back to article BT slapped down by BSkyB over O2 broadband 'switch off' porkies

A BT direct mail advertising campaign spectacularly backfired on the telco after it claimed BSkyB would switch off O2 users' broadband. Sky bought the consumer broadband and fixed-line biz of Telefónica UK-owned O2 in March last year. The telecoms giant had claimed in a shouty flyer posted through Brits' letterboxes that …

  1. Anonymous Coward


    ...I switched to BT as soon as BScumB announced they were taking over O2. They really didn't need to say they would cut off O2 customers, so many jumped ship without any threats.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Ironically....

      Further more, notice the irony of a Rupert Murdoch organisation complaining about someone else telling lies about them?

    2. Malcolm 1

      Re: Ironically....

      While I also jumped ship from Be after the Sky takeover, I can't help but agree with the ASA on this one - the BT headline was clearly designed to scare existing customers into thinking their internet would be cut off and they deserved to be chastised.

    3. Russell Hancock

      Re: Ironically....

      Sorry, but in 7 years dealing with BT they have never done anything right! (disconnected me, not canceled things they confirmed would be canceled, added charges to my account and taken months to refund them...).

      Sky are probably not much better, but they are better than BT, TalkTalk - now that's another story!

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Ironically....

        "Sky are probably not much better, but they are better than BT, TalkTalk - now that's another story!"

        Until there's a problem, then you're pulled and pushed between them like two warring parents. I was with Sky, left them for BE Broadband, and then had to leave BE when Sky bought them. Utter charlatans, the lot of them.

  2. Sir Barry

    Standard Form Letter

    Which ends with this copy & paste line:

    "told <insert offenders name> that the ad had misled customers and must not appear again in its current form"

    1. Annihilator

      Re: Standard Form Letter

      Yup, that'll learn 'em

    2. Russell Hancock

      Re: Standard Form Letter

      I always find that line funny - the damage has already been done and a lot more people will have seen the original ad than will see the "don't do it again" ruling...

      It is basically a "do what you want and by the time we decide anything it's too late to matter" thing - typical of the UK.

      1. SImon Hobson Bronze badge

        Re: Standard Form Letter

        > I always find that line funny - the damage has already been done and a lot more people will have seen the original ad than will see the "don't do it again" ruling...

        Yes, funny in the "if only it wasn't so sad" way.

        But nothing will change unless we the people force those who are supposed to represent us to change it. It's prompted me to write to my MP - I suggest everyone one else here who things the ASA is toothless should do the same.

        1. Russell Hancock

          Re: Standard Form Letter

          @SImon - You are right, we should complain more about this type of thing as it is depressing but there are so many things to complain about and so little time - just easier to go back to my apathy and continue ranting on the Interweb as that will make the world a better place!

          (also agree about the "if only it wasn't so sad" comment)

    3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Standard Form Letter

      Length of ad run: <3 months

      Time taken for ASA to find ad was 'naughty': >6 months

      As sarcastic internet minions might say, "Onoes!!!11!!eleventyone!1!"

      1. Annihilator

        Re: Standard Form Letter

        I've commented on previous similar cases - short answer is "fine = revenue attributed to new sign-ups over the period the ad was run".

  3. jamesd

    They may as well have switched it off. Rock solid for years with 13mbit down, 3 up under o2. 10 down, 1 up once migrated to sky systems, and - far more frustratingly - seems to resync when under heavy load (at least 5 times a day). Hello BT I guess.

    1. frank ly

      Have you considered Virgin Media? Oh .... er .....

    2. Captain Scarlet

      Sounds like an issue with your phone line degrading as it gets older

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Sounds like an issue with your phone line degrading as it gets older"

        Yes, it's weird, it got a lot older the exact same day we switched from O2 to Sky, and hasn't got any younger since, despite multiple calls to Sky broadband support (who, incidentally, don't have a direct telephone number, and even Sky staff on twitter and facebook aren't sure of their opening hours.)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I had the exact same experience, the degrading happened literally as soon as it switched, but I guess switching to Sky can cause copper to spontaneously corrode overnight,,,

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          > but I guess switching to Sky can cause copper to spontaneously corrode overnight

          The funny thing is that my line managed to spontaneously reverse the corrosion one day.

          Coincidentally it was the same day the line was transferred to Zen.

          1. Microchip


            Been looking at Zen myself since my service went to hell when I got dumped into Sky, although I was going to wait until I moved house, the pain is just getting a little too much. Are they worth the money? I was looking at quite a few providers, but my issue is that sometimes I go through serious bandwidth - a couple of months ago I hit 400GB in a month with various software images, and most of the "pro" ISPs have caps on ADSL2.

            (Can't currently get FTTC as I'm on an EO line, although they're working on it. Half the reason I picked my flat was because I was within 100m of the exchange - now it's come back to bite me in the backside! Losing my 2.5mbit upload because Sky don't support it stung quite badly.)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            We need to contact the New Scientist! It's a new metallurgical phenonemon!

        2. Vic

          I guess switching to Sky can cause copper to spontaneously corrode overnight

          Are you implying that exposure to the Murdoch Empire can cause corruption in coppers?

          Wash your mouth out, sir. That's scurrilous.


    3. Chad H.

      I hope for you sake you don't have Sky's phone service. If so you'll probably find BT is the only viable option for you - everyone else will want to charge you a stupid installation fee for taking it of Sky MPF

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I had similar, rock solid 11mb down 2mb up under O2 for 3 years, soon as it went to Sky dropped to 4mb down 128kb up. Hello Virgin Media

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You realise Sky uses the BT network right?

      1. Microchip

        They're mostly full LLU, taking over the line and piping over their own backhaul, so while their kit sits in BT exchanges, about the only interaction with the BT "network" is being powered by it, and connecting to the BT last-mile copper.* Related: it's a pig to escape Sky's broadband+phone provision, as I discovered to my horror after I was automatically transferred from Be and didn't shift quick enough.

        * There is sometimes exceptions of course, where Sky haven't deployed LLU, but they seem to have their kit in most exchanges.

        1. Annihilator

          "They're mostly full LLU, taking over the line and piping over their own backhaul, so while their kit sits in BT exchanges, about the only interaction with the BT "network" is being powered by it, and connecting to the BT last-mile copper"

          And pretty much the only thing that affects sync speed is the quality of that last-mile copper and how the kit is hooked up to it. And the people doing that? BT Openreach.

          1. Captain Scarlet

            Assuming the downvotes are because your line speed negotiated with the exchange didn't degrade?

          2. UberLuber

            Connecting to older type of DSLAMs can also have a detrimental impact on sync rate.

        2. Cynic_999

          I found it cheaper to get a new line (the house already had 2 pairs to the cabinet) rather than pay for unbundling, then cancelled the old phone/broadband.

    6. Tom 7

      Could try the phone co-op

      you can get divies - and possibly drugs?

  4. Stretch

    being switched to sky is functionally equivalent to turning it off. So ASA got it wrong here.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "it claimed BSkyB would switch off O2 users' broadband."

    And was correct in every way shape and form. O2 owned BE internet, which was our ISP at failed to inform us that business customers were no longer supported, so when the network switched to sky (i.e. the O2 network was switched off) and went from 18Mb/sec to 1Mb/sec we were simply told tough shit you're not supported...and were forced to switch to BT.

    A drop from near as makes no difference 20Mb internet down to 1Mb pretty much was the same as having the network switched off without warning. Considering we have to share that between the office no one was really able to access the internet here, and trying to RDP to servers was a complete joke.

    Sky had the attitude of "not my circus, not my monkeys" when we tried to complain, so they can go rot in hell.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      our experience too as a business customer - not the same degree of degradation in service, but losing our 4 static IPs was as agood as being switched off (although I guess the O2 retail customers who were the target of the BT propaganda would not have had _that_ problem...)

      At our place the Sky speed is about the same as BT ADSL - i.e. both grotty.

  6. denzil

    it seams like everyday we see this virgin - sky - talk talk getting there wrists slapped with a damp bit of string for misleading adverts ( out and out lies is a better term !)

    ffs when will the asa do something , start fining them the max amount , ban them for advertising for six month , stop them taking on new customers ,for god sake do something , the only people that seam to suffer from this are the customers that are lied to

    asa grow some balls

  7. Jason 24


    Who do I write to to complain about the ASA? Clearly they are not performing their advertised function of regulating advertising because so many complaints are being upheld after the campaign has finished running.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    they have woken up or something?! TWO angry letters in one week?! Got their targets increased or something? :/

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From BE to Sky to Zen

    I'd been with BE for about five years and was extremely happy with the connection and support.

    When O2 took it over, there was no noticeable difference - nice!

    When Sky bought them over, I only stayed with them as I was in the middle of trying to move house. When Sky moved the connection to their network, what a difference:

    downspeed dropped from 14Mb to 9-10Mb

    upspeed dropped from 1Mb to 0.5Mb

    The connection was disconnected for 20 minutes at midnight on at least 3 occasions that I saw, probably move based on my syslogs.

    While the BT advert wasn't strictly correct, the service did get crippled when moved to the Sky network. And their helpline isn't 24hr - this should be illegal for any company the size of Sky.

    Have since moved house and moved to Zen Fibre - WOW!

    71Mb download

    18.5Mb upload

    Over 1TB moved in the first week.

    They may not be the cheapest, but their connection is good and their service is good.

    They also have business-oriented packages with SLA agreements.

    Highly recommended.

    1. UberLuber

      Re: From BE to Sky to Zen

      Probably the DLM kicked in after your line was move to Sky and it was training the line. That's why you seen the up-down events.

      Comparing VDSL to ADLS is hardly fair comparison IMO.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Be Unlimited at 23/1 one day, to Sky at 12/0.3 the next. I pretty much knew that was going to happen and should have planned a move earlier, but I though give 'em a month to see how it goes.

    The sodding no Sky TV/Phone fee though! Wow..

    Thankfully Infinity had just got to my area, so I jumped over to a delicious 75/19 connection and I am as happy here as I was for so many years with Be.

  11. jonathanb Silver badge

    Maybe I was lucky

    When my O2 service switched over to Sky, the only things I noticed were:

    I had a new static IP. They told me what it was in advance. So I had to change my DNS records, and opt out of the Spamhuas PBL again.

    My bill is now £2.50 per month cheaper.

    Apart from that, everything is working fine, at much the same speed as before.

  12. James 100

    Performance did drop after Sky usurped and sabotaged the Be/O2 network - a great shame. The static IP address didn't stay the same, or even stick to the one Sky notified me of beforehand! More irritatingly, they've so far failed to hand over VAT receipts (as required by law), though they seem to be willing to comply eventually.

    Off to TalkTalk Business later this month (not my choice!) - no idea how that'll go yet. At least I'm only there half a day each week...

  13. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. T I M B O

    Act of Desperation!

    As i had been with BT for 7 years then switched to o2, i found o2 to be everything that BT is not. Efficient, excellent technical help, English speaking staff, excellent internet speeds & not put on hold for ages before you got any help. I have now gone with BSkyB Broadband and they have incorporated the same set of skills that o2 had. I HAVE TOLD BT THIS AND MANY OTHERS, I WOULD NOT EVEN USE BT PRODUCTS IF THEY OFFERED EVERYTHING TOTALLY FREE.

    BSkyB speed test...

    BT speed test....

    I once had a speed test of 0.01, i told BT thats this does not meet the requirements of a broadband connection, they said it did and would not cancel my contract. 0.01 is less than dial up, what a laff.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Act of Desperation!

      I would just stop paying if I had a 10kbps connection, contract or not. If they wanted to prove that <256kb/s is 'Broadband' they'd have to get a judge to agree with them before I paid up.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Ditched BSB

    Got transferred from O2 to BSB last January.

    Ditched BSB when I saw a charge on my account "for not having SkyTV".

    The customer support were adamant that this was OK and was effectively PR.

    Could I charge them for not using my services?

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