Friday, 26 June 2009

Broadband Problems and the Disabled


In a few precious spare moments, I try to help out on the various forums that deal with broadband problems and specifically those that deal with BT Broadband problems. These include the BT Broadband Support Forum, the FileSaveAs BT HomeHub Forum, and the Thinkbroadband Forum.

Many of the problems are fairly basic and can often be fixed with a little standard advice. Some, sadly, are more intransigent and are caused by the state of the broadband infrastructure and all I and the other forum users can provide is moral support - many of us are in the same situation.

However, there are a subset of problems that are much harder to deal with and these come from disabled broadband users. They can range from BT's Indian call centre getting frustrated with a wheelchair-bound customer tells them that they cannot possibly crawl around on the floor to check the Master socket, to visually impaired broadband users having difficulty with the colours of the buttons on the BT-Yahoo mail page.

I've been surprised by how difficult it is to find advice that might help in such situations and many of them are way beyond my knowledge of computing. This week, I came across an excellent article in Computer Act!ve, Issue 296, 25 June to 8 July 2009. The article investigated a charity called Abilitynet that helps disabled people make use of the internet and other technology. This looks to be a potentially useful source of advice and I will be recommending it wherever and whenever it seems appropriate. Of course, simply pointing someone towards Abilitynet may not be sufficent. There may be very real and practical difficulties preventing a disabled broadband user from either getting help from their ISP, helping their ISP identify the problem, or implementing a solution if one is available.

It made we wonder if there were more practical possibilities for helping the disabled. Digging deeper on the Abilitynet site I found a link to an organisation called IT Can Help, a programme run by the British Computer Society.

This organisation makes use of volunteers with some IT knowledge to help out disabled computer users. You don't have to be an absolute computer guru to help, so if you have some IT skills and some time you are willing to offer, you might want to think about volunteering to help them out.

No comments:

Having had some major problems with my own broadband service, I understand how others struggle to get help from BT.

There is a lot of good information out there, but it can be hard to find. So this blog is an attempt to pull some of it together, in one place.

It's a blog that really shouldn't be needed - if only BT and possibly other ISP's in the UK, provided useful customer support.