The ASA rules against BT Infinity availbility ads

The ruling against the availability checker on bt.com is here.

I didn't think to complain to them. I went to Ofcom because it is clearly anticompetitive.

The house is at the very edge of an inner London exchange's area, even though another exchange is closer: the boundary between the two areas is the end of the road. (Looking at a map on openreach.co.uk, it turns out that three exchanges are closer!) Consequently, broadband speed is not what we would like.

In 2001, we got HomeChoice when it launched in London and, at that time, they contracted with BT to ensure the speed was sufficient for video over broadband. This meant that when there was a problem a few years later, we had about four person-days work from BT engineers, including testing every possible bit of copper between us and the exchange, ensuring that the connection was as good as it possibly could be: barely enough.

HomeChoice was taken over by Tiscali which sold out to CarphoneWarehouse's TalkTalk brand.

In summer 2011, we went 'Oh, we stopped using the video over broadband ages ago, let's see if we can get a better speed and lower price just for broadband (and possibly voice)'. (Whichever cable company it was back in the 1980s never bothered to do the road – they did the main road about 100m away – and the chances of anyone doing it now are, sadly, nil.)

Obviously TalkTalk started talking lower prices if we signed a new deal for 18 months, but the broadband speed wouldn't – couldn't – be better and, looking at their site, BT were saying we'd be able to get BT Infinity in September. Obviously (again) that would be the better option, so we said no to a new cheaper deal with TalkTalk and waited for the promised BT Infinity.

And, it will come as no surprise to anyone, waited and waited.

Every three months, as it gets to within a week or so of the current deadline, it jumps back another three months. The latest time was just after Christmas, when it skipped from 31st December 2012 to 31st March 2013. Anyone from BT want to make a bet about it actually happening then?

It cannot be accidental or some openreach contractor not working fast enough – this has been delayed 18 months and counting. (It might even have been promising June 2011 when this started.) We could have signed up to a cheaper deal with TalkTalk and been free of the tie-in by now.

It's disgraceful, and somewhere in BT, there's a memo saying that one way to get more customers to avoid tying themselves to other companies for ages is to dangle the chance to get BT Infinity soon in front of them, never mind that there is zero chance of it happening…


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