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Feedback on FTTC transfer process

jheenan
Grafter
Posts: 111
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎03-07-2009

Feedback on FTTC transfer process

Hi all,
I'm a long time plus.net (well, actually, force9) customer, and just completed a switch to FTTC (or 'Fibre Optic Broadband' as plus call it). There's some feedback on the whole process I thought I'd share, and there are some parts of the process that I felt weren't ideal. That said, overall, things went pretty smoothly - I'm mostly happy apart from the upstream (more on that below).
1. http://www.plus.net/fibre-broadband/?source=mainNav - this page has a 'check availabilty' link, which if you're an existing customer ends up directing you to https://www.plus.net/apps/account/change/2398997/CurrentAccount - that redirection makes no sense at all and leaves you somewhat confused. If you do realise you're meant to click 'change my products', you get to a page where you appear to be meant to infer that fibre is not available to you by the fact that it's not mentioned at all on the page.
2. The "notes for the engineer" box when you order is really too small. I'm fairly certain most of the examples given for what you might want to put into that box end up longer than the available space. It took me about 20+ submissions, and each time you resubmit you have to reselect the appointment time again. A little bit of javascript with a 'character left' count and more immediately pointing out the invalid characters would save a lot of frustration.
3. When it did become available, I was able to order it fine from 'change my products', but you don't get any kind of email confirmation, and the date/time of your appointment isn't recorded anywhere (I even went through all the closed questions/service notices on my account, it wasn't there).  The 'change my product' page just says I was on standard ADSL and seemed to offer me the chance to try changing again. I was pretty convinced my order hadn't actually completed properly, and fairly shocked when I did get a call from the openreach engineer.
4. At 1AM on the day the the install was due, I got an email "Your product change is now complete, here are the details" - obviously it wasn't complete, the engineer hadn't even visited at that point!
5. An email when hardware is dispatched might be useful.
6. There's a staggering number of service notices generated - eg. at 6:06pm on 15th, I have one 'This question is confirmation that your Deferred Hardware - Netgear WNR1000 - FTTC contract has now started.', followed by another one at 6:06pm on 15th 'This question is confirmation that your Deferred Hardware - Netgear WNR1000 - FTTC has been nullified.'
7. "This question is confirmation that your Extra Fibre Profit Foregone Contract (18 months) contract has now started." - I have no idea what a 'Profit Foregone contract' is, can anyone englightment me?
8. The fact that I've signed up to an 18 month is also something that really should be confirmed in an email in my opinion.
9. Due to the availably thing on plus.net's site being useless, a quick bit of checking revealed people were being suggested to use https://www.btwholesale.com/includes/adsl/main.html instead, which told me I could expect 32.2Mbps down and 13.3Mbps up - brilliant! So I signup, what do I get upstream - 1.6 Mbps. Not at all impressed. A lot of digging around revealed that I believe my upstream has been capped at 2Mbps (so why I never get better than 1.6Mbps is still a bit of a mystery), but having fairly throughly checked through http://www.plus.net/fibre-broadband/?source=mainNav  http://www.plus.net/fibre-broadband/broadband/ http://www.plus.net/residential/faqs.shtml#fbtop  the 'How fast is fibre?' and http://www.plus.net/support/broadband/speed_guide/speed_basics.shtml I don't see this mentioned at all. In fact I'm fairly certain I've been missold this product; it is not the one I was expecting.
10. Even though I request the 30M data extension kit at signup, when the engineer turned up he didn't actually have any on his van. Not a huge issue, he made up a cable with an RJ45 plug on the end instead (and ran it exactly where I wanted, very nice job), but it seems pointless having the box to request this if the information isn't actually getting through.
11. https://portal.plus.net/my.html?s=0&action=account_summary is utterly bewildering; totting up it looks like I'd have 202.99 to pay if I cancelled. Ouch. (The £40 for the WNR1000 seems particularly cheeky given Maplin & PCWorld (who aren't exactly known for being cheap!) sell them for £30! It also directly contradicts the ticket on my account that says the charge for the WNR1000 has been nullified.)
12. http://www.plus.net/fibre-broadband/?source=mainNav in the 'here's the legal bit', "Fibre broadband 18-month contract: The Plusnet Fibre service is subject to a minimum period of 18 months. If you leave within 12 months, you may be liable to pay charges relating to the set-up of your service and for hardware we have provided.". To be honest, I really don't understand why there is a mention of both 12 and 18 months - I'm utterly confused about what I might have to pay if I were to cancel.
The process on the installation day was fine though; engineer phone (actually a bit early, which was good) to say he was ready to start and the phone would go dead, phone came back on 15 minutes or so later, engineer turned up and fitted everything. He briefly thought the WNR1000 wasn't suitable, don't think he'd seen one before. I think it took less than 90 minutes from his first call to everything being setup and working.
8 REPLIES
jojopillo
Grafter
Posts: 9,786
Registered: ‎16-06-2010

Re: Feedback on FTTC transfer process

Hi JosephH,
Thanks for your time on the phone today. I'm glad we've addressed your major questions and some of the issues you raise about the general process are valuable feedbanck for the journey, I'll make sure the relevant people are made aware.
Jojo Smiley
jheenan
Grafter
Posts: 111
Thanks: 1
Registered: ‎03-07-2009

Re: Feedback on FTTC transfer process

Thanks Jojo; appreciate all your efforts here! Have a good Christmas/New Year.
Rich
Grafter
Posts: 184
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Feedback on FTTC transfer process

Quote from: JosephH
Hi all,
I'm a long time plus.net (well, actually, force9) customer,...

Just want to say... 
Excellent Post with good suggestions for improvement  - much more helpful than the negative feedback we often see on here.
Merry Christmas
Richard.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,412
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎29-01-2009

Re: Feedback on FTTC transfer process

On #9 (Upstream speed):
Plusnet lists all their speed restrictions on this page: Upload Speeds, which is linked from the Traffic Management page or the Broadband Experience page. Both come from the Broadband Speed Guide page.
It is wierd that BT have updated their own (BT Wholesale) speed checker to take account of profile 17a in the upstream direction (speed predictions now go over 10Mbps) but not the downstream direction (predictions unchanged), where the changes to the frequency bands have allocated more bandwidth to the downstream side - and that this gain is available to almost everyone, and not just those closest to the cabinet.
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.
reddev87
Grafter
Posts: 80
Registered: ‎27-07-2011

Re: Feedback on FTTC transfer process

Quote from: WWWombat
It is wierd that BT have updated their own (BT Wholesale) speed checker to take account of profile 17a in the upstream direction (speed predictions now go over 10Mbps) but not the downstream direction (predictions unchanged), where the changes to the frequency bands have allocated more bandwidth to the downstream side - and that this gain is available to almost everyone, and not just those closest to the cabinet.

They haven't. The upload estimates higher than 10Meg relate to the 40/15 product, which was available on 8c. It's no longer available I believe, just 40/10 and 40/2.
The 17a update to the wholesale checker will take place on the 28/29th January, as mentioned here: http://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/home/updates/briefings/super-fastfibreaccessbriefings/super-fastfibr...
kdhuk
Grafter
Posts: 112
Thanks: 3
Registered: ‎24-12-2011

Re: Feedback on FTTC transfer process

My Extra Fibre PN  went live 2 days ago...............well pleased so far  ........getting good speeds-  downloads up from 2.6 Mb/s with Virgin ADSL (see speed test result below ) but a couple of niggles with the sign up process.
Firstly I signed up with a MAC key on 23/12/11.........credit card was not accepted online as drop down boxes on site did not have double figures for expiry dates etc (ie 3 for March rather than 03)......................whole order seemed to get lost over Christmas so raised a question with support wihich was dealt with very well  and all went smoothly from then on .
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,412
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎29-01-2009

Re: Feedback on FTTC transfer process

Quote from: reddev87
Quote from: WWWombat
It is wierd that BT have updated their own (BT Wholesale) speed checker to take account of profile 17a in the upstream direction (speed predictions now go over 10Mbps) but not the downstream direction (predictions unchanged), where the changes to the frequency bands have allocated more bandwidth to the downstream side - and that this gain is available to almost everyone, and not just those closest to the cabinet.

They haven't. The upload estimates higher than 10Meg relate to the 40/15 product, which was available on 8c. It's no longer available I believe, just 40/10 and 40/2.

That is, I think, a red herring... the DSL checker originally estimated me at 6Mbps upstream, and that was at a time when the (now obsolete) 40/15 product could still be ordered.
The change to estimating a 12Mbps upstream for me happened around the time that the 17a profile rolled out, and after the 40/15 product was marked obsolete.
Plusnet Customer
Using FTTC since 2011. Currently on 80/20 Unlimited Fibre Extra.
gstrickland
Grafter
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎01-12-2011

Re: Feedback on FTTC transfer process

Quote from: JosephH
Hi all,
I'm a long time plus.net (well, actually, force9) customer, and just completed a switch to FTTC (or 'Fibre Optic Broadband' as plus call it).

That's rather naughty for PN to call it 'Fibre Optic Broadband' as that's only partially true. FTTC is Fibre-to-the-cabinet - Fibre Optic link from the local telephone exchange to a box located somewhere in a road local to you. The physical conection from your house is still copper.
When fibre is end-to-end from the Telephone exchange to your router via FTTH (Fibre to the Home) then it could more rightfully called as 'Fibre Optic Broadband'.
Wink