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Have you suffered from the broadband blues?

Fibre broadband

Our research suggests that 13 million households have suffered problems with their broadband. If you’re one of them, and have a broadband tale of woe to share, we want to hear from you.

When I get home tonight I’ll be utterly disconnected from the world thanks to my broken phone line, which also knocked out my broadband connection.

This is the second time I’ve experienced this problem in the space of a few weeks. The first time required a seemingly endless succession of calls to BT to get them to diagnose the issue. After speaking to a variety of departments, a missed call-back appointment and being cut-off from them mid-conversation on more than one occasion, I managed to persuade BT to send out an engineer.

The engineer arrived promptly and agreed that the line was disrupted, but that they couldn’t trace the source. Thankfully, after changing some wires in the road as well as in our flat, he managed to get it working.

Broadband down again

Yet, just four short weeks later, we’re facing the same problem again. After a 50 minute call to BT on Sunday afternoon, the company has agreed to send out another engineer. However, they stress that if the problem is found to be with the wiring or equipment within my boundary, they will charge £129.99. Perhaps that’s a fair charge, but it does seem a bit steep if it’s not me who caused the problem.

So that’s my story – have you experienced something similar? If you’ve had problems with slow internet, intermittent service or if you’ve had a nightmare setting up a new internet connection when moving house, I want to hear from you. I’ll use a selection of case studies in our up-coming Which? magazine article on broadband problems.

We’re also campaigning for better broadband, calling on providers to deliver the speeds you’re promised and to fix bad connections as speedily as possible. Join more than 26,000 others by signing our petition.

Bill says:
6 February 2018

You know there is something wrong with your supplier when the only way to get their attention is to speak to the CEO – in this case, his name is Gavin, and he is the CEO of BT.

It’s equally surprising that people with a technical background are treated as dispassionately by their technicians as Dot the Tea Lady who has 15 minutes silver-surfacing experience.

Bottom line; and I have looked at a number of debates, and we are involved with BT right now (Hi Gavin) the system is fatally flawed when you have to grind your way through dozens of so-called help screens that are designed to deflect away from BT rather than gather sufficient information to undertake a fix.

A case in point: I am a former deployment engineer, who worked for a top broadband supplier (not BT – they’re not a top supplier) and was involved in a highly technical role in the backend of what makes telecoms work — so it comes as a surprise when I told them what the symptoms and possible points of investigation were, they were ignored (have you checked your plug, is there electrical interference a metre from your plug, have you plugged in a cable (yawn)) – when the actual cause of the problem is they do not budget enough broadband to meet the need (so you can’t use it) and the configuration is flawed and not tested at the outset so when you do use it (that’s called consuming objects) they point out if you turn everthing OFF and then test it (including your VIRUS CHECKER – OH!! YES!!) and THEN test it, you are actually testing the service provision.

Well, even the most rusted scrapyard banger will work if the engine never turns over and even a broken clock is right two times a day.

My advice? Check your consumer rights then act on them. Don’t phone – they suffer from complaint syndrome which necessitates switching off all grey matter between the ears during this drumbeats. Do email – do get a VOL number and see what they do with it. Honestly, if it stays open 2 days you’ll be lucky. Action: unlikely. They are under strict SLAs (service level agreements) to shut down tickets or it looks by on their CV.

Afterwards, when you don’t get satisfaction, which is likely you won’t — switch.

Get a letter of deadlock from BT first to say you logged it, they closed it, didn’t fix and you’ve been left hanging.

Then switch – don’t go back, put BT in the poor house.

BT owns 23% of the broadband market and falling. There are better providers who may cost a few £s more but in general, you will get a service.

Last, in 2019 if they undertake a shoddy response as they do, as for all providers, it costs them money. £18 to get your name wrong on a form (that’s current now). You can request your details and if they’ve got it wrong they owe you £18 per fault. In 2019, they will pay you £5 for not turning up when should £9 for every day you are without a proper service. At that rate, Gavin will close the lights on BT within about 5 or 6 years, when they run out of customers and money.

So, we do have the power. Follow through on the basics, hold them to it, and ultimately it is your hard-cash business they are after (they’d see you air if the could make money at it) and the way to hit a business hard is don’t do business with them ever, ever again. Go on, try. Advert in the paper – free this, reduced that. Turn the page, keep going, and smile to yourself at how much aggravation you just saved by shopping smarter than you did last time.

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