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UPDATE AAISP UK Boss Slams BT Engineers over HomeHub3 Router Bias

Wednesday, Jul 18th, 2012 (10:16 am) - Score 2,071

The often outspoken boss of business ISP Andrews & Arnold (AAISP), Adrian Kennard, has criticised BTOpenreach’s engineers today for trying to sell one of its customers a BT-Infinity (FTTC) HomeHub3 router while being paid to fix a separate problem and sometimes refusing to fix faults unless one is present.

BTOpenreach is responsible for managing access to BT’s national UK telecoms and internet access network and is supposed to be separate from the operators own BTRetail division, which sells the separate BT-Infinity superfast broadband service and related HH3 router directly to consumers. As a result its engineers need to be impartial and independent of BTRetail’s products.

In this case Kennard claims, one of Openreach’s engineers advised a customer that their router “was not a BT home hub3” and instead “suggested that they get one from BT“. But that’s only part of what appears to be a wider problem.

Adrian Kennard, Director of Andrews & Arnold, said (blog):

Hmm, nice one BT, not! Trying to sell your products to our customers when we are paying you to fix a broken service that we pay you for.

Sadly, when something breaks, we often have to get a BT engineer out to fix it, as they have an exclusive right to work on the national infrastructure that is the BT network. They do say some annoying things to our customers on occasion. They sometimes refer to the service as Infinity (as they did in this case), and have even been known to refuse to install a service because a customer does not have a BT Home Hub.

I think this is the first case where they have said that the customer should get a BT Home Hub when repairing a fault. It makes us look stupid and is very anti-competitive.”

The situation is not entirely unique to AAISP and we have heard similar grumbles from other ISPs in the past, some of which we reported on a few years ago when covering the hoopla over SFI/SFI2 fault handling. Interestingly a number of comments on Kennard’s blog seem to support this, with one referencing similar gripes (apparently some engineers assume you are having a BTRetail service even when you aren’t), although few are ever willing to go on record when we ask.

However it must be said that the vast majority of Openreach’s engineers still manage to conduct their work properly and can at least recognise the difference in other products or technology. Unfortunately not all are quite so well trained, it seems. As a side note the related AAISP customer still has not had their fault resolved.

ISPreview.co.uk got in touch with BTOpenreach about the issue first thing this morning and the operator has promised to investigate. We hope to post their response later today.

UPDATE 11:23am

BTOpenreach has kindly given us a response to the above issue, which encourages affected customers to escalate their concerns.

A BTOpenreach spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

Openreach takes its responsibility to provide fair and equivalent service to all CP customers very seriously. We make considerable efforts to ensure that our engineers are aware of these responsibilities and act fairly and according to our obligations. We would therefore encourage those CP customers who have commented on this issue on a blog post to raise it directly with Openreach’s customer management team so that we can investigate the specific circumstances relating to each case and take the necessary action.”

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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