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Oh my god, is this still a thing?

3 min read

So, as some of you may already know, I am shortly going to be moving into a shiny new house. This is really cool, and I'm pretty excited, but it does mean I have to go through the stressful (and decidedly first world problem) activity of setting up domestic broadband in the UK.

Holy crap on a cracker... is this still a problem?

It seems that since the last time I have tried to set up domestic broadband, some 5 odd years ago, there has been no real progress in releasing BT's stranglehold on the last mile connectivity.

So, after going through the set up process to order fibre from Plusnet, and being told that I would be set up within two weeks, I have since been told that I will have to wait a full month for the BT engineer. For most people this is an annoyance, but sadly my livelihood depends on internet connectivity, so this simply won't do.

Plusnet don't seem to have anyone manning their customer service lines, so I've resorted to twitter in order to get a response (every time I have to publicly @ a company on twitter in order to get a response a little piece of me dies inside), but it seems that there is nothing they can do... they can't get the engineer out any sooner.

Last night, after a long evening stripping distemper of walls (the subject of a separate rant I'm sure), and after a couple of beers, I actually found myself trying to work out which buildings I could potentially bounce a laser off. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a building that both myself and a connected friend could both see.

My musings even got as far as trying to calculate the wattage I'd need to establish an optical link over one of the lunar retroreflectors.

Thankfully, my partner was on hand to inject some sanity, so it seems we're going to be going with Virgin. Who, as a cable company, at least aren't hobbled by BT. As a result, they insist they can get it up and running in a few days... we'll see.

Still, my consumer "choice" is now not so much a choice as a lack of options. I can either have no connectivity for a month and be forced into a month of lost business, or accept a traffic shaped, DPIed and high contention service provided by the only company free of BT's monopoly.

Could we have some real competition please?