Evening walks around the hills of West Dorset open windows onto valleys and further hills, bluebells swaying gently in the wind, catching the last light of the setting sun…
Never mind the rain, when the local hunt meet in the village all gather and life goes on.
Every year in January the local hunt meets in The Square in my village. Not that it is a square Square as in a French village. It’s more of a crossroads surrounded by houses, cars going past as if it is quite normal to meet horses, which it is round’ere. Only generally they’re not in hunt attire, with hounds, drink in hand, sandwiches from the local pub handed around to all who have gathered.
What always catches my eye is those coats that stand out in a sea of browns and blacks. They look rather red to me (and you I imagine), proper scarlet red, but it’s not called red, it’s hunting pink. Maybe because of a tailor called Pink, though nobody knows for sure. If Tailor Pink existed he seems to have left no address, no date of birth or death, nothing apart from a very un-British way of calling a colour by a name that has nothing to do with the real thing. Maybe.
Today, the weather certainly was very British, country folks met in The Square smiling, laughing forgetting they were wet. It’s only water. My friend and neighbour Maddie took pity on me and sheltered me from the worst shower, gave me a cup of hot tea, and let me take a few pictures from her special view point overlooking The Square. All in all, a great morning in my new village in the middle of the West Dorset countryside.
Welcome to village life.
Hurrah! Fibre broadband has landed in my village. Is this the end of slow Skyping yokels? Or is there a catch?
Hurrah! The Fandango Fibre broadband has landed in my rural village.
No more photos uploading at night to avoid Mr Franglais’s moods over our precious bandwidth when he needs to have a conference call over the net. At least I can upload at night, Mr F is sick and tired of looking like a scary slurring yokel or a frozen pile of pixels.
Hell O . Ha Who Ee Z It Go Ing Too Day In Sing A Poor?
Speed and efficiency on my mind, I contact my supplier, Utilities Warehouse, and ask them to switch to fibre. UW being more of a broker than a direct supplier, I assume they can buy the Fandango Fibre from OpenReach since I know that BT can provide the magic speed.
Only, I don’t want to go to BT.
“Let me see”, says the very polite UW man on the phone, checking the fibre offering at my postcode.
“Sorry, Mrs Franglais, we can’t provide you with fibre. BT may have installed it, but if they have, they have not enabled us to use it yet”.
BT have installed it.
I spoke to the nice man digging the road behind my house.
Or is it OpenReach?
You know, that BTish company that is not quite BT because BT got too big; but kind of still is BT.
BT guarantee 74 megabytes.
Seventy four. GUARANTEED.
I am now perfectly puzzled.
The Mr and Mrs Franglais of the English countryside will sign a 12 months contract, with no superfast alternative. I thought this was called a monopoly. Hasn’t there been some kind of Monopolies Commission in the UK since 1949? Who else will protect these rural households and businesses, busy working hard and making work pay, trying to live within their means, when they are hooked to a contract that will just roll on and on, for months and months, with their easy monthly direct debits coming straight out their bank accounts?
I had sworn I’d never get back to BT.
I know, there are so many of us.
But I have no choice. Believe me, I slowly searched for hours during the day in between Mr F’s conference calls.
Virgin are not fibre friendly in my village. Sky, even more of a big NoNo than big bad BT in the Franglais household are nowhere to be seen round’ere anyway.
Nor any other supplier that I could find.
Begrudgingly I investigated this Infinity 2 Fandango Fibre Optic. Mr F was not only adamant that he needs this super speed for his conference calls, he was rather keen on the free Sports package. And what a great package it is too. Football fanatics and rugby nuts can equally jump for joy in front of their fibre enabled televisions when England scores. No mean feat.
As we want unlimited access so the whole family can finally jump into the 21st century after five long years at the end of the line on top of windy hill, we have to take the £30 Fandango package. The advertised everywhere £10 BT offer is slower and allows you less download. Oh, and we now need a BT landline. That’ll be another £17.99.
Thank goodness we get a free double ball BT Sport with the Fandango package.
What’s this under the word FREE?
One off fee.
So I asked Kirstie, who offered her BT help via a chat screen, whether Sport would then be free forever after.
“It is free on a 12 months contract” she replied.
What happens after the 12 months?
“The price could remain the same, and it could change also”
Is the meaning of free not quite the same for BT than for others? Do they not have British in their name to help them with language? Does the English word free now mean a one off fee in our free market world?
Never mind. Let me get back to my free to a point £52 per month package that does not facilitate HD nor allow me to use more than one TV at a time (they’re extra) BT tell me that they can change their tariffs when they feel like it, once I’ve signed on the virtual dotted line.
You can leave if you don’t like it.
I wonder, once I’ve tasted the Fandango fibre, and if nobody else offers as speedy a service in my village due to some kind of monopoly, will the competitors’ offers ever taste good enough?
Am no business guru, clearly, but I do understand that BT, who are not a charity. have just forked out millions to enable fibre here, there and pretty much everywhere in England -in a coincidental twist of fate that they should win almost all council contracts in England- have to recoup their huge investment.
But hang on a minute, where did that £1.2 billion come from, and that further £250 million?
Taxpayers’ money I hear you say?
Well. Yes. So it is.
I need to go and do some research.
How did one subsidised company get all the contracts, bar exceptions to confirm the rule, then kept the fibre facilities for themselves in some places? And many more questions.
Great thing is, give me a fortnight or so and I’ll be able to do that research in no time. Mr Franglais will watch his sport. That’ll keep him quiet. Or shouting at the TV screen when England scores. I’ll try not to get distracted by all these new channels I don’t really want, although I can’t wait to watch that American channel I’ve heard lots about: Fox.
Mr F and I can have a shouting at the tv competition.
But hey, it’s a free market, in a free world. If I don’t like it, I can go back to Slow And Stop When It’s Windy Broadband with another provider. Maybe EE (formerly T-Mobile and Orange, formerly part of Deutsche Telecom and France Telecom). Ah yes, I forgot, it is now BT/EE, as allowed by the Competitions and Market Authority (the latest incarnation of the monopolies commission).
OK, Talk Talk then (who bought Tiscali UK and AOL UK) BT’s main competitor who dared attack the giant for monopoly practice. Not very safe with your personal details and bank accounts though are they, hacked as they were by 15 year old teenagers.
Weird how when the news of BT/EE came out, we were all busy Talk Talking about scary hackers.
Conspiracy theorist me?
No. Stop saying that. I’m not.
Coincidences amaze me, that’s all.
Anyway, next time I post I’ll have Fandango. I’d love to find an alternative, and maybe I will. My village has an amazing community that runs a community shop. Not sure they’ll go as far as an alternative to BT Fandango though.
But you never know.
I have joined a couple of writers, Maddie Grigg and Sophia Moseley and together we are The Lady Shed, a weekly blog where we discuss current affairs, local matters, and whatever else we feel like.
My last post is inspired by Rampisham Down where a planning application for a solar farm was granted by the local council, then put on hold by the government. I try and understand conservationists, their power via social media, how a site becomes protected, and wonder whether we get the full story when we are asked to sign a petition.
Yellow fields in the sun, dark trees in the shade, purple bells playing hide and seek with the light…
What a glorious time of year when mother nature lets the sun shine in.