A few weeks ago I swallowed my pride, bit the bullet and decided to line Rupert Murdoch’s grubby pockets again. Telewest (now Virgin) couldn’t get my broadband to work properly for 3 months and couldn’t tell me when they were planning on fixing it so I gave them the boot and had a scout round for a good deal and up popped Sky.
Sky TV is a million times better than Cable TV, they give you free phone calls at evenings and weekends and thanks to the wonders of local loop unbundling they can also give me 16mbit broadband. All this cheaper than I was paying Telewest for the phone, TV and a 4mbit connection that didn’t work properly. Sky even agreed to pay the £120 reconnection charge BT quoted me.
Got the phone connected, got the Sky TV installed (the installer turned out to be someone I went to school with, what are the odds, eh?) and eagerly awaited the broadband to be activated. The broadband was activated in the afternoon of the date they gave me and the process was relatively painless. It wasn’t exceptionally fast but I thought I’d give it a few days to settle down and see if it got any better. It didn’t so I phoned technical support.
I checked the speed from my desktop as well as my laptop. I have built-in wireless from Realtek in my laptop and a USB dongle from Belkin attached to my desktop. After arguing the toss with technical support that there really is a problem with the router I got through to someone who asked me to plug the laptop in using a network cable. I did and hey presto it was 3 or 4 times faster. Marvellous, so what’s the problem then? Apparently, the wireless card in my laptop and the wireless dongle on my desktop both have “incompatible frequencies”. Nobody could explain what the “incompatible frequencies” might be but told me that I’d have to speak to the manufacturer of my wireless adapters.
Still convinced that there was a problem with the router but resigned to going through the motions I phoned Belkin (but not Eveshambles, more on that in another post shortly). They confirmed that the dongle was fully compatible with the router and when I explained the symptoms the Belkin man agreed with me that the router was obviously at fault.
So, back on to Sky tonight and what a horrendous experience that was. I got through to someone in India who could barely speak English and who was so technically inept that he failed to grasp even the most basic of concepts. He insisted that there was nothing wrong with the router because the lights were on and I could get a web page. I asked him if he bought a Laborghini and it only did 20mph would he be happy with it because the engine turned on? It missed the point entirely. In fact, I think he didn’t actually understand what I was saying because it wasn’t written down on his script. Anyway, I persevered for about half an hour getting more and more irate when I eventually gave up and hung up.
I rang back and got put in a queue for half an hour and spoke to … wait for it … and Englishman! Believe me, this is a novelty because every other person I’ve spoken to at Sky has been either Scottish or Indian. This man understood perfectly what the problem was and arranged for a replacement to be sent to me there and then.
So far I’m not impressed with Sky’s customer service. People complain about Telewest’s customer service but they answer the phone pretty quickly and their broadband technical support is very good (although not free any more, another reason not to stay with them). Time will tell if it gets any better but hopefully I won’t need to speak to them again if this router works properly.