I scarcely know where to begin, our tale of woe has been ongoing for about a year. I am writing on behalf of Crich Baptist Church, in Derbyshire. Wayback, early in 2021 I contacted BT Business to have the telephone and broadband installed at the church.
The engineer duly arrived, but with the church being clad in scaffolding at the time due to major refurbishment works, he advised us that there was nothing he could do because of the scaffolding. We accepted this, and agreed to arrange another appointment when the scaffolding was removed. It is important in this long-running saga, to say that the church is Grade II listed, so it is essential to say that you can’t just attach anything to the outside of the building that would contravene any conservation observations by the local planning authority. This has been repeatedly emphasised to people we have spoken to at BT, plus of course, the engineers when they have arrived on site.
I should say that BT Business, in Stoke, advised us initially that the product we needed was Cloud Voice Express. Subsequently, after several months, we were told that this would not be appropriate for us, so a normal line would be needed. We have supply poles, with distribution boxes attached which are nearby, there is at least one ‘carrier pole’ within yards of the church, but the problem with that, is the line, if so attached there would be too low across a busy road. The green boxes containing the connections from the Exchange are just outside the church wall. I humorously often say that if they were any closer they would be inside!
Orders have been raised then cancelled. New orders have been placed, then they have been cancelled and others raised, and on and on it goes. Sometimes, with each new order, new kit has been sent, including Smart Hubs, Hybrid connections, plus the round Wi-Fi discs. I joke that we must have more kit that BT. When I have raised this with visiting engineers and people on the phone, I have been advised not to send the equipment back just yet, and so it continues to build up.
An important factor is to say that we have had one access survey. This went well, the guy was fantastic, and we really thought we were getting somewhere at last. The surveyor told us, that in his opinion the line should be brought in underground. He took measurements, both outside the church and in. A quote for the extra work was raised and accepted. Since then, nothing has happened. I suspect someone has vetoed that idea.
The idea was eventually raised that we needed a second survey. Since then, despite several attempts by me to push the matter, absolutely NOTHING has been mentioned to us about this idea.
Literally, I have spent hours and hours on the phone, both to order management in India, and various folks here in the UK. We were ’told’ to raise a complaint, the BT staff seem to have done that. My personal view after spending what seems half my life on this matter, is that having order management in India and other BT / Openreach offices here in the UK is not a great idea, and may be part of the problem.
I have also WASTED TIME down at the church on numerous occasions, when appointments have been made within a time-slot, say 8am-1pm, only for no engineer to turn up. Later, I have discovered that they have done work at the exchange and not needed to come to the church. If that was to be the case WHY was that not made clear in the e-mail I received announcing the appointment. An e-mail incidentally, which threatened us with a penalty of £130 if access to the church was not available for the engineer.
Yet another engineer’s visit is arranged for Thursday, 17th February, in a time-slot of 1pm-6pm. I am not at all confident that this will be anything other than ‘more of the same’. By the way, the engineers are good guys, so I don't blame them for the debacle.
So much more could be written, but lest I bore the pants off you by writing even more, it is utter incompetence! By whom, and where, is for others to judge, I know what I think. Let me just conclude by PLEADING for the SECOND SURVEY to be arranged as suggested. That, I feel, would at least give us, BT & Openreach a better idea what needs to be done.
I hope that someone who reads this may be able to help.