Three days ago my long relationship with BT came to an end. I’ve ditched my business line entirely and now use another ISP for my home broadband. After 17 years running a website design business from rural west Wales, I waited for my current business contract to expire and then told BT the lie that I was retiring and shutting down. I’m not doing either, but this is the only way to stop BT passing you to the “don’t lose a customer at any cost” department who will hassle and interrogate you endlessly in order to wear you down into staying with them.
I started preparing for this a year ago when I changed my phone number from BT to a third party VOIP service Vonage. A couple of months ago I changed my domestic BT broadband service (my office is attached to my home) from BT to Andrews and Arnold and we now manage very well for home and business on just half of the AA 100 Gb monthly allowance. The Andrews and Arnold connection isn’t faster than BT (although I could double up the line which would give me 3Mbits/sec instead of the current 1.5Mbits/sec) but it seems more responsive, more reliable and AA treat me like an adult.
So why have I decided to abandon BT? Here are the five reasons put as succinctly and rant-free as I can manage them.
1. I object to paying the same for a 1.5Mbit Broadband connection as someone in town who gets a 4 or 8Mbit connection. BT own the line and the exchange and I’ve waited 10 years for this connection to improve and BT still hasn’t done it.
2. I object to being charged for (ie helping BT pay for) a BT Sports service which is free to other users, but which I cannot access due to my low bandwidth.
3. I object to BT censoring my broadband in accordance with UK Government edicts. Site blocking cannot stop people who wish to access these sites through the use of VPN’s (Virtual Private Networks) and site such as Unblockthenet.com. Not only does blocking perpetuate the lie that it works, it is a perfect “thin end of the wedge”. Once blocking is accepted as “normal practice” it can be expanded to include any site the Government doesn’t happen to think we should be allowed to visit, just as authoritarian regimes are doing around the world.
4. I object to the extortionate rates BT now charges for phone calls not included in its free packages. This is clearly intended to force people away from a “pay for what you use” model to “pay whatever you use”, which, given that phone calls cost BT microscopically trivial amounts, punishes low volume users intentionally and disproportionately.
Example 1st September 2014:
Landline to landline call 9p /min (rising to 9.58p on 01/12/04) PLUS a 15p call set-up fee (rising to 15.97p on 01/12/2014), meaning that a 2 minute call will cost 33 pence
For simplicity, I’m currently moving my business phone number to Andrews and Arnold VOIP from Vonage and will be doing the same for the domestic number if all goes well, as I’m sure it will. A&A call rates are tiny compared to BT.
5. Finally, I object to large corporation behemoth’s controlling our lives. I prefer to use small independent businesses where I can. BT invariably gives worse customer service and con us into thinking otherwise through their huge advertising budgets and annoying sales calls peppered with half truths and short term bargain deals.
Thanks for reading. I’m glad to have got that off my chest,
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