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UPD ISP Chief Vents Anger at Missed BT UK Engineer Appointments

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013 (11:22 am) - Score 1,619

The CTO of business ISP Timico UK, Trefor Davies, whom last week praised BT’s telecoms engineers for fixing his superfast broadband (FTTC) line, has today criticised the national telecoms operator for missing too many appointments with customers and mishandling his fault report.

Apparently Mr Davies recently suffered a breakdown of his Openreach VDSL modem, which is needed to make the FTTC connection work, and it had to be replaced. A simple enough endeavour, you might think, but one that seems to also require the booking of a BT engineer.

As is usual in such situations the Davies family had to cancel various business/personal appointments and wait in for BT to arrive. Unfortunately the engineer, whom was scheduled to turn up in the “am” (morning) period that apparently runs from 08.00 hrs to 13.00 hrs (BT’s definition), never did arrive.

The visit was later rescheduled and again the appointment was missed without explanation. A third visit has now been set.

Trefor Davies said (blog):

There are a few issues here. Firstly the engineer did not show up twice and the communication channels with Openreach were very poor. I’m not blaming the engineer. Those guys are under a lot of pressure to maintain a network that is very old and starting to fall apart. Finding a fault is often akin to plugging a hole in a hosepipe only to find another one further along.

These days it is no longer acceptable for me to only find out that he isn’t coming hours after he hasn’t turned up. BT needs to up its game. This isn’t an isolated incident. The NOC tells me they have examples of customers having three or four no-shows on the trot for BT engineering visits to our business customers. It is happening every day.”

It’s of course no secret that BTOpenreach engineers will sometimes leave consumers waiting in all day, only to then not turn up at all, which in fairness also happens with Virgin Media engineers too and among other trades (plumbers, builders etc.). But in this instance the problem should have been an easy fix.

Trefor Davies added:

The “BT” internal support staff would also appear to be under pressure. They did not read my ticket which specifically said my modem was dead. Instead they looked at the notes from the previous visit, saw that there had been problems with line error rates and reset the system to start it training again. Of course it will not work – because the modem is dead.”

Trefor has heaped plenty of praise upon BT over the years but on this occasion, which is still on-going, he has been able to see “how frustrating it can be from an end customer’s perspective.”

Openreach has improved how its engineers function a lot over the past few years but there’s clearly still some room for improvement, as problems like this continue to attest. ISPreview.co.uk has reached out to BTOpenreach for comment and will report back when they reply.

UPDATE 1:42pm

BT has kindly furnished us with a response.

A Spokesperson for Openreach told ISPreview.co.uk:

Openreach has completed almost 290,000 engineering jobs over the last two months and the vast majority of appointments are completed on time. There has been no increase in the proportion of missed appointments since November last year; in fact the proportion of missed appointments has fallen.”

Openreach recruited an additional 1,000 engineers over the past year, which they claim have improved their ability to connect new customers at the same time as dealing with a large number of repairs (mostly due to the recent bad weather).

These additional resources have apparently helped Openreach achieve a “record number of engineering visits during the last quarter“, when visits totalled almost 1.7 million (apparently this is the highest level ever seen since Openreach was established in 2006).

Leave a Comment
30 Responses
  1. Avatar DTMark says:

    “BT needs to up its game.”

    No, it doesn’t. It has a monopoly. Therefore you’ll get what you’re given and will take whatever is dished out, it has absolutely no incentive whatsoever to improve.

    1. Avatar TheFacts says:

      It does not have a monopoly for less than 50% of UK properties. And in the rest of the UK there is nothing to prevent any other provider from installing their own service.

    2. Avatar Kyle says:

      That sounds like the FibreFred we know and love!

    3. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Not me Kyle, I don’t need multi-id’s

      Not much for me to say, I’ve never had an Openreach miss an appointment, that said I’ve never had to have many visits.

    4. Avatar keith says:

      “Not much for me to say, I’ve never had an Openreach miss an appointment, that said I’ve never had to have many visits.”

      Clearly confusing visits from people in white vans with the visits you have from people in white coats. Thank the lord they are not missed. However it is also clear you are not having enough of them. You can differentiate easily in future… The BT vans are not padded and they do not call thereself doctor.

    5. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Mark Admin, clearly personal insults by our err “friend”?

    6. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Indeed please try to keep it clean, otherwise don’t expect an apology if a post is deleted. Surprisingly it’s possible to be critical without being offensive.

  2. Avatar on this planet says:

    Dear ‘TheFacts’. A bit of realism is in order. Though you are right that it is technically feasible for other providers to build their own FTTC/FTTP network/service, BT has an insuperable first mover advantage given their ability to leverage their existing legacy duct network, the significant scale economies and how unusable PIA and SLU are. Building a separate network is commercial stupidity. And just to complete the picture even a duopoly is insufficient competition to ensure consumers get a good deal.

    1. Avatar TheFacts says:

      The realism is that we have a 100% monopoly of delivery of water, gas, electricity and sewerage (which is actually takeaway!). Some business do have multiple connections from BT, VM, C&W etc.

      Hence why there is regulation. Maybe you could come up with a proposal to show how several suppliers would be available in an area. And why they might find it would work commercially.

  3. Avatar DTMark says:

    From the State Aid guidelines

    (83) Concerning the conditions laid down in paragraph (79) of the Broadband Guidelines, the UK proved that the following conditions will be met:

    (a) In exchange for receiving state support, the direct beneficiaries of the BDUK scheme will provide third parties with effective wholesale access for at least seven years. In particular, the access obligation imposed also includes *the right to use ducts or street cabinets* in order to allow third parties to have *access to passive and not only active* infrastructure.

    Perhaps BDUK can clarify that this is being implemented, and I can have someone other than Openreach (one of the Third Parties mentioned) go and connect to the fibre circuits with fibre and not a knackered old phone wire, at a vastly reduced cost to BT’s “Fibre on demand”.

    Then, BT would indeed need to “up their game”.

    1. Avatar TheFacts says:

      PIA is available.

    2. Avatar DTMark says:

      Not sure what PIA has to do with it.

      The spirit of the State Aid document is that where a development is subsidised then “access seekers” have right to use the passive and active infrastructure provided by said State Aid.

      It goes on to say

      “An ‘open access’ obligation is all the more crucial in order to deal with the temporary substitution between the services offered by existing network operators and those offered by future NGA network operators. An open access obligation will ensure that existing access seekers can migrate their customers to a NGA network as soon as a subsidised network is in place and thus start planning their own future investments *without suffering any real competitive handicap*”

      There are plenty of other relevant passages but it’s a wordy document.

      In context, Virgin Media, for instance, could attach to the connectivity at the fibre cab to supply premises over their own ductwork, any other provider could supply properties individually whether using PIA or their own new ducting.

      BDUK has thought about all of this, hasn’t it…

      The key, as ever, is competition. No competition = no incentive to improve = Soviet State centrally planned levels of performance from a monopoly.

  4. Avatar G1h says:

    Quite frankly the thought of “third parties” having access to BT cabinets, ducts and joint boxes fills me with horror.
    At the moment at least when my line breaks in the cabinet we know who has done it and at least BTOR staff do their best not to break other lines while mending the first one.
    Once we get Bodgit telecommunications Ltd having access to sort a line out and sod everything else who knows what collateral damage they will inflict on other lines cables etc.

    1. Avatar DTMark says:

      Frankly I’m not sure how it could be any worse. The last “new line” installation from BT saw a line marked as “in service” when the circuit consisted of a couple of wires poking out of a socket box. Because the engineer had no access to the premises and could not see said socket box. Because they didn’t turn up on the day they said they would. The previous two installations at other properties were of a similar style of disaster.

  5. Avatar zemadeiran says:

    The main thing in all this that really stands out is

    “when visits totalled almost 1.7 million (apparently this is the highest level ever seen since Openreach was established in 2006”

    This to me reflects the ever increasing problems with the old copper network infrastructure. Surely even BT can see that if they go all fibre the maintenance costs for engineer visits will plummet?

    It is completely illogical to maintain such a stance in the face of it and Openreach should really develop a fibre action plan for the next ten years.

    What really matters at the end of the day is the bottom line, people’s jobs and the UK GDP.

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      It might seem illogical unless you know the figures which we don’t, once we know how much it costs to maintain the last copper mile in faults then you can do a comparison to the spend on fibre. Otherwise its just assumption. Remember that problems have been caused by weather this year, some of those problems would still be problems, fibre or copper.

    2. Avatar zemadeiran says:

      Flooding?

      Maybe have a look at why Verizon in New York decided to pull all the old crappy copper out and go all fiber after the flooding. The copper lines were all bollocked because of the seawater yet all the fibre cabling kept on working…

      FibreFred, I enjoy your banter on here but surely it has reached the point when you cannot flog the donkey any more?

    3. Avatar FibreFred says:

      So you are using a small story of a small area of NY as your basis to migrate the whole of the UK to FTTP?

      I’ll take as much fibre as you can give me 🙂 but I’m also realistic

      I’m asking questions any accountant would ask, how much does it cost me now, how much will I save, how long to see the savings.

      Show me those figures and I’m in!

    4. Avatar keith says:

      “So you are using a small story of a small area of NY”

      Seriously i hope you are just acting stupid. The flooding which happened in New York affected Millions of people and homes and you call that “small”. Life being lost, people homeless and international news made of the event is hardly “small” the only thing “small” around here is your brain.

      Only a complete and utter cretin would deem international news and the loss of innocent life due to a natural disaster a “small” event.

      In terms of the Verizon infrastructure affected, that was capable of serving most of New York and also other areas. It was not just landlines but their mobile services also affected. The amount of damage that was done to their network did not just affect “small” amounts of landlines but also cell towers some of which were not even located in New York…… Or in other words it affected far more than just a “small” amount of people and “small” amount of New York City.

      For the love of sanity take your utter stupidity elsewhere.

    5. Avatar FibreFred says:

      zemadeiran, I’m sure you understood my comment but just in case.

      The context of your post was how the flood affected Verizon specifically and the Verizon infrastructure that had to be replaced.

      In fitting with a reply, my reply was in the same context. Challenging your use of what was replaced to trigger a move to FTTP in the UK

  6. Avatar keith says:

    PS sorry to MarkJ if that is considered rude but i consider deeming people that have died due to natural disaster a “SMALL” event to be utterly disgusting and incomprehensible.

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Small in area in comparison, not in any other terms (loss of life etc) your personal insults towards me rise again. If you cannot keep it civil please do not post your “views” at all.

    2. Avatar keith says:

      You clearly said it was a “small story” meaning as usual you whacked the keyboard before thinking of the people that were harmed and affected by the flooding in New York.

      You more than likely did that and do things like a few days ago when you stated you hoped a person gets sued because you are a nasty little man with no morals, empathy or social skill, you are pathetic.

      As for insulting people i find it an insult this site has to put up with your maladjusted bonkers view points. You do not give a damn about people which have died as long as it allows you to continue arguing in addition wishing people have legal action taken against them just shows the type of person you are. Others may not realise the type of individual you are but i do.

    3. Avatar FibreFred says:

      troll on

    4. Avatar keith says:

      The only troll around here is the one that considers people being made homeless, death, destruction and a near ruined business a “small story”. They also in a previous breath hoped a person is sued. Oh and has the nerve to cry abuse when anyone points out its shortcomings. I suggest a person like that seeks help.

  7. Avatar zemadeiran says:

    Keith,

    Was all that really required?

    FibreFred,

    The reason I mentioned New York and Verizon was due to the correlation of problems caused by water to copper lines.

    The fact that the fibre performed throughout and continues to perform is a shining example of why we have to shift to an all fibre network.

    The rest is just cheese on a board…

    1. Avatar keith says:

      Anyone that makes light of a event, deeming it a “small story” where life was lost, people were left homeless and more in which to try and still support their argument is utterly disgraceful. So yes it was necessary to highlight that.

      It was not even a “small” event in terms of what happen to Verizon considering it affected communications not only in New York but further afield.

      I doubt he watches the news as he is stuck on his computer all day on ISP type websites, so he probably did not know about how serious it was. How the area needed aid, had no water in parts, or how some Verizon engineers had to work in raw sewage just to keep communication for emergency services in some areas of the event open.

      I doubt you would hear about BT openretch engineers going to that extreme, considering right now they cant be bothered to even turn up to regular install appointments, couple that with the fact he deemed the whole event small and you can judge for yourself if he has any clue at all.

    2. Avatar FibreFred says:

      zemadeiran I understood what you meant, the basement of the Verizon hub was flooded and it did affect copper more than fibre but even fibre has to use electrics at some point so whilst it can certainly be more resilient it still isn’t perfect.

      Electricity and water are not a good mix. 🙂

      My comments to you were using the example of that basement to trigger a full FTTH rollout across the UK

      As for “was it really required”, its what trolls like Deduction do. He certainly has a requirement to feed and troll

    3. Avatar keith says:

      I will assume quite happily as you have taken to calling me a troll your complaints about me pointing out your failings have rightly fell on deaf ears.

      As for “feeding” i will also assume you must be considerably fatter than me and anyone that posts on ispreview as you spend most of your life on here and ISP sites in general. Oink Oink!

  8. Avatar Allison says:

    At the end of the day, unless you are connected with Virgin, then BT WILL be involved at some stage with your Broadband line and that’s when it all goes wrong. For a communications company there are the worst company I have ever had to deal with. My ISP is actually part of their organisation (‘good honest broadband’… you know the one), I am supposed to be able to get Fibre Broadband as it has been enabled at the Exchange and the cabinet to which I am connected – simple fibre provisioning request via BT Openreach you would think… well three separate booked BT Engineer visits between February 24th and April 22nd, and not ONE Engineer turned up, no phone courtesy phone call, nothing. It turns out early on (a month ago) that BT were slow to update their database, so although in some places you see ‘Accepting Orders’ when an ISP books the provisioning order, it only goes onto ONE of BT’s TWO systems, hence an engineer never would be booked. Now apparently BT HAVE updated their database, yet still we are no closer to getting Fibre Broadband.

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