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Ongoing FTTC speed problems - help!

rbel
Grafter
Posts: 49
Registered: 04-10-2013

Ongoing FTTC speed problems - help!

Does anyone know if there is someone at Plusnet who is able to persuade BTW/Openreach to establish the cause of a fault and rectify it?  I did try writing to Paul Summers the Operations Director, but the query was just passed down the line without any response from him.
If not is there anyone on this forum who can help with a reasoned diagnosis that I can put to Plusnet which in turn may help BTW/Openreach?
Earlier this year I was provided with an FTTC estimate of 31 Mbps download which I accepted and the connection was carried out on 16 August.  The actual speed following connection was 9.5 Mbps down and 0.5 Mbps up so I raised a ticket.
I went through a few weeks of being in contact with various Plusnet support staff (14 different ones from memory) before I was allocated a complaints adviser.  I have been visited/contacted by 13 BTO engineers so far who have, in the main, repeated the same tests each time because they do not maintain handover notes concerning ongoing faults.  The consensus is that the line quality is good but the distance from the cabinet means that I should not expect more than 20 Mbps down, which I accept.
During the last 14 weeks the performance has varied, after a few days at around 9.5 Mbps down and 0.5 up, it fell to 7.5 down and 0.4 up.  Then after one engineer decided to swap cable pairs over for some distance from my home the speed changed to 15.5/16 Mbps down but the up speed stayed around 0.4 Mbps.  BT were persuaded to pursue the very low upload speed and engineer decided to swap the Huawei 612 modem for an ECI which has resulted in the download speed dropping to 11 Mbps and a fractional increase in the up speed.  The Plusnet complaints adviser thinks that it could be a line management problem - is this likely?  In passing the poor guy seems absolutely swamped.
Happy to provide further details if needed.
14 REPLIES
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 6,346
Thanks: 31
Fixes: 5
Registered: 26-11-2011

Re: Ongoing FTTC speed problems - help!

Hi rbel,
I'm sorry to hear of the issues you're experiencing with the low FTTC speeds. I can see that Tony from our Complaints Team is dealing with this issue and is pushing our suppliers very hard to try to get this issue resolved. Having read through the ticket that you've got open, there's nothing more that anyone can do, as Tony have this matter in hand and is doing all he can to resolve this issue for you.
If there's anything we can do to help though, please do let us know.
Chris Pettitt
Cloud Environments Engineer
rbel
Grafter
Posts: 49
Registered: 04-10-2013

Re: Ongoing FTTC speed problems - help!

Chris, many thanks for the response.
As I mentioned in the previous post, unfortunately Tony appears to be absolutely swamped with complaints and it is evident that BTW/Openreach clearly need some higher level impetus to get to grips with the problem instead of just sending a stream of engineers who have no idea about the nature or history of the fault and spend the majority of their time repeating the same tests as carried out by colleagues.
Given this I am hoping that one or more of the knowledgeable regular forum posters can come up with some ideas as to probable cause(s) of the current speed issues and in particular if the current problem is likely to be line management related.
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 6,346
Thanks: 31
Fixes: 5
Registered: 26-11-2011

Re: Ongoing FTTC speed problems - help!

Hi rbel,
Tony has complaints to deal with, however, this will not affect the quality that he is aiming to deliver to you.
When we complete testing on a Fibre line, we're given information on very few things, such as; your Sync Rate - which is the rate of your connection between your FTTC Cabinet and Openreach Modem. We're given your profile information and how often, if at all your line is generating errors.
If there's a problem, we don't have any tools to remotely make any changes, except changing our internal speed profile, which wouldn't resolve the issue. As your connection rates appear to be adaptive, this is why engineers are being sent out to investigate the issue - it's likely to be something physical that is causing the problem.that will resolve the issue.
I've a lot of experience in dealing with ADSL/ADSL2/ADSL2+/FTTC and some FTTP circuits and have dealt with many cases of different kinds and this is very similar to a few that I can remember. Generally, in these cases, poor speeds are down to aluminum cabling - if there is no aluminum then we need to continue pushing for an improvement here.
If you would rather have a Faults Case handler deal with this, feel free to pop a note on the ticket for Tony to pass the case to the Faults Team to be assigned to an agent.
Chris Pettitt
Cloud Environments Engineer
rbel
Grafter
Posts: 49
Registered: 04-10-2013

Re: Ongoing FTTC speed problems - help!

Chris,
Would the presence of aluminium have any bearing on the the very wide differential between the upload and download speed - I would have thought that it would impact both ways in a similar manner?  The presence of aluminium was mentioned by 3 of the engineers as a potential cause but, as far as I am aware, each junction box check at various locations between the cabinet and me have indicated copper and it would not explain the increase in upload speed five weeks ago and the subsequent drop three weeks later when an engineer swapped out the existing HG612 modem for an ECI.
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 6,346
Thanks: 31
Fixes: 5
Registered: 26-11-2011

Re: Ongoing FTTC speed problems - help!

I would say, from my experience that it would impact both the up and downstream.
Having said that, I've seen instances where the downstream has been 15Mb and the upstream has been 0.5Mbps and this is deemed as acceptable on the basis of aluminum cabling.
I think what would be idea, would be for an engineer is definitively what the cause of the problem is and to see if the issue can be resolved and if it can't, at least you're aware of that and the reasons for it.
Chris Pettitt
Cloud Environments Engineer
rbel
Grafter
Posts: 49
Registered: 04-10-2013

Re: Ongoing FTTC speed problems - help!

Chris,
I suggest that there is a world of difference between 'deemed to be acceptable' and what is actually the case.
A problem is that so far the 13 engineers who have been involved cannot agree on a cause.  The first conclusion was that it was definitely REIN but this was disproved quite rapidly (apparently REIN is a favourite when the cause of a fault cannot be determined).  Then came aluminium, then aluminium was discounted and distance from the cabinet was put forward.  Then aluminium was raised again (again on the basis of hearsay).  Then it was thought that some nearby joints needed remaking. This was followed by cable pair swapping which resulted in a welcome improvement in the down speed. All this time all engineers stated that the line condition between the NTE5 and the cabinet was good with no faults, so the 7th or 8th engineer decided that the line between the NTE5 and the first roadside junction box needed replacing.  Then someone raised aluminium again ('there is a lot of it about') but dropped it when I ran through the history of the previous Openreach visits.  The last visit was to replace the modem (he reported to Plusnet that the original was faulty and that the replacement had fixed the fault, but told me he was only swapping it as it was old model, needless to say the fault was not fixed).   
My view is that distance from the cabinet is the main cause of the low download speed and I accept that it will probably not exceed the 20 Mbps given me by one of the two engineers who really seemed clued up.  The current problem is the recent fall off in download speed and the abysmal upload speed.
Given this I imagine that you will forgive me for having only limited faith in Openreach's engineers.
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 6,346
Thanks: 31
Fixes: 5
Registered: 26-11-2011

Re: Ongoing FTTC speed problems - help!

I completely agree with what you're saying, I'm, in no way saying that the speeds you are receiving are acceptable.
I think what is important though, is to get an actual conclusion to this to find out what can/cannot be done and what the reasons are for work that cannot be carried out. I appreciate how frustrating such issues can be, especially after 13 engineer visits.
Chris Pettitt
Cloud Environments Engineer
rbel
Grafter
Posts: 49
Registered: 04-10-2013

Re: Ongoing FTTC speed problems - help!

Chris,
I appreciate you agreeing that the speeds I am receiving are not acceptable.
It has been established that 16 Mbps download is achievable over a period of weeks, so can we agree that it would be sensible to get back to that point as a first step and then look again at the current 0.6 Mbps upload speed. 
Having concluded this how do we get Openreach to (i) understand this and (ii) do something about it, instead of just sending random engineers in the hope that one may hit on a solution quite by chance and not undo any good work carried out by previous visits?  It is evident that there is a wide and currently intractable communications gap between Plusnet and the Openreach engineers who are tasked with doing the work, so how do we surmount this obstacle?
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 6,346
Thanks: 31
Fixes: 5
Registered: 26-11-2011

Re: Ongoing FTTC speed problems - help!

I think it's important that we keep Tony in the loop with what's going on as per this Forum Thread as he is dealing with your case at the moment.
Tony is working with the escalations team within our suppliers to try and get some answers from Openreach. Openreach aren't our direct suppliers in this case, we have to work through BT Wholesale or liaise with their suppliers BT Openreach, so unfortunately it's not quite as simple as speaking to Openreach.
We'll do our best though and I'm certain that Tony is doing that by dealing with the escalation that you can see on your Support Ticket.
Chris Pettitt
Cloud Environments Engineer
rbel
Grafter
Posts: 49
Registered: 04-10-2013

Re: Ongoing FTTC speed problems - help!

Chris,
I agree entirely about keeping Tony in the loop and I assumed that you were doing that by discussing this exchange as and when Tony was available.
I do understand the Plusnet/BTW/Openreach relationship but as my agreement is with Plusnet and I am unable to raise matters with the other BT entities, I must rely on Plusnet to communicate effectively with them.  This appears to have been a stumbling block for much of the time since mid August. 
Whilst I appreciate that all Plusnet support staff have been extraordinarily busy in recent weeks it has seemed as though Tony's complaints workload has been such that he really could do with some help in dealing with the intransigence of BT and it occurred to me that if you or Plusnet management are able to achieve this it would undoubtedly be of great assistance to those waiting for effective support as well as your own staff.
Bald_Eagle1
Grafter
Posts: 313
Registered: 24-06-2011

Re: Ongoing FTTC speed problems - help!

@rbel,
Just for curiosity, what is your line length from the cabinet?
From your reported speeds, I would guesstimate it to be around 1.6km or 1.7km of copper.
I have no idea whatsover what line length is likely to be for aluminium cabling.
rbel
Grafter
Posts: 49
Registered: 04-10-2013

Re: Ongoing FTTC speed problems - help!

@Bald_Eagle1
According to an engineer who mapped it out on his GIS kit in front of me, 1,418 metres.
It enters the close I live in at a junction box on the other side of the road to my property (which is just over 1K from the cabinet), here the down speed has been measured at 30Mbps.  A problem is that the cables then run round the inner perimeter of the close and arrive at the junction box immediately outside the property 400 metres further on.  This junction is 7 metres from the one where 30 Mbps is available which is a bit galling, however Openreach are reluctant to run a 20 pair cable under the road to serve my side of the close, as suggested by an engineer, due to the putative cost.  Whilst this would be the most simple and ideal solution it is probably not achievable given the BT mindset despite the fact that the the to-date expense of sending engineers out has undoubtedly cost more than the cost of the contractor's bill for running 7 metres of ducting under the road.
rbel
Grafter
Posts: 49
Registered: 04-10-2013

Re: Ongoing FTTC speed problems - help!

Chris
Further to your previous post please confirm that you have been keeping Tony in the loop.  If this is not the case I will need to copy our exchanges to the Help Assistant pages.
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 6,346
Thanks: 31
Fixes: 5
Registered: 26-11-2011

Re: Ongoing FTTC speed problems - help!

Yep, I've been speaking to Tony and he's aware of this conversation.
Chris Pettitt
Cloud Environments Engineer