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BT’s ‘Infinity’ Fibre Broadband

I am unfortunately near the maximum distance from the nearest street cabinet and BT’s prediction is that I will get a 59·1 megabit download speed and for nearly four years that is precisely what I get nearly all the time. Then it failed big time and at every step subsequently BT itself failed on a monumental scale.

• At some time between midnight on 27th January 2014 and 7 a.m. the following Tuesday morning my BT Infinity fibre broadband failed. The ISP could see no reason for it and asked BT Openreach to change the VDSL modem which was installed in 2010 when fibre broadband was new to this area and known to be unreliable.

• BT said their man would attend on the Wednesday morning and he arrived around two o’clock and swapped the modem for a new one. There was still no connection. He called several of his BT colleagues asking for various bits of equipment to be reset but did not get a lot of co-operation. This was because they felt the failure must be somewhere within BT Wholesale’s infrastructure to which they had no access. He didn’t leave until nearly five o’clock having done all he could.

• Following that my ISP which had already fully tested my equipment remotely via a dial-up connection (my Cisco 1800 series router allows remote diagnostics via a serial link) said they would send a complete set of replacement components to make absolutely sure that there was no fault at my end but it was too late for their courier service. So to save a day I drove to their premises on Thursday to exchange the old kit for new. Its installation made no difference.

• On Friday morning I was told to expect a phone call from BT but it never came.

• On Saturday morning I called my ISP again to ask what was happening. I was told to expect a call from BT shortly. After a reminder at around 2 p.m. the call eventually came through a few minutes before five o’clock but contributed nothing useful. The ISP rechecked my system remotely via the inwards only dial-up facility which merely showed once again that the only connection which was ‘dead’ was BT’s line.

• At six o’clock the call came through to say that BT Wholesale’s Special Faults Investigation team would visit on Monday morning, 3rd February. They did not.

• On Tuesday 4th February another BT Openreach technician turned up with a fault docket that said the customer’s equipment was faulty. They never learn, when in doubt, blame the customer. The Openreach guy admitted their training is inadequate for all but the simplest of faults. He felt what was needed was a swap to a new line card at the street cabinet but he was refused permission to do it. After he went I suggested to the ISP that if I could move every last bit of my equipment to another of their customer’s premises it would prove once and for all that there was no fault anywhere in my equipment. They made the necessary arrangements.

• The next day I transported my computer, a hardware firewall, the Cisco 1800 router and BT’s VDSL modem to Bromley. It worked perfectly. The ISP could log into it, and cause various lights to flash remotely. With the ultimate proof that the fault must lie with BT. They then arranged for BT’s special faulty team to attend on Thursday the 6th. Why they have to come here to fix a fault far away I have no idea.

• After waiting in all day I called my ISP to ask what happened. When they interrogated BT’s system they discovered that BT had arbitrarily cancelled the appointment at 6 a.m. that day. They did not bother to actually notify anyone.

• The ISP told me they did “a lot of shouting” to get BT to attend in the afternoon. BT did not call the ISP support desk but without warning turned up on my door at 15:30. The young man from Openreach, not Special faults as promised, seemed to be very knowledgeable and as a precaution swapped the modem for one by the same maker as the street cabinet as he said he has seen a few cases of incompatibilities. The change over did no good at all. The young man argued with bosses that a ‘lift and shift’ (change the line port) must be performed as there was no other reason for the fault condition. After 20 minutes they agreed; job done, service restored. It could have been done on 29th January but BT Openreach procedures would not allow it. They are only interested in blaming the customer’s equipment.  Absolutely ridiculous, never again will I defend my former employer against criticism.

• As a BT Shareholder I received a letter in the post offering me BT Infinity broadband at a discounted rate. I thought I would phone the Chairman’s office on the phone number given in the Phone Book to tell him how his company treats long standing customers, it led only to a call centre with a stated 30 minute waiting time. It was in practice quicker than that. The HQ number in the phone book is effectively another of BT’s frauds on the public. A call centre manager said he didn’t understand the problem and asked for time to look into it and then call me back. He never did.

Through this disgraceful exhibition of incompetence and intransigence by BT I was kept at home waiting for phone calls or Openreach or BT Wholesale faults or conducting tests from for the morning of 28th January through to 6th February with only one half day and the intervening Sunday free for other things. BT is a disgrace to the whole nation and the sooner it is taken over by one of the bigger international telecoms companies, the better

The inconvenience to me is massive; not able to get at my bank account, unable to renew internet domain names and various internet friends thinking I am dead. The total cost of BT’s unfitness for purpose must be incalculable.

God knows what sort of service BT might offer a lowly ‘domestic’ customer.

6th February 2014
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