Thanks for the replies so far folks and apologies if this appears like a reply to just this bit of advice - I've not used a forum with this structure before.
VF referred me back to BT yesterday, but the immediate and possibly convenient answer from India (local knowledge might have been more reassuring) was that it was not possible.
Today VF say that they'll get their interface dept who deal with Openreach involved and hope to come back to me today or Monday. In the meantime I called Plusnet who I have a separate landline account with at a remote address that can't sustain ADSL at > 200kbps (I use satellite there now) and they sounded optimistic but would not guarantee. BUT, they can only pursue once you have a line and activation, and presumably the sales guy gets his sale (good offer ends on Tues so maybe a silver lining to my cloud). Perhaps I'm cynical.
BT sent me this "spilled milk" bunkum which is factually incorrect (I didn't pay upfront landline) and reminds me of a jealous ex. They also sent an email with the header saying I had to return the equipment then respectfully suggesting it might be a nice green idea...
We're sorry to see you go, but we hope you were happy with the service we provided while you were with us and hope to welcome you back someday soon.
For now, here are some things you need to know.
These are the services that have stopped:
BT phone line
These services have also stopped:
Unlimited Weekend Calls
BT Privacy at Home
BT Privacy Caller Display 12 months offer
BT Sport Pack
BT TV Starter subscription
AMC Channel and On Demand
A note about your bill
If you're cancelling everything with us, we'll send you a final bill within seven days of you telling us (or you can look for it by logging in at bt.com/mybt). We'll take this payment in the same way we took your previous payments. So, if you've been paying by Direct Debit or Monthly Payment Plan, please don't cancel it until we've taken your final payment. This means the credit or debit balance you have can go towards your final bill, and you'll get any refund due to you faster by Direct Debit than cheque. If you're keeping something, you'll carry on getting your usual bills.
Other things to know
We can't refund your upfront payment for BT Line Rental Saver
You've paid up to £194.28 in advance for 12 months' line rental. Because you're leaving before that 12 month period has ended, we can't refund any of it as it was a special discount for paying upfront.
You'll lose BT Sport and BT TV when you stop your broadband
BT TV is only available with BT broadband, so you'll lose it when your broadband stops. And because you've got BT Sport on BT TV, you'll lose that at the same time.
If you want to get BT Sport again, you can get it without BT broadband for £19.99 (changing to £21.99 from 3 July 2016) a month, plus a one-off activation fee, on the Sky Digital Satellite Platform. To find out more, go to bt.com/sport
Because you're stopping your broadband, you'll also lose your:
free BT Wi-fi - unlimited broadband away from home at more than 5 million Wi-fi hotspots in the UK and over 9 million abroad
free BT Protect - helps prevent infection from viruses, scams and phishing whenever you're browsing online using your BT broadband connection
free BT Parental Controls - helps to keep your family safe online
free BT Cloud storage - online storage space, to upload, protect and share your most important files
If you don't want to miss out on these exclusive benefits, just call us on 0800 800 150 before midday on xx Jun 2016.
If you use BT NetProtect Plus to stay safe online
It'll stop when your broadband stops. And if you pay for BT NetProtect Plus, you'll need to cancel your monthly BT NetProtect Plus payments - they won't stop automatically. To stop your payments, call 0800 800 150.
About your BT TV purchases
If you bought any TV programmes or movies from BT TV (other than Box Office rentals), you'll be able to download a digital copy up to seven days after your BT TV service ends. Important: You have to complete all downloads before the seven days are up or you'll lose access to them. To find out more, go to bt.com/mytvpurchases
You'll always be important to us, so if you change your mind and decide to come back to BT, you can be sure of a warm welcome. Just call us on 0800 800 150.
Managing Director, Customer Care
Been busy trying to recover the situation but I'll have a look a this useful