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Sunday, June 28th, 2015, 9:01 am

Amazon AWS Used for DDOS Attacks Against My Web Sites, Amazon Takes 14 Hours to Reply But Not Take Action (Updatedx5)

AWS logo

Over the past year my biggest sites have come under various DDOS attacks. It is hard to guess who to attribute these to, but the matter of fact is, someone does not want these sites to be accessible. It is possible that different factions are independently behind these attacks, but since British police won’t lift a finger to help prevent this or even investigate this, I am left having to defend myself.

Blocking offending machines is sometimes possible, but it is very hard to block based on affiliation (or assignment) of an IP address, especially if the IP is assigned to some very large entity. Since Amazon controls so many IP blocks (even the A block of an IP address changes a great deal, not just the B block), it is very hard to block AWS servers that engage in DDOS attacks based on IP patterns, geography, etc. It makes AWS enormously dangerous and potentially destructive. It can easily take down online stores, causing huge financial damage and upsetting regular customers.

Several months ago it was alleged (albeit later denied by Amazon) that Sony had acquired access to AWS servers for the purpose of engaging in DDOS attacks, trying desperately to stop the distribution or leaks of its internal E-mails (now in Wikileaks, which Amazon banned after political pressure). AWS has a massive (over half a billion dollars) deal with the CIA and last week AWS also opened up to the NSA, which needs additional computational resources to spy on people and crack encryption. There’s no room for trust and AWS clearly disregards ethics, as a matter of policy.

There is a type of attack that has gone on several times now, meaning that it’s not some random incident and that it’s not going to stop unless serious action is taken, if not against the offender, then against the facilitator (host). This is why I decided to take it up with Amazon. I filled out the following form, having already lost many hours fighting DDOS (visitors were not able to access the site).

AWS DDOS

Here is a confirmation that they have received my report (around 7PM last night).

AWS report

These are essentially DDOS attacks on Techrights, there is not much ambiguity there. Very large IP pools (not zombies PCs but AWS, unless Amazon’s servers too became zombies) are behind it, so I reported to Amazon that their systems are DDOSing my sites. They don’t even have “DDOS” as option. “Excessive web crawling” is the closest description to the activity, the others being completely irrelevant. Perhaps Amazon just views itself as incapable of doing such malicious things. How arrogant.

This is clearly a DDOS attack. This happened also less than one week ago (same attacker, same tools), for over an hour. It’s happening again this weekend.

Pattern of the attack: about 100 simultaneous requests (at the very same second) to many CPU-heavy pages, repeating in a cycle, taking down the httpd service, then waiting for the next round. Example request (time in US Western):

[27/Jun/2015:11:05:20 -0700] “GET /2015/01/ HTTP/1.1″ 200 331187 “-” “Typhoeus – https://github.com/typhoeus/typhoeus”

Typhoeus is always the Swiss army knife.

From Varnish we get the original IP addresses, e.g.:


  643 SessionOpen  c 54.225.55.182 46051 10.0.10.11:80
  643 ReqStart     c 54.225.55.182 46051 1557192107
  643 RxRequest    c HEAD
  643 RxURL        c /category/osdl/
  643 RxProtocol   c HTTP/1.1
  643 RxHeader     c Host: techrights.org
  643 RxHeader     c Accept: */*
  643 RxHeader     c User-Agent: Typhoeus - https://github.com/typhoeus/typhoeus
  643 VCL_call     c recv lookup
  643 VCL_call     c hash
  643 Hash         c /category/osdl/
  643 Hash         c techrights.org
  643 VCL_return   c hash
  643 VCL_call     c miss fetch
  643 FetchError   c no backend connection
  643 VCL_call     c error deliver
  643 VCL_call     c deliver deliver
  643 TxProtocol   c HTTP/1.1
  643 TxStatus     c 503
  643 TxResponse   c Service Unavailable
  643 TxHeader     c Server: Varnish
  643 TxHeader     c Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
  643 TxHeader     c Retry-After: 5
  643 TxHeader     c Content-Length: 419
  643 TxHeader     c Accept-Ranges: bytes
  643 TxHeader     c Date: Sat, 27 Jun 2015 17:56:01 GMT
  643 TxHeader     c X-Varnish: 1557192107
  643 TxHeader     c Age: 1
  643 TxHeader     c Via: 1.1 varnish
  643 TxHeader     c Connection: close
  643 Length       c 419
  643 ReqEnd       c 1557192107 1435427760.530639887 1435427761.228856087 0.219283819 0.698100090 0.000116110
  643 SessionClose c error
  643 StatSess     c 54.225.55.182 46051 1 1 1 0 0 0 257 419

This is clearly abuse as it amounts to about 100 requests per second lasting for a long period of time.

I told Amazon: “Deal with it as soon as possible and keep me informed or I will take action against Amazon for harbouring DDOS attacks.”

The attacker’s IPs vary too much to block, but they are all AWS (54.225.55.182 and many others).

Amazon has not even responded to acknowledge that they’ve received my abuse report. It had been about 14 hours and I was still waiting. There was nothing to even say they’re looking into it. They are clearly not taking disciplinary measure and security measures, perhaps not employing staff in the weekend to deal with abuses by their network, only to their own network (when it’s them who are the victim).

Amazon is a malicious, irresponsible company.

14 hours after my report they finally got back to me and even then their response was weak and useless. Here is what they wrote:

Hello,

Thank you for contacting Amazon Web Services. We take reports of unauthorized network activity from our environment very seriously. It is specifically forbidden in our terms of use.

Because Amazon EC2 Public IP addresses may change ownership frequently, without additional information we will be unable to identify the correct owner of the IP address for the period of time in question.

So that we can process your report and identify the actual customer in question, we require the following additional information. Please note that we will not open attachments under any circumstance.

* Destination Port and Protocol
* Intensity and frequency of activity in short log extracts, no larger than 4KB

For a faster response, please file your report using the AWS Abuse form at the link below:

http://aws-portal.amazon.com/gp/aws/html-forms-controller/contactus/AWSAbuse

We appreciate your help in providing the necessary information requested.

Best regards,
Amazon EC2 Abuse Team

I am going to follow this up with updates.

Based on the time of Amazon’s response, around 9AM UK time, Amazon is just trying to save money and thus increase its profit (while famously evading tax in the UK) by strictly working from 9 to 5. Abuses like these require a dedicated 24/7 team.

Update: I had to spend more time reporting this to Amazon again, this time with stronger language:

You must take action immediately and tell me who is behind these attacks (your IP addresses). I am utterly disappointed with you taking 14 hours just to respond (and not take action against the attackers). I wrote about this with more details in http://schestowitz.com/Weblog/archives/2015/06/28/aws-ddos/

You have asked me for:

* Destination Port and Protocol
* Intensity and frequency of activity in short log extracts, no larger than 4KB

I already gave you those! But you are ignoring my report or failing to investigate, so I am adding yet more evidence from the Apache back end.

Please respond immediately and tell me who the perpetrator is so that I can take action. Failing to do so, I shall take action directly against Amazon.

Here is a screenshot of the form (they refuse to correspond by E-mail, so I have to refill their tedious forms each time).

DDOS repeated

Update #2: Almost 24 hours later and there is no breakthrough, just more waste of time. Here is what they wrote again, merely repeating themselves:

Hi Roy,

I apologize for the inconvenience caused from this attempt on your website.

I do understand the frustration and I am sorry that this has happened. I have checked with our Abuse team once again and they would indeed need additional information to continue their investigation. This was mentioned in their reply on the Abuse case that currently exist in the system.

The Abuse team will continue to investigate and take action against this, but they would need the additional information:
* Destination Port and Protocol
* Intensity and frequency of activity in short log extracts, no larger than 4KB

Once you have that information, please provide it by responding to their e-mail: ec2-abuse@amazon.com and including your case number:
55322041040

Best regards,
[redacted]
Thank you.
Amazon.com

Here is my response:

Hi,

I don’t understand why it is “Message From Customer Service” because I am not an Amazon customer, I am a victim of Amazon customers. I need to speak to technical people and the issue must be rectified as soon as possible. I need the names of people at Amazon who are dealing with the case and the Amazon customer who is the culprit in case I file a lawsuit. As for the additional requirements, which you sent to me twice despite me providing them already twice when I filled out an abuse report, what else do you need?

You say:

* Destination Port and Protocol
* Intensity and frequency of activity in short log extracts, no larger than 4KB

I provided these twice and even additional logs the second time (about 4KB). I need you to carry out an investigation as this is your job, not mine, and I don’t have the tools to figure out which of your customer uses your facilities to do this. Amazon is facilitating DDOS attacks and I demand to know who is dealing with my case and for further action to be taken immediately. You also have my phone number (since the time of the incidents) and you should have phoned me last night, not replied by E-mail 14 hours later.

Update #3: Amazon finally found the source of DDOS (its own servers abusing others) — 24 hours after I reported it! Very slow a reaction time.

Here is what I got at 3:36PM:

Dear Abuse Reporter,

Thank you for submitting your abuse report.

We’ve determined that an Amazon EC2 instance was running at the IP address you provided in your abuse report. We’ll investigate the complaint to determine what additional actions, if any, need to be taken in this case.

If you wish to provide additional information to EC2 or our customer regarding this case, please reply to ec2-abuse@amazon.com with the original subject line.

Thanks again for alerting us to this issue.

Case number: 55464910873

Your original report:

* Source IPs: 54.225.55.182
* Abuse Time: 2015-06-27 18:05:00.0

My response is still strong in tone, having suffered enough already:

Hi,

Please provide me with information about who the client is and the nature of the account that did this. It is imperative that I know this because DDOS attacks on my sites have been a major issue for quite some time and we have only speculations about who or what may be behind it. Hundreds of hours have been lost due to DDOS attacks this year alone. There was also damage to databases and hence partial data loss.

Additionally, please provide me with names of people in Amazon who dealt with this case. 24 hours response time to a DDOS report is totally accessible, especially for a multinational company like Amazon that operates massive datacentres with capacity to paralyse the world’s biggest operations. I shall be documenting this case in my blog and will pursue this as far as necessary.

Regards,

Update #4 (29/6/2015): Amazon has still not replied to my message. Instead I got some sort of public relations from them (this morning):

Hello Roy,

I do apologize for your emails being inappropriately addressed.

I do see that our dedicated technical abuse team has contacted you advising that the abuse case is being investigated and should you wish to provide or require any further information, that team would be the best to contact.

Please contact them at ec2-abuse@amazon.com.

I hope that this is helpful.

Thank you for your inquiry. Did I solve your problem?

If yes, please click here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=A3DTXBBD5H1UEV&k=hy

If no, please click here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=A3DTXBBD5H1UEV&k=hn

Best regards,

[redacted]

http://aws.amazon.com

I responded as follows:

Hi,

I am actually waiting for response from them. I have been waiting for over half a day now. Can you please rush them. I need to know who is behind the attacks (which Amazon customer) and who in Amazon deals with this case.

I also followed up with the other team:

I have been waiting for a response for nearly a day now and it seems like stonewalling. If you do not reply by the end of that day, I may pursue legal action against Amazon, whose facilities are being used against my site while Amazon remains unhelpful and unresponsive.

It turns out, in the mean time, that the EPO uses AWS and some suggest that I report the latest DDOS attacks to the FBI (where the server IPs are based).

Update #5 (30/6/2015): Still no real progress. It has been a long time since the second attack and Amazon gives plenty of reasons to take legal action.

I apologize for the late reply on this. If you could please respond with your abuse case number, I would be happy to reach out to the team on your behalf to expedite the process!

Let us know if you have any other questions or concerns. Thanks!

Thank you for your inquiry. Did I solve your problem?

If yes, please click here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=A31TVRCH796UWU&k=hy

If no, please click here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=A31TVRCH796UWU&k=hn

Best regards,

[redacted]

http://aws.amazon.com

This was a useless respond, so I gave the reference number:

EC2 Abuse Report [55464910873]

I expect a reply by the end of the day.

Hello Roy,

I hope this email finds you well.

In the event that you have not provided your abuse case number for us to follow up for you on, please kindly reply directly to ec2-abuse@amazon.com. I can see that you have been corresponding to aws@amazon.com.

Please include the abuse report number you wish to address in the subject line of your email.

I hope this helps.

Thank you for your inquiry. Did I solve your problem?

If yes, please click here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=ARC3CZ1A921WW&k=hy

If no, please click here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=ARC3CZ1A921WW&k=hn

Best regards,

[redacted]

http://aws.amazon.com

So Amazon failed to send the detailed requested by the end of yesterday, just wasting more time with a useless reply again. I sent the following more strongly-worded reply:

Hi,

I have received not one but two absolutely useless (lacking substance of any kind) replies from you. You wasted more time instead or responding to my message which said:

———-
I have been waiting for a response for nearly a day now and it seems
like stonewalling. If you do not reply by the end of that day, I may
pursue legal action against Amazon, whose facilities are being used
against my site while Amazon remains unhelpful and unresponsive.
———-

If you do not respond in the next few hours with names of people at Amazon who deal with this case (EC2 Abuse Report [55464910873]) and the identity of the offending account that has been attacking my site on numerous occasions, I will prepare a lawsuit against you, Amazon, first for launching DDOS attacks from your servers and second for not obeying my request to know who is attacking my site. I may, additionally, contact the FBI to investigate, as the IP addresses in question are based in the US and DDOS attacks are a federal crime. I give you 2 hours from now to respond to my original request.

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

Friday, June 5th, 2015, 3:28 am

Facebook Gets Excessively Greedy for Excessively Personal Information

Facebook

FACEBOOK, the surveillance giant, is reaching new levels of creepiness. A friend of mine, who was apparently conformist enough to have ‘joined’ Facebook, sent me the screenshot above, translating it as follows:

“If you’re unable to verify your account using a mobile phone number, you can submit a request to verify your account using your government-issued ID.”

Q: “What happens to my ID after I upload it?” A: Your ID will be stored securely while we resolve your issue.”

“I’m sick of this spyware masquerading as social networking,” he wrote to me, so I asked him to show what happens if he clicks the option below.

Either way, notice just how much data Facebook is collecting and even demanding.

Thursday, May 28th, 2015, 6:25 am

Self-hosting Paradigm

House

WITH the rapid growth of so-called ‘social’ networks and that rather disturbing hype around ‘clouds’ usually comes a mindset shift; a lot of people foolishly turn to other parties to not only host — in the datacentre sense — their sites (or accounts) but also to manage all of their software and control their data. I have been trying hard to resist that, especially for photos hosting. Our wedding (and beyond) album now has over 400,000 views and the albums I set up in 2005 (using Gallery) has outlived many PHP changes, albeit with some efforts (code changes and migrations).

People don’t need surveillance and censorship platforms such as Facebook in order to share photographs. Facebook is people who are lazy and irresponsible, not technically-inept.

Saturday, May 16th, 2015, 7:15 am

BT Takes Two Months to Bother Fixing Faulty BT Network for Entire Neighbourhood (Updatedx20)

BT has been so bad that I’ve updated a single post 14 times so far, adding to a pile of failures.

Here is a the next step: I decided to write to Buckley’s team

SUBJECT: Severe BT Issues in Neighbourhood Around [Redacted] Walk, Manchester

Dear [Redacted],

I am writing to you with the expectation that you will pass this serious concern to Warren Buckley or another suitable person. I am writing on behalf on my neighbourhood (informally), not just on behalf of myself and my wife. Many families here have suffered enormously for many weeks due to BT’s negligence and poor handling of the case. There have been several complaints from this neighbourhood about this, as confirmed to me by the Openreach engineers. I will try to keep this punctual as I already spent around 20 hours on the telephone (all in all) with BT, so going through the entire saga may take some time.

Some time in late March (I estimate this to be the time when it all started) the connection in our area had become very poor. Packets were lost (“thousands of errors on the line,” to quote the Openreach engineer) and connections were altogether dropped very frequently. My wife and I both work remotely from home ([redacted]), so this made the situation a living hell for us. We are struggling and at times are unable to do our job.

I first reported the issue to BT in early April. BT mishandled this at many levels and I made a formal complaints at the middle of April. It was soon made apparent that not only us but our neighbours too had issues; Openreach engineers were sent to them as well and one Openreach engineer told me in May that it turns out to be a “rain issue”. It is truly insulting to me that BT tried to blame this on me for over a month; they even refused to send out an engineer to check this. They made up a lot of excuses and only after about 10 hours on the phone they finally acknowledged that I had told them about an issue with BT about a month earlier.

I have just spoken about this with the manager who’s assigned to this case (he is based in India) and he told me that there is no expectation of “rain team” work for another 10 days or so. This assures continued torment.

It is unacceptable that a company as large and wealthy as BT is unable to deal as a matter of urgency with an issue that affects an entire neighbourhood, putting aside the important fact that this issue is about 1.5 months old. Is it standard level of service to fix an error affecting an entire neighbourhood after 2 or more months? I reported this issue and gave very technical details to them a very long time ago. I tried to help them. I have considerable experience in networking, including setting up Cisco routers in bulk. They repeatedly tried blaming the issue on me, which is arrogant and insulting. They have so far failed to call me back about six (yes 6!) times at scheduled times, citing excuses that were rather poor.

I wish to raise this to Warren Buckley et al. I shall be distributing material door-to-door in my neighbourhood to explain in detail to dozens of families how BT has handled the case and how long it took BT to finally take action. There is no foreseeable solution and BT started taking real action more than a month after the issue had started (and I repeatedly reported it to them). This is an extreme delay and an extreme case of client-blaming

Please respond to acknowledge that you will make Warren Buckley aware of this blunder. We need to ensure this never happens again. It is incidents like these which can persuade an entirely apathetic population to turn angry and leave BT in a burst anger, not just at home but also at the office. I can provide additional details if you need them.

From social media (today):

  • Spoke to #bt about compensation, after 10 minutes or so on hold they hung up mysteriously
  • It has not been over 6 weeks since I noticed and reported to #bt an issue that affects the whole neighbourhood. Still unaddressed.
  • It takes perhaps, on average, 15 minutes when phoning #bt to be directed to the person who actually deals with the said case. Inefficient.
  • #bt now says that it may take it two more weeks to fix the issue. How much does it make the total? 2 months to fix issue affecting a neighbourhood
  • #bt negligence and arrogance is still showing the harms of monopoly. They take as much as two weeks to merely schedule work on faulty line

From social media (18/5/2015): I diverted my letter to Libby Barr and received a response.

  • My complaints to #bt have now been escalated to Managing Director of Consumer Sales & Service at BT. Let’s see what they can do…
  • #bt has just erroneously sent me SMS and E-mails about kit delivery to my address. Now they say it was sent in error. Unprofessional.
  • #bt #openreach says the 2-month network error occurred because of a fault that was identified near house number 34, a dozen houses away.
  • The tenant at house number 34 was not in, so #bt postponed scheduled work until the 28th, 10 days from now. Unbelievable.

19/5/2015 update: I have now been given a case number, VOL012-105965266588. Here is some correspondence which explains the nature of the problem, where names of people are [redacted] for their privacy.

Here is what BT wrote to me:

Dear Dr Schestowitz

Thank you for your e-mail. Libby is currently in a series of meetings with limited access to her e-mail, so I am replying on her behalf to avoid further delay. Please be assured that Libby reviews all customer correspondence.

I am sorry to hear of the problems you are experiencing, I will pass this to our senior service team for investigation and they will respond directly to you.

Kind Regards

[redacted]
[redacted]
Business Support Manager to Libby Barr, Managing Director, Consumer Sales & Service
BT Consumer
Email: [redacted]

Short correspondence from me to them followed, then came this:

Dear Mr Schestowitz,

Thank you for your email to Libby. I’m sorry that you’re having problems with your internet and the support you’ve received from our technical teams.

Your complaint has been passed to our department to deal. Your reference for this is VOL012-105965266588.

I note from the recent engineer visit you had that a rein case has been raised due to possible interference in your area. We would need to follow up with the rein department to find out what the next best steps are. Unfortunately, this department is currently closed so we would need to contact them tomorrow.

One of my colleagues will do this and get back to you tomorrow to let you know exactly what is going on and what sort of timescales we would be looking at.

We’ll be open from 8am to 8pm tomorrow. Please let us know if there is a time which suits you best to be called.

Best wishes,

Mr. [redacted]

Executive Level Technical Complaints; BT Consumer.

Tel: [redacted] | E:mail: [redacted] | www.bt.com

I then received a phonecall (10 minutes long) and followup by E-mail:

Good Morning Mr Schestowitz,

Thank you for your time on the phone this morning. I apologise once again for the issues you’ve had with the broadband and also for the failed agreements you’ve had in dealing with our customer service teams.

I’ve picked up the case for you as I mentioned on the phone and will be doing all I can to ensure that this gets resolved as quickly as possible. At current, we do suspect that there is REIN identified that is the source of the interference and subsequently the dropping on the lines. We’ve identified where we believe this is coming from and are just waiting to get out engineers access to the property to investigate further.

The engineers weren’t able to access on their first visit but have left the residents a contact card to contact us further. If we haven’t heard from them before then we’ll follow up on the 28th and have another visit.

My role in this as I mentioned will be to continually check in to see if the owners have made contact to allow access and also update you if they have. If not I’ll contact you on the 28th to see what happened on our visit. Ideally, we hope to be able to identify specifically what equipment is transmitting and causing an interference and then having the property owners agree to either repair the equipment to allow it to work without interfering or discontinue the use of the equipment. By law, we won’t be able to enforce this, but we will advise of the problem and expect that the best decision is made.

In the meantime if you do need to get in touch, please email me at [redacted]. Please cc the email account [redacted] to allow my colleagues to assist with any urgent matters for you when I’m unavailable. You can also call in on [redacted] Pin number [redacted]. Our offices are opened Monday to Friday between 8:00am-8:00pm, on Saturday between 8:00am-6:00pm and on Sunday between 9:00am-6:00pm.

Best wishes,

[redacted]

Executive Level Technical Complaints | BT Consumer

“Thanks,” I wrote to [redacted]. “For me to remain with BT when it’s all over we will need to agree on suitable compensation at some stage. The past 2 months have been terrible and as I explained in my original E-mail to Libby, I did somewhat of a service to BT by reporting this to BT at a very early stage (only to remain unheard and suppressed).”

Here is what I wrote in social media:

  • Night: Executive Level Technical Complaints at #bt got back to me with assurance that they’ve escalated the issue here; seems like a severe issue
  • The morning after: #bt just phoned (10 minutes), this time it’s a local team and it’s promising compensation and urgent action. We shall see…
  • The morning after: Turns out the #bt issue with the connection is likely some sabotage (intentional or not) 14 houses away. Two months, no solution yet.
  • Me: 2 disconnections so far today, degraded #bt lines. Must reconnect to ipsec (VPN) every hour or so just to keep it stable… nightmare.
  • Mac Plewa: @schestowitz can you get wimax where you live?
  • Me: Yes I asked BT to cancel (to use alternative to wires), they resisted me for over an hour to prevent me from cancelling
  • True Blue Line/Mac Plewa: sucks. in Australia we have telecom ombudsman who’s quite effective fighting ISPs

Update #2 (One week later): I wrote a message to Executive Level Technical Complaints after radio silence from BT and a lack of resolution.

Hi,

It has been a week since we last spoke. Openreach checked number 34 (access was granted by the tenant/owner) and said that the REIN issue was not there. It also entered our property to do some tests and could only confirm that we still suffered from connection errors. So far today our connection has dropped twice, so the issue is not resolved. Before we deal with compensation it’s important to ensure a solution is reached. This has gone on for nearly two months and only in recent weeks (maybe 3 weeks) was there actual action on the ground (where the problem lie), despite me reporting the issue at a very early stage. I spent over 20 hours on the phone, set aside the time lost due to faulty connection, E-mail, etc. This is very severe an incident and I intend to publicise this further until the issue is rectified.

Update #3 (27/5/2015): Escalated again because BT is ignoring the issue, even at executive level. Sent to Libby et al.:

Two nights ago I wrote the message below. I have not received a response, so last night I tried again (and no reply from you, either, so I’m being ignored). We have just been disconnected again, so it’s clear that this issue persists (affecting our whole neighbourhood) and we are not even receiving replies from Executive Level Technical Complaints at BT? Is this the standard service level at BT. Ignoring customers even at a corporate level? After 2 months of reports of issue that affects a lot of people?

Update #4 (27/5/2015): With Libby CC’d I have just received this response:

Hello Roy,

I apologise for the delay in responding. I have been and will continue to follow this up with the engineering team concerning this for you. I’ve just completed the diagnostics of your line. I’m sorry that the cause of the REIN was not identified as yet for you.

The reality of the situation is that the error is not on the BT Network. The engineers are in the process of attempting to identify an external source of interference that is resulting in the drops of connection for you. Ultimately the issue can only be resolved once this is identified and then the source of the interference agrees to stop transmitting a signal.

The engineers as you and I both know are consistently working to see what can be done going further and will attempt to do this to a point.

Unfortunately that’s all that we can do at the moment and we will continue to until the process is exhausted. Again however, the engineers are confirmed that the drops of your connection is not due to any fault on the BT network or system.

Best wishes,

[redacted]
Executive Level Technical Complaints | BT Consumer

Update #5 (1/6/2015): BT says the issue has not been closed. I wrote: “Any updates on this?

“Two major disconnections so far today…”

BT replied fairly quickly and much to my surprise they say that they gave up. They have once again closed an unsolved issue.

Good Morning Mr Schestowitz,

I’m just getting back in touch to follow up on things. The engineer team has confirmed that after their best efforts, the rein case that was opened with your neighbour has been closed as they have been unable to identify the source of the interference. They’ve also advised however that they did a reset of the line at the exchange and this has resulted in significant improvements on the neighbours connection.

We also have a diagnostic report on your connection over the past days and we have the connection reading stable sync speeds of just over 7 Mbps with a current uptime of 3 days and 20 hours. Would you be able to let me know if you’re still having any further issues since before the weekend with drops in your connection at all?

Best wishes,

[redacted]
Executive Level Technical Complaints | BT Consumer

I have just replied with:

Hi,

It is disappointing that an essentially unsolved issue is being closed. It took over 2 months and BT snubbed my reports of this issue (I spent about two dozen hours reporting it over the telephone). It was ignored for a very long time beforehand (about a month of my reports), leaving my wife and I unable to do our job properly (we both work from home over the Internet).

Before today, for perhaps 2 days, the connection was quite stable, but it already fell over twice today. I fear that the ‘solution’ may not be permanent.

I would like to start speaking about compensation, especially for inability to respond properly to my complaints (several times, treated as formal complaints and escalated upwards), as outlines in my first E-mail to Libby. What would BT be willing to do to keep us as clients after this big ordeal?

There was a followup question: “Can you let me know if your home hub changed colour on the two disconnections and also can you let me know how long the connection was off for and whether or not you had to reboot the hub to get connection back?”

To which my reply was: “The disconnection was of the usual type, lasting perhaps 2 minutes at 3 AM and again at around 11AM. I didn’t see the lights at the time.”

Update #6 (2/6/2015): More than 2 months later this BT issue reaches closure as follows:

Good Morning Roy,

I’m sorry that you’re disappointed regarding the closure of the REIN case. Unfortunately the engineers have exhausted all they can do with investigating any interferences both on and off the network.

I apologise also for the let downs in the customer service you’ve received. Regarding compensation, you will not be entitled to any loss of services as there were no loss of services or any issues resulting from BT’s network. However after full review of the case I am prepared to offer on behalf of BT a goodwill gesture of 4 months’ worth of your broadband charges totalling £76.60 just to apologise for the difficulties you’ve had in getting the issue looked into and getting updates at various levels. This credit is put towards your BT bill and will be available on your next billing cycle.

Please confirm acceptance of this and I’ll get this added to your account as soon as possible.

Best wishes,

[redacted]
Executive Level Technical Complaints | BT Consumer

Update #7 (2/6/2015): We decided to accept the above offer and got this in response:

Hi Roy,

Thank you for your time in allowing me to look into the issues for you. I’m just really sorry again that it happened in the first place. I’ve got the credit of £76.60 applied to your account for the next billing cycle and will get your complaint closed off for now.

Contact details

If you have any other issues in the future, please call me on [redacted] using PIN [redacted] or email me at [redacted].

If I’m not available my colleagues can also help. The office is open Monday to Friday 8am until 8pm, Saturday 8am to 6pm, and Sunday 9am to 6pm. This PIN will last you for a few weeks but if you need to contact us after this please do so via an email. Or you can email us [redacted].

For anything else our Customer Services will be happy to help on 0800 800 150. Or you can take a look at our website www.bt.com.

I want to finish by saying sorry again for the troubles.

Best wishes,

[redacted]

Executive Level Technical Complaints | BT Consumer

Giving credit to the people who helps, I responded as follows:

I wanted to point out that it was when I escalated it to your department that issue got solved — to the degree that the volume of errors descended down to tolerable levels (we are able to do our job from home again).

I want to point out and give credit to Tilak from the BT support team for he was the first person (after about 10 hours over the telephone) who was able to diagnose this issue, just over a month after the issue began. Tilak, unlike some of his colleagues, did not try to blame the caller for the issues and he had the technical skills required to understand the symptoms and come up with a plan of investigation. It took another whole month and many more hours on the phone (putting aside the impact of REIN on our job) to actually have the engineers find a sort of workaround.

2 years ago BT took 3 months to solve a similar issue (similar number of hours spent on the phone), so I guess 2 months is an improvement. Pardon my cynicism.

Update #8 (2/6/2015): How BT could handle REIN better: accept my report of issue, send out Openreach engineer, tweak routing. Problem solved in 3 days (not 70). Up to 70 homes negatively affected for 70 days is a lot worse than a few homes for a few days. BT negligence led to collateral damage, Internet-wise.

BT followed up with this:

Hi Roy,

Thank you for your email. I’m sorry that you have continually had these frustrations. In future as I mentioned if you do find any difficulties please come back directly to myself or my team and we’ll be happy to help you.

Best wishes,

[redacted]

Update #9 (7/6/2015): The issue is definitely not resolved. It’s happening again.

After struggling all morning I phoned BT and was then asked to put it in writing to, so I sent:

Hi [redacted] and Team,

I have just phoned you up, using the PIN code to get through to a person in the department. At around 8 AM today (or earlier) we lost our connection altogether (it worked shortly beforehand), or at least, on the face of it, no DNS lookups could be made. Also, one of our landlines (there are two devices connected to the landline, for years now) stopped working; it got no signal. It still has no signal, despite having it last night (I have rechecked the wires, too). I managed to get the connection running again only by restarting the Hub, but that only lasted about 2 minutes ago and all devices were disconnected again. I then swapped Hubs and restarted again and the connection now is sub par. My wife needs VPN to do her job (she is working at the moment), but this other Hub (Home Hub 4) is not working — and was never working — with VPN software such as openvpn or ipsec.

I can’t help but feel that it might be related to REIN because I never – — in many years — had such an issue. All devices, both wireless and wired, getting sort of paralysed (live connections sort of working but no new DNS lookups possible, hence it’s practically dead).

We cannot afford to lose our connection again during the day because my wife is on duty and she already struggled because we cannot establish VPN connections.

The person who I spoke to over the telephone is not aware of any issues or maintenance in the area. Please investigate and get back to us ASAP as this is having a severe impact on our ability to work.

Almost an hour later I received this:

Hello Roy,

I’m sorry your broadband has started dropping again, I’ve opened a new case under ref: VOL012-106736383798

I’ll ask [redacted] to give you a call tomorrow to go over things in more detail. Hopefully it’ll be sorted now

If you need to get in touch, you can call us on [redacted]. Our office is open from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and 8am to 6pm on Saturday. We’re also open 9am to 6pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Best wishes,

[redacted]
Team Member – Executive Level Technical Complaints

My later response (11AM):

Some symptoms serve to suggest that there is REIN issue creeping in again (very high packet loss).

It was never solved and it shows.

That might not yet explain complete loss of connectivity and also the issue with the landline (I will look deeper into it).

Can this be escalated to someone right now? We can’t wait until tomorrow. My wife is working right now and I am working tonight. We must rectify this ASAP.

Update #10 (8/6/2015): It goes on because there is still an issue persisting.

Hello Roy,

I appreciate you need the connection today but I’m afraid there’s nothing that can be done right now.

We’d need to look into things properly and speak with the REIN team to see if there was any grounds for improvement before we could progress and I’m afraid there closed today.

I’m sorry Roy. We’ll be back on top of this tomorrow to see if there’s anything we can do.

Best wishes,

[redacted]
Team Member – Executive Level Technical Complaints

They did not respond the following day as they had promised, so I wrote:

Any update on this?

The connection has just dropped again, albeit this time it wasn’t as severe as yesterday (requiring Hub swap and physical reset).

I hope we can reach closure on this without assuring low quality of service for an indefinite time span. This has gone on since March and it is clearly not resolved yet… it affects a lot of people.

To which BT responded as follows:

Good Afternoon Roy,

I can see that you’re still having some issues with your broadband. I apologise for this.

Regarding the REIN case that was opened on behalf of your neighbour. This has been closed. I would be happy to attempt the process once more for you specifically so that your line can be further tested.

Currently your line is performing at speeds of over 7 Mbps but we can see some transmission errors. I can arrange a broadband engineer to check the line and see if any REIN is present.

If the engineer does find evidence of REIN, it will be sent to a specialist team for further investigation. I do need to point out that if REIN is the cause, we’ll make every effort to find the source but we can’t guarantee a solution. If the REIN is caused by equipment belonging to a third party, we will ask them to fix it but have no authority to make them do it.

I’ll await your confirmation on the best day for an engineer and I’ll get this arranged for you. Appointment slots are weekdays between 8:00am-1:00pm or between 1:00pm-6:00pm.

Best wishes,

[redacted]
Executive Level Technical Complaints | BT Consumer

Me again:

Hi,

As there is potential for improving the reliability of the line (it was worst in March and April, improving gradually during May), please do arrange for an engineer to come in the afternoon.

Kind regards,

Roy

BT said they’d send out an engineer here for the fourth time. So, Openreach is costing them money (salaries) because they acted too late in the first place. Meanwhile, many people suffer.

Update #11 (11/6/2015): Just spent a VERY long time with Openreach engineers customising/changing parameters to mitigate/address issues of noise on the line. Fingers crossed.

BT caused an embarrassment, inconvenience and lack of productivity by telling Openreach 12-5PM (for this appointment) and the client 1-6PM. Mismatched like these cause everyone pain; it’s especially the engineer who had to suffer. The engineer showed up at 12PM while we were still out of the house (after he had been misinformed about the times).

Here is what BT wrote:

Good Morning Roy,

I’ve arranged for an engineer appointment for tomorrow between 1:00-6:00pm. If there’s any issues please contact the team email address following this as I won’t be back in office until Monday of next week.

One of my colleagues will be happy to assist with any urgent in the meantime.

Best wishes,

[redacted]
Executive Level Technical Complaints | BT Consumer

My response (after the visit):

Hi,

Thank you for sending our an engineer. He came here at 12PM (he was told to come between 12 and 5 and his records indicate this on numerous devices), an hour before the 1-6 range given to us, so we were both out and he had to wait in his van for an hour (we got home at 1PM). I think there was miscommunication somewhere between BT and Openreach.

The engineer spoke to about 4 colleagues, including some who were involved in this issue in the neighbourhood (house number 34 too). He ended up chatting about the symptoms and readjusting some parameters, especially signal-to-noise ratio. He showed me how to check that this remains correct even in case where the equipment at the cabinet/exchange gets rebooted/patched. I wrote it all down to better inform technical staff in case of recurrence.

We hope that the connection will now be more fault-tolerant. There were still errors on the line (as before), but by lowing the connection speed and changing error threshold it’s hoped that we can do our job reliably enough (no drops/sync/disconnections/latency/lag).

Kind regards,

Roy

Update #12 (12/6/2015): 24 hours later the connection is broken again. Here is my message, sent to BT after suffering for half a day:

Hi,

Important followup.

More than 10 weeks later my BT connection is still severely broken. It is now more broken than ever before. I’ll explain why.

Yesterday from 1pm to around 2:30pm the Openreach engineer had my connection configured to reduce interference and mask the effect of REIN. He set it up accordingly at the remote ends (by speaking to colleagues over the telephone) and then showed me what values he set things to, just in case these values get overridden, whereupon I’ll need to report to other engineers what to set these to. I was shown how to check these values, under Advanced settings in the Home Hub interface.

Today at around 2:30, almost exactly 24 hours after he had last reset the Home Hub, there was a disconnection. But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that when it came back online there was a VAST number of errors, including CRCs. It was very hard to access sites; the connection was faulty like never before. Glancing at the values, it turns out that BT reset/changed these, probably automatically. They were set so low that in 5 hours alone 600,000 CRC errors were reported, making the connection close to worthless.

Knowing that you work until 6pm and knowing that BT’s 24/7 support would be useless at handling such cases (they probably have limited access or no access to the back end, or lack of expertise at these hours), I decided to wait and call you Saturday at 9AM when you open, using the PIN code you gave me.

As you can imagine, I am very frustrated at this stage. BT are nearly breaking their record now: 3 months of faulty connection. Today it’s worse than before and there’s nobody to talk to. Settings which seemingly improved things have been thrown away at your end and now I must chase you guys again. My wife is working from home Saturday and Sunday from 9AM to 5:30PM, so it’s imperative that these issues get rectified.

If you read this before 9AM, please do adjust the settings as follows for my line:

Noise margin (Down/Up) should be 15 dB /9dB

Yesterday it was gauged at 15.1 dB / 11.7 dB

Downstream was, as a result, at 6.681Kbps (which is fine with me) and upstream 888.9Kbps.

Other parameters of interest:

VPI/VCI: 0/38
Type: PPPoA
Modulation: G.992.5 Annex A
Latency type: Interleaved
Line attenuation (Down/Up): 40.6 dB / 23.9 dB
Output power (Down/Up): 20.3 dBm / 12.4 dBm

Right now the noise margin (Down/Up) is set to something ridiculously low (after the connection was lost). This needs to be set again to 15 dB /9dB

I will follow this up with a call first thing in the morning because, putting aside my need for a usable connection, my wife needs it to do her job all weekend.

It is unacceptable that we have had to deal with such a mess for such a long time. We have been patient and we have provided useful information to help BT tackle this issue ASAP.

Update #13 (13/6/2015):

  • Roy Schestowitz: Just phoned #BT Executive Level Technical Complaints. Turns out they needed to send underground engineer to replace/fix cabling, ‘forgot’ to
  • Roy Schestowitz: #bt says severe issue affecting whole area not resolved months later because the issue got “closed by the system”. Again! This is negligent
  • Roy Schestowitz: #bt treats residential clients as worthless. If expensive job is needed to fix the issue, they just to try work around/mask the fault
  • BTCare: @schestowitz Hi, is there a team looking into this for you? Have you been given a reason as to why it’s taking so long to fix?
  • Roy Schestowitz: .@BTCare Yes, because BT is too cheap (poor BT) to send out an underground engineer to actually fix the cables
  • Roy Schestowitz: .@BTCare I am going to ring up again Monday and escalate this to Libby. BT has no excuses for taking MONTHS to replace faulty cables
  • Roy Schestowitz: .@BTCare It seems like the residential clients are so worthless to #BT that many houses with faulty connection for months cheaper than a fix
  • Roy Schestowitz: It seems that the problem isn’t that #bt is unable to fix the issue (affecting many people) after months. They’re just too stingy to fix it.

Update #14 (13/6/2015): More from social media (14:50)

  • Roy Schestowitz: Connection a disaster again. Suggested workaround from #bt has not worked. Just had to reconfigure everything, all in vain.
  • Roy Schestowitz: #bt executive level complaints said wait 2 seconds on the line. I waited for 10 minutes, then it got hung up… how professional.
  • Roy Schestowitz: Phoned #bt again (after it got hung up at their end), now they say it’s “underground fault”, not REIN. “Closed in error” they say.
  • Roy Schestowitz: #bt keeps closing reports of widespread issues “in error”. Not the first. This is beyond incompetent, it’s like they do this deliberately.
  • Roy Schestowitz: Time spent on the phone with #bt so far (since this issue manifested itself): 25-30 hours all combined, I estimate (on phone)

I wrote the following to BT in a rush:

Hi,

I am learning some new things regarding this issue now — things that we were never told before (my neighbours and I).

Today at 9:30 I phoned BT Executive Level Technical Complaints. Turns out they needed to send an underground engineer to replace/fix cabling, but somehow ‘forgot’ to. BT says that these severe issues, which are affecting a whole area, were not resolved months later because the issue got “closed by the system”. Again! This is negligent. BT, based on my humble assessment, treats residential clients as worthless. If expensive job is needed to fix the issue, they just to try work around/mask the fault… because BT is too cheap to send out an underground engineer to actually fix the cables? Is that it the case, perhaps we’ll need ring up again Monday and escalate this to Libby. BT has no excuses for taking months to replace faulty cables. Is this really the case? A second person from BT corroborated this just now. It seems like the residential clients are so worthless to BT that many houses with faulty connection for months cheaper than a fix. It seems that the problem isn’t that BT is unable to fix the issue (affecting many people) after months. They’re just too stingy to fix it.

My connection is a disaster again. It happened yesterday 24 hours after the visit and it started happening again today 48 hours after the visit. Yesterday the issue lasted at least 12 hours.

When I phoned at 9:30 today the man on the phone didn’t agree with Openreach’s advise on adjusting parameters. The suggested workaround from BT was that I rest the Home Hub with a PIN. I did this an hour ago when the problem came back, but this has not worked. Just had to reconfigure everything (passwords, Wi-Fi etc.), all in vain. I am not getting much work done and my wife is literally on the job right now. She needs to monitor live systems and respond.

I last spoke to Executive Level Technical Complaints 15 minutes ago (they said they would phone back in 10 minutes and I am still waiting). The first time I phoned they said wait 2 seconds on the line. I waited for 10 minutes, then it got hung up… how professional.

Phoned BT again (after it got hung up at their end), now they say it’s “underground fault”, not REIN. “Closed in error” they say.

BT keeps closing reports of widespread issues “in error”. Not the first time. This is beyond incompetent, it’s like they do this deliberately.

Time spent on the phone with BT so far (since this issue manifested itself): 25-30 hours all combined, I estimate (on phone).

When will there be a permanent solution?

Update #15 (15/6/2015): I have had three days of bad connection in a row now and after dozens of hours on the phone and with engineers in our house it feels like I know most of what there is to know about their skills. Yesterday I tried speaking to BT by phoning 3 times at a time they’re supposed to be open and nobody picked up. I phoned again this morning. Just spoke to BT again (waited 2 hours for the callbacks). Seems like the issue may be faulty cable that they refuse to fix without telling us. They are looking into it and are trying to reduce errors by changing noise margins. Not much progress has been made since the issue began; it’s as appalling as connection as it was at the start.

Update #16 (15/6/2015): It turned out to be another terrible day for the connection. I have sent out an angry E-mail after speaking on the phone with no sign or progress until tomorrow at lunchtime (when a call is scheduled).

Hi,

4th day in a row, on the job (my wife too), unable to get things done, having to try to reattempt things many times (in vain); the noise settings have not been fixed. I have just phoned up and was told that you had reset the connection at 12PM, which I know about, but even if it takes 24 hours to take full effect I don’t see any signs of improvement.

Having just checked various attributes on my Home Hub, as per the instructions from the Openreach engineer:

Noise margin (Down/Up): 4.5 dB / 5.6 dB

This has actually been lowered, you said you would take it higher. There are millions of errors, still.

I also lost the connection a second time today, not long before the worst issues started. 5 minutes ago we lost our connection the third time today. I had to go downstairs and reset the Hub to get things working again. It was just going nowhere. It’s only getting worse! Ever since the Openreach engineer was here things got only worse, not better. I cannot do my job; it’s as bad as it was back around April!

It does not look like anything is getting done to address this issue even months down the line. Nothing effective anyway….

Has there been progress finding out why a BT ticket requesting an underground engineer was “closed by the system,” to quote multiple BT staff whom I spoke to? Is there a cabling error or REIN? Is is both? Is this cabling issue still being pursued at all? I was told on the telephone that you were checking/looking into it, this is affecting my neighbours too…

Is there any hope of us getting our connection working again for the first time since late March? If not, just say so, please… so I can cancel my BT account and find some wireless alternative, even cellular. I just cannot go on like this with false promises. I have lost count of how many times BT assured me that the problem would be imminently resolved. I have pretty much lost hope, let side faith, in BT. The infrastructure seems to have rotten and nothing has improved in nearly three months. I’m not the only person to have reported this.

I have also escalated this to higher management:

Dear [redacted],

As you may recall from my previous E-mails, there is a large-scale issue here in my neighbourhood — an issue that I first reported more than 2 months ago only to be repeatedly ignored, with tickets raised being closed “in error”. After a month of phonecalls (perhaps 20-25 hours on the phone all in all whilst also suffering 24/7 from a dysfunctional connection) I finally got the issue acknowledged by BT and since then Openreach engineers have been here more times than I can recall. They also visited other houses in the area, in an effort to identify this issue which affects many of my neighbours too (they independently reported it).

I have already spent many hours speaking with the people in Newcastle and it seems like a ticket was raised concerning work requiring an underground engineer. This ticket was “closed by the system,” according to two members of BT staff in Newcastle (or that same department). They independently told me the same thing. This is worrisome because many of us had been told that it’s a REIN issue (basically blaming the clients), not an issue with BT infrastructure. Alonzo is looking into why it got closed, but after suffering on a daily basis since March (so has my wife and obviously other people in the area) I can’t help feeling a bit of rage.

My wife and I have been struggling to do our job because the connection here in unbearably poor and it even got worse in the past week. There is no sign of progress or improvement. We cannot do our job properly. It puts at jeopardy more than just our connection and ability to surf the Web.

The original case, acknowledged by BT over a month ago, has been closed as unresolved and without a solution. What worries me is that underground work seems to be needed, but it is not being done, as if residential clients are of no value or interest, so the issue is being masked or worked around rather than permanently fixed.

Please reply to confirm that you may look into it and better understand how such issues can linger on for so long, despite repeated reports. I will be sharing this information in our area and online, as I casually do, for no solution seems to be imminent until or unless BT reopens tickets and works to actually tackle the problem.

I have become very frustrated with BT over this and I envision a lot of people leaving BT as their landline/Internet provider over this.

Kind regards,

Good Morning Roy,

Update #17 (16/6/2015): BT wants to send another engineer here. They increasingly acknowledge possibility of physical error, almost 3 months late. Here is what BT wrote:

I’m just getting back in touch following your email below and the contact made to my department last night.

I’ve had a word with the engineering team. I can see based on the previous engineer notes that he has called his coaching team as he’s told you and was told about a PAT fault that had been closed in error. In speaking with the engineering team I’ve been advised that no PAT fault was raised or closed on your line.

Nonetheless PAT faults are actually raised by engineers on the back of the visit. As one hasn’t been raised following your last visit, I’ll need to arrange a further engineer to go out. I’ll escalate this appointment in the engineering department and provide the information from all engineers for this visit. I’ll also have them evaluate and confirm the need for PAT fault to be reopened and carried out if necessary.

I understand you are frustrated at the moment but I’ll like to evaluate all options and then be in a position to set your expectations. If you’re happy with this please let me know the best day for an engineer visit for you. Otherwise if you prefer to cancel your contract let me know and I can help you with this as well.

Here is my response:

Having another engineer here would be fine. I’m happy to do what it takes to resolve this issue, but I am just a little hesitant because following the last visit by an engineer my connection was in a very bad state every afternoon and night (maybe 40 hours all in all), after it had been made somewhat manageable for some weeks prior to the visit. This sometimes required hard reset of the hub and the main issue was huge packet loss/errors that made some sites/IPs completely unreachable/scarcely reachable for many hours at a time, rendering some parts of my job impossible to carry out (not just temporarily).

As I pointed out in my E-mail from Thursday, I was given the wrong times for the engineer’s visit, so he arrived an hour earlier (he was told 12, I was told 1-6) and I then had to rush home, cutting short a day out with my family.

Wireless alternatives would be difficult to manage for many devices (some wired), which is why I’d rather see the cable that feeds our whole area fixed, not abandoned and/or ‘DoA’. I believe that it’s BT Openreach’s responsibility to maintain their cables and assure good transmission of packets, which is why I (re)escalated this to Libby last night.

Update #18 (16/6/2015): More of our time is going to be needed, with downed connection for investigations at our house.

BT:

Hello Roy,

The engineer visit time slots we’re provided to offer all customers on broadband jobs is between 8:00am-1:00pm and 1:00pm and 6:00pm as to why the engineer arrived earlier I honestly don’t know.

The new engineer visit is scheduled for tomorrow again between 1:00pm-6:00pm as per the time slots we have from the engineers. I’m going to escalate the visit within the engineering team to ensure that all checks are made and again it will come down to the engineer’s review to see if a PAT fault is required and they will have to request it to be opened. I’ve highlighted this in my discussions with the engineering team as well.

Reply:

Hi,

Will it be possible to make it morning (tomorrow) or Thurs. afternoon? Tomorrow afternoon is not possible for us.

This is a never-ending saga.

BT:

Hi Roy,

I’ll follow up with the engineers, confirm which time is available and let you know as soon as I can.

Update #19 (18/6/2015): Here is the latest on this.

BT:

Hello Roy,

Unfortunately we weren’t able to secure a slot for tomorrow morning.
I’ve been able to confirm for Thursday 18/6 PM slot between
13:00-18:00 for you.

Best wishes,

Roy:

Yes, please, that would suit us.

BT:

Hi Roy,

This is booked in for you now. I’ll request full engineer notes for review following this visit, seek to get a final position on what is going on with this and update you further.

I responded to BT today:

OK, so the engineer have just been here and although the issue remains unresolved (lots of errors on the line), he repeated last week’s actions, which was undone 24 hours later. The guys have no guarantee this won’t happen again, so now we have an issue on top of another issue, and no foreseeable solution.

To make matters worse, based on what I was able to gather, BT could probably solve this issue a week ago, if only it followed the instructions I sent last week (early Saturday). I never received a reply to that and have not yet heard why an issue about underground work “got closed by the system,” to quote two separate people from BT. I have just sent our some rants to my 5,000+ followers online, hoping to increase awareness of this issue. Among the postings:

- #openreach engineer confirms that all houses in the area have the same issue and it may not be a REIN issue

- After an #openreach engineer set the connection to mask errors (not fix them) some git quietly reset them, unless it was done by system

- Had a somewhat workable connection for 24 hours before someone decided to break it for a whole week, or the system did it on its own

- Turns out there are many calls being made with executives involved (4 this morning I’ve been told) regarding our #bt messup (whole area)

- The issue, assumed to be REIN with no clear evidence yet, might lead to class action suit if cabling issue demonstrated at the end

- #bt was, according to #openreach engineer, able/capable of fixing/masking my issue a week ago but said it could not or would not do it

- The big #bt fiasco here isn’t that an error manifested itself (affecting hundreds) but inability to fix, or no will to fix, just hide

- The errors we are experiencing with #bt likely part of national/nationwide pattern of bad service; many won’t fight, no technical background

- Newspapers in the #uk keep moaning about connection speeds (as advertised); should focus on connection failures, bad service

- My rants against #bt not at all motivated by will to post online or fight BT for sake of fighting it. My job and my wife’s depend on it.

- As many of my neighbours are clueless about technology they don’t know how badly they’re being screwed and blame selves for Net issues

Update #20 (19/6/2015): Here is the latest on this.

Yesterday afternoon I wrote:

2 hours after openreach visit the Home Hub self-reboots and disconnects everything again. No real fix.

BT wrote back yesterday:

Hi Roy,

Many thanks for your email. I’m awaiting full report from the engineering team as to exactly what has been found and also what the next steps are.

We’ll contact you as soon as we have an update on that. Again if there was an issue regarding the underground cabling this job would have had to be reported and raised by the engineer that visited today.

We’ll investigate further once all the information has been received from their team and provide you with what next steps are.

Best wishes,

And it got reassigned the following day. BT then wrote today:

Hello Mr Schestowitz

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

I’ve picked up your case as [redacted] is unavailable for the next week or so. Following yesterday’s engineer visit a case was raised to the REIN (Repetitive Electrical Impulse Noise) Team to look into a potential external noise interference.

I’ve spoken with the REIN team and they’ve confirmed this is now in hand and they’re looking to have a REIN trained engineer out to investigate the possible cause, unfortunately this can often take some time, they’ve confirmed that the case will be reviewed again on two weeks’ time.

Rest assured [redacted] will follow up with you and update you of any progress, sorry for the delay and hopefully we can get a resolution to your problems soon.

Best wishes

[redacted]

Executive Level Technical Complaints – Team Member

Me:

Hi [redacted],

I received the voicemail and thank you for taking over the case. Just to keep you updated, we got disconnected at 2 PM yesterday (2+ hours after the engineer’s visit) and then again briefly after 7 PM yesterday.

We for disconnected briefly after 7 PM today, so there is recurrence (it has been like this for quite some time), however settings at the cabinet/exchange were retained (interleaved, not fast, with suitable error margins to prevent massive errors and timeouts).

We eagerly look forward to hear about work by the REIN team or underground engineers because we continue to be disconnected every day and plenty of errors are (for now) being masked, not eliminated. It affects now only ourselves. The Openreach engineers said to me that my neighbours reported the same symptoms, so it’s a large-scale problem that must be tackled. I will try to keep neighbours informed of the progress.

Regards,

Saturday, May 9th, 2015, 12:14 pm

Members of the Quarter

Members of the quarter

Thursday, April 30th, 2015, 12:00 am

BT Complaints Again (Updatedx14)

BT is driving us up the walls again. My wife and I do our job over the Internet, so this is a very big deal. BT cannot even handle a seemingly simple case.

A month ago we started having horrible connection speeds at certain hours (lasting for many hours), as well as chronic disconnections. This is far from a normal behaviour and it makes it impossible to do all sorts of things. Lots of sessions are lost, some sites are inaccessible, etc.

It’s bad enough when there’s an issue, but it’s a lot worse when the handling of the issue is so appalling that it can take over a month to tackle it.

When I first reported the issue to BT the first-line support person failed to diagnose the issue and said they would escalate the issue and phone back with the findings within 72 hours. I never received a call.

After 4 days or so I phoned BT again. They knew almost nothing of my initial report and so I had to go through the aforementioned long process again (it takes a long time, not just waiting in the queue). They said they would phone back with the findings and this time they even set a precise time for the call. They never called.

At this stage I had already spent about a fortnight with a faulty connection.

I phoned BT again and the person on the other end of the line said that my issue had been closed. Well, I didn’t even know what made them assume that. I was furious at that stage, so I had them escalate to the manager and I made a complaint (that was on April 19th).

What followed then was a long series of calls (much time already wasted due to bad connection, never mind time on the line, testing the connection, etc.).

The manager, Mr. Gupta, decided to send a home hub and said it would take just 2 days to do this. A day later I was told it would actually take almost 10 days, which means another week and a half with a faulty connection.

The home hub finally arrived on the 29th of April and it did not resolve the issue. I didn’t think it would, but then again, it wasn’t my idea to have the hub replaced. Mr. Gupta took over the case and did too little to actually tackle the issue.

I immediately responded the issue to BT but received no response, so I called them up and had to work hard to speak to the manager again (their log was too choppy to identify him). He then assigned this for a person to investigate and I was promised a call between 11 and 12 today (I asked several times for reassurance that the call would be made, having experienced several failures by BT to call back). What an utter disaster.

Well, guess what? I received no call between 11 and 12. I phones BT again and got through to another person, Raj. I have just spent about an hour on the phone with him, in vain (he could not find the issue either and apparently no investigation was made, despite their promises). I have asked him to make a complaint to higher management about the way it has been handled and this case is still unresolved (2 calls scheduled for tomorrow, although given the poor rate of callbacks and the false promises, it remains to be seen).

To be continued…

Updates from Twitter:

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: War on #vpn even for those who use it for #security http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/03/27/bt_home_hub_3a_scuppers_some_vpn_connections/

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: All my VPN connections are now dead. Thanks, #bt http://schestowitz.com/Weblog/archives/2015/04/30/bt-complaints-again/ … http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/03/27/bt_home_hub_3a_scuppers_some_vpn_connections/

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: The case against #bt is not building up as it seems like they silently suppress the use of #vpn by #sabotage – grounds for litigation

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: 2 years ago I wrote about “BT Connection Throttling” http://schestowitz.com/Weblog/archives/2013/02/15/bt-connection-throttling/ … now it looks like they punish people whose job requires #vpn

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: If #bt is targeting (punishing) particular clients on behalf of Big Clients (government, Hollywood, Army etc.), then it’s ground for lawsuit

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt home hubs do have a back door. How does one know? Ask BT staff; they can remotely access and see your home network in action.

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Over the past 4 years I must have spent about 50 hours on phone with #bt and endless hours due to bad connection. Now they push #censorship

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Criticism of #bt for technical reasons is one thing; BT also a core partner in #drone #assassination hubs – #uk gov. killed British citizens

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Words cannot express how scary a company #bt is (instrument of power): censor, assassination, back doors/DPI, traffic ‘shaping’, bad service

BT staff (but not officially representing BT): @schestowitz with respect, your assertions aren’t true. Traffic throttling at exchange & in HomeHub about guaranteeing consistent service

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: [to BT staff] That’s what they say; what about when traffic is slowed down because of protocol type?

BT staff: @schestowitz limited in what I can say here as not spokesperson or support, but if you have issues can point you in direction of help :)

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: [to BT staff] I have some friends who work there, but it’s usually not of use in such a vast company

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: [to BT staff] I wouldn’t be surprised if BT are quietly trying to stifle “bittorrent by vpn”, “netflix by vpn” and other such use cases

BT staff: @schestowitz traffic shaping of any kind is always controversial. To my knowledge BT doesn’t throttle VPN traffic.

BT staff: @schestowitz prod them to use the employee action line! :)

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: [to BT staff] Which in terms harms people like me who require many VPNs just to do their job

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: [to BT staff] Reports say that BT now admits a ‘bug’ that breaks VPNs in their home hubs

A another person (to the BT staff): That throttling used to render BitTorrent unusable. I solved problem by moving to non-throttling ISP. @schestowitz

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: [to BT staff] Tonight I expect two calls from BT management; I will raise the VPN issue as well

BT staff: @schestowitz not seen them myself, but looking now. If so, worth bearing in mind a bug by definition is unintended behaviour.

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: [to BT staff] Facebook called surveillance of non-useds “bug”. Companies say “bug” for legal reasons.

Update #2:

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Tonight I am going to confront managers at #bt over the ‘bug’ which broke #vpn for millions of people. Let’s see if it’s really a ‘bug’.

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: I was unable to do my job last night because it requires several VPNs (and different VPN software), all of which #bt broke.

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Real British journalists like @MarkJBallard should press #bt and find out if the company is breaking VPNs as part of Hollywood’s latest push

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Web search for “vpn block isp” reveals that quite a few ISPs already admit blocking/suppressing VPNs at the behest of abusive monopolies

Update #3: BT was supposed to call between 6 and 8 today. It ‘forgot’. Someone else, however, called at 9. So there again we have BT failing to call back when promising to do so and now we have two issues, a bad connection (it’s still faulty and choppy) and no VPN. Here is what I posted online:

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt is a massive disaster. Their solution to 2 major issue (preventing me & my wife from doing our job)? “We’ll phone again at 11PM” sigh

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Despite #bt admitting (to the press) that a ‘bug’ is blocking #vpn connections in Home Bub, the BT manager I speak to is totally unaware of it

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: On phone with #bt now. They failed AGAIN to phone back (fifth time in 3 weeks), they’re not working to fix anything http://schestowitz.com/Weblog/archives/2015/04/30/bt-complaints-again/

Rather than 1 issue now we have 2. After a month of work…

Update #4: From social media…

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: 11PM. #bt promised to call by now, but again, for the 6th time in 3 weeks even management makes false promises, false hopes, no fix

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: More than 1.5 hours on phone with BT manager. He can’t solve this issue. They’re so unbelievably useless. For a month now…

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt are basically giving up on trying to fix the issue, or at least they say they don’t know how to fix it (even managers)…

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt management on phone now, still asking me what problem I’m having after I reported it a dozen times for a month

I have meanwhile swapped back to the old Home Hub, restoring VPN access and proving that the ‘new’ BT hubs are — deliberately or not — breaking VPN connections over ipsec, openvpn and probably more VPN tools. The issues persist and BT say they will call again in 2 days, despite having no plan or concrete steps towards solving the issue. The manager I spoke to at one point tried to blame wireless, only to be proven that the issue affects wired connections as well (he wanted me to buy a Wi-Fi booster at my own expense). He also tried blaming GNU/Linux…

BT are hopeless and so are we, as we need to get our work (daytime and nighttime job) done. BT offered no advice on VPN and refuses to give any (except on a premium, i.e. expensive, helpline). Advice put on the Web regarding BT Web Address Help (some say we should disable it) has not helped fix the VPN on the new hub.

Some British journalists ought to investigate why BT is breaking people’s Wi-Fi connections with its ‘new’ hubs, especially given what Sony leaks revealed, alongside other similar reports about a conspiracy to derail VPN connections (privacy tools).

Update #5 (May 1st): From social media…

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: BT staff (management) even asked us to waste money on “Wi-Fi booster” despite the issue clearly affecting wired connections as well.

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: BT staff (management) tried blaming Linux or “you’re using a lot of devices” for its connection being faulty http://schestowitz.com/Weblog/archives/2015/04/30/bt-complaints-again/

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: I can now confirm, based on a detailed analysis, that #bt breaks #vpn (IPSec, OpenVPN etc.) in its ‘new’ Home Hubs. Appalling. #uk #internet

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: If the connection always drops at midnight (and just now at midday) for wired devices and #bt management blames Wi-Fi it shows that they lie

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: When I reported #bt speed test results that confirm there’s an issue they refused to accept it (management), asked for REMOTE ACCESS to PC

Update #6 (May 1st at night): From social media…

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt connection is a disaster again (unusable), a month-long issue. BT is supposed to phone back now, but they rarely keep such promises.

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt seems to be getting closer to finding culprit. Probably faulty equipment in BT exchange, perhaps drip in electricity/wire. Cheers Tilak!

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt is now experimenting with my line, perhaps realising that the issue affects many houses and that I am the one who helped them solve it

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt managers full of arrogance and Hubris. They refused to escalate for a MONTH. Now it’s finally escalated to BT Wholesale. Hardware issue?

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt managers blamed “Linux”, “too many devices”, “need Wi-Fi booster”, “change hub”, “give me remote access to your PC”. Issue at their end?

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Sleepless nights, dozens of hours of phone, lots of diagontics, reporting. Seems like I did #bt ‘s job for them because they blame customers

@angrymofo: Did you actually get to speak to someone who knew what they were talking about, I’ve found that this is the hard part.

@angrymofo: Once I called BT to tell them the DNS servers are offline and had been for hours. They had no idea what I was talking about.

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: @angrymofo The guy I spoke to (my wife did too yesterday) was quite good. His name is Tilak. He’s technical and nice. #bt

@jrobertson: @schestowitz That’s an interesting insight to what sort of support answers BT have to provide. I couldn’t do that job.

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: .@jrobertson They only try to blame the customer, even when their own systems are at fault. A month to acknowledge this? #bt

So a guy called Tilak, a good guy who knows his job, seems to have finally found the issue (based on logs he had looked at), he ran some tests, then escalated this to the local team. At long last. After a month.

Update #7 (May 5th at night): From social media…

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt complaints (several formal ones) in preparation, scale of compensation to be negotiated, then I’m dropping them for good

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt now confirms there is an error on our line every 3 seconds; dropping out all the time as a result; took one month to ‘find’ this?!

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt told me that escalation of the fault took almost one month, April 30th (to second line), despite them knowing about the issue

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Over a month unable to do my job, wife also unable to do job, many hours on phone, bad connection, damage immeasurable. #bt

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: BT issues in 2013 took them 3 months to fix (sending engineers at end), this time it’s already over one month. #bt

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt says that if I quit BT, I cannot receive compensation for the suffering (must resolve first). Is that even legal as per #eu law?

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Port reset by #bt on May 2nd, not kept us in the loop, made things even worse, didn’t bother to check if it solved the issue

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Another day, another couple of hours on the phone with #bt and line more faulty than ever. Over a month to merely send an engineer.

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: The exchange-to-router issue still persists, meaning that the fault with with #bt all along, took over 1 month to send engineer

Update #8 (May 8th at night): From social media…

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #openreach engineer here (BT took over a month to send him), turns out a neighbour has just reported the issue also

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt could have probably solved an issue for a lot of houses if only it wasn’t so arrogant to blame me rather than the issue

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt was asked by me over a month ago to investigate the fault (I have technical details), refused to send out engineer

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt did not send an engineer before I told 3 staff (including management) that I wish to cancel my BT account

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: A company as wealthy as #bt shouldn’t be in the business of saving money on engineers where real issues are being reported

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Some equipment of the #openreach team has the letters “BT” on it, the uniform too. So much for hiding who’s really behind Openreach.

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Moving away from #bt would not have solved the issue; it’s a wiring issue. The issue is BT refusing to fix upon report.

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #openreach (BT with another uniform) spent half a day here drilling, changing wires, plates, still error unresolved. Argh…

Update #9 (May 9th at night): From social media…

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Chaotic and truly unproductive month and a half due to what seems like faulty wiring that #bt is still unable/unwilling to fix

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt knows that my connection is faulty, still isn’t sending another engineer to fix it. Now it’s dropping every hour, thousands of errors.

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: For a digital house, where everyone works in IT over wire, having a faulty #bt connection is like having no water. BT doesn’t seem to care.

Update #10: I have gotten truly tired at this stage. The connection is in a state of disarray, it is worse than ever before. Nobody in the house is able to do anything reliably, the line drops very often, there is endless packet loss/errors. I do my job (for a living) over this wire and so does my wife. The BT wires, managed and owned by BT, have been faulty for about a month and a half and BT is unable or unwilling to fix them. Not enough is being done and whatever is being done is too little, too late. This is a colossal failure. I already reported this issue to BT — several times — a very long time ago. I spent many hours giving useful technical details, but BT was arrogant enough to always try to blame the issues on me.

As I must do my work reliably I am not wishing to pursue the full scale of compensation, even by a lawsuit if necessary (I have pages of text written to support my case), I am prepared to ask for a refund for line rental and I am going to register for a wireless connectivity pack at my home. My BT line is just defunct and after a month and a half with a dozen hours on the phone and hundreds of hours in loss productivity it is clear that BT has no plan for fixing the line. I cannot rely on this line anymore, so I will receive compensation from BT (even if by suing) and work my way out of their infrastructure. 2 years ago it took 3 months for BT to fix a similar issue. It took them 3 months to send engineers out.

Update #11: From social media…

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Passed between 4 people, 4 departments in BT, including Barry in the sales team in the UK (not India) just to cancel my account

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #bt is now taking almost an hour to just process cancellation. They keep passing me between people, refuse to escalate to managers.

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Now over an hour with #bt on the phone trying to process cancellation. Still nowhere near success. They’ll “phone back”…

Update #12: From social media, 12/05/2015…

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: #openreach says electrical interference noise (e.g high voltage), e.g. rain issue, affects other people (confirmed now, number 34)

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: The #openreach “rain team” to work underground on D side. The engineer confirms to me the whole block likely affected.

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: It is unclear to me why an issue I reported when it started around March is only now being taken care of by #bt (affects many people)

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: In the month of April a wiring serious issue affecting a whole block was blamed on me “using Linux” or “many devices”. #bt blame games.

Update #13: From social media, 13/05/2015…

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Another half an hour spent on phone with #bt – still no resolution, they’re trying to act dumb, assigning new (unfamiliar with case) people

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Our whole neighborhood is now suffering from bad wiring — a fault that #bt has now failed for 1.5 months to fix (I told them about it)

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: I have explained to #bt that if I distributed flyers in the neighborhood about how BT f**ed everyone’s connection , they’d cancel in anger

Update #14: From social media, 13/05/2015 in the evening (another incoming call from a manager)…

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: Every single day now (even right now) is wasted acting as a volunteer debugging person for #bt because they’re too stingy to do this work

Dr. Roy Schestowitz: It seems like next step re #bt fiasco: going door to door to post letter regarding BT’s failure to fix neighborhood-wide issue for 1.5 months

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