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Couple's IVF plans in tatters after 'horrible' wait for BT broadband

Wednesday, April 15th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

A three-month wait for broadband has stopped a couple being able to save enough to pay for planned IVF treatment.

Belinda Love and Brian Baglow both need access to superfast broadband as they work from home.

Before moving into their new home in Prestonpans, near Edinburgh, they placed an order with BT for fibre broadband after checking online that it was available.

But three months, and numerous cancelled engineer visits later, the couple are still without internet access.

The delay has cost them more than £5,000 in personal and business-related expenses – the equivalent of a round of IVF treatment – and has taken its toll on Ms Love’s health.

“It’s horrible. I’ve been through so many emotional stages. I was annoyed and frustrated, then I was very angry, then I got really down and anxious, taking two weeks off all projects to just sit in the garden trying not to become really ill and depressed,” she told Cable.co.uk.

“I also got quite hysterical and when socialising, friends would notice I was a bit nuts and not at all good company. I had a facial twitch when anyone said ‘internet’ or ‘wi-fi’.

“We were moving house, it was meant to be a fresh start – a time of renewal and recovery after a period of caring for my elderly mother last year which also massively affected my ability to work from home, but no recovery for me, quite the opposite, having no internet has affected us so much it’s scary.”

'Enormous gamble'

Ms Love and Mr Baglow had been looking into IVF treatment for two years and decided to go private after being told they didn’t meet the NHS funding criteria.

“One of the things we were going to be doing this spring and summer was save up for IVF,” said Ms Love.

“It’s like ‘is the universe trying to prevent me from having a child or is it just BT?’

“Plucking up the courage to go for IVF takes a lot of emotional mustering. There’s no guarantee that it will even work and it is an enormous gamble, so BT setting us back by five grand thanks to their incompetence is making the journey all the more difficult and upsetting.”

Ms Love and Mr Baglow’s original broadband order was cancelled twice because a 'takeover of the line' – needed to connect a house to the network – was rejected by their local exchange.

After placing two more orders, engineers arrived to install the service only to find another BT Openreach worker had used the line to their house to connect another property some time before.

Numerous phone calls, emails, letters and Twitter conversations followed, as well as seven engineer visits, and external works.

A phone line was finally installed on 1 April and an eighth engineer visit is due soon, but Ms Love is losing faith in BT’s ability to get her fibre broadband sorted.

'Devastated'

“I have made it quite clear how distressed I am but I have no confidence in them actually being able to fix it. How can I after so many activation dates have been given to us? They seem to be completely incompetent.

“I'm devastated and it's caused enormous damage to my freelance work and reliable reputation.

“I didn’t think they would treat me very nicely as a freelancer using a residential broadband service but I don’t know any freelancers who have a business service at home.

"There must be hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs and self-employed people who rely on home broadband. There is an unrepresented gap between residential and business customers.

“My husband is fully employed but he is supposed to work from home two days a week as his office is 50 miles away.”

Ms Love said she had barely even thought about the lack of entertainment but admitted she did miss watching her favourite shows on Netflix.

“Fun has been pushed down the list of priorities so much because of the anxiety of the effect on work,” she added.

After Cable.co.uk asked BT for a comment, Ms Love was contacted by the BT chairman’s office offering to bring her installation date forward to this week.

UPDATE: A BT spokesperson said: “BT would like to apologise for the delay in connecting Mr Baglow and Ms Love’s new phone and broadband service.

“Their order was placed on 21 January, but when we visited their home, our engineers found they needed to close a road in order to install new underground cables – and that needed permission from the local authority.

“The work has been completed as quickly as possible, and we have now confirmed their line will be activated tomorrow (16/04/15).

“Once their line is up and running, we’ll contact them to discuss compensation.”

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