Is it July already?

And I was supposed to get my phone line in June...

Yes, it's another rant against that monolithic waste of time that is British Telecommunications. I used to have shares in them, back when they were privatised. I sold them as soon as I could and bought myself a Canon A1 SLR camera. I still think that was a wise business move.

So BT were supposed to connect me in June. Well, no, they were supposed to connect me in February, but let's not split hairs. Back in February they told me that they needed to get planning permission for a new line to be installed between my house and the exchange. Six weeks was the worst case scenario, apparently. We know what a load of old tosh that was, but bear it in mind.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, and following the intervention of at least one of my elected representatives, a nice bloke called Alan finally got in touch. He explained that they needed to get planning permission for a new line to be installed between my house and the exchange. And that this would take three months. Work was scheduled to start at the beginning of September and would take approximately a month.

There is a mantra one can recite at such points in time. It calms even the most troubled mind. Unfortunately I don't know it, so I kind of hit the roof. Why, I asked, was I told that it would only take six weeks when now they seem to think it would take three months for planning permission to be received? Alan could give me no answer to this. What, I asked, had they been doing for the last five months that they had only just put in the planning application now? Alan could give me no answer to this either. He did make soothing noises about possible compensation, but beyond that he was about as much use as a chocolate fireguard.

I am beyond caring about the phone now. At least with working in town I can be contacted during the day. Not having the internet at home is a pain, but I can concentrate on the writing a bit more, and there's a certain peace about never having the phone ring in the middle of your favourite telly programme. It is bothering my mother though, not being able to get in touch. And I've not spoken to my sister all year.

Today, however, I was sorely tempted to track down the home of the chairman of BT and kidnap his children. For today I received another call from Alan.

It's quite mysterious how he managed to do it. My mobile was sitting on the desk beside me, and it rings quite loudly. Yet somehow he managed to go straight to voicemail. The message was couched in pretty words, but the upshot of it was that the engineers were still finalising the work plan before putting in the planning application. This is the same planning application that should have been made in February, and then was apparently well in progress back in June.

And it turns out it hasn't even been submitted yet.

So that's best case scenario it gets submitted on Monday. Three months on from that and we're well into October before any work can start. They estimate a month, but the weather turns nasty in the mountains by then, so make it two. If they don't put the work off until the spring that is.

Phone by Christmas, anyone?


angie said…
Oh. My. God.

I honestly can't believe they can get away with this. No, seriously. There'd be a freakin' riot if the various phone companies pulled this crap in the U.S.
Jo said…
How's the head? It must be getting mighty sore after all that brick wall banging it has been doing lately.

Here's hoping the planning application doesn't take as long as predicted.

See you soon.

Sandra Ruttan said…
It could be worse. They could have to get permission to submit an application for permission.

Of course, what it sounds like is they take all the requests that come in in a six month period, write them on slips of paper and draw one from a hat every three or four months and try to see how long they can take before completing the request.

I'm betting January '09.
norby said…
Seriously, if you were in the US you'd be on the local news with an investigative reporter with bad hair trying to find out why Alan deliberately left you a voice mail instead of calling you personally.

I hope it all gets sorted out soon for you James, I can't begin to imagine how frustrated you must be.
JamesO said…
Curiously enough, I've gone through being annoyed and now find the whole thing rather amusing. Perhaps this is because I am now working in town during the days, and can access the internet occasionally without incurring the wrath of my employer.

But I think a newspaper article might well be in order. First, I'll have to make sure I've got all my facts right, though, which means getting to actually speak to Alan rather than his answering machine.

I doubt it will make any difference to the speed with which I am re-connected to the outside world. These giant corporations move very slowly, and once they're headed in a certain direction it's not wise to try and get them to change quickly.

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