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Craigavon Residents Angered by Disruptive Virgin Media Street Works

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019 (1:36 pm) - Score 4,084

Residents of Craigavon in County Armagh (Northern Ireland) have vented anger at the quality of work and disruption caused after UK cable ISP Virgin Media began street works in the area. This forms part of a major expansion to extend the coverage of their TV and 500Mbps ultrafast broadband network.

The project was announced last year as part of Virgin Media’s pledge to reach up to 5,000 extra premises in Ballyclare and 1,200 in Portadown (here). At the time the operator said they intended to make use of narrow trenching techniques and would also be posting information leaflets to homes that might be affected (usually occurs at least a week before the work starts). A number of public information events were also held.

Despite those good indications many locals, primarily across the areas and estates of Clonmeen, Westacres, Pinebank, Gilpinstown, Drumbeg and Meadowbrook, have complained that they didn’t receive enough notice of the civil engineering work. Meanwhile others have been angered by the state of the pavements and roads after the work finished.

According to the Lurgan Mail, some locals felt trapped in their homes, while another disabled resident struggled to get of their home due to a large hole and a cancer sufferer had to be lifted over a garden fence in order to get out. In another case workmen are understood to have dug holes around one mothers car, which meant she was unable to collect her children from school.

A Virgin Media Spokesperson said:

“Virgin Media is in the process of expanding its network in Craigavon which will bring the UK’s fastest widely available broadband speeds to local residents and businesses. All homes and businesses have been notified of our expansion works in advance. We also have a local community liaison officer in the area and we hold pop up events to provide information.

With regards to the condition of pathways and roads, this is monitored by DFI Roads and any remedial work required will be completed before we leave the area. We also provide regular updates to Councillors and are in contact with the two Councillors in question about our expansion works. We have offered to meet them directly to discuss their concerns.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused to local residents.”

Unfortunately the original article only includes a few pictures and these don’t do a very good job of illustrating the biggest problem areas (except for the odd fallen barrier). However the article also contains a video and, while most of the work looks perfectly fine to us, there are a few places (mostly in the final third of the video) where work has not been fully protected (covered or cordoned off).

Local Sinn Féin Councillor, Catherine Nelson, similarly said she had “grave safety concerns” upon seeing Virgin Media’s equipment “lying haphazardly on paths and at exits and entrances to people’s homes.” Sadly this is by no means the first time that we’ve seen complaints about a lack of prior notification or shoddy street works from the cable giant.

On the other hand building such networks is rarely possible without a fair bit of local disruption, which can and often does attract plenty of complaints from residents. We’ve seen plenty of similar gripes directed toward rival operators, so Virgin are by no means alone. Other types of street work (e.g. resurfacing roads or installing new gas pipes) can also be just as disruptive.

Over the longer term a bit of disruption is usually a small price to pay for access to better connectivity, which can help to boost local property prices and give you a faster broadband connection. Meanwhile Virgin Media has reminded locals that they provide a 2 year guarantee period on their work and will return to fix any issues during this period.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
11 Responses
  1. Phil says:

    VM left my area a right mess. Nothing dangerous looking the place was just an absolute tip. We just got out one day and washed our general area around the house down but there’s still traffic cones and barriers left in green areas.

    That’s on top of their awful behaviour in the area blocking access, chucking cigarettes wherever suited and cat calling young women on their own.

    VM refuse to acknoledge any responsibility and advise contacting the contractors directly. Dig up my street, abuse the neighbours and reap the profits. No shame.

    Thankfully a recent meeting has shown us with nearly no doubt that no one in the area has become a VM customer on the back of it. Hopefully this legacy remains for a long time and they feel it in their wallet!

    1. Notyouagain says:

      I thought you had a bonded VM connection Max.

  2. Have some slow speeds instead says:

    Bloody moaners

  3. Roger_Gooner says:

    It’s one thing to be upset about a mess which has been left by an operator, it’s quite another to refuse to take the service which you want – cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  4. Kevin says:

    Virgin came into my street and were delightful. The pavements were dug up however put back with tidiness and care and the workmen who are always contractors were very conscious. What impressed me most was the speed at how quick it took from start to finish. A small price to pay to get rid of Sky and BT and save myself £500 a year. The internet flies now it’s mad!

  5. Sean says:

    Too much for Virgin Media work every where make be careful more broadband huh??

  6. Rachel says:

    Oh pool Virgin Media UK make work again why???

  7. dumdum says:

    ^^^ You??? Drunk?? No sense??? Question Mark luv?? Yes???

  8. Pat says:

    Strongly disagree with the complainers. Engineers are operating outside my house right now. They are markedly MORE efficient and professional than any council operators I have encountered. They accidentally cut through an electric cable and it was repaired within 30 minutes – and that was at eight o’clock pm. Council repairs would have taken days or weeks!
    I’d much prefer to tolerate this installation than pay Sky and Rupert Murdock tell me how my country should be run – via his all encompassing politica / financial thuggery.
    Ten out of ten for professionalism Virgin. You’re brilliant

  9. Kudopasilos Iandopilicavous says:

    I love virgin.

  10. Shirley says:

    Virgin media and ejc contracts damaged my driveway and have refused to repair the damage.

    We want nothing to do with Virgin media in the future at any time.

    We were trapped in our house and I had chest pains. There was no way an ambulance could have got to me.

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