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Delays Hit Speed Regrades on Openreach FTTP Broadband Lines

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 14,693
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A seemingly growing number of Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based broadband ISP customers, at various UK providers, have over the past few weeks reported that requests to upgrade (regrade) their service to a faster tier are being delayed. The finger of blame is being cast toward BT’s Wholesale division.

Initially the feedback from ISPs appeared to indicate that this issue, which seems to be largely affecting new build properties on greenfield sites, might have begun after Openreach updated their ordering (portal) system, but we later discovered that this was not entirely correct. Whatever happened, the work clearly didn’t go quite according to plan because while some regrades progressed, others did not and have been stuck for weeks.

Support staff at one such provider, Zen Internet, told some of their customers: “This is also affecting other ISPs … We are being told at the moment that an estimated fix will not be until at least mid-August but we are continuing to put pressure on where needed to get this resolved as quick and efficiently as possible, so we can then progress the backlog of orders we have.”

As a result, affected customers have been left to twiddle their thumbs as regrade (bandwidth modify) dates came and went without any change (example). Naturally ISPreview.co.uk attempted to contact Openreach about this last week, although they seemed confident that the problem wasn’t coming from their side. Instead the culprit appears to be BTWholesale.

Mike Piggott, Operations Director at Zen Internet, said:

“We have been experiencing some delays on FTTP Broadband Re-Grades, specifically relating to Green Field sites. BT Wholesale made a system change which is causing some orders to fail. This is affecting a number of communication providers who consume FTTP via BT Wholesale.

Our supplier is working on a tactical solution and expects to have a fix in place within the next couple of weeks.”

The problems have occurred at a particularly awkward time, when a number of ISPs are busy launching faster 500Mbps and 1Gbps capable packages via Openreach’s network and that has been attracting some interest from those seeking the best possible speeds. On the upside those packages are still fairly new and so there won’t be too many people going down the regrade route just yet.

A Spokesperson for BT Wholesale added:

“We are aware of a very small number of customers isolated to Greenfield who are currently experiencing slight delays with their FTTP regrade orders, due to a technical fault in the web portal when placing orders.

This issue relates only to a select couple of speed options for regrade customers, and all other speeds are available as per usual through our business to business interface. We have a fix scheduled to address this delay and are working quickly to resolve this as soon as possible for our customers. We apologise for the inconvenience that has caused to impacted CP’s.”

We should point out that there is a second issue that Openreach are aware of with new build sites, which might sometimes get mixed up with the separate regrade problem at BTW. Every once in awhile the wrong Optical Network Terminal (ONT) may be installed inside a new build home, which will fail when a remote configuration is needed to get the line working (an engineer then has to come out and replace the ONT).

The ONT issue is of course a “build error” and not one that should occur on existing (live) FTTP services that are merely seeking to change their bandwidth (speed) profile up or down. Nevertheless, we thought it worth mentioning as we have seen the odd complaint about that too, but this is rare.

Otherwise we understand that a fix for the main regrade problem could be implemented by the end of this week.

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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.
Leave a Comment
40 Responses
  1. Qq says:

    “We are aware of a very small number of customers” I feel as if I’m reading a statement from Apple on iPhone/Mac issues

  2. Jonathan says:

    I would imagine that there are a whole by ch of degrades on lower tier FTTP services to something faster. That is there will be people on 40/10 and 80/20 FTTP packages that due to you know what have found their internet requirements have gone up and want to regrade to something faster.

  3. Andrew Bate says:

    I live in Plymouth and according to open reach engineers there is up to 300mbps available. However it’s only fibre between the poles and from there to the homes it’s standard telephone lines. I am with origin broadband paying £22.99 for faster fibre supposedly average of 36mbps and when connected I was getting that for a week at any rate. After that the speeds have steadily dropped and now it’s between 0 Mbps and 1.8mbps. The internet is not available 5 to 12 times per day, everyday. I have complained to Origin broadband but 3 times in the last three months and each time received an email of trouble shooting exercises. Apparently they only lease from open reach and are not responsible for line problems and of course I am not allowed to speak to anyone at open reach. In order for me to download and stream using Now TV and Amazon prime I am having to use my unlimited data on my Mobile phone contract as at least I am getting 3.2mbps, however HD streaming completely out of the question.
    Broadband companies should not be allowed to advertise average download speeds unless they can guarantee those speeds 24/7 365 days of the year.
    In my opinion Open Reach is crap and all who use that network are scammers. Virgin is not bad but totally too expensive especially when like me you are on a limited budget.

    1. Mike says:

      Origin is a penny pincher ISP. Try Zen or equivalent, they should iron out issues with OR, or just stick with 4G which is cheaper.

      On a limited budget yet have the funds for nowtv and prime? Hmmm…..

    2. Qq says:

      @mike To be fair, we have no idea if he’s actually paying for those or using a relatives/friends account details.

    3. Fastman says:


      Broadband companies should not be allowed to advertise average download speeds unless they can guarantee those speeds 24/7 365 days of the year.
      In my opinion Open Reach is crap and all who use that network are scammers. Virgin is not bad but totally too expensive especially when like me you are on a limited budget.

      the comment on 24/7 x 365 is a dedicated leased line and will cost hundreds of pounds a month

      the virgin thing is just scemantics

    4. Sam says:

      Despite who provides the network.. The provider you buy your services from should still be trying to resolve your speed issues. They can test the network and pin point what the issue is.
      Also when you placed your order you should have been advised of your speed garuntee and if your speed drops below this you should be entitled to some form of compensation if they dont fix it.

    5. CarlT says:

      ‘Broadband companies should not be allowed to advertise average download speeds unless they can guarantee those speeds 24/7 365 days of the year.

      In my opinion Open Reach is crap and all who use that network are scammers. Virgin is not bad but totally too expensive especially when like me you are on a limited budget.’

      You want a service that good you have to pay for it. Cheap/good/fast – choose two. That’s how it was 20 years ago and how it remains to this day. Anyone offering all three either has a special offer on, it comes with a catch or ten, coverage is tiny, or they are going out of business in the not too distant.

    6. Leex says:

      I prefer them to say what the service they are selling as G.fast is muddling the waters as they tend to call it fibre 150 or 300 when it’s actually still copper from pole G.fast pole node or all the way to the upgraded fttc cab

    7. 125us says:

      I’m not sure you understand what average means in this context. It relates to the entirety of an ISP’s customer base, not your circuit individually. It wouldn’t be an average if it was just your line.

    8. CarlT says:

      There are no G.fast pods on poles, LeeX. Again writing nonsense. They were trialled but never deployed outside of those trials.

      Stop writing this misinformation. It doesn’t help anyone and wastes my, and others’ time correcting it.

  4. Stuart says:

    I’m one customer affected, 95% of my street can get 900mb down but I’m stuck at 300mb, at least BT have finally put there hand up and admitted a fault

    1. Sam says:

      Steve thats not true..
      In order to place an upgrade order a modify of the original circuit is needed via wholesale.
      Once the fttp is marked as complete the original circuit is automatically ceased

    2. Leex says:

      As fars as I am aware all Real FTTP to the house from openreach is a 1gbe capable just profile locked at there end (and router end if your using the bt branded router) to what ever speed your paying for

      The issue I believe he is talking about is the bt hub applying lower speed profile on the bt hub then what it should be operating at (paying for 500mb but the bt hub keeps on randomly applying a 100-300mb profile after a short time after reboot)

      using your own cable router corrects this problem (as a custom router only set the speed profile at WAN connection up and ignores any incorrect profile pushes)

    3. Ross says:

      I’ve got the same problem. I was told it was a “capacity issue” in that “if everybody on the street purchased 900mb, there wouldn’t be enough bandwidth available”. We this part of the street is “stuck” on 300mb, which is hardly slow but I wanted the faster upload the 900mb package provides.

    4. CarlT says:

      Just for variety, LeeX, you’re wrong. The software issues with the BT Hub impact upstream speed only.

  5. Jon says:

    I think I am having this problem with my BT FTTP. I upgraded from 300 to 500 back in March and have only seen my speeds top out at 330mbps. Last time I called they just said my minimum requirement was 250. What steps could I take to get them to actually look into this issue?

    1. Sam says:

      Jon, check your order confirmation of when you upgraded to 500, it will have your stayfast guaruntee speed on it. If you run a wired linetest and the speeds are below the stayfast speed either contact your SPs faults team or log in to your online account and raise a fault.

    2. CarlT says:

      Assuming you’re using a wired connection to test this if the upload is higher than 50 Mb you’re regraded so there’s a performance issue.

      If upload still tops out at 50 or below you aren’t actually on 500 yet.

    3. joe says:

      Who did you speak to? The BT FTTP team are usually the only ones worth trying…

  6. Tim says:

    I’m on day 30 of no internet now after an ONT installation was marked complete despite no engineer visit causing the existing vDSL to be ceased. Openreach then wouldn’t raise a fault without the ONT reference as the regrade was ‘complete’ on their systems and wouldn’t take the ISPs word that there was definitely no ‘white box’ in the house! Zen had to completely cease the service and place a new order so now at the back of the engineer queue. Handily automatic compensation is still suspended due to COVID so they won’t have to pay out the £280!

    1. steve says:

      “ONT installation was marked complete despite no engineer visit causing the existing vDSL to be ceased”

      Your ISP ceased that, not Openreach. The two services will be completely unrelated as far as they are concerned.

    2. Leex says:

      The VDSL is a physical connection in the DP cab so Likey openreach engineer removed the clips the the VDSL panel inside the DP box or was soon to be assigned to another house and wouldn’t let them re enabled it

      Very strange that they said the ONT was installed when it wasn’t, interesting openreach would only deal with it if they had the ONT ref on the box

    3. Tony says:

      Is it a new build property?

    4. CarlT says:

      FGS LeeX stop writing such utter bollocks.

      DP = Distribution Point. These are not cabinets.

      In the case of an FTTC -> FTTP migration nothing is changed in the PCP. All on databases. New drop wire may be provisioned with both copper and fibre, depending how that’s wired in the DP, something unrelated to FTTC, it may leave the previous cross-connect to the FTTC cabinet unterminated. The relevant tie pair cross-connect will be marked available.

      It’s far from unknown for such botched migrations to actually leave the existing FTTC working over the new hybrid copper/fibre drop cable.

  7. Sam says:

    Steve thats not true..
    In order to place an upgrade order a modify of the original circuit is needed via wholesale.
    Once the fttp is marked as complete the original circuit is automatically ceased.
    Tim, ask your SP to reactivate your vdsl until you get fttp.

    1. Tim says:

      Already tried that as the DSL light still active on the VDSL modem however ISP said it was no-go; I couldn’t get the PPPoE test credentials to work either. probably due it being a regrade from FTTC to FTTP.
      Here’s hopining the engingeer turns up on Monday. Can’t fault Zen’s communication throughout the process though and I’m getting a regrade from the orginal 150/30 on the order to 500/70 for the inconvenience.
      I was speaking to an Openreach engineer installing a leased line at the office a couple of weeks ago who mentioned that there were a large number of new engineers due to the fibre deployments and some of them just select any old reason to close a call so they can get off home early…

  8. Peter Mclaren says:

    I am a director of a small community interest company, BT/Open reach failed to turn up the date arranged 5 weeks previous and we lost hundreds of pounds and BT are offering to compensate us 2months rent free. If you ever get BT to come and install Broadband they will fine you £130+VAT IF YOU DO NOT GIVE THEM ACCESS Should that apply if they do not arrive. More like British teleCON

    1. Tim says:

      ..or Brokenreach / Openbreach 😉

    2. Leex says:

      Well don’t waste there time and be in the house or not ignoring door or non working doorbell

      And get a proper visible house number plate (white background black text, visible from Pavement if not put it on your gate or gate posts)

    3. CarlT says:

      I used to call them Openwretch, even taking to their own staff.

      Then I grew up.

  9. Mike says:

    2 doors up have fibre 3 doors down have fibre the fibre box is 2 metres from my house which was installed 2 years ago but I have no fibre top speed of 1mbs and it’s going to take another year before it can go live and paying bt £68 a month for the pleasure

    1. A_Builder says:

      Can’t you do a deal with your neighbours to sling a bit of CAT6e between the houses? Easy enough to give everyone a separate VLAN for security…….

      You could even try and persuade them to stick a separate WiFi onto their network which you could repeat…..

      So close yet so far.

    2. Leex says:

      I seen that happen in end of Appleton near the motarway, because the other 2-5 houses are on the Next pole they won’t provide fttp service to them houses

      they don’t want to string the fibre from the pole with the pot on it to the next pole and then the house, it’s very silly

    3. CarlT says:

      Sounds like a database error. Reach out to Andrew Ferguson at Think Broadband.

  10. Julian says:

    Does Lord God Ferguson OBE or MBE have better Openreach contacts than Mr Jackson who runs this website then?

    1. CarlT says:

      I have no idea what your issues with Andrew Ferguson are and doubt I’d care. I was trying to help the original poster but do feel free to take the opportunity to be a total Richard.

  11. Andy smith says:

    We was told that our area was in line for fttp soon so we stayed withBT even though our internet speed is between 0 and 2.5 mbps ,we’ve now found out that there is no plan to upgrade area

  12. Al says:

    I’ve been waiting close to 2 months for a regrade due to this now…

    1. Al says:

      Seems like this is fixed now

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