Jam Tomorrow: Trying to get BT to activate my broadband

“No, of course you can’t speak to the people at BT Wholesale that are dealing with the problem; they don’t talk to customers” !

Sigh. Why is nothing ever simple ?

Nearly a month into our new house, and we still don’t have broadband. It was supposed to be activated on Monday 20th June – two full weeks ago – but 14 days later, we’re still phoning BT every other day, and being repeatedly assured that it will *definitely* be working by this tomorrow, we promise. Oh this engineer will *definitely* be able to fix it, honest. Oh, and we’ll be in touch directly if there’s any change on the system.

As if.

Two engineer appointments, more phone calls than I care to remember, several different call centres (on more than one continent), and some buck-passing between BT Retail and BT Wholesale, this has it all.

Monday 20th June – the Day Of Activation.

Come home after work to find a voicemail on the landline saying the activation would now not be happening till Thursday due to ‘a technical problem.’

Thursday 23rd June – the (new) Day Of Activation.

Receive an email at 10.06am from BT – “Congratulations – your broadband is now activated and ready to use!”.

Also receive a text from BT  – “Your broadband is now activated. Your password is .”

[NB that’s not been edited to remove the password – it simply wasn’t in the message!]

Come home from work, and try it. It’s not working. Try a different modem/router, try different phone socket, try a different microfilter, try turning it on and back off again. Spend more time than is healthy watching a small green light blinking slowly and entirely failing to go solidly on.

Decide to wait till next day, as per BT suggestions, to see if it activates overnight.

It doesn’t.

Friday 24th June – the Day of Fault Reporting

Attempt to phone BT to report that the line is still not active.

Phone the Moving House/BB Activation team, as this is who I have been dealing with up till this point. Told their system shows the line as active, so this is not an activation problem, and I need to go through the technical team. Transferred to technical team, and prompty cut off.

Phone back technical number, and after navigating the maze of unhelpful information, pre-recorded unskippable messages telling you to turn your router on and off again, and to try looking at the BT Website for lots of helpful information on how to make your internet connection work, finally get through to a human being.

Explain problem, they do a line check, which shows a fault (at BT Retail’s servers). Fault is logged, told an engineer will ring me ‘tomorrow morning between 9.30 and 10.00 to discuss the problem’.

Saturday 25th June – the Day of Not Being Phoned Back

At 11.30am, with no-one having being in touch, phoned again. Was told no engineer was supposed to be getting in touch with me, as they don’t do that.

Did I want to book one to look at the problem?

The first available slot was now apparently Tuesday 28th between 1pm-6pm.

After I moaned about this a bit on Twitter, was first followd by a @BTCare account, and then phoned by them, who assured me that whatever the issue, the engineer would definitely be able to fix the problem on Tuesday afternoon.

Tuesday 28th June – the Day of The First Engineer Appointment

Booked time off work; waited in on Tuesday afternoon. Engineer phoned to say problem was at the exchange, a network card had failed, this was a BT Wholesale problem, and not one that he could fix. He assured me the card (affecting up to 100 lines at the exchange) would be replaced & things working again ‘this afternoon or first thing Wednesday morning.’

Wednesday 29th June – the Day of Getting Slightly Cross

Come Weds lunchtime, with no obvious change in the status of the line (and the online status checker not having updated, plus there being no mention of a more general problem with the exchange on the service status page), phoned BT again.

Just wanted to get update to how long to expect till network card was replaced; had to speak to three different people (front line support, a supervisor after I was obviously getting slighty cross being told to reboot my router yet again, and was finally transferred to a ‘technical specialist’, who was at last (and unlike everyone else I’d spoken to) able to bring up details of my actual fault report.

This person promised to speak to BT Wholesale to find out status, and get back to me. She did ring back, within 30 minutes, but was unable to give me any other information except that the problem was with BT Wholesale Diagnostics, they hadn’t fixed it yet, but to give it another 24 hours and it would spring to life. Also told that there was ‘no need to keep ringing us for an update, we’ll get in touch with you as soon as anything changes with the status‘.

Suspiciously, at the same time I finished this call with BT Technical, (around 13.25) the online fault checker was updated to claim the problem had been ‘cleared’. It wasn’t.

Thursday 30th June – the Day of Mixed Messages and Being Cut Off Again

[Today’s part is guest-written by @calluna_ as I had no energy to deal with BT again…]

– phoned in am to report online fault checker now said problem was resolved, but nobody had contacted us and BB still not working. Technical team confirmed there was still a fault on the line; said they would get fault reopened but would need to check with BT Wholesale about its status, would phone me back in 2 hours.

– phoned back by ‘Concern team’ (?!) to say that BT Wholesale reported that there were no problems at the exchange, and that an engineer would have to be sent to property. Some confusion here about existing fault; was first told that BT Wholesale had not attended to it, then that BT Wholesale had indeed attended to it but had found nothing wrong, before finally being told that BT Wholesale had attended to it and replaced something in the exchange (presumably the faulty network card mentioned by the BT engineer on Tuesday).

– that phone call was disconnected; was not called back, so called back myself and had to go through the entire phone tree again. Technical team said that there was no record of my earlier phone call, that there was no record of BT Wholesale giving an update on the complaint, and that they would need to check with BT Wholesale and phone me back in about 2 hours. After explaining that I had already waited two hours once only to be cut off, was put on hold so staff member could call BT Wholesale himself.

– technical staff member confirmed that BT Wholesale had attended problem, replaced something at the exchange, and said everything was working as far as they could tell. Went through basic diagnostic checks of home equipment once again (rebooting router, using test socket etc.), was finally told that an engineer would have to be sent to the property, but that appointment could not be made before Monday 4th.

– was told that the reason online fault check had changed status to ‘fixed’ was because of BT Wholesale replacing a part. BT clearly assuming that problem was therefore fixed and needed no further attention, despite a line check on their part still showing a problem when I phoned.

Frustrating to go through basic checks *again*, to have to explain situation from scratch to several different people, and getting the distinct impression that nobody was aware of status of problem, length of problem, or location of problem.

Monday 4th July – The Day of The Second Engineer Appointment

Took another morning off work to wait in for Engineer.

Phoned promptly by engineer at 8.30am, on way to exchange to investigate problem.

Engineer called back later to say there’s apparently a problem with the network card at exchange, which needs to be replaced by BT Wholesale, which should be done today, after which it will spring to life.

Point out (slightly grumpily) this is *exactly* the same as the previous engineer said last Tuesday, and mentioned the multiple claims by BT Technical people on phone that card had been replaced and that BT Wholesale report no problems.

Engineer says his notes say Wholesale did not in fact replace the card last week, but just reset it the last time, but that they will definitely replace it today.

Checking the online fault status indicator after this call, the fault was apparently set to ‘Cleared’ again on Sun 3 July at 1357, despite nothing obviously happening yesterday.

We have repeatedly been told by BT Technical staff that they would ring us in the event of any changes in status to check if things were working or not; this has never happened. 
Clearly the fault is not ‘cleared’ as the Engineer today found the same problem with the network card as last week.

A Happy Ending … ?

14 days in, and still no broadband…

After using a very rude word on Twitter to summarise how increasingly annoyed I am, a tweet an hour or so ago from BTCare said that:

@gordonbarr I’ve called the engineers & they have advised that they are going to change the network card today.

I await with interest to see if anything actually happens, or if we have to go round the merry-go-round of passing the buck, claiming to not have any record of the problem, and getting us to reboot the fricking router once again.

Update: 15:45pm – well crikey – THERE BE INTERNET HERE AT LAST !!

[And if you’re wondering how I can update this ranty blogy with no internet connection, it’s thanks to the free wifi in my favourite coffee shop – Rudi’s Coffee, aka Not Beanscene on Cresswell Lane.]

About Gordon Barr

Old buildings fan, ex-scientist, software dev, old cinemas buff, occasional boffin & cow-wrangler. Too many books, too few bookshelves.
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2 Responses to Jam Tomorrow: Trying to get BT to activate my broadband

  1. Q says:

    Ouch… *uneasily awaits activation*

  2. Stevo says:

    I came across this thread and read the lot, sounds exactly like the same thing that’s happening to me. In my case I was called buy a guy claiming to be from a dedicated unit that looks after client to ensure I get my broadband as fast as possible.

    Original order booking: 2nd Jan
    Date of Appointment to get me setup: 27th Jan
    (loads of BS in between)
    24th Feb: Still no broadband.

    The main problem if you ask me is all of the outsourcing, I had about 3 different companies visit my pole outside my house. All this could be solved by BT simply doing a FULL analysis on everything at the first appointment, that way – if there was another problem along the line, it could be booked in immediatley.

    Every time I needed an appointment, it was 2-3 weeks every time, even after they had made a mistake. They promised to do their best to provide me an urgent or cancellation appointment but it never happened.

    Previously I was with Virgin for 7 years and never had one thing to complain about, prompt and efficient and most importantly, all under one roof!

    I really hope someone from BT reads all this and makes some changes!

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