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Standard User GraceCourt
(regular) Wed 16-Sep-20 23:29:01
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So how do I request a connection under the USO?


[link to this post]
 
I currently have an ADSL Max broadband connection from Plusnet that delivers under 5 Mbps - I consistently get around 4.2 Mbps download, 0.4 Mbps upload on the ThinkBroadband speed checker.

When I try to order a USO connection based on my postcode and street address, I get refused because - according to the USO speed checker - I have access to a 10+ Mbps connection ("You can already get speeds of 10Mb or more... That means you’re not eligible to request a network upgrade for this address"). But when I try to order one from anyone who can provide here (the exchange is 'Market A'), surprise surprise, all I can order is ADSL Max at 5 Mbps!!

So... should we assume that the USO request site is fixed never to actually provide any USO connections? The Digital Divide here is getting wider... and wider... and wider...

In theory I could call the "universal service help desk on 0800 783 0223" but who wants to call a BT Help Desk during Covid-19? Life is too short.
Standard User Zarjaz
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Thu 17-Sep-20 06:07:51
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Re: So how do I request a connection under the USO?


[re: GraceCourt] [link to this post]
 
In theory I could call the "universal service help desk on 0800 783 0223" but who wants to call a BT Help Desk during Covid-19? Life is too short.

Amazing. You have found the next step, but can’t be bothered to try it ??

Standard User witchunt
(experienced) Thu 17-Sep-20 08:34:15
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Re: So how do I request a connection under the USO?


[re: GraceCourt] [link to this post]
 
Have you looked into 4G mobile broadband as that also counts as a USO compliant service. There are a number of providers with high usage or unlimited contracts within the USO budget.


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Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Thu 17-Sep-20 09:16:55
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Re: So how do I request a connection under the USO?


[re: GraceCourt] [link to this post]
 
Plusnet may be supplying ADSL, but others might be able to supply ADSL2+ which improves upload and might improve download.

Another possibility is that FTTC is available with speeds just above the 10 Mbps mark. What does https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/postcode-search say is available.

Another possibility is that your ADSL is ADSL2+ and should be running faster, but in home wiring or other issues are impacting it.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User GraceCourt
(regular) Thu 17-Sep-20 10:06:41
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Re: So how do I request a connection under the USO?


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by witchunt:
Have you looked into 4G mobile broadband as that also counts as a USO compliant service. There are a number of providers with high usage or unlimited contracts within the USO budget.

The USO site will advise enquirers if a faster 4G mobile broadband service is available... remember, it's run by BT and they don't miss an opportunity to upsell, especially when they still have the monopoly!

In reply to a post by MrSaffron:
Plusnet may be supplying ADSL, but others might be able to supply ADSL2+ which improves upload and might improve download.

Another possibility is that FTTC is available with speeds just above the 10 Mbps mark. What does https://labs.thinkbroadband.com/local/postcode-search say is available.

Another possibility is that your ADSL is ADSL2+ and should be running faster, but in home wiring or other issues are impacting it.

Thanks, but none of these apply. The nearest VDSL cabinet from the Dunvegan exchange is about three miles away and none of the BTw providers offer FTTC (or indeed anything else at all) in this area. That's the problem... the USO site says I can get 10+ Mbps but clicking through to accept the BT service offering, and using their identical product checker, only gets me an offer of ADSL Max at the same speed I already get!

Your checker correctly states "Postcode is split across two different cabinet areas with different Openreach broadband technologies, our result refers to the majority of premises", because some of the properties in this postcode are connected to the Glendale exchange (01470 numbers beginning 51xxxx), not the Dunvegan exchange (01470 numbers beginning 52xxxx).

North Skye Broadband is being dissolved because HIE funding was withdrawn in January 2018 when the R100 ITT was launched and of course there has been complete paralysis in the Lot 1 area since contract award, until last week when the Gigaclear claim was settled, but far too late for NSB.
Standard User sheephouse
(member) Thu 17-Sep-20 10:10:59
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Re: So how do I request a connection under the USO?


[re: GraceCourt] [link to this post]
 
When USO came in the USO checker also said I could get a >10Mbps connection (I had an ADSL2+ connection which was just around 10Mbps), but a few weeks later it said 4G. I just tried it again, and it again says you can already get >10Mbps (I no longer have ADSL2+, but I'm certain it won't have become any faster). I think it varies depending on the max observed speed registered.
IMO the whole USO process is just an excuse to say they are tackling the problem, without actually doing anything.
Standard User GraceCourt
(regular) Thu 17-Sep-20 10:47:39
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Re: So how do I request a connection under the USO?


[re: sheephouse] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by sheephouse:
IMO the whole USO process is just an excuse to say they are tackling the problem, without actually doing anything.

You're probably right.

I decided to brave the 0800 number, and held on for a human being for 15 minutes even though the IVR system had told me to phone my own service provider... long story short, the USO checker is just wrong. There's nothing faster available, and no plans for anything faster any time soon, although I have registered for Starlink service as a last vain hope before moving home.

ADSL Max was obsolete when we moved here ten years ago, and it's still the only practical option - the voucher scheme is a waste of time in a sparsely-populated rural area. And now the discussion is about switching off copper connections!

Technology, huh? Better look out the oil lamps for when the electricity is turned off... frown
Standard User ian72
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Thu 17-Sep-20 12:36:06
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Re: So how do I request a connection under the USO?


[re: GraceCourt] [link to this post]
 
So they confirmed the USO checker is wrong and you are eligible under USO? If I have read that correctly then they should have told you how to progress down the USO route - the solution might end up with a large price tag but they should at least progress it now.
Standard User DanielCoffey67
(member) Thu 17-Sep-20 22:07:53
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Re: So how do I request a connection under the USO?


[re: GraceCourt] [link to this post]
 
Do you have a reasonable mobile phone signal from any of the major 4G providers by the way? If you get the USO runaround it may be less stress just to deal with 4G yourself and enjoy the benefits.

At the moment all major 4G providers do an Unlimited Data SIM on a 12 or 18-month deal and most offer their own indoor router that can take an external antenna if necessary (such as the Huawei B525 does). Price varies between the four main networks of course but then again so does their coverage, bandwidth and their customer service.

I would advise having a look at the Coverage Checkers for the 4G networks in your area and start thinking about it. After all, what is your time worth?

If you don't want to pay for a provider's router, folks here can recommend a suitable router once you have decided which network you would go for.
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