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Author Topic: Cuckoo kicking out Openreach-based customers  (Read 1255 times)

tortoise

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Cuckoo kicking out Openreach-based customers
« on: February 28, 2024, 05:29:40 PM »

I have just got an email from Cuckoo Broadband to the effect that "the way I receive FTTP in my area" no longer fits their plans. Basically they seem to be washing their hands of FTTP-over-Openreach and pushing customers who cannot use their new Fibre Infrastructure provider, away.

Apparently from 1st April, those of us affected are to be moved to "Home Telecom" who are reputed to be a popular provider for Landlords to provide a "default" service to their Tenants.

Is anyone else here affected, or knows more? I will also update here of course if and when I find out more.

I would want (and trust other affected Kitizens would wish to do similarly) to make an informed decision about what to do next. And hopefully before being "nudged" by default onto a service we might not be happy with.
I understand that currently Cuckoo provide FTTP over Openreach fibre using TalkTalk Business as their Wholesaler. This does matter to some of us for technical reasons, for example where I am in North Wales, TTB are able to provide near-Gigabit service (I get over 900 Mbps) whereas BT Wholesale "throttle" local FTTP services at about 330 Mbps at the Exchange, despite Openreach having 900+ Megabit/sec capability.

If the new provider were to use BT Wholesale then I'd expect a sudden speed drop to around 300 Mbps. But I have, curiously, read that "Home Telecom" is somehow linked to TalkTalk by a degree of Investment, so it is possible that TalkTalk could continue to be the Upstream Provider.

I am also wondering if only FTTP customers are affected, or FTTC also. My daughter has an FTTC service from Cuckoo and I'd be interested to see if she will be affected.

Finally, as (last time I looked), TalkTalk Business plans seemed to have a very similar monthly fee as the Cuckoo plans which effectively "White Label" resold their service, I'm wondering if it would be prudent to switch to TTB right NOW and get the (presumably almost exact) same service I've been enjoying already ... "Straight from the Horse's Mouth" so to speak, rather than via a Middleman?
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tortoise

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Re: Cuckoo kicking out Openreach-based customers
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2024, 05:39:23 PM »

It does appear that TalkTalk have a controlling stake in "Home Telecom" or rather the company that owns that brand, Telecom Acquisitions Ltd.
https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2022/11/uk-isp-talktalk-take-controlling-stake-in-telecom-acquisitions-ltd.html

So I can only speculate that as part of the "divorce" between Cuckoo and TalkTalk, the customers are being "handed over" to a "suitable vehicle" owned (largely) by TalkTalk

This might well work fine for most customers who might fit reasonably closely to a "consumer" service requirement profile. But for "power user" customers - whom I suspect are more heavily represented in this Forum space, I do suspect there may be a case to consider dealing more directly with the Parent Organisation....
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bogof

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Re: Cuckoo kicking out Openreach-based customers
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2024, 10:50:56 AM »

Isn't the Cuckoo Openreach-based service "just" a TalkTalk whitelabel service - ie your entire internet connection, IP address etc is from TalkTalk Business, not Cuckoo, and all the upstream connectivity is dealt with by TalkTalk Business.  As opposed to other ISPs (eg AAISP) who just use TalkTalk Business's wholesale backhaul but deliver the traffic through their own network centres.

It's important to know the detail of exactly how they will manage the transition; as if all that is changing is the entity that manage the consumer contact side of the process, and it remains a TTB white label service, then, if everything stays working, your service could be identical (down to the static IP if they move them across).  But it could also be a totally different service that is provisioned differently at the back end. 

You need to go back to them and ask the detail questions of Cuckoo as to exactly what the transition means and how the service will be provisioned, as the migration could range from identical service with zero interruption, to service down for a while, different login details, and a substantially different service.

Of course, the above just covers the technical aspects of the migration.  Another question entirely is whether the organisation you would then have contact with would have anything like the level of service you would have had with Cuckoo if you needed to contact them.  I was distinctly unimpressed with Cuckoo's (lack of) ability to answer pre-sales tech questions, so never went with them, but it can always get worse...!

I'd be surprised if BTW are consistently throttling at the level you mention, as that would seem to break nearly every ISP throughput guarantee out there.  Any more info on that?  Sounds worthy of investigation.
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tortoise

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Re: Cuckoo kicking out Openreach-based customers
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2024, 01:34:40 PM »

I'd be surprised if BTW are consistently throttling at the level you mention, as that would seem to break nearly every ISP throughput guarantee out there.  Any more info on that?  Sounds worthy of investigation.

Perhaps I was unclear in my use of the term "Throttling". What I mean is that BT Wholesale, at my Exchange, will not sell any FTTP connection handover service above 330 Mbps. If you were an independent Reseller ISP and went to BT Wholesale and said "my customer wants a Gigabit connection", BTW reply that "sorry only up to 330 Mbps maximum is available here". Indeed some ISPs tell me that Openreach can only provide 300-ish megabits per second, because not everyone makes the distinction between Openreach and BTW clear.

So if one believes the "Everyone has to use BT Wholesale over Openreach" generalisation, then the maximum speed available where I live is around 300 Megabits per second FTTP. Because BT Wholesale presumably don't want to spend lots of cash on a Gigabit service for which there is insufficient demand. The local optical fibre network - the GPON - is able to sustain Gigabit connections but the "Handover" bandwidth at the exchange is limited unless and until there is an investment in new and better routing kit and/or Backhaul capacity.

So to most potential FTTP customers "300 is all you can get" is the End of the Story where I live.

But after some research I found that TalkTalk Wholesale had installed "Unbundled" handover equipment in my local BT handover exchange and were able to offer near-Gigabit download speeds. So I ordered from Cuckoo as a provider who resell - as you correctly described - the standard TalkTalk Business service, pretty much.

This has worked fine and I expect HomeTelecom service to be technically the same. But I worry about possible less favourable terms in terms of hidden "acceptable use policy" usage caps and/or stuff like CGNAT shared IP addresses (though if it is the SAME technically I'd expect a fairly "sticky" Dynamic IP as it is presently). As a direct contract with TalkTalk Business is actually a tad cheaper and also includes Static IP, I think I would find that preferable.

So basically, default FTTP where I live is 300-330 Mbps max, via BT Wholesale. It isnot that they throttle a Gigabit advertised service to 300 Mbps, it is rather that you can only buy the slower service in the first place...
... unless you choose an unbundled handover provider at the BT Exchange - i.e. TalkTalk.

Hopefully this is now more clear  :)
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meritez

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Re: Cuckoo kicking out Openreach-based customers
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2024, 04:35:27 PM »

Perfectly clear.
Where do you want to go and how much do you use a month?
for example, andrews and arnold can connect to TalkTalk Wholesale and it may be worth giving them a shout to see what they can do for you. There's no hard sell, and it would be interesting if they can see your magic FTTP install.
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bogof

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Re: Cuckoo kicking out Openreach-based customers
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2024, 11:22:52 PM »

I thought AAISP only did FTTP via Cityfibre and Openreach/BTW.
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j0hn

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Re: Cuckoo kicking out Openreach-based customers
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2024, 01:30:36 AM »

AAISP have always had the option of a couple of backhaul carriers on Openreach.
At the moment (and for the last decade at least) they offer both BT Wholesale and Talktalk Business.

Talktalk backhaul is available on most (but not all) exchanges for ADSL. It is available nationwide on Openreach FTTx lines.
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dee.jay

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Re: Cuckoo kicking out Openreach-based customers
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2024, 08:59:16 AM »

Both of my FTTC circuits were on TalkTalk backhaul and I never once experienced a problem with it. Definitely worth investigating.
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bogof

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Re: Cuckoo kicking out Openreach-based customers
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2024, 10:26:37 AM »

AAISP have always had the option of a couple of backhaul carriers on Openreach.
At the moment (and for the last decade at least) they offer both BT Wholesale and Talktalk Business.

Talktalk backhaul is available on most (but not all) exchanges for ADSL. It is available nationwide on Openreach FTTx lines.
I'm not sure you are correct on FTTx.
I asked AAISP at the time I took their FTTP service 18 months ago, and it was only available with BTW backhaul, NOT TTB.
I just asked again via their sales chat, and the answer is still the same, BTW only for Openreach FTTP.
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j0hn

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Re: Cuckoo kicking out Openreach-based customers
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2024, 05:53:23 PM »

I'm not sure you are correct on FTTx.
I asked AAISP at the time I took their FTTP service 18 months ago, and it was only available with BTW backhaul, NOT TTB.
I just asked again via their sales chat, and the answer is still the same, BTW only for Openreach FTTP.

Their support page seem to back that up

https://support.aa.net.uk/Difference_between_backhaul_carriers

Quote
This page a a bit out of date, as we now carry CityFibre circuits, and offer FTTP from BT

Perhaps TTB aren't willing to offer similar terms as BTw on FTTP.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2024, 05:55:46 PM by j0hn »
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Cuckoo kicking out Openreach-based customers
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2024, 10:58:04 PM »

I wonder if all TTB FTTP at the moment are actually end-to-end Talk Talk Business?

Perhaps a way to manage backhaul capacity that may be falling a bit short for FTTP?
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j0hn

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Re: Cuckoo kicking out Openreach-based customers
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2024, 02:48:24 AM »

I wonder if all TTB FTTP at the moment are actually end-to-end Talk Talk Business?

Are you talking about Talktalk residential FTTP?
It's DHCP/IPOE same as all their other residential connections.

All their business connections are PPPoE.

Talktalk have consistently been 1 of the best performing ISP's I've been with. In the last decade I've been with them on and off 3 times (40Mb VDSL2, 550Mb FTTP and 1000Mb FTTP) and never experienced even the slightest bit of congestion.
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Cuckoo kicking out Openreach-based customers
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2024, 10:42:14 AM »

I meant I wonder if TTB FTTP is always TTB ISP.

There may be additional complications across the whole network when backhauling traffic to a third-party ISP vs their own.
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tortoise

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Re: Cuckoo kicking out Openreach-based customers
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2024, 01:28:02 PM »

I meant I wonder if TTB FTTP is always TTB ISP.

There may be additional complications across the whole network when backhauling traffic to a third-party ISP vs their own.

I see - you mean that TTB FTTP is always physically TTB ISP (terminating in TTB Data Centre and with TTB allocated IP addresses)? Quite possibly.

But TTB / TT Wholesale seem quite happy to do a "thin retail" arrangement where a "Reseller Partner" deals with Contract and Marketing and Customer 1st line support issues, acting as a middleman between the User and TTB/W and thus saving TT from that paperwork burden and that element of end user support ... and saving the end user, possibly, from dealing with an inhumane Call Centre (depending on the reseller used).

I am happy with the technical performance of the service I am getting from Cuckoo. I just have some reservations about the potential ongoing Customer Relations experience I and others might get from Home Telecom. So I'd be happy enough to stay with the same TTB connection which I appear to have now, but administered from a user-relations viewpoint by a company I can trust.

Would I get better customer support and billing from TTB direct? Or from a suitably user-positive 3rd party reseller partner? That's what I (and others) need to be thinking about right now.

I'd even consider becoming a TTB/W Reseller Partner myself (thus gaining a Business-to-Business relationship with TT Wholesale with correspondingly better support for those of us who can present issues in an appropriate technical manner - aka Direct access to their 2nd line support for Comms providers who have already done our own 1st line support internally).
But whilst I have done a little bit of reselling "White Label" broadband in the past, it was from a "middle level" player in the vertical market ladder of providers - I don't know if TT Wholesale are too "big" to deal with partners at the Sole Trader / One or Two man company level, whom they could perceive as "too small" to be their Reseller Partner customer?
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: Cuckoo kicking out Openreach-based customers
« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2024, 02:10:00 PM »

That's what I was wondering, I could see how this might be a way for them to delay investing in more backhaul (or just a delay while they do) or even a limitation with the ISPs points of presence within the TTB network.

Not knowing how this all physically fits together, its pure conjecture of course.
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