Talktalk, the broadband update and my router


Since May 2006 I’ve got my broadband service at home as part of a landline, mobile and broadband “triple-play” package from TalkTalk.

Last week TalkTalk wrote to us, saying it was time for the equipment in our local exchange to be upgraded to their own, faster kit. This is part of what’s called local loop unbundling (LLU) – providers other than BT installing kit in BT exchanges to provide direct broadband services.

Since last May we’ve had a one meg service, but the upgrade promises a much faster eight meg service (although we’re so far from the exchange we never receive the headline speed).

So the big day comes. The letter warned of some minor service downtime to phone line and broadband. However we were greeted with a silent phone call (presumably a test) at 1.30am.

However during the day our wireless router (a 3Com OfficeConnect) stopped connecting properly. The “synch” light just kept flashing, when it should flash for a short period and then be on constantly when the router is connected.

I tried the usual tricks like turning the router off for a few minutes then turning it back on, but it still wouldn’t connect.

Figuring that the problem must be associated with the upgrade – as my router’s worked fine since I bought it in September 2005 – so I called TalkTalk’s customer support line. I had pretty low expectations, and TalkTalk just about met them with a great combination of long call wait times and disinterest.

Once they knew it wasn’t a TalkTalk router they weren’t interested, and said it must be a router problem, so they couldn’t help.

A quick Google search threw up plenty of other people with a similar problem when the TalkTalk equipment upgrade took place on their exchange.

Having read through many of the posts, I figured that the first thing to try was upgrading the firmware on the router. I did this and, bingo, it worked properly.

I don’t know why I bothered with the customer support line. I would have been better trying Google myself and working it out myself.

From a marketing and PR point of view the thing that irks me is that this should have been a positive experience – it’s good that TalkTalk is putting in a faster line.

It’s just a shame that a simple bit of advice wasn’t provided to help customers with routers – by even suggesting this their customer service could have saved me a wasted evening, and reinforced a positive experience with positive problem resolution.

Rant over now – I’m off to catch up with two days of accumulated feeds now I’m back in touch with the internet.