Monday, 13 April 2015

BT: We'll fix a fault in 40 clock hours, unless it is because we did not invest in the network...

OK, that is my paraphrasing of the situation and not a direct quote, but what it seems to me is happening. I'll be delighted if our BT account manager has a better answer for us, and I'll be happy to publish that.

BT have an agreement to try and fix a broadband fault with 40 clock hours. Often they try to work to this.

But when their own back-haul network is, it seems, not fit for purpose, they'll not even try. We are being told "June" as when they plan to fix this.

It is a clear 21CN back-haul issue, latency in the evenings and even worse on Sunday. A failure of network planning and investment, even though we are paying by the Mb/s and so this actually loses them possible revenue!

As a BT shareholder I am disgusted.

Update: We have reported a fault, and as the line tests call come back fine BT have said we need to book an engineer to go and do the same line tests again, for a fee (an SFI2 engineer). We are explaining that the line is fine and hence such an engineer is pointless. I'll update on how far we get.

Update: We have noticed a slight change in attitude, in that even though the automation insists an SFI is the only option, the staff on echat are prepared to pass back to diagnostics when we point out that the line meets SIN349. The problem is that they then send it back as no fault found, and suggest an SFI again. We'll see how it goes.

Update: BT are being unusually helpful and trying to work with us to solve this issue and the whole SFI issue... Can't go in to details, but a surreal call with BT where I was having trouble believing that they were trying to be so pragmatic and helpful. Thanks to our account manager!

Update: I was dreaming - the main issue of SFIs is not yet something we have any progress on - I knew it was unbelievable. Oh well.


  1. I've never seen you talk about Talk Talk backhaul issues. Do they have their own backhaul or do they share with BT? And if they have their own, does it have enough capacity? Since we can't get FTTC on Talk Talk that ought to mean Talk Talk need less backhaul bandwidth, is that the case?

    1. Separate back-haul, and hopefully soon we can get FTTC on TalkTalk wholesale. It is one way to solve the BT back-haul issues in a simple way, we just need equivalent services which we nearly have.

  2. Is the specific case that you're referring to one of FTTC, adsl2+ or both? If adsl2+, why don't you permanently switch every customer affected to TalkTalk back-haul, thereby permanently removing some of BT's revenue?

    1. One stumbling block is the lack of a 3dB profile on TT ADSL2+, once we have that we have equiv ADSL2+ and plan to make it very much easier for people to switch over. I know most people will not want or need a 3dB profile, but it is a difference in what is available.

    2. It can definitely be useful - I forced my ADSL line to 3dB (2dB sometimes) as it was a long, high attenuation line which only achieved about 2Mbps on the default (typically 9dB) profile. However the SNR didn't vary very much over 24 hours so it was possible to squeeze the margin quite low without suffering drop outs. With a 3dB margin I got just over 3Mbps - not earth shattering but a 50% improvement.

      I have FTTC now, of course :)

    3. 3db profile from TT has been on the cards for at least 16 months, which is how long I've been with A&A. Will it ever appear?

    4. "... TTw 3dB profile ... Will it ever appear?"


      How many customers are being inconvenienced by the lack of a TTw 3dB profile? In the absence of a formal 3dB profile could they perhaps be helped in some way by the various router bodges that seem to have been tried and tested? Or is that sufficiently "non standard" that it's procedurally unattractive for AAISP ?

      Meanwhile, the BTw latency issues aren't going away, but moving affected customers to TTw might address the customer and ISP problem from two directions - (a) provide customers a backhaul that works (b) show BT (trading as BTwholesale) and other ISPs that alternatives to BTw are practical without full LLU.

  3. So in summary then, would it be fair to say that nothing much has improved since your "21cn not fit for purpose" post in February 2014 when you pointed out that AAISP were observing the effects of BTw backhaul congestion and that (at least initially) senior BT staff denied that was even possible?

    Or have I misunderstood?

    Still, at least by the miracle of the private sector, this bunch of cowboys aren't being given the benefit of any taxpayers money.

    What's that you say?


    Default supplier of broadband and telephony to the naive, ill-informed, and/or desperate?