Posts in category guernsey - page 7

Poor reporting or lazy journalism?

The BBC web site finally reported the phone outage that hit the island yesterday. Like the Channel TV article it was poorly reported with little detail. Cable & Wireless’ news portal decided not to run the story at all although an apology can be found at their corporate site.

Lets look at the BBC article and break it down. I’m not having a particular go at the BBC or really even C&W just looking at how reporters play their personal tone through selection or words and selective omission of facts;

Island telephone fault repaired

A temporary fault that left thousands of telephones in Guernsey unavailable has been corrected.

Temporary, repaired and corrected. Assuring you the problem is gone. This is only true because the BBC are reporting it 18 hours late. This assurance is useless because anything that can happen once can happen again.

The fault, which affected numbers beginning with the digits seven, two-zero and two-four, was repaired early on Monday evening.

Note how there is no indication of when it went down – 2:54pm – or that lines were down for up to 4 hours.

They also fail to mention that these numbers cover the majority of the business and residential lines on the island. The only numbers NOT affected were those beginning with 23, 25 and 26 which are St. Andrew’s, St. Martin’s, Castel and Torteval – all rather rural areas.

Mobiles could not call out of the island so the problem actually hit more services than they are reporting.

Network operator Cable & Wireless said a power fault caused the problem to the island’s telephones.

Here they point at a power problem – possibly to mentally send you along the lines of a problem elsewhere. It wasn’t, it was their own equipment and C&W’s article at least doesn’t try to escape that blame.

While the phones were out of action, emergency calls were diverted through Jersey’s telephone system.

Here we are led to believe emergency calls were not affected. I believe, although have not yet found evidence to support, that emergency calls were down for a short while before the Jersey switch over took place.

Cable & Wireless’ news article further assures us that;

We are carrying out a full and thorough investigation into this problem and taking all necessary steps to ensure this does not happen again.

But there is no indication they will share their findings with the public. This is likely the last you’ll ever hear about it unless it happens again.


Cable & Wireless Guernsey network failure

So the phone lines here have been out now for well over an hour. ADSL is still working as is Guernsey-to-Guernsey mobiles but everything else is giving dead tones, no tones or “Network failure” messages.

So much for a single point of failure or resilient network. They currently boast;

Can you remember the last time your call didn’t connect or was cut off? We consistently maintain a success rate for call connectivity of over 99.99% which puts us amongst the world’s most reliable telecoms providers.

I can indeed – about 20 times today from 3pm onward…

Perhaps the government will realize what privatizing the telecommunications monopoly on which their entire banking industry relies on was just plain stupid.

In the mean time the web-sites of local media at BBC Guernsey, Islands FM, Channel TV and This Is Guernsey (Guernsey Press) are all offering absolutely no information whatsoever.

Maybe they are on dial-up.


Shop smart from the Channel Islands

Shopping on-line from the Channel Islands isn’t always a pleasant experience. Many companies can’t be bothered with the making a VAT-exempt outside-EU sale and when they do they like to use expensive shipping options instead of the often reliable and cheap Special Delivery service.

Here’s a few tips and sites to make things a bit less painless.

Deals & codes

HotUKDeals keeps track of various discounts, vouchers, codes and deals that can be had on various popular UK sights. Not all the vendors here deal with the Channel Islands but many do so it’s worth checking.


Many companies offer referral schemes these days in an attempt to get more business in exchange for a few % or £ going to the referrer. When you join QuidCo always purchase by following their link to the vendors site (clear those cookies first to be sure) and when you order they’ll pick-up that referral fee… and give it back to you. Membership costs £10 a year which funds QuidCo itself but it doesn’t take many purchases to earn that back.

Current paybacks include… Sky new customer (£50), Dell (to 6.5%), Boots (to 4.5%), Play (2%), HMV (6%), BlahDVD (5%), Woolworths (5%), WHSmith (7%), I Want One Of Those (10%), Toys for Me (12%), BBC Shop (7.5%) and many more.

iTunes Music Store

Officially iTMS can’t be bothered with the Channel Islands just like the Apple Store itself however if you don’t mind paying the 17.5% VAT then enter your post code in lower case to bypass the check. This has been working for a year or so but I guess sooner or later somebody will patch this oversight.

The lower-case post-code trick stopped working some time during 2010 but the credit card processing seems happy with any UK post-code even if it doesn’t match your billing address. I used BBC TV’s NW1 8TQ (I think that’s from “Why Don’t You”)

Sony Station

Sony Station is the portal and package for many of Sony’s popular on-line games including EverQuest, Star Wars: Galaxies, Matrix Online and PlanetSide. Once again they fail to list Guernsey, Jersey or Channel Islands but a customer service rep has told us to set our country to Zimbabwe to ensure we don’t pay somebody else’s sales tax.

Do not bother trying

  • Cheap airfare sites for trips to/from the islands – the local airlines don’t discount beyond what’s already on their sites.
  • Discounted mobile phone sites – the only two local operators are Cable & Wireless Guernsey and Wave Telecom. Both offer phones through their town stores and via a number of local agents only.
  • ISP comparison/deal web sites – we only have the choices of Cable & Wireless Guernsey and Guernsey.Net/NewTel.


Surfers Against Sewage

SAS team outside Charles Frossard HouseSurfers Against Sewage are holding a 60-hour vigil practically on my doorstep (no I’m not responsible for the Sewage) over at Charles Frossard House here in Guernsey at protest over Guernsey pumping raw sewage into the sea (Jersey has a proper plant so I’m told).

These guys travel around the UK and Europe meeting government representatives with an agenda to improving waste disposal procedures and methods including full treatment of sewage.

It’s pretty cold out there at the moment but it’s their last night and I’ve spent an interesting couple of hours chatting with them. The States of Guernsey are going for public consultation on the matter soon and I hope that islanders give it some support if they want to keep tourism.

Putting all your eggs in one basket, banking and it’s support services, is a dangerous move indeed.