Battles with BT


My perseverance, my dogged persistence, finally paid off.   My broadband download speed has been transformed from a pathetic 1.25 to 6.28 Mbps. Sadly too late for me to access Match of the Day on BBC iPlayer from 23 October (when I was in France) as Manchester United was beaten 1-6 by Manchester City.  (Actually, I may be wrong there – I need to check!).

For some years I have been frustrated by a pathetically slow internet.

I had hoped that changing from Tiscail to BT in their August promotion would do the trick, but sadly no change.

So a simple decision – contact BT.  Sounds easy?  Read on.

First of all, to find the contact phone number from the BT website proved near impossible.  At every click, every possible item of information you need, everything – except their contact number.  Even “contact us” did not yield a contact number – just further exhortations to use their help pages.

Actually the first time I somehow found the contact number but on subsequent visits I had to use my browsing history to recover it.

Eventually I took the extreme step of writing it down in my diary.

And for those of you who are with BT internet, here it is. 0800 111 4567.

That was just the first battle.

The automated response suggested I use the internet help pages. Even as I worked my way through all the options (here they are: 1-1-1-2-2), there was a final plea: “Try using our help pages from our website – otherwise, hold on.”

I did hold on, the first time for 20 minutes before giving up.  Next time, I settled down in front of the TV with Jacqui with the phone on loudspeaker mode.  50 minute later I was through to Bangalore.

However, it took two further lengthy phone calls over a period of several weeks before I finally broke their nerve.  “We will send around an engineer to your house, sometime between 1.00 and 6.00 pm.”

Actually Ken with Dave on light duties (bad back), from BT Open Source turned up at 10.30 am.  Real human beings who drank coffee, supported LFC and determined to sort out the problem.  It took them two hours.

To relate the whole story, as you see, has taken seven paragraphs.

But typical of today’s’ hi-tech world.  BT may be in the communications business but it was as intent on stopping me getting through as any GP’s receptionist.

This week I’ve been reading Habakkuk, the Old Testament prophet with a silly name (in Hebrew as well as in English).   How open this for an opener?  “How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, Violence! but you do not save?”

Habakkuk was fed up.  Why is it so hard to get through to God?  Why is he always on hold?  Why all the hassle?

This is the gift of the Old Testament (and of Jewish humour): such is God’s love, his commitment to us that we don’t have to pretend and be on our best behaviour.  We can tell him as it is.  We can share our feelings, articulate our deepest disappointment, even our anger. He can take it.  “Come on, Lord, give us a break!”

Not once throughout scripture does God respond “How dare you speak to me like that!”

Grace Emmerson in her BRF commentary writes:  “The prophet’s bewilderment at unanswered prayer is intense and so is ours, though we have the joy of knowing, through the cross, that when God seems most hidden he is most active and triumphant!”

So Habakkuk concludes:  “Though the fig-tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.”

Habakkuk is prepared to hold on, however long it takes, to get through. And the final verse?   “The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on to the heights.” (I should have used that verse in last week’s letter!).