I have a rather strong bias against big companies, especially internet providers, mobile phone providers and, since I came to the UK, banks. It's these essential services that just never quite work right, and eventually you will be on the phone trying to talk to them, on hold for an hour only to get disconnected for no reason. The tales of horror I could tell about the internet provider I used to have in Holland. Japan was really a joy compared to that because the building I lived in included internet in the rent, and it was more than fast enough and rarely ever down. Ever since I came to live in my current apartment in the UK though, internet has been far from fine.
So I had to call Virgin Media, my internet provider, to fix it. The first time I called them I had to wait on hold for over 30 minutes. Interesting fact: their help line is only free of charge if you call from a Virgin phone, so if your Virgin phone line is not working then you pay to be on hold. The person I spoke to seemed to confirm that my cable modem showed some rather unusual voltage readings and scheduled an engineer to come by and fix it. A day later I got an automated phone call from Virign saying that they cancelled my appointment because there was a general problem with internet in my area that had just been fixed. Obviously that did not fix my problem, and the automated woman's horrible bland sleepy shit voice makes me want to murder random people in violent rage.
So I called them again a couple of days later. This time it took me less than 5 minutes to get through to someone, who booked an appointment for me at the nearest available time, which was today. The engineer diagnosed the problem as my incoming line having too many splits. It's a rather old house I live in, and the line's being split for many residents. Good business for Virgin. Anyway, after half an hour of outside fiddlework he told me that they'll install another line just for me and my upstairs neighbor on Monday, which should fix all the connection problems I've been having.
The verdict is not out yet. My first encounter with Virgin's tech support wasn't good, but I'm quite pleased about the second encounter. Of course, that all doesn't mean anything if the problem isn't fixed. I'll find out on Tuesday, I guess. On the whole though, dealing with internet providers these days is a lot smoother than it was 10 years ago. Damn, it's already been ten years...