And in typical fashion, Jason and Charlie's new broadband arrangement is off to a flying start!

We signed up with a crowd offering 4MBit ADSL, both being a little tired of the shambles of an ISP we both used before, and rather blindly hoped for the best. Clue number 1 reared its head when their post-signup confirmation email arrived and said “Thankkyou for your order – your ADSL is expected to take 20 working days to connect”. No problem… that's only a MONTH ! No rush…

About 5 days later I received an email saying that our activation date would in fact be the 8th of March, which cheered me up significantly.

Last Wednesday (2nd March) whilst at the pub across the way from work, I received a customer satisfaction survey, which all of this ISPs customers are asked to complete… however of course my ability to answer was a bit limited due to not actually having had the service connected. The girl taking the survey insisted we just plugged through it, and as her overall tone and manner suggested she was trapped in a hell-hole call centre somewhere, I tried to make her life as painless as possible for the next 15 minutes.

Anyway, the big day arrives when the broadband's meant to be connected, and that night I rush home from Tai Chi excitedly to trial the raw power of a decent sized data pipeline… and for about 30 mins it works rather well.

The next 30 mins were a different story, and it seemed no amount of twiddling or tweaking could get us back onto the Wibbly Wobbly Web. A quick call to helpdesk gets the blood pressure up fractionally, as it seems that their Helpdesk closes at 9pm. Hmm. “Help” desk.

Reluctantly I resolved to wait until morning, and have just gotten off the phone with them to discover that apparently our installation hasn't been finished yet, and should be finished by midday today, and that's why strange things were happening on our connection last night. I confirmed that it was meant to be yesterday that the line went live, and the girl confirmed that yes it was, but no, it wasn't. And furthermore it seems that it's not normal practise for them to call the person in these circumstances… you just kinda wait until it's ready, apparently.

This is excellent news, because there's nothing I love more than paying someone for a service, and being given a set of information about it, and then discovering by following it up myself that the information was in fact wrong but they had no actual plans to let me in on that. It seems to be a new mode of behaviour that England has been honing for the last 10 or 20 years. I'm sure Australia will catch up once they get wind of it en masse, but for the moment we'll just have to hope that London gets the Olympic Games in 2012 and gets a real chance to display itself on the world stage. Wait until you've got a global audience, and then REALLY show the world how badly things can get cocked up, and astound them with apathetic responses in reaction to the cries of help from the masses.

I think the best bit whilst I was on hold to the ISP was the recorded voice that kept cutting in saying “We are experiencing higher call volume than usual – you may want to email your enquiry to blah blah blah”. Not infuriating in the slightest, is it ? Especially given that the nature of your call is because you can't connect to the Internet… Maybe they should say “On the million to one chance that you're the customer who currently has a working internet connection with us, please forward your enquiry by email and that way we can identify who our next victim will be more rapidly.”

Did I ever mention how much I *love* computers ??