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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015, 3:04 pm

BT Update: Precision Test Officer to be Sent Out After 3 Months (Updatedx9)

WE HAVE not always been ‘at war’ with BT, but every couple of years there is a very major incident, always resulting in BT acknowledging guilt and paying out compensation far lower than the damages caused and the time lost (lower by about one order of magnitude, so it’s not about compensation). This year we are wrestling with our worst ever BT experience, as one can probably see by reading this blog since 2011. The latest incident led to 14 blog updates when it was dealt with in India and then 20 updates after it was escalated to the British team. It’s really quite bad. Here is the latest, written to BT:

Just lost all the power in the house in order Openreach to do some REIN tests (not our house), huge disruption. The Openreach engineer says that the problem in this area can last up to a year, may affect hundreds of houses

Then, some time later in social media:

  • Power all back up in the house. So #bt #openreach still doesn’t know what messes up the coaxial-conducted signal (for huge radius of homes).
  • I’ve been told by the #openreach engineer that it was recently some #androidTV gear that caused massive REIN issues not far from here

BT replied with:

Hi Roy

Thanks for your emails, I’ve followed up with the REIN team today and at the moment the task is still showing as pending, I’ll chase up again tomorrow to allow the engineer to report their findings and I’ll be in touch again tomorrow.

Best wishes
[redacted]

Later on we got:

Hello Roy

I hope you’re well, unfortunately I’ve been unable to reach you today.

I’ve spoken with the REIN team this morning, they’ve confirmed the engineer went out yesterday and has been unable to locate the source of REIN, as this is the case he’s requested a Precision Test Officer to visit with him which will require specialised equipment, unfortunately I’m unable to confirm at this point when this will go ahead.

The next review date has been suggested for 2nd July, if there is any progress beforehand either ourselves or the REIN engineer will be in touch.

I’m sorry for the further delay, I appreciate your continued patience.

Best wishes
[redacted]

My reply was as follows:

Hi,

The connection has been quite stable so far this week (errors worked around or masked), so the urgency of this is not the same as last week. Please let us know how the REIN investigation goes. It’s not just this house that has been suffering and we hope it will be rectified ASAP.

After 3 months of pressure BT finally says it’ll send the (what the engineers call expensive) Precision Test Officer to sort out connection in the area or at least try to pinpoint the culprit. Why did it take so long? Costs. Even if hundreds of houses may have been negatively affected all this time…

It’s all about money to BT; reduce costs to BT at our expense. And the expense of hundreds of other people in our area…

Update (2/7/2015): BT are phenomenally bad. More false promises, now over 3 months with issues, no fix. Last I heard from BT this is what they wrote (and it was a long time ago):

Hi

I’ll certainly keep you updated with any further progress.

Best wishes
[redacted]

Here is my response, highlighting just how badly they are failing again:

Hi,

Over a week ago you wrote to say “I’ll certainly keep you updated with any further progress.” I have not heard from you since. You guys had said that we should have the engineer over with equipment for the 2nd of July. Well, the day is nearly over and nobody came. This is another major letdown. I even stayed home.

A week ago BT Openreach phoned. They said they would send out the person with equipment that was needed back in March…. only in July (July 2nd)! Response time poor again.

Yesterday morning BT Openreach just knocked on door just to say they sent engineer with the needed equipment to the wrong house (Ashton, not Manchester). He said they’d possibly come back later with the equipment, so my wife and I stayed home, but no engineer ever came.

Well, connections are still dropping here about once a day, so clearly the problem is not resolved.

I am really timing this now and keeping track of false promises. I have been keeping a very detailed log which I intend to use later in order to show people, press etc. just how atrocious the service has been and how long it has taken to address.

Update (3/7/2015): It is getting pretty bad. BT sent a response yesterday, saying they would talk internally about how it happened. Heard this before…

Hi Roy,

Leave this with me please. I do apologise as I understand that this is a major failure. I’ll get in touch with the REIN desk this evening and act immediately on this for you.

Best wishes,

[redacted]

BT then phoned me, adding to the above E-mail which was sent almost immediately. REIN team says “system down”, so BT’s Newcastle team is to take over the case (again!). “Wow,” they’ve said. Their word is “wow”, regarding how badly this case was being handled. They also said “I’m sorry” like half a dozen times during the call.

BT’s REIN team system (for accessing calls) is said to be broken, as BT itself is not able to access it now. Service desk number says the “system [is] down.” Their word. So there are technical issues which are internal, too.

Half an hour was spent on the phone last night because BT called (‘damage control’) and didn’t let go (I could not just hang up). They’re offering no comfort except in words, with plenty of apologies. This is apparently being investigated internally also as a case of poor handling of fault reports.

This morning I got another call, which was not too shocking. BT failed to meet appointment date (false promise) this week, so it procrastinates by one week again (after waiting 1.5 weeks already), no assurance yet of an actual appointment yet, just a provisional date: 9th of July. The BT team will need to chase the engineers to ensure they actually know what date is chosen, after letting us down already.

This mess just never ends, does it? It has been over 3 months and the much-needed Precision Test Officer has not even been here yet.

Update (8/7/2015): BT has just delayed (or procrastinated) — yet again — by an entire week. 9th of July was the expected day of action, on the 7th July I was promised a call, which I did receive (whilst away from home). BT’s case manager kept his promise to keep me abreast, but they have delayed the whole thing yet again, by a whole week! This is already like a 3 weeks’ wait! For an issue will have been ‘ongoing’ for nearly 4 months by the time the engineer comes here (if that date isn’t moved yet again). Here is the E-mail following the call/voicemail:

Good Afternoon Roy,

I’m just getting in touch to provide you with a bit more update on this case for you. Unfortunately it appears that the rein engineer and the precision test officer are still trying to coordinate to arrange for the visit.

From what I understand on the update the precision test officer is going to be needed to carry out further detailed investigation and therefore the rein engineer is reliant on his availability in progressing this further.

The rein team have adjusted their review date now from the 9th to the 16th. Again I apologise as this doesn’t add much confidence in what is happening, however for investigation to go forward as I mentioned the rein team advised that they do need a precision engineer.

I’ll follow up with them again on the 9th to see if there’s any progress with this.

Best wishes,

[redacted]

Update (9/7/2015): Yesterday Openreach called to say they may come today, which they did, surprisingly in fact because BT said it would take another week. BT phoned too, almost at the same time that Openreach arrived (funny how poorly they communicate these things, despite Openreach being technically a part of BT). Anyway, BT spoke only to my wife, who said I would write about the findings later, which I did as follows:

Hi,

I understand from my wife that you phoned us today whilst I was downstairs talking to the precision testing officer — a VERY nice guy by the way. I ended up chatting to him for over two hours and he was here with Rory (another Openreach engineer) for almost 3 hours in total, plus several hours spent walking up and down the area (maybe 3 hours in total) trying to identify the source of REIN, to no avail.

The precision testing officer was able to see the noise on my line, always at around 250 to 290 kilohertz. It was profoundly obvious and a simple radio receiver with an exceptionally wide range was able to ‘listen in’. He used his expensive German-made equipment to demonstrate where the noise came from, on the spectrum at least. While scanning the whole area he could find some other sources of noise (3 in total), but was not able to pin-point one particular house. I believe that he and Rory tried to reach house number 34, which also had experienced similar issues (masked in part by configuration changes) , exacerbated further in evening time. The timing suggests correlation with appliance use. We don’t know what noise frequencies affected her line, so one suggested followup visit (you said you had booked next Thursday) may need to target her line and see what can be deduced based on that.

After hours of technical chatting we seemed to agree that those using Virgin/cable for Internet won’t be affected as they use different cables/wires, but all the rest of us in the area (on the Openreach line) will experience similar errors. It has been nearly 3.5 months since I first experiences this and it’s not going away. The electric interference is still there, so we really need to sort this out. Many people are affected. Previously, people like myself (acting as sort of couriers pro bono for neighbours) distributed flyers to help increase collaboration in the investigation by other nearby tenants. I was also told why suggested work for underground engineers may have been issued as a request in the past; we’re pretty sure now that it is REIN and that it is definitely not coming from my house. Number 32 and 34 had their main switches off (separately) to confirm the noise is not coming from there, either.

I hope you can send/dispatch the precision testing officer to our area, targeting house number 34 for further investigation. I am eager to see this resolved, not given up on, as we all spent a lot of time on it already and we seem to be getting closer. Some cases take the precision testing officer quite a while to solve (even a week), but sooner or later he finds the culprit (he shared many stories to help guide the search and gather clues).

Kind regards,

Update (13/7/2015): The investigation carries on, soon entering the fifth month. In the mean time, the connection continues to be degraded.

Good Morning Roy,

Thank you for your email. I’m happy to hear that some progress was being made regarding this. The rein case is still opened and being managed further. I’ve been advised that a review will take place on the 16th which means that more investigation will be taking place.

Unfortunately, the rein team acts separately from myself and the engineer team and all that we can do is request focuses on certain areas. The same engineers will currently be holding on to the investigation for you until it is completely resolved or closed off.

Be assured that I’ll maintain contact with the rein team for further updates and be sure to pass them on to you. Your feedback has been very optimistic and I certainly hope that we can identify this and put this to rest once and for all for you.

Best wishes,

[redacted]
Executive Level Technical Complaints | BT Consumer

My response:

Hi,

I will be available on landline, if needed. In the mean time, regarding connection stability, in recent days the connection drops about twice a day, on average. A month ago I remember it being able to last longer than a day (maybe 3 at most) without a drop.

Regards,

Roy

Update (16/7/2015): BT has just (again) decided to close the REIN issue as “unresolved”, essentially meaning that they deliver degraded service to an entire area in Manchester.

Here is what BT wrote:

Hi Roy,

I’ve just spoken with the REIN team today. They’ve confirmed that the precision testing officer and rein engineer have now decided with their supervisors that after having inconclusive results of exactly where the interference was coming from the investigation has been closed off.

I’m sorry that we couldn’t do more to identify this. At this point as well we have exhausted all investigation regarding this issue for you. Unfortunately there isn’t anything else we can look into following the closure of the REIN case as this interference is off of the BT network and the third party causing this within your area cannot be identified.

At this point we would not close our current investigations as well as there is nothing further that we can do.

Again I do apologise for this, but if there’s anything else I can help with for you, please let me know.

Best wishes,

[redacted]
Executive Level Technical Complaints | BT Consumer

Update (18/7/2015): BT may wish to be off the hook at this stage (despite many houses still suffering. I have just sent the following message to BT again:

Hi,

We are having a lot of disconnections today, so far at 12:30, 4:50, and three times in a row (about 5 minutes apart) just in the past half an hour. If this is the standard of service we continue to receive, then we have much to improve. Can BT please look in to the cause of these disconnections and get back to us?

Update (19/7/2015): It is getting worse today, so I wrote to BT again:

Update (20/7/2015): BT tried to phone (left voicemail) and responded as follows just to say there is nothing they can do.

Hi,

Today, by 3PM, we had already experienced 5 or 6 disconnections. It makes it very hard to work and if BT Cares, then it will try to find ways to improve the connection as this is worse than it has been in nearly a month. It got worse today (compared to yesterday) and both my wife and I rely on this connection for our livelihood. My neighbours too (many dozens, maybe hundreds) are affected by this.

Hi Mr Schestowitz,

I’ve tried calling today but was unable to get through, I’m sorry I missed you.
I was calling on behalf of [redacted] as he’s currently out of the office and asked that I get back to you.

Openreach have done their utmost to try and locate and resolve the source of the interference and with being unable to do so have closed down their investigation. Unfortunately neither the precision testing officer or REIN Engineer were able to locate the source of this interference.

I do apologise about this but we’ve now exhausted all routes which we can go down to get to the bottom of this for you.
There is unfortunately nothing further we can do regarding the REIN in the area.

I’ll next try to get in touch with you on Wednesday.
Alternatively if it’s urgent you can contact us on [redacted] (PIN 1089)

Our opening hours are:
8am – 8pm Monday to Friday
8am – 6pm Saturday
9am – 6pm Sunday

Many Thanks

[redacted]
Executive Level Technical Complaints
BT Retail

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