PS Consultants - ideas & solutions

High blood pressure internet connections
April 2001

Forget ADSL, thatís still a lottery for the vast majority of us. I love it when a reader saves me the trouble of looking for a topic. And when it comes to focussing the irritation that seems to be universally directed at BT these days, I donít think I can put it any better than Brian McCandless.

I offer this with the background of all the specious twaddle emanating from Westminster and politicians about the importance of the UK as an ecommerce hub. All the twaddle about taking traffic from road and rail and supporting the infrastructure of a distributed workforce.

Coincidentally, I had two other verbal instances of almost identical scenarios this month, too. So letís tag the good people pf BT before the mere presence of an ADSL connection puts £5k on the value of a UK dwelling.

So itís all yours, BrianÖ

Dear sir,

Having followed your column for some time I am moved to write to you about my experience of today with BT and its broadband fiasco. I am what BT would call an "early adopter". This means that, unable to wait for true broadband, I opted 16 months ago for "Home Highway." After the announcement of BTopenworld I registered my interest in adopting this in May / June last year.

After prolonged silence from BT, I contacted them and learned that, as a "Home Highway" user, I would have to register my interest in converting this to ADSL. I did so. Again, prolonged silence. I contacted them and was told that they were trying to get a simple way to upgrade ISDN to ADSL and that this was on test. A result would be available before Christmas.

On 11/1/01 I received an e-mail from "THE ADSL TEAM" to contact them for installation as it was now decided that the only way was to down grade to PSTN and then upgrade to ADSL. After a little to-ing and fro-ing I contacted Dorothy Miller and arranged all the dates. I was told that it took 5 days to downgrade and 10 days to upgrade (I have no idea why). Dates were set.

Twenty minutes later I was telephoned by Dorothy and told that the ISDN team had refused to accept her request for the downgrade and that this had to come from me in person. I telephoned them. I was told (of course) that this was wrong and that they had an arrangement with the ADSL team that if I asked for it to be removed, then there was a charge of £49.50, but if the ADSL team asked for it, then it was free. I was told that "wires had been crossed" and that the ADSL team should contact Greg Lambert on 01524 588216 to sort this out. Another telephone call to ADSL and I passed this message on. End of story? Not with BT!!!!

Ten minutes later I get a call from "The ISDN Home / Business Highway Team". Apparently I have to pay £49.50 to have my ISDN line changed to PSTN. Why, I asked: "because we have to send an engineer to you to remove the equipment and have to do work on the line." I pointed out that my contract period was finished and that I could have the ISDN removed for free under the terms of that contract. This was agreed. Nevertheless I had to pay £49.50 if I wanted to change to ADSL. I further pointed out that the telephone lines were the same and that no work was done on my telephone lines. Just a box in my home and (presumeably) a change at my local exchange. All of this would have to be done whether or not ADSL was installed. This bizarre behaviour is just ridiculous. I can have it removed for free, ADSL will be installed for free, but I have to pay £49.50 to get ISDN agreement to install ADSL!!!!!!

Of course no engineer was available to explain the difference between going to PSTN and going to PSTN for ADSL installation. I asked to speak to a supervisor, none was available. A manager? - none available.

Is it any wonder that BT is in such a mess? It cannot even manage its "early adopters" - people who are crucial to its future. If only the cable company was any better (they can't decide whether their lines work with a cable modem.) It's nice to know that the future of telecommunications in UK is in such safe hands.......


Brian McCandless