My BT Total Broadband has finally arrived (read the sorry saga here). The problem was a farcical combination of British Telecom incompetence and the useless Parcelfarce delivery service. It didn’t have to be that way. If BT had sent the equipment by Royal Mail, as promised, then it would have been here on time.

But it seems I will now have to wait up to 8 weeks before I get the BT Hub Phone I ordered. They did send me a BT Equinox 1200 as a temporary replacement — but there was no letter explaining why they have suddenly withdrawn the BT Hub Phone. The Home Hub itself looks good in publicity photos, but the build-quality is poor and the device feels cheap and flimsy. However, it runs reasonably cool.

There’s none of the promised security software in the box, which seems strange for a consumer product that heavily touted the security angle in the publicity. The Hub’s wireless security is weak crackable 40-bit WEP, although it should be possible to change that by allowing Windows XP to control the network. I imagine that many computer novices will struggle to install this broadband package correctly and securely. This is not a service ready for mass self-install roll-out for IPTV users, which is probably why BT are planning an expensive engineer-install service for the forthcoming BT Vision IPTV service.

Another annoyance was the BT disk. It installed a browser hijack and Yahoo toolbar widgets. But a simple uninstall of the Yahoo elements seems to have cured all that.

However, all this hassle is largely made up for by the speed and stability of the actual broadband connection. I am getting a solid 8.1Mb/s downstream and 448kb/s upstream. It’ll apparently take 10 days to stabilise, and there may be contention issues with other users in future but, for now, the connection is everything I could have wanted.

The wireless adapter I use to hook up with the BT Home Hub, which might be of some interest, is a Belkin 802.11g USB — just make sure you remove the Windows start-up entry for the device’s software before you install BT’s package.

Update: it’s now Friday morning, and I have still had no response from BT support, after I asked when my Hub Phone would arrive.