cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Eight engineers and counting.

FIXED
momist001
Hooked
Posts: 8
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎10-05-2016

Eight engineers and counting.

I agreed to switch to fibre on 24th February.  Note that well, February!  Partly in response to complaints from my son about the poor speeds on ADSL, especially in the evenings when he was streaming American TV shows.

The change finally went through on 9th March. Then we had a death in the family which tended to distract me.

By 31st March I had had more than enough of the constant drops in the broadband service, and occasional noise on the telephone line, so I complained.  I should have done that earlier.  By now, my son had left home and therefore was no longer complaining.

Well, I have now had seven visits to the house by OpenReach.  They advised that the line was good, the drop wire was re-terminated, the drop wire was good, the drop wire was bad, there was an underground fault (they were not a UG engineer), the underground fault was not the problem, it's the drop wire.  The last visit needed two men to change the drop wire, as the pole is across the road.  I have had the telephone extensions removed, the master socket and termination block removed and two different new sockets fitted.  I have had to move the new Hub One to where the line comes into the house, and I've had to have new power sockets fitted to supply the Hub One and my PLA.

As of today, there were 55 drops in the last 72 hours, 25 of them in the last 24 hours.  It's not as if the speed I'm getting is that fast.  At 1.2km from the cabinet (at the exchange) I get 30Mbs on the test socket, about 24Mbs over the WiFi. (The router is no longer within reach of my PC).

For all of March, all of April and for ten days of May my fibre connection has not worked correctly, and there is no end to this in sight.  PlusNet can do nothing for me, as the fault lies with the BT 'complex faults' team, who do one thing on it a week, sometimes.

Feel my pain . . .

10 REPLIES
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 6,113
Thanks: 591
Fixes: 229
Registered: ‎01-01-2012

Re: Eight engineers and counting.

Sorry to hear about this.

I can see our Faults team have escalated this to our suppliers and we'll get you a update as soon as we can.

If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Matthew Wheeler
 Plusnet Help Team
momist001
Hooked
Posts: 8
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎10-05-2016

Re: Eight engineers and counting.

So yesterday we had a ninth engineer (eighth visit to the house).  So far, we've never had the same one twice.  This one also tested the line and said very similar things to the others.  The speed is good, when it works at all.  We still lose connection more than once an hour (on average).  This makes it very difficult to do anything, for instance I don't know if , or when, I can post this that I am typing now.

The opinion of the latest engineer is that there is probably a fault with the 'port' at the cabinet.  However, he can see at least two faults on the line with his test kit, one at the base of the pole, and another at 320meters, which coincides with a chamber on the main road.  Now strangely, this is different to two earlier engineers who said there is a fault at 175m or 172m.  Maybe there are three faults?  As well as the port?  However, he was not a UG engineer (again!), so he can't do anything until someone else fixes the line faults.  The only two UG engineers who have attended didn't go underground at all, but changed the overhead drop wire, and made an untidy mess of that.

I am doubting the validity of the term 'engineer' when used to describe OpenReach personnel.  I was a 'Radio and Electronics Engineer" in my professional life, and it's things like this that diminish the value of the title.

momist001
Hooked
Posts: 8
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎10-05-2016

Re: Eight engineers and counting.

So - we had nine house visits (ten engineers) and then as we were going away for a week a further engineer's visit could not be arranged.  Instead, Plusnet decided to send us a new Hub One router for us to try.  There it was lying on the doormat when we returned from our family visit.  At first, I wasn't sure this had made any difference as we still had a couple of breaks in service during the first day or two, but now it has been 'Up' continuously for more than seven days without a break.  Success?  Time will tell.

Meanwhile, two more points raised.  1. Will I get a rebate on my broadband charges for the three months I have had this problem?  2. Don't trust the WiFi automatic channel selection on these Hub One routers, as it seems to deliberately choose the busiest channel available.  I use software on a laptop designed to reveal other users wifi and their relative signal strengths.  In my case, channels 1, 6 and 11 are heavily subscribed, so I chose channel 8 as being an empty channel at least 2 steps away from the least busy (6).  YMMV.

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,841
Thanks: 103
Fixes: 6
Registered: ‎21-01-2013

Re: Eight engineers and counting.


momist001 wrote:

I am doubting the validity of the term 'engineer' when used to describe OpenReach personnel.  I was a 'Radio and Electronics Engineer" in my professional life, and it's things like this that diminish the value of the title.


They are technicians at best.

IMO it's time the title "engineer" was protected to those with a professional qualification.

momist001
Hooked
Posts: 8
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎10-05-2016

Re: Eight engineers and counting.

Well, it's been some time.  Plusnet kindly sent me a replacement router whilst I was away back at the end of May, and on 2nd June (I think) I plugged it in and after a couple of days heaved a sigh of relief.  We had only one or two drop-outs during the first 16 days or so, and then another, and another. After a while it deteriorated to the extent that on some occasions we are lucky to keep a broadband connection for ten minutes at a time.  At other times, it goes on fine for hours and hours, or even (sometimes) days  . . .

 

Engineer 12 came to our house, and said "I've been here before? Didn't they do what I told them to?"  We have an intermittent underground fault - borderline resistance to earth which varies (not weather dependent!).  Engineer 13 (underground skilled) turned up after a few days and said "no fault found".  So he went away again . . .

 

Plusnet have been very good, they have commiserated with me and 'escalated' the fault with OpenReach.  We have had some rebate on the BB charges. We await yet another visit.  I wonder what engineer 14 will do different?  Nothing more than inconclusive tests, I have to assume from previous experience.

 

The router has been up now for over 7 hours, I wonder if it will let me post this?

momist001
Hooked
Posts: 8
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎10-05-2016

Re: Eight engineers and counting.

Now we are up to seventeen 'engineers', and although things are better, we still have an unreliable connection that goes off at random intervals.

Engineers' visits to the house on 15th, 21st, 28th of July resulted in various "no fault found" and a "lift and shift" to another 'port' at the cabinet.  The speed improved markedly for a while - 32Mbps! (Who knew my line could do that?) - but still plagued with random dropouts of service, sometimes for several minutes at a time.

More visits from OpenReach on 5th, 10th of August, and then a Broadband Engineer with all the skills (except 'underground') who discovered that the pole which services our house has a joint at chest height behind the galvanised steel capping which protects the cable coming down the stick.  This was a very old joint done with what are quaintly called "blue beans" and which are an aluminium crimp connector inside a bright blue sleeve.  These were all cut off and re-connected with the modern grease-filled insulation displacement connectors they now use instead.  He also capped our speed to 87% of maximum, about 29Mbps, to give some resilience to the system.  He assured us that this would be the source of the problem, the blue beans are well known for it, and went away confident he had fixed it.  It went down again that night about 8pm, but then stayed up for two days of dry calm sunny weather.

After that, we are back to the same routine of the BB going down at random.  Speed is down to 26 - 28 Mbps.  It's raining again, and there are high winds forecast, so I am not holding out much hope for the weekend.  On Monday I will no doubt have to raise the fault again.  Sigh . . .

IceColdRum
Dabbler
Posts: 12
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎13-08-2013

Re: Eight engineers and counting.

My word that sounds like hell, how are you still sane? Shocked 

 

I'd write into your local rag it sounds like an episode of faulty towers...

rockposer
Dabbler
Posts: 21
Thanks: 1
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎31-07-2007

Re: Eight engineers and counting.

I think I'd of lost it by now. Totally unacceptable. Methinks it needs the organ grinder rather than the monkys to come along and sort it!

momist001
Hooked
Posts: 8
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎10-05-2016

Re: Eight engineers and counting.

Fix

COULD THIS BE THE END?

 

Woohoo!  The router has now been on line for 7 days 11 hours without a break.  Speeds are good (mainly > 20Mbps over wifi, sync at around 30 Mbps).  The main event though, is that we have not had a break in service for over a week.  How come?

Well, the last engineer's visit seems to have been fortuitous.  The engineer attending this time had been here on a previous visit (months ago) and remembered that.  He was also aware that we had had a LOT of visits (before we told him he was number 18 Cool.  Also, he had visited the pole from which we are served, for another customer, last year and he remembered that the pole has problems of it's own.  At some time, an additional cable has been routed down the pole, this is in addition to the 20 pair aluminium cable originally provided - for nine customer lines.  Now I wonder why that is?  Anyway, he transferred our circuit onto the final remaining pair of the additional copper 6 pair cable, and our problem now seems to be absent. 

He had to open up the chamber at the foot of the pole to carry out this change.  My guess is that the joint between the aluminium cable and the copper cable underground was the problem.  We have been told before that if they find a poor joint, they are required to re-make ALL the joints at that location, and he would not want to do that . . .  So, swap the bad circuit to another cable up the pole and that means he has not found the poor joint?  Maybe, I don't know.  I have heard many times that there are problems with the legacy aluminium cables that were installed in the sixties in this area, due to the high cost of copper then.  Why they don't simply replace these whenever they find there are problems, I can't understand.  To me, cable seems relatively cheap compared to the cost of repeated visits, and the time needed to re-cable a pole is not that great.

I feel some sympathy for the remaining three neighbours (there are nine on the pole, six of us now on the copper cable) who no longer have the option of an easy fix when they run into similar problems in the future.  But maybe, just maybe, fibre to the pole will arrived before our elderly neighbours change or the demand for faster connections goes up.  Or maybe the next complaint will result in the pole being re-cabled, as it should be (that is so simple!).

Anyway, the fault is now on hold for a further week, and if the weather changes and we still have no breaks in service, I will be happy to accept that the fault has been repaired.  If the weather stays warm and dry with no high winds, then I will remain unconvinced until it is stable for an even longer period.

I will report back in due course.

momist001
Hooked
Posts: 8
Fixes: 1
Registered: ‎10-05-2016

Re: Eight engineers and counting.

Well, as promised I am reporting back.  After the further week, I'm reasonably happy that the problem has been fixed.  I've had two breaks in service in the last seven days, but was unaware of them as they have happened at times other than those I was using the broadband.  To be honest, I've had three days without my PC due to a hard drive failure, but we still were using mobile phones and tablets and laptops at intervals, as well as streaming TV a couple of times.  We have had some rain, and some wind, so maybe the problem IS fixed.

Plusnet have been very good during this whole six month saga.  All my frustration and angst is aimed at OpenReach who simply go through the motions without too much thought and very little communication between the various people involved.  Plusnet will now keep the fault open for a further 14 days, provided that neither they nor us enter any further development.  The fault will then close automatically.

I will now mark this [Solved] and hope that this is the end.  However, there has been a new development the last two days:  just around the corner (I live in number 1) there are paint marks all over the footway, one of which is marked "BT-JB" and on the other side of the road a large rectangular box painted with some strange hieroglyphs in it.  There are also dashed lines showing the position of gas, LV, HV and what I think is a proposed trench.  Now all this lies on the route of the cable from the pole I am connected to, towards the main road carrying the main line to the exchange.  So what are BT planning?  Maybe they will put in a new green box with fibre to serve this estate?  Maybe they will do that, and still leave us on the old wire running 820m to the box at the exchange. . . .

Thanks for reading, and I hope this does not happen to anyone else.