Britbox and BT

I have had BT Broadband for just under a month now. Got an e-mail from BT saying I could have six months free of Britbox.

Actually I got a similar e-mail a few days ago, but when I clicked the link it said that I couldn’t get the offer as it wasn’t available to me.

I had considered subscribing to the service before, but didn’t want to pay for another service for things I might not watch. However all the classic episodes of Doctor Who was quite tempting. So it was a bit of a no-brainer to say yes to BT.

It was disappointing that the link hadn’t worked the first time, so when I got the second e-mail I didn’t think it was going to work, but it did. It was a seamless sign up process and then easy to download the app on the iPad and the Apple TV.

There is a good selection of content on the service, and I think we will get some benefit from the service. Will I renew in six months time? I think that depends on what content we’ve watched and whether they refresh the content over the next few months.

Landline now back on…

Well, so I thought we had the same error as before.

I found our phone last week wasn’t working, did all the checks, but still couldn’t get a dial tone or receive calls.

Raised the fault with BT who fixed it in a couple of days.

Yesterday I found our landline wasn’t working, still no dial tone.

I couldn’t raise a new fault, as the old one hadn’t been closed. So I went through a long online chat to get the fault resolved and an engineer visit booked.

However in the end it was apparent that this wasn’t a BT fault, it was a problem with one of our sockets (I think more the filter) that meant that our landline was working, so I cancelled the BT engineer visit.

Old Phone
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Landline was down…

Old Phone
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

…but I hadn’t noticed!

Found out this morning that my phone landline wasn’t working. I couldn’t make or receive calls and there was no dialling tone.

The thing is I have no idea how long it has been like this, the fact that the internet is still working, means I wasn’t suspicious something was amiss. It was only after I was having trouble with my mobile on the Three network that I tried the landline.

I mainly have a landline for the internet, so rarely use the phone for making actual phone calls. I wasn’t expecting any calls either, so that didn’t raise any alarms either.

The support process from BT was quite simple, after I had Googled “BT Line Checker” as there didn’t appear to be a path from the MyBT page. Once I found that page, I had to go through a diagnostic process on the website, which included going out to buy a replacement new phone just in case it was the phone, as well as using the test socket on the master socket.

The end result is that BT Engineers will be out to fix this by Friday…

Though I have no evidence, my suspicions are that this fault may have been caused a few days ago when there was a bundle of BT Openreach vans outside our house where they were working on something…

Tech Stuff: Top Ten Blog Posts of 2017

Over the last twelve months I have published 26 posts, many of these were about my return to fibre. So it is nice to see that the tenth most popular post on the blog this year was from nearly a year ago.  We will have fibre in “12 months”!  I said back then that according to BT Openreach we would have fibre within twelve months, I was slightly sceptical, but nine months after publishing that post I did get fibre.

new fibre cabinet 25

The ninth post was about when my iMac Fusion Drive Failed and had to have it replaced.

The post at number eight was another post about my fibre journey, Still checking… was when the cabinet was activated, but alas wasn’t accepting orders.

The seventh post was from 2012 when my HP Photosmart printer died. My printer is dead! was a sorry tale about how replacing the ink cartridges on the HP B110a resulted it in destroying the print head.

The post at six was about  Dusting off the Pogo my old Polaroid Bluetooth pocket printer. Still going strong.

Polaroid Pogo printer

The fifth post was how I don’t like BT FON which was originally published in 2011.

The post at number four was wondering Where are my Comic Life Styles? I found them.

The third most popular post was about the free wifi (or lack of) on my holiday, Haven no wifi

The post at number two was Comic Book Fonts which was about the amazing comic book fonts from Comic Book Fonts.

So the most popular post on the blog was my post about QR codes on chocolate bars,  Cadbury QR Coding and Twirling was published in 2015 and was one of many posts I published on the use of QR codes back then.

Cadbury Twirl Bites QR Code

Tech Stuff – Top Ten Blog Posts of 2015

Not too many posts on the tech blog this year,  surprised though that the post  Google Glass is Dead, or is it… didn’t make the top ten!

Looking at fonts especially those designed for comic strips was the tenth most popular posting in 2015. Written in 2010 it was about the excellent Comic Book Fonts available. Read the post Comic Book Fonts.

Thinking about the Apple TV back in 2012 was the ninth most popular post on the blog. Apple TV Thoughts was quite a long post on my reflection on the Apple device.


The eighth post is from 2008 when Apple added free episodes to the iTunes Store. The high ranking for this post is probably down the blog post title: Free iTunes TV Shows (on UK iTunes Store).

A few years ago my HP printer died when I replaced the inks. The seventh most read post is about my dead printer. My printer is dead!.

HP PhotoSmart B110a

I haven’t done a podcast choice for a while now, but the sixth most popular post on the blog was the second in the series, Podcast Choice #02 – Friday Night Comedy from BBC Radio 4. Quite a popular post as people seem to keep wanting to have my copies of the shows I have downloaded over the years through iTunes.

Comic Life is one of my favourite apps on the Mac, but once I lost my styles and that is at number five. Where are my Comic Life Styles?

Wifi makes an appearance at number four, with my experiences at a Haven Holiday Camp. Haven no wifi.

More Wifi this time with my experiences with BT Wifi networks resulted in the third most read post, called I don’t like BT FON.

In November 2014, we finally got free wifi on First Great Western trains, and my post about this, Finally, free FGW wifi on the train was the second most popular blog post in 2015.

Cadbury Twirl Bites QR Code

I use to post a lot of posts on QR Codes and the most popular post the year was this one from January 2015 about the ones you found on Cadbury chocolate bars. Cadbury QR Coding and Twirling.

Happy New Year and all the best for 2016.

Nope, no fibre for me

I’ve had it confirmed to me by BT that the cabinet, my phone line is connected to, is not on the upgrade plan to FTTC. Nor are there any plans to upgrade it to FTTC in the near future. What I think this means is that BT either can’t or won’t upgrade the cabinet.

I don’t see them doing it anytime soon, so I will be stuck with a slow ADSL connection for the foreseeable and long term future.

There also doesn’t seem to be any real alternative either.

Ah well….

BT Openzone-H

Well though I am guessing that BT didn’t read my blog about BT FON, however a comment posted by Matt says that BT are aware of the problem i discussed and are changing the settings on the BT Homehubs so that instead of broadcasting the BT Openzone SSID they have renamed it to BT Openzone-H.

This will mean (if my neighbour updates their hub) that my iPhone problem will go away, as my iPhone will no longer connect to the wifi hotspot thinking it has free access as it was broadcasting itself as BT Openzone. The different SSID can be used by BT Openzone customers, but owners of devices such as my O2 iPhone won’t “recognise” the BT Openzone-H SSID as a BT Openzone SSID and so won’t connect. In my case that means my iPhone should connect to my home wifi network instead and I won’t get annoyed.

However it is slightly disappointing that rather than actually provide access to iPhone O2 customers through BT FON Hubs, BT are merely changing the SSID so that they don’t need to.


I don’t like BT FON

I am sure most people who complain about BT FON are actually on BT Broadband… well I am not on BT Broadband and neither do I actually want to use a BT FON wifi hotspot.

So why don’t I like BT FON?

Well it’s an iPhone problem.


Well…. according to my contract with O2 I have unlimited wifi access (or near enough) and I can use BT Openzone wifi hotspots. I will admit that though I like this useful feature, nine times out of ten it doesn’t work as it should and I fall back on using 3G. I think part of the issue is BT, and I will admit part of the problem has to me. Why is it my problem? Well…. it’s much more about my web usage patterns on the iPhone when out and about. When I use the internet on my iPhone as I suspect most poeple do this, I want to use it quickly and for short periods of time. In theory what the iPhone should do is when I take it out and attempt to use the web is, connect to the nearest wifi hotspot, authenticate and then allow me to have access to the web. I can then check that e-mail, check for train times, tube problems, use Google Maps to work out where I am and where I should be. However I find with BT Openzone is that it takes longer than I think it should to authenticate and allow me access to the web. Sometimes I even have to go via the browser first, before I can use an app. As a result most of the time I have tried to use BT Openzone it seems to have taken ages. So fine if you are based in a coffee shop, not much use when just checking the phone in the street. Sometimes I have found that my app isn’t working, realise that I am connected to wifi, so I turn off the wifi, use 3G and everything is much faster and easier.

So what’s this got to do with BT FON then?

Well as you might know if you have BT Broadband you can configure your router to allow others access via BT FON, thus allowing you to use BT FON hotspots and BT Openzone when you are out and about. It’s a ploy or feature of BT to increase the availability of BT Openzone beyond it’s own network of hotspots and use home broadband connections too. Now this is annoying if you are out and about and want to use your iPhone and there is a BT Openzone in the area, yay… well tough! As if the BT Openzone is actually a BT FON hotspot then this won’t work with your iPhone, you won’t be able to use the hotspot and no internet! So for many people they think yay lots more hotspots that I can use with my iPhone. However the reality is that unless they are “official” BT Openzone hotspots which do work with the O2 iPhone, if it’s a BT FON BT Openzone hotspot then this won’t work with the O2 iPhone, these extra hotspots are basically useless.

I am guessing that many of my BT Openzone connection issues are in fact down to these faux BT Openzone BT FON hotspots rather than specific problems with BT Openzone itself. Really it should either be fixed, or don’t use the BT Openzone SSID with BT FON routers.

Is that it?

Well not quite, a recent problem for me has arisen. The problems with BT FON and BT Openzone of course (as you might expect) happen in the main when I am out and about. But last month a neighbour (and I don’t know which one) must have got BT Broadband and is now broadcasting themselves as a BT FON wifi hotspot. As a result when I get home from work my iPhone fails to connect to my wifi network and connects to the faux BT Openzone network instead. I would just stick with 3G, but 3G speeds are not as fast as they should be where I live, so depend on wifi. So as a result I use my iPhone and find that things aren’t working, e-mail isn’t been delivered, etc… then I remember the BT Openzone glitch, go to settings, “forget this network” and my iPhone connects to my wifi without any problems. Of course once I am out and about and connect to BT Openzone in the wild, when I get home again the problem comes back.

Solution, I don’t have one. It’s just annoying really, so I don’t like BT FON…

Of course if you know different… is it just me?