Trying to order Broadband in Ireland in 2019!

I moved to a new house recently. Broadband always was, and probably always will be one of my most important considerations when moving to a new area. That plus the colour of the water. Don’t ask. So naturally I done some good background checks on internet availability in the new area which included looking at broadband provider coverage and availability maps online, talking to people who lived there already, checking mobile speeds and phone lines etc while house viewing. All of the above suggested that I should have no broadband worries so off I went and agreed to let the property. I actually ordered broadband well before I moved in so that it would be there when I did or very shortly after.

The first thing I did was to use Eir’s very handy (so I thought) “Moving Home Form”. You just put your current and new details in and they handle everything for you. How cool!? I filled it out and awaited confirmation from them that all was proceeding. The suggested wait time was several business days. Fine. I never heard from Eir in relation to this again.

With the failure of the moving home form process and move time fast approaching, I decided to just do a fresh broadband order online with Eir on the 7th January. The process was fairly easy and quick and I got word back fairly quickly that install day would be the 14th January, the day after I planned to move in. I was delighted to get a call to say they could come even sooner than that because the engineer happened to be in the area and had a cancellation of some sort. He came that Thursday and I wasn’t at the address but the install team rang me to say they couldn’t provide the broadband I ordered. They put me on to the engineer to explain more and he told me that I’d ordered “Fibre to the home”, superfast broadband but no actual fibre lines to the house existed. I told him that’s all I was allowed order online and he said I needed to cancel that order and tell them I just wanted normal “Fibre to the cabinet”, phone line broadband instead. That’s when the real fun began..

For most of the next week, I tried to contact Eir and subsequently Vodafone who got similarly confused about the type of broadband available here to explain their error and just order normal broadband. I need to use a bullet list here to explain what happened next there’s so much detail, sorry!

  • Step 1 – I called the Eir customer support number 1901. Except that when you ring on a mobile, like most people probably do these days because they don’t have a landline, it doesn’t work. The robot asks for your account number but as you try to type it in their system presumes you need mobile support and tries to transfer you.
  • Step 2 – I called the sales number mentioned in the order email 1800 303 736. No answer.
  • Step 3 – I messaged the Eir Twitter support account at Twitter.com/eircare. The Twitter guys answered at least but ultimately they refer you to phone support who never answer.
  • Step 4 – I went to an actual Eir phone shop hoping to get some sense out of a real life human, face to face. I explained the problem to “Paul” who done his best to make me feel like a fool for ordering the only broadband product the Eir website let me order. One which wasn’t available in my area despite the Eir website saying it was. He put my address and Eircode in multiple times and ways and into multiple systems to prove that that’s the only broadband I could get. He didn’t seem interested when I told him the engineer was out to check and said there’s no fibre line. Paul was sympathetic to my problems getting in touch with Eir support however and gave me a handful of numbers to try ring. Each one of them failed to answer. The longest I was on hold was 1 hour and 10 minutes one day. Video proof below! That number was actually a Sales number too!??
  • Step 5 – I decided to take Eir Twitter support’s advice and post (as in a letter…lol) in a cancellation request. I done this for both my account at the old address and the new one I just ordered for the new address but havn’t heard anything back re either yet.
  • Step 6 – I said enough is enough and dispensed with Eir altogether as they obviously don’t want or care about customers and switched my attention to Vodafone on the advice of the previous tenant who used them happily. Considering my failure to get in touch with Eir in any way to cancel, I had no option but to just cancel my direct debit with them. I’m sure I’ll hear more about this but I’m ready for ’em!
  • Step 7 – To my initial delight, Vodafone were a hell of a lot cheaper than Eir for the same thing but to my dismay then, they also sold me fibre to the home, which as I’d already found out was not available here. I’m guessing the address/availability system Vodafone use is Eir’s so it’s wrong for both. Probably other providers too. I ordered the only package I was allowed to on the Vodafone site but got a call the next day to say it wasn’t available. Here we go again..
  • Step 8 – I decided, again, to go talk to someone face to face and went into the local Carphone Warehouse store to try sort the Vodafone install issue and the guy there put a manual order through for me for broadband after I explained the issue again. That order seems to have disappeared into the twilight zone. There was no record of it with Vodafone. Maybe it’s for the best as it was a completely different price and contract length to the online order.
  • Step 9 – I contacted Vodafone by phone and web chat which was a hell of a lot quicker and easier than contacting Eir and because of my experience with Eir, I understood the situation and issue fully and was able to explain it very simply to the several different agents, several different times. Nevertheless, they trust their “system” more than actual humans on the scene so they insisted that all I could order was Gigabit, superfast fibre to the home broadband and that the slower “normal” broadband I wanted was not actually available to me.
  • Step 10 – I put another order through on the Vodafone website while web chatting to a support agent. It only let me order the superfast broadband yet again but on the advice of the support guy/girl (never sure with Indian names) I ordered anyway and we agreed that if I got a call to say it wasn’t available again, I should just insist on a site visit. The same support guy tried to sell me the same package I ordered at a different (yes, dearer of course) price than the website too!?

Eir customer support craziness:

So that’s where we’re at now. Waiting on someone from Vodafone to call/visit to actually check what’s available here and install some kind of broadband. Meanwhile I’m trying to run an IT business off my mobile phone hotspot with the phone placed up against the window in the kitchen at the back of the house which through trial and error I’ve found is where the best 4G signal is. But it comes and goes..

So for once the issue is not the availability of decent broadband in Leitrim, I know I can get broadband, I just can’t seem to order it!? It shouldn’t be this hard to order broadband in Ireland in 2019?

Advertisements

Is Email Marketing Dead?

Recent Experiences

It just occurred to me as I sent out my last business Newsletter recently to a highly focused MailChimp list especially for existing clients of mine, a newsletter alerting clients to changes in the Google algorithm that will most likely affect their sites positions in search results and in turn possibly their main marketing channel, and having watched multiple unsubscribes and no replies to it, that Email Marketing, as I know it at least, may be dead.

The last few similar newsletters I sent out yielded the same results. No replies, no business and a few unsubscribes. I check the stats re open rate etc and all emails reach their destination and actually have good open and click rates. I’m sending these newsletters to a list that I use to alert existing clients of issues with hosting, problems that may arise and general important announcements that clients really need to know. If they unsubscribe, they wont get this information and they’ll be in the dark and I may not have the resources to deal with issues directly or by phone as a result of them being in the dark! Fair enough, I also use newsletters as a marketing channel sometimes but I doubt very much that I oversell through it.

Why?

So why the lack of interest? I guess it’s possible it could just be that they have no interest and see no relevance in the content. It’s hardly that they receive too many emails from me given that I only send newsletters out every 2 or 3 months if even that. Maybe people in general are overwhelmed by emails? Maybe they don’t have the time? Maybe it’s just a tired method?

From my own perspective as someone who also receives a lot of email newsletters, it can be overwhelming. The companies that send out the most frequent and/or longest newsletters usually get the boot from me but I try not to make the same mistakes in my own email campaigns.

GDPR

Then there’s GDPR. Could this have had an affect on email marketing? I took all the necessary precautions when the new GDPR regulations passed last summer. I emailed everyone, asking them if they wanted to remain on my list and telling them what data I held exactly. I had very few unsubscribes then, if any so I presumed people were happy to stay on the list. I’m pretty sure GDPR has scared a lot of people off email marketing though. And caused a lot of unsubscribes.

The Future?

So what’s the next new marketing thing!? I’m subscribed to Seth Godin’s email list. I signed up for it because he famously keeps them very short and concise. I’ve seen some come in that are barely a sentence! More often than not they talk a lot of sense and wisdom. Seth is a big proponent of the old fashioned way of doing things. Being honest, offering value, doing things the hard way and not taking the quick and easy fixes.

That’s what I’m going to try to do anyway. I just have to find the right medium to do it through!

FREE WiFi in Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim from Magnet Networks

I attended the launch of the new Magnet Networks provided FREE WiFi service in Carrick-on-Shannon town centre this morning, June 20th. The CEO Mark Kellett and other Magnet representatives were on hand to introduce and explain the new service and it’s benefits and to outline other services that Magnet can provide. Carrick-on-Shannon is the first town in the country to roll out free, no limits public WiFi.

Here’s how it works.

Areas covered:

  • Main Street,
  • Bridge Street,
  • Marina/Boardwalk area,
  • Town Park (Behind Victoria Hall/Beside the Rowing Club).

Access & Speeds:

  • One time free sign up with either Email or Facebook details,
  • Around 6MB up and down,
  • No time limits,
  • No bandwidth limits,
  • Content filtered (Family safe).

Benefits:

  • Local businesses can benefit from Advertising opportunities and usage analytics,
  • The public including town visitors can benefit from fast, free internet,
  • Children and teenagers can remain in touch with parents.

Sponsors

Access Points were kindly supported by the following local businesses:

  • Spice India
  • Leitrim County Council
  • The Bush Hotel
  • Buffalo Boy
  • Carrick-on-Shannon Chamber of Commerce
  • McMahon Opticians
  • Brady Insurance

Photo Gallery:

For more information on Magnet’s services, visit their website – MagnetNetworks.com

Essential Work/Life Gadgets

I work in IT and I’m a man so inevitably that means that I have and love many, many electronic gadgets. To make matters worse (or better depending on your point of view) I’m also a musician. Not any old musician but a musician who has recently developed an interest in making digital music! So along with the kind of electronic gadgets most of us have these days such as Tablets, Smartphones, Laptops etc.. the musical side of me owns Guitars, a Digital Piano, Mixing Desk and Recording equipment too. I also have work equipment such as a Desktop Computer, Printer, Speakers, Chromebook for meetings and remote working, Phone Equipment and a Pro Camera.

Then there’s the leisure side. Many of us have PlayStations, X-Boxes, TVs (Curiously, I don’t have one currently for once and don’t actually miss it at all), Hi-Fi systems and more. There’s also a plethora of Hi-Tech smart home gadgets these days such as WiFi and Bluetooth Lights, Speakers, Heating Systems and even WiFi Smoke Alarms! So in general gadgets are an important part of our lives and sadly if anything happened to them, particularly our smartphones and tablets, the resulting cut off from society can be a pretty hard shock to the system. The average modern smartphone for example can cost over €600/€700 (I’m talking Android here. Apple stuff is even dearer!) to replace new out of contract. A cost many of us can’t afford. I personally rely on my 18 monthly free (or nearly free) phone upgrade with Three to get new phones. I’d never be able to afford to buy one off the shelf.

We’re all human and while I myself am fairly careful and protective of my stuff, accidents do happen. Especially if you have young kids knocking around as I do or are the kind of person who can’t leave their phone down when they go to the toilet!?

Many of our items may be covered under an existing house contents policy but why not have peace of mind for your gadgets on the move by signing up for an affordable monthly gadget insurance policy? Insurance companies cover the usual gadgets we all have and in addition, items can be covered on route to your home or place of work, travel usage worldwide, liquid damage cover, etc.. There’s also a lot of flexibility in cover and payment options and you can make two claims within any 12 month period. Quotes are instantaneous online and policies can be setup in minutes.

This post is in collaboration with Chill Insurance.

Weight Loss Progress & BMI Calculator Spreadsheet With Chart

Prompted by my own recent requirements to lose weight and try sort out my high blood pressure issues, myself and a friend in similar need to lose weight decided to document and graph our weight loss “progress” (hopefully!) so we jointly created a shared spreadsheet on Google Sheets where we can both input our weekly weight and have it calculate our BMIs then chart the lot on an easy to read graph.

I’d recommend doing this with another person or two as you can both spur each other on to lose the weight.

Screenshots:

Table Data
Table Data
Graph
Graph

Instructions:

Download the Microsoft Office Spreadsheet HERE and fill in your own data. It should be easy enough to understand and use. You just need to enter your own data for the following:

  • Your Height
  • Your Weekly Weight
  • Your Target Weight
  • Your Target BMI

The spreadsheet does the rest.

Digital Technology & Design Degree

I’ve just finished up my year long, part time and fully online BSc Design Degree run by the Digital Skills Academy in Dublin in conjunction with the Dublin Institute of Technology and wanted to write a few words about the experience and to largely recommend the course to others.

I signed up for the course last January after seeing a Facebook add for it. I applied through the Springboard program which offers free courses to those qualified and was accepted because of my prior experience in the design sector having worked as a freelance Web & Graphic Designer since about 2003.

Topics Covered in my chosen “Design” stream:

  • UX, UI & Concept Design
  • Entrepreneurship, Creativity & Innovation
  • Digital Industries & Career Development
  • Front-end Web & Mobile Development
  • Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop
  • Web Graphics Design & Production
  • Digital Marketing Campaign Management

There was also a Major Project for the final 6 months were we worked as a team on a real life project.

My reasons for doing the course were:

  • Gain a design qualification (had none!)
  • Learn something new
  • Networking
  • Experience of teamwork (I work alone a lot)
  • An internationally recognised Level 7 Bsc degree in only 1 year!?

The fact that the course was online and part time appealed to me as I still had my full time business to run as well as having a wife and three kids and things were kinda slow work wise. A 10-15 hour per week commitment was mentioned at the start of the course but we quickly realised that was a bit of an under statement! I think I put in about 25-30 hours per week at least for the first 6 months.

Course Best Bits:

  • Flexible access
  • Modern relevant content
  • Team work
  • NO EXAMS!
  • Only 1 year!
  • Introduction to online learning tools
  • Our Facebook group
  • Networking

Course Worse Bits:

  • Moodle learning system
  • Project brief confusion
  • Support delays (Forum & Email)
  • Inflexible LiveSync timings
  • Tolerating poor teammates

Conclusion:

I would highly recommend Digital Skills Academy courses. The lecturers are knowledgeable and accessible, the content is relevant to the modern digital workplace. Team work is excellent experience and the networking aspect is fantastic too. Where else would you get a degree, part time in one year too!?

Leon,
Class of 2017