Kitz Forum

Announcements => News Articles => Topic started by: graevine1 on October 12, 2007, 11:12:15 PM

Title: Ungently inform your Politician before 18th October
Post by: graevine1 on October 12, 2007, 11:12:15 PM
If you are concerned about the quality of your BT land line, are fed up with poor service in relation to it or Broadband etc make sure your politician is aware, make sure that consumer views are brought to the attention of all, especially in relation to this event "The Parliament and the Internet Conference - Portcullis House, 9am until 5pm October 18th 2007" Try to attend and ask your questions. Demand answers. This is a chance for you to make BT's Directors accountable for any public funding/grants they receive and make them accountable for any failings you may believe that are due to Openreach and its responsibility for the land line to your premises. Look up the conference agenda
Title: Re: Ungently inform your Politician before 18th October
Post by: Astral on October 12, 2007, 11:23:38 PM
Thanks for bringing this to our attention, graevine1.
Title: Re: Ungently inform your Politician before 18th October
Post by: kitz on October 13, 2007, 09:16:57 PM
Thanks for the reminder on this.

I do actually have a half written response to you email that you sent me - but things this past week have been a bit hectic, and I havent even had time to visit the forums for the past few days. :(

It is something that I intend to respond to, but home matters have had to take priority over the past few days Im afraid.
Title: Re: Ungently inform your Politician before 18th October
Post by: graevine1 on October 14, 2007, 11:44:23 PM
KItz - I think you work hard enough and long hours for the benefit of those in difficulty especially with the ANTICS of BT/Openreach for you to be forgiven. there are times when home life must be put in the first place.
We all must start to take BT and Openreach actions considerably more seriously and to a much higher level. The releases that their are more Broadband connections (qualified) in the UK must be viewed in the way they BT are taking this country and its residents for a ride, especially with such a poor/low quality of transmission and in some cases internal pair interference affecting service in those twisted pair local/customer end of cables.
Have a great day!
Title: Re: Ungently inform your Politician before 18th October
Post by: kitz on October 15, 2007, 12:28:27 AM
Hi grapevine

Hope you dont mind me publishing this in the open, but over the past week or so Ive had several people contact me about similar issues therefore I feel it would be best if this is in the open, rather than me responding separately to several different people.


>> I am concerned with two issues that of open reach not adequately maintaining the line plant and the apparent lack of the authorities to force them to keep twisted pairs up to a suitable standard.

This is actually a misconception by the general public... and yes whilst there are some instances where BT are at fault...  in reality a lot more faults are down to the physical limitations of the copper pair and adsl technology that BT cant do anything about. 
Far more problems actually can be resolved by the user making sure that filters are correctly fitted etc - the type of modem/router used by the customer can also make a big difference.

No-one (even BT) knows how a particular line will perform until the line is on said service, and it will depend on the users home equipment/internal wiring which is outside of BTs realm.

The only real solution would be FTTC or FTTH but that would require a huge investment and the problem is who foots the bill for that? 
Maybe BT could be enforced to roll out FTTC, but the problem here is the same as what happened to LLU - where the LLU providers move into the BT exchanges - but they "cherry pick" the exchanges they move into and only pick the most profitable ones such as in large towns/cities.
This leaves only BT to pick up the bill for those exchanges that are remote/unprofitable.

For at least 18-24 months this has been a major concern of mine and I have spouted off on several forums about my fears for a "two-tier broadband in the UK"...  unfortunately this now seems to be a reality.
Particularly so when you have the likes of AOL who have a two tiered charging system. is actually all about raising peoples awareness in the hope that they can find solution themselves to some of the common problems with adsl.  Cheap adsl is "self install" but the problem being is that its not always "installed" correctly by the end user.  Theres many people who by following the instructions on my and similar sites that have successfully managed to get a line that was say performing at 2-4Mb to be able to sync up at the full 8Mb. 
This is outside of the realms of anything that BT or the ISPs can do...  aside from taking a backwards step in time back to 2002 when all adsl lines were installed and set up by an engineer (and the dreadful associated costs of doing so back then) :(
ADSL has become a "D-I-Y" type thing but unfortunately it doesn't always plug and go.. and far too many inexperienced users have made huge gaffs with the installation.

>> no one can expect ISPs to give unlimited access, so there has to be some form of control which should be known by all users as to what amount of what type of service they are receiving for each individual payment.

It depends what you mean by unlimited access - if you mean unlimited (up to 8Mb) SPEED then I agree theres no reason not to give users the speed as long as their connection can support it.

The problem is there isnt any way which BT or the ISP can possibly know how a line will perform until its connected.  The best indication anyone is ever going to have is by using an adsl line checker such as
If you are skilled enough to read line stats you may also be able to form your own opinion on how your own line will perform...  or you could use tools such as this as a guide.   These tools will always be a guide because we dont know if joe blogs is going to have his phone cable running alongside the microwave or if hes bought cheap and nasty telephone filters.

However unlimited bandwidth is another matter.  The ISPs cant afford to do that - BT Wholesale costs for Central Pipes are way too expensive.   Ironically these prices were held in check by OFCOM so that LLU providers could do things cheaper in the way of competition.

One of the things that I do believe that is very wrong in the ISP industry is the wording "UNLIMITED"...  its NOT unlimited and quite often these "Unlimited" ISPs are actually offering less usage per month than those ISPs who clearly state what their caps are.

The ISPs who throttle users connections and then deny it (believe me there are plenty that do) are a big problem in the industry.

>> they are receiving for each individual payment

again another misconception its not actually any cheaper to provide adsl at 512kb than it is providing a line at 8Mb (ignoring bandwidth utilisation by the end-user here).  The port cost at the exchange for connecting to the DSLAMs is exactly the same. 
Ironically its actually the longer lines that get the slower speeds that are actually more expensive for BT.  Length of line and the problems associated with long lines are far more costly than someone getting full 8Mb living next door to the exchange) :(

>> The plusnet spec seems t be one of the most open but some of us are aware of its connection with BT and of course you yourself are enjoying their service by all accounts.

Correct I am with PN - I (and many others) have had a lot of input in the past about making their products more open...  they do listen sometimes.
Re their connection with BT - yes BT are now their parent, but luckily (for the time being at least) they still seem to be letting PN staff run their own show..  and at least if you have a problem its not like the BT Broadband way,  and you do get to speak to individuals that at least have half a clue how adsl works.
Ive come across some real problems with getting through to BT Broadband help desk staff on behalf of others, TalkTalk are the worst Ive ever come across,  if Plusnet ever became like that then I would move away :/

I hope I dont come across as pro BT - believe me Ive had many "run-ins" with BT over the past 4 years or so and have campaigned for them to do things.

However just lately it seems that there are concerns over "the speed of adsl" rather than the underlying problems that actually lay at the root of matters.
Anyone who really knows how adsl works and how its provisioned would agree with the comments Ive quoted above. I'm sure you will find many who do have half an idea of how adsl is provisioned would be of the same opinion.

The ISP industry does need a big kick up the derrier.  All the decent ISPs seem to be being swallowed up, and the big boys rule..  the likes of Dunstone have not helped the industry any and many users are signing up for very cheap but very poor quality adsl.  At the same time this cheap adsl is  driving many decent ISPs out of the industry who cannot afford to compete (nor loose the millions like dunstone has in order to landgrab the market) and therefore go out of business :(

Sorry if this has come across as a rant it certainly wasn't my intention, but adsl is something that I have been involved in way back to the days when I was an adsl campaigner in 2002/2003 and I do have concerns over the way the industry is heading.  Its my belief that we are not always pointing the finger at the correct culprit.

I fully support your decision to be able to try and make changes within the ISP industry - you are in a position where you may be able to make some important people sit up and take notice.

However IMHO campaigning for clarity on the up to 8Mb speeds isn't the way to go - the way MAX works you really can't do this.  A line speed can change from hour to hour and none of these influences may be down to BT or the ISP.

Far better would be to:-

stamp out abuse of the word "Unlimited"

Take this example

Unlimited downloads

Do you know what that "Unlimited" actually equates to?  Read the small print (after many click throughs of  several pages to find any info) but do 350MB and your speeds are going to be throttled by the ISP. - adsl is even more hidden than "broadband" - you only have to look at virgin forums and see many users getting dial-up speeds. 350MB is easily achievable on the odd occasion without being abusive.  I dont use p2p and Im not a heavy but I could easily do that without trying.

They arent the only ISP who do this. 

Stop OFCOM from price fixing BT Wholesale charges so high so that they (BTw) can reduce the price of adsl for the IPStream ISPs and therefore bandwidth isn't so expensive for the ISPs..  then IPStream adsl in the UK may at least stand a chance of heading in the right direction.

Stop the LLU providers cherry picking the best exchanges, leaving only BTw to subsidise the long lines and remote exchanges.
Title: Re: Ungently inform your Politician before 18th October
Post by: graevine1 on October 15, 2007, 02:43:56 PM
Thanks for all your effort in that great (in many ways) extended summary!!
With Broadband in most cases coming out of a DIY box containing router and filters most of the problems should not occur, but in the case of internal wiring then that can and does have a bad effect thats for sure.
THE ONE advantage of broadband is that it really is a good diagnostic tool for assisting in the faulting of the old twisted copper pair, and I say ONE, and ASSISTED, making those words clear.
I will give just one example of the mess that exists. That is Openreach wasting so much time continually faulting customers lines in say one route of cable especially for a number of years, rather than replace a length of cable which is known to be "flat" and affecting a number of consumers for years. Especially when jointers and linemen have put in numbers of A55's for a cable to be uplifted. Such work NOT being carried out for whatever reason. I am a BT shareholder and cannot condone that type of wasted manpower, cable is much cheaper. A good quality route would in any event bring in more revenue!
The above gives an example of how the line plant in areas is falling down (and the necessity for heads to roll, Directors and Senior Managers to go) and shows how other consumers with individual faults and no technical background are whistling in a vacuum, all credit to your site in all you do, NO credit to the Government of the day who deregulated the communications system the way it did at that time and no credit to OFCOM and the office of fair trading for sitting on their hands so tightly, for so long, and let this Country go further down the tubes in relation to future telecoms provisioning responsibly throughout the entire Country. To end no credit to those official bodies who allowed the rip off (if the cap fits whereit) broadband provisioning merchants to get away with pedling their offerings to the public who were caught in great numbers, for in these days those merchants should not have even got a toe under the table.
Title: Re: Ungently inform your Politician before 18th October
Post by: kitz on October 15, 2007, 09:05:10 PM
I cant help but wonder sometimes about the effectiveness of OFCOM.

- btw did you know it mostly consists of cable-co cronies?  IMHO some of OFCOMs restrictions have actually held back and is the root cause for starting the two-tier broadband system.  Making BT hold their prices high and letting the LLU providers taking the cream is ruining the chance of BT getting a fair crack for re-investment.

LLU providers take the cream - BT have to provide whats left for the most expensive exchanges - but because of the cost structure have little chance now of getting custom from the profitable exchanges to help balance the load.  Anyone on a "profitable" exchange goes LLU because its cheaper.
Look at AOL pricing - its two tiered.  They have to charge more for non-LLU'd exchanges because of the price setting by OFCOM which is keeping the prices high.   Joe public doesnt understand this - therefore when given the option of say 9.99 or 19.99 hes going to go for the 9.99 if its available.  The profits of this go to the LLU provider meaning very few are going to use BTs service on that exchange... therefore less profits for BT to re-invest and compensate the costs of the more expensive exchanges.

Im trying to think of an example to explain how this works.. possibly not the best but

say you opened a chain of shops and invested hugely to distribute through various parts of the UK.
Some parts of the UK was cheap to build for various reason, but other parts was very expensive.  You opened your stores up and charged the same prices at each store hoping that eventually the profits from the better/busier/cheaper to build stores would counterbalance the profits at the others.

However, once you had invested all this money some authority comes along and says
"Youve got to let Joe Marketstall come into your shop and set up a stall where he can offer products cheaper if he wants..  BUT you cant reduce your prices in that store to compete with what hes charging and they have to be fixed at 50p per tin of beans"
Joe Marketstall then does just this and sets up a stall inside the store.... sells his cans of baked beans cheaper at 40p still makes a profit and he takes home profit from the busy shops would normally get.
Joe Marketstall doesnt want to go anywhere near the quieter stores because its not worth his while and in the meantime you loose out any profits you had anticipated from the busier stores for offseting against the others.

I cant think of any other industry where this sort of thing has been allowed to happen... and its one area where I do have sympathies with BT.  Why should they invest huge amounts of money when someone else can come along and then cream off the best bits. :(

Title: Re: Ungently inform your Politician before 18th October
Post by: graevine1 on October 15, 2007, 09:21:40 PM
Maybe you should suggest that cable be "unbundled" totally with them having to give access to all residents that live each side of a road that has cable laid but not yet provided to those houses alongside.
Coul;d that be the start of putting OFCOM on the blocks.