I have been a loyal customer of Eclipse for 18 years, first as an ADSL Business Customer for over five years then as a residential phone and ADSL customer. FTTC was first promised for my cabinet three years ago but kept getting put back time and time again. So, using the dsl checker website recommended by eclipse I checked weekly until three months ago the magic day arrived and VDSL with a range of 74 to 80Mbps on a clean line (which mine was as it had been relaid 18 months earlier) was to be enabled by the end of the month.
After a brief discussion with eclipse I placed my order and during the order process I was, at no time, asked about the downstream speed I required. I was only asked if I wanted 2Mbps or 10Mbps upstream. I continued with the order and was a little disappointed to see a note saying "Your Estimated Download Speed is 40Mbps" so I immediately emailed eclipse and told them this was not acceptable, the BT dsl checker their support staff had directed me to stated I should expect a speed between 74 and 80Mbps downstream and 19 to 20Mbps upstream and their 'Estimated Download Speed' of 40Mbps was far below the 'Handback Threshold' for an impacted line let alone a clean line like mine and I told them I would be expecting performance much closer to BT's figures than theirs.
Day One. VDSL goes live 8Mbps - 31Mbps speed test results during the day so, overnight I do a thrash test, a massive download and everything bottoms out at 40Mbps.
I do a bit of checking and it rapidly became clear there was a 40Mbps CAP ON THE LINE WHICH WAS NOT MENTIONED ANYWHERE and certainly NOT DURING THE ORDERING PROCESS.
So I contact them thinking they have put me on the wrong tariff and ask to have the cap removed or, at the very least raised so I can get a bit more of the 107Mbps / 37Mbps my line is actually capable of.
First someone comes back and says a BT engineer has to come out because I have a fault - which I know damn well is rubbish and politely write back to explain the concept of capping the speed ...
I am then contacted by Graham Palmer-Brown who apologises, of course there's not a fault on your line, you're on the 40/2 tarrif and you want to be on the 80/20 let us sort that out for you.
But before I could say "Oh good, I'm finally going to get a decent connection" Clare Cullen cuts in and says "George is wrong, 80/20 is only for Commercial customers and you're residential and only entitled to 40/2".
I tried explaining to her that BT Wholesale are ACTUALLY supplying the service and BT themselves and half a dozen other people acting on their behalf will happily provide me with an FTTC service with 80Mbps downstream and 20Mbps upstream over the exact same copper wires their bits are currently coming through but she didn't seem to grasp the concept.
In the end she said "If you think you can get the service elsewhere we're happy to have you go elsewhere. But we'll have to charge you a £500 termination fee, you signed on for an 18 month contract ..."
I have tried to explain I emailed them and queried the 'estimated download speed' at the time of the order and said it was below the 'Handback Threshold' so I was entitled to cancel the contract as it fails to meet the minimum standards for an FTTC connection but she said "You should have phoned us"
It's the twenty first century and I'm dealing with an internet company and they say "Sorry, we overlooked your email, you should have phoned us". You can't make this stuff up!
So that's what it comes down to after 18 years of loyal service. If I've learnt one thing today, it's what FTTC means to eclipse, "Fsck Those Trusting Customers".
I firmly believe I have been MIS-SOLD this product for several reasons:
1. At no time during the ordering process was I told there was a 40Mbps CAP on the service speed.
I was basing my FTTC expectations on the http://dslchecker.bt.com website I had been directed to
by eclipse themselves so was expecting to get those speeds.
2. They showed an *ESTIMATED* Download Speed of 40Mbps when this should have been stated as a
MAXIMUM ATTAINABLE SPEED.
3. The 40Mbps speed they are providing is far below BT's 'Handback Threshold' for minimum acceptable
FTTC service levels.
I have lodged a complaint with OfCom because I want to move away from eclipse as soon as possible but there is no way I am handing them £500 for the privilege of doing so. I am on a limited income, partially disabled, unable to work, have mobility issues and my internet connection is my lifeline to the outside world.
If anyone who has had the stamina and fortitude to get this far has any suggestions, please contact me.