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ISPreview Study Finds Dissatisfaction with UK Telecoms Engineers

Monday, Nov 4th, 2013 (8:29 am) - Score 683
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A new survey of 1,534 ISPreview.co.uk readers has found that 89.4% of respondents have at some point needed to call out a telecoms engineer (such as those dispatched by BTOpenreach or Virgin Media) to help resolve a broadband or phone issue. Sadly the majority (75.7%) said they were often dissatisfied with the final outcome.

Home broadband ISP and telephone engineers often receive a lot of flak for failing to fix problems, causing new difficulties or simply missing appointments. But is it justified or are many of us simply being far too impatient with what is a technically very complex platform that can often break for any number of different reasons.

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Have you ever had a telecoms engineer out to resolve a broadband or phone issue?
Yes – 89.4%
No – 10.5%

How many times in the past 3 years have you needed an engineer to visit for a fault?
Three times or more – 71.8%
Never – 13%
Once – 11%
Twice – 3.9%

Did the telecoms engineer fix the problem to your satisfaction?
No – 75.7%
Yes – 13.5%
I never had an engineer – 10.6%

How long after the request did you have to wait for the last engineer visit (pick closest)?
5 Working Days – 81.6%
I never had an engineer – 10.9%
10 Working Days – 4.1%
15 Working Days+ – 3.3%

The performance of UK telecoms engineers clearly leaves much to be desired and consumers, most of whom regard related services as being critically important, have an absolute right to be frustrated when things go wrong. Indeed it now appears as if many have had a negative experience and similar concerns were raised during last week’s episode of BBC One’s TV consumer affairs show Watchdog (here).

On the other hand telecoms networks are notoriously complicated and often difficult to diagnose. Related problems can then be exasperated by criminal theft of cable and extreme weather (e.g. flooding), which frequently forces engineers to delay other work as they refocus upon critical core repairs. Similarly we should not forget that many engineers have to work long hours in order to resolve serious faults and big national operators like Openreach or Virgin Media are always bound to attract more complaints.

Never the less there does appear to be room for improvement. Some ideas that might benefit the process are better and more direct communication with end-users, not to mention greater end-user control for booking appointments, improved consumer engagement over compensation for mistakes or delays and a quicker turn-around to tackle missed appointments. A few of these measures are also being considered as part of Ofcom’s on-going review into Openreach’s quality of service (here), which is due to conclude early next year.

At the same time home broadband services will always play second fiddle to the more expensive business lines, often even if we don’t want them to. In principal business lines should benefit from stronger Service Level Agreements (SLA) and faster fix times (assuming you’ve paid for that), although in practice even those services can sometimes experience similar problems.

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Meanwhile this month’s new survey asks whether or not you’re happy with your current ISP and if you’re planning to switch provider next year? Vote Here.

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Mark-Jackson
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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