On being grouchy with BTOpenworld… Again…

09/06/2003

So like a great great many people in the UK who can’t get easy access to cable, I get my ADSL from BTOpenworld. BTOpenworld is the online part of that-which-used-to-be-called-British-Telecom before it was privatised twenty or so years ago. Now the thing about this ex-monopoly is that it really doesn’t have the slightest idea what it’s doing most of the time. I’ve had ¬£250 phone bills for internet access and then been told I’d get unlimited usage only for it never to work (an offer they actually physically rescinded because they couldn’t handle the strain), I’ve had ADSL packaged with the world’s least practical and useful modem and I’ve recurrently had them say that they don’t support Macs even when – let’s be honest – what’s to support? The biggest problem with them is that they keep thinking “ooh – let’s add more shitty services and fluff on our service” while resolutely not doing anything even vaguely useful like:

  1. Have vaguely easy to search help files
  2. Provide a simple service that actually works
  3. Not be dick-heads

My favourite bit always used to be the phone help-lines that they charge 50p a minute for. You ring up and they say things like “Have you got the phone cable plugged in?” and “Is your computer turned on?” before confessing that they actually dont’ know what’s wrong at all, and – by the way – thanks for the tenner you’ve just spent on the conversation…

But I have a new favourite bit. They send out these e-mails every so often, telling you how they’re changing the terms and conditions and giving you brilliant new services like new dumb-shit-enabled browsers and “Photo and briefcase storage and sharing” whatever the hell that might be. The latest big deal that no one gives a crap about? BTOpenworld is ‘fusing’ with Yahoo in some totally tedious way. So they send out an e-mail explaining how ace this new service is and it’s all HTML enabled and full of crappy images. And at the bottom it has this thing about what to do if you’re on a Mac, and – of course – the bloody link doesn’t even work if you’re using a Mac.

Gah, the sooner there’s some decent, practical simple mac-friendly competition the better…