Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

The entry where I moan about BT

I previously mentioned that things aren’t going so well in the internet department at our new house.
Here’s the situation: We moved in last week to find that there was no BT master socket in the new house. There is a BT line but the socket had, for whatever reason, been removed and the hole in the wall had been plastered over. The master socket is BT’s property, so legally this should only have been removed by BT themselves, although I think this is unlikely.
My two housemates had a Sky subscription in their previous flat and wanted to bring it over to this new house. As well as providing the TV signal via a satellite dish, Sky also provided internet access and calls via the Sky Talk package – though BT Openreach operated the line as is normal. Without a connected BT line in the new house, we can’t use Sky.
The problem is that BT will charge us £120 to fit a new master socket. This is a hefty charge – almost certainly the equivalent of several months of the Sky subscription.
Chris did give me a head’s up about this article on which describes how to get a free BT line installed, but it’s not without catches. It’s a limited-period offer which expires next week, you have to sign an 18 month contract, and you have to make 10 billable calls a month (although they can be included in an inclusive call package). Those 10 calls must also be billed to BT, so we wouldn’t be able to take up Sky Talk and may have trouble getting our broadband from Sky.
If we lived in somewhere more remote, this would leave us stuck between a rock and a hard place – pay a huge upfront connection charge or tie ourselves into a restrictive long-term contract. Thankfully, Bradford isn’t very remote and therefore we have a third option in the form of Virgin Media.
Update: BT will not honour the offer if your line has been ‘tampered with’. Unfortunately ours has (the master socket should not have been removed) so we’d have to pay the £120 charge either way.
Virgin don’t charge an installation fee, and are in fact offering £20 off your first month’s bill at the moment, so it will be significantly cheaper. There is a Virgin master socket in the house, too, and we wouldn’t need to have Sky come and fit a satellite dish for us. That being said, Sky does tend to have better customer service than Virgin (although I have spent the past 2 years with them with few complaints) and Sky are offering us a good deal to stay with them.
In any case, it doesn’t look like the situation will be solved quickly – I’ll most likely be away in France when it is sorted, so it’ll be 3 weeks before I’ll have internet access at home. Provided we don’t find any more problems.

One Comment

  1. You mention that there is a BT line but no socket. Do you mean that there is an actual wire running into the house but its been cut off with some cutters, for instance? If so, you could just trace the wire back, rewire it and put your own master socket on. Can pick them up pretty cheap I’m sure. Or, is it a right royal mess and can’t be done?