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Author Topic: How to resolve slow FTTC broadband?  (Read 1029 times)

beniamino

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How to resolve slow FTTC broadband?
« on: August 16, 2020, 11:54:05 AM »

I have had a subscription for Fibre 2 FTTC broadband (predicted speed 67.9 to 80Mbps) for about 2 years. After the line was activated, the speed rapidly dropped and the profile was capped to about 25 Mbps (well below the OpenReach hardback threshold).

I have raised this four times with my ISP over the last year. Each time, they performed a profile reset, the line became faster (in the expected range) for a while and over a few weeks dropped back to 25-35 MBps. At the beginning of 2020, the ISP asked me to swap out all my hardware and connect the router to the master socket. I told them that the phone line does not have an NTE5 socket -- it has a junction box marked GPO, wired up to a 1980s BT socket (with the two dots logo). Nevertheless, I swapped out the router and cables, and the problem remained the same.

In January, the ISP finally agreed that this is is not working correctly, and suggested sending out an engineer. However, COVID then intervened and I was not able to arrange the engineer's visit. When I contacted the ISP again (last week), the ISP was no longer willing to send out an engineer, and suggested I swap out the router and cables again. I refused because it does not seem to be solving the problem, and is just going round in circles. Yesterday, while reading this and other forums, I saw the suggestion of trying a quiet line test, and discovered that there is a constant hiss on the phone line.

I'm surprised and a little annoyed at the ISP, who have charged me for 2 years for their faster broadband product, while the speeds I receive are lower than their slower product. I can't understand why they don't seem willing to send out an engineer to investigate, when my speeds are clearly far lower than I am paying for. I also don't understand why they didn't suggest the quiet line test themselves.

So, I would be grateful for any advice. What is the best way to get the ISP to agree to fix the line so I can get speeds greater than 35Mbps? Does the ISP (or anyone) have any responsibility to upgrade the socket to an NTE5, if the line is not working as expected? Should I expect a refund for the 2 years of "up to 80Mbps" broadband, when I have only received speeds of 25-30Mbps?

Thanks!
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parkdale

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Re: How to resolve slow FTTC broadband?
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2020, 01:52:11 PM »

If you have any noise during any voice call, that means you need to call you isp and report a "Fault on the Voice part" once this is fixed, then move on to the broadband part.
It is the ISP's responsibility to get "Openreach" to fix any faults. They will also try to charge you for fixing the problem but just say yes ;) I've never been charged for any work done.
If Openreach have to visit, they will normally replace the socket for a standard "NTE5".

I would keep ringing them - every day for progress reports - until they are fed up, and offer to pay you to move away from them ;D

If you need to move to another company, try A&A, they will go into bat with Openreach to get your problems fixed.

On behalf of some elderly friends, I had to have strong words with BT, carefully explaining to them that it was unacceptable for a fault to go on for 18 months, result the whole line back to the exchange had to be changed to fix the problem (and their neighbours as well).
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Weaver

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Re: How to resolve slow FTTC broadband?
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2020, 03:11:02 PM »

What Parkdale said. You need to contact who ever it is that you pay your bill for voice service to, which might be your ISP too. If hey won’t fix it then change ISP. AA is superb and has a fix your line within one month or your money back scheme.
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beniamino

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Re: How to resolve slow FTTC broadband?
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2020, 04:39:28 PM »

Thank you, both. I will report a voice fault and be persistent. Also noted re A&A.
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Weaver

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Re: How to resolve slow FTTC broadband?
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2020, 05:29:03 PM »

And a belated welcome to the forum too.
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Silverback

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Re: How to resolve slow FTTC broadband?
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2020, 11:46:13 AM »

I'm assuming this BT?

Have you tried the online troubleshooters?

https://www.bt.com/help/report-and-track-your-bt-problem
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beniamino

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Re: How to resolve slow FTTC broadband?
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2020, 12:45:31 PM »

I can't use those online troubleshooters, unfortunately, because I'm not a BT retail customer. I'm waiting to report the voice fault until I can confirm it with a corded phone.

In the meantime I discovered the following:
* Inside the GPO junction box, there were green and black cables (for an unconnected second line) with uninsulated ends that were probably making electrical contact with other wires in the box. I tidied these up so they can't make contact any more.
* I plotted the broadband error rates over time, and found that (a) there are a huge number during thunderstorms and (b) most of the rest occur when our boiler switches itself off (not on!) just before 7am every morning.
* Unplugging the phone reliably increases the SNR margin by 2 or 3dB, even when the phone is not in use.

The sync speed has increased to 80Mbps this morning, after being at ~30Mbps since June. The downstream SNR margin is 6dB (down from 21dB yesterday), the line attenuation is 12dB (as it has been throughout). Perhaps the green/black wiring was responsible (and the DLM kicked in to increase the speed), or perhaps the ISP reset my profile without me knowing.

It will be interesting to see whether the line is now stable at this speed.
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tubaman

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Re: How to resolve slow FTTC broadband?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2020, 01:17:03 PM »

... (a) there are a huge number during thunderstorms and (b) most of the rest occur when our boiler switches itself off (not on!) just before 7am every morning.
* Unplugging the phone reliably increases the SNR margin by 2 or 3dB, even when the phone is not in use.

...

Errors during thunder storms are pretty normal - not much you can do about that short of unplugging the modem during a storm.

Your boiler sounds like it has a very old timeswitch with no noise suppression built in. Or if newer it may have a fault.

Unplugging the phone shouldn't change the SNR to that extent so there is a problem there. Assume the phone is plugged into a microfilter, and if so have you tried another one as it could be faulty?
 :)
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: How to resolve slow FTTC broadband?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2020, 09:39:49 PM »

* Inside the GPO junction box, there were green and black cables (for an unconnected second line) with uninsulated ends that were probably making electrical contact with other wires in the box. I tidied these up so they can't make contact any more.

Whatever you do, DO NOT mention this!  You should not be fiddling with wiring that belongs to BT and they can use it as an excuse to charge you for an engineer  call-out if they realise you have messed with it.
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beniamino

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Re: How to resolve slow FTTC broadband?
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2020, 09:08:41 AM »

tubaman: All good points, thank you. I will swap out components and see why the phone has such a big effect.

Alex Atkin UK: Thanks for the warning -- I had forgotten that when there is no NTE5, all this wiring belongs to BT.
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parkdale

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Re: How to resolve slow FTTC broadband?
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2020, 03:04:13 PM »

mmmmm, if you had called them out they would have checked the box first, removed it then replaced it with a new one NTE5 :fingers:
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beniamino

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Re: How to resolve slow FTTC broadband?
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2020, 04:44:28 PM »

Openreach have now installed an NTE5 and replaced a section of the cable leading to it. The SNR margin went up by 2dB after the installation and plugging/unplugging the phone no longer makes any difference. The sync speed remained high (75Mbps) after the installation, and the "max attainable" went up to 89Mbps. So it seems that my fiddling helped, and the cable/socket replacement helped more. Long may it continue.... thanks for your help!
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beniamino

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Re: How to resolve slow FTTC broadband?
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2020, 09:58:08 AM »

And the boiler no longer causes errors when it switches off.
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