Why moan when the wi-fi is free? I'll tell you why...
You know me. I don't like to moan. It's quite rare for me to complain about anything, in fact. Yessum, you'll never catch me banging on about how utterly useless everything in the modern world is. Apart from the free wi-fi on National Express' East Coast mainline. I know I may have mentioned it before, and you're right - it's free! Why the hell am I complaining?
Because it doesn't work.
I've just spent 20 minutes between Kings Cross and Peterborough trying to get a wi-fi connection on my MacBook. Have I got a rubbish laptop? That depends what you think of MacBooks really, although oddly enough the passenger next to me lost internet connection on his Dell laptop at exactly the same time. Instead of loafing about online, we were mildly annoyed to read this:
Gah. Why so vexed by a free service? Why can't I just shut the hell up and just be grateful? Two reasons. The first is that I don't like being misled; National Express is offering free wi-fi as an incentive to use their trains (and not travel by budget airlines). This is what they have to say about it:
So there you are. National Express admit to no service being available, while their literature claims that will never be the case. If you're keeping track (arf), I'm now between Peterborough and Doncaster. There have been a couple of sixty second spell of high-speed connection, and now we're back to zero. Balls.
The other concern is that it seems unlikely National Express will change the claims of "continuous service" and "uninterrupted" browsing, because they don't believe there's a problem. When Bitterwallet last contacted National Express to question the validity of the claims and whether customers were being misled, a spokesperson said:
The rising number of customers using our wi-fi (numbers tripled in the first three months since it was made free throughout the train) suggest most users are content with the facility offered.
When we suggested that it meant no so thing, and that such an increase in users was clearly the result of the service being free (instead of paying over a fiver a time as they previously did), and not necessarily because customers enjoyed a service they were satisfied with, National Express didn't reply.
Offering a free service is one thing. Making claims that we continue to struggle to validate is another. But, as I said, I don't like to moan.