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Two months wait to get < 1Mbit when estimate was 10-19Mbit

Posts: 4
Registered: ‎31-01-2013

Two months wait to get < 1Mbit when estimate was 10-19Mbit

I'm sure Plusnet are doing their best with this - they've been very good at keeping me informed as to what's happening - but something is very, very wrong with the end-to-end experience in provisioning a supposed business-class solution.
I ordered unlimited business broadband on Dec 3rd. Plusnet emailed me an estimate of 10-19Mbits/s speed with an average of 12Mbit. I was happy with this. They allowed me to choose from three appointment dates in December - 18th, 19th, or 20th. As we were moving into our newly-built premises on the 19th, I chose the 20th.  There were problems with the Openreach address database (though this came through as the opaque (to me) "line plant issues". On the day before we moved in, I was told
It has been confirmed that cabling work needs to be done both onsite and offsite, the cabling is expected to be done by the 04/01/2013 with a line availability date of 11/01/2013.

Ok, I thought. No working over the Christmas period. I can probably live with that, I could do with the break. After we moved in, I was told
As per our conversation, the order has regrettably been cancelled by our suppliers, as we submitted the order as a "standard new house" (which is used for new buildings), but our suppliers stated it should have been submitted as "standard".
The order was re-opened over the next couple of days, with a new appointment Jan 22nd - over a month after the originally-agreed date, but with a promise to escalate as the problem was Openreach's.  At this point I felt happy I'd bought a 3 Mifi to get me through the month.  Later, the escalation saw this date moved forward to the 18th.
At the start of January, BT Infinity became available in the area I had moved to.  I called BT Business and gave them my details, hoping they might be able to move more quickly. I backed out at the end of the call when I realised they'd charge me just to get me an appointment date. However, this wouldn't be the last I'd see of BT. More later.
On around the 14th, an Openreach subcontractor showed up.  He was unable to fit the master socket to either of the two multimedia fascias downstairs, so fit the master socket to "an extension" upstairs.  He said this might cause problems later but did not elaborate as to why.
A few days later, another Openreach engineer turned up "to fit a second line".  I said I hadn't ordered one, but I was happy to get a second opinion on the socket upstairs and press for a reason as to why this would cause me problems.  While he was here, we ascertained that BT had failed to cancel my previous order and he was actually here to fit a line on behalf of BT Retail. This engineer offered me the choice of cancelling my Plusnet order and taking the appointment BT Retail had made for me on February 5th, or carrying on with the Plusnet order despite his laptop showing that the new number Plusnet had chosen for me was not marked as new, but was down as a ceased line from 2007.  Confused as to the best course of action, I rang Plusnet to ask about the line issue. Plusnet could not say anything other than "your appointment is for the 18th".  Figuring that some wired internet sooner would be better than no wired internet, I cancelled the BT order.
The 18th came, and a third Openreach engineer visited the premises.  Again, he commented on the master socket having been fitted to an extension. Again, he alluded to this causing problems, but did nothing to remedy the situation.  Suddenly, he left.  He came back half an hour later and said that he couldn't activate the line right away, as some work hadn't been done at the exchange. He said he'd come back at 12 to let us know what had happened. That was the last we saw of him.  We connected a phone in the afternoon more out of hope than expectation.  To our surprise, we had a working phone line.  I phoned Plusnet to tell them.  They said they probably wouldn't be able to place the broadband order until Monday as the Openreach engineer had not closed the job.
On 21st Jan, I got a message saying the Openreach engineer had not applied the address key to the line (whatever that is), and that this meant the broadband order could not be placed. Plusnet used a system called ORDI to attempt to clear this problem.  On the 23rd, the order was finally placed.
Yesterday (the 30th), the broadband finally went live.  Obviously, the first thing I did was try various speed tests.  I was dismayed to find that the tests were coming back in the region of 1Mbit/s.  I rebooted everything. The speed improved to 4.5Mbit/s, but the glee was short-lived; I'd accidentally connected to my 3 Mifi, which even now is four times faster than the line I waited a shade under two months for.
I tried a few things:

  • watching the lowest resolution 240p video on Youtube - result: constant buffering

  • Downloading a 222MB training video - estimated 2.5 hours, but it only got halfway before timing out anyway

  • - well, this doesn't even load any more, let alone test

There's now a fault raised on the line, but honestly, my patience is stretched beyond reason. It's probably worse than having no service - at least with no service you don't waste your time trying to resolve issues fruitlessly, and more importantly, you aren't being billed for a service that is palpably unfit for business.
Right now, tells me that my broadband package is 6.5Mbit - half of my original estimate (when did this downgrade itself? Why wasn't I told?), of which I get less than a sixth in any case. If I had to identify any weak links in this farrago, Openreach and their systems would be my prime suspects. As I say, I think Plusnet do their best, but that second OR engineer appointment is telling - not only did he suggest I cancel my Plusnet order, but he turned up less than 2 weeks after I'd originally enquired about Infinity.  Yes, the address database would have been corrected by this time, but < 2 weeks vs ~ 6 weeks for a non-BT supplier - something doesn't ring true here. Perhaps OFCOM should be told.  I know a new tenant two doors down ordered his (consumer, not business) broadband from BT Retail at the start of January and had it nearly two weeks before us!
I'll be talking to my builders today about the internal wiring and waiting for the fault resolution from Plusnet.  I've been told a £144 charge will apply for an engineer visit if it is determined that my wiring is at fault. Didn't two separate OR engineers point out that installing a master socket on an extension is detrimental to the connection? Neither of these engineers offered to correct the problem, despite one of them having caused it!
To be honest, though, if I can't get the speed you originally estimated, it won't be fit for purpose. It's not acceptable to me for you to downgrade the apparent service level from 10-19Mbit to 6.5Mbit without telling me.  It's not acceptable that any download over a few MB takes minutes to hours, if it finishes at all. I just can't run a business on this connection.  You can get me on the FTTC trial - preferably at a discount for the sheer frustration (not to mention cost) this process has caused so far - or you can allow me to cancel without incurring a year's worth of charges so I can go with Infinity.
I find a lot of the above at best rough around the edges and at worst flat-out embarrassing. I suspect this is more of an indictment of LLU than it is Plusnet (and I owe an apology to Daniel for expressing my frustration at the start of this process), but the experience for an end customer is frustrating, enervating and has wasted a lot of time. I couldn't recommend that any business choose to put themselves through it.
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎28-12-2009

Re: Two months wait to get < 1Mbit when estimate was 10-19Mbit

Hi rgarner,
Thanks for your time on the phone this morning. First of all I'd like to apologise about the ongoing issues you've experienced so far.
I've had a look through the provisioning ticket and I'll pop a summary of my findings (and further actions I'll be taking) in a ticket on your account shortly.
One of the team has just tested the line and will be updating you in relation to the next steps for the fault, which will likely be an engineer visit. I've asked them to keep a close personal eye on the fault until we get to the bottom of it and get the issue fixed.
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎31-01-2013

Re: Two months wait to get < 1Mbit when estimate was 10-19Mbit

Thanks to Lee and Stephen - this issue was resolved by an Openreach engineer visit the very same afternoon. One dodgy external cable replacement later and we're at a rock-solid 13Mbps.
Of course, now I'm yearning for the FTTC trial - 13Mbps doesn't seem *quite* enough.