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Saturday, August 20th, 2011, 4:22 pm

BT Down for 14 Hours in Manchester Area, Company Misinforms Customers

As we have seen here before, when BT messes things up, it messes up royally [1, 2, 3]. Yesterday was another reminder of this. At 9AM, without any warning or notification, the connection went down, apparently affecting entire large areas in Manchester and perhaps Bolton. The helpline which is only ‘manned’ by a recorded message preferred to draw attention to some Yahoo! (E-mail access) problem and there was no estimated time for return of service (for those who may resort to contingencies). The less advertised number through which one can speak to an actual person later contradicted the automated messages, which preferred to pretend the connection problems were over long before these were over (the connection was said to have been resorted at 3PM). The actual person whom I eventually spoke to (based on India) was very kind, but he used the same strategy of emphasising that the phone line is fine (while knowing perfectly well that the problem is the Internet connection, not the landline). It was very hard to actually ‘squeeze out’ information and empty reassurances from the rep I spoke to. Why not be honest and forthcoming? BT was seemingly reluctant to even acknowledge that this was a large-scale failure at its end. Does reputation or the customer come first?

Eventually, 14 hours after the disruption had occurred, the connectivity was suddenly restored, no sooner than 11PM. So en entire day from morning to night was essentially without Internet and with very unreliable estimates of recovery time (if any estimates at all).

Now good, BT, not good…Many people’s job these days depend on the Internet. If you cannot provide an Internet connection for an entire day, then please at least provide reasonable status messages and estimates for restoration of service. If one expects the connection to be down for so long, a dongle or another PC (elsewhere) can be approached and used.

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