Cabinet 18 Status

The additional FTTC cabinet was installed beside the phone box on The Green by Plough Lane in August 2012, and became operational on 2nd November 2012. See my full report (including ordering experience). Capacity was probably increased from 64 to 100 connections during the second half of May 2013. For information on checking availability and ordering the upgrade please see our FTTC Guide here.

This cabinet is in the Ewhurst Green Conservation Area and thus subject to planning permission. An initial planning application was submitted on 26/03/12, but was declared invalid on 16th May due to notice being served on the incorrect landowner. A new application was submitted on 21st May, and was approved by Waverley on 16th July.

Cabinet 18 coverage

Status and coverage for other Ewhurst cabinets

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56 Responses to Cabinet 18 Status

  1. David Nye says:

    The location for this new cabinet proposed in the planning application is the same as that recommended by the ESHB group. There are currently no objections to this position. The Parish Council supported the application. Surrey County Highways had no objection.

  2. Walter says:

    The Waverley decision target date is still 10 days away.

    Assuming there are no delays, it then remains to be seen how long it will take BT and their contractors to start the plinth and duct groundworks, install the cabinet, install the power cable, connect the 2 * 100 pr tie cables, install the fibre tube, install the telemetry cable, blow the fibre (possibly at the same time as cabinet 19′s fibre) and then commission the DSLAM equipment.

    Given progress performance to date, it does seem that some Herculean efforts will be required for a workforce seemingly at maximum capacity already if BT are even to meet their delayed date of 1 July 2012. (Disregarding the later Cabinet 20 debacle which is still to be resolved.)

  3. Walter says:

    I am sorry to say that the BT Group have to re-submit their planning application for the cabinet 18 site near the telephone box.
    This will presumably cause another significant delay.

    http://plandocs.waverley.gov.uk/Planning/StreamDocPage/obj.pdf?DocNo=599730&PageNo=1&content=obj.pdf

  4. Walter says:

    A revised planning application has been submitted. Waverley’s decision target is shown to be 15 July 2012 and the comment date is 15 June 2012. It is hoped that BT’s announced RFS date is now set to 30 September 2012 but, given the Ewhurst history, perhaps BT could plan to have the entire cabinet operational at least a month earlier.

  5. David Nye says:

    The revised planning application was approved by Waverley on 16th July. Further works at cabinet 18 are planned for 2nd to 15th August.

  6. David Nye says:

    The new FTTC cabinet 18 has been installed beside the phone box.

  7. Walter says:

    Note that there is still a significant amount of work to be done in getting the tie cables run between the PCP and the FTTC, followed by their termination (400 wires just in the FTTC alone) as well as a 5 pair telemetry cable, a power cable down the installed duct and the fibre cable.

    Also note that we do not have “lit” fibre in Ewhurst yet as we await the sub-duct installation near the Cranleigh show ground, followed by the fibre bundle blowing probably most of the way down Ewhurst Road past the mini roundabout.

  8. Walter says:

    Rather strangely the roadworks notice for the Plough Lane area has been removed but without the works being completed. We await the new roadworks notice with “eager anticipation” as that might mean that Cabinet 18′s VDSL services are nearly a reality, even if there are insufficient services for all those requiring them.

  9. Walter says:

    Apart from the fibre run back to Cranleigh, other delays could arise from the lack of electrical power. If anybody sees the Power Network staff working by the adjacent power pole perhaps they could let us know.

  10. Walter says:

    Disregarding the lack of a complete fibre cable back to Cranleigh, it now appears that Cabinet 18 might receive a power supply between 1st to 5th October.

    Although the RFS date on the BT wholesale checker must be postponed for the third time to 31st December 2012 we should probably expect an earlier completion.

  11. David Nye says:

    Rob reports that UK Power Networks are working here today.

  12. Walter says:

    As I was doing my weekly tour (10 Oct 2012), and as we still can’t order any VDSL services, I stopped by both cabinets 18 and 20 to see if there was any tangible reason for the additional delay. As (probably) to be expected
    the cabinets still seem incomplete. Those that follow the rituals of FTTC installations know there are quite inexplicable reasons that beggar belief, unless perhaps you are an accountant. The teams involved have some sense in that the cabinet security locks are not fitted before the cabinet is completed. Sure enough both 18 and 20 are without their locks. One quite incredible activity, often to be the last to be finished, is the installation of a 5 pr telemetry cable and connecting one pair by contractors presumably from the telemetry department, when it could so easily be done by the team installing the much larger tie cables. As it is now, the contractors will have to drill out the duct sealant compound very carefully to insert and then pull the cable back to the PCP. Cabinet 18′s cable shouldn’t pose too many problems unless the original duct is at capacity. The pit by the phone box is reasonably close so cable pulling should be straightforward. However cabinet 20 has no pulling pit except the one about 55 m away at the PCP. Pulling in the tie cables was bad enough but they and the fibre cable could so easily jam the pulling rope. We wish them the best of luck and very much hope that the entire operation can be completed this week.

  13. David Nye says:

    What is the purpose of this telemetry cable Walter?

  14. Walter says:

    N.B. The following description is incomplete as we don’t have access to the ECI telemetry manual.

    The telemetry cable sends and receives telemetry data (using old fashioned dial-up modems) to and from a Telecontrol system. This consists of central computers and screens (sometimes referred to as the master station) and outstations located in each FTTC. Each outstation requires a telephone line in order to communicate between it and the master station. The master station usually dials each outstation in turn to gather any data waiting. Outstations sometimes have the ability to dial into the master station themselves to report an alarm.

    Data can be either digital bits (on or off) representing say Door Closed or Door open, or analogue values such as battery voltage.

    In the ECI case we know that the following data is available for transmission as it is mentioned on a label on the inside of the door:

    Left Door Open / Closed
    Front Door Open / Closed
    Right Door Open / Closed
    Battery Temperature sensor
    Cabinet Temperature sensor
    The door alarms migh all be wired in series to produce a single door open alarm.
    The temperature signals might just be digital bits e.g. Temperature Normal or Temperature High Alarm or they could be analogue e.g. the actual temperature, in which case alarm limits are usually set in the master station.

    There are almost certainly other functions to be catered for which might include
    Fuse Fail / Power supply fail
    Battery Charger fault
    Battery fault
    Battery Low charge alarm

    Street Cabinet Controller Fail
    SFP Fail (I.e. a Communications Controller Fail or the device which transports all the data packets from all the line cards to the exchange.)

    Apart from needing to know of the above faults it would also be very useful to be able to reset or reboot the processors remotely. However other Communications Providers sometimes access these types of data directly via commands to them using the main communications link.

    As you will gather this can be quite a complicated subject and I have only just touched on some aspects. Telecontrol systems have been in operation for many years. You will be relieved to know that the Esso Pipeline running just to the north of the village has a sophisticated telecontrol system which is monitoring the very high pipeline pressures, leak detection, product batch tracking along the pipeline, valve controls for the receiving tank farms at Gatwick and Purfleet, etc. etc.

    I hope this has satisfied your curiosity to some extent ?

  15. Walter says:

    It appears that there are to be further delays associated with Cabinet 18′s RFS Date which we had been previously informed was waiting on electrical certification.

    This Fibre Cabinet installation did not include any new duct installation between the phone box joint pit and the pit in Horsham Lane in front of PCP 18.

    See:-

    http://www1.surreycc.gov.uk/highways/template3b.cfm?id=-176431&district=&town=EWHURST&roadName=PLOUGH%20LANE

    Which provides the following text on 21 October 2012, but sometimes changes over time.

    Waverley
    PLOUGH LANE, EWHURST

    From 22 October 2012 to 24 October 2012

    Organisation: British Telecommunications plc
    Scale of works: MINOR
    Site location: IN C/W CORNER OF HORSHAM LANE ON PLOUGH LANE
    Location: PLOUGH LANE
    Description Locate and excavate 1 blockage in existing duct
    Traffic management NONE / SIGNING ONLY

  16. Walter says:

    Having re-read my posting above and to be precise, we have no information as to which duct is blocked, nor for what service a new cable is to be installed. However as Cabinet 18 is still forecast for 31st December 2012 (Whilst the other two are live) and the road excavation is so close, there seems to be a good possibility that the VDSL service requirements include these works.

  17. David Nye says:

    Andrew reports seeing a van, and what looked like black rodding pipe coiled up, by the cricket pitch this morning.

  18. Walter says:

    Mike Turner informed me that he had been told that cabinet 18 was awaiting power certification which must by now have been achieved as the cabinet fans can be heard running. Very sadly I am sorry to report that the RFS date is still 31st December 2012 this morning. It seems as if some other process has to be completed which could still be the lack of a 5pr telemetry cable. We do know that the art of FTTC commissioning seems to be a quite complex operation as evidenced by the completion of cabinet 20 which was actually started well behind Cabinet 18.

    There are no clues on the SCC web site or Roadworks Alert now either.

    “Patience is a virtue” as recorded here!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patience_Is_A_Virtue

  19. Walter says:

    I’m sorry to say that there is still no further news as to what is causing the further delays to the RFS Date. Perhaps there is still some outstanding works to be completed or that the installation teams are unable to cope with the demand from the first two Ewhurst cabinets (and elsewhere in Cranleigh, Chilworth etc. etc.)

    We continue to monitor the BT Wholesale web site regularly, but if anybody happens upon additional credible information we will be pleased to publish it here.

    There are notes of some strange BT gully cleaning works now said to be in Gomshall, but affecting the Cornhill Manor area, but this remains a mystery too!

  20. Walter says:

    There is still no news as to what is delaying the cabinet 18 RFS date now we are into November. I am aware that there are installation dates throughout November and one into December for the other two cabinets which indicate the VDSL installation teams are seriously overstretched. Perhaps that’s the reason for the delay, especially as we know some connections will be tricky and would further illustrate the inadequacy of the current infrastructure in some places?

  21. David Nye says:

    There was a brief interruption to ADSL broadband service at 12:40 on 2nd November, which appears to have been when FTTC VDSL “Fibre” services were activated for cabinet (PCP) 18.

  22. David Nye says:

    Service Providers started to accept orders for lines connected to PCP 18 on 2nd November.

    Read my report on my own upgrade experience here.

  23. David Nye says:

    I recorded a welcome but puzzling 10% increase in my FTTC download speed last week (19/20th February). The IP profile increased from 4.45 to 4.95 between tests at 11am on those dates, and this increase has been sustained (now 5.03, with download speed test of 4.75 Mbps, previously 4.28). I did not change anything which might explain this. Did any other connections have an unexplained improvement at this time?

  24. Walter says:

    Hello David,

    I did adjust a particularly horrible unfiltered bell extension near you which might just be responsible for your improvement, although it’s unusual to find such changes affect adjacent lines.

    However I’m delighted to say the change increased the sync speed from around 250 Kbps to 2.05 Mbps on an older ADSL2 service. Perhaps at your line lengths it does indicate a significant reduction in noise and / or cross-talk levels ?

  25. David Nye says:

    I am still getting 4.75 Mbps; I wonder how much this could be further improved if all such unfiltered extensions etc. could be fixed between here and the cabinet? I am sure that, like us, many people have switched to cordless phones, but still have several extension sockets wired up. Disconnecting ours has not made any difference to our connection speed, but presumably a bad extension like the one you mention could potentially affect several connections. Can the cordless phone transmitters themselves interfere with broadband?

  26. Walter says:

    What needs to be done is a thorough investigation of the anomaly which results in such an unacceptable degradation of your lines’ performances when compared to your near neighbour with far better results; even though neither of you have anything approaching reliable Superfast performance.

    We believe much of this is due to the unacceptable quality of the aluminium alloy cable but nobody has persuaded BT Openreach to maintain your services adequately let alone to install ducts and new cables.

    Almost every long cable** suffers from the same types of difficulties at differing ranges from the PCP so it is not just a matter of line length. We all know that the infrastructure needs replacing with Fibre To The Home but nobody will accept that obligation nor will a commercial company compromise what they believe is the best interest of their shareholders but at the expense of the Nation.

    ** Horsham Lane, Somersbury Lane, Slythurst, Wykehurst, Coneyhurst, Ride Way, Warren, Moon Hall, Peaslake Road, Ockley Road & Holmbury & Holmbury Hill Roads, Lower Breach and the entire length of Barhatch Lane / Horseblock Hollow etc. In addition there are significant noise problems on the shorter central area cables resulting in very few being able to achieve the “Up to 76 Mbps” advertised.

  27. Walter says:

    It appears that BT are about to build a new concrete chamber 65 m SE of Woodlands entrance in Horsham Lane.

    http://roadworks.org/?u_se_id=30332844:1&lat=51.13239722&lng=-.41658308&t=b&auth=78CD9976-A95E-9ED8-D59752F0E2F30998

  28. David Nye says:

    FTTC services are no longer showing as available to order on lines tested, so it is likely that the initial capacity has now been used up, and must be expanded for cabinet 18.

  29. David Nye says:

    Now showing as available on 29-May-13 so I guess that confirms that expansion is needed, perhaps just the extra card to uplift capacity from 64 to 100 connections, if memory serves.

  30. Walter says:

    I am sorry to say I’ve come across two more “infinity” substandard installation faults. This note deals with the one in Larkfield where the BT Wholesale estimator suggests speeds of up to 41.5 download and 6.5 upload on a line length of under 700 m. The original house wiring had (yet again) been incorrectly modified. Leaving two master sockets and a further three extensions all with ring wires still connected. Unsurprisingly the line had been automatically capped at 15 Mbps download. The usual struggle ensued chatting on-line to India after a queue of 17 others were dealt with. As we had prepared all the evidence which we had uploaded we only had to remind Manmohan Singh once that he already had the BT speed test data. He said he tested the line but it did not cause the modem to resynchronise. He agreed that there was a fault and that BT would call us when they had investigated. A hour or so later the BT fault tracker reports that “Your fault should now be fixed” but it also says “Further diagnostic investigations are currently taking place. We will contact you as soon as possible to advise of progress.” Checking the broadband speed still shows an IP Profile of 14.52 Mbps which becomes the obvious capped rate of 15.0015 Mbps after the adjustment of 96.79 % is applied. We very much hope this time that BT will automatically reset the DLM (Dynamic Line Management) cap but we live with the expectation that they must vist site to confirm we have adjusted the house wiring.

  31. Walter says:

    After spending 80 minutes chatting and phone – calling India yesterday we have at long last stirred BT Openreach into some activity; but they don’t admit to the 15 Mbps sync speed cap. We have now arranged a BT visit appointment for next Thursday but only after we accepted BT’s threat to charge us £99 to improve** our house wiring if anything is found amiss. ** I.e. that charge covers the rectification of BT’s own installation blunders.

  32. Walter says:

    I am pleased to report that we now have a rock-solid speed of a mere 51.3 Mbps 7 days after the DLM reset. As the house is towards the top end of Larkfield, it is reasonable to expect that all Larkfield VDSL services should have sync speeds around 50 Mbps; unless you have the cheaper option which would limit the service to just under 40 Mbps.

    Here is an extract from the very happy resident after the BT Openreach engineer visit:-

    A proper BT engineer called Jonathan arrived on Thursday morning and spent about an hour here. He was very pleased with the wiring that you put in place and could find no fault with it at all. He acknowledged that the Infinity Engineer had made little effort to get it right and he said he would report this as all he seems to be doing at the moment is sorting out the mess left by subcontractors!

    He didn’t have the JDSU test instrument (but an EXFO one instead). I took photos of the screens that he worked through **. He was quite happy for me to take the photos.

    The broadband speed has shot up to a rather splendid 50Mbps.

    Walter, I can’t thank you enough. I shall keep monitoring the speed just to make sure BT don’t cap it again!

    ** I can forward anonymous photographs if anyone is interested. Please get in touch if you believe you have a substandard service.

  33. David Nye says:

    Fibre broadband orders should now be accepted again for lines connected to cabinet 18. I’m guessing that this has increased capacity from 64 to 100 connections. Walter reports that, once those have been taken, a new duct will probably be needed to make the remaining 28 connections on the second card available. This work will probably take several months, so anyone needing faster broadband quickly had better place their order now.

  34. David Nye says:

    Following the above reports on my speed test results in February and March, I experienced a drop to around 3.3 Mbps as discussed on another page. Last month, following the Horsham Lane cable cutting reported in another discussion, my IP Profile improved but speed test result did not. Having reported this to Plusnet, they “changed WP profile to match BT profile” and I now get a speed test result of 5.3 Mbps with IP Profile 5.6 Mbps. I’ll report back if this degrades again over time.

  35. David Nye says:

    I am pleased to report that my “fibre” broadband speed test results have remained remarkably stable at around 5.3 Mbps throughput, measured at 11am weekdays using http://speedtest.btwholesale.com/. My IP Profile had been static at 5.61 Mbps for over 2 months, then increased to 6.72 Mbps on 21st October, and has since remained between 6.6 and 6.8 Mbps. My distance from cabinet 18 is approaching 2 km. (The IP Profile, or bRAS, should closely reflect the modem sync speed, and is shown by the “diagnostic” test offered following the BT speed test.)

    The improvement since August appears to contradict the expected deterioration, which is usually observed as more lines are switched from ADSL to VDSL, and mainly caused by cross-talk on longer lines. Since the improvement started immediately after the repair reported above, I guess the most likely explanation is that a poor joint in my cable was replaced during the repair. We know that cables were mixed up, so it is also just possible that my line is now using a different “twisted pair” at some point. In either case, my experience may be indicative of what could be expected should Openreach agree to replace the Horsham Lane cable run.

  36. David Nye says:

    Since my IP/BRAS Profile has remained at around 6.7 Mbps since 21st October, I contacted Plusnet Support, requesting uplift of the Plusnet “WP” Profile to match (this appeared to be “stuck” at 5.5). I initially received a rather confused and unhelpful reply, but repeating my request resulted in an uplift of the WP Profile to 6.9. This allowed a worthwhile improvement in throughput since my last report, and the connection now regularly achieves over 6.5 Mbps using the BT Wholesale test at around 11am. This represents more than 20% increase in download speed and has been stable for over a month.

    I have been unable to find any evidence based explanation for this further improvement. One plausible theory is that the FTTC/modem equipment manufacturers provided Openreach with a firmware update which performs better for long lines.

    These recent improvements have sadly not increased the upload speed which remains at around 0.55 Mbps. Latency remains between 20 and 45 ms.

    Whilst for most FTTC fibre broadband customers 6.5 Mb download would seem unacceptable, in practice the improvement from my ADSL speed of 1.7 Mb has made an enormous difference to our online experience, and even the small improvement in upload from 0.3 Mb has improved productivity when working on client servers. Perhaps the big improvement in reliability would be even more significant for others. For us, the overall benefits have proved well worth the additional cost.

  37. Walter says:

    I am disappointed that BT have failed to anticipate the increase in VDSL FTTC service requirements for PCP 18. BT were still announcing availability as of 8th December 2013 but they are no longer doing so on 15 December.

    Assuming that they now have reached about 100 services, further tie cable sets are required in the single duct already jammed full. It will be necessary to re-excavate the area to provide a new duct at least from the joint chamber by the phone box back towards the road pit by the PCP. A further 28 services would them be available before expansion difficulties similar to PCP 20 are encountered which seem unresolved since mid July 2013.

    This yet again illustrates the woeful inadequacy of the commercial development BT installed in Ewhurst. BT continue installing only a single set of 100 pr tie cables throughout the “Superfast Surrey” area even on their Huawei 288 cabinets. E.g. PCP 1 Gomshall and 4 Albury from the Shere exchange. We understand that PCP 4 has well over 400 lines so we hope SCC will resolve these difficulties well in advance of the completion of the 100 th VDSL installation.

  38. Walter says:

    We are receiving reports that the BT availability checker is reporting quite ridiculous results in many places around Guildford and Cranleigh exchanges. We must assume that the database logic has been compromised somehow. (However Cabinet 20 is still reporting no VDSL services available, even if a service is already installed.)

  39. Walter says:

    As of 10:00 on 16 December 2013 the estimators now report VDSL availability, if your line is sufficiently good, for cabinets 6, 18 & 19. (Cabinet 20 now correctly reports no VDSL services are available for new customers.)

  40. David Nye says:

    In GU6 7SW (Horsham Lane, cab 18) I can only find one number now showing availability (not known if this already has FTTC). The 2 numbers I know with FTTC are showing no availability. A week ago I think at least 9 numbers were showing availability. Ten days ago I sent a complaint to Openreach about non-availability for a neighbour on the same pole. But this latest confusion is more likely to be related to the recent upgrade to show two speed ranges.

  41. David Nye says:

    The availability results for GU6 7SW seem to have reverted to their state as per 10 days ago i.e. the numbers on my pole are still returning nonsense, but other results look realistic.

  42. Walter says:

    I am delighted to report that, at long last, BT have seen some sense and have anticipated cabinet 18 running out of the 100 pair tie cable capacity. There is evidence on Plough Lane that last week they have installed (probably only) a single new duct between the road pit by the PCP green cabinet and the one in front of the telephone box.

    I happened to be passing PCP 18 when a Quinn engineer was attempting to connect a benighted VDSL user at the far end of Somersbury Lane. I observed that the existing 100 pr tie cables are very nearly all used. That confirms that the cabinet has had the second 64 channel line card installed at some stage in the past. A further 28 channels should be available unless any have failed and been condemned.

    It remains to be seen if BT install only a 50 pair set or whether they attempt a 100 pr set. As the single duct to the FTTC has two horizontal bends and one vertical it may prove difficult to jam the larger cables into the duct already containing four cables, unless the duct is re-excavated again.

    Once the 28 services are consumed the vexed question as for cabinet 20 will have to be tackled; it seems very difficult to upgrade and install the two additional cards and all the inter-connecting equipment necessary.

  43. Walter says:

    Sadly now into February and cabinet 18 has lost all trace of VDSL availability**, but at least the only wait now should be for BT to pull in a 100 pr and a 50 pr set of cables. If they DON’T do both, then whatever has prevented the cabinet 20 upgrade to 256 services affects this cabinet too.

    ** The checker says:-

    “FTTC is currently not available on this cabinet due to following reasons:- Sorry your cabinet is temporarily unavailable, capacity will be restored as soon as possible.”

    Whereas when BT are trying to hide the fact that a postcode area is too far to get any VDSL service, you only know as Fibre Multicast is falsely shown as being available even though no FTTC services are shown.

    I shudder to think what outcry will ensue when the public realise SCC has been duped into paying out taxpayers’ money for fully equipped cabinets but BT have skimped and “saved” money as they apparently can’t afford to install the full capacity in one go. There will obviously be a significant delay due to all the increased workload, followed by yet more delay to install a second cabinet because the FTTCs are the wrong size to match the PCP green cabinet capacities.

  44. Walter says:

    I noticed today that the BT Wholesale availability checker has been amended for cabinet 18 now estimating 5 March as an availability date, but N.B. “Where planned or expected availability dates are shown, these may be liable to change.” Let’s hope they don’t progress as cabinet 20′s have since mid July last year. However I suspect that the last 28 services are not available yet as BT only installed a 100 pair cable set.

    Perhaps we should encourage BT to start a “race to infinity” (as they did in Capel) for both cabinets 18 and 20.

  45. Walter says:

    As well as helping two off Walliswood PCP 1 in Horsham Lane (Just over the border) and now two in Peaslake, I’m attempting to rectify a horrible installation in Somersbury Lane off PCP 18 by the Green.

    Before describing the mess, may I reiterate that BT’s subcontractor-installers don’t carry any proper test equipment and aren’t interested in your house wiring in any case. Because of the much higher frequencies used, making the signal far more “fragile”, it is VITAL that your telephone line has only ONE master socket without any extensions before it and that the new modem must be connected directly to that filtered master socket. All extensions MUST be connected via slave sockets WITHOUT components inside and wires should ONLY be connected to pins 2 & 5 (i.e. the bell wires MUST be disconnected – but beware of any external bells.)

    Re Somersbury Lane, I arrived to find a disgruntled resident with his brand new VDSL service “hurtling” along at 3 Mbps download. After unscrambling a small birds-nest of internal wiring the speed increased to just below 5 mbps. We then spent over three weeks in convincing BT Retail and Openreach that there was a serious problem to solve. The engineer arrived last Thursday and discovered that the underground cable to the house was faulty but thankfully another pair was still in reasonable condition. However this did not cure all the problems. The engineer discovered that the new port on the line card was faulty; BUT we know there are no spare ports as the tie cable is totally full. We now have to wait for BT Openreach to replace the faulty line card, or the addition of the new tie cables.

    Perhaps this is yet another demonstration that this is the wrong technology as Peter Cochrane said on BBC Newsnight last Autumn. Very sadly this has all the hallmarks of a maintenance nightmare, especially with the twisted pair wires being in such poor condition in many places.

  46. Walter says:

    Re the Somersbury Lane debacle described above; I’m delighted to say that, after a horrendous struggle for over a month with about half a dozen BT Openreach visits, including TWO periods WITHOUT PHONE OR BROADBAND; Paul Sampson of Openreach cracked a difficult AC balance problem by removing a split pair (I.e. one wire from each of two twisted pairs **) the end user has now achieved a VDSL sync speed of 13.10 Mbps. Sadly the upload speed is no more than ADSL speeds at under 0.5 Mbps. This seems to be an over-enthusiastic action by the Dynamic Line Management logic as the end result ignores the real need for a better fraction of the total capacity. This situation highlights the vital need to examine the line’s performance and NOT to be fobbed off with the usual excuse that the line is too long.

    ** A good AC balance is absolutely vital particularly for VDSL services. We were alerted to the malfunction as we noticed that the service would synchronise as a G.DMT ADSL one for short periods rather than remaining on VDSL constantly.

  47. Walter says:

    Perhaps, due to the activities above, I can now report that VDSL services SEEM to be available again for Cabinet 18.

    We had heard that a user towards Larkfield was also in difficulties so we suspect a line card has been changed in the FTTCabinet thus freeing up a few faulty ports. It is possible that the additional tie cables have been pulled through the new duct (so painfully obvious with the horrible Plough Lane reinstatement) but I’ve not seen or heard of Openreach cable activity near the cabinets. As there is STILL only one duct from the Phone box pit to the FTTC, I expect it will be necessary to re-excavate the vertical bend by the FTTC to pull the new cables through; as happened with cabinet 19′s re-engineering. Note that these works will only make a further 28 services (maximum) available before yet more delays for FTTC equipment expansion is required.

    Do please let us know as we will be most grateful if anybody spots the cabling works.

  48. Walter says:

    Maybe the beautiful sunrise we had this morning has YET AGAIN affected the BT Wholesale availability checker which now reports at 17:07 on Fri 21 Feb 2014 that VDSL Broadband services ARE NO LONGER AVAILABLE for cabinet 18. We get the somewhat farcical note:-
    “FTTC is currently not available on this cabinet due to following reasons:- Sorry your cabinet is temporarily unavailable, capacity will be restored as soon as possible.”

    This stop / go pantomime leaves me doubting whether or not BT are actually planning to install the additional tie cables. How much more re-assuring it would be if BT gave a forecast date (with a credible contingency added if necessary) together with a simple job statement extracted from the project planning data.

  49. Walter says:

    The Wholesale Estimator has sprung back to life again now stating a date of 19 March 2014. Let us hope this time that we will see the tie cables being installed in the new duct quite soon.

  50. David Nye says:

    Phil noticed road works planned for yesterday/today, to install new duct. However, I have seen no sign of any works near the cabinet today.

  51. Walter says:

    The main duct from the pit by the phone box back to the PCP is already in, so the new roadworks are possibly to re-excavate the single duct into the FTTC and to pull hopefully 50 pr and 100 pr sets from the PCP to the FTTC and then add the additional IDC connector blocks and jumper cables ready for two extra line cards. If anyone sees activities please add the relevant details here. Observing how scarce Operating Expenditure is elsewhere, it’s not impossible that only one set of tie cables are pulled resulting in only a further 28 VDSL services available, less any faulty ports and bad wiring pairs.

  52. David Nye says:

    Cabinet 18 is showing availability at the moment, so get those orders in soon!

  53. Walter says:

    @ David,

    Perhaps you’d like to check your neighbour as I don’t observe any FTTC even exists for PCP 18 at present.

  54. David Nye says:

    Hi Walter, if you recall, Openreach admitted there is an error in the availability data for that line, but BT Retail were unable to help. That’s why I asked you to see if your contacts at Zen could do anything. It’s on the same DP as me, and was showing availability (4.6/0.9 Mbps) before the cable was cut last summer. ADSL speed is better than mine was (2.1/0.8 Mbps).

    4 other lines checked are showing availability at the moment.

  55. Walter says:

    Hi David,

    I am astonished that there was a promise that it would be available after 19 March until the service is now available – but not for your neighbour. I believe this problem has to be solved by BT Wholesale and I suspect the only way to contact them is via

    https://bt.custhelp.com/app/contact_email/c/4953

    or possibly by Tweeting BT @BTCare

  56. David Nye says:

    Plusnet recently accepted an order for FTTC “fibre” service to the far end of Horsham Lane with an estimate of 1.5 to 2 Mbps down, 0.9 Mbps up. The BT estimate for a neighbouring line is 1 to 3.1 Mbps. Installation date is 2nd May.

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