Peaslake Road Line Faults

A new BT line fault report from Walter:

I am very sorry to report on an unacceptable situation yet again in Peaslake Road. Two residents have been seriously inconvenienced, and one has suffered serious business losses, due to the poor administration of repair procedures and fault processes. Quite clearly there is significant room for improvement and this will become even more important once we eventually have FTTC services available for some residents.

A fault was discovered in the 20 pair cable from DP 1027, at the lower end of Moon Hall Road, running back down Peaslake Road towards DP 1150 near the gas regulator kiosk. The first span was replaced with a 2 pair and a 4 pair cable with a temporary joint in a polythene bag, which now has water in it, at pole 1A. Unfortunately both Robins Wood and Rose Cottage were disconnected at 16:47 on 7 July 2012 without any enquiry, after the “repair”. Even worse is the fact that they are still disconnected 23 days later despite five faults being reported to BT. Four faults have all been automatically closed and the call divert removed without consultation with the residents. This leaves incoming calls “ringing” silently and no broadband services either.

Furthermore the BT line tester cannot detect an open circuit fault so allowing their systems to assume they have repaired the faults without any engineer visits. This results in the staff in India insisting each time that two different phones are plugged into the test socket within the master socket, thus disturbing the internal house wiring, before a new fault can be raised. Without any broadband connection and no call from BT, it is impossible to know that BT have automatically closed the faults and cancelled call redirects.

This part of the Ewhurst BT infrastructure is notorious for poor (or non-existent) broadband. It was for these reasons that we have tried three times to get BT to replace a loop via Moon Hall Road of 1.29 Km with the direct Peaslake Road route of 431 m with only 175 m requiring about four new poles in dense woodland. The AONB is not a valid excuse in this situation. Perhaps BT should reconsider this solution (of significant benefit to many residents) in compensation for their very poor service?

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10 Responses to Peaslake Road Line Faults

  1. Walter says:

    The chaos continues ! As it was Saturday 7 just before 17:00 when the lines were disconnected I suppose we must give BT the benefit of doubt on an emergency job. However what we have observed seems like gross incompetence. There are only 6 services and two were left disconnected despite the 5 faults being raised from India.

    The alarming thing is that the mayhem continues. On Tuesday BT managed to reconnect one pair as the feed had crossed wires but the correct phone number was discovered. The engineer would have connected the other pair but it wasn’t evident on any of the new pairs so it would have meant opening up the DP opposite Moon Hall Road which was outside his remit.

    Late last night I was assured that a second appointment had been booked for this Wednesday morning so I spent from 08:00 to 13:15 waiting for a non-event ! I discovered that the Thames Water telemetry had also been disconnected as they had to send a van out to investigate. (Yet more wasted resources.)

    On my return home and the usual waiting pantomime I was offered profuse Indian apologies. Indrajit assures me that the line will definitely be re-connected on the next visit. However it appears that the booking system is down now as I have to wait for a phone call tomorrow to say when BT can allocate an engineer.

    Once we have a the network properly restored in the wet polythene bag, we will then await the disruption caused when the correct aerial replacement cable is installed.

    It is becoming increasingly obvious that the BT network fault repair procedures are no longer fit for purpose. Given the sate of the network, the workload will only increase. It seems it is high time we made other arrangements for a much more reliable FTTP broadband solution.

  2. Walter says:

    Indrajit has now positively confirmed that an engineer will vist the property between 08:00 and 13:00 on Friday 3 August 2012. He has also categorically assured me that the fault will be corrected during this visit.

    After the earlier fiasco we have been trying to get full confirmation from the local engineers via our UK contacts but nothing has been received as of 17:03 on Thursday. It would be nice to think that somebody within the local BT Openreach team is taking this matter seriously as an urgent and long-overdue fault repair.

  3. Walter says:

    I arrived at the property at 07:50 on Friday 3rd and waited until 13:05 before ringing 0800800150 but this time, unlike previous calls when the automated system told me that I had been enquiring about my bill, it told me correctly, that I had been enquiring about a fault. After pressing 1 I was this time connected to Lillian Cousins in their Milton Keynes office. I was told that she would be my contact point for the duration of this incident. I was then instructed:-

    That she was not interested in the technical details as she wasn’t technical. I told her that BT had broken the “clothes line” on 7 July 2012 which she accepted seemingly with some disdain.

    She had just come on to her on-line duty hour (13:00 to 14:00) which would be followed by her one hour meal break (14:00 to 15:00) but assured me she would then ring back in the following hour (15:00 to 16:00) to inform me of any information she had obtained.

    She was not able to give me a call-back number without managerial authorisation and she was not able to make or receive text messages – this is vital in an area of poor mobile signal and no telephone service.

    I informed her that Mr Ian Livingston’s office had been alerted to this wholly unacceptable situation via the web link to this site.

    At 15:45 I was called by Lillian who told me that she had nothing to report as she had been waiting for over 20 minutes for a reply from Openreach. She gave me the Milton Keys call centre number although I’ve little doubt that others using it would be refused assistance before an event was flagged as urgent. She did say that the visiting engineer had knocked at the side gate but, unsurprisingly, did not get a reply. Meanwhile the main gates were wide open since 07:50 with my car prominently parked in the yard. Lilian told me that she did not dispute my statement. However at that time she was prepared to book the third Openreach visit appointment for Saturday afternoon.

    I was not present on Saturday as the resident took charge but I am relieved to say the phone line was restored and the broadband service achieved just over a half Mbps throughput. I also received an automated text message informing me of the successful repair. Note that at no time over my involvement did I receive any text messages from Openreach staff.

    I shall attempt to retain the current open faults until such time as the lash-up is replaced with properly engineered 20 pr replacement. This “Lead Task” job No. is
    TH9BJG47 with a ETG ID of PX588.

    If ever there was a warning of the upcoming catastrophe this must surely be a significant omen and most certainly it is not a unique example**. Surely, as a society, we cannot afford to allow these types events to continue? A partial remedy is available by choosing any other telephone service supplier. That solution usually provides much more efficient call centre responses and limits the BT involvement just to Openreach.

    I hope that DCMS, BDUK, Ofcom and politicians at all levels take note of this quite appalling mismanagement and that the BT Group will be prohibited from using State Aid for all asymmetric broadband services.

    ** I have myself witnessed the agony of a Gomshall resident in 2010 who lost her broadband connection. She made 33 calls to India, had 6 BT home visits and 5 new modems. I discovered that her service to the Shere exchange was near perfect. Once I had located the “Director of BT my help” things moved faster over the bank holiday. The authentication fault in the Kingston upon Thames Remote Access Server was corrected reasonably soon thereafter.
    (As a consequence of this experience the resident had to seek medical help.)

  4. Walter says:

    I thought you might like to see the results.

    This is the “lead Job” which should produce the replacement 20 pr cable replacement when BT Openreach feel inclined to complete the job.

    Any guesses how long this will have to last ?

  5. Walter says:

    Another week and some small progress has been made after another two engineer visits have reduced the line noise to some extent but still no line replacement nor even an apology yet from BT Openreach who now have a formal complaint to address.

    The first engineer visit replaced the polythene bag with a BT 66 box which is a little better and reduced the line noise to some extent. The second visit didn’t achieve very much although he did defy his vehicle tracking system walking three spans up to DP1027 to turn the joint sleeve the right way up and fix it temporarily there with cable ties. Despite BT Openreach being told by BT Retail Complaints that the redundant Line Protection Unit at the top of Moon Hall Road is still connected, the Openreach engineer was not charged with investigating it. Worse still, because of this, he couldn’t risk a severe reprimand by letting the vehicle tracking system know his van was parked there ! There can be little doubt that the micromanagement of the field staff is actually destroying the network’s integrity. How and when can the BT Group be brought to their senses ? Yet it is these same staff, once they have been trained, who are responsible for installing the new VDSL modems; but not around this area as the BT checkers will not offer those services on the poorer performing lines.

  6. Walter says:

    I am now informed by the BT Retail complaints department that the offending cables are to be replaced on Sunday 9 September. As there are traffic control implications, it is reasonable that Openreach are given sufficient time to lodge their intentions with the Highways authority. We shall continue to monitor the web site for confirmation of the activities. I have requested that Openreach provide details of their work packages for that day. I have asked that, as a minimum:-

    1. The affected poles are inspected and their inspection dates updated or, in the case of the 1946 pole 1A that it is replaced.

    2. That a good quality larger overhead catenary wire cable providing some spare pairs is installed, perhaps up to a 20 pair 0.9 mm dia. wire cable to match the original one.

    3. That the cable and all active services are fully tested including for broadband noise characteristics. Furthermore that the maximum possible noise immunity is engineered into the implementation.

    4. That the decommissioned Line Protection Unit at the Ride Way end of Moon Hall Road is completely removed from all twisted pair circuits, thereby removing harmful (for broadband) bridged tap conditions.

    5. That we will monitor the broadband performance as soon as the new cable is properly connected for the three broadband services.

    6. That the Thames Water telemetry pair is carefully monitored for noise transmissions and investigated should it (or the Kiosk) be producing excessive noise.

    7. That Openreach either remove the new poles (in an AONB) towards Woolpit Farm that have never been used or they complete the planned diversion from the existing route.

    I have also asked if Openreach would co-operate with us to provide a much “quieter” cable directly via Peaslake Road probably down to the Coneyhurst Road joint pit.

    I am to be informed in more detail as information is made available. I also understand that the Chairman’s Office is taking an active interest in our situation.

  7. Walter says:

    There’s still no real new, nor have the promised works on Sunday 9 September been advertised on the SCC web site.

    (Note the page numbers may change for Ewhurst as lists expand or contract.)

    Possibly the delay is caused by some rivalry between the supposedly independent Openreach division and the rest of BT.

    We have a little more frustration with Openreach answering the complaint BT Retail raised upon our behalf, with a complete refusal to discuss matters. I find this quite grotesque as we are trying to help them implement lasting remedial works and yet they won’t discuss their serious malfunctions and difficulties.


    Date: 29 August 2012 15:11:57 GMT+01:00
    Subject: FW: I want to raise a concern on poor making good of worksites (i.e. things not put back as they were before the work started)

    Dear Mr Wilcox

    I am sorry to hear about the problems you have experienced.

    Unfortunately, Openreach cannot help you direct as all matters relating to a fault, order, recent visits by Openreach engineers or your telephone service must be directed to

    your Service Provider (the people you pay your telephone or broadband bill to).

    They will then contact Openreach on your behalf, should this be required.

    Meanwhile, if you need any further assistance, please e-mail

    Please include any reference number you may have, in your e-mail.

    Thanks and regards

    George Joseph

    Complaints Management Team


    Openreach installs, services, supports and maintains the wiring, fibres and connections which link tens of millions of homes and businesses in Britain to their Communications Providers’ networks.

  8. Walter says:

    As one of the lines was very noisy even at audio levels yet, another BT Openreach fault was raised which resulted in a slightly better third repair to the temporary joint with a BT 66 box. The engineer also walked three spans up to fix the inverted joint sleeve at DP 1027 with temporary cable ties. As this inverted joint sleeve will form a very effective rain water container can I ask everyone to report when the sleeve becomes inverted again as it seems BT Openreach are incapable of providing a proper sleeve retaining mechanism.

    We are VERY disappointed that, despite our clear instructions BT have not yet removed the line protection unit from the first pole in Moon Hall Road. Bridge tap conditions have a detrimental effect on broadband services and even more so on the much higher frequency VDSL signals associated with the new FTTC services. The visiting engineer was not allowed to visit the Moon Hall site as his vehicle tracking system prohibits him for all non-specified work.

    We are quite astonished that, despite assurances from the BT Retail complaints department, BT Openreach did not show up to provide the promised permanent repair on Sunday 9 September.

    As BT Openreach could not afford to install two 4 pr temporary cables (At an additional cost of around £10.00) we still have six services without any spares and two poles with expired inspection dates. As BT Openreach do not have inspection dates available, any visiting engineer discovers that he is unable to do any overhead work without a platform lift which also requires traffic lights in this confined section of the bus route.

    Currently we are left without any repair date for the six services which include a rapid response telecontrol line to the Thames Water plant, a small business with one of the worst broadband services I have observed

    and two other sub 1 Mbps ADSL services, one of which is used by a Recruitment Consultant for phone and broadband. Unsurprisingly the Consultant spends much of his time commuting to have secure communications.

    With this standard of BT Openreach plant maintenance we have to question the viability of any of the VDSL services more than say 500 m from the green cabinet.

  9. Walter says:

    It appears that at long last the lash up started on july 7 in Peaslake Road is to be permanently repaired on Tuesday and Wednesday 15th and 16th of January 2013, but traffic will only be stopped out of normal working hours. We were told that these works were to be completed on Sunday 15 September, but no reason has been provided for the cancellation and further delay. Until that time there are no spare pairs available should a new fault develop.

    N.B. during this time all 6 services will be interrupted at some point, including the Thames Water telemetry link.


    From 15 January 2013 to 16 January 2013

    British Telecommunications plc
    Scale of works:
    Site location:
    Overhead cable renewal to Restore Service – cabling vehicle will block road during off peak working hours only.
    Traffic management

    We very much hope that all the items listed in 1 – 7 above will be completed also, unless they have been attended to already.


  10. Walter says:

    Very sadly I have to report that the problem cured last year for a resident near the Thames Water Moon hall Pumping Station in Peaslake Road has reappeared. After the usual long discussions about house wiring, a BT Openreach appointment was arranged for Friday 9 August. We reminded the engineer about the RF3 filter fitted to the Thames Water ISDN line only to discover the filter discarded on the ground. Apparently there was a fault on the ISDN line so the filter was removed ! Now it has been replaced the VDSL service is better again but we have requested that BT disconnect the ISDN service until such time as the noise source into the phone lines has been removed.

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