We are currently suffering from a very very poor home Internet service from Virgin Media ... the only major Cable service supplier in the UK. They claim the service will be intermittent until July5th due to a server problem. In reality the service is virtually non-existent. How can a major supplier leave customers with no service for 7 days!?! All I can say is thank goodness for Starbucks! I have had to drive to a motorway service station in order to get a connection. My MRI activity is likely to be be very low until the problem is fixed - I'll catch up then.
Depending on the outage, it could be affecting a bunch of users in your area. I had similar outages before and it took them more than a week to fix it and even then there were intermittent issues. Took them several more trips before they figured out the problem and it's been stable now for a while.
For the UK Starbucks, it looks like the ISP is BT.
I feel your pain. The US, at least the parts I have lived in, handed out franchise rights for cable providers. My township, for example, made a deal with Comcast. They were the only cable provider for at least 20 yrs. Those no good so and so's raised prices regularly without impunity. About 5 yrs ago, Verizon laid fiber optic cable throughout our area. They then applied and were granted rights to offer cable services. Now with two parties competing, costs of service has gone way down. Quality is up, cost is down...competition is a good thing.
PP, we have a similar issue here in the UK ... Virgin are our only real cable option ... overall, they haven't been too bad on delivery but their customer service sucks! We could do with a bit of competition ... we used to be with Sky via satellite but they were pretty awful too. I guess that I shall just have to live with it.