'A waste of time and money': The verdict on BT's broadband scheme

Not entirely BT's fault though. Honest...

Not entirely BT's fault though. Honest...

BTs' latest broadband initiative - which asks consumers who want their local exchange ADSL-enabled to register their interest with an ISP via BT's website - has angered silicon.com readers. The telco promises it will enable the exchanges if roughly 400 people or more register their interest in broadband at http://www.bt.com/broadband . But BT Wholesale is prevented by Oftel regulations from collecting and processing this information itself to avoid any allegations of unfairly favouring BT's own ISP, BTopenworld. This places the onus upon the ISPs themselves. However, silicon.com readers attempting to register this week are less than satisfied with the situation, whoever is to blame. John Vincent, MD of online lingerie seller MidnightExpress, said: "I called ISP Mistral which was on the BT list and they said they'd had nothing official from BT, so they didn't know what to do with my registration details. What chance do any of us outside the cities have of getting broadband?" Another reader reported similar ISP-related troubles. "I tried to register through Elite in Manchester which was listed on BT's site but they said although they'd read about the scheme in the press, they didn't realise they had to do anything about it. "This scheme seems to be designed to keep us busy and stop us from complaining." Another reader, Jason Dalziel, said: "I think this is a great idea but the whole process isn't working - I was unable to register through an ISP on Monday. It's ridiculous. If the whole back end isn't working, this isn't going to work. BT has disappointed me again." silicon.com reader Richard Lelliott said: "I called Nildram and they said despite what BT say they aren't ready yet and to come back in a few days. Surely BT could just take the registration information directly? They've made this as complicated as possible. This process is a waste of time and money." A spokesman for BT Wholesale said: "This scheme is not an idle promise. It is early days yet. It may take us and the ISPs time to join up wires. You can't expect it to work properly in the first week." The spokesman added that when enough users have been identified by ISPs to upgrade an exchange, it may take up to a further three months to get broadband piping into homes.