Still onto BT: Roger that!

I blogged yesterday about my problem getting my BT broadband sorted out. How hard can it be to switch the account holder of an otherwise unchanged broadband service on the same line? My former employer is, understandably, keen that they should no longer pay for my home broadband, and I’m equally keen to get this sorted out.

Yesterday I got a call from BT customer services offering to upgrade me to BT Infinity. I was assured that my broadband was in my name, that the upgrade could go ahead and we even booked an appointment for an engineer visit (apparently a new socket plate is needed) next week. My fear that the account had not yet been sorted (because I’d not been told so before) was laughed off.

Ha ha.

Today I got another call from BT apologising that they would be unable to fulfil the order since, surprise surprise, my broadband is not a residential account but still in the name of my old firm. Which is what that firm and I have been trying to tell BT, and get changed, for weeks now.

I was given another number to call to sort this out, retold the tale to a series of trying-to-be helpful people (in between tranches of holding music), none of whom, it turned out, were in the right team to deal with my issue. Finally Roger Howard in Customer Options advised me a) that the best thing was simply to switch the existing account from my firm to me and b) that he was enacting this now.

Hallelujah! Let’s see if it now happens. Could be the first time we’re glad to get the phone bill.

PS to those advising me to switch to another provider… I have had tales of dreadful customer service and/or poor connection speeds from other providers. I don’t want to give any more money to Mr Murdoch. The BT broadband itself is good. It’s just the handling that’s a nightmare. Although BT please note: if there is this much hassle involved in staying with you, don’t be surprised if people switch.


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On hold for BT

I have had fun and games a few times with BT over the years.

When I went wireless there was the non-arrival of the home hub when promised. And the delay in activating the account.

Then there was the joy of the 90-minute helpdesk call that a simple line test could have avoided.

Before that, I had problems back in 2006 when my previous employer stopped paying for my broadband. Although the phone line and broadband provider were unchanged – simply a change of billing address – I found out after I had been cut off that we could not simply transfer the billing. A change of MAC code had to be made, even though BT was still the provider.

Now I’m in the same position, as I’m taking on the broadband account from my previous employer. I’m taking the opportunity to upgrade to BT Infinity at the same time. Both my old firm and I have been trying to sort this out for weeks. I am assured that the hub will arrive a week tomorrow, that the new service will be live that day, and that the billing will be seamlessly switched to my account at the end of the month. 

When I explained about the problems I’d had before, associated with having to change the MAC code, the (very friendly) chap on the line clearly thought I was an idiot. He cheerfully assured me several times that there was no problem as the line is unchanged, the provider is unchanged, it’s just a change of billing address. We have been here before.

Watch this space….

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Islington royalty

With matters Royal all over the media, this post on the estimable Jane’s London blog caught my eye.

She points out the sheer number of pubs in this part of town named after royalty and nobility. It was traditional to name pubs after the local landowner, or a patriotic hero of the day. Royalty were popular choices, especially around the time of royal weddings.

The Marquess pub is named after the Marquess of Northampton, the hereditary landowner of much of the land to the east of Upper Street (Canonbury and Angel areas). The first Marquess was formerly the Earl of Essex. The family surname is Compton which also features in a local pub, the Compton Arms.

Much of this land was developed in the late 18th and early 19th century, and the pub names reflect that period.

Many of the Dukes named (Sussex, Cambridge, Clarence, Richmond, Kent and York) are ‘Royal’ Dukedoms, given to the various sons of King George III. The Duchess of Kent was daughter-in-law to George III and mother of Queen Victoria. The Regent is George III’s oldest son who went on to be George IV.

Wellington, Clyde and Wolesley were military heros of the day who were ennobled as a reward for their victories. The Duke of Wellington was the hero of Waterloo. Lord Clyde was the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in India. Lord Wolesley led armies in India and Africa.

At one time, such pub names were the norm, before they were reinvented as something like Purple Barracuda, Fat Louis’, or the Dugout.

Will next year’s royal wedding see a revival of traditional pub names? And if so, will any be named after the Popham Princess?

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Lighter later and longer

It sounds like another diet plan, but actually something much better! The Lighter later campaign is part of the 10:10 initiative to help us all reduce our carbon emissions by 10% this year, and further in future.

They’re calling for us to shift the clocks forward by one hour throughout the entire year, putting us in the same timezone as our near neighbours in the Netherlands and France. This would give us longer lighter evenings, combatting darkness-related depression and making our daily journeys brighter.

Campaigners reckon that by reducing dark hours in the daytime, we could cut at least 447,000 tonnes of CO2 pollution – equivalent to more than 50,000 cars driving all the way around the world – each year.

There’s an economic case for it too. According to one report, London’s economy could be boosted by more than half a billion pounds if the clocks were not turned back, with tourist attractions staying open later and businesses saving time in their dealings in Europe.

Scotland may well want to stay an hour behind, but with their own Parliament, etc, that’s their privilege.

If like me you support the campaign for longer lighter later days, in England at least, then join up here.

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Make your mark on Islington’s history

Islington Council are currently asking the public for nominations for historical people, places or events to be commemorated with new Islington People’s Plaques.

Nominations can be submitted until 6 December 2010 online.

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In the lists…

It’s official – I’ve been shortlisted as a candidate for the Liberal Democrat London-wide list for the London Assembly.

Now party members in London have their say, ranking each of the candidates to determine the final order on the list. Liberal Democrats have always got at least three members elected to the Assembly, but even in an exceptional year would not get all eleven. So the order of names on the list is vital.

In medieval times, the lists were where knights jousted before the crowd: it’s not quite like that in the Liberal Democrats. Although we don’t yet know what the hustings organisers have in store….

The ballot papers are going out on 3rd November, to be returned by 2nd December. Results will be announced at the regional conference on 4th December, an extra incentive to go along (you can register here).

Now where did I put my lance?

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Young cartoonist of the year competition 2010

An email arrives from the Cartoon Museum:

“It’s time for the Young Cartoonist of the Year competition. There is an under-18 and under-30 category so do please enter or tell any other budding cartoonists you know.”

Sadly I am neither young nor a cartoonist, but if you are, then take a look at their website, clicking on the Learning and Events page.

Closing date is 15 November.

Anyway, it all gives me a great excuse to link to this.

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