I started a little countdown box on the right-hand side of this blog about this time last year when BT set a date for converting my local (rural) exchange to broadband. Time ticked away, with the date for broadband growing ever closer, and not even doing it asymptotically. Being 200 days away is a lot closer than 201 days, and 199 days much better than that.
So a little ahead of time I got in touch with NTL, and said what was happening. They ummed a bit and then last week, after the exchange had gone live, said that actually it was one of the 10% in the UK that they can’t provide a service from. (Don’t ask me.)
But Freedom2Surf turned up trumps: they could put me on their broadband listings, and do it from that exchange. They turned around the order within hours. All that it would need was a line test – which can take up to five working days (blame BT) – and then to enable the line, which would be up to another five working days. (“Up to”, not “at least”, you’ll note.)
So I lived in the untroubled Zen state where you know something is going to happen, but it’s beyond your control, so you simply let it happen, and don’t fret. Yes, I’d waited a year, but now it was just going to be a few more days. Be cool.
And then today I got an email from a woeful Freedom2Surf:
Your order`s provision is currently delayed due to a capacity problem in your local BT exchange.
Unfortunately due to a higher than expected uptake of ADSL in your area, the physical ports and/or bandwidth have become too full. This problem is affecting all service providers that supply ADSL services using your exchange.
We don`t have an estimated resolution date from BT at this time, although from our experience these problems are normally resolved in anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. We will notify you as soon as the capacity problem is resolved.
Aaaaagh! It’s like Zeno’s paradox, about how it’s impossible for a hare to catch up with a tortoise, because it always has to travel the distance that the tortoise had as a lead; but while it does that the tortoise has moved forward just that little bit more. The hare runs some more, but the tortoise moves forward a little bit again.
I certainly know which company is the tortoise in this scenario, and it’s not Freedom2Surf.
I guess at least it keeps me grounded in what the world is like on dialup, which slightly less than half – and a dwindling proportion – of UK internet users have. Though I’d really, honestly, prefer to be in the majority. For one thing, we could receive phone calls from friends and family in the evening..