The New Guy at Telecom

The editorial in today’s Herald sings the praises of Dr Paul Reynolds, the new chief executive of Telecom.

Who is Paul Reynolds and why does he deserve a base salary of $1.7m (several mil in annual bonuses and shares)? He’s the fella who used to be the chief executive of BT (British Telecom) Wholesale, so of course, Telecom and the Herald see him as the right guy to handle the impending separation of Telecom New Zealand.

Obviously, I have no idea of how the well the man or the wholesale department did during their tenure together. All I can do is speak as a consumer.

And I am bloody pissed off!

Forget the retail arm of BT (who are absolutely useless, your average time waiting for someone to pick up the phone is at least half an hour to a helpline that you have to PAY for, only to have an operator who can only handle your problem if it’s dealt with on their script … and may still put you on hold for another half an hour if you’re very, very, lucky … usually they say their putting you on hold and then hang up on you. Don’t even start me on how they handle accounts), for who I have a very specialised London hate usually reserved for people who take one step onto the tube and then look around for a seat forgetting there are twenty people behind them also trying to get on the train.

Try getting your phone or broadband from another supplier. On average it takes around three and a half weeks to get connected. Why? Ask your provider and they’ll tell you it’s BT’s fault, ask BT and they’ll say ‘hey, nothing to do with us, it’s your provider’ – and it goes on, bounced from one to another while both make money from you while you wait for them to answer your call on their help lines. As a consumer, I’m not winning and my broadband is fucking expensive – the cheapest I could find at my old flat (new flat is with BT) was £15 per month plus £11 per month line rental (compulsory, from BT) and that was a minimum 12 month contract (to buy out, you had to pay the rest of the term – I did a 30 day free trial and opted out, funnily enough, opting out meant instant disconnection).

And that’s how you are tied to service providers – minimum contracts. You’re lucky if you find one for 12 months as the majority are for 18.

Want a phone line even just to do basic dial up? It’s another 18 month contract – and that goes for everyone BT, Talk Talk, Virgin … No one is the good guy here – and I’m sure all of my UK contemporaries can back me up here with their many, many tales of frustration on hold (your call is important to us, you are number 15 in the queue) …

I’m just saying, Dr Reynolds, there are some bits of the BT model that New Zealand could do without.


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