In the past couple of weeks I’ve visited several customers suffering from extremely slow broadband. All of these people have been with TalkTalk, or another provider that turns out to be running on the TalkTalk network. The problem is that in every case I’ve had to go through very long-winded checks before the TalkTalk people have been willing to send out one of their own engineers, who only have the authority to check the situation inside the customers’ premises.
My main moan when contacting TalkTalk’s call centre staff is that they never believe what you tell them, and insist that there’s nothing wrong. They also seem to use a weird kind of logic that I’ve never come across before. One of them kept on at me recently about Wi-Fi possibly being the source of the problem, even though I repeatedly explained that I wasn’t using Wi-Fi, but was connecting to the router using an Ethernet cable to eliminate Wi-Fi from the equation.
In the end, you have to do what they tell you, however stupid that is, in order to get to the next step on their flowchart. However, after several TalkTalk installations have all slowed down in the same way, it becomes unreasonable for the call centre staff to keep putting customers through this nonsense. The router statistics always say that the upload and download speeds are fine, and the TalkTalk people quote them back at you, but the fact that the customer is actually getting almost zero download speed doesn’t seem to enter into it.
When TalkTalk’s engineers have turned up and found nothing wrong within a customer’s premises, but verified that the download speed is nearly zero, they’ve declared that the fault is external and called upon BT Openreach to fix the problem, which results in more delay. You hope that the BT Openreach engineer will concentrate on the equipment outside the customer’s premises when they arrive, but often they will turn up to start looking around the customer’s premises all over again.
When enough customers call in with the same symptoms, TalkTalk or BT Openreach should realise that the fault is probably at some point in the system that’s common to all of them, and run tests to check for problems at the exchange, rather than constantly questioning everyone’s domestic set-ups. This is a very basic troubleshooting technique, but all the bureaucracy seems more important to TalkTalk and BT Openreach than basic engineering logic. Unfortunately they just don’t seem bothered about wasting their customers’ time.