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Standard User bdo21
(regular) Sun 19-Apr-15 14:33:24
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My FTTPoD Experience


[link to this post]
 
I realise this may not be particularly relevant any more given Openreach have suspended/withdrawn the product but for those interested, I have recounted my FTTPoD experience below...

I live in a house on a cul-de-sac of five houses - we are about 250m from the nearest cabinet which is FTTC enabled. However, we are connected to a cabinet a couple of miles away, across some fields, etc. Our broadband had reasonable speed (20Mb/s or so) but would drop frequently - this didn't work well with me working from home often (using a Citrix client and an IP phone) and the family streaming, etc. I am also fortunate that we bought the house recently on the basis that we would be here long term so I was willing to make an investment in the broadband.

I bought the house when the FTTPoD product was being rolled out and I went with Andrews & Arnold for FTTC, primarily because they had a reputation for being good technically so I thought they might do FTTPoD and because they had a shorter contract than others which I thought was relevant at the time on the basis that I wanted FTTPoD (contract length was not an issue in the end as I explain below...)

My exchange for FTTPoD was enabled in the December 2013 batch. I investigated which other ISPs could offer FTTPoD (or even knew about it!) - I struggled beyond Plusnet in addition to A&A. I tried BT but it was BT retail who didn't even understand what FTTPoD was and how it differed to FTTC. I had been very impressed with A&A so far during my short FTTC experience - the only thing holding me back was the download cap (I'm not a big downloaded but the concept of a cap was concerning). In the end, I went with A&A - I can't comment on Plusnet but I am sure that A&A was instrumental in finally delivering my FTTPoD - the regular follow-ups they made with BT finally got it installed. I was pleased to find when I placed the order that I was in Band A - the nearest fibre aggregation note is a bit closer to my house than the nearest cabinet (presumably <200m away).

I placed my order early in January 2014 and then waited. After a few weeks, someone from Openreach came over to do a survey. After that, weeks/months would go by and regular chasing from A&A would finally prompt a bit of movement from Openreach. To be fair to Openreach, it sounds like my order was complicated - from what I understand, they had to pull the fibre across from one side of a main road to the other and then back again before bringing it down to my house. After several months of issues, BT confirmed no ECCs and in September their civil contractor dug up my driveway for new ducting (the existing line came in through armoured cabling). At this point I got ahead of myself and bought a new router, thinking installation was imminent...

Ultimately it got to December before the fibre was actually pulled to the house - Openreach installed the brown box a few days before Christmas. Then an issue arose that BT's ordering system was incorrectly cancelling orders and they wanted to fix this before my order got to the problem stage so I waited another six weeks before Openreach came in mid-February to finish the installation.

Clearly there was a massive improvement in my broadband at that point. I ran some speed tests but kept capping out at around 100Mb/s - we ran various tests (including borrowing a router from A&A) and couldn't fix it so A&A logged a fault with BT who realised they had capped my line. With that cap removed, I now get speed test results in the 200s Mb/s - not quite the 330Mb/s quoted for FTTPoD but I gather this is capacity constraints for A&A rather than a problem with my installation - I don't need 200+Mb/s for now so it's not an issue for me. (Although, I don't really understand how people using gigaclear, BARN, etc get much higher speeds?)

The news about G.fast came out towards the end of this process but I decided that our cul-de-sac of five roads tucked away at the edge of a village would not be a priority (and may never get) G.fast so I didn't feel I have wasted money. Although now I have paid BT to install fibre to the end of the road, presumably the other four houses will get G.fast very easily! Another part of the G.fast announcement was FTTP speeds of up to a gigabit - I'm not sure what this means for FTTPoD users on a three year contract or whether it's relevant given the constraint I mentioned above - we'll see what happens.

All in all, it was a very long order process, A&A were excellent throughout and even Openreach were good when they came, despite the delays. I later heard that FTTPoD was being managed by the Ethernet team so would always be put to the back of the queue behind more lucrative business Ethernet orders. From what I understand, around there were around 80 orders for FTTPoD, up to half of which were cancelled by the customer who didn't want to wait and the remaining orders were being completed, starting around the same time as mine. Given this experience, I don't know if BT will ever bring the product back...

While the delay would always be annoying, it is particularly annoying because we are planning major work on our house and will have to move out - this was going to be over three years away when I initially placed he order but now I will probably need to move out while there is still some time left to run on the contract.

One point I was very clear on before I placed my order was that at the end of the three year contract, the line is considered to be just a standard FTTP line so I can choose A&A or any other provider of FTTP at that point. Not that there are many ISPs offering FTTP anyway...

Anyway, a public thank you to Andrews & Arnold!
Standard User APTMAN
(learned) Mon 20-Apr-15 00:02:19
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Re: My FTTPoD Experience


[re: bdo21] [link to this post]
 
Interesting thank you, was it very expensive ?.
Standard User baby_frogmella
(fountain of knowledge) Mon 20-Apr-15 02:21:06
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Re: My FTTPoD Experience


[re: bdo21] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by bdo21:
With that cap removed, I now get speed test results in the 200s Mb/s - not quite the 330Mb/s quoted for FTTPoD but I gather this is capacity constraints for A&A rather than a problem with my installation - I don't need 200+Mb/s for now so it's not an issue for me.

Out of all the ISPs out there, i would have thought AAISP would be the least likely to have capacity issues? If you are not getting 330 mb/s at any time of the day, then you're not getting the service you're paying for...

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Standard User dragon2611
(committed) Mon 20-Apr-15 08:07:28
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Re: My FTTPoD Experience


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
It would be worth checking that your router can actually manage 300Mbit/s

To manage that level of throughput they either need a fair bit of CPU power OR HW acceleration/asics

Some of the ones that have HW acceleration only have it for certain features, so a router that can do 900Mbit/s of NAT throughput might not be able to do 900Mbit/s of PPPoE throughput.
Standard User bowdon
(member) Mon 20-Apr-15 11:37:06
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Re: My FTTPoD Experience


[re: bdo21] [link to this post]
 
Wow, so just over a year from your order to an actual up and working connection?

No wonder BT pulled it. If there is that much of a delay on a few orders, if it become popular imagine the backlog of even 6 months worth of orders.

I don't understand why things are so slow when it comes to digging things up. If its the councils that are slowing things down then it should be time that the council allow certain utility companies on to a fast-tracked decision making panel, or something like that. Same goes for the other ISP's and other utility companies too.

Demon => Freeserve => Pipex => Be => Sky => BT Infinity 2
Standard User MHC
(sensei) Mon 20-Apr-15 12:30:20
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Re: My FTTPoD Experience


[re: bowdon] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by bowdon:
I don't understand why things are so slow when it comes to digging things up. If its the councils that are slowing things down ...


A couple of years back the pole serving us was demolished by a speeding driver. BT were quick enough to remove the damaged pole and make the area safe. They then needed to install a new pole and informed the council. The council responded that they required a minimum of 13 weeks notice as BT would need to implement traffic control - a man with a Stop/Go board for under an hour.

That is the current level of bureaucracy that BT has to contend with every day of the week - and ultimately, we the consumers, are having to pay the cost of BT battling against ridiculous restrictions.


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M H C


taurus excreta cerebrum vincit
Standard User bdo21
(regular) Mon 20-Apr-15 13:17:30
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Re: My FTTPoD Experience


[re: dragon2611] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by dragon2611:
It would be worth checking that your router can actually manage 300Mbit/s

To manage that level of throughput they either need a fair bit of CPU power OR HW acceleration/asics

Some of the ones that have HW acceleration only have it for certain features, so a router that can do 900Mbit/s of NAT throughput might not be able to do 900Mbit/s of PPPoE throughput.


I didn't get any speed difference between my router and A&A's firebrick router so it doesn't seem to be a router constraint. Could it be the link between A&A and thinkbroadband/btwholesale where I have run the speed tests?
Standard User dragon2611
(committed) Mon 20-Apr-15 13:27:16
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Re: My FTTPoD Experience


[re: bdo21] [link to this post]
 
I think the Firebrick is limited to around 300Mbit/s depending on which one it is, AAISP should be able to manage the speeds for your connection at Of-Peak if not at Peak time, might be worth dropping their support a polite email asking them to check everything looks ok their end.
Standard User bdo21
(regular) Mon 20-Apr-15 13:59:41
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Re: My FTTPoD Experience


[re: dragon2611] [link to this post]
 
I had multiple emails with A&A every week for a year during installation and initial setup - I feel I have used my 'fair use' support time for the next few years!!! I don't need 300+Mb/s - no need to hassle A&A unnecessarily. I wanted to make sure BT did the installation correctly, hence initially getting A&A to follow up when I was capped at 100Mb/s
Standard User brightd
(experienced) Mon 20-Apr-15 14:49:38
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Re: My FTTPoD Experience


[re: bowdon] [link to this post]
 
I have native FTTP. I placed my initial order in March 2014 and the service was eventually deployed in February 2015. So it is not only FTTPoD that can take some time to deploy.

David

Infinity 2 over FTTP from BTBroadband
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