I’ve just read a lovely rant by Dave Gorman about BT and his internet service being down. It’s the kind of post I’m trying not to write about my (ongoing) trials and tribulations of trying to get an iPhone 3G and some kind of semi-decent customer service during the process. But I digress, the reason I’m writing about this is that this point stood out for me:
You can get a courtesy car when your motor is crocked so why not a courtesy internet connection? Especially when the bit that's broken down is at their end of things.
I currently work from home so use the internet pretty much 24/7 at home as a reference, communications tool and news source. I could live (and have done recently) for a short period of time without the news and the communications, at least now with an iPhone I should be able to access those in the future, but the biggest thing I’d miss is the reference. As a developer I’ve always found that I learn best by doing rather than by reading, so I have very few technical books on my physical bookshelves (and only one reference book) but I find myself visiting multiple language/api references, performing searches for plug-ins, methods and techniques every day.
Last time my internet was down (for only a few hours) it was like someone had removed an intangible appendage, my productivity was severely hampered.
Daves idea was that BT should provide him with a USB modem which he could plug in while his service was down, they eventually gave him dial-up access -– which I think is just adding insult to injury. A backup USB modem that you can use in an emergency would be perfect and I’m sure they could give you it as a secondary connection for when you’re away from home and not near a wireless hotspot. With the obvious caveat being that if you standard broadband connection is down that they wouldn’t charge you anything for using the USB modem.