Can my connection be improved?

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In principle, a poorly performing broadband connection can often be improved. However, this can be a very frustrating process unless there is no dial tone at all, or you can hear severe crackling on the line. This is because BT Openreach do not have a Universal Service Obligation (USO) for any broadband service, so are not obliged to do anything if your line can make voice calls satisfactorily.

As far as we are aware, this situation will not change with the installation of the FTTC upgrade. The provision of a new FTTC service usually only involves a modification to the master socket in the property, and cutting of the appropriate “jumper” in the green street cabinet (to include a loop into the new FTTC). Nothing else on your circuit usually changes. The engineer will use his test equipment to measure and record the performance of the new connection. Walter recommends that the customer should record this data as well, if at all possible (e.g. using a camera or phone cam).

It is advisable than any known performance problems are resolved, as far as possible, before a new FTTC service is ordered. FTTC is a higher performance technology, so it is likely to suffer more from a poor connection. Note also that the installation operation only has to achieve the minimum speed for the service ordered. This is usually 15 Mbps for the standard services (or it could be 5 Mbps for very long or bad lines, for example). Statements such as “up to 40 Mbps” and “soon 80 Mbps” are theoretical maximums, not realistic targets. Once the installation has been completed, it can be difficult to obtain any further remedial attention as BT have very limited resources to respond to improvement requests.

We are already aware of several very poor existing services within the central area of Ewhurst, and there will undoubtedly be more not yet encountered. Plough Lane and Mapledrakes Road have known difficulties on some lines, but also have some satisfactory connections. Walter can examine any broadband service performance should the resident wish him to do so. He can also provide a diagram for the resident to show the visiting BT engineer where there are obvious difficulties.

Within your property it is wise to remove the “bell” wires throughout the house, and to connect the modem directly to the master socket (whether this is the existing service or a new FTTC one). BT Openreach will want to use the master socket for a new FTTC installation in any case. The router can be situated further away from the modem using a longer ethernet cable, if required.

Apart from running speed tests, a useful measure of your line’s current broadband performance is to look for a stable connection. Even on very long lines, your equipment should remain connected for many days and occasionally months, unless the power to the modem is interrupted.

As usual, please ask if you have any questions (you can use our contact form).

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