BT Broadband Ball Ups
As you know, we’ve been struggling with slow broadband here for years now with no real sign of Superfast Broadband coming any time soon. Download speeds are around 2Mbps, Upload speeds a crippling 0.2Mbps.
Then, all of a sudden in July we discovered that we could get Fibre to the Property (FTTP).
Fibre to the Property
This was a revelation. 99% of people in the UK that can get Superfast Broadband get it via Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC), then from the cabinet the broadband travels along the existing copper wires. As it travels along the copper wires the signal degrades and the speeds slow down. This means that no one quite gets the advertised speeds and the further from the cabinet you are the more it slows down.
FTTP is a direct, dedicated fibre to your property, so it doesn’t go along copper at any point and is therefore much faster. In fact the Fibre that comes into your house via FTTP can theoretically support speeds up to 1Gbps, yep, that’s 1,000Mbps. Now, no one can get this yet as the main network in the UK can only go up to 330Mbps.
330Mbps is pretty quick mind you and quite a bit quicker than even the fastest cable connections which currently top out around 200Mbps. Checks on our line now that FTTP is available to us show that it can support this new 330Mbps FTTP speed and we should be good to go.
Needless to say, armed with this knowledge we were checking the deals available to us and had two options, Zen Broadband or BT. In the end we decided to go with BT as:
- they were the only ones to support the top 300+Mbps speed,
- they were a little cheaper for the packages capped at slower speeds,
- they were offering £150 cashback,
- they had some mobile phone packages that we liked the look of that were cheaper if you had BT Broadband
- being a bt customer gives you access to lots of BT wif-fi hotspots
Our order was placed on July 24th, line rental was paid upfront so as to save some money. We ordered an anytime calls package with it and the dates were set. Engineers were due out on August 8th and activation was due for August 9th. A bit of a wait but not too bad.
A so it begins.
Before the engineers even came out the activation date was changed to the 22nd. Despite this, our BT Smart hub arrived and the engineers turned up on the 8th and did the work outside. They didn’t quite finish it and said that they would be back the next day to finish off and that they would also be able to get things installed inside the house and the line activated so that we should be all up and running by the 9th as originally planned.
Sure enough they turned up the next day but discovered that because we were having voice over fibre as well that it needed a specialist engineer to install the items indoors so they wouldn’t be able to get it up and running for us after all. We would have to wait until the new date of August 22nd. We hadn’t ever ordered Voice over Fibre but the engineers seemed to think that they had given it to us free of charge so that they could put everyone in Ynyslas on Fibre and do away with the copper wires completely. They went on about the sea salt and corrosion and how getting rid of the copper here would make life easier for BT and OpenReach. That sounded like a sensible reason for giving us Voice over Fibre.
We continued to wait for the new activation date of the August 22nd and kept checking our order status online. A couple of days before the 22nd it suddenly changed from ‘engineer visit on the 22nd’ to ‘engineer cancelled’. We were on holiday at the time, but phoned BT anyway to check and they were adamant that despite the ‘cancelled status’ online that an engineer would still visit on the 22nd and everything would be up and running on that date. We didn’t hold our breath!
Much to our surprise and delight and engineer did indeed turn up on the 22nd and said he’d have us up and running in no time. Hours later and it was clear he couldn’t get it working. Apparently BT hadn’t activated our account so all it would take was a phone call and they’d flick the switch and all would be OK. I made the phone call but with no luck.
We continued calling them virtually everyday for the next week or so and it seemed to turn out that there had been an issue with orders that also included Voice over Fibre on the particular day that we placed our order and they were sorting it out. Eventually once they’d figured out what was going on we were told it would all be working by Tuesday 30th.
Still no Joy
Tuesday 30th came and went but nothing happened. We phoned every day again and tweeted but still no joy. We played the birthday trick on Anna’s birthday and each thought they were feeling sorry for us and that we were getting somewhere. Every time we spoke to someone we were told it would be sorted soon. Finally on Tuesday Sept 6th Anna spoke to someone who said she knew someone who had sorted this exact issue out before and knew how to do it so she would sort it out and all would be working the next day. They would cancel the Voice over Fibre part of the order (something we never asked for in the first place), set-up a new order and fast track it through.
Yep, you’ve guessed it, the next day came and went but we still had no Broadband. The Smart hub that had been going through a ‘green light’ start up mode and then simply going to an orange light had changed though. Now it was just stuck on the green light. We assumed this meant that they were doing something to our Broadband but it never came to anything.
Another 2 hours on the phone this morning and lots of different advisors and apparently everything is working but now our Smart Hub is broken so they are going to send a new one out. We’ll have to wait for that to arrive before we can see if it is actually that. According to their tests we do have SuperFast FTTP Broadband now. According to our BT account online we do have SuperFast FTTP Broadband too, we just can’t get to it at the moment as our Smart Hub is broken. Although it seemed to be working fine before, so I don’t know why it won’t work now.
Whilst checking our accounts online with BT we’ve also received notification that we’ve set up a new account. Presumably this is because they’ve cancelled the original order and started a new one without Voice over Fibre. Trouble is from what we can see at the moment they’ve messed this new order up as well. For a start they are charging us £18.99 a month line rental despite the fact that I’ve already paid for 12 months of line rental up front. Secondly they haven’t added the Anytime Calls package to the order and thirdly there doesn’t seem to be the £150 cashback available. No doubt we’ll be spending the next few weeks on the phone to them trying to sort that mess out as well. That is if the new Smart Hub actually does the trick and gets us online of course.
To make matters worse the engineers seem to have done something to the weather station whilst they were here as well. They snapped the antenna and somehow stopped the anemometer from working properly so it looks as though I shall have a costly repair to that sometime soon as well. That’s going to cost me around £200.
What a complete mess and we still don’t have Superfast Broadband. Meanwhile, we told our neighbours that they too could get FTTP, they ordered it a couple of weeks after us, had it installed and set up and have been enjoying Superfast FTTP ever since. Why do these things always happen to us?