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About BT - BT Divisions

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There is often some confusion over the "BT company" and the name BT.

The BT Group is split into distinct separate companies, each of them being responsible for managing and providing services in several distinct areas. This is to ensure that one part of the group does not have an unfair advantage over any other organisation that may also sell similar products or services.

The BT Retail side of the group does not have any advantage or additional access to the BT Wholesale side of the group as each company within the group is "Chinese Walled".
Any implication by BT Retail that they do have special powers with BT Wholesale would be a breach of the regulators rules and should be reported to OFCOM.

The overall BT Group falls into separate Companies:-

  • (Retail Group)
    Products & services for home & business customers

    Sells telephony communication to the General Public (Home and Business).
    They provide the telephone line from our home to the exchange and who we pay our monthly BT phone bill to.
    BT logo

    Sub divisions of this group include:-
    ~ BT Mobile (Mobile Phone services)
    ~ BT Shop (Sells telephones and other communication devices etc to the home user)

  • BT Broadband (Part of the BT Retail Group)
    Broadband & dial-up internet access products

    Are an ISP and who provide ADSL Internet access for customers.
    Will only communicate with its own customers to whom they provide Internet services.
    (BT Broadband/Openworld/BT Yahoo!).
    Just like any other ISP, they purchase services from BT Wholesale/BT Openreach and do not get any preferential treatment over and above any other ISP.

  • BT Wholesale
    Network services & solutions

    BT Wholesale provides network services and solutions to communication companies. You'll find BT Wholesale across the length and breadth of the UK as they underpin practically every business that's in the business of communication.
    They are responsible for the backbone of IPStream adsl and other routing between the various telephone exchanges throughout the UK.
    BT Wholesale
    BT Fibre Optics

    BT Wholesale sells network facilities to other businesses such as our ISPs, who use BT Wholesales infrastructure to transmit data. Most ISPs (aside from Virgin Cable) rely on BT Wholesale's network and services at some point or other in order to provision adsl broadband.

    We as people are not customers of BTw and therefore cannot contact them direct. and BT Broadband are customers of BT Wholesale.

  • Openreach
    Access network services & products for the UK communications industry

    Openreach provides services to Communications Providers. Openreach is responsible for the provision and maintenance of the "final mile" copper pairs that connect our homes to the telephone exchange. Telephone and adsl field engineers work for BT Openreach, as do staff in the local exchange responsible for the telephone Main Distribution Frame. BT Openreach van

    Openreach also has responsibility for and sells telephone communication to other telecommunication providers via their Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) and Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) Services.
    If you a have a question about your telephone or internet services at home or to your business you should contact your Communications Provider -whoever sends you your telephone bill.

  • BT Global Services
    Worldwide business solutions & services

    A global service provider who help multi-site organisations master the complexity of business communication.

As mentioned above we are customers of our ISP, who are in turn customers of BTWholesale, therefore if we run into problems with our adsl connection. BTWholesale will not talk to the end user for fault reporting.

Its no good trying to contact BT Retail either or on 151 unless its a line fault, as they can only deal with faults relating to the voice part of your phone.

If you are passed on to BT Retails ISP section (BT Broadband), they also cannot do anything further.
There have been some reported instances where BTBroadband may claim that they will be able to provide a better service such as higher speeds on a low SNR margin line etc, but this is entirely false. Your adsl line is provided by BTwholesale and therefore the same restrictions apply - no matter who your ISP is.

If you have a speed issue that is related to congestion at the local exchange, changing your ISP will not remedy the problem. When you switch between IPStream ISPs this is controlled at the RAS by something called Service Selection Barring (SSB). Migration between IPStream adsl providers involves BTw setting the SSB to your new ISP. In the vast majority of instances the equipment at the exchange will never be touched and you will remain on the same VP, therefore with exactly the same issues.

This is one of the reasons why when I had appalling speeds during summer 2005 there was no point in me trying to swap ISPs. A friend who was with BTYahoo! on the same exchange and experiencing the same issues got no further nor any more preferential treatment from BTw than what I did having Plusnet as my ISP.

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