There are people who would say that the first two words in the title are unnecessary given the last two, and I can see why.
I think it was 2001 that we signed up to Homechoice, a video on demand service over broadband. At that point, they had an enormous catalogue of programmes, and it was greatly appreciated by L before and after JA's birth.
The other reason for going for it was that it included 112k (really – you got it via a serial port) always on internet: the experience of someone's financially suicidal 'all the one hour call internet dialup you want for using our dialling code for voice calls' deal had convinced me we needed that. It meant other people could use the phone, for one thing 🙂
Gradually, the Homechoice catalogue got smaller and smaller as their losses mounted. They expected to be worth billions, but lost tens, if not hundreds of millions. But the customer service was always excellent and the broadband got faster and faster. (More than average given it had to be low contention for the video to work.)
Eventually, the TV service became live Freeview channels plus a tiny library. They offered their own phone line service, which we took up (the 'triple pay' beloved of such companies). Loses continued, and they sold out to Tiscali, who sold out to TalkTalk.
Now, because the phone was in L's name and the TV and internet in mine, we've always had two bills. Last month, TalkTalk decided this wasn't on for some reason and we had to merge them. Fine with me, but they needed consent from both of us. They got this from me, but kept on trying to talk to Lisa by ringing here during work hours, and – it turns out – never rang her on the mobile or work numbers I gave them, or at the times I suggested.
This morning, I get a call from them saying that they still haven't had consent from L and if they don't get it, terrible things will happen. She's out (taking the gerbil to the vet's) so she rings as soon as she gets back about 30 minutes later.
It turns out that they have cancelled our broadband because they didn't get her – the one who gets the phone line bill – consent to merge the two. It's still working now, but should stop tomorrow and they'll be a fifteen day delay to get it restored.
Fuck that. How easy is it to move from one non-BT provider to another?