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Saturday, July 17th, 2021, 3:55 pm

The Optical Fibre Experience — Part II

Previously in this mini-series: The Optical Fibre Experience — Part I

BT sent me an E-mail this morning (not specifying much in it, it was just a template with a reference number), asking me to phone them when I am ready to do so. It’s toll-free (0800). So within less than an hour I phoned and had to answer a bunch of security questions. Fair enough, security first. To BT’s credit, they didn’t put me in a queue or anything; after diversions through a voice menu I was directed or passed directly to an advisor, who was nice and spoke with clarity. She had sufficient knowledge of the nature of the work, not merely a person following a manual or templates.

We discussed what happened days ago (see Part I, link above) and she was understanding. She offered an apology and more. I clarified that I was misled about the complexity of the task (fibre, in my case, is not quite available in my area, except very very recently). I told her that we didn’t have to get another router, but she insisted that for fibre it’s another kind of router, so we would need to swap over. I wasn’t told this on the phone by their sales people who were just eager to sell this product. So we will have to change routers and reconfigure everything again (I checked if it’s possible to import/export settings, or detach an external card with settings on it; I was too optimistic) . I checked whether I can still have a public-facing IPv4 address; Openreach said it would be possible, but BT did not know. Strange…

BT really needs to know such finer details.

Anyway, they ended up agreeing to reimburse about 45 pounds for the trouble and disappointment (a compensation for the loss of time mostly), albeit only after 55 minutes on the phone.

I said I would need a bag sent for the old router to be returned; why didn’t they send one in the first place? Openreach said they would not accept such returns on behalf of BT. This seems like a case of miscommunication, which causes unnecessary confusion.

The call to BT involved an Openreach escalation; they really seem eager to just resolve and close our case, so probably some time this Tuesday the job can be completed.

I’m glad to say that the way BT handled this situation this time around was reasonably good. They apologised and also reimbursed. Hopefully Part III will be about the connection itself, not getting it set up.

I could say lots more, but maybe that can be spared until future parts. My experience is documented here because we need some vocal critics; that may help the voiceless, whose agony is easier to suppress. Getting fibre installed isn’t the picnic they tell you about; they just want you to agree to some contract and assure you — probably falsely — that copper would be phased out within 3-4 years. It is a marketing strategy of inevitability; the same tactics are used by pushers of so-called ‘smart’ meters.

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