Calling all small ISPs: Fixing broadband faults

There is a big problem in the industry with broadband faults and getting them fixed. Some of this has leaked out to end users who get charged to fix broadband faults, but mostly it is the smaller ISPs buying from wholesale back-haul providers that are suffering and have been for years.

This video below explains it in terms of BT Wholesale, as of today. But this is just the current ploy with BTW. The issues exists with other carriers, and we even see moves to actually try and formally charge to fix faults for which the carrier is responsible (is that even legal?).

It has been going on for years, and has changed over time - with some crazy inventive logic like "engineer charge applies if he visually inspects the end user equipment" (i.e. looks at the router) and charge applies even if router is actually hidden away in a cupboard - that is how crazy it has been. You'll see from the video how bad it is getting now. Next year it will be some new stupidity, I am sure.

This needs sorting, and it may have to be sorted in a court to finally fix it. Like many smaller ISPs we challenge these invalid charges, and we always win. But if it went to court properly then every ISP ever charged incorrectly to fix faults going back at least 6 years (maybe more) could reclaim what they paid. I'm not after back dating the solution (as we have always been successful in every dispute of charges to fix faults, eventually) but it would be a blow if any case went to court. What I would like is this whole issue knocked on the head and sorted once and for all - each party in the the whole broadband Internet Access supply chain taking responsibility (including financial responsibility) for the part of the service they provide, simple as that. Not unfair or unreasonable - simple.

We have created a Facebook group called "Wholesale Broadband Buyers Forum". If you are an ISP buying from a wholesale provider, please apply to join. We want to encourage an open and frank discussion with you [Chatham House rule]. We want to solve the issue of paying to fix faults. We are happy to share arguments and techniques to get disputes resolved. We want to make working with back-haul carriers work for us, you, and them. We want to save everyone the hassle of these disputes. Some of this will mean wholesale carriers changing their ways and taking proper responsibility. Some will mean Openreach taking some responsibility. Some may even mean OFCOM and political public policy issues if that is what it takes. But it needs fixing or else broadband in the UK is doomed.

We are after people happy to engage in debate, and I cannot rule out meetings in pubs even...

Watch the video, and if you are a UK small ISP using carriers like BT Wholesale, Talk Talk Business, Vodafone, or others, please do apply to join the Facebook group.

P.S. we did try this before, with an actual (mutual) company and web site, but to be honest Facebook works well as a forum and means to discuss such things, so we are trying again. Thank you for your support.


  1. Well said. Couldn't be clearer. How could any sane individual see this any differently.

  2. We use BTW and TTB tails via an aggregate via our own LNS like you would with a FireBrick (we use Cisco LNS and FreeRADIUS pairs at the moment).

  3. Sounds like a good idea. I've told the chap I mentioned earlier.


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