Brick wall BT

Hurry up and build that wall, Trump, I want to bang my head against it as it would be easier than BT...

So, simple BT fault, suspected issue on fibre back-haul from an FTTC cab, started after MSO, so probably damaged to dirty fibre. Not a complicated fault at all.

Symptoms are idle levels of packet loss all day, sometimes peaking to 20%, that is shitty!

The dialogue sort of goes back and forth, but we finally go somewhere, after escalation, with a clear statement from BT:

'We have run diagnostics and can see numerous code violations which will require an engineer to liaise with 2nd line DCoE if the fibre escalation team are unable to assist.'

That is pretty clear, so we ask them to fix it.
  • Us: Please fix the fault.
  • BT: You need to book an SFI
  • Us: An SFI is an optional service to check the metallic path to SIN349, nothing wrong with the metallic path here, so silly, just fix it
  • BT: No, you have to book an SFI, that is the process
  • Us: OK, what is the process for fixing this fault without ordering an optional service.
  • BT: There is no other process
  • Us: Are you really saying BT have no process to fix this fault without ordering an optional extra service - if so that is breach of contract as contract says you will investigate and fix faults
  • BT: We don't see a BT fault
  • Us: OK, so you are saying a line with constant loss peaking at 20% is acceptable, is that the formal standard BT work to?
  • Us: What actual investigation did you do, and to what standard or reference did you test the line so as to decide there was no fault?
  • BT: If you want us to investigate the fault report you raised further then please book an SFI
  • Us: No, the contract says you will investigate and fix faults, are you refusing to?
  • Us: Repeat of questions about this being "not faulty" at 20% loss?
I'll add some more as it goes. But it goes round in circles.

Either BT

(a) consider this to be acceptable level of service, in which case, especially with ideas of universal broadband service obligations and automatic compensation, we need to take this up with OFCOM, BIS, and the Digital Economy Bill parliamentary committee as a matter of urgency.

(b) accept that this is a fault and BT are breaking contract by refusing to investigate and fix it.

BT just need to pick one and stick with that story to the end. Either that or just damn well fix the fault!


  1. Proceed with legal proceedings for beach of contract alongside notifying Ofcom then post the follow up conversation here.

  2. And herein lies the issue. There appears to be no mechanism within BT to get non-PSTN Line faults fixed at all, eg Broadband service issues.

    If you book SFI and the PSTN Service meets the SIN, then they'll conclude no issue, regardless of how broken the broadband part is.

    If you don't book SFI (because you know it only exists for fixing PSTN service issues you don't have) then you reach the brick wall.

    There doesn't seem to be any way to get an actual fault with the broadband service fixed when it is one customer and not an issue affecting a huge area in a noticeable way. Even then... sigh...

    You're not alone with this type of madness.

  3. In my experience, the only thing worse than dealing with BT is dealing with Updata.

  4. This is the sort of thing I'd put to the QA eChat desk, they're more likely to get traction on this than the standard break/fix desk.

    1. Escalated and this is response from senior BT people not the normal support desks.

  5. Please forgive my logic, but
    i) how is an "optional" service a mandatory step?
    ii) This is backwards, surely you raise a fault report, they investigate, then if they find the problem is not in their remite e.g. internal wiring - then they charge?

    I'm just trying to imagine this with any other service.
    Customer: My Sky box that I'm renting from your isn't working, I swapped with my neighbours and it doesn't work at his house, but his works at mine.
    Sky: Pay us £150 and we'll investigate.

    Customer: I have no water at my property, a plumber had a look and said the problem isn't in the house.
    Water co: Pay us £150 and we'll investigate.

    Customer: I bought this bouncy ball from your website, when I received it it had a hole in it.
    Amazon: Pay us £150 and we'll investigate.

    This is pure insanity....

    1. Sorry but it is way worse than that. It is not "pay us £150 and we'll investigate". They define the Special Faults Investigation service in BT Wholesale as a service to check the line meets the metallic path specification (SIN349). It is not defined by them as a service to investigate or fix a broadband fault (could not really be, as that is something contract requires them to do already). So it is "Amazon: Pay us £150 and we'll check the box had the right address label on it"

    2. As RevK already says, it's worse.

      It's more like:

      I bought a bouncy ball and bat set from your site, when I received it the ball is fine, but the bat is broken.

      Pay us £150 (if only that little with various options), and we'll check the ball is OK

      But I said the ball is fine, it's the bat.

      OK well we can investigate for a problem with your ball.

      But the ball IS OK

      So you don't want any help?

      I do, but for the BAT

      OK well you can take the "special fault investigation" service - and we'll take a look at the ball.


  6. Dear Ofcom, BT is not fit for purpose.

  7. Probably not relevant in this case, but does it get easier if you have two customers on the same cabinet showing the same issue, or do they try to tell you to order SFI for both lines?

    1. Happens occasionally, and can help, but yes they will often tell us to book two SFIs.

  8. Out of interest at what point does it become a network fault rather than a customer fault? If it's beyond the cabinet modem then is definitely beyond the metallic path and almost certainly affects multiple customer lines, I assume BT does not require a SFI for every tree that falls on a line, so they must have some fault raising procedure for proactive network fixes. This sounds like it needs someone senior enough to say "Hmm AAISP have been right about faults 95% of the time, why not do some proactive maintenance". Alas BT's own size and excessive layers of management seems to get in the way of sensible business decisions like that.

    1. Largely due to work on our part some years ago, they do have a pro-active faults team to handle network faults. However, they are not good at handling it when we only have a handful of lines affected, even if it is crystal clear it is a network fault.

  9. I've had a similar fault to that one shown above, except mine has been completely cutting out rather than just lossy.
    I've had at least 8 if not 10 engineers come out. Many of them have said, it's not an SFI you want it's a broadband boost engineer.
    So it's worse than you say, because it's not just order an optional service to fix a fault. It's order the optional service, only to be told that the optional service you've ordered is the wrong one.
    After the 4th or 5th engineer visit I ordered a second line because I lost all faith in getting this fault fixed.

    1. I had a Sky FTTC line that would drop out and then only work if you plugged a phone in and make a call, They swapped pairs.etc and I suspect a fault on the R-Dslam port, either a bad internal connection or a faulty filter.

      In the end after what I think was 6 openreach engineers and not one of them performing a lift and shift I told Sky to let me out the contract. (Which to their credit they did)

      I've still not ordered another line to replace it incase I get the same fault on the new one (It was my backup line)

      There seems to be no process within BT/Openreach to even look at the fault history and perform a logical diagnostic process based on what's already been tried.

  10. And this is why I've given up on trying to get issues on my 2x (non-AAISP) xDSL services sorted. ADSL that used to sync around 19/2 dropped with no explanation to about 9Mb/s but upstream is still fine. And FTTC on the other has a voice fault but since it's intermittent..... *sigh*

    1. Mine line is AAISP and I have been told that a lower synch speed don't count as a fault if it is within the specified service range.
      Openreach are the common factor!!

    2. There are two reasons for sync speed to be low. One is "you canna change the laws of physics captain!" in that DSL adapts to the length and characteristics of the line and it is exactly what the technology can achieve in that case. The other is that there is some fault which has resulted in an unnecessary change of the lines chafacteristics that could be "fixed". The main reference we have to live within his the forecast speed based on the line length.

  11. Oh & also have an issue on a work line at the moment - clearly showing an alarm light on their fibre into their NTE - 4 days to get an engineer visit allocated with a threat to charge if a fault found on our side...

    1. This is why AAISP are good - they'd fight such a charge for you (on the grounds that there's clearly a fault on their side and any additional things they might find on your side are not something they were asked to fix).


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