back to article This is not, repeat, not an April Fools' Day joke: 5 UK broadband vendors agree to pay YOU daily rate for fscked internet

Relax, alopecia sufferers or those unfortunate enough to be genetically pre-disposed to baldness. You'll never again – or at least not nearly as much – need to pull your hair out in frustration over crap broadband services. From today, a bunch of service providers have agreed to automatically pay pre-defined compensation to …

  1. Secta_Protecta

    About Time!

    But IMHO it's still not really enough e.g. 25 quid if you've taken a day off work for an engineer visit and they don't show up. Also why should it be 2 days of outage before the compensation is payable, some people rely on their internet for home based work so any outage causes issues for them. Considering the technology available there is no real reason to justify service outages, surely a 4 hour limit would be more reasonable?

    1. Microchip

      Re: About Time!

      To be fair, people doing home-based work probably want to be on a business package with a proper SLA.

      That said, 25 quid for taking a day off work for an engineer visit... seems like quite the token amount.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: About Time!

        it's not even minimum wage, for instance. And BT charges £85 for an iffy callout, so seems reasonable to mirror that for a no-show

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: About Time!

          "And BT charges £85 for an iffy callout"

          A few weeks ago the line - internet and dial tone - kept going down. During one of its working periods I called BT to ask if there were any work going on in the area. I was told "no" and offered a call-out with the threat of an £85 charge if there was no fault. Instead I went down to the village & found 2 OR blokes with a couple of manholes lifted hard at work doing a substantial rework of the connections to the cabinets.

          I put in a complaint to BT on the basis that if there was work going on the call-handlers should be made aware. Eventually it was dismissed as not an important matter. If I hadn't checked for myself they have quite happily billed me £85.

          When I first retired I used to get sent copies of a BT staff paper. Every edition seemed to carry a few corporate messages about how wonderful the company was. Every edition carried letters from staff at the sharp end complaining about how manglement prevented them from offering a good service. I haven't seen a copy for some years - maybe it no longer exists. From my experience BT has always had a strong internal reality distortion field.

        2. theblackhand Silver badge

          Re: About Time!

          "it's not even minimum wage, for instance. And BT charges £85 for an iffy callout, so seems reasonable to mirror that for a no-show"

          The ISP is paying a percentage of the cost of the service, not compensation for your time, hence the discrepancy.

          The hope is the charges will result in more attention to detail on the part of those managing the faults, because sometimes they just don't seem to give a f.....

          I'm not optimistic - the people that take the calls/fix the problems are rarely the cause of the issues. I doubt that the diagnostic systems that send engineers out when there is little they can do or ignores known problems (i.e. ECI cabinets or modems under performing) or providing simpler ways to review the diagnostic information in a useful way rather than presenting it to (the majority of ) call handlers who have no idea what to do with it.

        3. Grant Fromage

          Re: About Time!

          I was unable to record a conversation with a BT drone in India working from a script and I felt it appropriate to send paper to BT`s registered address to warn them I would bill them and take them to court for wasting my time

          In 2001 I went broadband and 2 days later my phone stopped working but the ADSL was fine, a quick check on the line showed no exchange volts IE 50V

          .My mobile at that time charged premium rates for 0800 numbers so I had to walk to the open pissoir phone booth non BT

          A tedious brain free in India was only on script and insisted on doing AC test rather than listening, and the heavens opened. Drenched, unhappy. The AC test will be fine, the wiring is fine, there is no exchange battery, that is done at the exchange. If you insist I must be here and it is a fault here and send someone here I will charge you at my lowest day rate which is £200 for 8hours..

          I insist on being passed to someone technically able. No I got a ticket number and an appointment soaked to the skin went home. Having said I reserve the right to take you to court and being told I cant do that "we are very big company " " I don`t care, in Britain a person can prosecute the government if he is in the right by law" ( maybe have a hard time of it though).

          2 days later minutes into the "appointment" for their useless visit to me, I got a proper old BT engineer ring on my moby who told me that they had had early failures with the alcatel interfaces and my landline should now be fine, it was, We had a gas , he was 2 years from retire, I told him what the numpty gave me as BS, and he said the enmity those fools generate had made his job unpleasant as the customers are offended by being told that it their fault to start with and had made him think about early retirement.

          An ex colleague from a former firm now 10 years in the ground RIP was the worlds best nit-picker, he recorded little man in India comments and his own and ended up in a position to take them to court over a sentence in their contract after having similar to the above and an indian runaround. it got to recorded delivery to BT`s registered address for serving papers ( like minds) they paid him for time wasted providing he told no-one. Asif?

          I wish I had had this at the time..

      2. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

        Re: About Time!

        Why don't you work from home instead of taking a day off? Oh, wait....

      3. Mr Humbug

        Re: About Time!

        It should be the same amount that you get charged if you aren't there when the engineer arrives for an appointment. Last I knew (several years ago) that was £80.

      4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: About Time!

        "seems like quite the token amount."

        Similar to the £10 the bank gives you if they screw up.

        What might have an effect would be if these compensation amounts were deducted from the senior management bonus funds. The cumulative cost would get noticed. It would have a major impact on improving quality. CEOs might start to demand to be told what's really happening in the business before they find out the hard way. Or at least, after the first time they find out the hard way.

      5. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: About Time!

        >To be fair, people doing home-based work probably want to be on a business package with a proper SLA.

        Also have a backup or two, remember most of the major outages last year were for hours not days; only they seemed longer and caused much disruption because they coincided with normal business hours.

      6. Annihilator Silver badge

        Re: About Time!

        "To be fair, people doing home-based work probably want to be on a business package with a proper SLA"

        I hate this. You often see it on Twitter during an outage. "I'm losing hundreds of thousands of pounds of business due to my connection not working!", yet you're paying 20 quid a month for an apparently vital piece of infrastructure...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: About Time!

      Retirement plans now consisting of having multiple TalkTalk lines installed in a shed.

      1. dajames Silver badge

        Re: About Time!

        Retirement plans now consisting of having multiple TalkTalk lines installed in a shed.

        I hope you don't end up finding that all those TalkTalk lines terminate at the same exchange cabinet, connected to the same backhaul ... which has just failed!

        I'd go for one BT line, one TalkTalk, one Virgin fibre, and one 4G celluar from whichever network had the best signal in the area ... that would give a bit more redundancy ...

        1. Toltec

          Re: About Time!

          I think you missed his point. ;)

        2. donk1

          Re: About Time!

          Are BT and Talk talk really seperate?

          When I spoke to the BT engineer ~7 years back they said that Virgin Media was the only one with separate cables to the exchange.

          [ Currently have BT and Virgin Media fibre with iPhone as backup!!]

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: About Time!

            >7 years back they said that Virgin Media was the only one with separate cables to the exchange.

            Today you can add Gigaclear as a player in the residential local loop market.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: About Time!

      "25 quid if you've taken a day off work for an engineer visit and they don't show up"

      Then you get to charge them your lost earnings for the day you take off for the follow-up visit (relying on contract law in a similar vein to failed deliveries, here)

    4. macjules Silver badge

      Re: About Time!

      Been there, done that claimed the T-shirt off BT Openretch. BT "claimed" that I was receiving 70mbps in an area where it knew that there was an issue with the Fibre To The Cabinet connection in Holland Park. Tests performed with even BT's own engineers' tools showed that the connection was intermittent and barely hit 8mbps on a good day.

      It took almost 2 months of almost daily calls and complaints to get them to deal with the issue. OFCOM, by the way, are not worth the grief of contacting - my wife calls them "BT's complaints department". At the end they did fix the cabinet connection (a filter was not connected properly) and offered the grand compensation sum of £5 against my next bill.

      Suffice to say I ended up in litigation with BT, having refused to continue with them and switched to Virgin. I cancelled the contract as they had clearly demonstrated an unwillingness to comply with their own service level agreement and failed to maintain their own (written) standards. 1 month before it was due to go to court BT backed down and agreed to pay costs and £500 compensation. Never once had a problem with Virgin in over 2 years and I get 350mbps from their service now.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: About Time!

      "some people rely on their internet for home based work"

      I had this - I was designated a home worker and provided with a Business Broadband line from BT to the home office. That came with an SLA and actually decent level of service (including uptime). If you are a home worker then, aside from the HMRC implications, your company/employer shouldn't be forcing you to use your personal home broadband.

    6. Joe Montana

      Re: About Time!

      If you rely on internet access for work then you should be paying for a business internet service with a proper SLA, and you should probably have a backup connection too.

      Cheap, Reliable, Fast - pick two.

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    No surprise

    That Vodaphone hasn't opted in, of course they never get anything wrong do they?

  3. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    It should be considerably more ( money paid to a charity is fine, but it should be enough to add up over multiple customers to hurt the company ).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "it should be enough to add up over multiple customers to hurt the company"

      Most often though, it's not "the company" that is able to resolve it. It's Openreach.

  4. Dunstan Vavasour

    The real problem is BT-OR

    This is all very well, but unless the handoff between the ISP and BT-OR is fixed nothing will change.

    My village was blighted for two months by a dodgy linecard in the cabinet. More than half the properties had an outage at some point, and they all had a visit from BT-OR to check their cabling. I don't know how much these cost the ISP, but it was clear that OR were filling their boots instead of fixing an obvious common pattern (the faults from this cabinet had spiked by 1000s of percent). Many of us were unable to work from home, and had to travel to offices, even the vicar was offline from parish emails. But this was secondary to BT-OR being able to send out newly trained repair men and charge ISPs.

    It's clear from BT Retail's advertising that this isn't going to change: if your broadband is offline they know it won't get promptly fixed, so they'll send out a 4G hotspot.

  5. Kevin Johnston Silver badge

    Wow, so generous

    Similar to above, we lost our connection with no notice when BT decided to replace a pole which apparently had problems. We were without Internet for a day and a half with no cash nor apology and under this new scheme we would be in the same position. With two full working days out outage required that means you could be without internet from mid-morning Thursday to mid-afternoon Monday and still not qualify for a massive payment (do they include the whole outage or just from the point two full working days have elapsed).

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Wow, so generous

      when BT decided to replace a pole which apparently had problems.

      Had he hurt his back again? Poor bloke. They push him too hard.

  6. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

    This is not an April Fools' Day joke

    Very well, but where are the actual joke articles? I've already wasted several hours of productive time today reading informative articles without finding a single hoax!

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: This is not an April Fools' Day joke

      Well they did refer to them as service providers in the article, which is verging on an ironic joke all too often.

  7. Lee D Silver badge

    If we could apply it to all the other utilities, then it would make a lot more sense.

    Only last year, a "smartmeter upgrade" callout resulted in someone from Siemens coming to my flat, seeing I had a storage heater, and then driving off. No follow-up, no install, and I'd *PRE-WARNED* them and they'd *ASKED* on the call what kind of meter.

    I had to take a day off for that, and I should be able to charge for that, and I don't care who pays it - Siemens (the metering company), the electricity company, it doesn't matter. But now every time they talk about smart meter upgrades, I tell them I'll be happy for them to do it... it'll require them paying me for my lost day first, plus a day's deposit for the new install date. They don't seem so keen after that.

    We should be able to apply the same to every plumber, electrician, utility servicing, meter-reading, etc. They do it to us - my local GP would charge for missing an appointment - so it's only fair.

    Fact is, all that would happen is that they would never commit to a date and never come and install, like BT don't now.

    If you can charge me for a missed appointment, I can damn well charge you for the same, except you only had to turn up "at some point", but I had to be in all day.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge


      I think I can see where the problem lies.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        To be fair, it's a misnomer.

        It was an upgrade to a pre-pay meter (so they know exactly how much I used anyway, because the little key tells them so). The idea in this case was to save me having to draw cash out, go to a shop that I go to for NOTHING else (Paypoint not accepted at any major store near me), top it up once every few weeks (because I can't put more than £49 on it at a time), and not lose the key.

        With the smart upgrade, I could do it from an app and just press a button to charge a credit card.

        I would say "I'll change it to a normal meter" but they couldn't even manage the smart upgrade they were pushing, let alone a complete change of billing, and the fact is that the smart meter *could* be changed to a credit meter because they just change the software setting and they're done.

        My flat may have been built in the 70's but I'd quite like not to have to piss about with 70's electrics and metering if at all possible.

  8. Andy The Hat Silver badge


    Suppose my connection goes down with tiny XYZZY Internet. No LLU and a small ISP so it's carried on a BT line. My ISP has been contacted, immediately raises a fault with Openreach and informs me.

    Three days later BT have a quick look and the engineer wants to replace a cable but needs bloke A to authorise bloke B to piss on the board in the exchange. A couple of days later they do the job.

    My ISP did everything they possibly could so who is responsible for paying the compensation? Openreach is responsible for both the fault, the fix and the delay so why should the ISP suffer?

    In reality some little herbert burned out a BT junction box in an attempt to kill the area's automatic burglar alarms recently. It took over two weeks to rebuild it all and another week to get all the crossed wires sorted. Engineers were literally working day and night. Who pays the compensation to the punters?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Responsibility

      XYZZY Internet should have an Ofcom regulated ISP SLA with OR and so will already be receiving compensation from OR if the SLA is not met. So your issue is how engaged are XYZZY?

      Zen with business internet contracts is a bit of a rottweiler, once they have qualified the problem to be in the BT/OR network...

      1. Keith Oborn

        Re: Responsibility

        Indeed. I've been with Eclipse since 2002, and when I've had a fault they tell me the OR ticket number and engineer ETA. OR field guys are usually super-helpful. Notice that this cuts out the bad bit: major ISP/telco consumer call centres.

  9. James Haley 2

    > Relax, alopecia sufferers or those unfortunate enough to be genetically pre-disposed to baldness.

    Other than the day your barber has the "the talk" with you, there's really no downside to being bald.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Well, you do need a few snazzy hats.

      Otherwise your head gets cold and/or sunburnt.

      Sunburn up there is almost as bad as sunburn down there.

  10. Joe 37

    Not before time

    Since 1992 I've had the line from post to house replaced three times. And the line card replaced twice. OK once was a lightning strike which took out hundreds of lines.

    All of which took long periods to get fixed. Worst was two months. For which BT expected me to pay for two months of no service at all.

    Fortunately there will be an alternative in a couple of months. Unfortunately that alternative is run by Vodafone.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    can I have it backdated, please

    say, for the last 25 years? Including for the "up to... " lies?

  12. YARR

    April rises

    Cost will be passed onto the customer. The worse the service, the more you'll pay.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: April rises

      See my comment about taking it out of senior management bonuses.

    2. G R Goslin

      Re: April rises

      The man is correct. The money the company returns is money the customer gives them. Companies, nowadays work on margins, they will accept profit as a percentage of costs. The costs go up, as a result of these pay-backs, so the level of profit rises. As insurance companies, the company has no concern over increased costs, so long as theirs are competitive with the rest of the industry, who have the same costs, but the money paid out in dividends goes up as the costs rise. It's the same with fines the company gets. They're simply passed on to the customer, and the stockholder gets an increased level of profit from the margin. The same goes with Government levies, as with the power companies.

  13. lee harvey osmond

    like Delay Repay?

    When I first heard of this, I thought this was going to be like Delay Repay on the railways.

    ie, if your packets are over four hours late you could claim a refund

  14. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    There's a disconnect between the broadband companies and openreach

    This is all very well and good, but there isn't a scheme for OpenWretch to refund the ISPs when delays and outages occur. It follows that there is no incentive (at least not a financial one) for Openreach to actually do anything about problems. There are many times when we've ordered broadband for our customers that Openreach are late; many times that customer's broadband goes down due to a faulty contact, or a problem at the exchange, or a 'battery fault' - and each and every time it's Openreach who fixes it. Sometimes they do it quickly, but other times we have to wait a few days while they allocate and reallocate engineers, find that the wrong type of engineer has been assigned, and then reallocate again.

    Openreach operate in a way that benefits them, not the end-users of phone and broadband services, and with no financial penalties for delays, they'll continue to behave this way.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: There's a disconnect between the broadband companies and openreach

      but there isn't a scheme for OpenWretch to refund the ISPs when delays and outages occur

      AIUI there is such a scheme. In principle an ISP actually makes money if OpenRetch screw up - OR pay penalties to the ISP, the ISP pockets the money. I recall reading about this several years ago, how the ISPs were now going to have to pass those penalty payments on to the customer.

      There have been a few articles over the years about how BT and/or BTOR have lied to their customers (the ISPs) about the nature of faults to avoid paying out penalties - one that comes to mind was about leased lines rather than xDSL though.

  15. chrisb2k

    So who's going to foot the bill for these compensation payments? Not the broadband companies. It will be the consumer.

    "Here's £5 back from last month. Oh, by the way, we're putting your monthly payment up by £10 because, you know, inflation and the price of network packets and stuff. Definitely not to do with compensation payments"

  16. Great Bu

    2 Days !

    2 Days !! My fucking balls will be like space hoppers !!!

  17. JaitcH

    What type of InterNet service is this?

    I have 100Mbyte fibre optic here in SaiGon / Ho Chi Minh City and it only costs me £0.48 per day (unlimited)!

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