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Feedback on FTTC - Installation

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,411
Thanks: 4
Registered: 29-01-2009

Feedback on FTTC - Installation

Here's my feedback on the ordering & installation process for FTTC
It's kinda late for the trial, but it did take a long time to process!
Summary
First order was on 25th March, Actual installation was on the 3rd June. The last of the order went through on the 6th June, and DLM had finished making changes on the 8th June.
Some delays were due to the trialist process (and holiday), but most were down to BT order systems.
Most of the delays were only a very mild irritant - the existing broadband was working fine... and gave me an opportunity to see what the effect of the new traffic management rules were.
However, the last couple of days of the process were enough for me to start working out alternative supplier arrangements, even if they were BT's fault rather than Plusnet's!
The speedy solution at the point is very much down to the support efforts of Plusnet staff
Conclusions

  • Got good feedback through the order ticket at most stages, except when the attempt to change the install date changed. It went a little loose then.

  • The original problem - the stuck order - could have been escalated a bit faster inside Plusnet, and shouldn't have needed so many escalations inside BT.

  • BT really shouldn't have disconnected broadband. A serious no-no.

  • Kudos to Adam for getting BT to take action after the disconnection.



Order process
This went through a number of phases, with links to a problem (*N) below.

  • The initial order through online system

  • Conversion of our legacy package into a current package, and swap of Static IP

  • Wait for install day, 3 weeks in the future (*1)

  • Attempted to delay the installation by 2 days (with 10 days notice)
    This process failed at BT, leaving the order in limbo in their computer systems.(*2)

  • Wait for BT to clear the order from their systems.
    This appeared to work.

  • Plusnet reorder installation.

  • Installation date 2 - Wait in for engineer to arrive (a 1pm-6pm slot).
    At 6PM, BT was a no-show;  Plusnet simultaneously realised the order had been rejected. (*3)

  • Wait for BT to clear the order from their systems.
    This went through a number of requests through to BT, without resolution (*4)

  • Ticket was escalated internally to Adam
    The requests to BT continued, without resolution (*4cont)
    This was taking lots of time, and was mildly frustrating. But our existing broadband was fine, so it wasn't much of an irritant.

  • Eventually, discussions turned to various solutions to workaround the problem.
    During the discussions, one suggestion was to drop the broadband service entirely, to allow fibre to be ordered as a fresh service.
    I didn't fancy the sound of that - it could change the "mildly-irritating" into the "totally-unacceptable", with no guarantee of solution, and no faith that the existing service could be restored is all failed again.
    But it didn't go any further than being discussed..

  • At 4AM the next day, the existing broadband was disconnected. B&$^&%^%&^%%^ BT. (*5)
    One was "less than impressed" at this development!

  • Adam was good at getting the new FTTC order in place, and at getting an appointment slot for 8am-10am the next day. Or so it appeared...

  • Installation date 3, but BT were a no-show.
    It seems that Openreach didn't get it onto their diary system.(*6)

  • Adam tried to get the appointment rebooked for later that day but failed. He then got the booking arranged for 8am-10am the next day.

  • Installation date 4... and a call from the Openreach engineer at 8:20 saying he was on his way, and to expect a break in about 20 minutes.
    Installed and running by 9:30... although it was a trivial bit of work in-house, only needing to replace the faceplate.
    The faceplate isn't as well built as the ones that came with the original ADSL install - this one seems to catch in the socket, and almost came apart in my hands!

  • I'd prepped the router beforehand, so we were immediately up and running with a profile of 38717 down, and 2000 up. (*7)

  • Its still a trial order, even if it's dragged on a little. So Adam then ordered the regrade to a 10M uplink.

  • The regrade happened straight after the weekend - just after midnight on Monday morning. It was easy to see that, at the same time as the uplink regrade, the DLM settings for the line were reset.

  • Somewhere at the end there was the offer made for redress, and accepted. I don't want to make a big thing about it, except to point out that it came at the end, when the problems were sorted out. To my mind, there's not much point complaining, or seeking money back, until the scale of the problem is known and fixed.


Problems

  • (*1) - The original instructions for getting onto the FTTC trial included a 2 week wait, because the tickets weren't looked at very often.
    Once I factored this in, plus a week's holiday, plus Easter, plus the need to change package & IP, meant that the install date I chose was ages away.
    It turned out that the tickets were looked at very frequently, so I probably could have gone for a much earlier date, before the holiday got in the way... Oh had I known!

  • (*2) - When the change of date first failed, the interactions between Plusnet & BT weren't followed up very often, so it wasn't clear what was actually happening. I was on holiday, so didn't get to check up either. It feels like things went loose here, with nothing happening at either Plusnet or Openreach to try to fix & reinstate the order.

  • (*3) - The 2nd order was rejected by BT's system, seemingly before the install date. This should have been picked up by someone at PN towers before we even started to wait for the engineer to turn up!

  • (*4) - There seems to have been a long sequence of attempts made by BT to fix their order system, and a few attempts at escalation.
    While Stephen first, and then Adam, both perservered, there seemed to be little urgency being attached to the issue from BT.
    The escalation to Adam helped, in ensuring a single handler at Plusnet for the issue. That could have happened earlier, and been pushed a little harder, but once I realised that it wasn't something BT would fix quickly, I kinda left Plusnet to it.
    Somewhere in this process, it probably needed someone at BT to take equivalent ownership, rather than being escalated a number of times - and for me to be left feeling confident that the issue is being handled there. Being one or two steps removed from the end-customer seems to make them behave in a more depersonalised way.
    It is one thing waiting when you know something physical has to happen - a man to turn up, or a wire to be connected. It could have been very frustrating when the delay is caused by an intangible thing - that the order system cannot be enticed to hold an order, or a few bytes that couldn't be cleared from a database record.

  • (*5) - The unwarranted disconnection was the big issue. I'm not sure why BT felt that they should go ahead and do this, nor why they felt that they had permission. Grrr!
    From this point on, it was no longer a mild irritant. Now it was a tad more urgent than that.

  • (*6) - I think Adam worked this out at about the same time that we gave up waiting.
    This was the lowest point, I reckon, because I had no faith in the new order, and had no broadband. We started to work out what the alternatives were - not specifically to leave Plusnet, but to avoid Openreach. But there isn't a lot you can do, is there?
    Adam convinced me that this wasn't a failure in the order, just a failure in the installation booking. That probably helped a little...
    For that day we had a Three MiFi device running 3G, but it was something of a pain. Email wasn't going where it should, in either direction...

  • (*7) - Was it really 38717? I'm not so sure... but I'll leave that to a different thread, on the performance.
    However, DLM looks to have made its main decisions about the line during the first 2-3 days, repeated a second time after the regrade.
    This 3-day timescale fits with other experiences I've read, rather than the 10-day period that applied to ADSL.


So there are a lot of thanks due to Adam for having the patience to keep going, at first, and then the drive to get BT to respond quickly when needed.
I know that BT don't always respond quickly - even when they themselves are the cause - so I want to thank him for getting that part actioned on their side.
As I said at the time, I hope he got to blast someone at BT with my anger. I know it probably wouldn't be professional if he did, but I sure wish it were the case all the same.
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.
1 REPLY
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 12,718
Thanks: 102
Fixes: 31
Registered: 27-04-2007

Re: Feedback on FTTC - Installation

Hi again wwwombat,
Thanks very much indeed for the kudos and the kind words you've posted here.
I must say your account of the order process is as accurate and as detailed as mine.
On a positive note I'd like to say that both personally and in terms of managing such issues again in the future that a lot has been learned. Should a similar issue arise again in the future we should have at least a slightly clearer plan ahead of us.
Quote
As I said at the time, I hope he got to blast someone at BT with my anger. I know it probably wouldn't be professional if he did, but I sure wish it were the case all the same.

The pressure was definitely kept on whilst the order issue was under investigation, I'm just glad our suppliers and ourselves got there together in the end!
Adam
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 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team