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Been disconnected for 4 weeks; originally reported line problem on 16 May!!!!

kvasir
Dabbler
Posts: 16
Registered: 19-09-2015

Been disconnected for 4 weeks; originally reported line problem on 16 May!!!!

Hi,
We lost our ADSL connection nearly 4 weeks ago - since then, we have been permanently disconnected.
Before this, we had average line-speeds averaging 0.2 MB/S for for the preceding 4 months. We have had three visits from BT engineers, plus two more cancelled one, and are now trying to book our 4th actual appointment.
We have been trying to get help since the 16th May; there have been over a dozen support questions closed so-far. Highlights include 233385408, 236923584, 108206716, 108400955; 108423571; 240791790; 110337600; 110376327; 244099270; 111179108.
The mother-lode is this one: 108424228, of which a PDF copy is attached to this post. Watch out, it is 14 pages long!
Importantly, the line worked well for over a year before these problems began.
The duration of the problem makes it challenging to summarize. However, i believe the two key points are:
1. The original problem
The line suffers from intermittent instability: hundreds of disconnections within a few hours of each other, every couple of days. This leads the exchange to reduce our speed profile, whilst its recurrence means we never rise again through the speed-ratings. The short-term fix is to re-set the line, and this has been done a few times, but this simply buys a little time.
This is what it looks like - note the long-periods of sustained disconnection.

This instability was suggested by one of the engineers to result from tree branches touching the line: wind causes the intermittent disconnections, and explains the lack of regularity in the disconnections. Resolving this requires a new line, but this couldn't be done when he visited because the pole had not been inspected. He proposed returning to address this, and to re-locate our master socket to the inside of the house.
The same engineer also identified a fault in the line leading to our village, and proposed to change this. It is unclear from the log whether a follow-up visit ever took place.
2. The additional problem
We are connected to the exchange, as confirmed by two engineers, but we are unable to connect using the test login: bt_test@startup_domain. This means that there is a physical connection, but we are unable to authenticate. Plusnet's Liam tells me this cannot be investigated by BT Openreach until they resolve the first issue. However, even a slow connection is an important qualitative improvement over its complete absence!
The Bottom Line.
These issues has so-far been subject to a dozen separate questions, spanning 5 months, and more phone-calls than i can count: we are not making any progress.
During this period, we have paid Plusnet £338.53, but had no usable internet connection.
In desperation, i am hoping that making this situation more public might mean it gets the attention it needs to get sorted........
Crawf
dick:Green PDF removed to an area accessible to PN staff as it breaches a forum rule.
18 REPLIES
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 11,562
Thanks: 2,979
Fixes: 22
Registered: 22-08-2007

Re: Been disconnected for 4 weeks; originally reported line problem on 16 May!!!!

Hi,
A warm welcome to the forums.  I feel for your problem - it looks like you have major issues with the BT circuits in the area.  Tree cutting is going to be required, which from personal experience can be a protracted activity, especially if there are electric wires also on the poles.
Unfortunately what a well intended BTOR field engineer says they will do (or needs to be done) is quite different to what BTOR's back room pen pushers will actually sanction.
The esclation routes open to PlusNET are limited.  You can help open other esclation channels by writing a letter of complaint direct to the CEO of BTOR asking why it is taking so long for them to fix their infrastructure.
PlusNET will sort out the payments made whilst you have had no service, but not until it is fixed.  Given the sizeable sum involved here, one wonders if there is a case (and the means) to suspend billing until the line is repaired?
Brandscill
Grafter
Posts: 96
Thanks: 2
Registered: 25-05-2015

Re: Been disconnected for 4 weeks; originally reported line problem on 16 May!!!!

I think if the original problem was reported on the 16th may and nothing has been done then you should do as Townman suggests and email the CEO of Plusnet and BTOR. You can find their addresses here http://www.ceoemail.com
My friend had to email the Plusnet CEO when BTOR connected him with the wrong exchange and from there things began to move. It still took 3 weeks to resolve but at least it got resolved.
kvasir
Dabbler
Posts: 16
Registered: 19-09-2015

Re: Been disconnected for 4 weeks; originally reported line problem on 16 May!!!!

Hi,
Thanks for the suggestions, will get onto ASAP, and let folks know how i get on. Seems absolutely incredible how one has to take such exceptional steps simply to get something to work!!!
Crawf
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 5,334
Thanks: 486
Fixes: 181
Registered: 01-01-2012

Re: Been disconnected for 4 weeks; originally reported line problem on 16 May!!!!

Sorry to hear about the issues your having.
I can see we've booked a engineer to go out tomorrow.
Our faults team will pick that up as soon as we can.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Matthew Wheeler
 Plusnet Help Team
kvasir
Dabbler
Posts: 16
Registered: 19-09-2015

Re: Been disconnected for 4 weeks; originally reported line problem on 16 May!!!!

Hi,
The engineer didn't turn up. Third time they've missed an appointment!!!
I waited at the house until 7pm, but no phone-call from Plusnet, Openreach or the engineer. Experience tells - this is the sixth time i've had an engineer appointment - me that i will get a phone-call in a day or so from Plusnet offering a casual apology *, and proposing that i take another day off work. Since this began i have taken five days off work - most of my holiday allowance! Having a shattering effect on work. Serisouly, what sort of jobs do they think people have?!
Of course, none of this has got us any closer to sorting the problem. It has now been five months.
At least, it hasn't got us closer to sorting the problem in my perception. In the view of Plusnet all is good: i got an automated text telling me that my problem/question would soon be closed, unless i contacted them again. When you do try and text back, only a low proportion of the messages get delivered. That came a 17.46, in the final moments that the engineer could have appeared. The computer alogorithm clearly appreciates irony.
Still, in other news i have at least emailed the CEO of Openreach describing the problem - copying in the CEOs of the wider BT Group, Plusnet, and as many consumer affairs organisations as i could think of. Don't suppose i'll get a reply, but if you've ever had something you want to bring to the attention of these folks now is your opportunity: i included a link to this post!!
In the spirit on common adversity, will keep posting on here how i get on.......
Crawf
** The first time they missed the appointment i was really annoyed and they offered me a £25 gesture of goodwill. The second time the appointment was missed the guy made me beg for a gesture of good-will, said he would look into it, and it was never mentioned again. This time, i doubt i will even both asking: i've been broken down by the indifference of Big Business!
kvasir
Dabbler
Posts: 16
Registered: 19-09-2015

Re: Been disconnected for 4 weeks; originally reported line problem on 16 May!!!!

Hi,
Have been over this again, removing names and identifying content. Now it just contains the logs and results,in the hope that someone can make sense of them.
If this is still not OK, please point me to the forum rule describing what can be posted. I am keen to keep as many details as possible in the public domain, in the hope that in spares others this experience......
Crawf
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 11,562
Thanks: 2,979
Fixes: 22
Registered: 22-08-2007

Re: Been disconnected for 4 weeks; originally reported line problem on 16 May!!!!

Hi,
For what it is worth, now that you have written to the CEO of BTOR, new avenues are open to PlusNet for escalation help within BTOR.  Look out for a DSO case number being added to your ticket.  However even at the highest level of escalation within BTOR DSO (Director of Services Office) things can drag on.  BTOR will still make up stories to cover their failures and might not even bother to respond to PlusNet's enquiries - at least that was my experience.
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,678
Thanks: 902
Fixes: 10
Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: Been disconnected for 4 weeks; originally reported line problem on 16 May!!!!

You need to claim full compensation for the wasted days of work and if Plusnet refuse to pay take them to the small claims court.
You should find this useful: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/delivery-rights
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
kvasir
Dabbler
Posts: 16
Registered: 19-09-2015

Re: Been disconnected for 4 weeks; originally reported line problem on 16 May!!!!

Hi,
So, the good news is that i had an email back from the Plusnet CEO earlier today. I am impressed by this - it included an apology, and the statement that the ultimate responsibility is with them, not Openreach. Guess this might be why i didn't get a reply from Openreach?!
Still, the main thing is whether or not the assurance of the Plusnet CEO that a senior member of the fault team * will now take a personal interest leads anywhere...... Indeed, the first step is apparently to wait 48 hours to hear anything. As it is, i didn't even get a call about the latest missed appointment.
Fingers crossed we get somewhere before we enter the 6th month!
As for small claims courts, my family is bursting with lawyers. Lucky me. They've already been freaking out about recent events, and seem very keen on doing something, but i'd settle for just getting an internet connection!
Will keep folks posted......
Crawf
* As a minor point, i have been asking for the attention of a senior figure in every phone for the last three months. Must be over two dozen phone-calls, with the staff all assuring me that such a person doesn't exist. Guess these guys might want to check their facts......
kvasir
Dabbler
Posts: 16
Registered: 19-09-2015

Re: Been disconnected for 4 weeks; originally reported line problem on 16 May!!!!

So, it seems that the long-running technical question has now been supplemented with another question. This new one marks the first appearance of a "Complaints advisor" and states that i am now being "escalated to the correct work-flow".
Cannot understand how this can have taken five months - some triage system!!
Crawf
BRABUS
Grafter
Posts: 660
Registered: 12-01-2010

Re: Been disconnected for 4 weeks; originally reported line problem on 16 May!!!!

Contact your MP using this link to get their details and you will find that suddenly everyone springs into action and it all gets fixed.
http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
my dad used this method earlier this year with spectacular results Smiley
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 1,852
Thanks: 4
Registered: 24-07-2014

Re: Been disconnected for 4 weeks; originally reported line problem on 16 May!!!!

I am taking personal ownership of this issue for you. I'm just raising the relevant escalations and then I'll be calling you back.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Tony T
 Plusnet Help Team
kvasir
Dabbler
Posts: 16
Registered: 19-09-2015

Re: Been disconnected for 4 weeks; originally reported line problem on 16 May!!!!

Hi,
So, apparently an engineer is off to exchange again tomorrow. Don't see how this addresses the previously identified issues with the line near the house, the need for a new line currently prevented by an uninspected pole, or the external master socket.....
For me, the key things are to understand what has happened, and what has changed to ensure that it won't happen again. I mean, it has taken ages for me to get anything moving with this - there must be loads of people less able to push things, in which case they wouldn't get any help.
Crawf
kvasir
Dabbler
Posts: 16
Registered: 19-09-2015

Re: Been disconnected for 4 weeks; originally reported line problem on 16 May!!!!

So, an Openreach engineer came on Saturday – he arrived around 9.30am, was joined by a colleague early-afternoon, and they both left around 4pm.
Despite this, the problem remains unresolved.

The engineers confirmed that there is a notable level of static on the line, a fact apparent to anyone that phones us. Over the day, the engineers explored a range of possible causes for the static. In the course of their various attempts to improve things, they changed us to a new pair, reducing the inter-line resistance from readings that fluctuated between 8 and 10 Ω, to a new level of 1 Ω*. This should yield a substantive improvement in the potential of the line, but the static remains.
He and his colleague discussed possible main-line sources for the static, but I got a bit lost at this point.
Their ultimate conclusion was that the proper resolution of the line-fault – which is likely to be affecting many houses in the area – could only be investigated further by a Precision Test Engineer. He was going to propose this to his manager, but suggested it was unlikely that anything would be done.
The engineer also had some useful points more specifically related to the internet connection **. He confirmed my observation – which I reported to Plusnet on 16 September – that we are connected to the exchange, but not the network beyond this.
He provided a technical term for this: we have no PPP. The first thing to try to fix this is to “flex the port”. This is done remotely by BT Wholesale – there is no need for an engineer, or customer, to be present.
If this fails, then the next thing to try is a “lift and switch”, which does require an engineer to visit the exchange. Still, there remains no need for the customer to be present: the engineer can check connectivity from the exchange.
I emphasize these points about when a customer needs to be there because I am anticipating the next thing Plusnet ask for is that I take a 6th day off work.
Crucially, the engineer was absolutely amazed that this authentication issue had not been addressed – he reckoned the statement that it was only possible to investigate one issue at a time was nonsense. The failure to address this issue has meant we are now entering our 5th week of permanent disconnection.
More seriously, as observed by this engineer, the continued disconnection means that it has been impossible to monitor whether any of the various measures taken had addressed the original issue: intermittent periods of high frequency disconnection.
As such, we remain completely in the dark about this problem. Once the authentication is addressed, we can get on with the original problem: reported in May!!!
What makes this all the more amazing is that these are precisely the sort of points I raised with Plusnet over a month ago.
In closing, it is particularly frustrating to watch this succession of engineers struggle manfully to solve the problem, and leave with a personal sense of failure. Throughout this whole debacle they are almost unique genuinely sharing our sense of frustration. Worst of all, they are the only ones who apologise for these problems!
Crawf
* It is notable that a previous engineer recorded it at 10 Ω, requiring an intervention. Instead of doing this, he repeated the test, got a value of 8 Ω, 0.5 below the required threshold, and concluded that all was well. It is striking the different levels of commitment between the people we are meeting. 
** In a useful clarification, the Openreach engineer confirmed that is not really any such thing as a “phone” engineer or an “internet” engineer. Whilst some individuals may have preferences, they are held to be separate simply because the job they are allocated falls under one or other category. As a result, if the fault belongs to the other category then they cannot investigate it under the same job number. Plusnet have repeatedly claimed that they are separate types of engineers, with different relative abilities. This is a nonsense.