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British Fucking Telecom

British Fucking Telecom

DISCLAIMER: Only read this post if you feel that it’s possible to be interested in someone else’s vaguely uninformed technological whinging.

I live in a small, pretty obscure village just outside Leamington Spa.

For a variety of reasons, the only ISP we were able to have was BT Business Broadband.  I’ve always tried to avoid BT in any capacity because they are one of the worst companies on the planet – this is known.

Being on their business service is much better than being a generic consumer – it is actually possible to get through to people on a helpline.

Last week, my internet connection started to play up – slow speeds, then unable to load any web pages or ping anything.

I called BT – the first person I spoke to was a Scottish broadband tech support guy.  He was pretty decent – we did all the tests that it’s possible to do: checked the router configuration; checked all the settings in Windows; he did endless obscure tests on the line.  He said that the router had authenticated fine, and that they could see it on their system.

We have a RIDICULOUS router called a Voyager 220v.  This, again, was something I had no control over.  Scottish guy concluded that this must be at fault and sent out a replacement router.  He sent it to the wrong address, but this wasn’t particularly his fault.

So it arrived, I connected it and set it up.  Same problem.  I called BT again, did the same tests with another tech dude, after he gave up, I got put through to an angry lady who told me that it “had to be a local problem”.

I had been tooling about with network settings all all the PC’s here trying to get a wireless ad hoc network working, so it did seem possible that I had fucked it in some way, even though both the ad hoc network, and the ethernet connection to the router were working fine. I’m a complete networking amateur, which is why I’d cleared all the settings (pertaining to the wireless adapters on all the PC’s) to the best of my ability before trying to troubleshoot this problem.

Anyway, I caved into the angry woman and agreed to talk to BT’s very patronising-sounding “IT Help Desk”.

That’s what I did today, but it turns out the IT Help Desk guy I spoke to is one of the most intelligent people working at BT.  He listened to everything I’d been through, read my notes and said, “Um, well it’s clearly not anything to do with your stuff, given that you’ve tested it with three PC’s.”  We booted one into safe mode, he had me manually input all the correct settings into the Windows connection bullshit and the router while he was on the phone, just to confirm.  Nope, still nothing.

He told me that a couple of other customers seemed to be having problems with the Voyager 220V.  Apparently, a firmware update went out last week which screwed some of them up.  They sent out replacement new ones, but these were screwed up as well.  They’re shipping me a brand new (apparently very large) “business router” either tomorrow or in two days time which will enable them to eliminate that theory.

So, this is why the podcast has been affected.  I can’t really leave here because I have to await delivery of this behemoth and then attempt to sort it out.  I will keep you posted whether you like it or not!

10 Responses to “British Fucking Telecom”

  1. LK:

    Ouch, yeah. I’m not happy with BT’s service either. Although, this is partly due to the local area which hasn’t been upgraded yet, but we have had numerous problems before where BT failed to provide much help.
    However, I’ll be moving into a new house soon in guildford, any ISP you can recommend?

    Hope the router fixes your problems as I eagerly await the next podcast! oh yeah, and so that you’re a happy man obviously. I’m not at all selfish…

  2. Steve D:

    Great story, although I’m sorry to hear your continuing problems with BT. Have you tried speaking to them on Twitter? Ha. Well I hope the Mammoth router solves the problems for you anyway.

  3. Paul:

    Thanks for the moral support!

    LK, I recommend O2 – they are incredibly good on the tech support side of things.

  4. LK:

    Oooh thank you. Didn’t know they did broadband and they are cheaper than the Virgin alternative.

  5. Paul:

    It’s always a difficult issue with recommending things like broadband, because one difficult experience will make an individual person think that one particular company is Satan’s entourage.

    With that caveat, I really believe O2 to be awesome – uptime was good, very fast connection, great support etc. Yep.

  6. Paul:

    Oh and my new router hasn’t arrived yet despite it “defintely coming this morning”. 12.52 isn’t the morning any more MOTHERFUCKERS!

  7. Paul:

    They didn’t spell definitely incorrectly – that was just me.

  8. LK:

    Ouch. Probably isn’t the time to say that I ordered something on sunday and received it this morning.
    Surely BT use first class. Otherwise you never know when it arrives!
    I’m surprised they didn’t get it to you on time. Usually companies always do. Sure phone calls are terrible with them, but mail should always arrive on time.

  9. Paul:

    So TWO routers arrived today. Um. Yeah. They’re both better than the insane one(s) we had previously. Web connection still works – they still don’t know why it is now working.

    The original guy from their IT Support thing is calling me tomorrow and we’re going to try and figure out if there’s any clues left as to what happened and if it can be prevented. I don’t hold out any hope – I know how impossible it is to troubleshoot an intermittent fault if it’s not currently active…

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    [...] disaster and this resulted in the lovely BT delivering me THREE new routers. I blogged about it here, you probably, righfully, don’t [...]