Broadband News

Mistake presents Plusnet customer with BT Webwise invite

A customer of Plusnet was surprised to find the following message appear in their web browser "As a BT Total Broadband customer, you can try an exciting new service called BT Webwise" today.

The customer in question was part of a small BT Central Plus trial that has been running at Plusnet for sometime. All BT Total residential customers connect using a myriad of BT Central Plus connections, and it is a subset of those people that should be being given the opportunity to opt into the latest trial. We asked Plusnet for a statement and received the following response.

"At 11.25 this morning we were notified by one of our customers that they had been presented with a screen inviting them to take part in the BT Webwise trial. This customer is one of around 250 Plusnet customers taking part in another trial, unconnected to BT Webwise, using the BT Retail network (RIN); all other customers use Plusnet's own network. Plusnet does not use BT Webwise on its network, has not trialled the service and has no plans to do so at this time.

Plusnet customers using RIN should not normally see the BT Webwise invitation screen or be able to join the BT Webwise trial. This case is believed to have been due to a configuration error which we acted on as soon as we were made aware of it. BT and Plusnet have confirmed that no further Plusnet customers should be presented with the BT Webwise screen, and Plusnet customers' web traffic will not form any part of BT Webwise trial."

Plusnet statement on BT Webwise trial

The Plusnet customers in the RIN trial, actually have two ADSL logins, and they are able to switch between the two networks, so even if the mistake had not been resolved swiftly customers could have simply not used the trial connection.

Hopefully whoever controls this part of the configuration for the BT Webwise trial has learnt their lesson and will avoid any more slip-ups, or software has been changed to ensure that it can not reoccur. Lots of people are twitchy enough over Phorm and its BT incarnation, known as BT Webwise, without mistakes adding fuel to the fire.


I find it somewhat surprising that BT could make a mistake like this, given that when the trials were first announced the specific concern regarding the Plusnet RIN users had been raised. Credit to Plusnet for responding as quickly as they did, but a huge black mark to BT/Phorm for getting it wrong in the first place!

  • jelv
  • over 12 years ago

Wild stab in the dark here but maybe this is why it's called a "trial".

  • crusader666
  • over 12 years ago

There are so many promises, reassurances and undertakings from BT that we depend on with regard to BT Webwise, that seeing them get this technical issue WRONG (when they were warned about it in advance) really makes it difficult to TRUST BT - whether one should doubt their technical competence or their integrity remains to be seen - I have good reason to doubt both on the basis of the past history of these Webwise trials and BT's private and public behaviour since pre 2006.

  • revrob
  • over 12 years ago

BT have proven themselves totally untrustworthy in the past but will only listen to mac codes if large amounts leave them they will get their house in order..........i suspect from the lack of action against BT that the government are complicit in these trials,but its proving it.

  • Aqualung
  • over 12 years ago

Why are you assuming it was BT's mistake? With plusnet's record, I'd assume it was theirs.

  • Dawn_Falcon
  • over 12 years ago

I'm confused - if Plusnet do not use, or claim to have never trialled the Phorm software - how can they 'in error' just switch it on - surely this has to be a configuration by BT? Or, did I miss something?

  • CaptainW
  • over 12 years ago

It does put Neil Armstrongs (from Plusnet) assurance that PN would not be adopting phorm on less solid ground. Plusnet do have phorm in the "we won't be doing X" department.

  • carrot63
  • over 12 years ago

The nature of RIN is that customers connect directly to BT Retail's network and onto the Internet. The trial we were running with customers was to test the differences between RIN and our own network. RIN is shared with BT retail, but our customers have a profile that should route traffic differently. In this case the traffic was being treated as BT Retail traffic (incorrectly). That is now solved with measures to ensure it won't happen again.

  • ianwild
  • over 12 years ago

Given that the issue of Plusnet's RIN users was raised months ago, I think some explanation/apology from BT themselves is due.

  • jelv
  • over 12 years ago

quote"Why are you assuming it was BT's mistake? With plusnet's record, I'd assume it was theirs."

If it was Plusnets mistake i imagine they would hold their hands up to the mistake. Problems their service may of suffered in the past although annoying to customers have to my knowledge always had Plusnet make official announcements here which is more than can be said for some ISPs... Plusnet are far from perfect but atleast they dont hide when things go wrong to the degree some do..... Well done to ianwild for the explanation.

  • over 12 years ago

We have at least 3 of the usual anti webwise mob here who spam the BT forum under various guises and now a post on the BT forum linking to this old news.
Mr Prune I presume lurking - all very tedious.

  • crusader666
  • over 12 years ago

@ crusader666

so you are pro webwise goon yourself then and obviously troll other forums from your remark.

pot, kettle!!!

any pro webwise is anti privacy and bt failing to tell customers of the implications of the data mining they are doing while selling the produce as a free phishing blocker is scandalous and shows just how low this company is and that no body given the correct information on web wise, would allow this spying on their every click to take place.

  • pigfister
  • over 12 years ago

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