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BT Openreach UK Replacing Faulty FTTC Superfast Broadband Modems

Posted: 27th Jan, 2012 By: MarkJ
huawei echolife hg612bt retail ukCustomers of BT Retail's new superfast 'up to' 40Mbps (soon to be 80Mbps) BT-Infinity broadband service are being sent a new and "even better" VDSL2 / FTTC modem (Huawei EchoLife HG612) for free. A letter to affected users states that the new modems will "improve your broadband connection", but in reality they're just replacing faulty kit with a working version.

Extract from BT's Letter

"We're giving you a even better BT infinity modem for Free

To make sure you always get the best possible broadband services, we're going to swap your Openreach modem for a better one, for free. The new modem improves your broadband connection, so your BT infinity will be even better."

The situation, which The Register picked up on today, isn't as recent as the report suggests. After some digging we quickly discovered that it had been going on since around November 2011 and the even earlier discovery of a serious overheating fault that could cause a "total loss of service".

ISPreview.co.uk understands that the letters are being sent out to everyone who was supplied with an "Openreach Modem" as part of their BT-Infinity order before August 2011. So those who received the kit after that date should be fine.

KerryG, One of BT's Community Managers, said in mid-November 2011:

"We've been listening to customer feedback and identified a reliability problem with the modem which causes disconnections or even total loss of service.

In your letter it explains the next steps - you'll be contacted by our partner Kelly Communications offering you a free appointment to fit your new free Openreach Modem - the modem swap takes about 30 minutes.

We know that some of you have already begun receiving these letters/calls and want to reassure you that they are genuine contacts as we are working with Kelly Communications to arrange the modem swap."

The "new" and "better" modems (not to be confused with BT's separate HomeHub routers) are virtually identical to the old models but include the new fix and a Version 2 or Version 3 style label on the bottom (many of last year's replacements are marked V2).

It should be stressed that there is no risk of the overheating problem causing a fire, although it does crash the modem and can do tiny amounts of damage over time that might prevent the kit from working.
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