As some of you may be aware, I have recently moved to a nice newly built building complying with all sort of yet to be enforced standards in construction and very much ready for the future in matter of telecommunications.
I therefore found myself under the misguided impression that it would be a cinch to get a phone line connected for my Internet access. How wrong was I!
You see, I am getting a fairly good deal on broadband from my mobile phone provider and I almost never use the landline for calls (I am infact considering not even giving out the new number once I have it), so I am only interested in renting the line for Internet access.
This right away discounted my previous provider who, as I have learnt, are using using a technology called local loop unbundling (LLU). Apparently this means that they can offer cheaper deals but it also mean that I would have to take on all sorts of bundles (including broadband) I am not remotely interested in (and incidentally pay more than I did so far).
So the only option seems to be BT. I therefore gave them a ring, set up an account and an appointment for an engineer to come round and connect the line was set up. I booked some time off work.
A couple of days before I received a text confirming the appointment but showing my former postcode. I rang them to make sure that they had the right details and that the appointment would indeed happen. All was fine, I was told.
The day of the appointement came and I dutifully spent the afternoon (from 1pm to 6pm) at home waiting for the engineer to come. He didn't.
By 6.30pm, I was on the phone to BT, asking why the engineer hadn't turned up and why I hadn't been notified.
It turns out that Openreach, BT's provider for connections, had decided that some extra external work was required for the connection to happen. And that BT had been notified of this by the time I had rang them to confirm the appointment. You know, when I was told that all was fine...
I wasn't particularly impressed, especially when I knew that other people in the building had already had their lines connected by Openreach...
I was told to ring again in a week and was offered a free month of line rental as compensation. That's £12. Yes, 12 measly pounds, when I have wasted a day off, spent an afternoon waiting and will have to pay £127 for the connection to take place.
But sadly, this is not all.
A week later, on the Tuesday, I was on that phone asking what was what. I was told that as expected the work was mostly completed and that my line should be connected (note without the need for a visit by an engineer!) on Wednesday. I would be sent an email to confirm that.
On Thursday the email hadn't arrived. I sent an email to BTcare (yes, I know!), the customer service, who to there credit a fairly responsive if totally ineffective and was told that all was good and that the line should be working by 8pm that night.
That was last night. This morning, the line is still not working and I am starting to lose my rag.
I am waiting for BTcare to get back to me with whatever wooly explaination they can come up with. Needless to say, I am not recommending BT to anyone. The most frustrating that, due to my circumstances, I am stuck with using them. Where is the competition in this? Ofcom, who has been contacted, doesn't seem to see any problem in this situation.
Watch this space for an update, if you can bear it.
Update - 13 August 2010 - 11:17:
Well it looks like some has been telling porkies. The line is actually not ready to be connected. As per the latest email from BT: "Openreach have advised that there is still a lineplant issue which means cabling is not fully installed in the area around the property and is required to complete the work. They are reviewing the next steps today and following that discussion they will advise of a way forward. They also advise that they are ready to go ahead with installing the additional cabling required so the resolution should not be to far away."
Strange that, really... Since 2007, London's tallest residential building comprising more that 400 units has been under construction and it is only now that people are moving in that BT/Openreach realise that the inhabitants of said building may want to get phone lines and that they should perhaps do something about it to have the external infrastructure ready... Good planning, guys!