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Virgin Media Unfairly Criticised Over “eyesore” Street Work

Thursday, November 14th, 2019 (9:02 am) - Score 5,353

Residents in part of the large South Lanarkshire (Scotland) village of Drumsagard have complained, perhaps unfairly, after contractors working to extend UK ISP Virgin Media’s fibre broadband network – Keir Group – reportedly left the pavements looking like an “eyesore,” except it looks mostly fair to us.

According to the Daily Record, which carries a picture of the supposedly offensive work, “fuming” neighbours in Cambuslang are concerned that the quality of reinstatement could devalue their homes. Oddly locals further complain that the area didn’t need Virgin Media because most homes already had Sky (note: Sky can only supply slower FTTC broadband to the street, while Virgin’s network is 1Gbps capable).

Some residents in the area are also unhappy that they weren’t consulted about the work before it began, although they were notified ahead of time and operators are not required to consult with locals on every single street. If they did so then the national deployment would probably take much longer and costs would rise due to excessive bureaucracy in the process.

A quick look at the only picture provided on the aforementioned website appears to show a pavement that has been filled and sealed in the normal way. The outcome is something that will be common to most streets across the UK where work has been conducted to install or upgrade new services (not only broadband).

Normally we highlight examples in the news where the civils have done a truly bad job, but in this case we believe the criticism is overblown and it’s worth highlighting that for the sake of balance.

As the local authority correctly confirms, operators like Virgin Media have a statutory authority to install services in the public roads or footways and they are not required to fully resurface the entire pavement after such work is complete (that would be very expensive for any company, so they only do their own trenches). The council confirms that Keir’s work is “both satisfactory and fully compliant with the legislation and associated codes.

A Virgin Media Spokesperson said:

“Virgin Media is in the process of expanding its network in Glasgow which will bring ultrafast broadband speeds to local residents and businesses.

The black strip on the path is a result of narrow-trenching which allows us to complete our expansion works more efficiently and with minimal disruption to local communities.

As such, the condition of roads and pathways have been monitored throughout the build and we will work closely with the council to ensure that any corrective works are completed and meet the required standards.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

As we always say, deploying new infrastructure like this is a very expensive process and sadly some disruption and change to the look of local pavements is often unavoidable (it’s the same everywhere – clean untouched pavements rarely stay that way for long). Nevertheless such things often rub people up the wrong way but in this case the moans do seem to be rather over the top.

However over the longer term a bit of disruption is usually a small price to pay for access to ultrafast broadband connectivity. Many streets have pavements with similar trench reinstatement marks and the housing market is such that the value of better broadband is likely to trump any perceived negative from normal reinstatement work.

Leave a Comment
45 Responses
  1. Avatar David

    Oh my word you POOR SODS! I mean how dare they improve your lives and leave a trench in the pavement! – what will the Neighbours who don’t even care think!?

    I do understand what you mean though – If they did that on my street I would be outraged!!

    As I would probably fall over whilst doing CARTWHEELS down the pavement in JOY of actually getting more than 20mbps FTTC can bring!

    You Mr Jocky McJockstrap need to get a life.l

  2. Avatar David

    If I was to lie down with my toes on the edge of my property and my body on the VM strip going down the next streets pavement it would cover my ballbag – but can I access it? can I eckers like!

  3. Avatar Phil

    Virgin Media don’t seem to care too much for aesthetics and make some funny choices on their street furniture. They changed from dark green cabinets to very light grey cabinets (almost like they just had a primer on them and hadn’t been painted in time) where I use to live and within weeks they were covered with graffiti as they were just a white canvas to the yobs and gangs for them to mark their territories. Even cabinets that remained free from graffiti just become very dirty looking in no time at all. Their choice of colour made no sense, guess it was the cheapest option.

    • The light grey or cream cabinets reduce heat from the sun, which is a benefit to cooling vs dark green. I think they also wanted to distinguish their kit a little more from Openreach’s.

    • Avatar Phil

      Hi Mark

      I think it is just down to cost, the city was a run down place anyway (thankfully moved away and never looked back) so they didn’t see anyone complaining. When they expect complaints or need planning permission in decent areas they will make the effort https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2018/11/virgin-media-uk-tests-new-camouflage-for-broadband-cabinets.html to blend in their furniture.

      BT Openreach manage just fine with VDSL DSLAMs being dark green so I’m afraid I don’t buy the cooling thing, besides dark bodies radiate heat better.

      If they can get away with cheap unpainted cabinets in an area they will, not only were they unpainted, they were made of a much thinner gauge metal then the usual green ones, this became very clear as they soon were covered in dents.

    • Avatar beany

      ” where I use to live and within weeks they were covered with graffiti as they were just a white canvas to the yobs and gangs for them to mark their territories.”

      Sounds like the area you used to live had far bigger problems than a cabinet of any description.

    • Avatar CalvinH

      “BT Openreach manage just fine with VDSL DSLAMs being dark green so I’m afraid I don’t buy the cooling thing, besides dark bodies radiate heat better.”

      Dark colours absorb more physical light (that is why sunglasses are dark colours) thus produce more heat.

      Light colours absorb less light and reflect it so produce less heat.

      If you go to a hot country, particularly places in the Middle east, you will find a lot of people that wear nothing but white colour clothing. That is because it will reflect away the light and thus not absorb the heat.

      The same principle can be observed in summer in this country. Take a white car, place your hand on the white body work, it will be warm to the touch, now go touch a black car and notice how much hotter the body work is.

      “Dark bodies radiate heat” better is nonsense, if that were true we would all paint out radiators black rather than white and when you heat the likes of metal to melting point it would not turn white it would turn black.

      If you do not understand science it is probably best you do not talk about it.

    • Avatar Phil

      Hi @CalvinH

      ‘“Dark bodies radiate heat” better is nonsense, if that were true we would all paint out radiators black rather than white and when you heat the likes of metal to melting point it would not turn white it would turn black.’

      Radiators don’t radiate heat, well they do a little bit but the name is a misnomer, radiators in the home work by convection and are usually white as cosmetically they look better. Check heatsinks, they are usually always black. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AHeat_sink

      Dark bodies radiate heat faster than lighter colours, that is physics, it’s not hard to validate facts like this in this day and age.

      Of course you have to factor in how much heat is gained by how much is lost, and in direct sunlight you will gain more than you are losing for a large part of the day, but at other times you will be losing more than you gain. Either way a white or dark coloured cabinet will need active cooling so it doesn’t tend to matter what colour it is in terms of cooling.

    • Avatar Phil

      “Sounds like the area you used to live had far bigger problems than a cabinet of any description.”

      Indeed it wasn’t a great place, and the last place you really wanted any sort of blank canvas like a Virgin cabinet that was very light grey. The Virgin cabinets got the usual signatures from spray paint as soon as they went from dark green to light grey, but the same never happened on the dark green BT cabinets on the same streets. Part of the issue was so few people cared anyway about the graffiti or rubbish on the streets as it was either them or their kids responsible, so were never going to ever complain to Virgin about the unsuitable colour cabinets, so Virgin just put in what was cheapest.

      Fortunately we were able to move to a much better area in a different city where there isn’t a problem with graffiti, and here oddly the Virgin cabinets are dark green, probably because people would complain if they weren’t.

      I’d rather live somewhere where people care enough about the area to complain about scarred pavements or unsightly street furniture than live somewhere where people didn’t care!

    • Avatar beany

      “Virgin cabinet that was very light grey. The Virgin cabinets got the usual signatures from spray paint as soon as they went from dark green to light grey, but the same never happened on the dark green BT cabinets on the same streets.”

      Sounds like complete BS to me, unless your area of thug is literally too stupid to buy white spray paint for the BT cabinet. (Either they are stupid or this example is dreamed up).

      On the heatsink thing, Black heatsinks are not to radiate the heat which is basically what calvin tried to explain to you.

      The heatsink itself radiates heat not the colour of it. The more heat an item absorbs the more obviously needs to be radiated off it.

      Black is not used to radiate heat. The fins on the heatsink/radiator (home or car) and other coolers (air con, fridge etc) are which radiate heat away. NOT THE COLOUR.

      In a heatsink colour is more for looks, size of the heatsink would have more benefit than its colour. Reading outdated crap on wikipedia is hillarity. If just anodising something black made such a drastic difference i think both AMD and Intel, not to mention all the third party manufacturers who make massive heatsinks for those processors would be making them black. The fact neither AMD or Intel do and third parties even when making performance coolers normally leave them bare aluminium or copper says far more.

      MAX is that you again? Everything you mentioned has a stink of Max to it.
      Read some proper science…
      https://sciencing.com/colors-absorb-heat-8456008.html

    • Avatar Neil Gardner

      @Phil, please go and research solar gain calculations for enclosures. A light grey enclosure will have a solar gain of as little as 0.4, whereas dark green can be as high as 0.7 There are of course other factors, but the science is sound. A white or light grey enclosure will absorb far less solar thermal energy than one that is dark (be it green, blue or black), and therefore lead to a lower increase in the internal temperature delta.

    • Avatar Go away

      The laws of physics and apparently light coloured paint, unless Virgin media use it for non graffiti purposes does not exist in his world.

  4. Avatar Joe Pineapples

    Should go nicely with the inevitable patchwork in the road from other services.

  5. Avatar Wayne

    It seems to me the Scottish people are not happy with anything these days maybe another referendum might fix their broadband problems.

    • Avatar Craig

      How do you know he’s Scottish Wayne ?

      Anyway, like the SNP they (he) doesn’t speak for the whole of Scotland (or Drumsagard for that matter!)

      I’m local to the area and can’t wait for ‘my’ pavement to get ripped up ! Finally some competition for Sky.

      Some people have too much time on their hands to complain about something like this, the pavements look fine to me.

  6. Avatar CarlT

    Pretty tidy job that. Contractors should be quite content with that work.

    As far as consulting home owners over what happens to the footways outside that’s simple enough – contrary to the belief of millions who seem to think the footway outside their property is their additional / only car parking space they don’t own it and it being cut up is none of their business. They are informed as a courtesy.

    • Avatar joe

      try telling someone they don’t own their spaces outside they house and see how long before the car gets keyed!

      But all you say is right. Frankly this is pathetic whinges by locals even by the standards of the usual pathetic whinges.

    • Avatar David

      @Joe try selling someone who thinks your driveway is their spave to do as they please! I had some guy park on my driveway every day for 3 months because he thought as I didn’t have a car at the time he could use it. He used to just scream at me when I walked out the door as he pulled up.

      Luckily he had a heart attack and his car was removed by my friend and his 4×4 – which was then scooped up by the council after a few weeks as we left it in the street.

      Some people are so self entitled nothing will change what they and only they think is right.

    • Avatar David

      Sorry Telling not Selling!

    • Avatar beany

      ^^ You now seemed to be confused as to what public property and private property is.
      1 Virgin Media article
      1 Million names
      Same idiot.

    • Avatar David

      @Beany I only have 1 name.

      And no I am perfectly clear what the difference is – Someone’s driveway is private property – The road is not – but actually the road belongs to the council and is private – but there is a public leeway built into the building regulations.

      Huh.. seems the only idiot is you.. anyone with half a brain, 2 fingers and Google can soon find that out.

      Also I am sure ISPr can soon tell you that I am 1 person with 1 IP address and 1 name – not that it’s really any of your business.

    • Avatar David

      Oh and for the record – I am not “Dave” that’s someone else – I am David. I hate shortening my name!

    • Avatar dave

      I wouldn’t worry about it David, the guy is delusional. He seems to have a vendetta against somebody called Max, who he apparently believes is behind almost every username on the forum. It won’t be long before he accuses MarkJ of posting under other usernames I suppose.

      I prefer to shorten my name because I was only ever called David when in trouble!

    • Avatar Go away

      “Luckily he had a heart attack and his car was removed by my friend and his 4×4 – which was then scooped up by the council after a few weeks as we left it in the street.”

      Id had though it easier to just have the friend park his 4×4 on your unused drive to prevent the abuse from the person using it without permission. But i guess in fantasy land its easier to wait until they are dead then move his car off your drive…. The logic is amazing!

  7. Avatar Optimist

    Similar patches are still visible on the footpaths of my street since cable was installed in the early 1980s! Just shows how often the council resurfaces them!

  8. Avatar Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert

    I have to say. After reading this article, I now know that ISPPreview is not exactly a trusted website for ISP news.

    Next time I seek impartial advice, I’ll just go straight to Virgin Media and get them to bullshit me directly.

    Why not publish a photograph of this supposedly fine work. (And if it’s “not required” to leave the streets in a state similar to how they were found. Then the complainant’s concern is valid).

    I find it laughable to suggest that a resident would *ever* say “We’re fine, we have Sky”. As that company is just one of the many ISPs using Openreach. I suspect that they were specifically named by the author as they are one of the few remaining Openreach ISPs that have yet to roll out the unnecessary speeds provided by FTTP. (And let’s face it… 50MBps is more than enough for any normal human being. Unless you mine Bitcoin at 4am).

    It’s interesting that the article was actually written by the founder of this website. Any other headline writer would say “Virgin Media criticised”… And spell out their argument. But not this guy. Because this is a website designed to sell VM in disguise.

    • Avatar Defender of free speech Chris Sayers

      I find all of your auguments without merit, I find Mark Jacksons articles fair and unbiased, being a money saving expert you would be the ideal chap to help me with my finances, I am not so sure the world of it is your area of expertise

    • Avatar Gary

      Haven’t had such a laugh from this site in ages so, thanks ‘Martin’.

      Care to elaborate on why this article is not to be trusted ?

      For a photo try, https://lmgtfy.com/?q=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailyrecord.co.uk%2Fnews%2Flocal-news%2Fpavements-virgin-ridiculous-20875661&pp=1&s=g

      Laugh away at people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

      By any other headline author can i assume you don’t include tabloid journalists ?

      To be fair your post may be finely crafted satire or you may be a moron, I don’t know so I’ll not make comment on that.

      Does Martin Lewis know you are using his name ?

    • Avatar CarlT

      ‘(And let’s face it… 50MBps is more than enough for any normal human being. Unless you mine Bitcoin at 4am).’

      Right, because clearly Bitcoin is mined by bandwidth. Difference between bits (b) and bytes (B) also worth noting.

      The only real mistake Mark makes is allowing anonymous, unregistered comments meaning random nonsense such as this can appear.

    • @Martin. Glad you like the site and the world would be a duller place without your immense wisdom in it. Incidentally we’ve written plenty of articles about Virgin Media doing bad work, but in this case it’s sometimes necessary – partly for the sake of balance – to highlight occasions where such gripes aren’t fully merited.

      “Why not publish a photograph of this supposedly fine work.”

      Copyright little fella.. copyright, and I don’t live in Scotland. As the article clearly says – assuming you actually read it – a picture can be found on the Daily Record website and as we don’t have copyright over that then I cannot republish.

      “I find it laughable to suggest that a resident would *ever* say “We’re fine, we have Sky”. As that company is just one of the many ISPs using Openreach.”

      Yes so do we, although as per the Daily Record, one person actually did 🙂 .

      @CarlT. “The only real mistake Mark makes is allowing anonymous, unregistered comments meaning random nonsense such as this can appear.”

      I have to get my amusement somehow :).

    • Avatar beany

      “Because this is a website designed to sell VM in disguise.”

      Obviously this is not the real Martin Lewis otherwise he would know his website has pages such as this…
      https://broadband.moneysavingexpert.com/virgin-broadband-deals

      Unfortunately it is our regular brain dead idiot troll that pops up on every Virgin Media item. It still does not know its bits from its bytes (never has on any VM item) or its ass from its elbow for that matter.

      It can change its name but obviously can not change its IQ.

    • Avatar SuperFast Dream

      Chortle @’Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert’

    • Avatar dave

      I’m a little bit fascinated by the amount of arrogant, braindead, misinformed, accusatory and just plain idiotic comments which appear in the discussions here.

      I don’t see the same in other forums or comment sections that I browse/use, I wonder what it is about this site which brings it out?

      I don’t think it’s being anonymous as very few people use real names on the Internet.

      I also assume that the people who say we don’t need faster speeds and FTTP also think 20mph is plenty fast enough for a car and ABS is pointless.

    • Avatar Lister

      I envy you dave, sounds like you’ve never had to look at the comments on twitter, fb, daily mail or youtube or various local newspaper sites. Just take one look at debates around Brexit or 5g health fears for an example of how bad things can really get between opinionated people. The comments on here are very tame by comparison.

    • Avatar David

      Well I sure hope you can get the moron’s IP address and pass it on – Martin likes to sue people who try to copy him or endorse things he doesn’t know about.

      Should be fun.

    • Avatar Phil

      Hi

      I agree, the comment parts here are pretty tame compared to some other sites, yes differences of opinion exist and discussions then ensue here like anywhere else, but seldom reach the levels of discord of some other places.

    • Abuse between posters is against the rules and will be removed (removed several hurling abuse at one another)

  9. Avatar NE555

    “the area didn’t need Virgin Media because most homes already had Sky”

    Presumably means they were only thinking about cable TV versus Sky satellite dishes.

  10. Avatar John Mill

    Ha ha – I suspect ISP review received a solicitors letter for misreporting or a cheque from Virgin for advertising.

    There have been some hacky articles of late.

  11. Avatar Declan

    Dalkeith,Midlothian Not long had my street cabled by doocey for Virgin Media the guys came from Preston top blokes had everything laid and backfilled in a day. Surfacing on footpath is a bit rough but is only a 600mm x 150mm long patch. So glad to finally be getting a decent broadband speed at the end of the month.

  12. Avatar FibreBubble

    Looks like they have used white gravel chippings in the reinstate which doesn’t match. Council should be able to defect it.

    Unusually looks like a proper trench rather than the cheap and nasty shallow unprotected tubes.

    • Avatar beany

      “The council confirms that Keir’s work is “both satisfactory and fully compliant with the legislation and associated codes.”

      Move along.

    • Avatar Jonathan

      Looksnto me as though the issue is nice shiny new top does not match the weathered old top. Not a lot you can do about that and you see it all over the place where repairs have been done. I also doubt Virgin would have gone to the extra expense of the white chips if the pavement didn’t already have them. Again difference between brand new and old and weathered.

  13. Avatar Stuart

    A few weeks ago, an X was marked on the pavement between mine, and my neighbors house, where VM’s duct is. Then a few days later, workmen showed up, early in the morning (early for me anyway) and made enough noise to wake me up. I had the window open, and could hear one of them chatting to the neighbor.

    I couldn’t believe what he said. He said they dig holes, for no reason, other than to get paid. Intrigued, I watched out of the window, and sure enough, they cut a square near the X, and covered it back up again with tarmac. Off they went!

    I wrote a letter to VM to complain, but they have not replied.

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