An engineer in wonderland – BT Broadband annoyance
Having resisted it for a long time, I have had broadband installed at home.
I thought long and hard about who would supply the service.
Any company with a bad reputation for service or reliability was straight off the list.
Eventually I whittled it down to a shortlist:
Zen – with an exemplary reputation.
BE – with a good reputation.
BT – The supplier of my phone, and without an awful reputation.
BE is run by a friend of a friend, but dropped off the list because it does not supply from my exchange yet.
Zen was about to get my business, when BT clinched it by offering me a £10 a month package for 18 months.
It was installed on time and, following a bit of extension simplification, runs at about 2.7Mbit/s – a bit short of the 3.5Mbit/s the bloke on the phone spoke about, but not too bad.
So why am I annoyed then?
Well, without asking me, BT enabled my Wireless modem for its FON service, which means anyone within range who subscribes to FON can use my modem as an access point.
Now I don’t really mind being philanthropic to this small extent, but I don’t like someone else being generous with the resource I pay for without telling me.
And if I had never logged into the modem’s internal control server out of curiosity, I would never have discovered that I was to be the local access point.
In exchange for my unwitting generosity, I got unwanted free FON time on other people’s modems – but a limited amount of time compared to the infinite time I was expected to be serving others for.
More annoyingly, I had to log into BT’s site and wait two days to stop being part of FON – it seems BT disables the facility by remote control.
It also seems asymmetric in that I can enable it directly – the greyed-out disable has become a nice friendly clickable enable.
AND, having chosen a stupid password in the heat of the moment – my fault, I know – BT then required more personal information from me before I was allowed to change it to something more secure.
I could find no other way to change it without going through BT’s humiliating data mining experience.
Zen next time, or maybe BE will have got around to my exchange.
And, to be fair to BT, its modem seems to be a quality piece of 802.11n kit which worked straight out of the box when I plugged in the Ethernet cable.
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