"Just the tip of the iceberg"
That's why Openreach takes so long to arrive - their "sixteen minutes" involves clambering over the tip of an iceberg.
Sixteen minutes: the amount of time it takes for the world to generate 60.8 million Google searches or a BT worker shimmying along to a new shiny HQ in central London. The new base for the former state monopoly was confirmed today as an 18-floor development being built at 1 Braham Street, Aldgate – a short distance from the St …
They already sold off all their real estate during the dot com crash. So they're really only selling off stuff they've bought/built since then.
Such a stupid, stupid fucking move, but it looks good for the shareholders in the short term, and that's all that matters.
Nonsense. BT still has loads of legacy property they have no business owning. A friend of mine tried to set up a deal to buy it all off them a few years ago, but they weren't selling then.
That's quite aside from the property that has appreciated significantly over the last few years and is now being sold off because it's too valuable or unfit for BT's purposes.
The Better Workplace Programme is going to take a lot of hard work but it will have a huge and positive impact on BT's working culture, our productivity and, ultimately, our ability to serve our customers."
And what of the share price? https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&channel=crow&q=bt+share+price
When people start using "Better Workplace Programme" terms you:
1) Look out for "agile working" ("of course there will be enough desks for everyone")
2) "Motivational" on-brand messages and logos being splashed everywhere (think W1A)
3) "But wouldn't you much rather retire? After all, 50 is such a good age to go at"
All of the above have been used by BT before.
> What's Greek/Latin for distant communication ?
"Impossibru!" Well, y'know, but that's been the attitude of way too many of my PHBs. Usually the ones who are not very adept at communication or motivation or, well, anything much. But they seem to be a persistent infestation in the world of IT.
Let me tell you a story...
Way back when, Al Noor Ramji took the reigns at what used to be BT research. BT loves cost centres, so he came in with a view to cut costs.
Okay, so let's start with travel. Can't travel any more unless director sign off. This included travel from Martlesham to London, essential for many people's roles. Directors got flooded with requests.
"Use BT Conferencing!" Was the cry.... So, people did. Remember that bit about cost centres? All of a sudden, BTEXact's bill for conferencing shot through the roof, quite the opposite of what was intended.
"Here, there's this free conferencing app we can all use!" was the cry.... BT security took umbrage at this very quickly, not knowing who, or what, was listening.
Not the brightest spark, Not even the dullest ember, was Al Noor Ramji.
Anon, for Obvs reasons
Yep worked somewhere once where we had "cost centers"
Using our own IT dept became so expensive that engineers were running their own network cables and managing their own unofficial Linux servers
Then came down a proclamation from on-high "thou shalt not use unapproved system"
So now we had expensive engineers managing a parallel IT system in secret to get any work done,
While the official IT no doubt increased their costs by adding cyber security people to track down their own employees that couldn't afford to use their official services.
A couple of decades ago I worked in an IT dept that needed a linux box to port our Irix software to as linux was up and coming then. IT admin gave us the go ahead but we were "on our own" support wise. A few weeks later we kept getting increasingly annoyed emails saying one of our PCs couldn't be managed remotely using whatever god awful tool MS had dished up for the job. Bloke eventually comes up, finds PC which was our linux box and proceeds to ctrl-alt-del it. Which did nothing because we'd disabled it. Next he tried to do lots of windowsy things with the Afterstep window manager while I watched. None of course worked.Eventually I told him it was running linux but he didn't believe me and asked for it to be rebooted which I did and once the command prompt login appeared (X win was started manually using startx back then) I buggered off for coffee. No idea how long the clown was messing around with it for but we never heard from him again.
Some of us still do... And others have ermmm.... Circumvented some of the security settings so that I can use email on a company issued but non-corporate mac..
Even had to actively get involved in managing the hardware for our dev network... Not like It needs trained engineers to patch, update and maintain it nor is it doing much... Other than supporting the codebase for various environments bringing in billions in revenue... No of course not....
When it takes badging out, taking the lift, signing in, badging in and waiting around to have a quick chat with somebody in HR about your holiday leave, it's faster to just use inter-company chat or mail so it doesn't matter if HR is in the building or the Peak District (or New Delhi). I'd much rather work with my immediate team in a small office in Wales rather than dealing with London traffic and prices.
... BT could find a phone/broadband supplier that could allow them to work from home.
Oh no, this is BT we are talking about! I had to get a commercial supplier in to supply our 4 parishes with broadband before we could even do online shopping, or the children's homework, let alone work from home.
It's obviously cheaper to sell your building to a profit making property company and then rent it back from another profit making property company after hiring a bunch of profit making consultants to manage it all.
The fundamental theory of the firm is that if can you insert enough profit taking intermediaries into any business process it becomes cheaper and more efficient.
"It's obviously cheaper to sell your building to a profit making property company and then rent it back from another profit making property company after hiring a bunch of profit making consultants to manage it all."
It is! because the rent comes from the monthly operating account instead of being a large liability and entered in the capital acquisitions ledger.
For a better account, reference the Administrator in The Meaning of Life hospital scene as he explains how the hospital saves money on an expensive piece of kit. Monty Python is all wisdom.
"It's obviously cheaper to sell your building...
because the rent comes from the monthly operating account instead of being a large liability and entered in the capital acquisitions ledger."
Unfortunately, this simple trick also has the rather unfortunate effect of increasing the cost base and locking it in...
Unfortunately, this simple trick also has the rather unfortunate effect of increasing the cost base and locking it in...
With the CEO's pay package linked to the stock price, you'll know he'll be long gone before the effects of this policy become painly apparent.
It seems that a lot of people in C level management only see large corporations as cash cows to pillage. Someone else can clean up the carcass once it's been picked clean.
"It is! because the rent comes from the monthly operating account instead of being a large liability and entered in the capital acquisitions ledger."
That is no longer the case since IFRS 16 came in.
If you sign a 25 year contract, you owe rent for the next 25 years, and you have to put that as a liability on the balance sheet.
In the return for signing up to that liability, you get the right to occupy the building, which is an asset that gets added to the capital acquisitions ledger.
"get the right to occupy the building,"
Which has value of almost 0 and using that as "value" is blatant lie.
But that's how you cook the books to make selling property at loss looking like profitable:
Sell property, pocket the money and then record the "right to occupy" the building same as the value of the building was before selling. Voilá, *free money*, i.e. profit.
In the books but who cares about anything else?
"If you sign a 25 year contract, you owe rent for the next 25 years"
Which only means no-one does that. It's rented "from now on", month-by-month-basis so no liability at all.
That's how you make liabilities disappear from the books. All for rising stock price, i.e. CEO bonuses and stock options.
The fundamental theory is that you sell the property then rent it back, in the short term the rent is much less than the price of the property so you get a short term injection of cash.This makes the company look more profitable *this year* so the execs get their bonuses, then they take their bonus payout and leave to go somewhere else and do the same thing.
Once they're gone, the reality of having to pay all the previous maintenance costs for the building plus profit for the company now owning/running the building sinks in and their ongoing costs are higher than they were.
Perhaps I've become overly cynical
No, you have not.
If anything, you have finally understood.
What you describe is what has gone on with most (maybe all eventually) state owned public services throughout the world that ended up victims of the 1980's neo-con lets get rid of the fat, be more efficient and cost less dogma which (of course) was nothing but neo-con speak for let's close in on this and fill our pockets for as long as we can.
Examples abound and results are there for everyone to see, no need to make a list.
"Interesting choice of words as big, bulky things and icebergs don't tend to mix well."
On the other hand, icebergs are huge, unwieldy things, drifting mindlessly at the whims of the wind and currents, and likely to roll over unexpectedly, exposing their ugly underbelly to all and sundry.
The so-called management at BT have hired a bunch of American consultants who believe in co-locating people for greater efficiency. This for a company that has been using remote working really effectively for decades. When did you say the Americans are going to catch up with the rest of the world?
Google maps currently say 27 minutes for the 1.3 miles - so time must be time of day dependent.
However, to do 1.3 miles in 16 minutes you need to be walking at a average of 4.875 mph, which not only is well above the average for men or women for all age groups.
So suspect that "16-min" is like the broadband speeds: possible but unlikely to be achieved.
I think El Reg should be asking some questions...
Yup, lets weed out the grey beards who actually have a clue and bring in some "full stack" web devs with look-at-me-mum hairstyles and piggy nose rings to write the next generation of network software. I'm sure node.js would be just great for writing core router software in.
Probably not. But the point is with age generally comes experience in all walks of life and software development is no different. If you have some really critical code to write you're better off getting someone older who's been around the development block a few times rather than some kid who's still into the latest fads and will use then regardless of suitability.
As long as the brave new world isn't like the one I saw in a HP office. All sat round one big desk working quietly on a laptop pc and banking severe posture and muscular problems for later in life.
The cubicle is where its at .You can kick out and relax and the old grey matter will thank you by fulminating ideas. Companies enjoyed glorious success when the cubicle was king.
Now they all grub around for scraps sat at the big desk. Its obscene really.
Oh how I miss the soul destroying open plan office, where you feel like you have no privacy, people constantly interrupt your train of thought with a "just a quick question" and where you feel like you are monitored every second you are there. Oh and let's not forget the two gobshites talking bollocks as loudly as possible on the desk 15 rows down.
Why bother with a Central London Head Officeat all??? ... move to Carlisle or something. Is there literally anything it needs to be in London there for?? If you need a meeting or conference there are plenty other locations in London BT have - inc the excellent conference and theatre facilities at BT Tower.
.. or could someone have done deal with the European Medicines Authority.... so that the EU (inc the UK) did not have to shovel WeWork a £60m subsidy you take their former Head Office off them ??!
This is one of the more insane moves ever. All this does is provide a quick buck for investors and then long term leases for whichever outfit buys it. You can only so it once because after that you will no longer be able to afford to get it back.
Almost everything in the UK is geared to profits in the next quarter not what the situation may be in 5 years time. It is one of the reasons we have no major industrial or manufacturing sector left. The investment is high and the returns take longer than a year.
>This is one of the more insane moves ever.
Double so, given the evidence we now have of all those that did this the first time around in the late 80's/early 90's, who then got caught because the internet massively reduced transaction costs meaning that only those with low overheads and operating costs could compete in the world market.
We've seen the same totally predictable outcome with PFI/PPP contracts....
for investors and then long term leases for whichever outfit buys it.
Once the carcass has been picked clean, government will come to the conclusion that the services provided by BT were actually quite necessary and in the public interest and it'll probably be renationalised at an extortionate rate, while the tax payers can cough up yet again more money to put flesh on BT's bones.
Nonsense. BT is not a property investment company and shouldn't be investing in property. Doing so simply increases the capital required to carry out their core business, making it lower yielding.
Those who specialise in something are usually able to do it better, so a lot of the time they're able to provide the same service at lower cost while making a profit. That division and specialisation is what underpins all human development since prehistory.
"We are currently embarking on one of the largest workplace transformation programmes the UK has ever seen. The Better Workplace Programme is going to take a lot of hard work but it will have a huge and positive impact on BT's working culture, our productivity and, ultimately, our ability to serve our customers."
Was that the scheme was set up to cater for a workforce of around 225,000 which could pay the small number of pensioners out of current income.
Each "downsizing" increases the number of pensioners (if taking early retirement), does not reduce the number of future pensioners, but does reduce the number of workers paying into the pension schemes.
If they slung the proceeds of the property sales into the various pension schemes to clear the deficits that would possibly give a better balance sheet in the long term.
Long term? Who am I kidding?
""Between now and moving into the new building we'll be working with architects, designers and – most importantly – our colleagues"
Naturally "colleagues" means *other* C**-level people: None others are colleagues for a CEO.
Painfully obvious that peons at lower levels are totally irrelevant.
Management will take credit for the cash savings implied in hot desking but the less-easily measured costs are hand-waved away. In normal offices there can be a great deal of informal information exchange (whether about shared clients or simply how to get a task done) that just vanishes in hot-desking. Plus human connections - whether you like your immediate colleagues or not.
I worked for a large facilities maintenance and construction company that recently when into administration.
They built a new regional hub (which they sold to try and get some profits) but they didn't have enough desks in the office for all the staff so they encouraged a remote working policy which meant that most people could work remotely 2 days a week.
They didn't call it home working though, suggesting that one could work from another office, library or coffee shop - anywhere there's wifi! Of course this was just a lie to get them out of any commitments to home working.
Also the above company had a lease on the old building and never got their data centre and equipment out of it in time for the move, so had to extend the lease on the building by several years, causing more cost. All those management have since moved on, with large handouts of course.
I can see the same happening with BT... sell the stuff... promise to get out of the old building, but never quite manage it, having to extend the lease and then you have two buildings you need to lease, owning neither but the management have disappeared with their bonuses ad payouts before the proverbial hits the fan.
"Between now and moving into the new building we'll be working with architects, designers and – most importantly – our colleagues, to make sure it's the home the business wants and needs."
Don't you mean.
"most importantly - we'll ignore our colleagues opinions. We'll only listen to the over paid architects and designers".
Just spent three and a half month getting a BT DSL broadband installed. Existing line on BT infrastructure with TalkTalk, spoke to BT business sales of course yes you are on FO infrastrucutre(no Im not I told them) but he told me I was. Plus a cloud phone. A week later a txt at 6.35 am told me the engineer was coming at 8 when I had an afternoon slot requested. Send staff in to open up, engineer arrives at 4.30 pm after ' a hectic day' looks at the shop, checks the line, cant find the DP goes away. India BT Cancels the F|O broadband and orders FO broad band. This farce went on for over 100 days. 12 hours engineers time on site, 7 engineers all to fix a problem that didnt exist, I aleady had a DSL router and a working phone line before BT turned it off and the broadband was off for 5 days. No netowrk diagram of the building, nor where my connection went to, the street cabinet it was supposed to go to didnt have FO cable and they could not find the intermediate DP. All identified by engineer visit one. No one read the notes followed up or anything. I was billed £500 for a missed engineer appointment when it was BT that missed it. £1200 for leaving BT business for BT Business and the cloud phone delivery was 3 months late. It took an email to the CEO to get this moving and sorted and even then the £1200 bill still got through. I did get 5 routers too posted everytime the cancelled the new FO broadband order.
The interface between BT and Openreach is useless, the BT Indian outsourced helpdesk is worse than useless, the whole thing is a diabolical mess. I should never have picked up the phone and called them
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