My cable was down for a couple of hours in the evening, because i work from home and internet access is very important for that i also have an adsl line which remained up so i simply switched to that...
I did however check the virgin status page, which claimed there was no problem with broadband in my area, so the problem here is one of miscommunication. Most people upon seeing there is no problem with the service will assume their own equipment is at fault and waste time trying to troubleshoot it.
What they should have done is updated the status page, and changed the recorded message to indicate there is a problem.
Outages happen, we're not paying for five nines of uptime so most users will understand and wait for it to come back up, and not waste the time of the helpdesk staff who can't actually do anything about it anyway.