How Telewest makes extra work out of a crisis...

Status anxiety

I know I'm not the only person who has problems with their cable TV service today, because when I ring the support number, I can't get through.

The problem, apparently, started out with an attempt to update the "TV Drive" service. TV Drive is a hard disk. It records TV programmes and plays them back when you want them played back - and it also does "pause/rewind" on live TV.

Excellent stuff! - but in the middle of the afternoon, while everybody was watching TV, the digital video recorder suddenly went on the blink, announcing:

Important:

Do not switch off your set top box as it is being updated.

Typically, these updates take five minutes. So, after two hours of it, I pressed RESET because, well, clearly, it wasn't an update. Telewest broadband downloads run at 10 megabits a second. That means that after two hours, we'd have been able to download something like 60 megabytes a minute, or, very roughly, 3.5 Gigabytes per hour - and nobody is going to persuade me that there's eight odd G of software in this box. Heck, the hard disk is only 80G in size.

Reset didn't work, so I went to the Telewest web site. There's a status page. It said (this was at 2.45 this afternoon) "No issues."

It was a lie then and at 5 pm, it's still a lie.

If you rang 151 at 3 pm you got a recording saying that there were issues with an update to TV Drive. If you rang again at 3.30, you got that recording, plus another one saying that various North London service areas were "experiencing service failure" with TV.

Don't bother ringing now. It simply says "We are sorry. There is currently a high demand for this Destination." And it hangs up.

You'd think, wouldn't you, that if they are having problems that bad, someone would think to post a report on the Status Page?

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