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Openreach have still not fixed line fault (again) – can anyone at Plusnet help?

Catweazle
Grafter
Posts: 140
Registered: 12-01-2009

Openreach have still not fixed line fault (again) – can anyone at Plusnet help?

I reported a line fault (noise on line and constipated broadband…) on 17th July and I’m still waiting for Openreach to fix the problem. A few minutes ago I had a ticket update from PN that said that an Openreach engineer had fixed the problem, but there’s still terrible noise on the line which would be apparent to anyone who had actually bothered to check. PN have just passed this back to Openreach as the PN op confirmed that the line quality was very poor.
Coincidentally, on 17th July another Openreach engineer fixed a neighbour’s line fault and the cynical amongst us might suspect that the engineer just swapped a good line (i.e. mine) with the neighbour’s line and then ran for the hills – can’t prove anything of course.
This is the second time in two months that I’ve had the same (or very similar) fault – the last was reported on 16th May and not resolved until 26th June (with at least 5 Openreach engineers attempting a fix). But not as bad as the 8 months it took Openreach to resolve a similar fault in 2009 (with at least 10 engineer visits).
The majority of faults that have impacted my phone line, and my neighbours’ lines, have been traced to a section of underground cables 50-100m from my house. But the Openreach engineers never seem to pass this vital information on to the next engineer and they invariably want to come and check the line quality at the master socket, even though this has been done countless times before. One day, the problem will surely be in the master socket as they’ve taken it apart so many times on a fruitless quest to find a line fault i.e. they’ll introduce a problem that wasn’t there before. It seems that their training makes them assume that the customer is always at fault…
So you can probably understand that I’m getting really fed up with this abysmal service – can someone at Plusnet give Openreach a kick up the proverbial and get this problem sorted out once and for all?
The relevant ticket numbers are #72107227 (current), #69666471 (May-June this year), and #25488897 (from 2009 – for a real horror story…)
I’m also thinking of starting a couple of Openreach-related polls i.e. “What’s the longest time that Openreach have taken to resolve a line fault?” and “What’s the most number of Openreach engineer visits that have been required to resolve a line fault?”. Can anyone beat “8 months” and “10 visits”? I really hope that no-one has had a worse experience, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they have…
20 REPLIES
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
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Registered: 27-04-2007

Re: Openreach have still not fixed line fault (again) – can anyone at Plusnet help?

Hi Catweazle,
I remember reading previous posts you've made about this and I'm sorry to see it's still an issue for you.
Having read the previous and current fault tickets I'm happy that we're on the right track at the moment as we've escalated the issue and have made a request for the issue to be addressed without further appointments, unfortunately since then the report has come back asking for an appointment. As you can tell much of the back-end systems used to handle these things do tend to rely on assuming that that will be necessary for further information.
It's clear we need to be firm, persistent and consistent in what we're looking for from the engineers here so for now I'm going to add a note on the fault to make it clear where we suspect that the fault lies and that further appointments won't be needed. Without taking ownership I will keep an eye on how this progresses and will continue to intervene where I see necessary (as I've just done).
Adam

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 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
Catweazle
Grafter
Posts: 140
Registered: 12-01-2009

Re: Openreach have still not fixed line fault (again) – can anyone at Plusnet help?

Many thanks for your intervention, Adam - this is appreciated.
I don't mind having one engineer visit for a brand new fault, but this last one clearly isn't and I'm not prepared to take any more time off work to get the runaround from Openreach engineers who should be communicating with each other much better - Openreach is in the communications industry, for goodness sake, but I'm sure they don't appreciate the irony of that...
Like I've said in some of my other posts, I really don't think Openreach (or CPs/ISPs) fully appreciate how inconvenient and irritating it is to have to take time off work when Openreach engineers can quite easily check line quality external to someone's house. Yes, it might take two visits to fix a problem if the fault actually lies within the residential wiring, but that's a risk I'd happily take based on past performance. How about suggesting this at the next Openreach service review? i.e. allow customers to specify that external-only checks are done initially, perhaps with the disclaimer that fix times might be longer if the fault is actually in the home. This would only be on request - the default would be to arrange a home visit. I think this would just be a logical extension of the initial remote line tests that CPs/ISPs do before logging faults with Openreach. But I guess the Openreach response will depend on the percentage of faults that are fixed in the home vs. external network faults - they wouldn't be keen on increasing the number of call-outs, I'm sure i.e. I might just be one of the unlucky ones who doesn't get faults fixed first time.
Are there any stats that could be shared on Openreach performance? e.g. number of first-time fixes, number of fixes done in the home or in the external network? Now that would make for interesting reading...
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
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Re: Openreach have still not fixed line fault (again) – can anyone at Plusnet help?

Quote
Are there any stats that could be shared on Openreach performance? e.g. number of first-time fixed

I'm afraid not, or at least not that we'd be able to share.
I'll be doing what I can to see how we can pass your feedback on, personally I've been more involved in passing on feedback to BT Wholesale but I'll see how this is done relating to Openreach.
Quote
Like I've said in some of my other posts, I really don't think Openreach (or CPs/ISPs) fully appreciate how inconvenient and irritating it is to have to take time off work when Openreach engineers can quite easily check line quality external to someone's house

You'd be surprised as I've personally had a phone fault within the past few years so I've been through the faults process and had to arrange this around work. In my opinion an initial engineer visit is a good idea unless a glaringly obvious external issue is identified but I can certainly agree that repeat visits beyond the initial one may not always be helpful in terms of customer care and fault finding.
How are things looking today after the fault was worked on yesterday?
If this post resolved your issue please click the 'This fixed my problem' button
 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
Catweazle
Grafter
Posts: 140
Registered: 12-01-2009

Re: Openreach have still not fixed line fault (again) – can anyone at Plusnet help?

Thanks, Adam - the noise on the line was certainly still there between 7 and 8pm yesterday when I last used the phone, and broadband disconnected multiple times throughout the evening so it doesn't look as if yesterday's attempt at fault fixing helped at all.
Will check again this evening (I'm at work at the moment).
Catweazle
Grafter
Posts: 140
Registered: 12-01-2009

Re: Openreach have still not fixed line fault (again) – can anyone at Plusnet help?

Just checked again - huge amount of noise still on line, with lots of crackles and pops; broadband has had several disconnections so far - not looking good...
Community Veteran
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Re: Openreach have still not fixed line fault (again) – can anyone at Plusnet help?

What was the cause of your previous faults, Catweazle?
Catweazle
Grafter
Posts: 140
Registered: 12-01-2009

Re: Openreach have still not fixed line fault (again) – can anyone at Plusnet help?

All the previous faults were due to poor connections in the underground cables about 50-100m from my home - there is an inspection cover in the road that allows access to some of the connections, but another set of connections are buried under someone's lawn and Openreach engineers seem only want to look there as a last resort (which is understandable, I guess, as they work under tight time constraints - but you'd have thought that the frequency of attempted fixes would set off some alarm bells somewhere...). Once the 2009 saga was over, I had a good service until earlier this year, but I have noticed Openreach engineers frequently investigating issues for other residents in the road - it's obviously a bad patch of cabling, and it must be costing Openreach a fortune to keep revisiting this area.
When I frst experienced the problems 4 years ago, Openreach eventually sent an area manager out to investigate (after several engineers had failed to find the problem) and I asked him why they couldn't replace the cables/connections and the response was that it would be too costly to do this and therefore wouldn't be approved - it's seen as more economical to keep sending engineers to patch the cables as best they can. I can sort of see the logic, but it's a very poor way to treat customers, whichever way you look at it.
Plusnet Help Team
Plusnet Help Team
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Re: Openreach have still not fixed line fault (again) – can anyone at Plusnet help?

Thanks for the update Catweazle,
Our faults team haven't been able to pick your fault ticket up again since I last intervened so you're on my list for tomorrow Smiley
Adam
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 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
Catweazle
Grafter
Posts: 140
Registered: 12-01-2009

Re: Openreach have still not fixed line fault (again) – can anyone at Plusnet help?

OK, Adam - looking forward to some positive action from Openreach as they don't appear to have done anything today - line is still very noisy with lots of crackles and pops (double-checked with wired phone plugged into test socket and using BT's Quiet Line test on 17070); broadband is still being disconnected frequently and download speed is about 2Mbps (down from about 12Mbps) - checked using BTW speed test
Plusnet Help Team
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Re: Openreach have still not fixed line fault (again) – can anyone at Plusnet help?

Hi Catweazle,
Unfortunately the fault report has been closed shortly after it was passed back to us asking for another appointment. I can see there's a need if to have someone working on this more regularly so as I'm familiar with the history of this one I'm going to take full ownership now.
I'm going to raise a new fault report straight away but please be aware in doing so we'll be asked to book another visit. I believe the best thing to do is go ahead with that if you can make sure you're available and after it's booked I'll do all I can to circumvent the engineer from going out.
Please don't think of this as a major set back and more of a change of tack from how we're handing this from our side.
Adam
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 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team
Catweazle
Grafter
Posts: 140
Registered: 12-01-2009

Re: Openreach have still not fixed line fault (again) – can anyone at Plusnet help?

OK, Adam - I'm not happy as I'm convinced that this fault was caused by Openreach in the first place, so it does add insult to injury that they can't just get on and fix it without inconveniencing me any further. Any remote line test should highlight the frequent broadband disconnections at least, so I'm amazed that Openreach can close the fault when it has quite plainly not been resolved - what evidence do they provide that they've fixed the fault (or no fault was found)? Are they even checking the right phone line?
As I've said in the support ticket, I'm ok for an engineer to visit on Saturday but a weekday visit is not possible as I simply cannot take any time off work at the moment.
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Re: Openreach have still not fixed line fault (again) – can anyone at Plusnet help?

Quote
caused by Openreach in the first place, so it does add insult to injury that they can't just get on and fix it without inconveniencing me any further. Any remote line test should highlight the frequent broadband disconnections at least, so I'm amazed that Openreach can close the fault when it has quite plainly not been resolved

Unfortunately, as you have so vividly discovered, some sections of BTOR are a law unto themselves. I get the impression that the long suffering PN staff spend at least 50% of their time clearing up after BTOR's crap service.  Cry
Catweazle
Grafter
Posts: 140
Registered: 12-01-2009

Re: Openreach have still not fixed line fault (again) – can anyone at Plusnet help?

Just thought I'd post an update to confirm the checks that I've done to ensure the fault lies outside my home:-
1. disconnected phone and modem, removed master socket face plate (NTE5), plugged wired phone into test socket; result = very noisy line, with pops and crackles as previously described. Same issue observed with DECT phone. No microfilter (or modem) was attached for this test. N.B. there are no extension sockets.
2. plugged microfilter directly into master test socket and connected modem and phone; same degree of noise interference can be heard on phone and broadband disconnects frequently
3. repeated test 2 with two other microfilters and this had the same result
4. I haven't tried another modem this time, but I did this when the latest shenanigans started in May this year and that made no difference. Also, test #1 shows that terrible noise on the line is present when no modem is connected (it's so bad at times that I can hardly hear the caller, and vice versa)
Not much else I can check, really, as test #1 is pretty conclusive.
Incidentally, when I had the last fault in May/June of this year, an Openreach engineer tested line quality at the master socket and where the external cable enters my house and found that the cabling was fine - the fault was confirmed as being external to my property. This test was done on 28th May. I've certainly changed nothing in my house that could have affected the phone line since then, whereas I know that Openreach have been seen attempting repairs in my road on several occasions over the last few weeks (some of my neighbours are retired and have noticed the Openreach vans parked up in the road during the day).
Plusnet Help Team
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Re: Openreach have still not fixed line fault (again) – can anyone at Plusnet help?

Thanks for understanding Catweazle,
I know this is a bit of a bind and I'm disappointed too as to how some aspects of this have been handled.
I can't promise a Saturday appointment but I'll do my best to get one.
Thanks for the detailed update too, I'll copy that across for now but can you pop any further updates relevant to the fault on the ticket please as that would be really helpful.
I'll drop a reply to the ticket for you ASAP.
Adam
UPDATE:
Sorry to disappoint but I feel it best to be straight up, no Saturday appointments are being offered and I'm afraid we're unable to log a phone fault with out an appointment first when initial line tests don't find a fault as in this case.
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 Adam Walker
 Plusnet Help Team