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All hooked up...

After over a month without an Internet connection at home - detailed in my previous two blog posts, Cut off in my prime (opens in new tab) and Waiting for that day (opens in new tab) - I finally got back online today. So, you'd think I'd be happy right? Wrong!

When the OpenReach engineer turned up at my house he said that there was absolutely no reason for him to be there. By the time he'd knocked on my door, he'd already fixed the problem - and what was the problem? BT hadn't activated broadband at the exchange!

The engineer was kind enough to inform my wife that we could have been connected two weeks ago, after the last engineer fixed the fault on the line, if someone at BT had done their job properly.

What makes me particularly angry is that I put forward this scenario to Chris at the Executive Level Technical Complaints department a week ago. I told him that as far as I knew, if a line was tested and judged to be in perfect working order (as mine was on 14 April), all that should be necessary is for ADSL to be activated at the exchange - there should be no reason for an engineer to do anything at the property.

The response to my suggestion was an explanation of how ADSL worked, and how the line must have a fault that is stopping the DSL connection from working, while not affecting the voice part of the equation.

Although not always the case, I find Occam's Razor can be applied successfully to the majority of problems. In this case, I figured that it was FAR more likely that whomever was responsible for activating my broadband hadn't done their job, rather than assume that a mystery fault was present on an otherwise perfect line of copper. And guess what? I was right!

I've still had no word explanation from BT regarding my initial problem - the fact that someone at BT disconnected my phone and cancelled my account on the request of a random third party individual - despite having been promised a full report.

BT has also, so far, failed to offer any form of compensation for this unbelievable situation - not even an offer to cover the cost of all the 3G data I've had to use over the past month! I understand that resolving the issues should have been the priority (or not), but it would have been nice to get some reassurance that the expenses I incurred would be reimbursed.

I still find it hard to comprehend the sheer levels of incompetence that have been exhibited by BT during this whole sorry experience, and I can't help but wonder just how isolated my incident is. Considering the volume of customers that rely on BT, how many have encountered issues similar to mine?

Despite everything that's happened, I'm very glad to have an Internet connection back at home. The old saying that you don't know what you've got until it's gone, has never been more true!

Update: Okay, BT has offered reasonable compensation for the lack of broadband for the past month, but still nothing for the initial unauthorised disconnection of my line. I'll wait to see if promised report appears and go from there.

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.