/ Technology

Win! Auto-compensation for bad broadband and landline service

Broadband compensation

The telecoms regulator Ofcom has announced today that it will introduce automatic compensation for broadband and landline customers. Is this good news for you?

Today we’ve welcomed a huge win for our broadband campaign as Ofcom has revealed plans for automatic compensation to be introduced across the broadband and landline market.

Currently, BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet have signed up to this scheme. While these providers serve 90% of landline and broadband customers in the UK we want to see all providers signed up.

Auto-comp win

In recent years broadband has increasingly been seen as a third utility, and a vital one at that. People now value it just as much as energy or water. While expectations are rising, satisfaction is falling.

In our latest broadband customer satisfaction survey, only two providers achieved above the 70% satisfaction mark. And it would appear that the regulator would agree with this sentiment, it noted that that telecoms companies haven’t kept pace with customers’ needs when it comes down to the quality of service.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I will claim compensation when I believe I’m entitled to it. I submit for compensation for rail delays or problems on the tube, and I recently helped my parents claim compensation when their holiday was thrown into disarray in the British Airways IT meltdown.

There are, however, lots of people who don’t seek compensation when they deserve it. The process can be tedious and inaccessible and often people aren’t even aware what they are entitled to.

That’s why we have been campaigning for automatic compensation across a number of sectors, including the broadband and landline market. We believe that you’re let down by your provider, you should be adequately compensated without having to jump through hoops.

Well, Ofcom’s plans will see customers automatically compensated for slow repairs, missed appointments and delayed installations.

The automatic compensation will be a standard compensation amount across providers and come into effect in 15 months time. The regulator has outlined how this compensation scheme will work:

Getting better broadband

While today should be welcome news for those who are left frustrated by shoddy service from their broadband and landline provider, we need reassurance that all providers will play fair and sign up to this compensation scheme.

The regulator believes consumers will benefit from up to £142 million per year in automatic compensation payments, but fundamentally it’s important that this compensation acts as an incentive for providers improve their service levels and deliver genuinely better customer experience.

What do you make of today’s news? Is it a much needed boost for customer experience in the broadband market? Will it make lives easier for consumers to get the compensation they deserve and make providers smarten up on their customer service?

K Vasey says:
12 November 2017

August 2016 I found BT disconnected me as it said I had a new provider – NOT TRUE. Spent the next nine months without Broadband or a landline and as we have no mobile coverage where I live it was a nightmare. Spent over 33 hours sat in a layby either waiting to speak to BT or on hold, spent hours writing letters to which they never replied. Ombudsman intervened and finally after 5 months awarded me the princely sum of £34. They even disconnected someone else and when I rang they told me I had been reconnected so I rang my number and a very irate lady answered to tell me she had been on to BT and they had promised to rectify this problem. My biggest HATE – BT

Can’t explain why it took 9 months for you to get your line back but by the sounds of it, the initial issue of the line being disconnected was due to you being “Slammed”.

If you’d received a call from another provider and not agreed to anything, they sometimes still go ahead with the “order” and the process starts for your service to be transferred to them. Your current provider would’ve been informed of it & contacted you to confirm that you had placed the order……to allow you the chance of cancelling the request.

Unless when the order was placed by an advisor when checking the order the phone number the other person gave them did not match to the number on the systems, in this case the advisor who placed the order would then input your phone number into the order, so no confirmation would have been sent out (it would have gone to the customer placing the order), and you would be none the wiser until your service disconnects without reason. I have dealt with this issue before as an advisor and it has resulted in consumers losing their telephone numbers that they have had for years and years and have had to be issued another new telephone number. This is the one flaw in the whole system for sales advisors who have to be so careful not to “slam” someone else’s line. This could have been resolved much sooner than it was for you though, as the amount of time you had to wait was an absolute disgrace and given there’s no mobile telephone signal in your area and had no Broadband even the webhelp option wouldn’t have been a benefit to you.

Hussain Abosaly Mohamed says:
13 November 2017

Automatic compensation scheme would be more beneficial to subscribers had it been included for the fluctuations of download and upload speeds of broadband below a stipulated percentage.

That’s impossible to achieve Hussain due to many factors outwith the control of Openreach/ISP

|However Duncan, they do go out of their way to promise a minimum connection speed. if they know what they should be providing, surly if it drops below that speed for significant periods, then this is a breach of contract and would be penalised (or ‘compensated for’ under current UK contract law) for failure to for fill their contracted obligations. Most contracts, currently signed as part of your ‘acceptance of contract’ terms goes out of its way to relieve you of your normal rights under contract law to terminate the contract f they don’t even provide you with the service you carry on paying for. Mobile phone companies started this and not everyone realises that they have opted out of their normal rights.

Technically though… nightmare to prove and provide.

Well Mike you do have a point to a certain extent – BT for example give their contract details as -proving your speed is CONSTANTLY below the MINIMUM speed of the bundle you are allowed to drop back to the previous bundle OR you are allowed to change your ISP company at no cost to yourself . This applies to NON mobile ( land-line broadband ) Hussain talks about “fluctuations – you know that could mean many things and a lot of them apply to things like Wi-Fi and other types of faults relating to internal interference. No company in their right mind is going to compensate for that and if its proved to be your fault them charges will apply . This sounds like Brexit – wind the people up -split the country in half . I can see many irate poster’s on Which when Openreach/BT hit them hard with up-rated call-out charges . I know BT having worked for them if they think they are in the right it can go all the way to the High Court with very pricey Queens Councillors at £1000,s /hour . I have personally seen several guys lose not only their case but BT booted them off their network .

And it can be as innocuous as a faulty door system or the external security light. I heard of one story where the whole street was knocked out by a temperamental fluorescent sign at the corner shop – that took some tracking down. My own locale has had trouble with a farmer who refused to earth his electric fences every time he put them up – no matter how Openreach pleaded with him – until he invested in broadband himself and couldn’t get a stable connection!!! BT is not going to continue to compensate for something beyond their control and, if put in that position, they will simply turn around and say that they are unable to provide service.

13 November 2017

I am in the process of getting compensation from TALKTALK for slow broadband. I have to sent them print outs of three different speed checks from different times of the day ( average at the moment being 3.8 mspm ) and they have already agreed to compensate me. They are also giving me £10 off my bill for 6 months.

Sky halved my bill too, but not for the speeds, I’m getting, I complained about paying out so much a month and new contractee’s getting cheap deals. My B.B. is slow and I’m gonna do same as you with speed tests.

this is good news! but what do we do in the meantime?

can i claim compensation for the missed appointments i experienced last week?

If you push hard enough, yes. But, depending upon who your provider is, tears might have to be shed. 😉

Lucy Hawkes says:
13 November 2017

Its a start I suppose! I still think that we should only pay/be charged for what we recieve! I have to pay for 17G download and at the very best we get 9! Plus I have had to complain many times as the service is up and down like a yoyo! We are with BT by the way.

R Bolton King says:
13 November 2017

Fine provided that scheme automatically covers all providers big and small whether or not they have “signed up”

Maria says:
13 November 2017

This scheme is a step forward but it won’t include Kingston Communictions which have the monopoly in Hull !

Yes they do have the monopoly and that needs looking at but at the same time if you phone them with a problem you normally get to speak to a friendly LOCAL person.
Maybe I’m lucky but I don’t have any issues with them.

Cpt Steve Zodiac says:
13 November 2017

Its about time broadband suppliers were ‘punished for bare faced lying’.
We were recently contacted by our current supplier after we enquired about leaving.
I will mention no names as talk only spreads rumours and talk is cheap(sometimes or when not using a broadband supplier).

We were promised a FREE upgrade to our package, a PRICE REDUCTION, FREE INCLUDED TV PACKAGE and that our system would be moved over to a ‘fibre service which would give us a greatly increased ‘speed’.

WHOOPEE DO, after suffering years of extremely poor service and speed finally something worth having.

So you can imagine our utter disgust when the ‘change over’ finally went through, six weeks later, to find that our ‘speed’ actually went DOWN, we kept LOSING our service altogether which meant we could NOT have the TV service we were promised.

After months of complaining they finally gave in and sent us a ‘signal booster’, what an utter waste of time that was.
After more wasted phone calls and a request from us to get a ‘FULL BREAKDOWN’ of what the company were supposed to be providing we received a lot of paperwork from the company, well it beats talking.

After reading through most of this I came across a very enlightening section……

The provider will provide a ‘fibre service’ to the ‘EXCHANGE’ other services will stay the same.

In other words they offer you a ‘new fibre service’ but they ONLY INSTALL THE FIBRE CABLES TO THE TELEPHONE EXCHANGE THAT YOUR SERVICE GOES THROUGH.

This means that if the ‘lines from your exchange are still the antiquated ‘copper wires’ then that is how they remain and if like us you are ‘MILES FROM THE EXCHANGE YOUR SERVICE WILL NOT GET ANY BETTER’.

When I then spotted an engineer working on one of the ‘boxes’ near our property I went over and asked for his professional advice.
He told me that this was just ‘ONE’ of the many ways that this company, and others, were ‘FLOUTING THE REGULATIONS’ by stating that they would supply a ‘FIBRE SERVICE’ but then only using ‘existing fibre lines and ONLY to the relevant EXCHANGES’. He also stated that the ONLY way to GUARANTEE to get a fast service was to get a DISH.

When I challenged the supplying company they advised that I could have a ‘FIBRE CABLE LAID FROM THE EXCHANGE TO OUR HOUSE IF I PAID FOR THE INSTALLATION.

So after signing up to this NEW FIBRE SERVICE and getting an even worse service than before we are NOW TIED INTO A 2 YEAR CONTRACT THAT WILL COST US A RIDICULOUS AMOUNT TO CANCEL.

Before I go any further, to get a true measure of your broadband’s speed, you must check it from a computer connected to the router with a cable. Checking via the routers WiFi will always result in a speed slower than the lines maximum.

With Fibre Broadband the broadband equipment that’s normally in the exchange, is moved out to Openreach fibre enabled cabinets. It may be that Openreach haven’t provided a fibre cabinet that serves your property yet? If you are definitely on a Fibre service and the speed isn’t much better, then it may be that you’re a long way from that cabinet. Either that or the broadband is dropping out, which will cause the speed to reduce.

Lets get some detail Captain – are you saying you PAID for a fibre installation ? that only occurs when we are talking about FTTP NOT FTTC (green box ) If you payed for that then you have every right to be angry. Only a small number of companies operate that way one is B4RN you lay the fibre to your home from the nearest road they connect up. -great comp[any . Somehow I get the feeling that isn’t what you paid for /How fart does the fibre come from to the cabinet or to your home ? Please get back to discuss this. If you are a business BT will install FTTP on demand but it costs a lot.

Cpt Steve, when the same thing happened at mother’s I nagged her new supplier (not the same one) until they sent out an engineer. It wasn’t easy and, possibly for the first time ever, I had to accept that there might be a charge which, it not being my line, I couldn’t be certain wouldn’t pertain but the guy who turned up simply replaced the antiquated drop wire that had gone in when they first got the phone installed in 1971. The difference was night and day. From swinging a lead balloon we were cooking with gas!!

That isn’t strictly true Colin. Curious to find out just how much slower my Wi-Fi speeds were so that I could complain about where the master socket had been located, I ran the tests on my own equipment and found I get a faster speed using Wi-Fi than the ethernet cable that came supplied with the router. Needless to say, and with nothing I could complain about, I went with the faster option.

Well foxcliffe, I think you’re very lucky then, because the majority of the time, connecting wirelessly is slower.

For example, I have BT Infinity and do not live too far from the exchange. I have my laptop on a desk, with the router next to it. If I connect with a cable, I get a speed of around 74mb but wirelessly it’s around 20mb slower. I am also in Broadband fault diagnostics and deal with these issues every day. It would be interesting to check with another computer!

Oh I quite agree, Colin, I too was expecting a much slower speed when I ran the tests. I was just pointing it out because, there being nothing new under the sun, mine cannot be the only exception. It would be very interesting to find out just how exceptional this is. I would imagine it is influenced not only by the computer’s wireless adapter but the router’s chipset too (plus any obstacles in the way of course).

Unfortunately for me my other computer doesn’t have wireless so, when I am eliminating my own wiring as source of any fault, my options are to stand under the stairs or go wireless. Personally I don’t really appreciate spending the day stood under the stairs so the results were a pleasant, and very welcome, surprise.

With my old Speedtouch router there was little loss of speed using a wireless connection compared with using a cable, but that might be because I was on basic copper broadband (not FTTC) and had a speed of between 7 and 8Mbps. I’m now using FTTP and getting more than the 50Mbps I’m paying for on a wireless connection.

Significantly lower speed on a wireless connection is likely to be due to interference, assuming that the computer is well within range. It may be possible to change the channel on the router.

Foxcliffe -It is highly unusual to have a slower speed on a LAN cable but like everything else in life there is an engineering answer. You state you used the original LAN cable , have you tested its lop resistance ? I have spent a good part of my life both on audio cable work and RF cable work. All things being equal you could be using a cheap thin cable or its got minute damage , some cables have resistances of several ohms or more sometimes 1000,s of ohms . This will drastically slow things down as well as combine with the induction value of the cable to produce a resonance at a certain frequency hampering the signal still further. If you plan to test the loop resistance use ONLY a high quality – ZERO balance type .I am sure you know all about distance/ resistance on your land-line , the same thing applies to other fields. Do not use an analogue meter.

Foxcliffe – If wireless is working for you, would the simple solution to convert the second computer to wireless operation?

This is directly related to service from your ISP/telephone company . Take note all you BT customers using a BT landline when you go onto MY BT you will have trouble accessing your actual calls made + billing . As of this weekend BT have changed the layout and made it more difficult to reach. Because I had trouble seeing the actual calls rather than a big coloured circle I contacted BT today and , with the assistance of a member of staff (UK ) I was able to reach it , You now have to go through 4 stages to reach it and they have changed the layout hiding the buttons in unlikely places . Hope this helps some BT customers who cant reach their calls list. The assistant hadn’t been told either–it was news to him , he expected an email about it.

These things should not be happening in the first place so retrospective compensation shouldn’t be a necessity. No large company offers any customer service anymore, it’s as if customers are a pain once they have direct-debited your money.

Graham Lunow says:
13 November 2017

It is not possible for where we live to change from BT, as they provide the line. Our download speed is only 0.5mps, which is a disgrace. BT are not prepared to give us a better service because of the area we live in. I have been complaining to BT for broken service, no internet service and slow speed for the last 5 years. When I eventually spoke to someone from the “UK” not “India”, I was told that I should go try somewhere else for a better service. Firstly, this is most insulting, but WHY should we pay the same amount for only 0.5mps, where as friends of ours are getting a speed of 40mps and paying the same as us.
As a suggestion, BT should refund us 5 years of internet service that we have not received!!!!

It’s Openreach that actually provide and look after your line from the exchange & BT Wholesale do the same for the telephone and broadband equipment in the exchange. Going by your postcode, it would seem that you are a long way from the exchange, as the speed range BT Wholsale suggest you can attain is, between 1-3mb……this is only for devices connected to the router via a Ethernet cable. It you’re connecting wirelessly to the router, then the speed will be less.

So, it’s not that BT are refusing to provide you with a faster service, it’s more that they are unable to because of the distance you’re from the exchange. The only way you’ll get a faster speed over your telephone line is if Openreach provide a Fibre enabled green cabinet in your area.

As long as there are other Service Providers renting broadband equipment at your serving exchange, you are able to move to a different provider but, if you have BT sport etc, you may not be able to take them with you. Plus of course, the broadband speed will be much the same. Apart from the BT services you may have, the other plus point is their router…..it’s not a bad router and has a strong wifi signal.

Your friends are probably in an area that has a fibre cabinet (the green cabinets you see along the road) that serves their property and have been able to sign up for a fibre service…….there are two types…Upto 40/52mb or upto 80mb. With a fibre broadband the speed is dictated by the distance between the cabinet and your property….the greater the distance, the slower the broadband.

You could look in to having your broadband via the mobile network or satellite.

Whilst there may be no LLUs in your exchange, there are a number of companies that will provide a broadband service on BTs copper line (or fibre when it eventually gets there). I know this for certain because, in a similar situation, I was with Plusnet and my neighbour (I think) TalkTalk. Although BT have now brought their support department back onshore, Plusnet support is/was the best I have had dealings with (they have won a number of awards for excellence).
You would also, possibly, benefit from a change of router. ISP supplied equipment will never give a service to write home about. There are a number of routers designed specifically for better long line performance – all of them with a broadcom chip as far as I am aware but I am willing to be proven wrong about that if anyone else wants to chip in. I trebled my speed by changing routers (line length over 16k) although the faster router was less stable when a fault developed so I ended up settling on one that doubled my speed and was so stable it would almost maintain connection if it was unplugged from the phone socket 😉

This is good news for clients of the said signatories to the agreement. However, my ISP , EE, is not included in the list and they are not exactly small players. So when will they join the scheme?
Generally speaking, Broadband/phone is an area that does provide some technical issues. However, that is no excuse for any company to charge first class prices for third rate service. The more conglomerates we have to deal with the harder it becomes to get attention when we need help. I keep coming across problems of obstructive web sites where one can only deal with the issues the company highlights. Dealing with anything else is frustratingly difficult. The reason in my view is low calibre managerial control of the businesses that cause the most problems and that perhaps filters down the chain of command. If clients and shareholders are paying big bucks to leading business managers they should get efficient company controls and performance overall in return. Either that, or cut the stupendous salaries!

That would be too many chiefs and not enough indians then.

Sadly it is the guy on the front line who is taking the pay cut – all new Openreach engineers are being brought in at a pittance. No signs of cuts to the fatcats though.

With £180 million quid set to be paid out in compensation, expect bills to go up by at least that amount to cover it. Consumers (in general) always lose.

Ian, this is a consequence many overlook when begging for compensation. We all pay, and should consider the merits of compensation on this basis. Compensation should cover actual loss; indiscriminate compensation just wastes money.

We were on holiday in September and came back to find there had been a break in the water supply to our (large) area . With statutory compensation, because the break was unexpected (mains burst) and residents had not been given 24h notice, everyone will be given £30 of their next bill. The fact it gave us almost no inconvenience still rewarded us. That is the easy way out administratively, but wrong (in my view). Unforeseen events happen and we should be prepared to live with it. The water company was distributing free bottled water for the couple of days the supply was off, and were working round the clock to restore it. But clearly in these litigious days I am out of step. 🙁

I’m not sure who would decide on actual loss but I am convinced that it would be an expensive business.

One of the examples provided by Which? is £25 compensation if an engineer does not turn up for a scheduled appointment, or it is cancelled with less than 24-hours’ notice. I was in a similar position a couple of weeks ago when I received a call to say that an engineer would not be coming to change my meters because he was ill. I did not ask about compensation but merely moved the appointment to today and the job was done. I’m retired so it’s easy to arrange an appointment, but what if I had taken the time off work and learned that the job would have to be postponed?

The people that are most deserving of compensation are those who have repeated problems. We have had some examples in Conversations and I have met people who have had sustained problems. When I was a teenager, my mother asked for the telephone wiring in the street to be replaced because when it rained, the phone often became unusable. I suspect that the cost of the work was soon recouped because neither my parents or neighbours had to keep putting in complaints. I wonder if those in authority bother to listen to the engineers who understand the technical issues.

And as I keep saying Wavechange when it turns out after all the screaming + shouting for compensation the engineer turns up finds an internal fault of ANY sort which is beyond the Master socket no more -okay I wont charge you this time ,they will be drilled to hit hard and just watch the cost go through the roof. — Short term thinking . When I was with BT we ended up being lectured in hitting the customers with bills for call-outs on ppain of job loss. One secretary spilled coffee over her switchboard I let her off once but when it was opened up and checked -coffee stains. She did it again it cost the firm over £1000 as the firmware card was in the operators board.

You are preaching to the converted, Duncan. The rules are quite straightforward, logical and fair.

I’ve explained to friends the need to disconnect internal wiring, plug the router into the master socket and connect the computer with a cable before even thinking about reporting a speed or reliability problem. Sometimes I have taken my own computer round to eliminate the possibility of a computer problem.

Obviously there are some people who do suffer from repeated genuine problems and they are the ones that deserve compensation or preferably a solution that will put an end to the hassle.

I think 3 mobile broad band would do well to put its system under scrutiny my 5gb takes all its time just to come on line, but it is ok when it gets going, so come on 3, also give us a working phone number to get in touch
all the ones I have are no longer in use, and the one I was given at the 3 shop in the Gyle Centre Edinburgh is inactive and that was only last week. I am due an up grade soon but that is not the issue so 3 what you gona do about it.

Broadband is now as essential as water and energy to consumers, ” says Which? in a press release. Well, no it is not. Those who have no access to broadband, or choose not to have it, manage, but could not do without life’s real essentials. We can do without broadband but not without water or energy. I understand the comment, but we must be careful to keep such matters in perspective.

I would imagine that it largely depends on how ‘Consumer’ is defined.

Lisa M-M says:
15 November 2017

This new legislation doesn’t go far enough to protect consumers rights for broadband and its equipment that are supplied by these companies. Sky’s routers are not fit for purpose. The Power Supply Unit is internal, but is not shielded, so causes RF interference with its WiFi output. I wanted to use my own router (with and external shielded PSU)to connect and they said no, as it will be in breach of the contract I have with them.

That’s a good point LIsa , last time I checked BT routers were shielded and like you say BT only “allow ” their routers to be used for fibre Infinity .Use any other ? then don’t complain about any problems or you will be hit with a call-out charge.

I’m afraid it doesn’t make financial sense to issue customers with expensive routers, so a lot of them will be fairly basic. The BT router compares well but they do tend to lock them down to stop you using them with another provider.

One reason for a Service Provider not wanting you to use your own router is that they’re then unable to access your router remotely…..which is handy for fault diagnostics. If you know your Network Login details, you could probably configure your own router yourself.

Once the router warranty has passed, in the Service Providers eyes it often becomes yours, so if it goes wrong, they’ll ask you to pay to replace it. If you have your own router and a fault develops on your broadband, it’ll be up to you to get your router checked etc.

Ahh but, at that point, you can switch back to the BT router to prove your point that the fault is on their network and thus avoid the call-out charge. In fact anyone experiencing a fault who has their own router switched in should always swap them back over and see how well their service then works before ringing support.

Lisa, I am not with Sky so have no contractual obligation with them but, if you search the internet, there are lots who do yet have found a way to do what you had hoped to. However if you follow suit and then, at some date in the future, ring up to complain about your service it would be advisable to swap their router back in and see if you can replicate the same issue with that.

Patrick Taylor says:
16 November 2017

I do not agree with the latter half. The contratc to provide is for the service which you require their router for. If the router dies then it is up to them to replace it. I have had this argument with Virginmedia and won without recourse to even reading the original contract.

I believe it is a try-on by them against cutomers. I hope Which? legal can provide support to my position so the public can be aware of the position.

To make it clear from BT,s position , if your BT Home Hub router/modem has a genuine fault they will replace it free of charge, BUT if you are out of contract its yours and your liability. The built in modem is used for FTTC only . What other ISP,s do is up to them. All copper lines don’t need a modem and FTTH doesn’t need a modem so plug it into the socket relating to that on HH5 or later.

I have been on both sides of the Broadband ISP coin here, firstly I’ve been a consumer and secondly I have been a member of a telephone support team with (I won’t mention specifics) but one of the big 5 providers for BB. I have had many disciplinary actions taken against me when I have used discount codes to provide free routers when I wasn’t authorised to do so, from a consumer point of view I was doing the right thing and from a companies point of view it was the wrong thing, even though the consumer in question agreed to a new 12 month contract to get the free router with a 31 day cooling off period, which gave the consumer 31 days for me to arrange to solve the problem, first I sent the router 3-5 day delivery period, I also booked an engineer to visit the property to check for other issues after all the line tests I could do came back inconclusive, I also set up on the computer systems an initial complaint on the date of contact and left that complaint open until the problem was resolved, this giving me an exact timeline of the issues from start to finish to issue the relevant loss of service credit for the time the service was down. So I genuinely believed that I did the right thing from both my point of view of an advisor myself and for the consumer. I’m only posting this because I think that my actions in my job should be standard practice for all advisors as I know some just don’t bother because of the risk of repercussions to their job prospects. I’m going to stay anonymous in this discussion for obvious reasons but I hope that this message can get out and give consumers the rights and practises they deserve.

You sound a virtuous person ANON , all credit to you . I have been reprimanded for “helping ” customers and providing to much information .

I think it can depend on the size of the company you work for and how the department is run. I’ve worked for a corporate Telco who have been over zealous with disciplining staff for “poor” performance, when all they’re trying to do is do a good job and provide good customer service. I’ve also worked for a small reseller where they want you to charge for replacing a faulty router that’s out of the years warranty. Both times I went against company policy in an effort to provide a decent service to the customer.

I can understand that time is money & giving away routers may hit company profits but Service Providers need to find the right balance where they provide a decent service at a price that’s good value!

Easier said than done, maybe?

V. McManus says:
18 November 2017

It is about time that the whole of Norfolk had access to good broadband speeds, We are paying for a service that is letting us down. I long for the day when I never have to see the blue circle going round and round, waiting for connections…

V. Is this not helping? http://www.betterbroadbandnorfolk.co.uk/ Do you have access to fibre?

The problem with fibre, Malcolm, is you are paying extra for a supposedly better service that is either little better than your broadband should have been in the first place or way faster than the majority really require. I switched mother onto an apparently good deal on fibre that turned out to be a pig in a poke that doubled the costs through price increases over the 1st 3 months. I agree it was a tad faster but it was no more stable until I pressurised them into replacing the 50 year old drop wire – all I wanted them to do in the first place. Now it is stable at about 2/3rds the speed sold, so only slightly faster than the 20 meg the line was supposed to be giving on copper, but tied into the higher pricing structure. I wish I had simply stuck out for making them repair the old infrastructure.

According to that link 89% of Norfolk is doing great, it is the #% of the remaining 11% who are suffering dire speeds in that county and every other across the UK that is being hard done by – paying way over the odds for the privilege of being sat upon at speeds sometimes slower than dial-up!

You have to be careful when signing up for a fibre broadband service. Firstly you need to work out whether you really need the extra speed…..if you’re only doing general surfing, you don’t need fibre……unless your ADSL is really slow!

Next you should find out from you provider what speeds you will get…..it’s not guaranteed that your speed will be much faster…..depends on how far you are from the fibre enable Openreach green cabinet.

I’ve known some postcodes where the super fast fibre speed is not much different from the ADSL speed. Then there’s others where the top ADSL speed is around 3mb & the fibre is 65mb. It all depends whether you’re lucky enough to have a fibre cabinet close by.

With regards to reliability, there will be less copper wire making up a fibre broadband service (From exchange to cabinet) but it’s the “distribution” side of the cabinet, leading to your property, that’s likely to have the overhead cable which is prone to damage by weather, trees & passing high vehicles. So, if you’re out in the sticks, you’ll probably not notice a difference!

I can understand why the telecom companies were loath to wire up Norfolk and provide decent broadband. Many of its residents were hostile to the dualling of the A11 as far as the outskirts of Norwich. The county’s paying the price for its isolationist attitudes.

You have a point John in that the lack of infrastructure to many of those isolated areas increases the price exponentially . Many there will have to take advantage of the broadband radio cell communication companies or satellite broadband. I checked , yes there are wireless broadband available-WISP company . I also checked the fibre situation and I am looking at a map of Norfolk and 89 % of the area can get fast fibre – 24Mbps+

Yes the fibre was mis-sold but I took it in an effort to get the service improved as it had proven impossible to get an engineer out to look at the fault up to that time. Well really I took it because, in switching providers, it was the only deal that was mentioned and it never occurred to me at the time to pressurise for a copper deal since ongoing issues with that played a big part in the switch. I do believe it possible that the cabinet is some quarter to half a mile away and the exchange about four.

My own service is rural but the cable to my property, all in the greater scheme of things relatively recently replaced, runs underground up to the pole on the other side of the road. From there, my dropwire comes to another at the end of the garden and thence into the property in one single stretch. No trees nor much in the way of high-sided vehicles (other than the occasional bus or horse box) however there is weather aplenty and it does pass over the overhead power cables as it leaves the first pole. Plus it is a good three-quarters of a mile, possibly a tad more, to the cabinet so fibre is never going to be much better than most urban area customers experience for copper, maybe not even that good.

When you have FTTC Foxcliffe you are ,in effect, having the telephone exchange start at the cabinet and it ,normally, would be the distance from the cabinet to your home that counts . Saying that , noise , interference, etc would affect very long runs of exchange to cabinet lines .You have me worried though when you say the DP pole (black box on pole ) runs overhead wiring “over ” a power cable . There are strict laws about the distance that must be between them related to how high the voltage is . I take it its a step-down transformer used on an Electric Board pole ? so is the voltage 230V AC approx or is it higher . I am asking this as ,if the cables , even on a low voltage are inches from the telephone o/h wiring then induction can take place which gets worse in wet weather. A couple of span of dropwire to your house isn’t bad but ,as you say, if its old stuff DW 4 or so then its useless as they saved money by only copper plating the conductors and the metal wasn’t very good . The new stuff is good but its taken many MK numbers to get there , I think its up to DW no 16 or so . While there is B4RN in the North of England I am sure I came across another company in the South that , if you dig the ditches and lay the cable yourself they would connect you from the roadside . you would then have FTTH its a cheap option if you have the facilities.

And whilst the 4 miles between mother’s exchange and nearest cab may have little relevance to her fibre service it might as well have been in Timbuktu as far as her broadband performance on copper was concerned. But the problem there was certainly what was probably aluminium dropwire. On my own, we are talking of over 16k of up hill and down dale so I am inclined to suggest at least a little degradation will be observable even on fibre. What confuses me over that is ….. Given that when they laid the heavy duty copper there was a stretch at the halfway point where they couldn’t get permission to dig up the ground (under/over the local beck) or bridge or wherever the old cable ran through. There wasn’t enough space in the underground conduit to feed the new heavy duty cable through so that piece of old was coupled into the new. …. just how did they get the fibre across the beck or does that have a length of old copper running through its midsection too????

When my dropwire went in it was the bees knees – either 9 or 12 (I forget which now but seem to recall the next engineer to come along saying it was better than the cable feeding it at that time and bemoaning the difficulty of wiring it into yet another new wall socket). The OHP transformer is as far to the left as the DP is to the right and that DP pole looks to be a good 3-4′ higher than the OHP poles carrying the distribution cables along the road so I’d say there is at least the best part of a couple of feet clearance. Wherever you go around here both services are competing for airspace so there would likely be similar issues if the DW still came in through the front as it originally did – even if only in the actual entryway itself.

It was a local business that paid, in desperation, to have the fibre installed as the old copper could not provide the viable stable service their customers expected in this modern technological age. Whether they have fibre from the cabinet to their establishment I know not (though I think that they may) but the remainder of the village is now able to piggyback off their goodwill. As to FTTP here, even if it got down to the pole, there is a right of access and a road between myself and the DP, plus water and drainage, so I think it unlikely I’ll be out there digging ditches any time soon – even given that I have access to a little man and his excavator 🙂

Going back to a previous conversation on exchange equipment it was the marconi versus fujitsu DSLAMs we couldn’t name, with fujitsu being the stable gear for long lines and marconi the only equipment now available in the exchange. I was doing a bit of reading last night and came across another disgruntled plusnet customer (on community.plus.net /t5/Plusnet-Feedback/Why-I-have-left-Plusnet/td-p/1389353) complaining about getting disconnections every time the phone rang for an incoming call being a commonly known issue with marconi. And what have I spent the last ## years complaining about!! I know full well that there was a label on my fujitsu port saying ‘don’t touch’ yet somehow I was certainly back in marconi at the beginning of this year. Given my major complaint for most of those ## years had been the phone causing disconnects just how long had I been back there? And there was me blaming that inconsiderate copper thief for all my woes. I thought the transfer happened when I switched to BT as there is no doubt that there was a degradation of service at that juncture but I am now wondering, given the calibre of engineer I have had out in recent years, just how long ago the switch may have happened and how indeed had a lift and shift happened without my knowledge. I don’t doubt the issues were multivarious and there were definite improvements made on most, though certainly not all, occasions an engineer visited but that incoming call disconnect has gone on for so very, very long….. (More annoyingly openreach management threatened to have me disconnected for complaining about it 🙁 )

It was god of the business man paying for the fibre done under the Business deal of -Fibre on Demand , not available to the general public . As regards your long term fault that is hard to locate I do not change my opinion in any way from my previous diagnose .Every fault of that type where the external ringing current disconnects the line is caused by the common to me fault – Ringing on a Dis . Not only haver I located them in the overhead but in thje leasd-in- the DP box and at the cabinet . I cured the lot by renewal . Although I did not work in the UG squad in my day we transferred pairs everywhere , at the exccvhange-exchange to cabinet -” E ” side by going into the exchange test board and testing out to the cabinet. If it was faulty sticking a “Tone ” cable on another pair testing iyt out and going to the cabinet to see if I could pick it up -looping it called the exchange staff if they answered it was okay. Next Buzzing pairs between the cabinet and DP using an ex army oscillator and tone probe to pick it up at a pair at the DP . Next using a mweter to test from the DP to SUB looking for a capacitor “kick ” then ringing the sub from the Pole DP to test it if faulty then replacing the lot o/H + lead-in . Usually the protector was in the toilet and covered in green mould -replaced that and at that time checking the internal wiring for a fault and replacing it even if it was a mansion with a lot of wiring . The tests included checking for HLI/LI/Earthing s/c etc . This was done in rain/hail /snow . Things have changed and that isnt done now – Heath+Safety put paid to a lot of that and buzzing pairs no longer is part of the above ground engineers job -left to the UG. WE were tough in those days . This applied to my first two departments -installation and SA+LM divisions till I went to the CRAM group – call routing apparatus maintenance repairing business call-connect systems dressed in business suites with plastic brief case containing the tools. I was for a while on Special Faults division . I started in 72 with DW no 3 never heard off aluminium drop-wire wouldnt stand up to the weather, are you sure it wasn’t aluminium overhead cable ( multi-pair-poly cable ) which might be the case ? If I remember correctly it was a few years later that copper shot up in price and BT decided to try aluminium -abject failure -at least in my area I fully understand that BT lost Right of access to land and that permission has to be given to work on private land , that’s what held up BT in Wales too many overseas landowners -off-shore entities when they tried to install fibre . The reason you didn’t know you were transferred externally is that the UG construction Teed the cable so that service was kept running and the cut off the redundant piece.

The wire coming into the house looked like a piece of speaker cable (2 single core wires running side by side) but whether that is what came all the way from the pole, or just from the corner of the house, I couldn’t tell you.

With regard to the dropped connection on incoming calls there is another instance here on forums.thinkbroadband.com /btsupplier/4233352-sync-lost-on-incoming-call-on-20cn-marconi-exchange.html?vc=1. It isn’t the not knowing about the lift and shift that was the issue it was the being transferred at all after the manager insisted it should never be done and more than one engineer has assured me that the card was clearly marked as ‘do not touch’.

I have had one of the ‘older’ engineers clock off for the afternoon and hand the job back because it ‘looked like it was going to thunder and lighten’ on a clear sunny day, and young guys work through wind and hail to get the job done and then return the next day to be able to close the ticket.

That’s dropwire no 3 been obsolete for decades its terrible stuff plastic hardens-cracks rain gets in and chemical reaction occurs due to the DC current and the connection gets eaten away . If you have that stuff then no wonder you had problems but the question is why was it not replaced sooner ? as it would be the first thing I would do. I will stick to my opinion that the fault was “ringing out on a dis ” which is due to the ringing current causing the high resistance connection somewhere externally to increase in resistance even further causing a complete or very high resistance to stop operation of the phone . The cards might have an effect on the performance in high resistance lines if the current supplied broke down earlier than each other but that is a different fault . Under new Heath+Safety conditions slapped on BT many of the things I did as part of the job are now banned unless carried out using specialised equipment and a normal Openreach engineer does not do everything that I used to do.

The obsolete dropwire was on mother’s line. It wasn’t replaced because she wasn’t worried about her speed and didn’t want to go through the trouble of having engineers trampling around her house. Although I had informed her ISP what was causing the problem openreach, of course, won’t do anything on the outside, no matter how obviously in need of attention, without minute examination of all the internals they could find fault with first.

The cable has all been replaced and the old wire bypassed now but don’t get me started on the abominable service from that particular engineer.

Dianne Davies says:
24 November 2017

My sister in law had problems with her Virgin Media telephone. She is disabled and needs the phone to contact family for help. It took 4 days and was told she needs to get a form from Virgin and have the doctor sign it, the doctor wants £45 to do this. She has got a letter saying she is disabled but Virgin will not recognise it

That’s one thing you don’t get with lines running over the BT/Openreach network. With Openreach you are classed as a “Welfare case” if you meet certain criteria health wise and have no access to a mobile. You just flag it up to your Service Provider when logging a fault, they then raise the Welfare Case with Openreach & you then get preferential treatment and a quick response.

As Colin 1 says you can register with BT as handicapped and you get priority . As regards the £45 charge by the GP they are entitled to charge for what they consider non-urgent medical care/attention like ,for example , injections for overseas travel on holiday and some other forms . The GP must have thought it was not vital to your sister-in-law,s health. . VM want an official recognition from an authorised body -ie- the GP surgery or its possible the Social Work could provide one but it depends on VM T+C,s . What body provided the letter ? For the record BG will do the same thing as well so that you get priority service . BT might not be everybody’s “cup of tea ” but its got its good side and doesn’t trick or be unfair in cases like this . That’s why I am with BT .