I have no real understanding of how I am still getting my home broadband through BT. What magical spell have they cast upon me? The service they have provided has always been terrible: a decade ago when I was foolishly wasting hours playing internet poker I would lose several hands and actual money because of the regularity with which my signal would drop out. Occasionally I would complain and they might offer me some advice or send me a new hub or some new offer and I’d foolishly think it was going to be better. But it never was.
Every time I got tied into a new contract only to find things were still pretty terrible I would vow that this would be the last time. But when we moved to Harpenden when we were having our house done up, the only way we could get six months of internet access was to take our BT account with us (whilst of course committing ourselves to another 18 months or a year) and then when that was about to run out, BT infinity finally rolled out in our area and I liked the sound of having infinite internet access rather than a sluggish shitty one. And surely the fibre optics would mean that our connection would be fast and reliable.
Although adverts claim that something like nine out of ten customers would recommend BT infinity, I am must be the other one.I honesty couldn’t see any real difference from how is was before. Were things downloading a little bit quicker? Maybe. Or maybe I just believed that they were in order to justify my over-arching Jack and the Beanstalk without the magic beans stupidity at having committed to BT for another two years. I really want things like BT and the Post Office to be brilliant at what they do, because these are the companies that my parents swore by and supported when I was a kid. But I have taken brand loyalty too far.
The new hub, like all the old ones, would stop working every few days and need to be turned on and off again. Meanwhile whilst transferring audio files between my phone and computer I would usually have to wait until I was at a theatre with a decent wifi signal as I would waste hours trying to do it at home. Nowadays so many things rely on your broadband signal, so although I wasn’t losing money on poker (well even more money) Netflix shows would stop or buffer at the exact wrong moment. Rather than being amazed at what is now possible on the internet, which only 20 years ago required a dial up connection and a lot of patience (especially if attempting to pleasure oneself to a slowly emerging picture of a lady with her top off), I feel frustrated that the service that I rely on most for my pleasure (I mean Netflix and so on) and work is so flaky.
It turned out the infinity in BT infinity was just making a measurement of my gullibility.
Today, once again, the internet was down, but turning the hub on and off made no difference. We had to go out anyway and I assumed that we wouldn’t be able to do anything about it until after the bank holiday. But this evening I contacted BT via internet chat (on my phone’s 3G) and a nice man took me through all the things I’d already tried before telling me that my hub was broken and he’d send me a new one. Maybe it had been broken all along. Maybe now I was going to have perfect and fast internet access.
How, after all these years, have I learned nothing? How can I still believe in BT? I still have hope that they can come through for me.
But I will now have to do without home broadband until Thursday, making do, as I am right now, with my rather limited tethering from my mobile or popping out to internet cafes, unable to upload podcasts or watch Netflix or any other type of video that I might be interested in (and which I really can’t enjoy via the service at an internet cafe). It’s like being plunged back into the twentieth century, but luckily because I am with BT I have had enough experience of this kind of shoddiness so it isn’t the disaster that it could be - was that why they made their service so bad, just so I could cope if it ever broke down.
Don’t go with BT.
That’s not a message for you (though you should heed it), it’s a reminder for me that when I move or when my contract is up I should move to someone else (though I feel pretty sure they’re all equally rubbish).