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stonewall100
12-03-2012, 12:02 PM
Has anyone else noted a major drop in download speed in recent days. For the past month or so I have had a stable 6.9 Mbps 24/7. On 8 March this suddenly dropped to 1.76 Mbps 24/7. Exactly the same has happened to a neighbour. The beauty of the white box is that I now have a detailed record of this (see attachment showing the difference between 7 March and 8 March). It does not appear to be a contention problem because the speed remains constant. I plan to write to BT with the evidence, asking to be returned to my original speed, but I would first like to know if anyone else has the same experience.

Lawrence

Paul W
12-03-2012, 01:17 PM
Lawrence,

Exactly same issue for me. Receiving solid 6.96 Mbps up to 2300h 7/3/12. Dropped to constant 1.96Mbps from 0200h 8/3/12. Will also be contacting BT requesting return to my original speed. What a shower BT are!

Paul W

Paul W
12-03-2012, 01:57 PM
Update; Have just spoken to BT Broadband help in India. They agree there has been a 5 Mbps speed drop on my line. Promised to fix it and will call me back Wednesday morning to see if this has been achieved.

Now a further update; Different part of BT Called me back. Advised they were working on the issue for the area but would now take them up to 7 days to resolve. I pressed them on exactly what the problem was but the only answer was that there was a problem with the network. Despite pressing them BT refused to go into any further detail. I must say having the White Box data does make BT jump a little faster. Lets see what happens.

Paul W

dlh1
14-03-2012, 10:23 AM
Just joined the forum and was interested to see that I have the same problem.

I was happy and stable at 6Mbps then, suddenly, I seem top be limited to between 1.8 and 1.85.

As well as that my service drops out for a short time every day sometime between 7am and 9 am.

I too have complained and have been told that it will get fixed and that someone will call. I await the call with interest.

Douglas

stonewall100
14-03-2012, 11:49 AM
Hi Doug,
One of our white box community who is with PlusNet had the same problem and this morning PlusNet got him switched back to 6.9Mbps.They told him that BT had restricted him to a lower speed and PlusNet had the restriction removed.

I have just spent a soul-destroying 45 minutes talking to BT Helpline India, which achieved absolutely zilch. I have now been referred to a higher level of Help, which is promised to arrive in the next 24 hours. One thing I have noticed is that when I use the www.speedtester.bt.com site and do a test it indicates the IP profile for my line is 2Mbps. I believe it used to be 8 and so am believing BT must have imposed a 2Mbps limitation on my line, which I will now seek to have removed. PlusNet certainly seems more customer-friendly than BT Openreach because you automatically deal with a pukka engineer and not someone reading a script.
Lawrence

dlh1
14-03-2012, 12:35 PM
Hi Doug,
One of our white box community who is with PlusNet had the same problem and this morning PlusNet got him switched back to 6.9Mbps.They told him that BT had restricted him to a lower speed and PlusNet had the restriction removed.

I have just spent a soul-destroying 45 minutes talking to BT Helpline India, which achieved absolutely zilch. I have now been referred to a higher level of Help, which is promised to arrive in the next 24 hours. One thing I have noticed is that when I use the www.speedtester.bt.com site and do a test it indicates the IP profile for my line is 2Mbps. I believe it used to be 8 and so am believing BT must have imposed a 2Mbps limitation on my line, which I will now seek to have removed. PlusNet certainly seems more customer-friendly than BT Openreach because you automatically deal with a pukka engineer and not someone reading a script.
Lawrence

I too have noticed an IP profile at 2Mbps and know that it was 8.

To add insult to injury I got a letter from BT today offering TV services over the phone line. I wonder how they will manage that?

Douglas

Paul W
16-03-2012, 07:35 AM
Update Friday 16/3; Still only receiving 1.9Mbps on my BT Broadband (see earlier posts). BT had promised to fix latest next Tuesday (20/3). Has anyone seen any improvement or received any updates from BT or other providers on what appears to be a general BT restriction/downgrade for Langton Green to less than "Mbps?

Paul W.

stonewall100
16-03-2012, 08:18 AM
Hi Paul,
Yesterday I spent a good hour talking to a BT Tier 2 engineer (also in India) and he said his system showed I was getting around 7Mbps. I did a BT speed test while he was still on the line and it showed I was getting 1.9Mbps. It also showed the max I could get was 2Mbps, rather than the 8Mbps that used to be shown. After several discussions with his supervisor he admitted he could only do things involving the connection between the Exchange and my house, and not back within the BT "machine". I have been promised a call from a BT Wholesale engineer today because it is BT Wholesale who are able to regulate what the Exchange gives us.
Our neighbour friend who is with PlusNet has already has his 2Mbps limitation removed and is once again getting something like 6.8 Mbps . PlusNet appear far more effective that the BT Helpline. Firstly, he always seems to get a switched-on UK engineer on the line and, secondly, the engineer seems able to make things happen within BT Wholesale. Am considering moving to PlusNet (if I can keep my email address). I know they are owned by BT but they seem to provide Business Class service rather than the Economy Service BT themselves provide.

I have attached a printout of today's speed test that clearly shows my service has been limited to 2Mbps max (when I pay for "up to 8Mbps")
Lawrence

RobL
17-03-2012, 01:08 PM
Chaps,

It is great that the Whiteboxes are helping lend credence to problems within the deployment of the BT managed infrastructure, however the sole obligation of BT when providing an ADSL Max (up to 8Mbit/s downstream, up to 448 Kbps upstream) service, is to provide you with 600Kbps downstream (0.6Mbps).

If you are getting at least that, they are under no obligation to do anything to improve it, no matter how good it was in the past.

The only way to change this arrangement, once and for all, is to break the dependence on BT infrastructure and copper. BT haven't upgraded our exchange to ADSL2+ (up to 20Mbps) yet as it's not "financially in the shareholders' interests". Why we should think this will change in the coming 5-10 years remains to be explained by BT or anyone else.

So ... watch this space. B4RS.org.uk will be getting some updates soon.

--Rob.

stonewall100
18-03-2012, 09:15 AM
From an advertising standards standpoint, if we are are told we can get "up to" 8Mbps but a deliberate cap of 2 Mbps is set then that is clearly not in line with the advertised theoretical limit because the supplying party is ensuring it can never be attained. Would seem to be grounds for an OFCOM enquiry.

Anyway, our PlusNet friend has succeeded in getting his speed back to 6.8-6.9 Mbps so lets see if BT do something this week for its BT customers.
Lawrence

stonewall100
18-03-2012, 06:07 PM
Had another call from BT India today but from a high level engineer from BT Retail. He told me that my line has NOT been capped but agreed that the evidence from doing the BT speed test indicates it HAS. He said they are going to do a "reset" on my line and then I should be back to 6.9Mbps after around 4 days (the time it needs to become stable). Of interest I have found a blog on precisely this problem on the BTCare Community Forum http://community.bt.com/t5/BB-Speed-Connection-Issues/IP-Profile-set-to-2mbps/td-p/320143 (paste into browser to view). A reset appears to have worked in that case. Has any other BT Broadband customer in ourForum done a speedtest using www.speedtester.bt.com and found they have also been restricted to 2Mbps max?

Lawrence

gbrown100
18-03-2012, 06:35 PM
In Pembury they have just been upgraded to 24mb. Since then my parents connection has been syncing at 248Kbps, down from 6Mb. It was so slow the BT speed tester crashed because it lost connection. Plusnet currently tell me there is no fault. Suddenly adsl max doesn't seem so bad!

RobL
19-03-2012, 01:11 AM
Lawrence,
All you have to do is prove that your ISP (BT I presume) configured the apparent 2Mbps limit, and that the "profile" being reported is actually a datarate limit, not merely a "profile" against which something is configured. The whitebox proves some of this. BT's latest advertising suggests "we'll tell you what speed you can expect before you sign up". Of course, the word "expect" is the way out with this lack of commitment.

My point is, this is a battle. Wouldn't it be nice if the ISP was local, and actually had your interests as primary to its reason to exist, not a bunch of shareholders?

As for BT doing something nice for BT customers, I'd like Zen to do something nice for its customers, which are reliant on BT infrastructure in our region. A much harder, Ofcom supported, non-monopoly position. Or do you support the BT monopoly with all the trappings that this brings?

--R.

Paul W
20-03-2012, 09:48 AM
Lawrence,

BT's promised re-profile of my line within 7 days never happened. Still only confirged for 2Mbps (down from 7Mbps) and achieving only 1.79Mbps. Further call to BT India today. Many apologies from them. Now been given high priority together with a complaints number (a VOL) and promised fix within 4 days to take back to 7Mbps. If this fails I intend to write to Durham.

By the way as this profile issue appears to be a common problem (?) is it not possible to use the collective White Box data as a general complaint to BT. There must be over a months worth of data available now. Surely most people would be happy to receive around 7Mbps (24/7) from BT (who I assume the majority of users are with) as an interim step in improving Parish broadband speeds. What are the Broadband Committees thoughts on this i.e to maximise what we already have as a first step?

Paul W

RobL
20-03-2012, 10:06 AM
Paul - BT and any other ISP, resell the IP Stream product operated by BT Wholesale. The IP Stream commitment, as far as I know (and BT aren't saying much) is to provide a minimum of 600Kbps 24/7. If you can get speedtester.bt.com results that drop below this, then you have a chance of getting some airtime from them to fix it. Zen told me a result below 1000Jbps might be enough, but it's all rumour and hearsay (FUD).

This minimum commitment effectively provides them with minimum design criteria to provide a backhaul to support a specific userbase (800 customers, say).

There isn't any realistic hope of getting "everyone" close to 7Mbps, as that wouldn't represent good value to BT. Imagine everyone wanting to watch the Olympics 100m final on iPlayer at the same time. Just isn't going to happen.

On the upside, I saw an OpenReach van down at NDLAN yesterday, putting in new metal cable trays. This means new wiring going in, for something. I also note NO notification of works on NDLAN from BT, so they're doing whatever it is they are doing, and keeping us in the dark, because they can. Maybe it's just scheduled maintenance, which is fine, of course.

Here's a typical press article from Feb 2011 about the BT Infinity FTTC rollout.

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/365368/bt-skipping-up-to-60-of-cabinets-in-fibre-rollout

G (http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/365368/bt-skipping-up-to-60-of-cabinets-in-fibre-rollout)ives a great flavour on the "commercial viability" angle from BT.

Say "no" to this, and vote for community fibre when it comes! [SMILE].

--Rob.

stonewall100
23-03-2012, 07:44 AM
RESULT!! After a slightly warm conversation with BT (India) at 6 pm last night they pressed the right button and I have been returned to a download speed in the upper 6Mbps region (will take a little time to stabilise). I have attached two charts of interest. The first is the BT Speedtester result that now shows my IP profile is back to 7.15 - am happy with that. The second is the SamKnows download speed chart for the past 24 hours that shows they pressed the button immediately after my conversation with them. I now hope it stays where it is.

Lawrence

Paul W
23-03-2012, 07:57 AM
Well done Lawrence! To me it shows what BT can do if pushed. I think I am about 2/3 days behind you with them. I have been promised they will resolve my speed issue by Tuesday and return me to 7Mbps but not holding my breath.

Paul W

dlh1
25-03-2012, 07:45 AM
Yes Lawrence well done.

I am still limited to 2Mbps and am actually getting 1.85 or so. I had yet another conversation with India yesterday and was told that there 'may be a network fault' and it will be fixed within 48 hours and I'll get a call. I'm not optimistic.

By the way I'm sure that all BT call staff are highly trained to 'verbally grovel' to customers with complaints. I got the same "Oh I'm so sorry" response a while back (nothing to do with Broadband) when I had issues with them.

Douglas

Paul W
27-03-2012, 11:33 AM
Success. BT returned my download speed to around 7Mbps on Saturday morning (24/3). My "White Box" data shows it has remained between 6.9 and 7.2Mbps (24/7) through to now. The line has been re-profiled back to maximum of 7.15Mbps from 2Mbps using BT's own speed tester. Not experiencing any "contention" in the afternoon or evenings. It will be interesting to see how long BT maintain the 7Mbps before they "fiddle" with things down at the Langton exchange again! Needless to say I have had no comment from BT as to what the problem was or what the fix has been. I think the tip is to be persistant with BT, keep good records regarding speed test (much easier with the White Box) and as a last resort write to them in Durham.

Paul W

RobL
27-03-2012, 12:34 PM
Thanks Paul.

For the others that decided BT's flavour of broadband wasn't for them, the answer isn't as clear. Zen gave up on me, quoting "can't get BT to do anything, sorry". This sets a worrying precedent where the market isn't as "fair" and "open" as Ofcom believe it to be following many years of toil to separate BT OpenReach and BT Retail.

Paul W
28-03-2012, 07:56 AM
Rob,
Thanks for your comment.

As stated in other posts unfortunately BT Wholesale is all most of us have at the moment. Whilst I fully appreciate all the efforts being made to find a meaningful solution to our local broadband issues we currently don't have a timeline or certainty yet regarding achieving these alternatives. Unfortunately you often have to work with what you have, hence my earlier post regarding the possibility of a more collective approach to BT as an interim step using the White Box data? Yesterday afternoon BT Retail actually called me in way of a follow up to ensure the problem was fixed and gave me a direct number to call if the problem returned. Thats a first from them.

Paul W

dlh1
30-03-2012, 11:50 AM
I too am back to 6+ after nagging BT for some time.

One agent 'made' me reset the router although I protested vehemently. Story too long for here. As a result it knocked all the wireless connected machines in the house off line. it was a bit of a pain to get them back.

Douglas

stonewall100
30-03-2012, 01:29 PM
Hi Doug,
Is it a pretty stable 6+, and so without any obvious contention problem? If so then this is a good result for Speldhurst and shows what is achievable for those who are more distant from the Exchange. If you originally had a contention problem then it would indicate that BT have moved you to an uncontended DSLAM card at the exchange. The signs are that BT has been having new equipment racks installed at the Exchange and so am hoping this indicates more DSLAM cards and a reduction in contention issues (for the time being) - but just guessing.

Lawrence

RobL
31-03-2012, 07:53 AM
I too am back to 6+ after nagging BT for some time.

One agent 'made' me reset the router although I protested vehemently. Story too long for here. As a result it knocked all the wireless connected machines in the house off line. it was a bit of a pain to get them back.

Douglas

Hi Douglas,

Don't feel too bad. I got so fed up with them asking me to reset things to "defaults" that I bought another router, to THEIR specs, which I plug in just before calling them. My router is Enterprise grade stuff costing a LOT (700 new), yet it isn't "supported", so I bought a SpeedTouch 6xx for 20 off eBay.

This is the kind of thing that "commodity" large ISPs do to make the numbers work. A community Fibre ISP wouldn't be like this - we'd all be local, and helping each other. Ah well ... hopefully more announcements soon.

--RobL.

dlh1
31-03-2012, 08:11 AM
Lawrence,

Yes it does seem stable at 6.5.

RobL,
Forgive me if I sound sceptical. 'I am not a 'techie' and therefore could be talking nonsense. Community fibre, if I understand it correctly, sounds expensive. I need to say that I don't need or want megaspeeds. I would be very happy just to keep what I now have.

IIRC the original questionnaire didn't have the 'pay nothing more but expect what we were promised option' and so views such as mine were not easily expressed.

Even if some ISP came along and offered me, say, 20Mbps guaranteed, I wouldn't be prepared to pay any extra for it. Having spoken to a number of neighbours I know that their attitude is very similar.

Douglas

RobL
31-03-2012, 01:01 PM
Lawrence,

Yes it does seem stable at 6.5.

RobL,
Forgive me if I sound sceptical. 'I am not a 'techie' and therefore could be talking nonsense. Community fibre, if I understand it correctly, sounds expensive. I need to say that I don't need or want megaspeeds. I would be very happy just to keep what I now have.

IIRC the original questionnaire didn't have the 'pay nothing more but expect what we were promised option' and so views such as mine were not easily expressed.

Even if some ISP came along and offered me, say, 20Mbps guaranteed, I wouldn't be prepared to pay any extra for it. Having spoken to a number of neighbours I know that their attitude is very similar.

Douglas

Douglas - not a problem. If you are happy with what you have (I don't know what that is) then great. In 2-3 years however, digital cameras will routinely be producing images between 5 and 15 Mbyte, which, with what you have (I do know with certainty what the maximum upload speed is if you are connected to a BT telephone switch in the parish, with a "normal" ADSL connection) will take a minimum of 1.5 minutes to send via Email. You will also be unable to use HD video conferencing, which has long been supported by Skype and others. HD web cams are becoming the standard already.

Now, I don't know how much this means to you, but more and more applications are arriving (www.youview.com (http://www.youview.com), anything with "Cloud" in it) which are relying on high bandwidth and more balanced upload vs download speeds. An iPhone can now backup to the Cloud - if it's a 16GB iPhone, with 10GB of data to backup, this will take more than 50 hours - ridiculous.

Your current service will fall further and further behind the rest of the country, with fewer and fewer options to use the new stuff. Already BBC's iPlayer compensates for your broadband speed by downgrading image quality without telling you, so that you can watch it without pausing/buffering. Like analogue TV signals, eventually, they may turn this feature off preferring the mainstream high definition service. Just an example.

What we did learn from the survey, was that there are also many people in the community (including many of my neighbours) who are hungry for speeds comparable to those in Rusthall and Tunbridge Wells, and are willing to pay a *small* amount extra to get them, today. That's what "community fibre" is, with the difference being instead of a small amount extra to get 20-40Mbps, you get 1000 Mbps with a help desk and service run by the community, for the community. As for "ISP promises", wouldn't it be nice to have responses directly from a local community broadband service with local interests primary to their existence, rather than a national service that really doesn't treat you as anything other than "just another subscriber"? The national players' primary interest is their share holders.

I'm not trying to convince you one way or the other. We are planning to build a "road show" which demonstrates the difference "community fibre" can make in non-technology terms with a synchronous service at "silly" speeds. It has been proven to increase house values, and bring business into rural areas that wouldn't otherwise have considered the move. I know the current service cuts down on my travel already, albeit clunky and unreliable due to the speeds available.

This is built upon a non-profit company model, using local skills and resources, with a price tag of 30/month inc. VAT.

All I'm asking is that you take a look at it when we start driving it around and showing it off. It doesn't need everyone to take up the service to make a very positive difference to life in the parish!

Thanks,
--RobL.

dlh1
01-04-2012, 07:13 AM
Douglas - not a problem. If you are happy with what you have (I don't know what that is) then great. In 2-3 years however, digital cameras will routinely be producing images between 5 and 15 Mbyte, which, with what you have (I do know with certainty what the maximum upload speed is if you are connected to a BT telephone switch in the parish, with a "normal" ADSL connection) will take a minimum of 1.5 minutes to send via Email. You will also be unable to use HD video conferencing, which has long been supported by Skype and others. HD web cams are becoming the standard already.

Now, I don't know how much this means to you, but more and more applications are arriving (www.youview.com (http://www.youview.com), anything with "Cloud" in it) which are relying on high bandwidth and more balanced upload vs download speeds. An iPhone can now backup to the Cloud - if it's a 16GB iPhone, with 10GB of data to backup, this will take more than 50 hours - ridiculous.

Your current service will fall further and further behind the rest of the country, with fewer and fewer options to use the new stuff. Already BBC's iPlayer compensates for your broadband speed by downgrading image quality without telling you, so that you can watch it without pausing/buffering. Like analogue TV signals, eventually, they may turn this feature off preferring the mainstream high definition service. Just an example.

What we did learn from the survey, was that there are also many people in the community (including many of my neighbours) who are hungry for speeds comparable to those in Rusthall and Tunbridge Wells, and are willing to pay a *small* amount extra to get them, today. That's what "community fibre" is, with the difference being instead of a small amount extra to get 20-40Mbps, you get 1000 Mbps with a help desk and service run by the community, for the community. As for "ISP promises", wouldn't it be nice to have responses directly from a local community broadband service with local interests primary to their existence, rather than a national service that really doesn't treat you as anything other than "just another subscriber"? The national players' primary interest is their share holders.

I'm not trying to convince you one way or the other. We are planning to build a "road show" which demonstrates the difference "community fibre" can make in non-technology terms with a synchronous service at "silly" speeds. It has been proven to increase house values, and bring business into rural areas that wouldn't otherwise have considered the move. I know the current service cuts down on my travel already, albeit clunky and unreliable due to the speeds available.

This is built upon a non-profit company model, using local skills and resources, with a price tag of 30/month inc. VAT.

All I'm asking is that you take a look at it when we start driving it around and showing it off. It doesn't need everyone to take up the service to make a very positive difference to life in the parish!

Thanks,
--RobL.

Hi Rob,

I appreciate that different people have different needs. However just to answer a few of your points. My current speed is 6.5Mbps.

1. My digital camera already produces files of 37Mb and I regularly email versions of them. I wouldn't dream of emailing a full size file and all image editing programmes (every camera comes with one) have a 'save to web option' that allows a significant file size reduction.
2. I have no need for video conferencing but do use Skype. I'm happy with current quality. I don't need or want to see the other end in HD. There are a couple of my contacts where the quality is very poor - but the problem lies with the phone system in their country - not at my end.
3. There's no way that I would trust any of my back ups to the net. I want it under my control.
4. I don't watch much TV and have never used iplayer or similar.


I will, however, keep an open mind and be interested in developments. I just thought it important that you heard an alternative point of view because, as I said before, I believe that the original questionnaire was designed in a way that made it difficult to express the above opinion.

RGDS
Douglas

RobL
11-04-2012, 10:54 AM
Thanks Douglas - always good to have a balance.

As this area of the forum represents individuals leading with the Whitebox initiative, there are a great many folks out there who aren't happy with current broadband service, who responded to the survey - over 600. I'm trying to represent some of their input, until they sign up and get involved here in the forum of course! I myself, would bite someone's arm off to get access to 1Gbps synchronous, and pay a premium for it - but I'm likely to be the LAST to benefit from the B4RS service due to my realtively urban location in the centre of Langton Green. I get 7.2 Mbps down and 700Kbps upstream, sometimes, unreliably, but that's far too slow for my applications.

The questionnaire was designed by committee, given the community input of "we're not happy", and I guess a "no response" to specific questions (e.g. Q14) would have said "I'm happy as I am today". Yes it could have been better.

NGA (Next Generation Access) isn't for everyone. NGA is our government's definition, not ours!

--RobL.
PS: I've attached v1.2 of the survey for reference to refresh people's memories. It was such a long time ago we ran the survey.