Virgin Media shamed over broadband downtime, but users could now cash in

While pushing the envelope for home broadband speeds, Virgin Media isn’t quite as hot when it comes to keeping customers connected, according to a new survey from a major consumer advocate.

The new research from Which? reveals that Virgin Media customers suffer more time without access to the internet than any other major UK service provider. Indeed, one in six Virgin Media customers surveyed said they’d been hit by outages lasting hours, and even days at a time.

The next worst performer was Talk Talk, with one in ten users complaining of long outages. BT & Sky customers were a little better off, with nearly one in ten users enduring lengthy periods without access to broadband.

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In a statement to The Inquirer, Virgin defended its service and pointed out more customers are recommending the service to friends, compared with rivals.

It boasted of “network reliability of over 99 per cent” over the course of the last year, while adding it was the “most likely provider to be recommended to a friend in Ofcom’s most recent satisfaction survey.”

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Which? announced its findings as Often prepares to roll out new compensation plans for users whose broadband is failing them. Under the new scheme, which all of the major providers have signed-up for, Brits will automatically get an £8-per-day credit on their next bill.

The new rules will also ensure customers get a fiver if their installation is delayed or £25 if the engineer pulls a no-show. Ofcom reckons there’s a whopping 250,000 missed appointments and a million delays, so the new rules are likely to cost ISPs huge sums unless they buck-up their ideas.

Ofcom estimates that, if the current level of outages and appointment cock-ups remain steady, the new rules will mean a windfall of £142 million for UK broadband users.

Are you battling outages more often than you’d like? Are you expecting to receive money back under Ofcom’s new rules? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.