BT Engineer appointments

Obviously I had a bit of a rant yesterday, so maybe a chance to be a bit clearer on the real issue here...

Clearly mistakes can happen, appointments can be missed, work can be done wrongly or not completed, shit happens. It always seems to happen too much, but that is largely because we only "see" the problems.

The big issue here is how BT deal with such things.

The basic process is to arrange another appointment to rectify the problem or complete the work - and this seems to be done as a "normal" appointment. There is no concept of this being a screw up or having any urgency.

Now, we know BT can do work quickly - orders can be expedited (for a fee), and fault work can be done on a 24 hour a day working basis and 4 or 7 hour fix targets, if you have paid for the right service or the right "care level".

So it is possible to get another engineer out now, even if it is 8pm, and even if he is on overtime, to finish the job that should have been done by 6pm. It is possible to send someone on Saturday or even Sunday to finish.

It is certainly possible to make the failed job the first job for the engineer the next morning. That would not even add any cost but it would make a massive difference to end user perception.

But right now there seems to be no concept of a "priority" appointment for where BT have screwed up! Of course, where the CP has screwed up and not BT, BT could sell priority appointments for a fee as well.

If this does add cost that simply adds an incentive within the business to avoid the errors in the first place, and that is important. Without it business processes can simply become lax. Indeed, in some cases the problems mean more paid for work (I am thinking failed SFI visits here).

So, that is what I think needs to change.

P.S. why is a missed appointment charge about £80 where an engineer can simply go on to next job wasting maybe 10 minutes, but when an engineer missed an appointment wasting the end user a half day, BT pay out around £30? Is a BT engineer's time really that much more valuable than the end user's?


  1. If it makes you feel any better about the service provided by BT Openreach on behalf of BT Wholesale, a work colleague got very much the same experience as a BT Retail customer.

    He was moving to BT Vision on FTTC and it took about three visits before he had a working connection simply because the first 'engineer' only did half the job before closing it. Of course he then had the additional hassle and frustration of working with BT Retail's off-shore call centre who couldn't see beyond the supposedly completed and closed job on their systems.

    The main problem for BT is BT. I guess a combination of their size, monopoly (real or perceived) and an internal culture rooted in their origins as a public utility makes BT an organisation that is wholly preoccupied with internal interests.

  2. When it comes to OpenReach I have nothing but vile sentiment. I'm only a small consultant but resell a few services including Broadband to my client base.
    They have done nothing but screw up almost all of my orders over the past few years despite every effort on my part to think ahead of inadequecies and inpersonal service

    I was calling my supplier daily for 4 months to give OR yet another lashing, to get my onw line activate (all existing infrastructure in place) when I moved home and then for an
    additional 2 month when they were unable to honour the initial simultanious install and were unable to get round the continual exceptions on their systems before they could appoint an engineer to hook in the FTTC.

    Nothing but one poor exceuse, missed appointment or screw up on their part after another, and absolutley no sense of urgency in any way.

    For another customer on 2 seperate occasions it has take over 5 months on one occasion and 6 month on another to commision and install new lines and FTTC, in spite of all the information I put in the engineering notes when order, which either no body read or just ignored.

    On the latter, despite repeatedlty requesting a survey for an install to an outbuilding on a farm, it took 4 months of missed appointments before an engineer finally came out, unannounced, after yet another rant via my supplier to OR, carried out all the work needed to get lines from the local cabinet (250m away from NTE) to the nearest pole on the boundry (80m away from NTE) (took him less than half a day...!) before he agreed on what was need to complete the install and would request an appointment for an additional visit and underground cable to complete the install (we were going to dig all trenches etc all they had to do was cleave the cable and punch it all in).

    Several missed appointments later, OR then refused to provide additional appointments until a survey had been carried out as it was not to a residential domicile or Office (Rember those notes they didn't read).
    Some time later a desk jockey eventually came to site to inform me a survey was needed at a cost of £200 + £4/ for cable, which he was here to do.
    I had great pleaseure in ripping a strip from the chap for utter incompetence and the audacity for any such suggestion and asked him to justify how despite all I had done to this point, it has taken this long to even raise such a topic and to explain how they can even justify what they call service.
    After listening to me bleat on he left embarased and hopefully fed my feeling back to his superiors. and rather strangley he didn't seem to do any sort of survey while he was there either.
    After further delays the order eventually had functioning PSTN, unfortunatley the simultaneously FTTC order placed originally was once again causing an exception on their systems that couldn't be circumvented and it took nearly 2 month of further excuses about how BT Wholesale and OpenReach are two seperate companies so they fact they cocked up so bad with putting the lines in has no weight in expediting any action to rectify their incompetemnce and poor internal systems

    In all, I want OR seperated from BT ASAP and competition brought into the market because they clearly have a monopoly and no incentive to lower prices or improve service, all at a cost to the end user in many areas.
    I would even suggest that OR is forced over a period of time to sell of infrastructure and possibly even entire resources in some of the more lucrative areas to compeitors. There are a number of companies Globaly who would no doubt be interested, but not while OR has an iron grip.
    Maybe even Google might take a second look and re-light the Google Fibre project over here. Other Comms companies like those operating in Hull might also decide to spread out.
    Maybe even A & A could get a small slice of the wedge and cook up some truly inspiring products.

    1. Why concern if BT is forced to sell off infrastructure is that we end up with a scenario like the US where you don't have a choice in your provider.

      If if it sold off then there must be regulation in place that requires the purchaser to sell a wholesale service to other ISPs.

      But then you're still in a scenario where a location is monolopised by a provider, just the provider is now wholesale

    2. I don't disagree in the slightest. I'm not sure how the future could pan out for the best, but don't think that just a split from BT is enough.

      Personally I'm just sadened that BT stakeholders have probably made more from public money through schemes like BDUK than we ever got from selling off the infrastructure in the first place.

      They were fools in the first place to think that they could regulate what has become a privately run monopoly into providing something world class where there seem to be no true external incentive or competition.

      I still struggle to understand how when true Fibre to the building is the obvious future, they have now moved R & D money to G.Fast.

      IF you've gone to the trouble that I can seem the damn Fibre strand hitting a box on a pole outside my window, why doesn't it go a little further into my home/business, other than to get more handouts in the future when they finally tell us that they are really going to give us fibre this time...?

      Pop in some singlemode and we're good for years/decades to come.

      I am a reasonable person, just highly frustrated by a corporate behemoth that has no will and little need to change for the benefit of any but itself.

  3. I was talking to an OR engineer yesterday who was on a PSTN fault and they seem to be equally hacked off with the whole situation. They get no information about the faults they are appointed, they are pushed constantly to get the jobs done within stupid short time scales and they are told by managment to charge for everything they can get away with ! I personally think allowing third parties contracted chargeable access to OR ducts will force OR management to pull their fingers out and look at their products with a view to become more CP / customer facing !

  4. To be fair, many of the engineers I have spoken to whilst they're on-site know their job and they do it well, all the problems appear to come from higher up and the engineers say the same. The second a job gets more complicated than what a single engineer can do in one visit I'm filled with dread that it's going to turn into yet another unending saga.

    On a number of occasions I've had enginners turn up, them being told that they only have to pop an NTE on the wall to complete the job and sign off on it (15 mins they are told), on arrival they meet me only to be told the dropwire hasn't even been brought in from the DP yet, and when he tests the DP he finds no tone, only to discover that the third party company OR contracted in to pull all the new lines from the exchange hasn't connected a single one at ANY junctions between the site and the local exchange several Km away. Several vists and 2 weeks longer than 15 mins the job finally gets completed.

  5. Even permitting wronged parties to claim compensation from BT at the same rates BT would charge them should put a rocket up them.

  6. BT is effectively a monopoly and therefore unfortunately has no incentive to provide a decent level of service or care when they don't.

    1. The have every incentive to provide poor service - I've heard of stories of people being charged multiple SFI charges as BT fail to fix faults on their line (They should have gone with A&A.. it would have been cheaper, and the line would have worked at the end..)

      The engineer that visited us said that he wasn't allowed to do a pair swap on the first visit even though that was the correct fix. The second and third engineers had no record of the previous visits and were the incompetent type (5 minutes testing then 'right when tested' and off for another donut). We eventually got the good engineer back who swapped the line, which fixed it.

    2. Did the customer get a refund for the SFI at that point?


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