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BT Setting Sights on Changes at UK Local Business Divisions

Sunday, Mar 10th, 2024 (12:01 am) - Score 5,080

Sources have indicated to ISPreview that the BT Group are in the process of reviewing the BT Local Business (BTLB) division, which currently reflects a regional network of BT-backed independent businesses that help to service and support customers at a more local level. But LB’s future structure may be much more centralised.

The telecoms giant is currently going through a period of wider business and brand simplification, which is partly aimed at driving greater efficiencies and cutting costs. But so far this hasn’t touched BTLB all that much, which may be partly because it’s a more complicated setup that trades under a string of separate companies.

For example, BTLB in Greater London South East trades as Talk 4 Business Ltd, while in Devon and Cornwall it’s Coastel Communications Ltd, then in Liverpool, Chester and North Wales they’re known as Branded Telecoms Ltd and in the North East the underlying company is Converged Communications Ltd and on it goes.


However, sources within the operator recently alleged to ISPreview that the BT Group appeared to be in the process of “closing down” LB, at least with respect to the aforementioned structure. The sources indicate that, instead of offices focusing on patches of the country, BT Plc may be looking to have its own offices with their own teams, such as the Snowhill office, doing the same job as LB did, but for the whole nation (i.e. every customer has access to the same support and is directly BT).

Something similar may have already happened at the BTLB outlet serving the Black Country area (e.g. Wolverhampton, Telford, Stafford etc.), which according to the websitehas now closed” and related customer accounts “will now be managed in our brilliant BT teams” (this happened a while ago, but the suggestion is that others may soon follow). Such a shift might potentially also result in some redundancies.

Naturally, we put all of this to BT, which didn’t provide a comment, but did assure ISPreview that their BTLB channel remains an important and strategic one for servicing BT’s SME business customers across the UK. The operator regularly reviews their partnerships to ensure they’re delivering the best possible service, which does include a thorough assessment of BTLB’s performance. The latter, they acknowledged, can sometimes result in alternative ways being adopted to service customers in the area.

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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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9 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Kevin says:

    I’ve had some recent dealings with BT local business in Exeter, this is for a new leased line install. It has been fantastic from the start, by far the most responsive and willing to help.

    In comparison I also contacted Virgin Media and Zen, both were woeful in comparison, especially Zen.

    1. Avatar photo X says:

      To balance with the comment below, I have heard positive experiences too.

      The main issue is the lack of control that BT exert on thier partners and lack of consistency and often frankly quality that results.

      Consider you are dealing with a small local sales organisation effectively. Not BT.

  2. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

    Reorganisations like this don’t always have their desired outcomes, then no doubt the management will be looking for someone else to blame.

  3. Avatar photo X says:

    That would be a massive step forward and has been overdue for at least 16+ years really.

    Whomever wins the btlb franchise for an area often (not always) go on to operate with complete impunity while using the bt brand. Customers believe thier signed on with “BT” and blindly sign on the dotted line only to discover they’re in a 5 year contract which has auto renewed for an isdn line at exorbitant prices and Leased PBX systems, handsets maintenance etc. It’s a mess.

    1. Avatar photo Ethel Prunehat says:

      Echo this. Every interaction I’ve had with BTLB, and their ex-customers who have come over to our business, has left me with the impression that they are a complete and utter shower.

      For example….customer sold a 2Mbps “leased line” for using their hosted handsets on, with an absurdly long contract. Literally no idea it was still possible to buy this ancient connectivity.

      It should be noted that if any customer of note accidentally tries to buy something from BTLB, they get punted up to the “real” BT to deal with [or rather, sub out]!

  4. Avatar photo Jamie Dale says:

    I’ve dealt with the BT Local Business based Glasgow, I’ve never met a more incompetent sales guys in my life, I’m glad they are closing this separation down and dealing centrally. 2 Years of constant rubbish from them for mis-selling.

  5. Avatar photo elBison says:

    BT local business Birmingham has been awful. Verbally suggested we’d have no price rises, I couldn’t argue with them a year later, as I had no proof. Also lied that 60 month is the minimum contract, while I already had a 24 month offer from BT direct. No surprise they’re forced to close.

  6. Avatar photo Vince says:

    They should scrap BT Local Business entirely.

    The companies are absolutely the lowest of the low. They use the name ‘BT’ when they call to flog you something, telling you they’re BT even though they’re not really of course, then they’ll rip you off, stick you in long contracts and leases for those who don’t know better, and when problems start arising then they’ll declare what, no, we’re not BT no no no you need to contact them and wash hands of the problems they often created by mis selling you to begin with.

    Here’s a classic example of the stuff they do:

    – Customer has ISDN and a leased phone system (via them to begin with of course)
    – Given the great ‘phone lines are going away’ speech
    – Flogged a new set of phones (Yealink typically)
    – Flogged a 30 meg leased line just for the phones
    – Flogged an FTTC (yeah, really) or ADSL (where no FTTC) for internet access…

    Absolutely ridiculous but not at all uncommon – why? because they think if they flog a leased line it’s both good money and the costs can look similar to multi-line ISDN so people think that’s fair, and then flogging them a cheap FTTC/ADSL line is a great little bonus – even though the customer would have been better with no leased line *OR* a 100 meg leased line and no FTTC in some cases where speeds are poor and other options scarce.

    They’ve been a nightmare for years, back in the early 2000s they were just as bad. The sooner BT just abolishes the BT Local Business scam the better.

  7. Avatar photo The Provisioner says:

    If I remember rightly BT Local Business is like a franchise you buy from BT to resell in a particular area. I believe that BT will provide some leads as well as providing exclusivity for the given area.

Comments are closed

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