The dreaded tie pair modification

Why is it less disruptive to change the telco we use for a broadband line than to get our favourite telco to actually fix a fault?

The answer is the dreaded tie pair modification or TPM.

The tie pair is a link from the main frame where the wires for your phone line get to the exchange building, to the DSLAM and back and then on to the phone exchange itself.

It is possible for this to be faulty, but not that common in our experience.

However, our favourite telco will use a TPM to rectify a fault some times. We find that on the whole faults are fixed by a random selection of a repair action rather than any logical diagnosis of the fault. That's just our view from what we see. But sadly it means that some times a TPM is chosen. We have seen several over Christmas. The cynic in me says that it is an easy fix as it gets rid of us (so they think) for 3 days which is after Christmas.

The problem is that this is done with no consultation. The first we hear is a fault update saying a TPM has been ordered and it will take 1-3 days.


WTF! Why? Apparently the process is to disable the existing (and typically mostly working) port immediately and then request an engineer move the service to a new port on the DSLAM (1-3 days) which is configured ready to work. So the line goes off for UP TO THREE DAYS.

Of course, there is no way to cancel this once it has been started.

But wait, it gets worse. We are told today that when they say "1-3 days" they mean "1-3 working days". WTF?!?! That could be 1 to 7 days in reality.

Bear in mind this is all for a fault repair process that is meant to fix faults within 40 hours.

So, I suspect this is the first of the broken parts of their fault process to tackle this year.
It is totally crazy.


  1. OK, so they've obviously annoyed you about this today - that means that they are working today, so Sunday is a working day for them. So if they work Sundays, then their definition of working days should also include Sundays!

  2. I wonder if there's something buried deep in the BT terms and conditions or the Ofcom rulebook which says that if BT deliberately cut somebody off when this was not required, they have to cough up some dosh.


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