back to article BT slammed in broadband cut off battle

BT was rapped by a County Court judge this week after it failed to overturn an injunction taken out by a mortgage company which had been left without internet access by a bodged engineering job. Independent broker Capital Fortune took out the emergency injunction against BT last Friday after workers accidentally cut off …

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Anonymous Coward

Why the delay

If the company took out the injunction "last friday" about an "accidental cutoff" that happened 5 days earlier, then clearly BT's claim that "it was doing all that it can" is shown up as a mockery and the court has done well to recognise that.

What kind of "accidental disconnection" really takes 5 days to restore? Even a JCB ripping through the road (the most likely cause) shouldn't take more than a day or two to bypass if the work really had been started as soon as the problem was brought to BT's attention.

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good luck

Good luck to the company trying to claim any substantive damages. They are almost certainly not going to be able to recover. Following the decision of the Court of Appeal in Spartan Steel it seems unlikely that this claim will succeed.

BT are likely to have excluded their liability for pure economic loss in their contract with this company which would leave the company for a claim in tort which will almost certainly fail.

In an earlier case where loss was caused by the disruption (again by bad engineering work) to an electricity supply rather than to an internet connection it was held that economic losses (i.e. disruption to business etc.) were not recoverable. I can see no reason for distinguishing this case on the fact so it seems unlikely that the company concerned would be able to recover their losses.

This is probably no bad thing as if it was possible to claim for this sort of loss then there would be huge increases in the price of broadband to pay for settling this sort of claim.

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Time to Change our DR Plan?

So now I can remove all those dual connected systems for mission critical services and replace them with two words the DR plan - "Sue BT". I'm sure that will be a wonderful comfort if something goes wrong...

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Re: Time to Change our DR Plan?

``So now I can remove all those dual connected systems for mission critical services and replace them with two words the DR plan - "Sue BT". I'm sure that will be a wonderful comfort if something goes wrong...''

Indeed. Any company that entrusts mission-critical infrastructure to a mere broadband Internet connection deserves everything it gets. While I'm no fan of the tactics sometimes employed by state-incumbent telcos (think BT, France Telecom/Wanadoo/Orange etc.), I have to sympathise with BT this time.

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But what was the broadband?

It makes rather a difference as to what type of broadband connection was there. If it was a simple ADSL or SDSL service, then they will have little hope - there is virtually no SLA. If they were paying thousands for a leased line, then the circumstances are different, particularly as the reasons for still using leased lines are due to service level requirements.

Of course, if it was leased lines, it begs the question as to why there were no backup ADSL lines to deal with precisely such an eventuality. At least then you can implement a fail over plan....

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Re: Re: Time to Change our DR Plan?

I agree with Godwin, assuming the "broadband" was ADSL (since the article doesn't state that annoyingly), then the simple fact is that it is and always has been at risk service. There is no SLA available and no assurance beyond best effort that it will work.

If a company needs a guaranteed service then they should pay for the service which comes with one, eg SDSL or a leased line. If they're not willing to pay for that level of service, how can they claim that connectivity is so critical to the company.

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Anonymous Coward

RE: But what was the broadband?

Leased lines are not broadband.

In laymans terms they are different beasties.

In technology terms they are absolutely different beasties.

Leased lines are dedicated [as far as the customer os concerned] baseband [as opposed to broadband] connections.

Generally speaking when people get "broadband" they mean ADSL or a form of NTL/Virgin based cable solution. These are wholely unsuitable for business purposes. ADSL provides poor upload speed and is rather flaky. Cable broadband is provided by Virgin media nd is really *hite.

As for backup lines you really need to be very careful with this. If your leased line is through BT (which lets face it it will be unless you are quite savvy) then your ADSL will be through BT lines also. so it will likely exit your premises on the same cables and almost certainly go to the same exchange. Lose either of these, lose both comms methods.

I think people are missing the point, which is that we should be able to expect to receive the services we are paying for. BT should be severely punished for thi sjust to make them do their job in future. If the problem is a third party cutting lines then pass teh costs, plus administrative fee, plus damages, plus punitive damages onto them. They will soon learn to be a bit more careful.

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Blame culture?

Sorry, as much as I enjoy disliking BT Retail, on this occasion I cannot see how Capital Fortune have a case against them.

Some very quick checks and these idiots have a BT Openworld broadband connection, a website hosted by a very anomynous hosting compamy is the US and what looks like a MS Small Business Server onsite which is their one and only destination for email (capitalfortune.com - no backup MX).

Obviously with no fallback for either their internet connectivity or email they were in a bit of a mess. I am very grateful that I wasn't one of their customers caught up in this.

No doubt this is all part of a face saving exercise for the benefit of Capital Fortunes customers. I hope it doesn't back-fire on them and they find that their customers are as trigger happy with lawyers as they are.

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Anonymous Coward

If only the world worked like this...

Could someone please advise where I purchase one of those SLA house purchases with punative service levels on mortage brokers, estage agents & solicitors - such that the period of 10 days is materially damaging to my completion of sale - so that between placing an offer on a property, to receiving a mortagage offer all the way through to completing the sale that this process can happen in such a short period of time.

As someone selling a property I fear my experience must be unique in terms of the frustration and endless delays as months roll past. I never realised that these prossesional bodies with the stewardship of my house sale were all bogged down in IT and Comms problems and this is why I still havent moved house.

I fully applaud this move by this group of industry professionals in recognising the needs to provide service garantees to consumers moving house with teeth that can bit them in the arse when they yet again get it wrong as seems to be the case month in month out.

In the expectent hope of completing my sale in the next 10 days.

Ha, get real you idiots - you get what you pay for - so many times we hear of businesses paying tupance hapenny that wont even take out enhanced care on their lines because it costs too much - but oh when it goes wrong how it is jepodising the million dollar deal. And how they are going to sue everyone because they play golf with the a senior BT manager and want their broadband fixed this afternoon.

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Anonymous Coward

SLG is available on xDSL

RE Rupert Roker and Keith Langmead;

there IS an SLA/SLG with BT Broadband (aDSL) but only on the Netwrok Premium package. £100 per month, 8mbps d/l 832kbps u/l. 20/1 contention ratio. slightly better than standard aDSL, but still, for mission critical stuff, surely some form of leased line would be in order? ie 1/1 contention, etc...

some people just don't pay attention, and most certainly don't listen to the sales advisors when they try and explain why it just might be a sensible option for those very imortant services. people just want to buy on price, which is why everything is dropping in quality, unless you have a silly amount of money and are willing to part with it.

totally bloody annoying (btw i am one of those sales people, and trying to explain to a customer just exactly why they need the unlimited bandwidth of the £5 a month more package, as they want to monitor CCTV through their internet connex for several hours a day, and they will STILL insist on the most basic package because "i can always upgrade later", and trying to tell them their first bill is going to be astronomical due to the copious amounts of bandwidth consumed, they think WE are the idiots and they know what they are talking about because "my nephew told me thats all i need".

of course, they neglect to mention the nephew is 14 yrs old, and he knows how to turn a computer on and open up a web browser which OF COURSE means they are an expert on all things pc/mac/www blah blah blah...

and thats just sales. i'm glad i'm not a boff having to find new and creative ways of disposing of the bodies of all those illiterate managers that got the job because of who they play golf with... :)

[/rant]

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