* Posts by rhydian

305 posts • joined 6 Aug 2008

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Dixphone's half-year P&L accounts are in. So much RED INK

rhydian
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Nice to see DixPhone is sticking to "premier" customer service...

My parents' microwave blew up the other day, a day before my sister was due to visit them with her baby daughter. So, it was decided that, as I live closest to any kind of electrical shop, I would go shopping for a new microwave. A model was chosen off the currys website and reserved before I left.

Cue me arriving an hour and a half later. I walk up to the desk and announce I have a microwave reserved. I am then led to the microwave display shelf and asked to "point out" which one it is. The problem was the only microwave that looked anything similar to what we'd ordered was marked as a "conventional oven" for £40 more than the website advertised. It took 15 minutes of the salesdroid looking before the we finally worked out the shelf ticket was wrong, and we ended up having to match product numbers. Turns out the "conventional oven" was in fact a microwave and was the right item.

So, salesdroid now grabs said microwave and takes it to the till. The only problem is he bashes the box against a load of end-of-row displays before arriving at the till. Luckily the till applies the right price and of course they try and sell me a £15 warranty...

Next time, when I'm not in a hurry, the web or John Lewis will be getting my business...

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rhydian
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Re: Comet?

"Is the Internet not allowed in your city?"

Last time I checked, I couldn't walk in to a big "The Internet" shop and walk out 10mins later with a new kettle. You can't always wait for delivery.

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Thought your household broadband was pants? Small biz has it worse

rhydian
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Re: BT are the problem

We had to use VM Business cable for one site because they were the only firm who could supply us without going down the leased line route. 50/5 isn't mega quick, but it works pretty well.

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rhydian
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Re: No FTTC for us

We outfitted a 4 person office with FTTC and VoIP in August. Once the internet connection was up and running we were off. Call quality etc. perfectly reasonable.

We did have an outage recently (our supplier, Voipfone, had a major issue) but that was an hour or two. As you say, the real problem is that despite the lack of any technical cleverness, a standard phone line very rarely breaks.

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rhydian
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Re: SMEs with at least one employee?

A sole trader has no "employees" (i.e. someone else you pay to work for you)

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rhydian
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Re: BT are the problem

"Or, more correctly, BT don't want the hassle of small businesses who want business SLAs for domestic prices, and will give BT too much grief when they don't get what they "expect"."

Business ADSL/FTTC costs are higher than domestic ones, and the SLA is usually next business day, so not overly onerous compared to the two business day Openreach now has to apply to domestic lines.

Next day and same day are more expensive still.

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rhydian
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The leased line/superfast broadband "grants", as you say, paid a contribution towards the installation costs of a leased line. The problem is that while the installation costs are pretty considerable on leased lines, they're usually less than two months cost of rental, which as a rule is 10 times higher than FTTC.

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rhydian
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Re: Regulatory requirements for a phone line need to be updated

Yep, Openreach's SLA is for voice and whatever you can throw down the line "as voice" (e.g. fax/moden). ADSL and ISDN are basically "best effort", and if they can't or won't supply them then its your problem.

This is why I tell people to report any slow broadband fault that's obviously a line fault issue (noises/crackles/no dial tone) as a voice fault and keep broadband out of it.

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rhydian
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Re: No FTTC for us

Its saddening, but reassuring, to hear from someone in the same ridiculous situation as us. For most offices under 30 users a business grade FTTC connection would be ample bandwidth. However telcos don't want to roll these out, much prefering long term contracted EFM/leased lines.

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Virgin Media's ad fibs EXPOSED by bitter rival BT

rhydian
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Re: The only good thing about BT is....

I've signed up to the Royal Mail's junk mail opt-out here: http://www.royalmail.com/personal/help-and-support/how-do-I-stop-receiving-any-leaflets-or-unaddressed-promotional-material

Its all a bit "get a from from the locked filing cabinet at the bottom of the dark stairs behind the sign that says 'Beware of the Leopard'" but its cut my junk mail to pretty much zero.

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What a pity: Rollout of hated UK smart meters delayed again

rhydian
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Re: Meanwhile....

It was considerably cheaper for me to have a meter than to remain on unmetered. Then again I do live alone so it might be different for a large family.

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rhydian
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Re: Meanwhile....

"We didn't have a choice, it was compulsory, something that has been changed after our test run was over."

I take it you're in the South of England? Sounds about right for round there.

Here in Wales you have three choices:

1: Standard, unmetered water on a fixed rate based on the Rateable Value of your house. About as accurate a way of judging water usage as an ouija board

2: "Assessed Rates". Your water usage is estimated on factors such as number of residents, number of bathrooms, dishwasher/waching machine and so on. Slightly cheaper than option 1

3: A meter. Compulsory in new houses, but you can get one fitted to any supply for free. If you find that you're paying more on a meter (not likely unless you're filling a swimming pool) then you can have it removed (I think there was a limit of a year or so). Anyone who buys the house after you must keep the meter and can't have it removed.

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rhydian
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Re: Pointless and dangerous fads

The meter in my house is a Denis Ferranti electromechanical job. It allows me to view my energy usage at a glance (through the rotating disc) and simply works.No ifs. No buts. No phoning home. My electricity supplier requests meter readings, and I supply them. Someone checks it physically about twice a year.

How on earth will a smart meter benefit me? My usage is allready minimal.

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EE's not-spot-busting small cell trial delights Cumbrian villagers

rhydian
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Re: Signal strength?

Put a chair next to an upstairs window. Use the phone while sitting in that.

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rhydian
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Re: well...

When you're over two miles from the nearest exchange (or even cabinet) 2mbit is good going, so anything that provides more bandwidth than that is a real bonus.

Plus of course there's the bonus of usable mobile reception when you're out and about (and for when Openreach take weeks/months to replace downed overhead lines)

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Hi-torque tank engines: EXTREME car hacking with The Register

rhydian
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Charlie Broomfiled from Practial Performance Car Magazine...

... has done something along the same lines. He took a Meteor and bolted it in to a Rover SD1 shell, and used an epicyclic geartrain (from a Leyland Leopard bus) to connect the low reving Meteor to the autobox from a V12 Jaguar.

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Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts

rhydian
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Re: What are the odds ...

But the point still stands RE access and resultant damages (or lack of)

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rhydian
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Re: What are the odds ...

Talktalk etc. allready have access to exchanges for their LLU equipment.

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rhydian
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There's nothing stopping anyone else installing a network (look at all the "self help" village fibre schemes popping up). As you say the problem is paying back the investment it takes to build the network out in the first place (see how long it took the cable companies to start turning a profit)

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rhydian
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Re: Are Ofcom a complete waste of space?

The problem is that a lot of the FTTC installation work is being subbed out to Openreach subcontractors (basically Kelly communications and M J Quinn). These contractors aren't on salary/hourly rates like proper openreach chaps, but are rather paid per connection/per job. Therefore if they can "sort of" get it working quickly they can do more jobs in a day and make more money.

The problem with this is that you end up with rushed jobs (can't find the address within 5mins? Cancel the job) Or customers being presuaded/misinformed to make a job easier (I'm sorry, I can only put the new master socket in the hall where the line comes in, you'll have to run your own extension to where you actually want it).

I've had my run-ins and issues with openreach guys in the past (no IT pro hasn't), but they're still a country mile better than the subbies.

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Million Mask March: Anonymous' London Guy Fawkes protest a damp squib

rhydian
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Re: Morons

"CAREFUL NOW!"

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Mobile coverage on trains really is pants

rhydian
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Re: Nonsense!

For all their faults EE does cover Mid and North Wales very well with 3G. During my road trip to the Isle of Skye I was rarely without signal, and usually had passable 3G, even at Glencoe

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EE TV brings French broadband price war to the UK

rhydian
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Re: "70 free channels"

Not everyone gets all the Freeview channels. Outside of main transmitter sites the number of multiplexes transmitted drops from six down to three, so you end up with a very limited choice of channels.

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rhydian
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Re: They just don't get it ?

If you don't like the big ISP/Telco offerings why not try the smaller ones.

I moved from EE to Virgin Mobile. Same network coverage but cheaper per month

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Getting to the BOTTOM of the great office seating debate

rhydian
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All this "design" and no mention of sorting out the worst part of office design: Wiring everything up.

Floor boxes last about 10mins before the lids get trashed

Dado trunking means you end up with desks around the perimiter

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As bankruptcy looms for RadioShack, we ask its chief financial officer... oh. He's quit

rhydian
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Unfortunately niche shops like Radio Shack these days have to be very small and definitely online to thrive. The days of chain stores selling electronics are numbered due to the basic fact that you can have just about any component sent from anywhere in the world direct to your door for (relatively) little money.

That said, the last time I was in the Wrexham branch of Radio Shack it was for a reel of brown speaker cable that I needed that day. I've given up on Maplin (unless its an emergency) as their choice is limited.

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Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills

rhydian
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Re: Number ranges

The US and Canada share a numbering plan...

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rhydian
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Re: This would be the same BT...

Glossing over the fact that all of the aforementioned companies all work across borders already (apart from possibly talktalk) none of those problems are insurmountable and will be subject to debate in the case of a Yes vote.

As for prices, if they really were skewed so much by the cost of providing universal service to outlying regions of Scotland/Wales/NI/England then I'm looking forward to my reduced Licence fee/line rental/Mobile costs*

*reduction delivered by flying pig

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rhydian
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Re: If prices go up, we'll know who to blame.

Indeed, the Irish situation does give some ideas for how an Independent Scotland will develop

e.g. Currently BT (and its Irish counterpart) count calls from NI to the Republic and vice versa as national, rather than international calls.

IMO the interesting bits will be in the borderlands areas. Currently TV, Radio, Phone, Electriciy, Gas and Water are all supplied as though there were no border (e.g. the Caldbeck TV mast near Carlisle transmits both English and Scottish channels). How will these be divvied up?

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rhydian
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This would be the same BT...

Who currently charge landline calls from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland at the same rate as regular national calls.

Call me cynical, but these companies might be just a bit concerned that an independent Scottish comms regulator might just be given some teeth...

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Smart meters in UK homes will only save folks a lousy £26 a year

rhydian
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Hourly pricing is a total non-starter...

Are the government and the electricity suppliers really expecting me to pay more to cook my dinner at the time I decide to have it (6 pm) just because a rather large proportion of the nation also finishes work at 5pm and lives about 45mins from work?

My current dumb meter is a traditional rotating disc type, and I can check my energy use "at a glance" already. If the disc is going around slowly, I'm not using much, if I've got the washing machine, hob, oven and immersion heater on, it screws around like a disc cutter.

I already submit meter readings online to my supplier, and once in a while someone comes to read the physical meter. As I live alone I'm very good at making sure items are turned off when not in use, and I have changed all the bulbs that I can/want to over to CCFLs or LEDs. The only traditional bulbs left are in places where there are no CCFL/LED bulbs that fit or where I need the light to come on immediately.

Ergo, a smart meter will be of no benefit to me whatsoever.

Also, what about rural areas where there is mains supply but little/no GSM coverage. How will these meters "phone home"?

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BBC Trust candidate defends licence fee, says evaders are CRIMINALS

rhydian
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Re: Fairhead also defended criminal penalties for non-payers - and over 70 sent to jail.

The same bloke that used to drive the "TV Detector Van" around my local town.

Said "TV Detector Van" was a long wheelbase Transit Minibus (you could see the seats through the tinted windows FFS)

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rhydian
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Re: Not bad value really

"Wrong ! take down your Arial, put up a sky dish. done. No BBC payment needed"

The equipment (dish, receiver/decoder) is equipment being used for receiving live television broadcasts, therefore by law it needs a licence.

I could have the decoder plugged in to my TV and use it as a media server with no problems. The second I plug a dish in to it (or technically an internet connection) and watch a live broadcast from anywhere its licence time.

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rhydian
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Re: Evil

"A better idea would indeed be to fund the BBC with a tax on cable, satellite, and other subscription TV services."

That's as sensible as the guardian columnist that argued that all broadband connections should be taxed to support newspapers.

Why should the BBC be paid for by people who have decided that they'd rather watch something else?

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rhydian
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Re: Not bad value really

So many people make the sky argument/comparison but miss the basic fact.

I don't *have* to pay Sky/VM/BT to watch live TV

I *have* to pay the BBC.

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rhydian
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Independence?

"It ensures independence, universal service for a universal fee and ensures creative freedom"

Independence? The telly tax simply ensures loyalty to the government of the day, not independence.

Universal service? I'll give them that, but its only as a hangover of being given the best spectrum and the best transmitter sites back in the day (Radio/TV) or OFCOM licence requirements (TV EPG listings). DAB coverage is still far from universal despite their latest transmitter roll outs.

Creative Freedom? Then why are so many of their programmes (especially daytime) so formulaic and identical to those produced by commercial rivals?

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Carphone Warehouse, Dixons return from honeymoon with injured numbers

rhydian
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Re: I'm not at all surprised...

"Recently? My local one was like that years back. I have not visited them since."

It was two weeks ago (last saturday in August) in a North East Wales town famous for its Lager.

"I thought that mobile shops only exist to make banks look good."

With something like a phone (where size and feel are pretty important) I much prefer to see it in the plastic/metal first before signing my life away for two years.

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rhydian
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I'm not at all surprised...

Mother rhydian needed a new mobile the other week (and I needed a SIM only contract). So we steeled ourselves for a trip in to town on a school holiday saturday so she could gauge the look and feel of a few handsets, and decide on the one she wanted.

First stop was Tesco (she's a tesco mobile customer and didn't want to change networks). The "shop" was a dark, pokey corner of the electricals department. No Moto Gs in stock.

Next stop was Carphone Warehouse. The store was a part of a shopping centre so a decent size and very attractive. The problem was that during this very busy day they only had two people working (one on a "desk", the other at the till). We waited patiently for 10-15 minutes for the guy at the till to finish trying to sell someone a new phone and contract. He made no effort to acknowledge us at all. In the end we simply walked out, as did 4 or 5 other people in that 15 minutes.

In the end, in desperation, we tried the EE shop opposite. Its was packed, but they had at least 3 staff on (possibly four) and had a wide range of phones on offer (including both the Moto G and Galaxy S4 mini that we wanted to try). Unfortunately EE doesn't cover mother rhydian's home and they didn't offer us a signal box.

Therefore seeing Carphone Warehouse's revenues falling is no surprise to anyone who's actually tried to buy from them recently...

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BOFH: The current value of our IT ASSets? Minus eleventy-seven...

rhydian
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Re: Stock chucking

Or when French customs would inspect punched card shipments and take one or two out...

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rhydian
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Sharon T. Pokeworthy...

Is now part of my official "fake identity kit" for websites and services that demand all manner of personal data for no reason.

her date of birth is 01/01/1970

her phone number is 01777 777 777

And her post code is W1A 1AA..

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EE accused of silencing customer gripes on social media pages

rhydian
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Re: @rhydian Just give me an email address damnit!

Yes, in the end.

My suggestion was that I would happily pay for the network/calls/data/text I'd used for the two months it took to fix my phone, but I wouldn't pay the handset subsidy part of my bill, and it was up to them to work it out.

After a few days waiting I finally got an email back telling me that they were refunding me two full months back...

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rhydian
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"On the subject of EE, whilst deleting posts is unforgivable wanting customers to private message them with personal details and mobile number seems quite sensible rather than plastering them on a public forum."

Indeed, but complaints about coverage issues aren't exactly "personal", and showing them in public may identify a wider issue than just one user.

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rhydian
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Just give me an email address damnit!

While public shouting is all well and good (and quite satisfying) some of us have rather complicated issues to be dealt with and would rather not try and cut our complaints down to 140 characters a time.

I had an issue a year or so ago with Orange taking a month (and two goes) to fix my brand new GS3 which had stopped receiving wifi properly. Having finally got the phone back I then wanted to complain about the service I received. I decided the best way to do it was to write a proper, full length email outlining the issue and my preferred resolution. However all of EE/Orange's customer interaction now has to go through their social media accounts, where of course they have full control.

I the end I sent numerous messages to the one email I could find, the CEO's....

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BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes

rhydian
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Re: Money saving options

You'd still pay £180 a year even without a voice service. The cost of actually carrying voice is minuscule compared to the supply and maintenance costs. If you want an example look at "no standing charge" electricity tariffs. You still have to pay a standing charge (equivalent to line rental) but its wrapped up in to the cost of the electricity used.

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rhydian
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Re: Money saving options

You can easily get a line with no calls package on from other suppliers. However the line rental charge would still be there as its paying for the maintenance of the physical line and kit between your house and the exchange.

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rhydian
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Re: Looks like I got my timing bang on....

I waited until my contract and line rental saver were up with BT before moving over. Luckily I'd re-synced my contract and line rental saver end dates (as usually BT calls/broadband packages go for 18 months, but the non refundable line rental saver only goes for 12) by signing up for BT sport (which started a new 12 month contract a month after my line rental saver), therefore both came to an end in July (that was around the 15th).

Yet still BT screwed up by trying to bill me between the 21st of July and the 20th of August (BT bills cover you for the month to come...) at TWICE the monthly rate I was paying before. When I cancelled my direct debit (to avoid BT getting their hands on £50 of my money) they slapped a late payment charge on the account.

Furious Twitter/BT Forum rage finally got me someone with a brain cell to sort it out, and the upshot is that instead of me paying BT £50 for services I could never have possibly used, they're sending me a cheque for £20...

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rhydian
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Re: Glad I Jumped...

I'm in a market 1 area and have just left BT Retail. I don't pay BT retail one penny for my phone charges. I pay BT Wholesale (Through my new provider) for the line. BT Retail isn't BT wholesale.

The part of BT that the article refers to is BT Retail. BT Wholesale haven't announced any price increases.

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rhydian
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Re: Glad I Jumped...

"You still have to pay BT extra for your landline though. Which sucks. They still basically have a monopoly."

BT Retail (the part of the company that has just raised its prices) doesn't have a monopoly.

BT Wholesale and Openreach do have a monopoloy, but are required by law to serve all communications companies equally well/badly.

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rhydian
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Looks like I got my timing bang on....

I've just left BT after two years and have gone over to Plusnet. Yes they're part of the same borg collective but they're a fair bit cheaper

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I’ve never paid for it in my life... we are talking Wi-Fi, right?

rhydian
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I've stayed in that hotel (pretty much next to the East of England Showground). If your lucky however you can get a room opposite the new houses/flats that have been built. Rather than pay £15 an hour, I simply took advantage of my (then supplier) BT's openzone service and connected via the routers of the houses opposite!

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