back to article Somebody give BT a brolly: National telco blames RAIN for its pain

BT took a revenues pummeling during its second quarter ended 30 September by posting a 9 per cent decline to £4.47bn this morning. The national telco blamed the recession, regulation and even rain for its drop in sales during the three-month period. Apparently bad weather has meant a lot of expensive repairs. BT said pre-tax …


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  1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    So *BRITISH* Telecom don't deploy hardware that can survive rain and wind? Don't budget in replacement for rain-soaked equipment? Honestly?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wasn't this year the worst for rain and floods for nearly a hundred years? I moved home in the spring and my phone line installation was delayed, so I was told, because lots of engineers had been sent to Wales and the north to help deal with the flooding.

  2. James 51

    So, it's the wrong type of rain. Wow.

    @Lee if it is cheaper over the life time of deployment to put out substandard gear and replace it then that's what's going to happen.

  3. I think so I am?

    Must of learned

    engineering from the same place as Network Rail.

    Thank god national grid engineers got taught some place else.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Must of learned

      And you must "of" learned English from somewhere rather sub-standard.

      The issue that the railways have with weather are caused by modern trains. In the past, heavy trains with brakes that acted directly on the wheels kept rails clear of leaves and sleet and all that stuff. Modern trains are lighter and use disc brakes which means the rails don't get cleaned and the lack of friction then becomes a problem.

      One answer is to cut down every tree that runs alongside a railway line but that tends to be problematic when the embankments start to collapse as the tree roots hold them together.

      It's far less problematic in Europe because their railways are much newer, largely built after WWII had destroyed their existing infrastructure. That means elevated routes, free from vegetation with earthworks engineered to be stable.

      1. paulf

        Re: Must of learned

        I assume this is "leaves on the line"?

        I'd add (rather geekily) that in the days the lineside had to be kept clear of trees because of the risk of combustible trees going up in flames caused by sparks coming out of the loco chimney. Bit of a problem if that kind of fire closes your line, and flambés the telegraph wires. As steam vanished from the network, and maintenance budgets were cut back, tree clearance was reduced - which is another reason why leaves on the line is a modern problem.

        While I don't disagree with you AC (I upvoted) as I understand it the trees weren't allowed to get that close to the line in the first place when steam was king.

        Flames - trees burn!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apparently bad weather has meant a lot of expensive repairs (?!)

    I thought they would have outsourced repairs to Bangalore, surely?

  5. supermoore

    Openreach are a disgrace.

    Currently the lead time for a (copper) line installation is knocking on 8 weeks in many parts of the country.

    Having laid off hundreds of experienced engineers on early retirement deals to reduce costs, they are now having to hire them back through agencies like Kelly's. Of course, then they also get inexperienced and downright useless agency staff into the bargain.

    The appointment you've waited 8 weeks for is missed by the engineer, or they turn up and such their teeth before "going to check something at the exchange" and never returning. Of course, there is then an 8 week wait for a replacement appointment.

    Complaints? Escalations? Ofcom? Useless.

    Take your business elsewhere? As a consumer, only if you're in Virgin's footprint or Hull. As a wholesaler or CP? Unlucky.

    At least soon we will have a choice of several infrastructure providers thanks to the even distribution of taxpayer funded incentives for fibre infrastructure.

    Oh... Wait...

  6. James 100

    Infinity (delays and excuses)

    I ended up needing three installation appointments to get FTTC in - the first time, two engineers (one and a hot spare?) turned up ... with the wrong paperwork. After several four-way phone calls (me, ISP, BT control and the engineer himself) I was finally told there was no way to fix the paperwork that day, and away the engineer went - just before the ISP cheerfully phoned to tell me BT had just said the problem was sorted so the engineer would be installing as planned after all.

    Second appointment: nobody showed up. Apparently, the paperwork got lost!

    Third appointment: local guy came out, did the install exactly as intended. "Screw the paperwork, I'll just do the job properly." He'd apparently been doing installs for 20-odd years, everything from PSTN to camera feeds, and seemed to be on a much looser leash than the original by-the-numbers FTTC-only crew. (They had a step by step checklist worksheet, with a mistake they weren't allowed to ignore; he had "just get it done" and the bits he needed.)

    1. supermoore
      Thumb Up

      Re: Infinity (delays and excuses)

      You've just perfectly described the difference between 3rd party contractors and experienced staff engineers.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Seeing as Openreach are supposed to provide access for everyone across the network, I personally think they should just stick to wholesale infrastructure work and actual end user installs should be handled by individual service providers or another company, maybe even go back to the old days of BT branded engineers as we had prior to 2006. Quite a few people haven't heard of Openreach and are surprised when an "Openreach" staff member turns up when they're expecting "BT".

    This would ease the burden for all concerned and mean that the important work gets done without leaving 83 year old disabled Mrs Miggins without a basic phone line for seven weeks straight.

    The current level of inefficiency is unsustainable and because Openreach's equivalence charter says everyone is supposed to get the same deal, it means everyone gets shafted including third parties like Sky. I think Ofcom and the government need to take a look at this because it has just got plain stupid.

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