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Openreach / Plusnet relationship inadequate. Atrocious line installation.

ModelCitizen
Grafter
Posts: 46
Registered: 30-04-2008

Openreach / Plusnet relationship inadequate. Atrocious line installation.

Due to the inadequate relationship between the BT owned Plusnet and the installers of the physical telephone cable Openreach I find I have been forced to:
* Commit a criminal offence
* Accept that my line will break every time there is a strong wind
* Waste lots of my time dealing with the Ombudsman (Offcom)
I moved home and contacted my telecoms supplier Plusnet to transfer my broadband and telephone services to my new home. My new home did not have a physical cable so Openreach were called in to install a new one.
Openearch ran the cable at a high level directly through three trees and wrapped the cable multiple times around the trunk of a large climbing shrub attached to the front of the house. Instead of connecting the cable to the existing junction box they attached another junction box and wire and left this dangling from the existing junction box. In short the quality of the installation was atrocious and not fit for purpose. The line would obviously have problems as the shrub grew and when the wind blew with any force. At the time I attempted to contact Openreach to have it rectified, but after numerous attempts at their Kafkaesue voice mail and no returned calls or email whatsoever I gave up.
A few months later the wind blew and the cable broke. I reported the fault via my provider Plusnet and added a note to the ticket requesting that Openreach remedy the faulty installation when they came to repair the line. Although they re-attached the line quite quickly they did not remedy the installation. I have been pushing Plusnet to follow this up and make sure that Openreach re-install the line to a standard that will not cause me a problem every time the wind blows but Plusnet have said that as the line now works Openreach have done their job and there is nothing more that can be done.
This is plainly stupid. Openreach will not talk to me as I am not their customer and Plusnet will not (or are not willing to) force Openreach to fulfil work to any useful standard.  There no choice who does the work as Openreach have a monopoly for home telephone cable installation and maintenance. Not only do they have a monopoly but there is also no way that they can be held accountable for the poor quality of their work. In short  the have a licence to screw the end user!
This weekend I pruned the shrub. As the incompetent Openreach engineer had wrapped the line round the trunk I had to disconnect the line. I did this and at the same time tidied it all up, removing the superfluous connection box and clipping the cable to the house so it did not hang down freely. By interfering with the property of Openreach I COMMITTED A CRIMINAL OFFENCE (and I'd love Openreach to attempt to prosecute me).
Unfortunately it is too dangerous for me to climb a ladder and attempt to prune the trees and I don't feel that it is up to me to pay the 100s of pounds a tree surgeon would charge to do it when Openreach should have done this when they first installed the cable.
I have contacted Offcom about this and will be lodging a case with them. They have informed me that it is the responsibility of Plusnet to ensure that the service provided by Openreach is of a suitable standard and that this is governed by The Supply of Goods and Service Act 1982 and that Plusnet's stance so far on this matter is inadequate. For this reason I will be citing both Openreach and Plusnet as failing to provide a suitable standard of service to their customers.
I have attempted to obtain a copy of the quality specification document that governs the standard Openreach are charged to install lines to, but of course Openreach refuse to talk to me as I am not their customer... and Plusnet don't appear to give a hoot.
Oh joy. It's not as if I don't have other things to do.
43 REPLIES
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 13,322
Thanks: 223
Fixes: 65
Registered: 27-04-2007

Re: Openreach / Plusnet relationship inadequate. Atrocious line installation.

I'm sorry to read about the issues you've had here.
Quote
Plusnet will not (or are not willing to) force Openreach to fulfil work to any useful standard.

From my personal point of view nothing could be further from the truth as I'm willing and able to help you resolve this issue, it sounds like you've had some difficulty trying to deal with this via support perhaps?
Quote
Plusnet don't appear to give a hoot.

This Plusnetter certainly does and I'll do what I can to look at getting an engineer out ASAP to complete the wiring work to an appropriate standard. I'll also take a look through the history of the account to see why perhaps you've had difficulties trying to resolve this siltation with us already.
Please bear with me whilst I deal with this and I'll reply back again ASAP.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
ModelCitizen
Grafter
Posts: 46
Registered: 30-04-2008

Re: Openreach / Plusnet relationship inadequate. Atrocious line installation.

Sorry should have read:
'Plusnet *cannot* (or are not willing to) force Openreach to fulfil work to any useful standard.'
I raised a ticket, making a telephone call when I became exasperated that my request for remedial work had been ignored, to be told that as Openreach had marked the line as working there was nothing Plusnet or Openreach could do. I pushed it quite strongly but the Plusnet operative, after talking with her line manager, was adamant that no further action could be taken.  You seem to be saying that she and her line manager were both misinformed and that Plusnet are capable of making sure that Openreach do a decent job.
Anyway, thanks.
adie:quote
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 13,322
Thanks: 223
Fixes: 65
Registered: 27-04-2007

Re: Openreach / Plusnet relationship inadequate. Atrocious line installation.

Quote
You seem to be saying that she and her line manager were both misinformed and that Plusnet are capable of making sure that Openreach do a decent job

Not exactly what I'm saying no, it's right that we're not directly responsible for how they complete line installation but we are able to complain and get engineers back out if the install is performed to a poor standard as it sounds very much like yours was.
As mentioned on the support ticket I will be back in touch when we've been able to arrange for engineers to go back out.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
Glencaple
Newbie
Posts: 1
Registered: 18-01-2012

Re: Openreach / Plusnet relationship inadequate. Atrocious line installation.

Sorry to piggy back onto your topic but it just hit a raw nerve as my ongoing issue with Plusnet/Openreach moves well into it's fourth week.
My phone line was brought down when a neighbours tree was blown over in the storms on the 3rd of January. I waited a week before an engineer appeared only to tell me a tree surgeon would be required. Tree Surgeon duly arrived almost a week later as that was when he had been requested to arrive not due to the fact he couldn't attend earlier. Couple of days later another engineer arrives was about to abandon job as said tree surgeon hadn't done a good enough job. Fortunately my 79 year old father in law was at the house and he used a branch pruner on a long poll to cut down more branches allowing the engineer to complete the work. Not long after Openreach engineer goes away father in law tries the phone no dial tone. Engineer was never in the house to check for himself. I should mention that when the cable was broken it had enough force to pull the bracket off my wall and pull cable out of the roof. I maybe daft but perhaps it might have been an idea to check the cable all the way to the master socket where their responsibilty ends.
I added a note to my open question which obviously doesn't get looked at as when I phoned the next morning to complain about the on going fault I get told by Plusnet support that the fault has been fixed. That was last Thursday19th since then I have benn told there's no fault on the line, oh yes there is a fault on the line but we've fixed it (NOT), yes there's still a fault on the line but it's probably your fault try testing with nothing but a good handset and we'll think about sending out someone but you'll have to agree to a £60 charge beforehand if it's your fault.
I was a good little boy and tested the line like the big man said and lo and behold I've still got no dial tone and when dialling in to my number it goes straight to voicemail and says I'm on the phone. Again I might be daft but I would say there is possibly a short somewhere or a false signal on the line giving the impression my phone is off the hook. Perhaps if Plusnet/Openreach relied less on fancy diagnostic signals and sent out an engineer with at least one good eye they might find the problem. What really annoys me is having to wait/lose a day each time I tell Plusnet Support that I still have a fault as they have to tell Openreach (who seem to have more protection from my anger thaen the Queen) who then have to tell Plusnet what story the want to spin today who then the next morning send me a txt  thanking me for my patience (which went long since to be replaced by apathy). The whole process stinks to be honest and if the call had been escalated as many times as I've heard it's going to be God him/herself would be deling with it.
Again apologies for butting in but my rant probably saved me a fortune on therapy sessions !!!!!!!!!!
ModelCitizen
Grafter
Posts: 46
Registered: 30-04-2008

Re: Openreach / Plusnet relationship inadequate. Atrocious line installation.

Yes. Openreach are not as accountable as they need to be and so get way with the most appaling service. The company is a monopoly to boot, which means that have you by the short and curlies and can hold you to ransom. They have a licence to make money.
SpencerUk
Grafter
Posts: 65
Registered: 10-06-2011

Re: Openreach / Plusnet relationship inadequate. Atrocious line installation.

Quote from: Glencaple
Sorry to piggy back onto your topic but it just hit a raw nerve as my ongoing issue with Plusnet/Openreach moves well into it's fourth week.
My phone line was brought down when a neighbours tree was blown over in the storms on the 3rd of January. I waited a week before an engineer appeared only to tell me a tree surgeon would be required. Tree Surgeon duly arrived almost a week later as that was when he had been requested to arrive not due to the fact he couldn't attend earlier. Couple of days later another engineer arrives was about to abandon job as said tree surgeon hadn't done a good enough job. Fortunately my 79 year old father in law was at the house and he used a branch pruner on a long poll to cut down more branches allowing the engineer to complete the work. Not long after Openreach engineer goes away father in law tries the phone no dial tone. Engineer was never in the house to check for himself. I should mention that when the cable was broken it had enough force to pull the bracket off my wall and pull cable out of the roof. I maybe daft but perhaps it might have been an idea to check the cable all the way to the master socket where their responsibilty ends.
I added a note to my open question which obviously doesn't get looked at as when I phoned the next morning to complain about the on going fault I get told by Plusnet support that the fault has been fixed. That was last Thursday19th since then I have benn told there's no fault on the line, oh yes there is a fault on the line but we've fixed it (NOT), yes there's still a fault on the line but it's probably your fault try testing with nothing but a good handset and we'll think about sending out someone but you'll have to agree to a £60 charge beforehand if it's your fault.
I was a good little boy and tested the line like the big man said and lo and behold I've still got no dial tone and when dialling in to my number it goes straight to voicemail and says I'm on the phone. Again I might be daft but I would say there is possibly a short somewhere or a false signal on the line giving the impression my phone is off the hook. Perhaps if Plusnet/Openreach relied less on fancy diagnostic signals and sent out an engineer with at least one good eye they might find the problem. What really annoys me is having to wait/lose a day each time I tell Plusnet Support that I still have a fault as they have to tell Openreach (who seem to have more protection from my anger thaen the Queen) who then have to tell Plusnet what story the want to spin today who then the next morning send me a txt  thanking me for my patience (which went long since to be replaced by apathy). The whole process stinks to be honest and if the call had been escalated as many times as I've heard it's going to be God him/herself would be deling with it.
Again apologies for butting in but my rant probably saved me a fortune on therapy sessions !!!!!!!!!!

Hi Glencaple,
I'm sorry to hear of your continuing landline issues after work done by BT.
As discussed on the phone this afternoon, I have taken personal ownership on this issue until we can between us all reach a successful resolution on this issue.
I've updated your faults ticket with the finer details of what we discussed on the phone and my next actions. If you need to get a hold of me for whatever reason, just give me a nudge on the faults ticket or give me a ring.
x47c
Grafter
Posts: 878
Registered: 14-08-2009

Re: Openreach / Plusnet relationship inadequate. Atrocious line installation.

I'd agree the installation does seem to have been dire in this case, but let's consider this.
The pole outside my house is knackered.
Its been condemmed as unsafe to climb by H&S regulations.
Its not actually unsafe you understand.......it's just because the regulations say it is.
The BT workers know its "safe" but they would loose their job if they actually climbed up it
Total cost to replace ONE pole
£700 for the pole  - only certified plant in EU capable of cresoting it is in France so I'm told.
Then we have the pole fixing lorry, road partly closed off/traffic control - that's a few more people.
Prior notification to council of works etc.
Safe disposal of old pole - no longer allowed to burn it/stuff it in landfill are we!
Re-making the circuit from the underground joint box to the distribution point at the top.
So I'd say the total cost is going to be in the £1000+ region.
Pole feed two houses
quarterly line rental say £50 per house - so £400 per annum total.
Pole replacement cost say £1200.
So the cost of ONE pole replacement has 'used up' the ENTIRE revenue in line rental for these two houses for 3 WHOLE YEARS.
Perhaps you all have a better understanding from this small example of the costs of replacing the "rubbish infrastructure" compared to the revenue generated.  Infrastructure which lest we forget was installed when BT was the GPO and was in public ownership as was even more a monopoly than it is today.
One BT man told be about the cable on a local road that was dire and needed some re-trenching and the dodgy section removed totally and re-cabled in ducts etc with new joint boxes....quote from contractors was around £30000.......you can continue to endlessly bodge up a lot of faults for that sort of money and still be quids in.
Now, you'all say this is silly just do the job now
but I'd expect if the government mandated by law that all householders had to change their windows to triple glazed units at their own cost before the house could be next sold you would all be the first to complain that it was not necessary and why could we not just bodge up the old one, and they were really not interested in saving the environment.

ModelCitizen
Grafter
Posts: 46
Registered: 30-04-2008

Re: Openreach / Plusnet relationship inadequate. Atrocious line installation.

Not too sure where you are coming from, as the analogy you pose isn't. All you figures seem to point to is that health and safety has gone mad and that there should be more than one place to buy poles from. Oh, and confirming that an unaccountable barely-regulated monopoly operating in a capitalist driven society often has a license to print money...  and at the expense and to the detriment of the end user.
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 13,322
Thanks: 223
Fixes: 65
Registered: 27-04-2007

Re: Openreach / Plusnet relationship inadequate. Atrocious line installation.

@ModelCitizen
I certainly and sincerely hope your installation wasn't deliberately planned to be executed in the way it was. I'm aware that today is day 5 of the 7 BT Openreach advised me it would take to receive a response from the complaint I raised with them so I'll be pressing for a response over the next couple of days.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
ModelCitizen
Grafter
Posts: 46
Registered: 30-04-2008

Re: Openreach / Plusnet relationship inadequate. Atrocious line installation.

Hi Adam,
Probably the wrong place for this but the Openreach engineer rang me on Friday to say that he was at my house and that the trees were my concern and that Openreach normal practice was to run wires through swaying trees such that the branches chafed the cable. He also told me that the man who did it must have been a contractor.
He asked for my permission to remake the bit of wiring I'd done in the connector box so that it used an authorised Openreach connector, which is gave him. I've not checked the work though.By the time he got there of course I'd already cured the worst of their work when I pruned the climbing shrub on the front of the house.

Thanks for you help on this. I am still amazed that Openreach think they have a mandate install cable through trees such that it is almost bound to break during high winds and have no obligation to inform the householder. It's a pretty rank service they offer really.
Thanks.
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 13,322
Thanks: 223
Fixes: 65
Registered: 27-04-2007

Re: Openreach / Plusnet relationship inadequate. Atrocious line installation.

Quote
I am still amazed that Openreach think they have a mandate install cable through trees

So am I, I would take that with a pinch of salt and more perhaps as the opinion of that engineer than the overall message the company want go give. I've not heard anything back regarding the complaint so I'll be surprised (and disapointed at the lack of notification from BTO) if Friday's visit was off the back of that.
I'll keep you posted if I hear anything but thanks for letting me know.
Adam.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
ModelCitizen
Grafter
Posts: 46
Registered: 30-04-2008

Re: Openreach / Plusnet relationship inadequate. Atrocious line installation.

I thought I'd report back to this thread to conclude this sad and bizarre story.
In the end Openreach returned and sorted out the cabling at the front of the house. They also said that cutting back trees was not part of their remit and that running a cable through a tree and up against branches was normal practice. I found this very hard to believe as it's so obviously a stupid thing to do. At the very least they should inform the house holder than the line will have to be run through trees and invite them to cut back the trees before they run it!
Anyway, the line was fine until the wind next blew. Then it broke again. This time an intelligent, polite and accommodating Openreach engineer came round to fix it. He asked me if I wanted the trees cut back, and after requesting that I signed a disclaimer got an Openreach cherry picker round to do it.
Bizarre or what? Even Openreach seem to have no idea whether they should cut back trees or not.
I am hoping that I do not have to deal with them again.
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
Posts: 13,322
Thanks: 223
Fixes: 65
Registered: 27-04-2007

Re: Openreach / Plusnet relationship inadequate. Atrocious line installation.

Thanks for reporting back,
I recently looked into the subject of lines running near trees for another customer. If the route of a line crosses the branches of a tree in such a way that it affects the use of the line Openreach should then give the owner of the land the tree lies on the option of having the branches cut first.
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
ModelCitizen
Grafter
Posts: 46
Registered: 30-04-2008

Re: Openreach / Plusnet relationship inadequate. Atrocious line installation.

I guess you are saying that if a line touches branches (which will chaff the line when the wind blows) then it is incumbent upon Openreach to inform the customer about it and give them the option of cutting back the tree branches before they install the line.
If so, it would be really useful if Openreach made their employees aware of this!!