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Waiting for that day...

If you've read my recent, and oft updated blog post, Cut Off In My Prime (opens in new tab), you'll know that I haven't been having a very good experience with BT. To cut a long story short, almost a month ago BT disconnected my phone line and broadband, then cancelled my account. This was done because the man buying my house simply asked BT to do it, even though he wasn't moving in for a couple of weeks.

As amazing as it still is to me that BT happily disconnected me without receiving any form of authorisation or confirmation from myself, I'm even more amazed that I still don't have a broadband connection. This is despite having multiple, high-level customer service teams working on resolving this for me. Today, I'm still surviving on a Three MiFi, and chewing through a worryingly expensive amount of data.

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Although my original phone number was saved and transferred to my new home, the phone line there wasn't working. This was repaired on the 14th, meaning that it should have been a relatively simple procedure to activate my broadband at the exchange. But, it would appear that absolutely nothing is simple when it comes to BT.

For over a week I was told that my broadband would activate "tomorrow", before midnight. But after two or three "tomorrows" have come and gone, with the status remaining disappointingly quo, you start to lose faith in such promises, if ever you had faith in the first place.

On Monday I was contacted by a new BT department - Executive Level Technical Complaints - and told that there was a fault on my line that needed to be investigated. I found this odd, since the engineer who visited my property on the 14th said that the line was in perfect working order. When I raised this query I was told that the original engineer was only testing the line for voice and not for broadband, and that a line could happily carry voice signals, but still carry a fault that stopped broadband functioning. I was then treated to an explanation of how ADSL works.

Funnily enough, I already knew how ADSL worked, and I'm well aware that a copper line can be good enough for voice but not for a DSL signal. What I don't understand, however, is why an engineer who tested my line and told me that it was working perfectly and was "ready for broadband activation", would only have been testing for voice functionality.

Of course my questions were somewhat moot, since my new Executive Level Technical Complaints buddy was telling me that a new engineer would have to come round and test the line again, in an effort to find the fault. Unfortunately, given that I was only told this on Monday evening, I wasn't able to arrange for someone to be at home until today, leaving me without broadband for another two days!

So, today my wife has sat at home all morning waiting for a BT OpenReach engineer to arrive - you know what's coming don't you? Yep, that's right, no engineer turned up.

Upon contacting the Executive Level Technical Complaints department, my wife was informed that no engineer had been booked for today - there was no record that a booking had even been requested! And of course, there's no way to get an engineer out there today now.

But why didn't I confirm that the engineer was coming this morning? I hear you ask. The simple answer is - I did.

I emailed my contact at the Executive Level Technical Complaints department and asked when the engineer would arrive, and he responded thus...

"I've tried contacting openreach but they haven't been able to contact the engineer." Followed by "The engineer should be there within the next hour and a half I'd say."

Given that it has now been confirmed to me that no engineer had ever been booked, I find it strange that my contact in the Executive Level Technical Complaints department was told by OpenReach that they couldn't get through to the engineer in question, since apparently there was no engineer in question!

At this point I have no idea when, or even if, I'll ever get my broadband back. Or whether I'll ever receive the promised explanation of how this whole, sorry affair was allowed to happen. I do know, however, that BT's levels of customer service and competency are woefully inadequate, and need immediate attention.

Riyad has been entrenched in technology publishing for more years than he cares to remember, having staffed and edited some of the largest and most successful IT magazines in the UK. In 2003 he joined forces with Hugh Chappell to create They built TR into the UK’s market leading technology publication before selling the title to IPC Media / Time Warner in 2007. As Editorial Director at Net Communities, Riyad will be helping to develop the publishing portfolio, making IT Pro Portal the best publication it can be.