BT will always be BT
Dave, you're not quite right about the telecoms indsutry in the UK. BT no longer have a monolopy and OFCOM is making damn sure that they can in now way HAVE a monolopy.
As the infrastructure part of BT has been separated out, the retail and wholesale parts of the company now have just as little access to engineers etc as other suppliers.
You are, however, right about them being useless f***ers. I've had plenty of insight into the workings of BT and it has always shocked me. The issue is that it's a massive corporation and nothing is simple - even if it should be! They will always be the same in business terms, even if they DO progress technologically.
WHY they still use sh!tty copper pairs for ADSL when fibre is so much more efficient is something that forever bugs me. Even with 21CN they have no plans to take fibre further than DPs [distrobution points], which means you'll still have that piece of copper wire serving your home. Pointless.
@Ed - I'm not surprised you have poor coverage in central London. Too many buildings close together! If you knew how much planning is involved just to get one tiny mast erected, you'd thank your lucky stars you have ANY bars in a dump like that...