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Standard User Spuriousfish
(newbie) Sun 28-Jun-15 12:23:16
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Post Office deliberately slowing down broadband


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For the last 5 years I've been at the same location, using the same exchange on which BT Wholesale is the broadband operator although my service is managed by the Post Office since it seemed like a good deal.

In this period I've switched from BTinternet to Plusnet to Post Office in order to get a good deal. The package is Unlimited Downloads and we can only run ADSL upto a max of 8Mbps but the estimated speed was always quoted as 4Mbps due to the usual reason.

It's my understanding that the estimate is just derived from a BT Database based on service availability and distance from exchange.

Regardless my download speed has always been in the region of 6-7Mbps, showing that the line and exchange are capable of this.

A few weeks ago I had appalling download speeds of below 0.2Mbps and contacted the PO Customer Support who's first line was the usual have you done this, that and the other which I'd already done but had to go through again before they would escalate the problem.

Eventually I was contacted by someone from the 'Slow Broadband Team', who basically said they were having many problems with slow broadband which they seemed unable to resolve and if I wanted to go somewhere else there would be no penalty - which there wouldn't be anyway since I'm past my contract period. However, he asked me to monitor my speed for a number of days and get back to them.

Surprisingly after this call my speed went back to the 6-7Mbps range BUT only during the day. For the last 6 or 7 weeks the peak time speed is much lower in the 2-3Mbps second - every day.

I know there are conditions such as fair usage policies but I don't come into this category. The PO are supposed to issue a warning if you do and I haven't received anything.

Now my neighbour - same distance, same exchange is with BT and he experiences no slowdown at peak times.

So, it looks to me as if the PO are deliberately slowing me down at peak times even though there is no indication in my contract that this will occur. I'm currently waiting for a call back to discuss this.

Does anyone else experience this type of service problem.

Thxs
Standard User RobertoS
(elder) Sun 28-Jun-15 12:42:01
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Re: Post Office deliberately slowing down broadband


[re: Spuriousfish] [link to this post]
 
It's probably a thing called congestion.

It's very unlikely they are slowing you down deliberately unless they run a system called Traffic management. If they have introduced that you should have been notified, probably by email, at the time, and the peak time slowdowns would be to around the same slow speed at identical times of day every day. It would slow instantly and speed up instantly at those times. (Mon-Fri can be different from Sat-Sun).

Congestion is when an ISP isn't renting enough capacity off their supplier to provide full speed to all their customers at all times of day. Just like many motorways clog up in places at peak times and you slow to a crawl.

Post Office Broadband is managed for them by TalkTalk, so if TalkTalk are only supplying ADSL Max that means they in turn are renting the capacity off BT Wholesale.

TalkTalk themselves, under their own brand, no longer sell ADSL Max, though the probably have some remaining customers on it. However, it was well known that the peak time performance on it when they did sell it was dreadful, as the cost to them from BT Wholesale was dramatically higher than on their own LLU network that has quite a decent reputation for performance.

Please could you tell us the exchange, so we can check it still isn't on the TalkTalk LLU network?

The indispensable man or woman passes from the scene, and what happens next is more or less the same thing as was happening before.
My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk. Domains, site and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - Plusnet UnLim Fibre (FTTC). Sync 58162/14182kbps @ 600m. - BQM
Standard User Spuriousfish
(newbie) Sun 28-Jun-15 15:35:32
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Re: Post Office deliberately slowing down broadband


[re: RobertoS] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for the reply.

Most ISPs run Traffic Management or Traffic Shaping but vary in when and how and one reason is to overcome 'congestion'

Either way there is nothing in the Post Office terms and conditions to say that this gets universally applied irrespective of usage. The only statement is that if you violate the Fair Usage Policy then they may slow you down.

Plusnet do publish their policy on traffic management if you dig deep enough on their web site, as do BT. Neither say they will slow you down at peak times. Post Office on the other hand doesn't provide any information.

I've never been quite clear about the statements that PO Broadband is managed by TalkTalk. The only broadband supplier on our exchange is BT Wholesale and there are no other operators on the LLU

To check for yourself use the post code IV558GD


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Standard User RobertoS
(elder) Sun 28-Jun-15 16:18:52
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Re: Post Office deliberately slowing down broadband


[re: Spuriousfish] [link to this post]
 
You've obviously done the right research smile. Not everyone uses Samknows, though it can be out of date at times.

I'm sure it isn't for your exchange.But note what I said earlier:-
In reply to a post by RobertoS:
... so if TalkTalk are only supplying ADSL Max that means they in turn are renting the capacity off BT Wholesale.
I should have made that a bit clearer. Where TT do not have their LLU kit in an exchange to provide national coverage for their customer "The Post Office" they use BT Wholesale ADSL Max just like most ISPs to fill the gaps.

In effect, the Post Offfice say to TalkTalk, "You are broadband experts and we are not, but we wish to sell broadband as part of our 'communications' offerings to the public. We would like you to run it for us and deduct your management fees from the proceeds before forwarding the rest of the profit to us".

That sort of arrangement.

The only question is whether the help desk you ring is run by the Post Office or by TalkTalk. I don't know.

In the past the Post Office had the same relationship with BT Wholesale. Instead of doing what most ISPs do, rent equipment and interchange capacity from BT Wholesale, they just asked BTW to run the service for a fee. It's called a White label arrangement, where the customer doesn't actually know, (unless they dig deep), who provides the service.

Other examples are Vodafone who used to have a landline broadband service. That was BTW White Label. In the end they sold their customer base to Plusnet and dropped out of that market. Possibly on their way back in now as they have bought Cable and Wireless which is LLU in many exchanges.

The opposite move was Orange broadband, who had 600k-800k customers, some on LLU and some on normal ISP BT Wholesale. They sold their entire broadband operation including the LLU kit in the exchanges to BT Wholesale, presumably so they could concentrate on their mobile business and have the cash to enhance it - 4G and the like. Over time BTW have transferred everyone onto the BTW network and got rid of the LLU kit.

So Orange broadband, now part of EE, is now a White label BT Wholesale operation.

The indispensable man or woman passes from the scene, and what happens next is more or less the same thing as was happening before.
My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk. Domains, site and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - Plusnet UnLim Fibre (FTTC). Sync 58162/14182kbps @ 600m. - BQM
Standard User Spuriousfish
(newbie) Sun 28-Jun-15 16:39:54
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Re: Post Office deliberately slowing down broadband


[re: RobertoS] [link to this post]
 
Thanks for explaining the relationship, which if I understand correctly is....

Post Office > TalkTalk > BTW.

Which probably explains why the peak times are slow? I guess it also highlights that if an offer is too good then there is probably some catch. However, the Post Office, even to this day are not making this clear, which seems like a case of mis-selling to me.

One of the main reasons for switching to the PO from Plusnet was that their phone package was more attractive: BB was much the same.

I'm awaiting a call from their 'Slow Broadband Team' which so far are living up to their name. I'll come back with their response.



Thxs
Standard User RobertoS
(elder) Sun 28-Jun-15 17:18:11
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Re: Post Office deliberately slowing down broadband


[re: Spuriousfish] [link to this post]
 
Basically, in your case yes. There's this old diagram that will help. I'll deal with the changes to that first.

It's pre-LLU and pre-BT Wholesale WBC (the broadband part of 21CN).

The BT (strictly speaking BT Wholesale) ATM network is now a BT Wholesale Cloud. (Yuck - the modern name for network). For non-LLU ISPs the rest is roughly the same.

As you know, LLU ISPs have their own kit in the exchange. So add an "LLU" arrow from the exchange to "Your ISP". That's the basic diagram fixed.

Looking at LLU, in the exchanges where an LLU ISP doesn't have their kit, their traffic follows the normal route rather than going down our new arrow. Both TalkTalk and Sky used to sell both paths but have stopped putting any new customers on the BTW path. They still have legacy customers going that way. Orange also did that.

Now let's introduce BT Wholesale White Label. To include that we need a "White label" arrow from the BTW Cloud straight to "rest of the Internet". The ISP doesn't have any of the normal ISP's handover points fro the Cloud, no routers or internal network, and no links to the wider internet.

Orange/EE is now White Label. The Post Office started that way, but would have been paying the high BTW prices. So they contracted with TalkTalk, who don't forget cover nearly all the population with LLU, to provide a service to their customers instead.

For that large chunk of business TalkTalk provide LLU nearly everywhere, very cheaply for the Post Office, and fill in the gaps with the non-LLU path on the diagram. Bear in mind they still have some of the required kit to interface with the Cloud.

Both TT and Sky non-LLU services were dreadful in terms of the capacity per customer they rented from BTW, resulting in lousy performance. It looks as if similar is now affecting the Post Office in non-LLU areas.

Perhaps the PO are gaining customers in non-LLU places and the TT capacity hasn't been upgraded to handle that plus increased usage by their legacy customers. If that's the case it's up to the PO and TT to negotiate an increase. Unless TT aren't contracted to increase their core BTW capacity and don't intend to.

That would explain the PO Help saying within-term customers can leave without penalty. It's one way of slowly bringing things back into balance. So long as a big outcry from PO customers affected doesn't arise.

The indispensable man or woman passes from the scene, and what happens next is more or less the same thing as was happening before.
My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk. Domains, site and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - Plusnet UnLim Fibre (FTTC). Sync 58162/14182kbps @ 600m. - BQM
Standard User bobble_bob
(fountain of knowledge) Sun 28-Jun-15 19:42:58
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Re: Post Office deliberately slowing down broadband


[re: RobertoS] [link to this post]
 
Both TalkTalk and Sky used to sell both paths but have stopped putting any new customers on the BTW path.


So if you dont have TT/Sky LLU at your exchange, you cant go with either ISP?
Standard User RobertoS
(elder) Sun 28-Jun-15 20:25:18
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Re: Post Office deliberately slowing down broadband


[re: bobble_bob] [link to this post]
 
I believe so. To be sure, ask them smile.

The Sky non-LLU was called Sky Connect. TalkTalk I don't know. When they were both available they tied for being the two worst ADSL products you could sign up to, in terms of decent throughput at busy times of the day.

The indispensable man or woman passes from the scene, and what happens next is more or less the same thing as was happening before.
My broadband basic info/help site - www.robertos.me.uk. Domains, site and mail hosting - Tsohost.
Connection - Plusnet UnLim Fibre (FTTC). Sync 58162/14182kbps @ 600m. - BQM
Standard User bobble_bob
(fountain of knowledge) Sun 28-Jun-15 22:28:43
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Re: Post Office deliberately slowing down broadband


[re: RobertoS] [link to this post]
 
Guess if both have their own network which im assuming is cheaper for them than to rent bandwidth off BT, why would they bother maintaining it to the same level as their LLU service
Standard User Spuriousfish
(newbie) Tue 30-Jun-15 09:39:33
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Re: Post Office deliberately slowing down broadband


[re: bobble_bob] [link to this post]
 
Thanks Robert......

The diagram was familiar to me but your additional explanation is very helpful. Still awaiting my call back and I expect I'll have to call them again.

Cloud - yes yuppie name but not new. I was putting in systems in the 80s when this term first arose when talking about ISDN capability. It's one of my dislikes along with others such as 'Apps' but you just have to live with it now smile

Thxs
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