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Standard User JSHarris
(newbie) Sun 23-Oct-16 18:34:49
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FTTC availability apparent shenanigans?


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My first post here, so I do hope I don't cause any accidental offence. I apologise for the length of this first post, but thought it helpful if I gave as much background as possible.

Up until now I've been really happy with our ADSL service at our old house (around 8 or 9 Mb DL all the time, as we're 80m from the exchange, which is LLU), but I recently finished building a new house, where ADSL is really slow (less than 3 Mb DL pretty much all the time, with very high latency). This means that even things like watching a low-res video on YouTube is challenging, with a great deal of buffering. I installed all the new underground cable to the nearest pole (Openreach supplied the cable and duct 56) and when the house was connected I ensured that the Openreach guy fitted an NTE5 Mk3 box, so that it was VDSL ready, as I knew the village was getting a fibre cabinet before too long, under the rural broadband initiative thing.

As part of getting ready for FTTC, I bought, unlocked and installed a Hauwei HG612 right next to the NTE 5 Mk3, with a very short (literally 150mm long!) cable. The HG612 is powered over ethernet (only running in ADSL mode at the moment, though), and connected to the main 12 port switch. It's set up as a modem and router, with the firewall active. As it's VDSL/VDSL2 capable I want to retain the HG612, and just switch it to VDSL when we get an FTTC connection.

WiFi is problematic as all the rooms in the house have a foil lining and the triple glazed windows block the signal very effectively, so I flood wired the house with Cat6 when I built it, with a patch panel in my study that allows me to hook up things that need PoE (WAPs, the modem router and the switch) where needed for portable kit and to get a signal out to the garden via an outdoor WAP. The patch panel also allows power injection to selected ports for PoE.

I want to retain this system, as I've spent a lot of time and effort in building a totally battery backed system, with a small low power Linux home server and PoE for peripherals, so that everything keeps running for at least 48 hours if we get a power cut (a fairly common occurrence).

Having had just a basic phone and broadband service for a year, As soon as the cabinet went live I looked around to get a fibre service. My service provider (who buy from BT wholesale - I can tell from the username) said there wasn't any capacity in the FTTC and it was full. As it had literally only just gone live I thought this was odd, so called my local Openreach chap (we became friends during the house build, as I freely relocated a load of their old overhead cables under our land in ducts for them, and removed some old unused poles). He did a check and said there was lots of spare capacity in the cabinet. I called my provider again who insisted there wasn't.

I then called EE (only because we have mobiles from them) and they told the same tale, the cabinet was at capacity and we'd have to wait and see if Openreach added more DSLAMs to it. I left it at that until today, when a neighbour commented that their new fibre broadband was wonderful. They are with BT. So I checked with BT, and low and behold I can, it seems, have BT Infinity, with a predicted DL speed of 27 Mb. The problem is, we've only ever had two bad experiences with phone/ISP companies; one was BT and the other was Virgin, so I'm quite naturally a bit averse to buying a service from BT.

The other snag is that my needs are very simple. I just want a line, FTTC connection and phone connection. I have no need for a new modem or any of the packaged extras, don't want to watch TV via the connection or have any of the other "added value" services. I also have no need for an engineer visit, or to pay for it, as I effectively paid Openreach to install and test a new NTE 5 Mk3 via the new installation and already have a customised VDSL capable modem/router connected and working in ADSL mode. The BT Homehub would be no use and would just go in the bin, as I have no need of it.

So, the question is, are there any providers who can buy a basic fibre to the cabinet service from BT Wholesale, with no installation charge, modem or anything else, other than BT?

From my limited research is seems as if BT Wholesale are only allowing BT customers to access this fibre cabinet, which sounds a bit off to me. I thought the whole idea of splitting off Openreach from BT as a service provider was to stop them behaving like this?

I do appreciate that I'm not a typical customer, and that this creates problems for sales people who are working from scripts, and I genuinely have sympathy for anyone who can listen to our requirements and sell us a service that matches it.

We're not especially sensitive to price, need around 20GB/month of capacity and don't really want a severely throttled evening service, as the chances are we'll use VOIP in the evenings.

Any advice would be most welcome, and I apologise again for the length of this first post!

Jeremy
Standard User RobertoS
(elder) Sun 23-Oct-16 18:59:28
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Re: FTTC availability apparent shenanigans?


[re: JSHarris] [link to this post]
 
What does this checker say for your phone number, and what cabinet number does it give above the table. Is it the cabinet you expect?

How do you tell from your username that your supplier buys from BT Wholesale?

How much do you pay for your line rental? This is a cash cow for all the big ISPs and is a total ripoff.

I suggest you see if this product is available to you, and pair it either with their VOIP-only £10 rental or as I do have your line rental with Pulse8broadband. (That link goes to the Business page, so click the Home tab).

Edit - you might find this comparison interesting.

Kindness isn't going to cure the world of all its awfulness but it's a good place to begin. Daisy Ridley.
My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk. Domains, site and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - AAISP Home::1 80/20. Sync 57825/13835kbps @ 600m. - BQM

Edited by RobertoS (Sun 23-Oct-16 19:01:01)

Standard User JSHarris
(newbie) Sun 23-Oct-16 19:44:28
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Re: FTTC availability apparent shenanigans?


[re: RobertoS] [link to this post]
 
Thanks very much indeed for the quick reply,it's much appreciated.

That checker shows that FTTC is available, from cabinet 2 in the village High Street, around 500m away from our address (line length, rather than direct distance).

Our current username include "BT wholesale" in the very long username, which I've assumed to mean that the service was supplied by BT wholesale (could be wrong I guess).

Line rental at the moment isn't separately broken out on the bill, it just shows as £24.58 per month (plus VAT) for the current very slow "Landline", that includes 20 Gb capacity ADSL service and line rental. Phone calls are on top of that.

Thanks very much indeed for that link, and also for the surprising comparison link - that's a bit of a shocker!

The whole line rental ting seems a really confusing mess, with many suppliers ignoring it in their pricing, or assuming that it's a "free gift". It would be really useful for consumers if this whole minefield of pricing and services was made far more transparent, IMHO. It's hard work trying to find a good service when you know pretty much exactly what you want.


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Standard User RobertoS
(elder) Sun 23-Oct-16 22:03:25
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Re: FTTC availability apparent shenanigans?


[re: JSHarris] [link to this post]
 
There are other good ISPs, see this comparison.

Not with enough users voting to get in there, take a look at uno and Aquiss as well. Pulse8broadband are worth looking at for their broadband as well as the phone.

The problem with pricing is that many providers still don't insist that you have your line with them as well as broadband. So they need to show it separately. Sky/BT/TT want you to take their line rental, though it is possible to have BT with line rental elsewhere. I've never really found it a problem dealing with two figures instead of one. As now, where I get the best ISP (has been for years) and almost the cheapest phone line.

Don't just look at line rental. Look at call costs and call setup charges as well. Pulse8 cost peanuts and have a good reputation for CS.

Kindness isn't going to cure the world of all its awfulness but it's a good place to begin. Daisy Ridley.
My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk. Domains, site and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - AAISP Home::1 80/20. Sync 57825/13835kbps @ 600m. - BQM
Standard User JSHarris
(newbie) Mon 24-Oct-16 11:30:39
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Re: FTTC availability apparent shenanigans?


[re: RobertoS] [link to this post]
 
Thanks very much, the idea of splitting out the line rental from the ISP seems a good one.

It does seem to be a bit of a minefield trying to find a good, basic ISP. The big players all seem to want to sell bundled packages, which may well be good value for those that want all the extras, but are very poor value if all you need is a line and a decent service.

I'm not at all averse to paying for the line separately. IIRC we used to do that years ago when ADSL first came out, paying BT for the line and someone else as the ISP. I had heard somewhere that the law was changing soon and that all ISPs were going to have to include line rental charges in their advertised pricing, and I see that Vodafone have jumped to do this before being forced to by law - A neat marketing gimmick!

It looks like I'll have to split out our phone and line rental requirements from the internet service requirement and then shop around. We rarely use the land line phone, it's really only used to receive calls and make maybe a handful of calls a month, if that, so a cheap line rental package with high call costs wouldn't be a problem at all.

It's then a matter of finding an ISP that can access the capacity in the cabinet and selecting the best value from those that can, ignoring the line rental part.

Thanks again for all the good advice.
Standard User ian72
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Mon 24-Oct-16 11:40:59
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Re: FTTC availability apparent shenanigans?


[re: JSHarris] [link to this post]
 
They only have to include line rental in advertising if you have to take their line rental to get the broadband service. If the broadband can be supplied separately then they don't have to include it in the advertising.

I consider that Vodafone were very misleading in their advertising and purposefully so.
Standard User FlamingDazzler
(newbie) Mon 24-Oct-16 14:44:54
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Re: FTTC availability apparent shenanigans?


[re: JSHarris] [link to this post]
 
A quick note regarding availability: I had a similar problem when the cab in our village first went live. There was a delay of a few weeks between being able to order FTTC via BT and being able to order it via Sky. It takes a while for database updates to sync across to the various ISPs. So the messages you were getting that the cab is full were likely being misinterpreted and their systems simply didn't have it marked as available yet.
Standard User rogan8
(knowledge is power) Mon 24-Oct-16 14:47:37
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Re: FTTC availability apparent shenanigans?


[re: FlamingDazzler] [link to this post]
 
Or sky had no GEA connectivity at the headend and had to order that.
Standard User onejagjohn
(newbie) Mon 24-Oct-16 15:25:49
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Re: FTTC availability apparent shenanigans?


[re: JSHarris] [link to this post]
 
We too have just had FTTC in our village and I know that BT customers have been given priority. Our neighbour with SSE has been told that super fast broadband is is not yet available. The answer is to go for BT and opt for Infinity 2 as this has no connection fee and you can use your own router although the BT Hub6 is excellent. I do know that Sky is also now available, but at a lower speed.
Standard User MHC
(sensei) Mon 24-Oct-16 15:37:22
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Re: FTTC availability apparent shenanigans?


[re: onejagjohn] [link to this post]
 
NO.

BT customers are NOT given priority. All ISPs are given the same information at the same time, however how they act on that is probably different. BT Consumer/Residential and Business obviously put their processes in place to allow customers to order as soon as the cabinet is live and "accepting orders".

Do not blame BT, blame the other ISPs who are not on the ball.


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