a localised issue that killed our service in the first place and that I was a little less than impressed with the extended outage. She performed some sort of line test and informed me that it looked like there was either a problem with the connection or something wrong with the modem. An engineer would be coming out Tuesday afternoon.

Fine, we need an engineer. However, I have a sneaky feeling I know what is wrong. I’m willing to wager that this engineer is going to come primed with an attenuator and that the application of this little device will miraculously cure my internet woes. Why do I think this? Well, NTL have done this before at our previous address. They were upgrading the lines then too and broke our connection, on that occasion for seven days. Amazingly an attenuator fixed it, so I’m willing to guess that they’ve done exactly the same thing here – they’re over-driving my cable modem and need to attenuate the signal.

I may be proved wrong, but either way they’re proving to be a bit rubbish at the support. They were excellent during the installation but after-sales stuff is not so hot.

Still, at least I wasn’t hanging on the phone for hours (I got through very quickly) and an engineer should fix it this afternoon.

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