Thursday, February 23, 2006

Not So Smart Telecom Broadband!

Not So Smart Telecom MonkeyThe following post chronicles my futile attempts to get any kind of indication from Smart Telcom as to when they might be in a position to provide with the broadband product they originally promised to deliver to me over six month ago.

At first, Cynthia from the Smart Telecom customer service department was trying her best but I think it was all too much for her in the end and I have yet to receive any reply to my last e-mail. If it’s this hard to get something as simple as a date from them then I’m thinking that it must be sheer Hell trying to actually get the broadband installed once it is available and as luck would have it Donal has already covered that angle in his own Smart Telecom rant!

The whole thing is a bit on the lengthy side so instead of putting it all on my main page I’ve tidied it away on its own special page, which you can read by clicking here. If you do manage to get to the end of it then the reason for the monkey should become clear!

9th February 2006

I am currently a Smart Telecom customer in Ballincollig. I was wondering when your Broadband service is coming to Ballincollig. When I originally became a Smart Telecom customer last May your website said Broadband would be rolled out in Ballincollig by August 2005. Obviously, that didn't happen! So, what's the story, how long more do I have to wait? Eircom are banging down my door with all kinds of special offers even though I'm trying hard to resist turning back to the dark side!


10th February 2006

Hi Rickard,

Thank you for your email. This exchange is on our current Network Build Programme and at this present time we are unable to confirm a date as one has not yet been set. Thank you for your patience.

Kind Regards,

13th February 2006


Thanks for your prompt reply to my query. I have to say that it must be really great to work for Smart Telecom. In fairness, I can only dream about being able to tell my boss that a particular piece of work is on my "current" program but that I have no idea when he can expect to see it completed. I suppose if I thanked him for his patience he might be duly overwhelmed by my courteous demeanour and simply disregard the fact that I was already six months behind schedule as well as overlook the fact that I had no idea when I'd be finished. To be honest, I've personally always felt annoyingly restricted by having to commit to arbitrary deadlines and I can only conclude that the vast majority of Smart Telecom customers think the same if they are willing to accept a response like the one sent to me in your previous e-mail.

Look, I realise that schedules can be tricky things but is there any way you could even give me a ball park indication? You know, one month, two months, six months, by the end of this year, by the end of the decade, that kind of thing. Every day I am hearing talk in the media about how we are falling behind in Ireland in relation to the uptake of broadband in comparison to other EU states and I am starting to feel that I am letting my country down by continuing to use dial-up Internet access. In addition to all of that, the rest of the house are constantly berating me about the tortoise-like performance of our internet connection and, to be frank, I'm not quite sure how much more of this badgering I can handle. This is further compounded by the fact that I work in IT and that they subsequently somehow feel that I should be able boost the speed of the telephone line by performing some kind of old-school MacGyver like technical wizardry utilising nothing more than a piece of string, a pen-knife and a plastic cup. So please Cynthia, for the love of God, help me out here as I'm sinking fast!


14th February 2006

Hi Rickard,

I'm sorry I can't advise you of a date for this exchange as again one has not been confirmed. I can't even give you a round about date as this could be just misleading.


14th February 2006


I'm beginning to think that you are some sort of saint. In fairness, a lesser woman would have told me where to go when confronted with the sarcastic and cheeky tone of my previous e-mail. You have admirably resisted the temptation to lose your cool and have continued to maintain the professional composure required for someone working in customer service. Hopefully, we can maintain the same level of civility in the future.

In relation to the rollout of broadband in Ballincollig, I understand your reluctance to give me a specific date when you obviously haven't been given one. However, I am at a loss as to what you expect me to do next? Reading between the lines, I can only conclude that you are more or less implying that I might as well go back to Eircom given that Smart Telecom have failed to live up to their previously published intentions and can't even give me any indication as to when they think they will be in a position to provide me with a broadband product. On the other hand, maybe I'm just a bit stupid and perhaps I'm misunderstanding what you are telling me?

To be honest, I'd hate going back to those Eircom feckers, I can just see their smug faces as they welcomed me back into the fold particularly as over the last six months or so I have been steadfastly resisting all of their cold calls and agents turning up at my door with their latest batch of "unbelievable" special offers. Each and every time I was resolute in affirming my satisfaction with Smart Telecom as I told those Eircom wasters where to go, not to mention the special affection that every man, woman and child in Cork has for the red and white colours of your sassy and provocative "Smart" logo. (Up the rebels!)

So, it is now with a sad and heavy heart that I am contemplating ending this beautiful relationship. Is this how it's going to end, me a broken and bitter man on Saint Valentine's Day? Please Cynthia, if you value this relationship at all then throw me some kind of customer service bone so that we can remember the good times and look to the future with some little bit of hope in our hearts.


16th February 2006

Hi Rickard

We do value your custom and do not want to lose you to another provider. If you require broadband and as we are unfortunately unable to provide this to you at this present time, the only other option you have is to go to another provider. If not Eircom then there are plenty of other companies you could go with for this service and you could also stay with Smart for calls.


16th February 2006


Thanks for your reply. I dunno, this all seems bizarre to me. I switched to Smart in May 2005 with the promise of broadband by August 2005. It is now February 2006 and no broadband is available yet. Furthermore, Smart can't even give me any kind of indication as to what time span we're talking about before broadband will be available. It seems ironic that you had no qualms about lying to me last year but can't give me any date this year because you don't want to be caught telling me lies. It's all very confusing to someone simple like me.

In all fairness, if you just told me that it was likely that broadband would be available to me within 3 months, for example, I might very well decide to wait. The absence of any date more or less forces me to move to an alternative broadband provider, which is strange given that you say that Smart value my custom.

The only conclusion I can draw is that Smart have employed an actual monkey who randomly picks where to send the works crews at the start of each day as a low cost alternative to employing an expensive project manager who might frivolously waste money and time producing silly things such as a build schedule. I suspect that the real reason you can't give me a ball park date is due to the fact that you can't simply pick up the phone and get a date from the department responsible for the rollout of broadband because they are obviously all subject to fickle whims of the damn monkey who is probably pissed off at being paid bananas and is deliberately sabotaging the entire broadband rollout effort. If you want my opinion, that's not smart, just plain dumb!

Now this is just a suggestion but hear me out. You know that Keith Barry guy who does all of those Smart ads on the telly, you lot could get him in to read the monkey's mind and find out on what date that slippery simian intends to send the lads out to the Ballincollig exchange. I know it's a bit drastic, I suspect Keith is not cheap but then again if you hadn't spent all of that money hiring him to do those clever tv ads in the first place then you might have been able to afford a real project manager instead of the low cost monkey option that you're now stuck with. Then again, I've never had a good head for business, so I could be talking rubbish.

Finally, thanks once again for your patience and I would just like to reiterate that I am directing all of this angst at Smart Telecom, the company, and not at you personally. I realise that you are only doing your job, which can't be easy given that the fecking monkey isn't helping things much.



Ha! Fair play to you, I can't believe you actually sent that one about the monkey! Go to Eircom, feck it. I did and while I had a bit of hassle (because of my laptop mainly, in fairness not the connection) it was all done in a matter of weeks. Frustrating at the time during those weeks, but like I said that was more my own technology issues than anything else.
I shouldn't be saying this but I don't really have any problem with going back to Eircom, that was merely for dramatic effect!
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