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Openreach Tweak Guidance on FTTC Speeds for Lift and Shifts

Tuesday, September 29th, 2020 (3:38 pm) - Score 12,456
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Openreach (BT) has issued some interesting new internal guidance to its UK engineers for handling Lift and Shifts (i.e. moving a line to a new DSLAM port) on Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC / VDSL2) based broadband cabinets, which now allows ports to be used if the max line speed is above 72Mbps.

Moving ports (L&S) on VDSL2 lines is sometimes done to help bypass a fault on an existing port or to tackle incorrect routing but, as it requires an engineer, such work does tend to attract a bit of a cost. In the recent past we’ve seen figures of £200+ mentioned per L&S, but they can now be done fairly quickly (c.15-45 mins for the main activity, excluding other parts of the process).

NOTE: Openreach states that a L&S is an activity, not a policy or a service that they offer to ISPs.

Nevertheless, thousands of these are done every year and thus annual costs can run into the £millions. Sources inform us that Openreach have recently moved to reduce “unnecessary” lift and shifts, not only for cost reasons but also because they reduce the number of available ports for customers to use (this is a bigger problem if the cabinet is already close to capacity).

Instead engineers have now been told to always try to repair the faulty port if possible, but that ports can now be used if the maximum speed is above 72Mbps. The catch here is that the top profile speed for this FTTC tier is 80Mbps, although most people will get less than 72Mbps anyway due to copper signal degradation but a few will be close enough for nearly 80Mbps (i.e. a small portion of lines are likely to be affected by this change).

A spokesperson for Openreach told ISPreview.co.uk: “The 72Mb/s is just guidance to engineers to help prevent them taking ports out of service where the speeds are “as good as we can expect”. Engineers can still proceed with a lift & shift if the port is faulty.”

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15 Responses
  1. Avatar A_Builder says:

    Odd

    We’ve had a string Of faulty ports Over the years at numerous locations.

    Getting a lift and shift done is often a mission is you are stupid enough to have used BT Business as the provider. Hint Cerberus and Zen don’t suffer from this.

    I know this will be an unpopular comment but the main issue is that 50% of OR field guys have no clue how to diagnose copper faults using the now very good kit they have. Knowing how to use it myself it is very painful to watch the ‘process’ and then the data being totally misunderstood. Which is why so many fault go onto iteration #crazy to get them fixed.

    Isn’t the real issue that the ports need to be end tested to see if they are really faulty after a lift and shift??

    I’m assuming from the way this is worded that any ports that are lift and shifted away from are faulty and therefore orphaned??

    1. Avatar Adam says:

      The ports are marked faulty and then someone comes out and finds that they get synch at 78meg and so put them back into comission, despite that clearly not being a good port unless the DSLAM is a long way from the PCP.

      This is a crazy rule tbh. If one port is 80meg and the one next door is 120 then theres something wrong with it. At best that slow speed will result in slower customer speeds and quite possibly instability too.

    2. Avatar D says:

      How can you say that 50 percent of field engineer don’t know what they are doing as the process is to fault the copper line before even thinking about doing a lift and shift but it’s OK for people like to sit there and judge them when your not doing there job

    3. Avatar Buildthis says:

      Correct mr builder. That comment has got my back up. Where are you getting your information from or are you just making it up ? Obviously at some point you’ve had a new start attend your business empire , and/or some poor guy who had another 5-6 faults to go to that day ( prob customers that actually needed help , not customers that have nothing better to do than raise faults as they demand the extra Meg they saw a few years ago) . ‘Knowing how to use it myself’ , is that so? Why didn’t you diagnose the problem your self and direct the engineer as to what you thought was needed ? You assume wrong. Faulty ports are tested daily and restored to service , it’s called port repair. Looking at your previous posts I expected better .

    4. Avatar A_Builder says:

      @Buildthis

      Well on one fault we had 12 engineer visits 3 from the same engineer. I am not making this up.

      The line is 160m long.

      The line measures perfectly – as there was absolutely nothing wrong with the copper. Nor was there. The copper was not the issue but engineer after engineer declared an unreachable copper fault.

      The fact we got 16/16 didn’t strike many of them as odd – “that is the copper mate”

      Shifting pairs made no difference.

      The engineer on his third visit got pissed off with it and said “this is ridiculous” went to the PCP – and connected our modem onto the DSLAM link cable 18/18 – problem in DSLAM not the copper at all.

      Lift ‘n’ shift solved it – after it got stuck and needed a bit of Indian support!!

      I’m suspecting from the OR release that the mystical Lift ‘n’ shift has been a bit overused…….

      The problem is that with DSL it is a crazy complex job and to fault find you need to understand the digital and analogue effects. That really is not easy.

      The fact the “Bill” has 6 other jobs on his card isn’t really relevant: I pay I need a working service that I pay for – I’m just grateful that “Bob” actually had the guts and integrity to go outside the box and solve our problem.

      I have massive respect for people who do: my late uncle was a BT foreman/linesman and he was the best – he was a doer. I don’t accept deflection.

    5. Avatar John says:

      “The engineer on his third visit got pissed off with it and said “this is ridiculous” went to the PCP – and connected our modem onto the DSLAM link cable 18/18 – problem in DSLAM not the copper at all.”

      Lol.

      How did the engineer power your modem at the DSLAM?

      The engineer can test sync with his/her JDSU. No need to take a customers CPE to the DSLAM.

    6. Avatar A_Builder says:

      “How did the engineer power your modem at the DSLAM?”

      By opening the door of the telephone exchange that the DSLAM is against the outside wall of and running an extension cable out of it.

      “The engineer can test sync with his/her JDSU. No need to take a customers CPE to the DSLAM.”

      Yes he did test the line and he then called his controller, back then it was hard to get a lift and shift authorised, who told him it was probably the copper. The good engineer was then determined to put a stop to the nonsense hence the trip up the road.

      I’m afraid that, in spite of your doubts, the story is 100% true. I’ve left out some of the more bewildering details and the involvement of the Hodgeson team. Honestly you could have written a book about getting those faults fixed.

    7. Avatar Kenneth Marshall-Grant says:

      Or the answer could have been that your service provider kept raising copper faults when they should have raised a broadband fault. If your service provider requests the engineer to check the line with no remit to check the broadband then this is what the engineer will do.

    8. Avatar A_Builder says:

      @ Kenneth Marshall-Grant

      Oh we tried.

      The tickets that the BT Hodgeson team said that sent out were “test everything involved tickets”

      It got to the stage where I had a real Bloke with a real email troubleshooting this!!

  2. Avatar dave_ says:

    I’ve got 3 lines, 2 from BT and 1 from Vodafone.

    Stats for these lines are:

    Voda – 69/20 sync – 70062/22183 attainable – SNR margin 6.2/7.1
    BT 1 – 80/20 sync – 87561/23891 attainable – SNR margin 4.3/8.1
    BT 2 – 80/20 sync – 88549/25485 attainable – SNR margin 4.2/9.3

    The Vodafone line syncs above the minimum speed they quoted (67Mbps) but it doesn’t make sense to me that there is such a big difference compared to the BT lines.

    Could the Vodafone port be faulty or is it due to different DLM profiles or something else?

    What’s my best hope of getting the Vodafone line to 80Mbps?

    1. Avatar Scott says:

      Total guess – different routers with different DSP chips? Is the home hub hardware (marginally) better?

    2. Avatar dave_ says:

      Marginally better? 11Mbps from 80Mbps is 13.75%.

      Although I’m not ruling it out I do question whether a different router could make *that* much difference.

  3. Avatar Teqie says:

    What am I missing – if the port is running at more than 72Mbps, why would it be considered faulty?

    @A_builder what does 16/16 and 18/18 mean, please?

    1. Avatar A_Builder says:

      The lines eventually gave around 76/18Mb/s when fixed.

      However in their unfixed state we got a bizarre symmetrical 16/16Mb/s.

      Because nobody has seen anything like it getting it fixed took six months and…….

  4. Avatar Mike says:

    Sync dropped 20Mbps over the last 3-4 years, moved to 4G.

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