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Friday, 28 January 2011

How bad is IT?

I'm hoping that some of the truth around the absolutely shameful behaviour within the UK telco industry is about to out.....

This blog post can be read at

Whoever you are, wherever you live, it can no longer be hard to avoid that our telcos are behaving on a par with the banks. Ripping everyone off, banking phenomenal profits, whilst providing a degraded service that is only debatably fit for purpose.

Today, I spent the day staring at a phone that couldn't find a network. I wasn't close to a landline, but as soon as I was, I rang Orange. Undoubtedly they have the recording; until then, I'll paraphrase.

"My phone won't work, at all. It has been cr*p all day and I need a connection asap or an alternative."

"Your mast is white".

"Sorry? Does that mean it's offline?"

"We-e-e-ell, it means I can't actually find it right now ....can you put your phone on 2G?"

"2G? You think I'm in a 3G network area? We don't have 3G here, even 40 miles from your HQ in Darlington."

"Ah, no, but all will be well in February. A massive upgrade is due to all your masts, including the T-Mobile ones."

"So, I might get a connection again in February?"

"Honest, it'll be great in February. Just put your phone manually onto 2G now and all will be fine then."

"In February?"


"What about now?"

"There's a mast {here - unknown dale} - that's sort of online. Must be the upgrade."

"I've never heard of it. How far is it from me? Are all our masts down locally?"

"Well, the one in Kirkby Stephen is white, Maulds Meaburn is a bit low....Um, they're all off."

"There is no way I could even see those masts from here anyway, what about locally?"

"They are local."

"No, they are not. We have hills and forests that are in the way....."

"Oh, how about {names 5-10 different places that are within 50 miles}...?"

"No way can you see those from here....". [I've surveyed thousands of miles in Cumbria, Yorkshire and Lancashire, line of sight for FiWi....]

"But they're...sort of must be this upgrade to 3G. It'll all be fine later in February".

"What about tomorrow? I need a phone."

"All I can tell you is to put your phone, and your neighbours, on to manual 2G, find the best network [he suggested T-Mobile - which Orange own] and then stick with that until we upgrade."

"So, when will our mast be fixed?"

"Well, I have to say this is a bit tongue in cheek, but the repair date on your mast is currently unknown".


"Um, I don't know. Really. My best advice is stand on the highest chair you have got..."

I hung up.

You know when you realise the person you are talking to on the helpline has no chance of making as much sense of the data as you, and you have no chance of seeing it? You just give up. I can't blame the operator, but I can blame the networks.

Do you know what? Your consumers are not morons? Don't treat us as such.

Meanwhile, BSkyB buy the Cloud, O2 offer nationwide wi-fi, most mobile networks in rural areas cannot download an app let alone use it; I hear it's as bad in London if you are an iPhone user. (But where is the news on that?) The country spends its life trying to pay over the odds connection charges to help lines for support issues, whilst getting nowhere. And we think it's ahem...normal?

Want my opinion? OK. Here goes....Not a reader? Start at "Everything old is new again" and read this about BskyB's acquisition of the Cloud. The Cloud (Niall Murphy) was one of my early event speakers and sponsors, before most of you had heard of wifi or broadband.

Our networks are fooked. They cannot provide the service required TODAY, whether wired or wireless.

It is time for a hats on the table summit where people TELL THE TRUTH and find the right solutions for UK plc comms. Because, otherwise, what is going to happen is that someone, somewhere, will put together a femto cell deal or similar over wifi that takes the lot of you greedy, difficult, mobile operators and telcos out at the knees. And if it doesn't happen from within industry, it will come from the grassroots people who are utterly and totally fed up with your shenanigans.

We need mobile comms not to feed money into your pockets, but to STAY ALIVE, to keep our businesses running, to track our kids, to share village news, to COMMUNICATE. WE don't need you purely so you make your profits. It's so simple. Get IT.

1 comment:

Anonymous said... puts mobile into context.

Mobility is a handy subset of fixed access and that means future-proof FttH