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Bonkers Blog January 2015

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25 January (Part 1) - DA16 3 forced on to a no fibre diet

No one likes telecom companies. When my broadband went down a year ago it took BT two weeks to get around to fixing what I and my ISP told them was the problem on Day 1. Mick Barnbrook’s octogenarian father-in-law has been without a telephone for more than two weeks. Virgin say their van can’t find a parking spot and the fault is too high up a tower block. They are content to leave an old man isolated in his flat.

My own home phone has been useless since the middle of last week when the bell stopped working. The broadband works, I can make outgoing calls, it registers incoming calls on the Caller Display and I can answer the call if I happen to notice the number light up on the screen. But the bell doesn’t ring.

I know it is BT’s fault because I have two BT land lines in the house and five different phones I can swap around so it’s pretty obvious that the exchange is not sending the ringing current down the line to ring the bell. A system adopted a century or more ago and a big anachronism now.

RakeHowever the idiots who manage BT Openreach now insist that before they press the reset button on their exchange line card they must come to me and check I have not done something silly and they can’t do that until next Wednesday afternoon.

They will find my phone is plugged directly into their test socket behind the master socket; I’m not totally ignorant of how the phone works and they can stuff their threatened £130 call out charge. Well actually the phone isn’t plugged into the test socket any more because that would stop my broadband working, but it has been tested there. BT are morons, but no worse morons than any other telecoms provider.

As you may remember, I worked for BT for all but 16 months of my working life. Us old timers warned the people in the ivory tower if they went down their preferred road the service would become crap. But we all retired and the lack of a human face makes the service crap.

One good thing is that I can say without fear of contradiction is that my bell fault cannot be laid at the door of Bexley council. That isn’t always the case with phone problems.

While I was with BT I wrote countless letters to customers. One I remember well was circa 1978 when International and Maritime Services, as my bit of the outfit was then called, was installing International Subscriber Dialling (ISD) equipment in telephone exchanges as quickly as we could before we ran out of operators to man the switchboards.
Faraday Building
A complaint had come from the Chief Executive of Shaftesbury council - I suspect he was called a Town Clerk back then, it’s all they are really but it’s harder to get away with paying a clerk a quarter of a million pounds - who sent me an excoriating letter about us not equipping Shaftesbury with ISD as a result of which he had no takers for the business park he had created down there.

I took a certain amount of delight in telling him that we would equip Shaftesbury with ISD the moment he stopped refusing planning permission for an extension to the telephone exchange. Switching equipment was bulky back then. Planning permission was granted within weeks.

In its own small way Bexley council is impeding modern telecoms too.

It’s probably cruel to mention here that my broadband service provides about 76 megabytes a second download and more than 17 upload because in parts of Welling you would be lucky to get much more than 1% of the latter. And there are indications it is Bexley council’s fault, or at least they could be doing a lot more than they are to assist. You can read all about it by clicking on the image below.
No fibre in Welling
What you need to get that problem fixed is a councillor who lives in the affected area but although several live close by I don’t see any in exactly the right post code.

Here is some correspondence with Bexley council. Because of one resident a large number of Welling people cannot get a fibre connection.


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