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Author Topic: Noisy Line is back .. sigh  (Read 3873 times)

aesmith

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Noisy Line is back .. sigh
« on: September 15, 2016, 11:51:21 AM »

After all the dust settled on the big lightning damage our line was left with a continuous hum/buzz.   Yet again.   First Openreach visit found a fault, around 1/2 way between us an the public road, a few days later that was reported fixed but the noise was unchanged.  Third visit today, the guy found a fault reported as 13m from the master socket,  but then when he opened a joint he found the fault actually much further away.  Again referred back to the underground team.   The guy spent quite a bit of time away checking before he came back to report, apparently the line was clean at the pole by the public road, but noisy at one of the joints a 100m or so from the house.  Interestingly he said he wasn't really supposed to open up these joints, which sort of begs the question as to what sort of fault he actually could have fixed.

One thing I think I need to resolve is that we have concealed joint behind the plaster where the line comes into the house, one sort of cable goes in from the outside, and a different type of cable pops out of the plaster and runs to the socket.   OR guy wasn't happy with that, he really wanted to access whatever sort of joint that was, although in the event he proved the fault to lie further away.

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aesmith

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Re: Noisy Line is back .. sigh
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2016, 06:44:00 PM »

Another OR guy round today, not an appointment but he needed directions to find the house.  Bizarrely although this was referred to the "underground" team, and this guy was from that team, he wasn't authorised or qualified to dig.  I asked if it would help if the joints just happened to be lying on the surface (because I'd dug them up), but apparently that wouldn't help him.   What's that all about?   He's requeued the job noting that this underground cable is, well, underground.
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Black Sheep

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Re: Noisy Line is back .. sigh
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2016, 09:35:18 AM »

Any digging that is required on the highways and byways (Flags, tarmac, block paving etc) are sent to our contractors to perform, it has been like this for approx. 25yrs now.

Historically, if the digging was to be done in 'soft' (Mud, grass etc), we would perform the task ourselves. However, due to a few 'Near miss' incidents whereby the electric cable was mistaken for our own armoured UG cables, Openreach introduced a 'Safe dig' policy ....... or at least they have in my operational area.

This means a dedicated team of individuals will do the deed, once the engineer has proven where the fault lies. Don't blame the engineers, this is mandatory. It comes under the 'compliance banner' and serious disciplinary action could follow.
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aesmith

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Re: Noisy Line is back .. sigh
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2016, 12:50:39 PM »

Don't blame the engineers
Don't worry I don't.  There's actually an ex-OR guy at work and comparing his accounts with the hoops that the current engineers have to jump through it sounds as if the organisation is now in a virtual straitjacket of procedures and targets and compliance.   

It must be costing them though, for example that's now two abortive visits already, the first attendance wasn't an underground engineer at all, and the second although from the underground team wasn't qualified to dig.  Why would they have been dispatched to a fault where the whole extend from exchange to DP and from DP to end user is all underground cable?   It's even more bizarre because the "underground" cable actually lies on the surface for much of it's length, and even the joints that are buried are just under turfs that can be lifted out by hand.  That's why I offered to expose them for him, however apparently that wouldn't get him off the hook so I can only conclude that the cable is classified and known as one that requires this "dig skill", so he'd be in trouble for doing any work on it.

I would also comment that only reason our previous fault made any progress was when the 5th engineer, not an underground team member, did actually pop open a couple of joints to prove the fault lay along the length from house to DP and finally knock on the head the persistent suggestion of REIN.   He was presumably chancing his arm outside OR rules, but if it wasn't for him it would never have been fixed.
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Black Sheep

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Re: Noisy Line is back .. sigh
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2016, 01:13:04 PM »

Don't worry I don't.  There's actually an ex-OR guy at work and comparing his accounts with the hoops that the current engineers have to jump through it sounds as if the organisation is now in a virtual straitjacket of procedures and targets and compliance.   

It must be costing them though, for example that's now two abortive visits already, the first attendance wasn't an underground engineer at all, and the second although from the underground team wasn't qualified to dig.  Why would they have been dispatched to a fault where the whole extend from exchange to DP and from DP to end user is all underground cable?   It's even more bizarre because the "underground" cable actually lies on the surface for much of it's length, and even the joints that are buried are just under turfs that can be lifted out by hand.  That's why I offered to expose them for him, however apparently that wouldn't get him off the hook so I can only conclude that the cable is classified and known as one that requires this "dig skill", so he'd be in trouble for doing any work on it.

I would also comment that only reason our previous fault made any progress was when the 5th engineer, not an underground team member, did actually pop open a couple of joints to prove the fault lay along the length from house to DP and finally knock on the head the persistent suggestion of REIN.   He was presumably chancing his arm outside OR rules, but if it wasn't for him it would never have been fixed.

This is just my own personal thoughts (well, plenty of other engineers that I talk to, as well), but procedures, compliance or whatever we call it really does seem to hold us back.
That, coupled with the real culprit that was introduced 25yrs ago (The Work Manager system - a work auto-allocating machine), sees that sometimes wrong engineers are despatched to tasks.

Back in the good 'ol days, we had patch ownership .. this means you worked on your own patch day in-day out. You very rarely travelled outside your patch and you got to know the local network like you know your own family. Plus, the work was allocated by someone who had done the job, and knew his men's abilities and capabilities .. ensuring a high success rate of 'the right man to the right job'.
The WM takes all that away ..  :no:

So, the WM machine doesn't know that your entire feed is underground for its entirety it can only allocate tasks based on the test result the ISP has given the task (i.e.: Overhead, UG, Broadband, REIN, Hot-site etc), which is why you had a UG engineer, but presumably not safe-dig trained ??

It matters not what the EU thinks about the cable, how deep it is, that they themselves would be willing to dig it up all that matters is compliance with the rules & regs (especially where health and safety are concerned) that BTOR lay down.
It isn't as you conclude that the cable is labelled as 'Dig skill', so the engineer would get in trouble if working on it. We don't have that info on our tasks when allocated initially. It's the fact that we are regularly and randomly audited on our work which would throw up the skilling issue had the non-skilled engineer worked on the cable ?

If that was me I would have done exactly the same, getting tin-tacked for gross negligence and the possibility of losing ones pension is more than enough to make me walk away. Mr aesmith (or any other EU) are highly unlikely to provide the lifestyle I've become accustomed to should the other option happen.  ;)
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aesmith

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Re: Noisy Line is back .. sigh
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2016, 01:59:42 PM »

.. which is why you had a UG engineer, but presumably not safe-dig trained ??
I think that's the case.  He was on the phone to see if someone could come out to him, but nobody available that day so all he could do was case the joint a little and write up his notes.  Still seems a little odd that he couldn't progress if I did the digging, but would there be a presumption (or risk) that they'd treat that as me digging on his instruction, ie as bad as him doing so himself?

By the way are you ever up in NE Scotland?  Lots of these guys seem to be on a scheme of secondment for two weeks at a time, one said it was paying for his holiday, another it's going towards his new kitchen.   Sounds like hard work though.
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Black Sheep

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Re: Noisy Line is back .. sigh
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2016, 06:50:31 PM »

My own opinion again, but 'You doing the digging' is akin to you digging up the gas main, just because it isn't a couple of feet below ground as it should be.

It's a carte blanch no-no !!! Just because it's 50vDC doesn't make it right and proper that anyone can start digging our cables up, or pulling them out of the 1" ground they're partly submerged in. There's also the inherent danger (as mooted above), that MR DIY (as well as OR engineers) will mistake an electrical cable for one of ours.

As I've pointed out in many, many posts (encouraging the sometime name of 'broken record'), it is one rule fits all ........ it is the same for the obscure town with 5 occupants in the Scottish highlands, as it is on Tottenham Court Road in Central London.

Re your comment about Scotland engineers .................. I have mentioned elsewhere on here that we regularly (every other day) get a SMS text begging for volunteers to work in Scotland. I did my stint working away for a full 3yrs, back when my kids were young and cash was needed ..... and it was very lucrative I have to admit. But these days, I like my own bed and enjoy the gatherings of friends and family for food and drink too much, to even consider doing that again !!!

We all know ... time, circumstances, wealth and health play a big part in how we choose to live life. Much as like the idea of working in Scotland, the body is telling me to stick down here !!!  ;) ;D ;D 

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aesmith

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Re: Noisy Line is back .. sigh
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2016, 07:43:44 PM »

Relying on updates from the service provider, OR reports that the fault or job has been passed to "licensed operators".  Does that mean a non-Openreach contractor, or does that just refer to qualified OR person?   (Or misquoted by the CP). 
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Black Sheep

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Re: Noisy Line is back .. sigh
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2016, 08:45:33 PM »

It definitely means our contractors.
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aesmith

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Re: Noisy Line is back .. sigh
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2016, 07:12:09 AM »

We've been away and during that time I got a message from the CP saying the fault was reported as clear.   Now I'm back I'm disappointed but not totally surprised to find that the noise on the line is exactly as it was.   I can see this is going to be a struggle.   I think I need to start kicking up a fuss with the CP to see if it can be escalated, it's ridiculous that nothing's been achieved after four visits and several weeks.   At least they're not (yet) claiming it's REIN.
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aesmith

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Re: Noisy Line is back .. sigh
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2016, 09:00:36 AM »

Had the sixth and seventh Openreach visits yesterday, one who can't work on it because he's not an underground engineer, and the second one who claimed he was unable to hear the noise.   
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aesmith

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Re: Noisy Line is back .. sigh
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2016, 11:27:40 AM »

Looks like the end of the line now, the current PSTN provider is refusing to progress the fault any further.  The annoying thing is that on a normal phone call the noise is clearly audible at my end, but must be filtered out so that nothing's heard by the remote party.
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burakkucat

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Re: Noisy Line is back .. sigh
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2016, 08:44:31 PM »

Looks like the end of the line now, the current PSTN provider is refusing to progress the fault any further.

Who is your current provider?

You should now ask for a deadlock letter, as there is a clear specification for PSTN circuits . . . one element of which is No Audible Noise.
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Black Sheep

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Re: Noisy Line is back .. sigh
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2016, 09:07:29 PM »

Who is your current provider?

You should now ask for a deadlock letter, as there is a clear specification for PSTN circuits . . . one element of which is No Audible Noise.

The problem is with faults of this nature, they will be raised as a CDTA (Conscious Decision To Appoint) which means our remit is to carry out a Fast Test before attending site, then once at the premises carry out a PQT, and finally listen for audible noise and perform an Eclipse test.

If all tests pass ..... we leave and we bill the ISP. Them's the rules. No-one is saying there isn't a fault, but if it isn't prevalent when we're on-site what can we do ??
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skyeci

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Re: Noisy Line is back .. sigh
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2016, 10:37:58 PM »

I think he is with aaisp looking at mdws..
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