Last week, I upgraded my internet connection to an “Ultrafast” one – known by BT / Openreach as G.Fast.  Apparently they’re slowing down the roll-out of this in favour of full FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) roll-out, but for now it’s the best speed I can get.

G.Fast offers a guaranteed 100Mbps download – and I’ll get compensation if it dips below that – which is amusingly ridiculous. When I moved here six-and-a-bit years ago, I was only just able to get ADSL and a 2Mbps connection. It was painfully slow, although it did enough for the necessary at the time.  When FTTC (Fibre To The Cabinet) came here, I got it, and went from 2Mbps to 75 overnight.  At that point I could do streaming TV and so on with no problem at all.  And now I’ve doubled even that. Truly insane.

I wasn’t actually aware that this tech had been installed in my area, but BT sent me a promotional mail about it at the start of November, and I’d dragged my feet on it a bit.  But then I got a “Black Friday” promotional letter about it as well, where I could also get it installed for free, for an extra £1 a month on what I pay already.  Well OK then.

(As an aside, it’s the only “Black Friday” deal I bothered with at all – and only because it saved me money on a product I was actually interested in)

The engineer came round on Friday to do the installation – it needs some changes at the cabinet, and as it’s still new stuff, they’re doing it with engineers rather than self-install.  This had a happy side-effect, in that he also appears to have finally fixed the line problem that’s been plaguing me for more years than I care to mention.  (And has cost me the price of an engineer visit on one visit out of the five, because they worded the ‘fix’ badly, but that’s a dead issue now)

Ever since I moved in, the line has been dodgy on occasion, and it’s just got worse over time. The broadband connection has been fine in general – unless I have to make or receive a phone call. At that point the crackles on the line were enough to knock out the broadband connection. BT insisted this wasn’t possible, and that all the options I suggested were Just Wrong. (Because obviously I don’t work for them, so what could I possibly know?)  In that time, I’ve had five master sockets, and swapped from ADSL to FTTC for broadband, so I knew it was nothing in the house. It was always either going to be a fault in the line (“Oh no, sir, that’s not possible, more people would be complaining if that were the case”) or in the cabinet itself (also apparently “impossible”)

Anyway, this time the engineer could hear the problem, and tested to find where the problem was. Surprise surprise, it was in the cabinet.  So while he was redoing connections for my new broadband, he had a look round the cab, and the terminators on my line (I dunno) in the cab were “worryingly loose, I could just pull them off, didn’t even need pliers“. When he came back to the house, oooh look, what a surprise, no crackle on the line.

So, I’m now working with a 150Mbps download connection, and a lovely crackle-free phone line. All told, bit of a win.

4 Comments on “Upgraded”

  1. Blue Witch says:

    1.4MB here for standard BB on one line. 2.4MB on FTTC (1.5 miles away) on the other. We have to keep 2 lines or we couldn’t both be online at once. We tried EE’s mobile BB but it didn’t work reliably, so there is absolutely no option, 50 miles from the centre of London.

    Needless to say I’m not paying the BB charge for either line, currently. But, the line rental on 2 lines is still costing a lot more than one line with BB at a sensible speed for modern usage.

    But, they are planning to build 24,000 new houses within a 5 mile radius of here in the next 17 years, and, because there isn’t currently a 5 year supply of housing, developers are currently getting anything anywhere approved, on appeal if not at first application, so the BB problem is likely to get much much worse.

    When one finally gets a ‘good’ BT engineer, they are great. They are definitely a dying breed though. I’ve found that, “Can you ring your boss for me, please, and then hand your phone over to me, because I simply do not accept what you are saying?” works wonders at getting the ones who claim nothing can be done to have another think. That and a 5″ pile of detailed notes on past problems and who has done what…

    May I ask what you are paying for your new service?

  2. Lyle says:

    I think it was also the difference between a BT Engineer and an OpenReach one…

    And yes, I’m paying £60 a month, including phone line rental etc. Which I do think is offensive, but it’s cheaper (and for more) than anything the other providers around here can offer.

  3. Blue Witch says:

    Aren’t they all OpenReach (as that is the separate ‘network’ arm of BT) though?

    I didn’t think that anyone except OR was allowed to play on the poles, in the cabinets and with the exchange infrastructure?

    In LLU areas, the companies (eg TT) can play with their own exchange apparatus, and with items in customers’ homes (routers, internal cabling, sockets etc) but have to hand back to OR for anything outside the house/their equipment in the exchange?

    I’ve found that OR are sent out for all BT problems, inside or outside of the house, which speeds up the process/number of visits to solve a problem. Do they perhaps have a specialist team for installing your sort of line?

    I don’t know what extra services you are getting for your price, but it has made me feel much better about still having to have 2 lines to get a reasonable service 🙂

  4. Lyle says:

    I don’t know for sure – I thought (as you say) that OR did infrastructure, connection etc. but BT Engineer for line faults and the like. I could be entirely wrong on that, though.

    As for the one I had come round – I don’t know if he’s a specialist per se, but he’d come from the other side of Cambridge, as he had done a lot of the installs in that area when they first piloted the G.Fast over there. So definitely experienced and knew what he was doing.

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