FTTC Installations

We are aware of a number of sub-standard “fibre” broadband installations in the village. We strongly recommend that everyone checks the performance of their new  FTTC VDSL service, using the official BT test at http://speedtest.btwholesale.com/. If the location is in central Ewhurst and the download speed is less than 30 Mbps then please get in touch using our Contact form and we may be able to offer help in improving performance. Further details can be found in these comments.

Please will everyone with an actual download speed on a “fibre” service below 15 Mbps, or an estimated download speed for “WBC FTTC” below 15 Mbps, also get in touch. We need to report all such lines to BT Openreach, since it is below the performance expected by Surrey County Council.

Be especially careful if your “fibre” broadband installation goes ahead whilst the phone lines are dead. Whilst it is likely to be very welcome to get back online at this time, you will not be able to check that the engineer has reconnected your phone line properly. You will then need to log a fault when all other phone lines come back on.

Walter also reports that BT have still not yet completed the engineering repairs promised for Peaslake Road.

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8 Responses to FTTC Installations

  1. Walter says:

    Herewith an update on the four sub-standard VDSL Fibre services where the subcontractor installation engineer failed to examine and correct the house wiring.

    All four services have now had their house wiring changed to the optimum configuration. (This operation is usually done properly in the first place if your installation was completed by a BT Openreach engineer.)

    After the rewiring it is necessary to remove the automatically applied cap on the service. This can only be done as part of the BT Openreach Special Faults Investigation visit. The three services supplied via Zen Internet and PlusNet are all working very much faster now. The fourth service supplied via BT Retail has not had the cap removed but instead their repair service has suggested that the end users examine their own equipment. A formal complaint was raised yesterday to consumer.repair.complaints@bt.com but has yet to be acknowledged nor has the cap been removed.

    It is perhaps symptomatic of the monopoly that they seem oblivious of the restrictive practices they employ which must surely contravene advertising and trading standards ? As all these services were purchased on the”Up to 76 Mbps” VDSL product how can an artificial cap usually set at 19.99 Mbps be allowed to persist ? Why is it so difficult for a BT retail client to have their purchased speed restored when other ISPs succeed ?

    Caveat emptor suggests a transfer elsewhere might be the solution !

    I will be pleased to help anybody who thinks they have a sub-standard service. I reiterate that everyone in central Ewhurst should have a download throughput speed of at least 30 Mbps as shown with speed testers.

  2. David Nye says:

    The BT Wholesale Checker has recently been revamped and now reveals which cabinet you’re connected to.

  3. Walter says:

    However the wholesale checker just omits any mention of FTTC VDSL services for those with unsuitable cables such as at least 36 properties connected to cabinet 6 living up Barhatch Lane and beyond.

    So that everyone is fully aware it would help if the cabinet number also had a status added such as FTTC Enabled.

    That would help to inform the unfortunates and prompt investigation of other solutions.

  4. Walter says:

    I have to return to the substandard VDSL installations yet again. The fourth such installation was for a BT Retail supplied service. The Special Faults Investigation site visit was completed on Thursday January 15. The engineer’s notes clearly stated that the line was still capped at 20 Mbps and that the Dynamic Line Management (DLM)system for that line still required to be reset. It didn’t happen so we have (to date) raised four separate faults the latest being today. Apparently the last fault was cleared down without confirmation to the end user who is still waiting to get part of the service they are paying a premium for. It beggars belief – yet again – that BT insist there must be ANOTHER SITE VISIT for which the hapless end user has to WAIT A FURTHER S E V E N DAYS up to 20 th February before the cap can be removed.

    Meanwhile the FIFTH substandard VDSL installation has come to light in Moon Hall Road with a download speed less that 10 Mbps and “the Internet light keeps on disappearing”. The Indian call centre confirms there is a network fault on the line, as subcontract engineers do not carry the required test equipment. If that had been discovered at the time of installation a great deal of customer dissatisfaction would have been avoided and the repair load for BT Openreach engineers would reduce to more manageable proportions. This BT client only has to wait for 19 February for their SFI Visit.

    Do please ask if your master socket was not changed during the VDSL installation.

  5. Walter says:

    Here is an update on my 23 January report.

    I am relieved to say that at long last, after a second Openreach engineer visit, the cap has been removed providing an instant increase in sync speed from 20 Mbps to 37.93 Mbps. It is regrettable that this situation has persisted since the original sub-standard subcontractor installation in November 2012 and that it has taken visits on January 17 and today (20 February) to remove the artificial cap applied. The speed is now marginally worse that the next door house at 40.04 Mbps but both are a long cry from the up to 76 Mbps being paid for as the lines are around 1 Km from PCP 19.

  6. David Nye says:

    Well done Walter, thank you. I wonder how many others nationwide are getting only half their available service in similar circumstances, but without you to help sort it out!

    What were the estimates in these cases? If around 40 Mbps, why did they choose the faster service? For other benefits?

  7. Walter says:

    It is hardly surprising that BT Wholesale / Openreach do not publish their restrictive capping** practice for VDSL services, nor do they mention that the BT Openreach modems are locked down to prevent an end user seeing the data recorded on line performance. I.e BT Openreach can quite easily establish precisely how any VDSL line is performing. It should be relatively easy to obtain a report on all services from a particular cabinet too. I have never seen that information published either !

    ** BT are embarrassed if you eventually manage to speak to their level 2 support staff and insist that they do not cap a line but that a restriction is applied to poorly performing lines. They will also explain that line length is the (partial) reason for poor performance. They rarely mention line quality which is also crucial. On poor “noisy” lines the Dynamic Line Management logic automatically applies interleaving to reduce the number of errors but at the expense of much lower throughput. E.g. there is one line at the far end of Mapledrakes Road capped at 40 Mbps (as it is bought as an “up to 40 Mbps service) but rarely achieves a throughput speed of over 31 Mbps.

    Returning to your final question, perversely the slower performer was estimated at 51.1 Mbps and the faster at 44.8 Mbps. However some ISPs also limit the monthly data amount so a heavy user is obliged to buy the “faster” package just to get the throughput they require. Due to the obfuscation in arranging changes with some ISPs, I doubt that many will attempt to reduce their bills and they are unlikely to be reminded of the opportunity !

  8. Walter says:

    1. I have observed today another VDSL installation off cabinet 19 close to the Infant School. It currently achieves only a small margin over the 40 Mbps limit so it seems that anyone beyond say Hazlebank stores should not attempt the “up to 76 Mbps” service as their lines are too long, or of too poor a quality, to support the faster speed.

    2. Cabinet 20 seems to be at capacity at least until 26 February 2013 according to the BT Wholesale broadband checker. This is confirmed with yet another postponement from next Monday to Thursday 14 march. This is the second installation delay; the first was caused by the cable theft.

    3. Given the evidence above it suggests that either:-
    a replacement line card is to be fitted to recover services on at least two failed ports on the first line card.
    or:-
    BT are departing from their standard configuration to add a pair of 50 pair cables into the existing 57 m single duct and also the single duct from the joint pit into the PCP Green cabinet. If the latter is done then the final 28 ports from the second line card would become available once a second set of termination assemblies are fitted there.

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