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BT denies spiralling engineer no-shows - Reg readers DISAGREE

Telco claims missed appointments have fallen

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

BT has denied that its Openreach engineers are increasingly failing to turn up to fit or fix customers' broadband - even though complaints about the number of no-shows appears to be rising.

In the past few months, more and more readers of The Register have complained to us that they've waited at home all day in vain for an engineer to ring their doorbell and sort out their service - as BT bods were not showing up on agreed dates.

We asked the national telco late last month to explain the rise, but the company - which finally got back to us this morning - instead insisted that its response to callouts had in fact improved over recent months.

Meanwhile, Trefor Davies - chief technology officer of rival ISP Timico - has waded in with a colourful account of a BT engineer failing to turn up for two appointments to carry out repairs at his home over the past few days. Davies wrote this blog post in which he complained about BT's "visit lottery":

It is a very difficult job running the UK copper lines network. Thankless even. I can understand how hard it is to meet an appointment having myself experienced an engineer take over two hours to fix a problem that only has one hour budgeted in the system.

However the system is very customer unfriendly. BT would not contact the engineer for an update until he was already late. This man in his van needs the tools to be able to update the system in real time. It would also be very useful to know where I was on the day’s list of visits. A location tracker even.

These days it is no longer acceptable for me to only find out that he isn’t coming hours after he hasn’t turned up. BT needs to up its game. This isn’t an isolated incident. The NOC (network operation centre) tells me they have examples of customers having three or four no-shows on the trot for BT engineering visits to our business customers. It is happening every day.

In recent weeks, El Reg has had a higher-than-usual number of gripes from readers who are BT customers upset at similar missed appointments. From a cursory look at the user support forums, it seems there is a pattern of problems regarding recent no-shows of BT's Openreach engineers.

But BT denied that the issue was getting out of control.

"There has been no increase in the proportion of missed appointments since November last year. In fact the proportion of missed appointments has fallen," a BT spokesman told the Reg today. "Openreach has completed almost 290,000 engineering jobs over the last two months, and the vast majority are completed on time."

Have you been infuriated by Openreach no-shows? Or have engineers turned up, got the job down, bish bash bosh? Tell us and everyone else in the forums. ®

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