Apparently, for a fee, BT can control the weather?

One of our customers has been inconvenienced by an appointment being missed for an fault repair. Sadly this does happen occasionally. We are arranging another appointment.

However, we just got an email that explains "Our suppliers are unable to influence the appointment date due to bad weather conditions it is really hard to bring the appointment date/ slot".

By the way when this person working for British Telecommunications plc (company 1800000) trading as BT Wholesale says "suppliers" he means British Telecommunications plc (company 1800000) trading as Openreach, so he is talking about his employer and the company he represents. I know, it is confusing.

Well, bad weather is indeed a problem some times, so understandable, except they go on to say "Alternate suggested by suppliers is to agree for extra charges so that appointment date can be forwarded."

I can only assume BT have means to influence the weather now, for a fee, of course.


  1. On a slight tangent, I'd be interested for a blog on your thoughts as to splitting BT into separate companies as OFCOM are considering prompted by Sky.

    1. I have not blogged as I simply don't know - when BT was one company there were, in many ways, for us, easier to deal with. I remember when compensation was a month's rental per day late - which was a real incentive for them to fix things. As a "wholesale customer" of BT, being separate companies is not huge help to us. But I see how those buying direct from BT plc t/a Openreach may find it helps. Right now, every penny Openreach charge BT Wholesale is no impact on my BT plc shares!

    2. Apart from obvious type, I also mean "share" not "shares" :-)

    3. Openreach are currently in a position where they have no accountability - End users can't deal with them, so they never hear the complaints, ISPs get all the blame for their frequent screwups and those ISPs have zero ability to change supplier, as there's no competition.

      Breaking them up won't fix this. I'm not sure what will, TBH.

    4. Assuming you re-printed that email precisely as received and without typos, then the employee of British Telecommunications plc trading as BT Wholesale who wrote it should be sacked. The grammar and syntax are so poor that it's barely legible, with a missing full stop. What the hell is "really hard to bring the appointment date" supposed to mean? No wonder the company is so incompetent if they employ such illiterate staff. If any business organisation sent me a communication written with such a poor command of English (and they have occasionally) I'd complain to the sender's line manager.

    5. I think that it needs to be distinct. The reality is lots of things happen today that still ultimately allow BT plc t/a BT Consumer/BT Business to have a considerably unfair advantage on all other competition, which means competition IS distorted.

      However, a separate Openreach is still a monopoly, just one without other wings. It won't improve competition and it won't create improved service alone. To do that you need competition. As there is no competition, there is no incentive.

      Being a Public Sector (or Arms Length) won't help either because then any fines or whatever aren't really paid for by anyone except those who paid in the first place (eg the taxpayer).

      What we *really* need is multiple "last mile" provider choices, with equal access. That however would be incredibly hard to achieve.

    6. I think much of the problem right now is that the products offered don't reflect the responsibility or structure of the service involved. Look at the finger pointing between the two - except you only get access to one side.

      Remember the recent complaint about Wholesale, "passing on" an Openreach early termination fee which didn't even apply? (If you migrate from one Wholesale-reselling ISP to another within their minimum contract term.)

      You already buy the end-user tails and backhaul separately; suppose that were split, so you buy an Openreach GEA FTTC (or ADSL) circuit from Openreach themselves - then pay either BT or Talktalk for backhaul capacity from that exchange. Change a customer's backhaul, you just switch how Openreach are being told to terminate the exchange end - instead of having to try to cease then replace a perfectly good tail complete with contract implications.

      (OK, I'm biased: this structure would have avoided most of the problems we saw last year with Wholesale backhaul faults, as well as hopefully making it much easier to upgrade to the Talktalk-backhaul FTTC offering in future - but isn't that a good thing in itself?)

  2. Proper competition would sort them out. At the moment they are a monopoly and as such they can get away with whatever they feel like as. I deal with them at the office, thankfully only infrequently, and they are a complete waste of space. There's no one else we can buy the service from, so the customer is screwed.


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