Virgin Media “looking into” options to move box after pensioner complaints
Update: In a move that will surprise absolutely nobody given the backlash the company has faced, Virgin Media has said that it is exploring options to move the five-foot broadband box spoiling the view for three Scottish pensioners.
A Virgin Media spokesperson told the BBC: “We’re looking into it and discussing it with residents. We’re looking at the options and what we can do to resolve the matter.”
Other residents of East Renfrewshire will doubtless get their turn to complain when Virgin Media move the boxes.
The original story continues below
A group of pensioners in East Renfrewshire is locked in a three-way battle with the council and Virgin Media. The problem: a series of five-foot broadband boxes put up outside their house, blocking the view and cutting out their light.
In the blue corner: Donald and Rosemary Ferguson (88 and 82 respectively); their neighbour Betty McGrath (83); and East Renfrewshire Council. In the red corner: Virgin Media. The long and short of it is that Virgin Media didn’t need planning permission for their broadband boxes, but the council is miffed because they claim that Virgin didn’t inform them of their plans as a courtesy and they “expect them to be placed in suitable locations which have minimal impact on residents”.
“Virgin Media are a law unto themselves,” local councillor Danny Devlin, who was contacted by the trio impacted by the boxes, told the BBC. “They don’t need planning permission but they would usually speak to the council about the installation of these boxes. However, in this case, they didn’t.”
Virgin Media disputes this line of events, saying: “Virgin Media is currently expanding its network in the area to bring ultrafast broadband speeds to more homes and businesses.
“As we do so, we endeavour to minimise disruption and we apologise for any inconvenience to residents.”
None of this really helps the residents affected, of course, who have been dealing with the impact of the broadband box since January. “It completely blocks out any light from coming into the house, and we now have no outlook at all,” Rosemary Ferguson told the BBC.
“We were never advised they were going to be put here, but apparently, that’s because they don’t need planning permission to put them up. We have been fighting this since January and have just hit a brick wall the whole way.”
Given the attention the story has generated and the backlash on social media, it would be hugely surprising if Virgin Media didn’t back down and move their broadband box. Although the company can expect further backlash in East Renfrewshire when residents’ broadband temporarily goes down while they make the switch. Sometimes you’re truly damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
Image: William Murphy used under Creative Commons