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Name That Server
Member Name: lamorna
Date: 10/11/03, updated on 10/11/03 (1896 review reads)
Advantages: Fast connection, Stay connected, Chat on the phone as well as surf
Disadvantages: They don't make things clear, They don't make things clear, They don't make things clear
Imagine this? You have been using the same ISP for three years. Shall we call them HIthere.com? Although when you first signed up with them there were called HIjinks.com-then HIflier.com and ultimately HIthere.com. In the beginning this ISP service cost £12.99 a month for 24/7 unlimited access rising over the years to £15.99 a month and by then limited Internet access of five hours a day, enough for most users. Yes, it was a dial-up connection and most people yearned for Broadband in their area. I'd been a regular visitor to the HIthere.com Homepage to register my interest in Broadband and was continually disappointed on being told there were no future plans to make this service available. So now imagine HIthere.com is BTinternet.com-the ISP I've remained loyal to. I have had other ISPs as a back-up. Claranet-Breathe-Freeuk but they all let me down in some way or another so BT remained the devil I knew. There name changes didn't bother me much. They went from BTinternet.com-BTanytime.com-BTopenworld.com. There are a lot of BTs in there eh?
Fortunately the local business community in my area collaborated with our local paper and printed forms every week inviting both home and business users to register for BT Broadband. Within weeks we had the required 400 signatures. I was contacted by a BT representative by telephone in July. He told me the cost of the installation package, contact numbers, reference numbers and a general question and answer session, one of my questions being 'Will I be able to keep my existing BTinternet.com email address?' This was confirmed. I was given the date of the 1st October-the day my small West Dorset town would go Broadband live! The whole package sounded ideal and I looked forward to being online whilst leaving my phone free to both use and accept calls. I
was also pleased that the monthly payment of £27.00 would be shown on my telephone bill to pay quarterly. I thought I'd got a bargain as my daughter living in London had gone over to Broadband over a year ago and was paying £29.00 a month with (Wait for it) BTOpenworld.Broadband-spot the difference yet?
This is where any prospective Broadband users should be warned. If you are already subscribing to BTanytime/openworld/internet as your ISPs and you sign up for BT Broadband then this service does not allow you access to your Outlook Express. BT Broadband is not an ISP. They are separate businesses, but did you know that? I didn't! When my BT Broadband installation pack arrived promptly on the 1st October a small booklet informed me that the price didn't include OE access but as I thought that BT was BT by any name and as I wasn't keeping my back-up ISPs such as Clara or Breathe this information didn't relate to me.
My last direct debit payment to Bopenworld.com was paid on the 8th October. I eventually installed Broadband from the accompanying CD-ROM on the 11th October. It was a very straightforward process involving connecting the compact BT Voyager 100 USB ADSL Modem to the phone line and USBd to the tower. I was up and away within minutes, utterly delighted with connecting to the Internet in less than a second. The speed of access to both my OE and the WWW was a pleasure. Most significant for me was the telephone ringing whilst I was online and being able to chat on the phone and surf the web at the same time. The day after I was Broadband enabled I had a pleasant follow up phone call from the BT Broadband team asking me if all was well and I was delighted to affirm that it was. No more tedious dial-ups; Radio 4 continually playing in the background; fast and uninterrupted downloads-freedom! Until the 8th November when it all went pear shaped. After all, I'd cancelled my BTinternet.com monthly payment after the 8th of October hadn't I?
>I couldn't send or receive emails in Outlook Express. My password was continually refused. I immediately visited the BTopenworld.com Homepage and attempted to enter my account but my password and username were refused. I didn't exist-I no longer had an account. None of the FAQ applied to my predicament. I phoned Billing. My first hour of interaction with the tele-person from BTopenworld resulted with him telling me I needed to be with BT Direct in order to use Outlook Express. He assured me all would be well and gave me a reference number. He was right! All was well. My password was recognised and I was able to send and receive emails using OE-until the next day when once again my password was refused.
Straight back onto the phone to Billing complete with reference number; Unfortunately, not only was it a terrible crackly line, the tele-person was Asian with a very strong accent and I don't think he understood what I was saying either. However, we overcame our communication difficulties and I finally took it that I had to pay another £1.50 for a service called Premium Mail enabling me to access my emails through OE. If I didn't sign for this I would only be able to access my emails through a web Homepage-who's Homepage I don't really know. It was when he asked me for my credit card details so they could take £1.50 a month for Premium Mail that I lost the plot. I'm paying through my BT phone bill quarterly-I don't want a piddling little amount like that put onto a credit card. Get me your manager! We'd tired each other out.
The manager was able to get her points across more clearly. When I told her that at no time had I been told about Premium Mail that was deemed essential for me to be able to use my Outlook Express she replied that a lot of people have had the same problems as I had and that I should have been told about the need for this. I agreed with her. I feel I should have been better informed by BT Broadband particularly at the time of th
e original phone call from BT when I asked if I could keep my longstanding email address. That was the point when I should have been informed of the procedure. I obviously signed up for Premium Mail and a debit card was acceptable as a payment method and not the original request for a credit card.
I wonder how many subscribers to BTopenworld/internet/anytime have gone the Broadband route through BT believing that they would also be their ISP. I certainly think the fact that they are separate entities should be made clearer to the prospective customer. I hope this experience may help others understand the potential problems that can be encountered when everything begins with BT and will go some way in helping to overcome them.