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BTo admits ‘oversight’ in Todmorden pre-registration initiative

Fails to process orders vital for ADSL upgrade

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BTopenworld has admitted that it has so far failed to process any orders as part of a demand-led initiative to convert exchanges to DSL.

The broadband pre-registration system was put in place earlier this year by BT Wholesale to map demand for broadband in areas that are not currently served by DSL.

The idea is that if enough people commit to buying broadband, BT Wholesale will convert the exchange to DSL.

Four weeks ago Todmorden in West Yorkshire became the first area to hit its trigger level. ISPs then had six weeks to convert those registrations into firm orders.

However, with less than two weeks to go its been revealed that BTopenworld has failed to process any of its orders - a move which could mean that the Todmorden exchange is not converted to DSL despite more than registrations of interest.

One reader, fed up with the way BTopenworld has failed to handle his enquiries, told us: "We have until the 22nd of Oct to convert 150 pre-registrations to firm orders. I say 'we' because it feels like BT don't want to take orders.

"I have called BT many times to try to order the service. First few times I was assured
that BTopenworld would be contacting me.

"Finally after another three phone calls I have just managed to explain the procedure to BT's call centre that the service is not yet in Todmorden, that we have hit our threshold and I need to place a firm order to ensure we get the service," he said.

That was two weeks ago and still BTopenworld has failed to take the order or respond to his requests.

And this from a company whose CEO claims that broadband is at the heart of its strategy.

A spokesman for BTopenworld admitted that the ISP's helpdesk "didn't know what the process is" to take these orders.

He described this as an "oversight".

Instead, he assured us that BTopenworld would start phoning and emailing those people this week to see if they are still interested in signing up.

"We're confident that we will be able to contact all those people," he said.

But not everyone shares the optimism and there are real fears that Todmorden could miss its chance to join the broadband revolution.

A spokesman for BT Wholesale declined to comment on the activities of individual ISPs. Nor would he say which ISPs were not passing on the details or how close Todmorden was to reaching its 150 orders.

But he insisted: "Registrations are coming through. We are confident that Todmorden will reach its target." ®

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