Saturday, 14 May 2016

Superfast broadband - disconnect

BT behemoth

This organisation seems far too large for effective management of consistent customer service, especially with regard to enquiries. Every time we endeavour to obtain a definitive answer to the problem of supply for superfast broadband for Nocton, we get differing messages.

You may like to see the following correspondence... if you are thinking this is becoming a little obsessive, you are probably right:

From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 12 May 2016 19:31
To: Breige Young
Subject: BT Complaint Ref: VOL012-120826734397
Importance: High

Dear Breige,

Mr Mellor has kindly shown me your formal reply which is completely at odds with the response I have received. I too live just a few doors down from Mr Mellor and am also connected to Metheringham Cabinet 3.

This was my enquiry to the BT Complaints Team (Enquiry reference number: 160506-010916):

“Hi. I understand my landline (01526 xxxxxx) is notionally available for upgrade to fibre, as my line is connected to Metheringham Cab 3. However, as my property is located 2.5 km away from the cab it seems I will not benefit from the superfast fibre service. Fortunately, just 50 metres away from my property, a new fibre cabinet (Metheringham Cab 17) is about to be enabled (early May). In order for me to obtain superfast broadband I would like to enquire how much it would cost for my existing line to be re-routed through to this new fibre cabinet just metres away from my property? If the costs are not excessive, how would I proceed with contracting this work to be carried out please? Many thanks”

I received a call from the BT Complaints Team who have stated that once the new Cabinet 17 has been enabled, my line will automatically be re-routed from Cabinet 3 to the nearest cabinet at zero cost, so that I can then apply for BT Infinity! However, the lady concerned would not confirm this in writing, but said I would get an email from BT once the Cabinet is enabled, advising me that I can then apply for the superfast service. I have now received a follow-up text from BT [61998] so that I can make my own request for BT Infinity after the cab is enabled?

I am left wondering whether the caller has a full understanding of the practical aspects. Forgive me for being sceptical… but I thought you had better know what other ‘official’ messages are being released.

I have an identical enquiry outstanding with BT Openreach, but because I am not their direct customer, I suspect I will not get a reply.

It is said 'a picture is worth a thousand words' - if you study the photos in my blog entry of 23rd April (underneath the heading 'Huawei 288 - Cabinet 17'), it clearly demonstrates how ludicrous this situation is regarding our proximity to the new cabinet Metheringham 17. You may also like to consider the contents of the blog entry for 7th May.

Are you absolutely confident that your reply is the final official stance of BT before we pursue the matter further with Sir Michael Rake?

Yours sincerely,
Geoff Hall
[a BT customer for line, broadband and mobile]

From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 13 May 2016 11:46
To: Stephen Brookes
Subject: FW: Nocton - BT Complaint Ref: VOL012-120826734397
Importance: High

Morning Steve,

This is another item of correspondence for your project ‘file’ on the upgrade for Nocton with yet more ‘reasoning’ emerging from BT. The response to my close neighbour is duplicated below and I have used this to send my own email to respond to the same BT Complaints Rep:

"Hi Geoff,

I recently contacted Executive level complaints department at BT to explain our ridiculous situation for the remaining properties on Main street who will not be connected to the new fibre cab. Their response below.

kind regards, Jim

RE: BT Complaint Ref: VOL012-120826734397

I’ve had confirmation back from our suppliers today. They’ve confirmed that you can’t currently have fibre from your fibre enabled cabinet due to the distance from the exchange.

I’ve asked them about changing to another cabinet, that’s recently been fibre enabled and that’s closer to you. Unfortunately they aren’t able to change you to a different cabinet as the network over which fibre broadband runs is bespoke, and it’s not within their policy to reallocate the network to provide a service that isn’t currently available. They’ve let me know that all premises are served from dedicated distribution points which are connected through their own underground duct network to the cabinets.

I’m really sorry it’s not the news you were hoping for. However they have let me know that a community partnership option is a possibility. You either visit their website ( or contact them via email (

If you haven’t already visited this section of their website, I’d recommend reading through the different options first. They will consider working with customers who are open to the possibility of contributing funds towards work that isn’t carried out as part of the current process/fibre rollout.
I really hope that you’re able to get better news from them!

I know it hasn’t been the news you wanted, but can I check there isn’t anything else I can help with or are you happy to close your complaint?

I’ll be in touch on Monday unless I hear from you sooner.

Many thanks
Breige Young | BT Consumer | BT, Riverside Tower, Lanyon Place, Belfast, BT1 3BT
Executive Level Complaints | 03316643227"

You may also like to know that Morrison’s Utilities were using a measuring wheel in Main Street this morning. It was over the BT trunking that joins the access duct in the Bridle Path over Main Street to Pillar 3/2 at the Post Office. This trunking route is separate to the road works that were completed recently to connect Pillar 3/2 to the new Cab 17, so may be an additional item. If you can shed any light on this, it would be appreciated.

Finally, have you had any formal reply to my correspondence yet that you kindly forwarded onto BT Openreach – and can we have a Project Update please this week on the Onlincolnshire site?

Kind regards,

From: Stephen Brookes
Sent: 13 May 2016 12:08
To: Geoff Hall
Subject: RE: Nocton - BT Complaint Ref: VOL012-120826734397

Good Afternoon Geoff,

It gets more complicated by the day.

I have had a response from BT Legal re. my question about relocating your line to the new cabinet and they replied as follows:

Equivalence of Inputs applies to the services we provide to Communications Providers and not to network build.  Once we've built the network we provide services, systems and processes on an EOI basis to all CPs.

I read this as Equivalence doesn't apply to the build phase, but it applies to services offered to individual Communication Providers (CPs) post build. That would seem to imply that they can re-route whilst building the cabinet, but I have gone back to them for further clarification and I will keep you posted.

All the Best
Steve Brookes
Lincolnshire Broadband Programme Manager
Tel. 01522 552450
Mob. 07825 043978

From: Breige Young
Sent: 13 May 2016 13:18
To: Geoff Hall
Subject: BT Complaint Ref: VOL012-121398810620

Hi Geoff

Thanks for your email. I tried calling you there, sorry I missed you.

I’m sorry for the problems you’ve had surrounding fibre availability. Any information I’ve sent to Mr Mellor has only been about Mr Mellor’s line.

I’ve taken over the complaint on your account surrounding broadband availability on your line.  I work in the Executive Level Complaints team, and I’ll be your case handler on behalf of our stakeholders including Sir Michael.

I’ll certainly request more information from our suppliers surrounding your line in particular. However, if you’re currently connected to cab 3, like Mr Mellor, it’s unlikely to be a different response.

Our suppliers usually take around 5 working days to come back with a response.

How to get in touch
I’m usually in office Mon – Fri until 5.30pm.  You can call me when you’re free on 03316643227.  Or you can send me a quick email letting me know the best time and contact number to get you on and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Don’t worry I hope to get things sorted for you as soon as possible. I’ll be in touch by Friday next week at the latest, hopefully with an update from our suppliers.  Don’t hesitate to get in touch if there’s anything you need to discuss before then.

Best wishes,
Breige Young | BT Consumer | BT, Riverside Tower, Lanyon Place, Belfast, BT1 3BT
Executive Level Complaints | 03316643227

From: Breige Young
Sent: 13 May 2016 17:19
To: Geoff Hall
Subject: RE: BT Complaint Ref: VOL012-121398810620

Hi Geoff

Thanks for getting back to me.

I’m glad I’ve been able to clear some details up with you, about the information we, BT, can provide to you at the moment.

We, through our suppliers, can only provide you with information about fibre availability on your line for what has currently been agreed between Openreach and the BDUK scheme. As you know, I haven’t had confirmation about your line in particular, however we’ve both agreed it’s likely to be the same response as James Mellor’s.

Should BDUK and Openreach come to a new decision about the fibre availability on your line (and neighbours similarly affected by line length in the current cabinet) then we’d have that information available to give to you.

You can email the team involved with community partnership, when you feel the next step would be for you and your neighbours to come together and contribute towards funding the change at  You may feel that it’s best waiting for a more definite response from your liaison in OnLincolnshire in terms of what they’re able to change with the current plans.

I’ll wait to hear back from our suppliers about your line before closing the complaint. If there’s anything else you need help with before then, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Many thanks


Project Update - Week ending 13th May 2016 - Delayed cabinets

Metheringham 3/2 (Nocton) - Cabinet is stood and powered; existing pillar 3/2 needs a new shell, job requires site meeting to determine if re-location is required.


BT Openreach is a natural monopoly which owns the pipes and telephone cables that connect nearly all businesses and homes in the UK to the national broadband and telephone network. It is the infrastructure division of BT Group, which manages the local access network between your local BT exchange (at the main distribution frame - MDF) and the phone socket or fibre termination point (network termination point - NTP) in your home or business.

It must provide fair and equal access to the network for all telecom operators and its prices are monitored and regulated by Ofcom. However, despite this BT Openreach has suffered an extremely high number of customer complaints relating to poor service, even though it does not communicate directly with its customers.


I was interested to hear the Executive Level Complaints officer explain that she was only able to view our 'problem' from a BT Retail perspective (as a Communications Provider) based on the current situation.

Communication Providers do not have direct access to details of forthcoming work being undertaken by BT Openreach. Nor is there the ability to look into what is being done under separate projects - for example with Onlincolnshire's BDUK Project - so it makes getting real-time information on the overall position extremely difficult!

There isn't the ability to take a holistic view of what is going on within the BT Group and plan accordingly. Even if I was to request and pay for installation of a second line to my property, BT Retail would have no influence whatsoever over how that line would be connected. BT Openreach would carry out a site visit with the possible result that this second line could still be routed through to Cabinet 3 [2.5 kms away]. There would be no guarantees of connecting the new line to Cabinet 17, despite its close proximity [25 metres] and better outcomes for performance of service/monetary return.

In summary, all Communication Providers are virtually impotent with regard to the network, being totally reliant on information provided and actions undertaken by BT Openreach. Therefore, at the current time the OnLincolnshire Project remains our best chance of getting the Cab 3 legacy lines for Nocton re-routed through to the new Cab 17.

Joined up thinking and best practice... somehow I don't think so.

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  1. Hi Geoff,
    Just to add to that, I have been in touch with OFCOM, their reply below, very interesting....maybe Steve Brookes should have a read.
    Regarding the OnLincolnshire project update latest statement, "existing pillar 3/2 needs a new shell, job requires site meeting to determine if re-location is required" - maybe this would be a good time to collar them for a "chat".

    Ofcom reference: 1-327347807

    13 May 2016

    Dear Mr Mellor

    Thank you for your email of 6 May 2016 to Steve Gettings regarding the provision of fibre broadband to the residents of Nocton. Steve has forwarded your email to the Consumer Contact Team and I have been asked to reply.

    From reading your email, I understand that BT will not re-route some lines from the telegraph pole that serves certain properties and so those residents will not be connected to a new fibre cabinet.

    I have discussed this matter with relevant colleagues and there are no rules imposed by Ofcom that would prevent BT from re-arranging its network. Any decision to re-arrange the network would be based on the cost of the work versus the expected revenue increases. The costs will ultimately be driven by the engineering
    complexity of the re-arrangement required. Generally speaking re-arranging the telephone network is expensive and even minor amounts of work can be prohibitive if the number of customers involved is small.
    We do understand that wherever consumers are in the UK, it is important that they receive the best possible communications services. That is why we advised Government that we think most consumers now need broadband speeds of at least 10Mbit/s. As you are aware, the Government is currently drawing up detailed plans for this Universal Service Obligation and we will help to ensure it evolves to keep up with demand for faster speeds. While we have also set out in our Strategic Review of Digital Communications how we aim to bring better broadband services to consumers, there is currently no requirement on any provider to supply fibre broadband services throughout the UK.
    I am sorry we cannot arrange for you and the other residents to receive superfast broadband. However, thank you for sharing with us your concerns about this matter. It does give us an important insight into how consumers feel the industry is working and helps to inform our policy.
    Yours sincerely
    Steven Parker
    Consumer Contact Team

  2. Much appreciated Jim - I have just copied Steve Brookes into your response, as it validates what BT Legal have said to him that 'Equivalence' isn't an issue during BDUK Project builds. It should reinforce Onlincolnshire's position and hopefully help to overcome some of Openreach's intransigence over extending the project to incorporate the remaining properties still connected via a legacy line to the distant Dunston cabinet. I suppose it now comes down to cost and manpower issues... but it must make financial sense to do the work now whilst the other work is underway. After all, I'm sure there will be an immediate return as some of us will definitely upgrade to Infinity. In any case, the Universal Service Obligation will require the work to be done in the future... when the costs involved will be so much greater! I have mentioned to Steve the possibility of an on-site meeting for parties involved - we'll see what he has to say.

  3. The following reply has just been received:

    "From: Stephen Brookes
    Sent: 16 May 2016 07:38
    To: Geoff Hall
    Subject: RE: Nocton - OFCOM

    Good Morning Geoff,

    Interesting indeed. There seems to be some confusion within Openreach re. the rules of engagement. I will go back to them again and see what can be done.


    Steve Brookes
    Lincolnshire Broadband Programme Manager
    Tel. 01522 552450
    Mob. 07825 043978"

  4. Noticed Carillion on site today with a colleague (possibly Openreach). I had a chat - seems they were examining the site of the new Cab 17, with a view to replacing it for one with a greater capacity. The guys also examined Pillar 3/2 for re-casing - but due to risk of structural damage to Post Office wall during removal, a replacement cab will have to be sited elsewhere. Called Steve Brookes @ OnLincolnshire to keep him informed of developments.


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