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BT Openreach UK Warns Broadband Engineer Delays to Last for Months

Thursday, September 6th, 2012 (10:33 am) - Score 5,164

BTOpenreach, which is responsible for managing access to BT’s UK telecoms network, has responded to our recent concerns about the delays affecting installation of new broadband and phone services. The operator asks customers to “bear with us” and warns that lead times are expected to remain higher “for some months to come“.

Today’s statement follows on from Tuesday’s report (here), which revealed that some customers were being left to wait for two months before being able to have their service installed. A separate report from the Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA2) similarly confirmed that the average weekly fault rate was 14% higher in July 2012 than July 2011 as Openreach moved to give repair work a higher priority than new service provision.

At the time we attempted to gain an official response from Openreach but this was initially also delayed while the operator mused over its wording.

BTOpenreachs Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

The UK has seen the worst summer weather for more than 100 years. There have been more than 170 flood warnings, more than double the amount of average rainfall, and in some places a month’s worth of rain falling in one day. These unprecedented conditions have caused inevitable issues in our access network with many manholes having to be pumped out before we can even begin work.

Although the weather is not as bad as it was back in June and July, it’s still being temperamental – which means our fault intake continues to be above seasonal volumes for this time of year.

The increase in fault volumes, combined with the fact that a higher proportion are taking longer to fix, has impacted the time it takes Openreach to provide service in the worst-affected areas – meaning longer lead times than we would usually expect. Our engineers are working exceptionally hard to bring these timescales down, and we have dramatically increased the number of engineers we have working on the front-line.

We recently announced the recruitment of another 400 ex-services personnel, but in addition we’re moving people back into front-line roles and using additional agency resource to get more boots on the ground. This is having a positive impact in terms of the numbers of faults cleared, but we do expect lead times to remain higher than usual for some months to come, and would ask people to bear with us.”

It’s important to mention that the current problems and lead times vary depending upon where you are in the country, with some areas suffering longer delays than others. At the same time we’ve received reports from right across the country, which suggests that the issue is still somewhat widespread.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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