Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Boycott BT

There can't be many people in the UK that don't know and have had to deal with BT. This information is provided mainly for overseas visitors.

BT provides communications solutions and services, Operating in more than 170 countries. Their principal activities include networked IT services, local, national and international telecommunications services, and higher value broadband and internet products and services.

BT is the current name of what was formerly British Telecom, formely British Telecommunications, formerly the telecommunication part of the General Post Office. The organisation that became BT was owned by the British people until 1982, when in a blaze of publicity it became the first part of the nation's 'family silver' (quote Lord Stockton) to be handed over to investors and asset strippers at below value.

One of the things that prevents people from completely boycotting BT is there strangehold on the local loop, the line that run from your home or business to the telecom provider's network. Local loop unbundling is addressing this but there is another way to bypass BT.

I moved home in March 2008 and at my previous address I receive telephone and broadband services from Tiscali, but they rented the line from BT so I was effectively paying BT even though I had given up their services a year earlier due to appauling service from their call centre in Bangalore who spent a month denying my report of a fault on the line even though we had to have several conversations about it on my mobile because trying to talk on the house phone was impossible due to the bad line. Yes, you did read that right.

Anyway after that I moved to Tiscali and wanted to take them with me when I moved to my current address but here's the thing, the house had no landline connection. The previous occupant, who had been here over 50 years, used a mobile for phone calls and had cable broadband installed for accessing the Internet. All it took for me to have a non-BT house was to add a phone service to the cable broadband service and it was done.

I won't say I never have problems but they are nothing as compared to the nightmare I had with BT.

Ian Livingston was appointed chief executive of BT Group on June 1st 2008.

When appointed he was offered a basic salary of £850,000, up from the £554,000 he received as head of BT Retail. On top of this, he could expect to add £1.7 million in annual bonuses, £1.7million as a deferred bonus in shares that vest after three years, and £2.55 million in incentive shares if the group hits its top performance targets, taking the total to £6.8 million.

In May 2010 Members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) voted overwhelming for a full strike ballot after rejecting a 2pc pay rise. The union, which represents 55,000 BT employees called for a 5pc rise.

Staff were angry that Mr Livingston's bonus more than tripled to £1.2m, taking his total pay to £2.1m. He will also collect £1.2m worth of shares if he stays with the company for a further three years. A year earlier Mr Livingston's total pay was £1.2m after he collected a bonus of £343,000 in the wake of the company's second-ever full-year loss.

Let's remember this company was once a national asset. Now it is a cash cow for executives. Someone should 'Tell Sid'.

Previously, he was chief executive of BT Retail, a position he held from February 2005. Prior to this, Ian was group finance director for BT Group from April 2002.

Before joining BT, Ian was group finance director of the Dixons Group from 1997. He joined Dixons in 1991 and his career with the electrical retailer spanned a number of operational and financial roles, both in the UK and overseas.

Earlier in his career Ian worked for 3i Group and the Bank of America International. He was previously a director of Hilton Group plc (now Ladbrokes plc) and also a director of Freeserve from its inception.

Ian is also a non-executive director of Celtic plc althoguh he lives in Elstree. He holds a BA in economics from Manchester University and qualified as a chartered accountant in 1987.

On 18th October, Ian Livingston signed an open letter calling on the Chancellor to continue the coalition government's plans to reduce the public finance deficit in one term, plans which included swingeing cuts on the poorest members of society and which risk pushing this country into a double-dip recession, the likes of which has not been seen since the last time the tories took power and tanked the economy in the early 80's. This would have been unthinkable were BT still in public hands and it's board answerable to the public.

For this reason Ian Livingston is considered to be a fully signed up member of the Big Business Society and we urge people to boycott all the BT Group's Businesses.


  1. Boycott them for their lousy products and stupidly poor quality broadband connection!

  2. I had a land line and business broadband with BT. They are a very poor company. I had no end of problems with them. It was not one or two isolated issues. They got just about everything wrong. I will never go near them again and I've made it my mission to try and persuade others to avoid them. Below are some of my experiences:

    Land line set up incorrectly.
    Router sent to wrong address.
    Router sent to wrong person.
    Internet finally working over a week late which meant I had to temporarily move my office as I'm a website developer. They never call back when they say they will.
    Takes sometimes over half an hour to speak to someone in customer support. When you do get through, you get transferred or get given a different number to call. You will also get cut off regularly.
    Billing is unnecessarily complex and hard to follow.
    The service is expensive. I only went with them because they said they were the only people that could offer me a static IP. I since found out that was a lie.

    I could go on but I think you get the message. Avoid at all costs. Find someone who deserves your money.