We are always being told that our ‘beloved’ BT are not quite the company that their shiny advertising campaign would have us believe. Tales of nightmare waits for connections and the like are common.
If I am honest I have not suffered personally from the ‘BT effect’ – although our recent transfer back to them at work was not perhaps as smooth as it might have been (although our connection was not compromised at any point).
I am with Virgin Media at home, and have a constant 8-10MB connection (based on 10MB) so am very happy, particularly in light of the recent evidence that BT’s speeds are nearly always way below their advertised speed!
As the largest provider of telecoms in the UK – by a long way – one could perhaps expect BT to be at the forefront in rolling out fast internet access to the rural areas of the UK as required by both our current Government and the previous one. I was therefore surprised to read the following story in the papers this weekend;
“Erbistock villagers quoted £550,000 for broadband link”
It transpires that the 80 household village of Erbistock near Wrexham wanted to move into the broadband era – a reasonable request! They spoke to BT the telecoms provider in their village and were quoted £550,000 for the link to be installed! (Apparently the exchange was too far away).
Luckily they had the presence of mind (after picking themselves up off the floor) to contact another provider, Rutland Telecom, who had helped out another village with similar problems. Their quote – £50,000, and they hope to have them online by October!
What was even better is that they discovered that the Welsh Assembly Government’s broadband support scheme provides up to £1,000 per household or business premises to help with the set-up and installation costs of a broadband connection. To qualify for the scheme householders or businesses must register as a “notspot” - that is an area with no broadband connection, usually as the result of the distance from the local telephone exchange.
It is hoped that enough households will come on board so that the grant will almost cover the £50,000 cost!
BT say they are looking into the matter!
This is a classic example of a big supplier believing they have the consumer over a barrel. Time for more ‘notspots’ to check if what BT tells them is true!
UPDATE – 27th September 2010
It appears that BT have reduced the cost of the proposed connection – to £100! Apparently they can move the village to a much closer exchange (the only downside being the villagers would lose their current phone numbers).
BT say the change of heart has nothing to do with trying to keep another operator out of the village (we all believe that!).
The villagers are going to stay with their original plan (they will get a far quicker connection than BT can offer).
Must try harder BT!