Trying to get a broadband internet connection in the flat has truly exercised my patience and crushed my notion of customer service in the global economy. The best is that my provider in the end [be*]( truly rocks at customer service right down to sending me a text message on every step of activation & setup. The worst is that Virgin Media, British Telecom, and Tiscali truly suck rocks when it comes to customer service. They don't seem to really want new customers, or really want to keep existing ones. * 2007.09.05 20.00

Call Virgin Media to sign up for cable package including broadband, tv, and home phone. Installation scheduled for 12 Sep. One week!?

* 2007.09.12 20.00

Virgin were supposed to install today between 12.00 and 18.00. Nobody showed up. Nobody called.

* 2007.09.14 09.00

Call Virgin customer service. Rep says they have no record of why installation did not happen. Best he can offer is to reschedule installation for 22 Sep, over one week later. I tell him I've already waited one week and been treated horribly, and I'm inclined to cancel if they can't install in next 3 business days. As I'm ranting (not too badly) he hangs up on me.

* 2007.09.14 19.00

Call BT to set up phone line. They say it will go live on 18 Sep.

* 2007.09.18 19.00

My new BT number is working for calls. Call Tiscali to set up broadband package. They can't do because there is a "problem with my line." They tell me I need to call BT to get my line sorted out.

* 2007.09.18 20.00

Call BT to try to get my line fixed. After 20-30 minutes on hold I hang up.

* 2007.09.20

Get disconnected. Twice. But the one guy said he put a ticket through to BT to have the situation corrected on 26 Sep.

* 2007.09.25 19.30

Call BT, can't see anything. Need to call customer service at a different number. 45 minutes on hold, billing answers and says customer service have gone home for the day at 8pm and I'll have to call back tomorrow.

* 2007.09.26 14.30

Try calling BT customer service but answer message says "sorry but we're very busy and we can't take your call. Please call back another time."

* 2007.09.28 08.00

Call BT customer service. First gruff rep listens to my problem and transfers my call without telling me he's doing so. After almost an hour on hold Emily tells me that she "can't see anything" on my line like LLUSMPF or broadband, and I should call my new line & broadband provider to have them do all this legwork. She won't do anything else, so I decide to try Tiscali again.

While I was on hold I tried to order Tiscali online and it didn't work. I also compared other broadband providers.

* 2007.09.28 09.15

Tiscali sales rep tells me that previous line owner (my landlord I think) had Tiscali service but it wasn't canceled properly. Gives me another Tiscali number to call to have service canceled.

* 2007.09.28 09.20

Call the Tiscali number given to me by sales rep. Press the cancel service option, which tells me to call another number.

* 2007.09.28 09.22

Call the Tiscali "cancellation centre." Very nice man tells me the process is that to prove I'm now the line holder I need to mail them a BT bill with a note asking to release the line. Should take no more than 5 days. They will notify me by post of completion. Then I can go back to Tiscali sales and start over...

* 2007.09.28 09.30

Call Virgin Media to finish up cancellation. When I get through to a rep, he says "sorry our systems are down right now can you call back between 12 and 2?" I say no, explain that I simply won't pay them anything. He offers to put me through to pre-installs, does so, that option ends me up asked to leave a message on an answer phone so I hang up.

"Virgin Media, consider me cancelled!" he shouted.

Still need to get this credited -- 09/05/07 Virgin Media Pymts Ltd - Gb $51.86.

* 2007.09.28 09.54

Write an email to the landlord as follows. "Niall- Assuming you were the account holder on the Tiscali service attached to 0208 341 2821, could you please give Tiscali a call on 0845 077 4488 to properly cancel the service? They won't let me do it without sending them a BT bill in writing, but it needs to be properly canceled before I can get internet service... Thanks. -Dan"

* 2007.09.28 10.00

Spoke to be* ( and rep said all looked ok. I signed up online. We'll see what happens.

* 2007.09.28 12.00

My landlord writes that he wasn't the account holder for the BT number I have, he thinks it was previous owner. Gave me some details but I'm not going to follow up unless I have to.

* 2007.09.28 12.10

Made a copy of my BT bill and put in an envelope to Tiscali with a note asking them to release the line.

* 2007.09.28 14.00

My be* account page says they are scheduling activation. Since Tiscali explained that it is them who have the previous service problem for my BT number, I'm hopeful that a different broadband provider can use the line.

* 2007.09.30 14.10

SMS from be* says "Your welcome pack including DSL modem is on its way."

* 2007.10.04 19.31

SMS from be* says "Great news. Our records show you have been connected." And they're right!