Since I’ve moved I’ve had to do without broadband.
Initially this was because BT messed up my order. I was supposed to have had my account transferred from my old address on the day of the move but, despite over a month’s notice, and all their clever software, they managed to lose track of me.
One day before the move I got an email telling me that the transfer wouldn’t take place for another week.
By that point it had finally dawned on me just how expensive my broadband was. I won’t go into the details. Let’s just say that, talking to my son, and to friends, I discovered that I was paying over a third more for a significantly smaller service.
How had this happened? Simple. I was a loyal customer, and in this age of instant gratification loyalty is no longer a valued commodity. It is taken for granted.
So I cancelled the order. It was at this point, magically, that BT starting telling me about all the other great deals they had on offer.
After this I started having some really interesting telephone conversations with BT’s so-called “loyalty advisors”. It’s funny how my loyalty wasn’t even considered an issue until I decided to move.
One of them asked me why I didn’t check my tariffs on a monthly basis? Why? Because I was brought up in an age where BT was the only telecommunications company around.
Until fairly recently, in fact, it still had the monopoly on the provision of landlines. You didn’t even get a choice.
Nowadays there are several companies offering the service and it really is a free market. There is a bewildering array of deals on offer. The only real difficulty is in deciding which one suits you best.
So I’ve decided to do without a landline altogether. I’ve got a little gizmo which provides mobile WiFi: called MiFi for short. All I’m waiting for is the data-only sim with my data allowance on it.
Listen to me! A 65 year old retiree talking about MiFi and data-only sims. You have to learn to adapt in this new world of ours.
Meanwhile I’ve been doing without the internet. I haven’t seen Facebook or YouTube in days, and, once I do get them back, I will have to ration them.
I don’t miss them at all. I’ve started reading books again. I’m going for long walks and visiting friends, meditating on the meaning of existence and my part in it. Contemplating the future.
In hardly more than a decade these companies have come to rule the world. Amazon just used to sell books. Now it sells everything. We’ve come to depend upon them for our everyday existence.
Meanwhile, the technology is becoming ever more intrusive. They can track your movements in real time, turn on the microphone on your phone and listen to your conversations, watch you undress from the camera on your laptop.
You think I’m exaggerating? Check out Oliver Stone’s film about Edward Snowden if you don’t believe me. George Orwell’s predictions are coming true.
The funniest conversation I had with BT involved one of their loyalty advisors asking me which company was going to take over my broadband?
“None,” I said.
“But who will be providing your TV service?”
“No one,” I said.
“What about the internet?”
“I’ll do without,” I said.
They couldn’t believe that anyone in this day and age could live without them.
I’m about to prove them wrong.
From The Whitstable Gazette 13/12/18
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