BT Infinity Service Complaint

Warning: This post is a rant at BT. It describes a recent BT customer experience in trying to get the new BT Infinity service, based on fiberoptic cable. As it turns out, there are a few issues with this …

A few weeks ago I got a friendly phone call from British Telecom (BT), leaving a voice mail on my answering machine, saying that they now have fiber-optic cable in my neighborhood, and that they offer me an upgrade, as one of the first customers. Well, great idea! So I called them, and yes, this new BT Infinity was indeed available, and they referred me to the web site where I could find out more. I entered the phone number, and yes, the estimate of my speed would be about 20 Mb. So I followed the online instructions, everything quite easy and straight forward, and after a few minutes I got a confirmation email that the equipment would be sent soon and that an engineer appointment has been set up. Great – really good!

So in 1.March I stayed at home in the morning between 8:00-13:00, when the engineer would come and connect everything. I should have gotten suspicious when there was no package being delivered with the promised equipment, but then I thought the engineer might bring it. I checked online, and yes, the order was being tracked ok, and the appointment appeared to set up properly.

When nobody showed up that Monday morning, I called BT. And the nice lady with her strong Scottish accent tells me that there was a problem – the order never had “gotten through”. What about the confirmation email? And the online tracking? Nope, somewhere in “the system” the order was not processed, and no actual work order had been issues. Well, since this is such a new service, I could understand some glitches. So we rescheduled for the next week.

This time everything appeared to be scheduled properly: Got a confirmation SMS, also received a very nice custom-printed announcement, on glossy paper, individualised for my address, looking very posh! And the new BT Homehub arrived in the mail too. Great, was looking forward to get upgraded. So on 8.March I again stayed home in the morning, waiting for the engineer who was supposed to come between 8:00 – 13:00 (pretty long time window, but I can understand that sometimes the planning and scheduling cannot be done in smaller windows, due to possible delays and unexpected problems). When at 13:15 still nobody had shown up, I called BT; they tried to ping the engineer, but while I was on hold he actually called on the other phone line – he would be there in 20 minutes. Ok, I am a patient person.

He comes, sets up the equipment. There needs to be a new splitter installed, to separate phone from data lines. The data line goes into a white box which is probably the DSL modem. Then there is still the new BT Homehub, which now simply acts as a hub interface for the ethernet network, the WiFi, and the BT Broadband Talk. Works all fine, but the engineer’s measurement only indicate a data rate of about 4-5 Mb. It turns out that the fiber-optic connection is only going up to the last connection box, from where the data signal then is transmitted over the conventional phone cabling.

This speed is of course lower than advertised, but is about 8x more than the line supported before. So I am happy to leave it at this lower speed. The engineer drives away to check something at the exchange or the last connection box, maybe the speed could go up. He thinks that this low speed is due to the distance of my endpoint to the connection box, and he says that probably nothing can be done.

Ok, so far, so good – at least this is a much faster connection than before. And if the story ended here, I would have never posted it, despite the few little kinks in the process.

But wait, this is not the end of the story: after an hour, the engineer comes back, dismantles the whole setup, and puts back on the old previous connection which is at about 500 kB. What? “For legal reason, BT cannot give customers an access to fiberoptic cable at a speed lower than 15 MB”. Despite the fact that the line would support 4MB and was working ok without errors on the “fiberoptic connection”, I was not allowed to get this speed.

So all the grieving and tolerating of those BT delivery failures – for nothing. Hence the headline of this post – I hope many people read it!

What BT needs to fix in their rotten internal procedures and policies:

  • They need to make sure that the BT Infinity service is only offered to people who actually will receive the promised speed. This requires both to revise their telephone marketing and their online phone test tool for checking available speeds.
  • BT further needs to revise their online booking system for the BT Infinity offer, to ensure that customers’ orders actually are being processed.
  • BT finally needs to revise their current “legal position” which robs the customers of the possibility to increase their broadband speeds by at least a modest amount. The policy of “all or nothing” is not customer-friendly at all.

Having said this, I will concede that all the people I have spoken to at BT appeared friendly and competent – so I have not given them a hard time at all but remained friendly and patient in my interaction with them. I chose not to complain to them by a phone call to their customer service – this would only hit the wrong person, the poor chap whose ears probably fall off from all those customer complaints. Instead I want to bring this disaster to the public, and I hope that it helps to change something at BT – this company simply does not appear to be able to fulfil its vision of providing adequate IT services to Britain.

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  • What special offers?

    If you're thinking of moving from BT Broadband to BT Infinity you need to know that the BT website pricing information is misleading and does not show the correct prices when you log in to your BT account.

    In particular, the offer prices shown within 'My BT' for BT Infinity are not available to current BT Broadband users and the new 'upgrade to Infinity at the same rate' offer is not available if you are migrating from a discounted BT Broadband package. BT's Customer Options department are also adamant that there is no Broadband Talk (voip) service available with Infinity so you will get a higher speed but will lose your second phone line. So judging whether it's worth having Infinity at any price has just become more difficult.

  • I found out to day that BT infinity was active at my cabinet and I currently have a speed of 120 kbps download and only live 0.7 miles from my FTTC and have been told that since my bt wholesale estimated speed is only 13Mbps download and 4.4 upload, I am not allow to get this service that is at least 110 time faster than what I currently have.
    From talking to people that I know that live in my area that have bt infinity that my speed should be more near 30Mbps with infinity. However because of this stupid rule that you must have an estimated speed over 15Mbps I can have a service that will increase my internet speed by at least 100 times if not 250 times.

  • Well that all sounds quite familiar! I have had two engineer appointments with no shows, to then be told by BT "nope there is no FTTC box in your area yet?" (They nearly S**T when i stated thats fine I will get a digger and remove the one at the bottom of my drive!) To then be told its a computer error although we can see that you are able to get 40Mbps, our computer system will not let the order complete. So heres hoping that the new Engineer appointment for Fri 26 Nov will be ok! I think the EU should be withholding the funding for this until these Idiots get there act together.

  • I recieved a letter offering me BT Infinity so rang up everything was fine paid 12 months line rental up front hub arrived ,so far so good .

    Day of install guess what no engineer cannot get thru to B.T to complain so have decide BT have no regard of peoples time so am sending BT an invoice for half a days pay plus expenses .
    If they do not pay i will take them to small claims court suggest all customers who have had to take day off for an install that was never going to happen do the same.

  • Another no show from BT here in Harrogate. All attempts to contact them are a shambles. What a disgrace, and what a waste of my time. And yet there appears to be no way of telling them what is ( not ) going on.

  • I had my hub delivered on 24/11 and had my installation on the 26th confirmed. I took a day off work on the 26th and there was a no show. I rang up BT on the 27th and after 45 minutes on hold got through to someone who said the order was on file but somehow the engineers had not been notified. Someone would call me back to re-schedule. By 3/12 I had had no recall so I tried to get back to them. after several attempts at sitting in the phone queue I gave up and emailed them instead on 6/12 giving them a return email address and a mobile contact number. Today they rang my home number and left a message asking me to call back on a standard charge number which …yes you've guessed it… connected me to the phone queue. This is appalling non-service!

  • BT is a joke, not to have fibre optic in todays day in age is beyond me.
    The BT infinity which is offering “high speed” will end up being only a fraction of the offered service speed.

    This is the worst service in the whole of Europe, even the Germans provide at least 60MB since at least 8 years ago…..

    Typical UK half arsed shite service, whats worse is that BT get away with this. Monopoly and the state does NOTHING about it- un-fuxxing-believable.

    Hey, while we’re at it- may I pay more freakin tax for further shit services monopolised in UK please!!!!! including "royal" shit Mail (whats so royal about a substandard service and a SMOKING postman, and then there's the bonus of VAT rising to 20% meaning we don't only get to waste our hard earned cash on BT but also the luxury of 20% extra lumped on top of it.

    WTF is going on in this shit country!!!!!!

  • Some years ago, as an ITC Consultant operating in the midlands, one of the best and appreciated "Value Adds" I could effect for SME and private clients was to migrate their ISP services away from BT.
    For years I have followed that prescription and enjoyed almost faultless ISP services (downtime and suppport wise). But recently decided to give BT a try again with their Infinity service and after the first Engineer "no show", reappoint and subsequent MAC re-request, all the old memories came flooding back.
    Am I going to regret my decision?? Alex

  • You will definately regret that decision Alex, I had BT Infinity installed in November and was working fine until 10th April when I lost service.

    Phoned BT who looked into the problem, to be told that the original installation had been connected to the wrong phone number so they had switched it off but had not reconnected it.

    To cut a very long story short, BT have still not reconnected the service problems with bouncing lines, new technology and engineering booking issues. This is 38 days later 9 no shows from engineers – good luck with yours!!!!!

  • I switched back to BT last summer when I spoke to the guys in the BT van in our village and they said there had been "considerable delays" (no s**t Sherlock) but they were moving well towards target now.

    Target was late summer – that target was missed – so they aimed for end of 2011 – and that target was missed too. Now – on the website it's March 31st 2012. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    I rang their 'help line' (I use that term in the loosest possible sense of the words – to get the usual monotone corporate platitudes from the dreeb at the other end of the line. Of course – they can't make any estimates and don't know when they are likely to have the service up and running because it's "complicated".

    'Complicated' – ahhh diddums – is it complicated BT? Yep – must be hard for you – a big fat trade unionised monopoly owning the whole frigging UK network to get it right?

    Maybe we should try living and working in a country with a more forward looking PTT (like Albania maybe)?

    BT – the largest gaggle of state-sponsored amateurs in the whole of Christendom!

  • These people are complete jokers(BT). I ordered BT Infinity some 6 months after it arrived in our area. Since I am naturally cautious I ordered on a second line and retained my existing Orange broadband on first line. Long Story short I had various visits from BT engineers, not one of which was on appointed day or time (one even pitched up unannounced on Easter Sunday). Turns out 2nd line could not support broadband at all and they hadn't the gumption to fix but they took my one years advance rental OK, and then asked me to pay for the Orange line (ie my home number) which they disconnected in their feeble attempts to connect me. I lost my Excellent Value Orange contract, had to pay for a new line and am basically back to where I started but it costs me nearly twice as much as before. The BT contract is worthless else I would sue as I was without broadband for over 1 month and lost my home phone number in the process. Be very wary this Company has disintegated into a complete farce and is a disgrace to its name. No longer with BT Thanks.

  • I agree BT are awful and have no idea of the stress and costs involved in trying to sort out BT cock ups!! I think BT infinity should be removed from their list of available services as it is shite and never reaches the promised speeds! How is this company allowed to lie customers and get away with it? The authorities are quick to jump on any small company for mistakes but BT seem to be able to do and say anything with no consequences!! I advise anybody thinking of taking BT infinity not to unless you want a load of hassle and lies!!

  • I was told that i would get 39.9 download and for the first month seemto get around 35 now it has dropped to 25 and they now say that is the most i will get
    wish i had never moved from Virgin

  • Forget the download speeds – I've waited TWO MONTHS and had 3 engineer visits (4 visits each taking up one day omy annual leave if you count the fact that they cannot install a phone line and connect the internet on the same day – Virgin can, but not BT) and they still haven't connected the internet to my flat.
    I live in London. It's not like I'm a long way out in the countryside or something.
    This and they are sending me bills and adverts to buy their TV package.
    I've had no apology, no reasonable explanation (we're busy. There's a problem – observations of fact, not diagnosis of root causes) and speaking to thei Indian call centre usually requires my having to correct their staff who clearly have no idea what they're doing.
    My advice – go elsewhere. BT are shockingly, shockingly bad.

  • b.t centre liars.engineers liars.broadband speed are b.t getting away with this.they are a coplete and utter not use them,go with any other provider but b.t.if you want your sanity.they are a joke.bullshitters all of for there customer services and complaints department,again they lie.never again will i use b.t. apalling service.

  • after 3 months of waiting for b.t engineer to complete phone line that still dosnt work,he being the third engineer,i have to plug my phone line back into the old socket.i have only half of the channels requested,no b.t sport and appalling internet spped after deeleting files as recomended by the engineer.i have had two days annual leave ,17 hours of calls to b.t being stuck in a queue,going over to indian call centre,ask for their names and of course you guessed it theve all got names like bob,darren,simon and penny but arnt allowed to give their sir names ummmm i dont think.i still canot get to the bottom of why i have not been activated,their words not mine im f…ing fuming.sick and tired of b.t and to top it all im being charged for something i havent going to the press with this .appalling and down rite cancelling b.t and going over to another service provider.please dont use b.t they are apsolutely pants.bunch of tossers.

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