Archive for May, 2007

My London Broadband Experience

Saturday, May 12th, 2007

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In a previous blog post titled "The Myth of Customer as King", which you can read here, I had written about others’ experience of getting an Internet broadband connection in the Docklands area of London, which is where I have been living for the past three months.

My own experience reinforces some of the horror stories I’d heard.

Around a month ago, when I had visited the Lewisham Shopping Center, a Sky agent solicited me for a subscription for Cable and Broadband connection. When I told him I’d heard that Sky Broadband was not available in my postal code (E14 9FF), he quickly made a telephone call to somewhere and assured me that Sky Broadband connection was indeed available. He even gave me a reference number for his inquiry. A few days later, I signed up for a Sky Cable and the so-called "mid" Broadband package through this agent. He told me that the cable connection would be activated in 3 days and the broadband connection, 4 days later. He told me to call a certain Sky telephone number once my cable connection was activated in order to request for activation of my broadband connection.

A few after I signed up, I got a letter from Sky saying that their technician would be visiting my home with the necessary equipment required for the cable connection. The date of visit was 10 days away, far more than the 3 days committed by the Sky agent.

Once the cable connection got activated, I called the given Sky number. I was shocked to be told that they didn’t have any order from me for broadband connection. They offered to take my order right then. When I gave them my address, I got another shock: according to them, the "mid" broadband package was not yet launched in my area! They refused to accept my word that that their own agent had assured me that this package was indeed available for my address. They also didn’t recognize the reference number given to me by the agent. Telling them that my next-door neighbor had been using the "mid" package for the last 4 months also didn’t help. They just kept insisting that the only available broadband package for my address was the so-called "Connect" package, which cost 17 GBP per month, as against the "mid" package which costs only 5 GBP per month. Besides, the "Connect" package had an activation fee of 40 GBP, as against 20 GBP for the "mid" package.

Since I’d signed up for the cable connection with Sky by that time, I decided to simply go ahead with the "Connect" package from Sky, instead of wasting my time and re-doing the research without any guarantee that the situation would be any different with any of the other providers like AOL, BT or Tiscali.

A couple of weeks after my broadband connection got active, another neighbor was able to sign up for the "mid" broadband package with Sky. I called Sky and reminded them of their promise to automatically transfer my account to the "mid" package as and when it became available. This time, they did acknowledge that the "mid" package was now available for my address but told me that it would take 2 months for the transfer to be effected. At the time of writing, I’m still waiting …  

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