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UPD ISP Chief Vents Anger at Missed BT UK Engineer Appointments

Tuesday, Mar 12th, 2013 (11:22 am) - Score 1,619

The CTO of business ISP Timico UK, Trefor Davies, whom last week praised BT’s telecoms engineers for fixing his superfast broadband (FTTC) line, has today criticised the national telecoms operator for missing too many appointments with customers and mishandling his fault report.

Apparently Mr Davies recently suffered a breakdown of his Openreach VDSL modem, which is needed to make the FTTC connection work, and it had to be replaced. A simple enough endeavour, you might think, but one that seems to also require the booking of a BT engineer.

As is usual in such situations the Davies family had to cancel various business/personal appointments and wait in for BT to arrive. Unfortunately the engineer, whom was scheduled to turn up in the “am” (morning) period that apparently runs from 08.00 hrs to 13.00 hrs (BT’s definition), never did arrive.

The visit was later rescheduled and again the appointment was missed without explanation. A third visit has now been set.

Trefor Davies said (blog):

There are a few issues here. Firstly the engineer did not show up twice and the communication channels with Openreach were very poor. I’m not blaming the engineer. Those guys are under a lot of pressure to maintain a network that is very old and starting to fall apart. Finding a fault is often akin to plugging a hole in a hosepipe only to find another one further along.

These days it is no longer acceptable for me to only find out that he isn’t coming hours after he hasn’t turned up. BT needs to up its game. This isn’t an isolated incident. The NOC tells me they have examples of customers having three or four no-shows on the trot for BT engineering visits to our business customers. It is happening every day.”

It’s of course no secret that BTOpenreach engineers will sometimes leave consumers waiting in all day, only to then not turn up at all, which in fairness also happens with Virgin Media engineers too and among other trades (plumbers, builders etc.). But in this instance the problem should have been an easy fix.

Trefor Davies added:

The “BT” internal support staff would also appear to be under pressure. They did not read my ticket which specifically said my modem was dead. Instead they looked at the notes from the previous visit, saw that there had been problems with line error rates and reset the system to start it training again. Of course it will not work – because the modem is dead.”

Trefor has heaped plenty of praise upon BT over the years but on this occasion, which is still on-going, he has been able to see “how frustrating it can be from an end customer’s perspective.”

Openreach has improved how its engineers function a lot over the past few years but there’s clearly still some room for improvement, as problems like this continue to attest. ISPreview.co.uk has reached out to BTOpenreach for comment and will report back when they reply.

UPDATE 1:42pm

BT has kindly furnished us with a response.

A Spokesperson for Openreach told ISPreview.co.uk:

Openreach has completed almost 290,000 engineering jobs over the last two months and the vast majority of appointments are completed on time. There has been no increase in the proportion of missed appointments since November last year; in fact the proportion of missed appointments has fallen.”

Openreach recruited an additional 1,000 engineers over the past year, which they claim have improved their ability to connect new customers at the same time as dealing with a large number of repairs (mostly due to the recent bad weather).

These additional resources have apparently helped Openreach achieve a “record number of engineering visits during the last quarter“, when visits totalled almost 1.7 million (apparently this is the highest level ever seen since Openreach was established in 2006).

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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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