Two weeks and about five hours of unproductive conversation with poorly paid Indians with a less impressive grasp of the English language than someone from Essex, I said, "It will be the router."
Now, I'm no tech head. In fact, I do not have the foggiest idea how all this broadband stuff works, but I am logical in my thinking and the presenting faults pointed to it being a problem with the hardware in my house. Unfortunately (for my sanity of late) these call centre workers are not allowed to think, they are only permitted to ask questions in a strict, predetermined sequence and run tests on the line in the same, robotic way. The real pain in the arse is that they insist on asking exactly the same questions and running exactly the same tests every time you ring about the same problem and steadfastly refuse to read the notes on previous phone calls - hence the astronomical number of minutes I have clocked up on the phone to India over the last two weeks.
Yesterday, when the same fault happened yet again, and on being told that they had to start all over again because the file on the problem had been closed and they weren't allowed to open it again, I hit the roof and was, at last, referred to someone at the call centre who was allowed to make small decisions if absolutely forced to. After another long conversation she finally gave up and agreed to send out an engineer albeit subject to a whole load dire warnings about how much we would be charged for this if it turned out to be down to something we had inadvertently done.
He arrived this afternoon, spent two minutes checking the line and announced, "You need a new router."
He fitted one and once again I am back in cyberspace. Hopefully, this will remain the case for a long time to come.
These call centre workers in India, even the senior ones, must be paid an incredibly small wage if talking on the phone for five hours costs less than a five minute home call by a local engineer.