The use of a walled garden by BT Wholesale is nothing new, but fortunately it does not happen too often. In this case customers of the broadband provider Prodigy Internet are affected, with all web requests being redirected to a page on the BT Wholesale network where people can obtain a MAC (Migration Authorisation Code) so they can migrate smoothly to a new broadband provider.
What exactly has happened at Prodigy is unclear, visitors to our forums have had a long thread running since 2nd March discussing their problems getting hold of the provider, with this action by BT Wholesale effectively closing the book. Registered users of our forums can also discuss what they are planning to do, in our Prodigy Networks section.
The Register has tried to contact the provider and failed, which is identical to the situation which Ofcom and BT Wholesale have encountered.
If you are a customer of Prodigy and you are not getting the BT Wholesale migration page, then best recourse is to contact Ofcom directly at www.ofcom.org.uk/contactus/. Alternatively people can email firstname.lastname@example.org and he will send back details of an alternate way to contact BT Wholesale.
In theory once people have their MAC they should be able to get up and running with a new provider in a couple of days. The vast majority of providers offer free migrations, but as always be aware of the length of any new contract you are signing, and penalties that may apply if you move home or stop the service.