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This column runs on two broadband links: one by BT, the other by cable firm Telewest, aka NT, aka Blueyonder. Several months ago, Telewest stopped working at around 5.30pm every day. Then I discovered that BT had been double billing me following an upgrade last year.

The Telewest problem was too many people, straight home from work, logging on and congesting the local fi breoptic cable. And, apparently, the alternative fi breoptic link. The blokes in the call centres wove some marvellous stories but, tiring of these, I rang in to pull the plug. Later, a sixth sense persuaded me to recheck the date on which Telewest was to retrieve the cable modem.

Never heard of it they said.

And we can fix things for you, they promised. And there's a new modem on its way and you won't have to pay for a couple of months. Needless to say neither happened, although broadband access has improved.

And BT? It also employs some really creative storytellers. One even said he wasn't allowed to make phone calls. Then, five months late, BT coughed up.

To more than 300 subscribers.

Abandon BT? Do it now. Check your card and bank statements for the next six months.

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