Original Daily Mail Article – The estate that went to war with Virgin Media: Frustrated locals have endured a two-year broadband nightmare – and the problem STILL isn’t fixed viewable here

Since the beginning of covid, raw material shortages, longer lead-times, delayed shipping/air freight, and increased pricing have all become normalised. So much so that the old system of purchasing JIT (just in time), or said another way. Ordering goods to fit with the normal time slots of say 3-4 weeks, or 10-12 weeks (examples only) is “in my and other peoples experience” no longer viable.

Company after company, buyer after buyer, seller after seller conveys the same story. That is, the reality is such that supply chain is no longer as smooth as it once was, yet to tackle the future, and to keep a smooth supply chain going (which contrary to popular opinions, is still relatively easy to achieve), though changes need to be made.

The Problem – Poor Internet

Residents say they have been left without internet almost daily for two years.

Evidently, the area is so plagued by poor wi-fi that it really has become the talk of the town.

An unreliable connection might be forgiven in rural areas. But while this upmarket estate looks and feels like a village, it is less than five miles from Buckingham Palace.

Many residents say they have been left stranded, sometimes for weeks at a time. ‘My internet connection was patchy throughout the pandemic but over the past four months it’s been absolutely abysmal; sometimes it’s down all day.

As a manufacturer – time and time again, the phrase, i.e. “my internet is poor” is heard. Yet more often than not, this is the voice of the consumer and not the provider.

As a Provider – And contrary to perception, it’s doubtful Virgin Media and any other internet/broadband provider would ever goe out of their way to provide a poor service. This is not their goal.

How does poor internet happen?

More often than not, the problem lies with loop holes in the supply chain, which for the most part, the provider is oblivious too. From experience, providers often start out with highly detailed and very stringent product specification. They want to ensure the end consumer (you) have a very reliable and super fast internet connection.

Once these products are sourced, manufactured and approved – and “approvals in the Telecom industry are everything“. They are also the key to any manufacturer/supplier being offered an opportunity to supply “high grade equipment” to major providers such as Virgin Media, yet once a sample/prototype is submitted and approved, the final product supplied by the manufacturer/supplier/distributor may not be all that it was approved to be –

That is, a switch in-between happened.

The Switch

Time has shown (2003 – 2022) – Up to 80% of products that are “provider approved” are switched from to a “lesser quality product” which is the product ACTUALLY SUPPLIED, that saves the manufacturer/distributor (not the provider) a great deal of money – However,,,,,,As the provider is totally unaware, the provider is the loser.

However – Until the consumer (i.e. you the broadband user) uses their internet and experiences a poor service, Virgin Media (the provider) do not know they have been switched sold and installed a sub-standard product. But now it’s too late….. fibre cables have been bought paid for and laid, fibre connections jointed, installation equipment installed, and it’s even tested out by Virgin Media Engineers to be fully operational…… yet this is where the nightmare begins, but not just for the consumer, for Virgin Media too.

A1 Fibre instead of A2 (A2 is far superior than A1 – it’s an industry thing and somewhat reverse logic, yet 85% of the worlds installed fibre is A1 = SUB STANDARD) whereas 15% of GRADE A = A2 fibre which is the highest grade is SAVED for special companies (BANKS), military, governments, etc.

The Remedy – Takeaway

1 – Virgin Media – Must seek within themselves to REQUEST GRADE A, NOT SIMPLY A2, BUT GRADE A A2 (( GRADE A – A2 ROD FIBRE )) and when that fibre rod is formed into cable, EACH BATCH IS TESTED.

2 – Virgin Media – Might want to perform a “due diligence” check on their product ingredients – visually all fibre cables can look the same, yet under the hood things are very different. Micro-millimeters difference in both fibre core and jackets can and do make things cheaper, yet they drastically alter the performance and life-span.

3 – Know the life-span of your fibre. It not a question often asked or ever requested, though 80-85% of the fibre in today’s market is manufactured for a maximum of 20-30 years. Compared to the old copper system (BT3002) which is now upwards of 70 years +, it means a re-dig, re-lay is high on the list.

High grade fibre is fibre cable manufactured and supplied to specification, with a life-span to match (70 years +). Whereas low grade cables are made to meet the lowest price, i.e. corners are cut.

4 – Virgin Media – Might better consider to bench test incoming products, at the very least perform a calibration, tolerances, ingredients checks, and seek traceability reports for all products.

5 – Jointing is another problematic area, where the installer is required to splice and joint cables in the field. Weather and other environmental conditions often challenge installation engineers to the degree that poor jointing represents 80% of slow laggy internet, drop outs, and break downs. Yet switching to pre-configured fibre joint boxes (enclosures), i.e. plug and play can easily resolve this widespread issue.

Initially pre-configured (pre-terminated) boxes are more expensive to buy, yet they are super-quick to install which balances out the overall cost, and due to their robust design, reliability and longevity take centre stage.

 

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