Thursday, October 31, 2013

Joke that is BT FTTC Roll Out

I've seen various delays in my area from BT OpenReach with enabling Fibre to the Cabinet, or FTTC as it is known.

Let it be known this is a major project and there will be delays and problems.

However as an IT professional, it is the way in which those issues are handled, progressed and conveyed which to me gives the most contention as the handling is poor, progression is slow, and the lack of information to the general public is virtually none existant.

There are many people in similar situations to myself where BT have given excuse after excuse as to why their cabinet has been delayed in the roll out and each one has been proven wrong.

My particular situation for the CMSPR Exchange for Hall Green and Springfield, saw a typical roll out. The cabinets were installed and connected to fibre and the first ten cabinets activated for fibre really quickly at the beginning of September. A month later, start of October, and we have ten more cabinets enabled. However my cabinet is one of three current cabinets that had an original date of 30th September 2013 for activation pushed back with no sign of any roadworks.

The cabinets involved are Cabinet 27 on Springfield Road which has only very recently in the past few days received a roadworks.org notice three weeks in advance of the work for 19th November. Cabinet 14 on the junction of Highfield Road and Robin Hood Lane has had no further work as far as I can see since it was originally installed in the middle of July (nearly three months) despite a DSL Checker date of 31st October and an NGA rep advising middle of November for activation (so another case of DSL Checker being wrong). Interestingly this did appear to have some roadworks scheduled for the start of October, but this was nothing more than unblocking ducts and installing fibre. This cabinet is approximately 0.3 mile away from Cabinet 16 which has been activated and is located on the corner of Highfield Road and Sherwood Road, and less than 0.l mile from Cabinet 22 on the corner of Etwall Road and Highfield Road. Ironically, Cabinet 14 is en route to Cabinet 22 from Cabinet 16 and reportedly only suffers from a tie line problem.

Cabinet 13, which is my cabinet, is half a mile from the Exchange, half a mile from Cabinet 14 and 0.4 mile from the main road. This has also had no work since the middle of July when first installed. All junction boxes run on the pavement, there's several directions and ways in (Stratford Road, Petersfield, from Cabinet 14, down Cole Bank and along Sarehole and come back up) and appears to be a key cabinet on the way to Billesley Cabinet 12 and 11 on Brook Lane and any delays here would delay those cabinets too.

NGA report that the cabinet is expected to go live middle of January due to routing problems from the Exchange.

While it can be agreed there are trunking issues, why is the delay so long? It has now been over three months since work was last performed on this cabinet with no sign of any further work being actioned. To keep the DSL Checker date, they would have to complete the work by the middle of November, we'll say end of November though for NGA. Work however does not seem imminent.

People do say that there can be a range of different problems and not all cabinets are alike. While that is true, what is equally true is that it is clear that BT only started work on this cabinet after the original ETA date of 30th September. During installations in Kingstanding, they were running the fibre to the cabinets while the fibre was being installed. My point is that if this was done at the time, or even if they had separate teams doing the fibre they could have still done the fibre in order and have found the problem much sooner in the process to schedule resources earlier. As it is, they appear to have only found the problem two months after the original install, and one months after the first ten went live.

My second bone of contention is that when there were problems with the first ten cabinets, eg Cabinet 16, OpenReach were out again in two weeks digging up and relaying. The cabinet was installed dug up again, repaired, and live all in the space of a few weeks. This same process is not being followed with all cabinets - BT do not seem to be working on all cabinets in the area, they do a few, mostly the more commercially viable ones, and then move on to another area.

This to me means that I am waiting simply because BT can't be bothered yet.

When BT do the work to repair this cabinet, it will most likely only end up taking a few days at the most. And it is immeasurably frustrating to find that they can work on virtually every other cabinet but yours.

They haven't done anything, there's no sign of them doing anything, I really don't believe they'll meet their deadline, the work will probably be really simple and over in a couple of days. Im just waiting because BT have chosen not to repair this cabinet at this moment in time.