Saturday, 22 October 2016

Superfast broadband - formal complaint


'Communication is the act of conveying intended meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs and semiotic rules.'

Source: Wikipedia

This is my latest correspondence with BT:

From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 20 October 2016 19:08
To: Ian McEwan
Cc: Eaton Fallows; Stephen Brookes
Subject: Nocton Superfast broadband

Hi Ian,

I refer to my email query enclosed, which you were copied in to. I know this is rather unorthodox, but it would really be appreciated if you could assist with providing some information for me whilst I’m waiting for a formal reply from Mr Fallows.

I have contacted my ISP (BT) with a specific question, but they have advised only Openreach can answer – therefore, please may I ask a favour of you and tap your technical knowledge. I understand from an online profile that you are Programme Manager, Head of IT Interlock Testing @ BT Openreach / Senior Project Manager @ BT Operate / Senior Operational Solutions Manager @ Openreach.

My current consumer line is connected to Metheringham Cab 3 (which has been fibre enabled), but with my property in Nocton being over 3 kilometres away from the cab, I am unable to obtain BT Infinity and will be better retaining my copper line. As you probably know by now, these ‘legacy lines’ for Nocton are subject to a Change Request (22) via the Lincolnshire BDUK Project, but as it seems there might be a long delay in getting this sorted, I am wondering if there may be a shortcut to me getting BT Infinity. Let me explain.

As the new fibre service for Nocton is now available via the new FTTC (Metheringham Cab 17), which is only 30 metres away from my property, if I was to order a second (new) consumer line from my provider, how would this be connected:

1. Would the engineer just route this new line to my existing Cab 3 which is already providing the copper service for my main line?
2. Would the engineer seek to route the secondary new line to the new Cab 17, whereupon I could obtain fibre?

N.B. Please see the photograph enclosed – this shows the new fibre Cabinet 17 on the right, my cottage is in the same row as the Post Office, and my existing line is linked to the telegraph pole near the bus stop / temporary traffic lights (which has an access duct right at the bottom of this pole).

My guess is that this would require a dedicated site visit by the engineer, but there seems no mechanism within BT whereby I can specifically request such an order, on the basis of it only going ahead subject to it linking to the closest fibre cab… with the result of obtaining BT Infinity on that second new line.

I would really be interested in your thoughts.

Kind regards,

As I was not really expecting a reply, I was really appreciative of Mr McEwan's speedy response... especially as it was one that I could understand too:

Sent: 21 October 2016 08:50
To: Geoff Hall
Cc:; Stephen.Brookes
Subject: RE: Nocton Superfast broadband

Good morning Mr Hall,

I believe you are fed from the Distribution Pole across the road (DP108), which as you say, is fed from Metheringham 3; CR 22 is to provide a new copper cable from DP 108 to Metheringham 17 and then to swing all the customers on DP 108 into Metheringham 17 thus giving those customers access to, I believe, really good speeds. Engineering wise, once the CR is signed, and we have the planned job out of our planning teams, to actually provide the cable and swing the exchange wiring, is a simple task and should not take more than a couple of days to complete.

Once I have visibility of the authorised CR, I won’t wait for the planning teams to provide the planned job as I know what needs to be done, I will direct our engineers to complete the necessary work as a priority.

In terms of the wider community served by Metheringham 17; we have had a records issue but this is now resolved, so those customers should now be able to order fibre service.

Hope this helps Mr Hall,
Ian McEwan
Senior Project Manager, BDUK / SEP Lincolnshire & Rutland

It was therefore nice to be able to give BT some positive feedback for once:

From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 21 October 2016 09:46
Subject: RE: Nocton Superfast broadband

Hi Ian,

Thank you so much for replying with a comprehensive explanation.

The problem seems to be there are many parties to this solution for Nocton. We have consumers with various ISPs; OnLincolnshire at Lincoln County Council is handling the BDUK Project; we have BT Group who is the access point for Steve Brookes to manage the project; finally, BT Openreach are responsible for carrying out the necessary work. Somewhere along this line, communication is breaking down and the change request is being delayed for sign off.

I would be very interested to find out who is sitting on this document, failing to process it further down the line. Perhaps Mr Fallows can investigate this matter further for us to identify what is holding up the change request?

Surely, it cannot be beyond our combined professional abilities to work together in solving this issue once and for all. We can then be secure in the knowledge that Nocton village has finally been upgraded for fibre in totality and this aspect of the BDUK Project can be brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

Please be assured I will not be troubling you with continued correspondence, however I will continue to seek an early solution to this matter with Messrs Brookes and Fallows.

Yours sincerely,

I also welcomed some further detail from OnLincolnshire, who clarified the extent of the change request delay:

From: Stephen Brookes
Sent: 21 October 2016 09:59
To: Geoff Hall;
Cc:; Owen Williams <>; Naomi Nutting <>
Subject: RE: Nocton Superfast broadband

Good Morning Geoff,

Firstly, my thanks to Ian for outlining the physical work and for reiterating my earlier comments about our intention to prioritise the work.

However, I feel I must clarify this issue from Lincolnshire County Council's perspective because I can only answer your question truthfully.

I sent the CR to BT Group on 21st June this year. The process is that upon receipt, BT Group carry out an 'Impact Assessment' and then send it back to us for approval and sign off. To date, I am still not in receipt of the sign off and therefore neither LCC or Openreach are able to progress this work.

Under the contract, Openreach will carry out the work when the CR is signed off by LCC and BT Group. They can do nothing before this happens.

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

It now seemed the right time to escalate this matter within BT to try and encourage some priority action in completing our fibre roll out.

From: Geoff Hall
Sent: 21 October 2016 10:47
Subject: Formal Complaint - Nocton, Lincolnshire
Importance: High

Dear Sir Michael,

I am sorry to have to trouble you with this matter, but perhaps your complaints team could investigate the issues that continue to delay Nocton village with an upgrade to fibre.

I am the author of a local blog ‘Nocton in Lincolnshire’ and have been cataloguing the ongoing work over a couple of years. Incorporated within my blog is a full contemporaneous record of how this project has unfolded over the many months involved. As you can see, I have provided updates from OnLincolnshire, technical descriptions, actual photographs of work undertaken with links to BT training videos, all aimed at helping your customers understand exactly what is going on. Suffice to say we have had some rather troubling delays, mainly due to mistakes being made by BT contracted out services and a general lack of information from BT itself. In view of this, Ofcom were offered this extensive record as part of the evidence to their ‘Strategic Review of Digital Communications’, but rather than focus on the past I want to concentrate on the current situation.

There are two fibre cabinets that handle most of the consumer lines for the village and both have now been enabled – thank you. However, some consumer lines are still connected to a legacy cabinet situated outside the village, too far away to benefit from the fibre service. This aspect of work is subject to a change request submitted by Steve Brookes of OnLincolnshire as part of the BDUK Project. You can see the latest correspondence with BT representatives in this blog update and in the most recent email attached. The problem seems to lie with a significant delay in signing off the formal change request which was submitted to BT Group as far back as 21st June 2016.

I would like to request that your complaints team investigate this delay and respond with an explanation and solution, so that BT Openreach can progress this final aspect of work to fibre-enable the remaining lines for our village.

Yours sincerely,
Geoff Hall

OnLincolnshire Project Update - Week ending 21st October 2016

Delayed cabinets
Metheringham 3/2 (Nocton) - Still having issues - we are chasing this to remedy asap


  1. Dear Geoff,
    According to onlincolnshires latest update , there are still issues to be resolved.(Evn though Mr Fallows explained it has been resolved)Has anyone managed to get an upgrade to infinity yet?


    1. Hi Manu, I tend to only get feedback through the comments section of my blog pages. There are no reports of residents having upgraded yet of the new Cab 17. I was rather puzzled to see onLincolnshire report there are still problems with the records, especially after Ian McEwan of BT Openreach saying this had been resolved. Somehow I'm not surprised though. Let's hope it gets sorted shortly. Regards.


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