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BT Openreach in Full Commercial Launch of Self Install FTTC Broadband

Monday, September 1st, 2014 (1:36 pm) - Score 10,269
fttc bt openreach mastersocket

BTOpenreach, which maintains and upgrades BT’s national telecoms network across the United Kingdom, has today announced that its new and cheaper self-install service (PCP-Only) for superfast ‘up to’ 80Mbps Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) broadband lines will be given a full commercial launch on 29th September 2014. In other words, no more home engineer visits.

The service, which effectively allows consumers to have FTTCfibre broadband” services installed and without needing an Openreach engineer to enter their homes (note: the engineer still needs to visit your local street cabinet to “carry out the jumpering activity” but that’s all), technically launched almost one year ago (here). But that was an Early Market Deployment (EMD) and the full commercial launch will happen this month (ISPs usually adopt a service after the EMD phase is over).

At present BTOpenreach charges ISPs £92 +vat for a new Managed Engineer Install with Operneach’s own VDSL Modem, which increases slightly to £99 if the ISP wants to give the end-user one of their own VDSL modem/router devices instead of the kit supplied by Openreach.

By comparison the new PCP-Only method, which allows the end-user to plug their own Microfilter (Splitter) into the phone socket and use their own VDSL capable broadband router if they have one, will come at a cost of only £49 +vat. ISPs may or may not choose to absorb this.

Openreach Statement for ISPs – Lead times and Appointing

The minimum system lead time for PCP Only orders will continue to be five working days and we aim provide a committed date between five and twelve days.

The PCP Only job can be installed anytime between 7.00am and 9.00pm on the appointment date, unless you order an AM or PM slot. If you choose a specific appointment slot, you will benefit with greater control over the committed date by reserving capacity on the customer required date. These slots allow for you to order a specific appointment to arrange for engineer arrival AM (8.00am-1.00pm) or PM (1.00pm-6.00pm) slot for an additional cost.

However Openreach has previously warned that “the use of microfilters may result in reduced speeds when compared to an engineer-based installation“, although if your existing line can deliver a good broadband speed (e.g. via ADSL2+) then you probably won’t need to worry. But those on slower or more unstable lines may benefit from spending the extra and having an engineer in to do the job (given the choice, we’d always have an engineer in just to be safe).

The debate about performance loss is very similar to the one that preceded BT’s introduction of the wires-only (self-install) service on older ADSL / ADSL2+ line. Indeed these days most ISPs don’t even offer the option of an engineer based ADSL installation, but we hope that ISPs do continue to give customers the choice with their FTTC products.

As a side note, BTOpenreach are currently trialling another service called GEA-FTTC Stop / Start (here). In short, lines that have previously had FTTC and which were later ‘stopped’ (e.g. when you move out of a house and cancel your contract) can later be ‘Started’ again like a new line because the jumpers will still be present. Lines activated in this way are PCP-Only in style and cost £32.52 +vat.

We anticipate that ISPs will cautiously adopt the new PCP-Only service over the next few months, after all anything that makes it cheaper to offer FTTC to customers is likely to appeal.

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

    “anything that makes it cheaper to offer FTTC to customers is likely to appeal.”

    Will it appeal when the customer cancels the contract and performs a charge-back when the speed is nowhere near that estimated because the socketry is 40 years old/poor quality/has a star configuration?

    I have never seen a phone socket like the one in the picture in any home I’ve lived in, this place has two master sockets which look like any other extension sockets, wired in parallel, and the lack of performance of DSL here is why the line hasn’t been used in 6+ years.

    • DanielM

      why would you do a charge back? thats fraud if they provided a service. (remember fttc is copper not fibre) speeds cannot be guranteed.

      i’ve got out of many contracts in the past for small technicalities/sync speeds etc.

    • DanielM

      and that phone socket is just a normal socket with DSL filter i have 3 installed in my house (on 3 lines)

    • DTMark

      You might do a charge back if the ISP refused to refund you after wasting your time with a variety of calls and possibly engineer visits, and was unable to come even remotely close to the estimated speed, because the services were provided without “reasonable skill and care” either in respect of the estimate or the technology.

    • DanielM

      i would never do that. i would go via a dispute (which costs them about £300)

    • RLP

      @DTMark : The socket in the picture above is an NTE5 Master Socket with a VDSL filtered faceplate. Both of these are available through a variety of outlets should you wish to investigate changing your own, but please be aware that technically only BT Openreach should change the Master Socket.

      Fitting the filtered faceplate is really easy if you have the correct master socket.

      However, as you correctly point out, not everyone has the ideal wiring or the NTE5 Master Socket and the ‘star’ configuration is the most problematic. In these instances there is already in place a friendly procedure available due to Ofcom rules.

      Basically you will be provided with an estimated connection speed by your provider. If you are short of the speed then they have 3 months to fix things, with no penalties if you cancel due to the slow speed. You must allow someone access to your home though in order to make the suitable repairs. This will normally be a BTO Engineer.

      Often a BTO Engineer will fit an NTE5 socket and VDSL filtered faceplate when they visit, if they are required.

      If you don’t have the VDSL filtered faceplate, your ISP will supply VDSL rated microfilters. These look much the same as the ADSL microfilters but are better. If you don’t have enough for one in each extension, call your ISP.

      Please don’t use an ADSL filtered faceplate or Microfilter. Sure they’ll work to a degree and if you have a 40/10 product you’ll most likely get the max speed if you are close to the cabinet, but a proper VDSL filter is much better.

  2. @DTMark This is why the impacted quoted figures should be supplied by providers.

    @DanielM – ADRs can be approached only after a deadlock letter from the provider has been supplied. Likewise, there is nothing stopping the SP, if they win, claiming costs back via legal methods.

  3. Raindrops

    “which allows the end-user to plug their own Microfilter (Splitter) into the phone socket and use their own VDSL capable broadband router if they have one, will come at a cost of only £49 +vat. ISPs may or may not choose to absorb this.”

    Nice almost £60 total then for the privilege of plugging in an RJ11 cable yourself and someone basically flicking a switch… A typical BT bargain LOL

    • Gadget

      More to it than switch flicking to quote from the article

      “(note: the engineer still needs to visit your local street cabinet to “carry out the jumpering activity” but that’s all)”.

    • Raindrops

      Plugging in a wire, flicking a switch call it whatever you want £60 for that is still a rip off compared to others. Virgin will install their stuff for free which requires just a tad more work than plunging in a wire and sending some £1 filter out.

      Another BT bargain *rollseyes*

  4. dave

    what would the engineer be doing that we won’t be doing? Would be nice to have a youtube tutorial so that we can do the engineer stuff and get full speed instead of slower fttc.

  5. hmmm

    I don’t know why you need a bt openreach clown at the property to do what they do not as if its hard

  6. finaldest

    I am no BT fan but an engineer visit will ensure that the line is physically tested so if there is a fault on the line there is a chance it will be identified and fixed.

    So you have a choice of either:-

    1.Pay the extra for OR to come out and hopefully have the line installed to its optimum efficiency. (Not always guaranteed at first attempt though.)

    or

    2. Take the cheaper option of self install and accept responsibility should there be any line faults or poor internal setup.

    Its a gamble either way but I would rather the engineer visit on initial FTTC install.

    • Raindrops

      “I am no BT fan but an engineer visit will ensure that the line is physically tested so if there is a fault on the line there is a chance it will be identified and fixed.”

      No it wont many installs have been contractor ones where the just turn up plug stuff in then clear off

  7. No Clue

    Overpriced for a self install option.

    Also appears from BT it is only for Infinity Option 1…
    http://bt.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/48324

    A bit pointless really

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