Britain’s oldest man is celebrating his 110th birthday, whilst continuing to wait for BT to sort out his wireless broadband service.
Reg Nixon, from Cromley in Derbyshire, first got a leaflet extolling the virtues of BT Infinity on the 25th January 2010, then aged a sprightly 108. He put a call through and was told an engineer would do a site visit within three weeks. 34 weeks later he’s still waiting for the service to be installed.
Mr Nixon’s daughter Valerie Crosby says the possibility of one day having high-speed connectivity is the secret to her father’s longevity: “It’s what keeps him going, really. He’s already outlived most of his friends, three wives, and about half a dozen BT engineers."
“It all looked very exciting,” said Mr Nixon, “with the ability to stream movies and music whenever I wanted, at super fast speeds. I was really hoping they’d have it sorted out in time for me to catch Season 5 of Breaking Bad, but sadly I'm having to stick with the boxsets.
“I initially thought that Infinity was a reference to bandwidth, but I now realise it's an indication of the average waiting time.”
Mrs Crosby added: “Dad has been witness to some of the most momentous events in history; but I think all of that would pale compared to finding a customer services representative capable of accessing his notes in less than 25 minutes. It’s incredible when you think about it, because he’s old enough to remember when it was still the GPO, and it wasn’t shit.”
Mr Nixon, who has lived through two world wars and 24 British prime ministers, has also waited 12 weeks to get a telephone line, 18 months for a hip replacement and 28 hours at Crewe for a connection to Nantwich.
His local MP Malcolm Toddy said: “Reg is a testament to the indomitable British spirit, which is prepared to queue, hang on and generally receive shoddy customer service in the hope of one day getting somewhere.”
A spokesperson for BT Care said: “This is clearly a problem with the local exchange, the access from the street, the availability of a qualified engineer with a long ladder, a waiting list for home hubs, the vagaries of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism or a breakdown in the computerised switching system.
"Now that we’ve identified the long list of potential problems we can begin whittling it down to a short list, and then see if it is actually any of these at all or indeed, if it is something completely different. I think the simple answer you’re looking for is that we have no idea.”
The world’s oldest man is 115-year old Hoshima Takamoto from Japan, who has been waiting since 1998 for someone at Apple to send out the lead for his iMac.