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Thus to seek Oftel ruling on BT's broadband ‘blocking’

Formal complaint

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Scottish telco Thus is preparing to lodge a formal complaint against BT over accusations that the dominant telco blocked a customer from subscribing to its Demon-branded broadband service.

According to one senior source this appears to be "a clear breach of the Competition Act and we are taking it up with Oftel".

Thus' complaint stems from the case of Tina Weston who was barred from subscribing to Demon's broadband service, despite previously being connected to BT Broadband.

Although she was able to prove that her line could support ADSL, BT allegedly rejected attempts for her to subscribe to Demon claiming the distance to her house was outside the range of the broadband service.

Her plight was highlighted on The Register earlier this week. Since then, we've received a number of emails from people who have experienced similar problems.

Darren Hubbard from London told us how he came unstuck a year ago when he tried to sign up to Nildram.

"After BT did the exchange survey they informed Nildram that the exchange capacity was full (i.e. too many people on that exchange already on ADSL) and I would need to wait (six months) until BT upgraded the exchange.

"Now, because I'm a naturally untrustworthy person I then tried to order (same day) an ADSL connection via BT Openworld (I left the Nildram order open). You know what? All necessary surveys and tests [were] completed and BT was ready to come to my house to install the service about 10 days later," he said.

Another London reader, Mike (he's asked us to withhold his surname) told us he's had the same problem.

"I requested a connection with Pipex but after I heard nothing for a month, I complained to Pipex who told me that BT had refused to connect me on account that my line had failed the 'whoosh test'.

"I then contacted BT to ask about their broadband service. They said 'no problem'. I explained that my line had previously failed a whoosh test. They said 'no problem' and 'what was my credit card number'. I demanded that my line be checked first...it was fine. I then re-contacted Pipex telling them the whole sad story and they re-submitted my application to BT and surprise, it passed," he told us.

Tina Weston's case is currently being investigated by BT. ®

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