BT Charm offensive not working out in Moray

BT Openreach 'keeping the nation connected' - but not in Birnie
BT Openreach ‘keeping the nation connected’ – but not in Birnie

BT IS CURRENTLY running a charm offensive through national newspaper advertisements aimed at debunking many of the ‘myths’ they say surrounds the quality and reach of Broadband in the UK.

However, the national telecoms firm still has a lot to learn about customer relations in Moray, if the latest complaints being highlighted to insideMoray are anything to go by.

Such as the row of homes in Birnie, just five miles from Elgin, where there has been no Broadband service since high winds caused an outage on January 26 – sparking a series of promises from BT Openreach that so far has produced no sign of the service being restored.

Five homes have been affected with no phone service – and that poses significant problems for Rob Adams, who depends on his link with his companies network as he works mainly from home. Rob said: “The problems started when a cable that delivers our line was blown down by the high winds we had in January.

“The fault was obvious, the overhead line had blown down, and was reported to our service provider – PlusNet – the following day.  It was then placed into the hands of BT Openreach, who are responsible for the lines.

“All seemed reasonably well when we were told that the fault would be fixed by January 29 – but since then it has been a case of us having to chase them on a daily basis and getting nowhere. I have been using the online chat system but there is just no provision for us to deal directly with BT Openreach – while PlusNet continually just fob us off by giving dates for repairs only for nothing to happen.”

Calls are currently being made for BT to separate from their Openreach arm in the face of growing concerns that the technical arm of the company is being held back – in particular where they are dealing with other companies.

The issue being faced by Rob and his neighbours is fairly typical, with one response from PlusNet on February 1 saying: “The job has been with BT’s contractors for some time and for this I can only apologise.

“As the issue is within our supplier’s network [BT], the job is in their hands. We have the ability to chase for updates or in some cases push for work to be done sooner but on this occasion BT have a set time with the contractors.

“Apart from this, we have no choice but to allow BT to control the fix of this issue.”

The Birnie problems are fairly typical of those faced by many communities when met with connection issues – including when a BT Openreach engineer did finally arrive on site on February 8.

He promptly turned around and left again, saying that he was not aware of the nature of the fault and that “a different team would have to deal with it”.

Rob said: “It has taken BT Openreach three weeks just to establish what we told them in the first place, that the overhead cable had come down. Now they say that it will be repaired by today (Thursday) – we can only live in hope.”