When lockdown picked up at the end of March my family started to rely more and more on the internet. It soon became obvious that we were not getting the performance I was paying for, so I got help from my son to check all the cables, which did not make much improvement so I contacted TalkTalk support using the chat window - by then the contact numbers had been removed from the website. After a few tests the TalkTalk operative booked a visit by an Openreach engineer. When this engineer visited he confirmed that there were several breaks on the cable, which were detectable just by listening to the crackles on the phone line. These were the cause of the poor internet connection. He went on to explain that as my property is 680m from the exchange my VDSL2 service is delivered using the normal copper phone line, not fibre. After about four hours he returned and said he had fixed poor connections in several different locations along the route, including at the junction box at top of the telegraph pole outside my house, which he said had lost its waterproof abilities over the years and rain had corroded all the connections. The internet performed better after that, but about a month later the same thing happened again, internet performance was poor and there was noticeable popping and crackling on the telephone line and sometimes when the phone rang the internet connection would reset. When I contacted TalkTalk support, they suggested it was probably an issue with the equipment in my home and they would send a Bright Sparks engineer to assess. When the Bright Sparks engineer visited, the first test he carried out was to plug a handset in to the test socket. He said that the line had breaks in it again and that Openreach should come out to repair it. For a further three weeks after that there was no appointment message or visit by any engineer. It was impossible to communicate with the TalkTalk help desk because there was no number and because I had a case open that was still being worked on it would not let me access the chat window. Toward the end of May everything got better without explanation, I assumed the work had been completed. For most of June the internet has been perfect and the phone line has been clear. Unfortunately last weekend the weather changed which has brought high winds and driving rain to my area and unsurprisingly I am back to poor internet performance and a crackling phone line. The router resets the connection regularly and I can see by monitoring the statistics page on the router management page the upstream speed is affected most drastically. When the wind blows a really strong gust I can see the upstream speed drop almost immediately. At the moment I am getting about 450kbit/s upstream with about 35,000 kbit/s downstream, when it was working normally last week these figures were about 7,000kbit/s upstream and about 65,000kbit downstream. I have seen it drop as low as 300kbit/ upstream when the wind was at its worst. The noise safety coefficient figures for both upstream and downstream go up and down as well, I have monitored this enough to see that when the upstream safety coefficient value gets to 0.5db then the router resets the link and everything gets even s l o w e r. Anyway, I joined the queue on the help chat window and everntually got my turn, I tried to explain all this but the person I was communicating at was not interested. They have their script and want to run through it. They then denied there was a problem with my so called "fibre" service and the problems I was experiencing are "a natural phenomenon" - I am sorry, but I did not agree with this. No where in the world can you find a cable linking two static objects naturally occurring - this is entirely a construction by intelligent life. The wind that has probably blown enough to cause fatigue cracks in the line from the pole to my house is natural. The tone of the remaining chat seemed more at politely making me go away than accepting that I had a genuine problem with the phone and internet connection.
My points are:
There is something wrong. Yet because it does not fit in with the script the chat support person works with and probably because there have been two visits to fix the same problem already this year as far as TalkTalk support criteria go I am now a troublesome customer that won't go away.
Secondly, TalkTalk should stop defending BT Openreach and actually put them to task to provide the service they are contracted for. There is a problem with my line and probably many others in my area [not just TalkTalk customers] - the telegraph poles run up the length of the road and serve all the properties. All this infrastructure was there when I moved to this house over fifty years ago and to my mind much of it hasn't changed, yet BT Openreach will expect TalkTalk [and other internet providers that use the BT Openreach wires] to pay handsomely for access to this 1950s level of infrastructure. There is no BT Openeach fibre service in my area, it is all copper wires because the majority of people here live too close to the exchange and its not cost effective for BT Openreach to provide fibre to homes or distribution points over such a short distance. They should spend the money saved by not providing fibre on maintaining and upgrading the existing infrastruture, but instead they just patch and replace the troublesome parts of it. Yet TalkTalk [and other internet providers] collude with BT Openreach by advertising and charging us for "Fibre Broadband" when in fact they know it is nothing of the sort.
I don't see how posting my complant here will help me, but perhaps it will help reassure others who are similarly frustrated with internet problems that our outside their control and are treated with pure condescension by the support process that they aren't alone.
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I'm sorry for the delay. I've run a few tests on the line which haven't detected a fault, however I can see re-connections. Is there any noise on the line when it rains and the connection drops? Is the connection now only dropping when it rains or all the time?
The performance was excellent when the problem was resolved at the beginning of June. As I said before, since the storm at the weekend it has been very poor. Every day We can only do two or three things at once, such as looking at webmail, web browsing or a very small amount of streaming and the internet grinds to a halt. Sometimes the connection resets on its own, which I believe is part of the VDSL training routine on the DSLAMM at the exchange. I have also noticed that since about Tuesday morning the upstream bandwidth shown on my router appears to be pinned at 800 kbit/s regardless of what else goes on. This suggests that someone has fixed the profile for this connection to keep it stable, but the upstream bandwidth is insufficient to actually be usable. For example, uploading a document in to an email or opening a VPN connection makes the whole internet through this VDSL connection unusuable. Actually opening this website took about ten minutes. And the wind is gusting here today. Before last weekend the figure for upstream on the router diagnostic page was around 6,000 kbit/s. I would like that back, please.
Thanks for your reply.
I've checked the connection stats and there are re connections showing but the line tests are clear - no faults detected.
If you have tested with a different router at the test socket and if the connection is still dropping then the next step will be to arrange an Openreach engineer visit.
Just to be clear, you have said there are no faults on the line and you can see connections? Did you also see that the VDSL profile is set to precisely 800kbit upstream? This may be part of an automatic fault recovery process or by manual intervention. This hasn't solved the problem because the router will now not try and train to get the best signal, so when the upstream noise coefficient figure changes the upstream line speed will not change accordingly. When this gets to bad it commits to re-training the connection. Downstream bandwidth is fine, but as I said before if a VPN connection is made or I try to upload a document in to my webmail then the whole internet connection grinds to a halt. When ever the VDSL connection is reset [not the router] the upstream figure remains the same, which was not the case before the storm before 23rd June. With this current fixed limit the VDSL connection will remain stable and not keep resetting if/when the upstream quality changes. There is a wealth of information on the internet about issues like this and how to resolve them, though they all rely on getting BT Openreach to interact with yourselves as I am your customer.
i've passed this over to Networks to see if they can request a DLM reset from openreach or if they will need to dispatch an engineer to complete this.
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