Adastral Park is fantastic!
Yes I work for BT, yes I'm a senior manager, I look after Network Architecture in BT - I speak for myself.
I joined 2 years ago after working for the competition (infact creating the competition) for almost twenty years.
I once had a low opinion of the work carried out at Adastral Park as I didn't believe it gave BT an edge. Since seeing whats done there and how its downstreamed into products and services I think the work done there is fantastic.
I think you have to look at where the todays telecoms market is. In the past there was only BT so they made a lot of money and were able to invest in research in the widest sense, and no companies like Cisco / Juniper etc existed.
Today, there is huge competition, in fact the most competition in the world is in the UK telecoms marketplace. I've worked in lots of companies and bean counters exist to optimise (and they exist in some form in every company) running costs and effectiveness - why? well without a return you can't invest in the next stuff you want to build or invent - companies have to make money and grow otherwise they go out of business. Everyone who works in a company is a bean counter and I try to spend and invest as if its was my own money I was spending.
I've known Nigel for for 17 years, amusingly he was at BT and I was at Easynet, now Nigel works for Easynet and I work for BT! :-)
At Adastral Park there is fantastic research going on and lots and lots of patents being filed. Recently work at the park has created Saturn a big data system on cyber security, is pioneering G.FAST - a technology that will drive copper lines up to 1G and one other key piece of research is the work BT is doing on Network Functions VIrtualisation.
Yes BT outsourced a lot of work like EVERY other company in the world, some of it works well, some of it doesn't, many companies have gone through this cycle, and they did it because they didn't have any choice.
Today though BT is hiring grads, apprentices and investing in its people with new skills at Adastral Park and across the UK. Nothing is perfect but I really enjoy working at BT - I enjoy working for a company that changes the world one day at a time.
The doom merchants and negative ninjas I am sure will slate me but BT is doing a huge number of positive things and its great to be part of it.