Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Broadband blues

Finally I am able to post from the church office computer.

Last July we switched phone and ISP providor from BT to TalkTalk at the very time when the latter were inundated with demands for their free broadband offer, so we expected delays and resolved to be patient.

By December we started wondering if we'd been forgotten. Calls to customer service yielded nothing useful, until the day we were told TalkTalk didn't have our telehpone rental account, only line rental, so they could not switch us over to broadband. Only at this time did we notice that TalkTalk phone bills were for calls only, not rental. Nobody worries about small bills do they, even if they appear too small on scrutiny. Further investigation led to the church treasurer ringing BT and establishing that they no longer owned the line rental account. It had been ceded to Cable Direct in July 06, a company bought out by Talk Talk in September '06. Which cyber black hole had swallowed up the account, nobody could tell us.
Another six weeks passed, and then a member of the congregation came up with the personal email address of the CEO of TalkTalk, Charles Dunstall. I wrote and told him the story, and within hours received a sympathetic reply. Within the week, someone else from Customer services rung up, took details and set about unearthing the missing account. Several more weeks passed, occasioning another email to Mr Dunstall and another sympathetic response, followed by a further conversation with someone higher up the pecking order in Customer service.
Second time lucky - the line rental account details were hunted down (they were there all the time, tucked away in a screen behind the first account presentation screen,) and finally the process of activating the broadband supply began. Of course there was ten months unpaid line rental still to be dealt with, but this was speedily dealt with. By the time this was done by the church treasurer it was May.
Finally, just before going on leave, notification of the start date of our TalkTalk broadband service arrived at the church office - eighth of June - while I was away. I set up the office router with the designated password and left it for someone else to discover if it worked.
As it happened, nobody bothered. Just as well, since I'd made a mistake entering the account details into the router. Anyway, once corrected, on my return to work last week, it worked fine, eleven months from the switch of service to BT. Is this a record delay I wonder? But, it's not the end of the story.
A letter arrived telling us that a subscription to the excellent F-Secure anti-virus came with the broadband business service. A download address and initialisation key was provided in the letter, but the download address proved to be non-functional. Customer services kept me on hold for half an hour when I rang before dropping the line. I emailed and was told to ring Customer Services. Vicious circle.
Fortunately AVG Free has caught up with the office computer being eleven months off line and purrs along happily.
Now, shall I annoy Mr Dunstone about this one more time? Or has he changed his email address?

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