back to article BT in ad slapdown after 'misleading' punters on fibre deployment dates

BT has been rapped by the UK's advertising watchdog, which found that the national telco had "misled" customers about when its broadband products would be available in their areas. The Advertising Standards Authority upheld complaints submitted by 15 people, who griped about BT because its "availability checker" website for …


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  1. tremtastic


    What is really misleading is telling you that your exchange will be activated on whatever date, then realising the cabinet your line is attached to will never be upgraded!

    1. Steve Todd

      Re: Misleading

      Seconded. I live within a stones throw of an enabled exchange, but can't get Infinity. Not impressed at all.

    2. A n o n y m o u s

      Re: Misleading

      Yes having your exchange updated is only half the story. Our exchange was updated but BT said we are too close to the exchange - nice. Only slight 'silver lining' is it should mean we are a better / earlier candidate for FTTP instead.

      1. tremtastic

        Re: Misleading

        At least if you're "too close" to the exchange, you should already have reasonably speedy internet. Not like the 1.5mbps we get!

    3. ACcc

      Re: Misleading

      Yep - all the exchanges except ours in the local area are being done. Probably because we live in a predominantly rented / 'lower socio-economic' area and it's uneconomic. Bastards.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: Misleading

        My exchange is done. All the cabinets in the area are done. People in the apartment block next to me can get infinity, people in my block cannot. BT won't say why, when or even if our block will get it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Misleading

          Probably your landlord demanding a stupid fee or just being utterly useless dick. Usually the case.

          1. Tom 38 Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Misleading

            My landlord is a useless dick who likes charging stupid fees, so that would make a lot of sense.

            It would make even more sense for BT to say this themselves!

  2. John 98

    Exchange only updated

    Same gripe - inside M25 under a mile from the enabled exhange and can't get infinity. Just wonder whether it's because no virgins slinking down our street...

    1. Justin 9

      Re: Exchange only updated

      same here no virginmedia on my estate and guess what no infinity.

      across the road, 100mb virginmedia and infinity2.

  3. tmTM

    Race To Infinity

    My Village won.

    Still no fibre.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same here...

    First was 'promised' 30 September, then pushed back to 31 December (yippeee), now pushed back to 30 March :-(

  5. Richard Tobin

    Date ushed back 5 times

    My exchange and cabinet were originally scheduled to be enabled in September 2011. The date has since been pushed back by 3 months 4 times and by 6 months once and is currently listed as March 2013.

    1. Tim 69

      Re: Date ushed back 5 times

      Sounds like mine. I was first going live in September 2011. Every quarter it got pushed back a quarter. Decided in Q4 2012 that I'd have a chat with someone on the BT Tech Support desk and got told unequivocally that I would be able to order from 31st December 2012.

      I rang them on the 2nd January and low and behold, no I couldn't and they couldn't give me a date. The whole BT Infinity roll out has become a massive joke. Our exchange was enabled over two years ago but the cabinets are far from completed....

  6. A n o n y m o u s

    It's typical - they tempt you with Infinity in just a few months - then put the date back - stops you going to another provider in the meantime.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Same here - since March 2011 - and now just slipped to March 2013.

      The odd thing is that while my exchange is supposedly enabled and accepting orders, I cannot find ANYWHERE in the area that can actually get FTTC services (plugged in the postcodes of just about every cabinet in thye local area)

      It's about time OFT got involved to deal with OR's bait-and-switch tactics.

  7. shouldbworking
    Thumb Down

    March 2012

    March 2012 was what it told me, back in August 2011. I hit the magic 'notify me about updates' box. Didnt get any. Checked every so often, and apparently the local exchange has now been enabled, at least a year later than expected. woo?

  8. We're with Steve

    It's better on the bus

    We have had the "Infinity and beyond" date moved three times now. They even have the gall to stick a "Fibre-broadband is here" on our local green box.

    We only get 1.0mbps on the line to our house. I was on a local bus between Gloucester and Cheltenham the other day that had free WiFi. I tested the bandwidth on my phone and got 1.27mbps.

    The bus has a better Internet connection than my house, FU BT.

  9. BrightSpark

    1 Year and Waiting

    Title says it all. Rolled back every 3 months for over a year now. Still waiting......

  10. Joefish

    What is misleading

    is the idea that the ASA upholding a complete means anything in the slightest. Where's the fine? Any sort of penalty? It's about as much use as the IPCC. Or the FSA.

  11. Lallabalalla

    Yeah well even given an install date don't hold your breath. We had BT badgering us for a year to upgrade (at more than double our monthly cost) and I kept saying "no thanks". "But it's faster" "Don't care. It's fast enough" etc. Eventually they caved and said "we're upgrading you at no extra cost to yourself". That's more like it, since you want me to have it so badly.

    3 phonecalls, 2 letters, 5 emails and 2 texts later, assuring us the engineer would arrive on some time/date in Dedcember - had to wait in ALL DAY - nobody turned up. Nobody phoned. Nada. *We phoned *them. "Oh it's an outside company, we've no idea. Do you want a tenner?". "No. Phone them and find out". "We can't,their phones aren't working" (I'd say off the hook more like). "We'll get back to you and arrange an appointment that's convenient for you".

    I won't bother telling you how *that* went....

    ....Still waiting....

  12. FlossyThePig
    Thumb Down

    When is Infinity not Infinity?

    I got a letter from BT telling me of the availability of their Infinity product. Went on their website to check expected speed.

    "Great news! You can now get faster download speeds using our upgraded fibre optic network. Faster Total Broadband is only available on our Unlimited Broadband and Calls package."

    Expected 5.3Mb download which is better than the 2.3Mb I get now.

    So I can get FTTC but not at an Infinity speed so they insist I must have the most expensive ADSL package, that's £26/month plus line rental.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poor foresight

    Infinity is available in some areas off my exchange and was saying 31st December 2012 for quite some time for me, checked around 18th December and it had been pushed back to June 2013. How can they get within 2 weeks of 'activation' and realise that it will take another 6 months when the date hadn't changed for a number of months

  14. Jess--

    I would think that the time is ripe for a new rule regarding broadband upgrades...

    for every area that they upgrade that is already served with high speed broadband through another provider (like cable) they also have to upgrade the closest area where there is no other provider.

    that should ensure a better spread of services rather than one street having multiple choices for high speed access while the next street over has no option at all.

    while it's not an ideal solution it would mean that areas where they currently have a monopoly (no other provider to switch to) should get an upgrade where they have no incentive to provide an upgrade currently, as it stands right now they have no incentive to upgrade areas with no competition since those customers cannot take their business elsewhere.

  15. Jim Willsher
    Thumb Down

    No virgin, no fibre

    Perth exchange was upgraded a few months ago. Of all the local businesses I have involvement with, only one can get fibre (admittedly it does sync at 79999 and has attainable rate 143264). All the rest are attached to cabinets which are not in any current phase. And surprise surprise, they are in non-Virgin areas of Perth. And yes, the one that can get fibre can also get Virgin.

    BT will easily achieve their headline figures of the number of fibre-enabled exchange, but that matters little if the cabinets aren't being upgraded.

    1. James 100

      Re: No virgin, no fibre

      I have FTTC in Perth (Craigie, ex-Vermin customer). It did take three engineer visits (first one showed up with the wrong paperwork and went away again; second was a no-show; third came in, hooked it all up no problem with a bit of tech-to-tech chat, no problem). The bandwidth is pretty good - about 65M down, 15 up on actual tests, haven't checked the line stats directly yet - and the service (Entanet) is much, much better than I ever had from Vermin on what was supposedly an equally-fast link.

      Skipping upgrading cabinets irritates me - in fact, the engineer who actually installed my FTTC noted his own cabinet round the corner is much further down the list to be done - as does the misuse of "fibre" for this and cable modem service, which will no doubt come back to bite them when promoting genuine FTTP services...

      I do wish BT were more transparent about the rollout plans. Yes, they can change - but saying "March ... no, maybe June ... OK, October it is" is worse than useless. I know they release more information to ISPs than directly to the public, I wish they'd change that at least!

  16. Anonymous Coward

    On the flip side....

    ...we were told late 2012 and it arrived mid 2012.

    Still I've no need for it, so happy to pay a few quid a month for 2mb (ish)

  17. Irongut

    BT you bunch of liars

    BT's reaction is seriously dissapointing. The ruling is 100% correct and I'd like to see some penalties for BT over this, maybe take some of that lovely EU gravy off them. They certainly don't deserve it.

    The dates for FTTC roll out in my part of Glasgow have been postponed from May 2012 to Sept 2012 to Dec 2012 and now March 2013! There is no way they ever intended do the work in May 2012 if they have now delayed it by almost a year. This is preventing myself and my company upgrading our connections and is actually having a negative effect on our business plans. If they don't hurry up my job could be sent to London and I'll be added to the unemployment figures!

    Not that I would buy anything from BT but until they roll out FTTC I can't buy it from anyone else either.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BT you bunch of liars

      Never believe a BT advert unless it's got Maureen Lipman in it.

  18. Lunatik

    Fobbity fob fob fob

    Another one of the 'keeps getting put back three months' club here. Disappointing to see club membership levels are so high.

    Re BT's response; what a load of bollocks. "publishing its best estimates", eh?

    One, admittedly small, part of the reason we bought our new house last February was because of the imminent FTTC availability. We'd had it in our previous house and jolly nice it was too.

    Only recently have I realised the complete arse BT have made of this.

  19. Ian 55

    I complained to OfCom about this

    Because it is clearly anticompetitive.

    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 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...

  20. jb99

    For me

    There is no other provider in my area, but they upgraded to FTTC pretty much when they said they would and it's working very nicely. I know people have valid complaints of course, but didn't want people reading this to think that the system never works!

  21. The FunkeyGibbon

    I wonder how BT would feel if...

    I made an 'estimate' on when they were getting paid and then kept putting that back by 3 months...? :-D

  22. Red5

    Availability was first posted in my area due on 31 Mar 12 only for it to roll forward approx 5 days before. This happened every 3 months as the due date approached. Again at Christmas the 31 Dec 12 date rolled forward again to 31 Mar 13.

    When I asked to be removed from the notification mailing list of when the service would go live in my area they said this was not possible. When has it not been possible to be removed from a mailing list from a reputable company?

    Clearly BT have not heard of or practice expectation management.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quit moaning people!

    At least Infinity is coming for most of you people!

    What about those of us in rural areas where who haven't even got ADSL2 yet?

    We're a small village with a population of 1500 and we're still stuck on "Up to 8Mbs" (if you're lucky!) broadband, with no LLU and BT as the sole provider on the exchange.

    BT have no plans for upgrading us to ADSL2 and no plans for fibre. :(

    1. Jim Willsher

      Re: Quit moaning people!

      Population of 1500? You should be so lucky. Look at my exchange:

      138 :-) AND we're connected directly to the exchange - no cabinet - so fat chance of anything happening. I do sync at 8Mb as a result of rejigging the BT wiring inside and (ahem) outside the faceplate, disconnecting bell wire, blah. But 8Mb is probably the best speed I'll get here for the next 15 years.....

      1. b166er

        Re: Quit moaning people!

        Yup, you are SOL aren't you! :/

        Our exchange WSDUN, was, until recently also off the roadmap, but popped up just before Xmas.

        Keep checking here: OpenReach fibre when and where

        and here: 21CN availability

        Can't see Essendy mentioned anywhere at the moment :(

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quit moaning people!

      Well we MAY see WBC ADSL2+ here this year IF the upgrade date doesn't slip.. but fibre? Hah! in our dreams. no Virgin stuff within 70 miles so we have no hope.

      I am SOOOOOOOOO sick of having adverts featuring those student pratts and their wonderful fibre broadband bing pushed into my home ex=very night.

      AS BT wont invest in many areas - and seem reluctant to even maintain a copper pair to a decent standard... it really is time to drop the voice tax on ADSL... we pay so much and get so little from this abusive incumbent and the (alleged) regulator is so close to them its almost incestuous. Tourist class broadband should be reflected in tourist class pricing.

      Here is a long time supporter of BT that saw the error of his way and has distanced himself from this pathetic useless shower as much as he can ... along with extended family and friends.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quit moaning people!

      > population of 1500 and we're still stuck on "Up to 8Mbs"

      Market town of (IIRC) something like 15,000. Still not even and RFS date for 21CN. So yes, still stuck on "up to 8M" and not even a dangling carrot of ADSL2+ in the forseeable future - not even BTs bait and wait system forseeable future.

  24. handle


    Ask BT if they are obtaining permission from local councils before using their green cabinets as advertising sites for their fibre services.

  25. Danny 14 Silver badge

    exchange done, cabinet done, fibre blown. No power to cabinet. Lack of electical installers has but the brakes on all our local cabinet upgrades (got the last bit of info from sources on broadband forums, plus it fits too as the new green boxes are silent). Go figure!

    1. Lunatik

      Apparently we're in a similar situation. Cost of installing new power cables/ducting is all that is stopping our cabinet going live. Tacit admission from BT that they will now never do it.

  26. CatoTheCat

    I have a boringly similar tale - due date of 31/12/2012 then a week before that date it magically changed to 31/03/2013.

    Ironically my house features in the Infinity adverts and a 'falling star' appears to go through my roof.


    1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

      Same here

      Originally BT was saying October 2011. Then in October the site switched to saying December 2012. Later 2012 it says 31st of December 2012. Then mid December, they own up to the fact that the cabinet won't be done till 31st of March.

      They also seem to have doubled the distance to my house in recent years. Back when you could first get ADSL there was an engineering test number that you were not allowed to call, which would tell you the line length. This gave the distance from my house to the exchange by following BT's policy of "Use longest route possible" to wire up the phone system. Now they are quoting a much greater distance, Maybe they've found some even longer cables they can use.

  27. Wibble257

    You all don't know you are born, im getting 252 kps down, 400 kps with the new router BT claimed would fix the problem, the old router had 352 kps download.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All Bran

    I live in a small village, however the small towns around us have fibre broadband.

    I requested a fibre upgrade from my ISP. They said they'd send an engineer round in the PM.

    Waited all day, my ISP kept telling me to be patient, eventually in the evening a BT engineer arrived.

    He drove up to the nearest exchange, taking a odometer reading of his van, then phoned me to tell me I am too far (2 miles) from the exchange, and that there is no DSLAM in the village.

    The fibre exchange is in a hamlet of around 10 houses. Obviously an influential councillor or BT boss is amongst them...

  29. xyz

    They've got Phorm remember....

    BT is about as trustworthy as a bag of cobras. They keep trying to flog me their infinity cobblers and I keep telling them where to go. I can't even get stable broadband because their green cabinet down the road keeps choking and I'm in central London, so god help the rest of you.

    On a side note and off topic: last weekend I connected to my GF's BT broadband at her gaff 60 miles from London. Personally I've never searched for vehicle tracking systems or anything close to it anywhere at anytime, whereas my GF's company sells the stuff. So I was kinda surprised that the ads that popped up were all for vehicle tracking systems....mmmmm.

  30. MR J

    Next to VM

    I guess those users who still havent had their "Free" Upload increase from virgin media's 2009-2010 rollout could make a little complaint?..

  31. Athan

    Add me to the list of pushed-back-dates.

    Moved to Salisbury March 2011, IIRC the then due date for FTTC was 'Q2 2012', but that got pushed back to "Autumn 2012" and subsequently clarified to "20th Sep 2012". It was around that time that the FTTC cabinets actually appeared on the streets (including two under 200 metres from me straightline, up to about 400m following reasonable paths). Then the date changed to 31st December 2012, and as that was looming it then changed to the current "Your cabinet is planned to have WBC FTTC by 31st March 2013.". The last two dates being straight from the BT wholesale checker with my landline number (BT run, paid for through Zen) plugged in.

    When I queried about it back in October they trotted out the reason "The sort of issues that we encounter are things like blocked underground cable routes, disputed land ownership and the existence of unrecorded underground lines for utility companies to name a few." and at that point also said "as things stand the target date for your cabinet (70)is 21/11/2012." !

  32. chipxtreme

    My exchange was enabled late 2011, I live about 1.5 mile from exchange and can't get infinity. Noone could tell me when or if my cabinet would ever be enabled so I contacted my local MP and she wrote to them. They wrote back saying it will be enabled by 31st March 2013, so let's see if they do.

  33. b166er

    Boo Hoo BT!

    How about fuck off you twats?

    Seriously, our exchange last had an update 6 years ago, we had an RFS date of 03/11 for 21CN and then you pulled it in favour of upgrading exchanges competing with Virgin Media and forgot all about us. In the last year, I've had multiple faults leaving me with 2Mb or worse for weeks at a time. I've come to the conclusion that you send all the second hand gear to the smaller exchanges where there are less people to complain.

    So, my heart bleeds, stop whining and get on with it.

  34. wowfood

    BT has been publishing its best estimates

    Which is why we went from July 2012 (just before olympics) to December 2013? Wow that's such a great estimate there BT...

  35. Mark2410


    I'm in the same boat as everyone else, BT keep moving the fecking date as it rolls round. A shower of blatantly lying bar stewards.

    My only hope I that Be offer a FTTC package by the time I'm finally upgraded so I never have to deal with BT directly ever again.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What a bunch of moaning bastards. Not an advert, website giving an estimate.

    Don't feel sorry for the poor sods that were "tricked" into "registering an interest".

    And in other news companies are not required to do business where they lose money, so tough shit if you live in the sticks/dump.

    What did you all do 10 years ago when there was none of this stuff even possible, now everybody winges as if it's a human right that has been abused.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Wow

      Except it wasn't an estimate.

      And by providing misleading figures it arguably dissuaded non-FTTC competitors from rolling out compeing services in the area.

      You're quite right that companies are not obligated to do business in areas they find uneconomic, however it's illegal for them to pretend they're going to do so "real soon now" in order to thwart any competitors doing something about it. or to prevent customers voting with their wallets. (BT's tactic of nobbling radio broadband providers by moving in as soon as equipment starts being deployed and undercutting them is already well known and has resulted in a number of RF outfits going out of business)

  37. Mark Morgan

    Doubt it'll be coming my way soon either. Live in a village so everyone is wired directly to the exchange and no cabinets are around.

    Exchange itself gets on to backbone via local town 5-miles away, I believe, which has been upgraded and is 'Accepting Orders'. I'm guessing that it is fibre between the exchanges anyway and the village exchange would need new equipment in it for me to get it. SamKnows gives a figure of around 700 premises for the exchange so not sure it would ever be a target.

    Although my router claims to sync at 8Mbps (numerous speeds tests have been all over the place with the best being around 6.5Mbps but regularly down below 2Mbps) but trying to watch iPlayer or YouTube ends up frequently buffering and iPlayer drops out claiming not enough bandwidth.

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