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UPDATE Fluidata Complain of BT Openreach UK Fibre Leased Line Delay

Thursday, August 21st, 2014 (8:11 am) - Score 2,400

Business ISP Fluidata has criticised the “endemic problems plaguing” current and future fibre leased line provisioning from BTOpenreach, which have seen existing issues combine with rising demand for related services to create some extremely long waiting times for the providers customers.

It’s understood that BT formally notified ISPs on the extent of problems last Tuesday, which are claimed to be centred on a combination of issues from a lack of planning and field based engineer resource to problems with the effectiveness of certain third party contractors (note: Openreach recently began an investigation to look at the latter – here).

On top of that the rising demand for related services, which has been driven by the Government’s Connection Vouchers scheme (i.e. grants of up to £3,000 to help individual firms get superfast broadband) and recent changes by Openreach to replace the sliding scale of Excess Construction Charges (up to £2,800) on their point-to-point Ethernet Access Direct (EAD) products with a simple balancing charge of £548 +vat (here), is putting more strain on BTOR.

Fluidata states that these problems have been “apparent to those within the industry for some time” and they’re cautiously pleased to see Openreach at least acknowledge that such issues do exist. The CEO of Openreach, Joe Garner, said, “There are a number of pressure points in the Ethernet provision process, such as deemed consent that we feel is suboptimal for everyone“.

Some of the planned improvements are already common knowledge, such as Openreach’s move to recruit 1,600 new UK engineers (here) and Ofcom’s stiffer Quality of Service requirements (here). The recruitment drive will also extend to BTOR’s planning department and they similarly intend to streamline their internal processes to focus on orders in accordance to their contract delivery date. Some staff will sadly have to do more overtime. But concerns remain over how effective the proposed remedies will be.

Simon Matthews, Fluidata’s Customer Success Manager, said:

Despite their positive actions, they are still no closer to an ETA for resolution on these issues and unfortunately that means that what was once a 30 working days product is now leaning more towards being a 60 working days product, and that’s if things are going according to plan. As for the projects that require additional work, re-planning, wayleave approval etc. further complications occur for a second time by increased delays and install times being pushed back, meaning a typical average install time of 65 working days could now be much closer to 100 or 130 working days.

Of course Fluidata will continue to drive BTOR for better service and lead times but for now, at least, we will continue to see longer than usual lead times. As such we would urge customers to allow much time as possible for any fibre provision or consider contingency options, particularly for any time critical installs. With a product portfolio encompassing a wide array of DSL, VDSL, wireless, bonded and EFM solutions, here at Fluidata we should be able to cater for any temporary or even mid to long term requirement should the BTOR problems have an impact on your connectivity provision plans.”

At the same time it’s also worth remembering that Openreach’s engineers are being kept busy by the national roll-out of new consumer services across the United Kingdom, such as Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology. Lest we not forget that winter is ahead and that often adds additional strain, with bad weather causing a slowdown as engineers need to be re-tasked to focus on repairs instead of new provisions.

As Fluidata says, it could take a while before this problem can truly be considered resolved.

UPDATE 10:02am

Openreach has given us their position on the matter, which is stated below.

A BTOpenreach Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

As recently stated, Openreach is committed to providing transparency and part of that is giving our CP customers greater visibility of our business, including the inherent challenges.

One of the initiatives is fortnightly CEO update conference calls with all CPs. The comments from Fluidata reflect the fact that we are sharing our position regularly and openly with CPs – which we think is a good thing.”

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar JM says:

    Could you do a bit of digging on the rumour I’ve heard that Openreach are absorbing all ECCs for delayed installs?

  2. Avatar Chris says:

    Not good enough to be honest, especially with the amount of money it costs to get leased lines installed!

  3. Avatar paul says:

    open reach not fit for purpose comes to mind in the town that i live in the green cabinets were fitted on 2012 and have still to this day not been activated we have now been told that i will be September 2015 possible when it is going to be up and running ,this is a joke we have as a group now approached our mp and local council representatives in a hope to better speeds than 700 kbs .

  4. Avatar G says:

    Its all too little too late from an organisation that is faceless. Having seen other responses from the CEO of Open reach and senior management, I have to admit that they have not only failed but are causing chaos on a national scale. I do not see them ever being held to account though as OFCOM are a toothless beast when it comes to Open reach and seem to be giving them free run to do as they will.

    I have reports of people complaining in south wales of too many open reach vans and in the north west of England they appear to be like hens teeth.

    Is it that BT has become an quasi Quango organisation and given the evidence at hand appear to have OFCOM at their beg and call to do as they wish.

    They give no compensation or recourse and the only communication that we seem to get through them to be perfectly honest is either near useless or on a number of occasions in my experience lies when it comes to reasoning to why installations have failed.

    I would say that we would welcome a response from BTO but only having 2 lungs will not hold my breath waiting as like usual it will no doubt fall onto death ears and of course the all powerful and seemingly tamed animal we call Ofcom.

    I wonder if Edd Vasey would care to comment on this being the minister in charge of this operation to what his views are to this situation and what remedy he has and more so powers to compensation he would impose? if any.

    Seems a little odd to me that we will get so up tight about so many things in this country which is falling to bits around our ears when it comes to basic infrastructure due to the … well only analogy I comes to mind is the three monkeys, see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil. but in this case maybe ignore, ignore and ignore on the sides of the parties who have the ability to change things.

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