An iframe to save £2000 a month?

Well, our favorite telco have a publically accessable DSL availability checker at http://www.dslchecker.bt.com/adsl/

Until now we have provided a checker on our we site which uses a specific API to them to get the data and present it to customers on the web page. We use this as part of the ordering process to validate the line and offer the right services too. We also used to use it to proactively check for FTTP availablility and 21CN upgrades on lines (a low level of periodic checks over night to be nice).

Saldy, in their infinite wisdom, they started charging 60p a lookup if we exceed a pretty low level of usage! So we changed to caching replies (causing problems with out of date data) and not checking for upgrade opportunities- losing them revenue in the long run.

Seems this was not enough reduction, and so they are billing us around £2,000 a month. Madness!

So the availability checker on our web site now links to their publically available site, and even puts the results in an iframe, so looks almost exactly the same as before.

We don't see the results as it is the end users browser that actually does the lookup, not us, so if someone does then order a line we do an extra lookup, increasing the load on their checker, but at least we don't get to pay 60p every time someone uses the checker on our site now!

Best value iframe I have done yet.


  1. Chrome has a big problem with iFrames that I learnt about earlier this week.
    Your site doesn't work on my Chrome, I get a blank page in Chrome - you may want to warn users.

  2. We have put a link too - do you see that, or just a total blank page?

  3. So, I'm curious, how did you fix it? Was it the iFrame in Chrome or something else?

    Spill the beans.

  4. The blank screen was when you send an invalid format number of postcode - nothing to do with chrome AFAIK

  5. Chrome and iFrames works fine for me across the few sites that use them. Sucks to hear about BT and charging for their availability checker. I wonder what some of the larger providers get bills for.

    Your own lookup could potentially have been making BT £1.20! Your own look up to BT's system and then another lookup when you submit a request to BE which in turn also goes off to BT?

    Cash cow for BT. What are your views on the charge, valid charge? Should Ofcom or someone intervene to regulate the charge etc.?

  6. I think they should not for tools that help us buy their services it is crazy.

  7. Let's hope it is not an iframe which will allow BT to contact any of your customers who checked their phone number on your checker in order to try to sell them openworld ...

  8. Well, might do - funny if they try - how you solving this one Thomas? I heard you got a similar shock...

  9. How about implementing some kind of screen-scraping using javascript to make it more seamless for the user?

  10. That would basically be the same as using the API, and so they could charge us I suspect.

    Doing it this way the end user is going to their public web site.


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