The “BT Incident”

I’m angry.  So very angry.  I probably shouldn’t be writing this blog post in the mood I’m in.  If you’re easliy upset by angry people, please stop reading now.

I’m going to tell this story from start to finish, so if you already know some or all of it, I apologize in advance.

In June, I bought and moved into a lovely brand new house.  It had literally just been built. Becasue it was a new build, all the cabling for the internt and telephone was state of the art “Fiber to the Premesis” (FTTP), meaning I could expect amazingly fast up to 300Mbps broadband.  Excited at this prospect, I contacted British Telecom on 16th June to purchase Broadband, IP TV and Landline telephone services from them.  While on the phone to them, I explained that the property was FTTP and that it was a new build, so the address probably wouldn’t show up on their systems.  I was assured that this was OK; “we deal with this all the time” said the lovely lady on the end of the phone. After a short while, my services were ordered, and I sat back and eagerly awaited the day it would all be up and running. (At this point, it’s worth noting that I can only use BT, as they are the only company who can provide FTTP services in my area).

I waited patiently.  After 3 weeks, I logged into my online BT account to see what the hold up was.  My services had been cancelled. No notification. Just cancelled.  I contacted BT, who informed me that they had cancelled the order because it was a FTTP property, and copper services had been ordered.  Not only that, but my house wasn’t hooked up to the BT network.  I knew this, as the cables that came out of my house did not go into the  ground.  (I also discovered that the cabling in my house was wrong, and had to get the contractors back out to replace this, but that’s a whole other story).

The cabling got replaced and BT Contacted Openreach (which used to be a part of BT, but apparently are not now) to install a Fiber Termination box/modem in my house. An appontment was made for 19th July.  I took the day off work.  Nobody showed up.  An appointment was made for 25th July.  They arrived and installed the equipment, but never connected the property to the BT network.

on 6th August I chased to get the property hooked up to the network, and was told I would have to wait 2 weeks.  I went on holiday to France on 27th August, and when I returned on 3rd of September, lo and behold my property was connected.  I did a little dance. I then noted that the PON light on the Openreach Modem was flashing. My knowledge of networking tells me that this light tells the user whether the connection to the network is synchronized or not. I stopped dancing.

On 5th September I contacted BT again to request services, and to ask that this PON light issue be resolved.  I was informed that orders could not be made against my property, as the line had not been provisioned (the cause of the mysterious flashing PON light). Services would automatically be ordered once this work was complete.

On 12th September, I logeed into my BT portal again to check the order status.  There was no order.  I called customer services to discover that no order had been placed, that they were very sorry, and that they would put me through to the FTTP team straight away.  I was on hold for 52 mins, before someone picked up the phone, and hung up on me.  I sent a less than savory letter to the CEO of BT, mr Gavin Patterson.

on 16th September, I received a call from the Executive Complaints Department, who were very sorry about what had happened and were going to take ownership of this issue until it was resolved. An order still could not be made against my property, and  I was asked to provide the Serial number of the Openreach Modem, which I provided, by taking a photograph of the Serial Number sticker and emailing it.  I was then informed that this would be processed, the PON light would go solid, and she would call me back on the 19th to complete the order.

I indeed received a call from Susan, at the Executive Level Complaints Department, telling me she could now order my services.  With the order complete, I queried that the PON light was still flashing, but was informed that this would be resolved before my router arrived, and not to worry. By 22nd September, everything would be resolved.

20th September, I contcted Susan to say the light was still flashing, so there was clearly a sync issue.  Nope – I was worrying about nothing, it would go solid when I connected my router, and services went live.

22nd September – the go live date.  I logged into my BT portal to check the delivery status of my router.  There was a problem.  Services could not be provided, please contact customer services. I emailed Susan at the ELCD, who called me back to say there was a fault with the modem.  An engineer would need to attend my property.  The earliest appointment was 4th October.  I stifled my rage and agreed to take the morning off work. Again.

4th October – I receive a call from the engineer – could I re-arrange the appointment as he was very busy. I flatly refused, saying this had gone on long enough.  He reluctantly agreed to turn up at my house.  He arrived, checked the modem, called his technical support number, gave them the serial number.  Openreach had entered the wrong serial number on the system.  They entered the right number and lo and behold, the PON light went solid.  Line was tested with a phone, and the engineer left with a job well done.   I logged into the BT portal to check the status of my Broadband order, which was booked for the 5th.  It had been cancelled.  Rejoicing stopped. I called BT, got services ordered.  They would go live at midnight that very night.  By 5th October, I would be online again!

This morning, I check the status of my router.  The PON light was flashing on the modem again.  I checked the status of my order.  “There was a problem with your order.  Please call customer services.” it stated.  As of now, I am trying to calm myself down enough to speak to someone.  I fear it may take a while.

01/12/2016 UPDATE: So things have finally settled down enough for me to find time to post an update.  On 16th October I FINALLY got internet.  How did this happen?  Grab a coffee and get comfortable….

Oct 5th – I called BT again, stating the issue.  I was told that there was a problem. Really? I hadn’t noticed.  I’ll admit that I lost my temper. I may have used several naughty words.  To be fair, the customer service representative didn’t hang up on me. Medal deserved.  I was told that someone from the faults team would get back to me ASAP.

6th October – I had a call from the BT FTTP team.  They were aware that there was clearly some kind of problem going on, but currently there was a fault at the local exchange, so nothing could be done till this was fixed.

12th October – I had a call from the FTTP team – the issue at the exchange was fixed – and my broadband was ready to go. It would be live by Friday.  I checked my PON light – it was solid green again. I didn’t hold my breath

14th October – I checked my PON light.  It was flashing.  I swore, and vowed to drive to London and lay waste to the BT HQ.  My phone rang, it was the FTTP team asking if my Broadband was working. With superhuman effort I was polite and said that the PON light was flashing. Again.  The guy said he would get it sorted by Saturday.  He had a susp[icion that the provisioning team was doing something wrong, so he said he would go back to them and ask them to provision the Broadband onto port 3 of the Openreach modem, rather than port 1.  On The morning of Saturday 15th October, my PON light was solid green, and the Router light was blue. I had internet.  I ran a speed test and almost fell off my chair when the result came back 219Mbps down 21Mbps up.  Finally, my journey was over……. Or was it?


In the almost 2 months I have finally been able to use my broadband, I’ve had 2 faults at the exchange causing a MASSIVE drop in speed (20Mbps Down, 5Mbps up), and also discovered that 90% of my equipment doesn’t have networking hardware that can support over 100Mbps throughput (though this is not BT’s fault).  Its worth noting that the faults I raised were fixed within 3 days each time, and that I’ve bought some Wireless AC adapters for my machines to get the full 200Mbps speed

At the time of writing, I’m still waiting on the Telephone Ombudsman to get back to me regarding getting me some compensation from BT, but for now, I’m able to get online, make the most of my Sky Movies on Demand, Xbox Live and Netflix services, and upload YouTube videos again.


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