It’s fast…

Fibre
Photo by Shahadat Rahman on Unsplash

BT came round yesterday and fitted FTTP or full fibre as BT likes to call it. It was quite a painless process, so much so that I didn’t actually notice that the FTTC connection had been turned off and the FTTP turned on, well I was in the midst of writing an e-mail at the time.

They had to upgrade the terminal outside, drill a hole through the wall and mount the modem and the Smart Hub near some power sockets.

Now we have a 1Gb connection, though the reality with WiFI is that the most I can get is about 500Mb/s, but that is still 25 times faster than what I had before!

The speed and quality of the WiFi signal is much better and is working well It will take a little time to settle in over the next few weeks so the speed will fluctuate up and down. Though for my first Teams call after installation it was working a treat.

Accessing streaming video and downloading files is so much faster, but the other main benefit is better quality WiFi across the house. Though the signal degrades as you move away from the Hub, 20% of 400Mb/s is much better than 20% of 30Mb/s for doing stuff.

I had to go around and reconnect everything to the new wireless network, the Apple devices were the easiest as I could share the password across my devices just by bringing them close to each other.

Where I could use WPS that meant I could connect the printer and some Windows machines. The hardest devices to connect to the new wireless network was the Amazon Alexa devices, but got those done in the end.

We also got new digital phones.

They were outside…

Well there was a BT Openreach van outside our house today.

According to the information I have from BT, when they install FTTP, before the day of installation, they come on another day and put fibre between the pavement and the house.

I don’t know if they did that today, but if they did another step on my way to FTTP.

Automatic cancellation

fibre
Image by Chaitawat Pawapoowadon from Pixabay

Having placed an order for full fibre from BT I was expecting to have to go through the process of cancelling my plusnet account. 

However this was all automated as BT made a request to them, as I was changing provider.

They did make repeated requests to me to change my mind, but the problem was not that I wasn’t happy with them or their service, just that they didn’t provide the FTTP service I wanted. If they did I would have stayed with them.

Alas there wasn’t an easy way to provide them with this feedback, the e-mail I replied to bounced!

Decided not to phone them either.

Just a week to go now…

It’s both the end and the beginning

fibre
Image by Daniel Dino-Slofer from Pixabay

I have placed an order for fibre to the premises FTTP with estimated speeds of 900Mb/s down and 110Mb/s up. Should be up and running in the next couple of weeks.

A few months back our local area was awash with BT Openreach vans.

I did wonder if they were installing full fibre connections, or fibre to the premises FTTP. I remember at the time doing a search, but no news on any kind of upgrade to either cabinet 25 or the Worle Exchange.

Bizarrely enough it was an advert on Instagram that caught my attention back on the 1st October. Almost for a joke I decided to see if I could get faster fibre, I wasn’t expecting to, but was quite surprised to see that I could in fact have FTTP! 

Having suffered poor ADSL speeds for many years, I was really pleased, in September 2017 when BT Openreach finally finished the upgrade to cabinet 25 and we could have FTTC fibre.

With roughly 30Mb/s download and 9Mb/s upload speed I felt I was back, in terms of internet speeds, where I was in 2012 at our old house before we moved. Eight years ago I blogged about how I lost my FTTC connection having moved house (literally just moved down the same road).

It took over five years for BT Openreach to upgrade Cabinet 25 so we could have FTTC.

One of the reasons I didn’t place an order straight away was that, if I ordered BT Full Fibre I would have to close my current internet account with my ISP. Now I have been with my ISP since 1998, they were my first ISP, well the first I paid for after a free trial with AOL. I had seen an advert in a computing magazine, they were called Force9 and were based in Sheffield.

I had a dial-up internet account with them initially where I paid a monthly fee for internet access as well as any telephone charges.

Stayed with them when I moved house. In June 2000, the Force9 brand was changed to Plusnet. This coincided with the introduction of the Surftime dialup internet products, the first real 24/7 unmetered dial-up service in the UK. This worked really well with the Airport Extreme base station I had with integrated modem. I could use my Mac to enable the connection and then use the wifi across the home to use the internet wherever I was in the house.

When ADSL was enabled in February 2003, I upgraded to this new faster internet. The always on nature of ADSL changed how I used the internet, and in some ways how the internet used me. 

Plusnet was sold to BT in 2007 and I think it lost a little of its soul that day, but I stuck with them.

On this day in 2010 I upgraded to FTTC and this was a real revelation. With 40Mb down and 10Mb up this is significantly faster than the 1.3 down and 0.6 up I had before.

I was so disappointed when we moved house two years later and lost it and went back to the slow speeds of ADSL.

Five years later, cabinet 25 was upgraded and we had fibre back.

new fibre cabinet 25

All that time I was with Force9 or Plusnet as they like to be called.

When I found out I could have FTTP from BT, I did think I should be able to get FTTP from Plusnet as I recalled they were doing FTTP trials a few years back. Alas it was apparent that they don’t do FTTP products. So it was with a little sadness (don’t know why) that I ordered the BT Full Fibre product and this automatically activated the cancellation of my account with Plusnet.

It’s the end of one era and the start of another.

Landline was down…

Old Phone
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

…but I hadn’t noticed!

Found out this morning that my phone landline wasn’t working. I couldn’t make or receive calls and there was no dialling tone.

The thing is I have no idea how long it has been like this, the fact that the internet is still working, means I wasn’t suspicious something was amiss. It was only after I was having trouble with my mobile on the Three network that I tried the landline.

I mainly have a landline for the internet, so rarely use the phone for making actual phone calls. I wasn’t expecting any calls either, so that didn’t raise any alarms either.

The support process from BT was quite simple, after I had Googled “BT Line Checker” as there didn’t appear to be a path from the MyBT page. Once I found that page, I had to go through a diagnostic process on the website, which included going out to buy a replacement new phone just in case it was the phone, as well as using the test socket on the master socket.

The end result is that BT Engineers will be out to fix this by Friday…

Though I have no evidence, my suspicions are that this fault may have been caused a few days ago when there was a bundle of BT Openreach vans outside our house where they were working on something…

Tech Stuff: Top Ten Blog Posts of 2017

Over the last twelve months I have published 26 posts, many of these were about my return to fibre. So it is nice to see that the tenth most popular post on the blog this year was from nearly a year ago.  We will have fibre in “12 months”!  I said back then that according to BT Openreach we would have fibre within twelve months, I was slightly sceptical, but nine months after publishing that post I did get fibre.

new fibre cabinet 25

The ninth post was about when my iMac Fusion Drive Failed and had to have it replaced.

The post at number eight was another post about my fibre journey, Still checking… was when the cabinet was activated, but alas wasn’t accepting orders.

The seventh post was from 2012 when my HP Photosmart printer died. My printer is dead! was a sorry tale about how replacing the ink cartridges on the HP B110a resulted it in destroying the print head.

The post at six was about  Dusting off the Pogo my old Polaroid Bluetooth pocket printer. Still going strong.

Polaroid Pogo printer

The fifth post was how I don’t like BT FON which was originally published in 2011.

The post at number four was wondering Where are my Comic Life Styles? I found them.

The third most popular post was about the free wifi (or lack of) on my holiday, Haven no wifi

The post at number two was Comic Book Fonts which was about the amazing comic book fonts from Comic Book Fonts.

So the most popular post on the blog was my post about QR codes on chocolate bars,  Cadbury QR Coding and Twirling was published in 2015 and was one of many posts I published on the use of QR codes back then.

Cadbury Twirl Bites QR Code

Finally…

network cable

Well if you have been following my sorry saga of Cabinet 25 in Weston Village and it’s journey to fibre, you will be pleased, sorry relieved, that I finally have fibre. Five years after moving house my broadband is now FTTC and much faster than the 1.4Mb/s ADSL speeds I have had over that time. It’s being seven years since the Worle Exchange was upgraded for FTTC, but as with any FTTC enabled Exchange, you can only upgrade to fibre (FTTC) once the cabinet has been enabled.

I had been given an activation date of the 19th September. I had seen BT Openreach vans there that morning (they had been there the day before) so had reasonable expectations that the activation date wouldn’t be missed.

The only timing I had been given was that it would be completed by midnight, but I did wonder if it would be finished earlier, I just couldn’t see BT Openreach being there in the dark.

Mid afternoon my ADSL connection stopped. I did restart the router/modem but no connection. An hour later the modem went blue, I had a fibre connection.

It takes time for the connection to settle down, but I am pleased with a 25Mb/s download speed and it was nice to see how a 1GB software update which would have taken up to eight hours, take just eight minutes! The upload speed is slower than I would like at 2Mb/s but that’s still five times faster than what I had before.

Later it was nice to be able to be downloading an iOS update whilst streaming BBC iPlayer at the same time and browsing the web.

So I now have fibre.

Still waiting…

BT Openreach Faceplate

Okay so maybe being a little impatient, but I am still waiting on my fibre connection to be enabled.

BT Openreach finally enabled the cabinet on the 30th August and I placed my order with Plusnet the next day.

In my initial correspondence with Plusnet they seemed to imply that my connection would be upgraded on the 7th September.

However as with others I have since found out that my connection would be enabled on the 19th September. No actual time, but sometime during the day.

What I was confused with, was when I got FTTC at my old place, we had to have a visit from a BT Engineer who fitted a new faceplate to the master socket. So I was expecting to have some kind of appointment to have a faceplate installed. Talking to Plusnet customer service I have realised that as the predicted speed is low then I won’t need to have a new faceplate and “filters will work just fine”.

It was back in 2014 when BT decided that for up to 38MBps fibre connections that this could be a self-install option and therefore no faceplate needed to be fitted.

However some sites are recommending that you fit a faceplate anyhow.

We urge anyone considering or opting for a self-install fibre broadband service to install a faceplate filter. These are inexpensive and will generally deliver significant improvements in broadband speeds.

So I have been thinking that once I have the upgraded connection to fit my own faceplate. You can get them quite cheaply on Amazon.

So not long now and really fast speeds…

Well maybe just fast speeds…

Well faster than 1Mb/s at least!

The cabinet is enabled…

Originally BT Openreach said they would upgrade Cabinet 25 in Weston Village by the end of March, this deadline was quickly moved to the end of August. If you have been following my saga you will know that the final phase has been dragging.

Today, the 30th August, one day before the BT Openreach deadline, they have finished the process and are accepting orders for FTTC connections.

The cabinet is enabled...

I had checked earlier today and as for most of the last month the websites were saying, still checking stuff and no you can’t order a fibre connection today. This evening that has all changed and I could now place an order for a FTTC connection.

The speeds compared to my previous fibre connection are not as good.

The cabinet is enabled...

Back in 2010 I was getting 40Mb down and 10Mb up. According to the above information I can expect roughly 25Mb down and 4Mb up.

So the next step is to place an order…

I did try and upgrade my Plus.Net account, but their website failed with an error.

Probably down to the age of my old account, so I need to phone them…. and the phone lines are closed.

So tomorrow I may be able to order fibre, then there is a ten day wait.

I have been waiting five years, I think I can wait ten days.

They’re at the cabinet…

BT Openreach

While waiting for BT Openreach to finally finish activating the cabinet, they have been there for the last two days.

They updated the status on the BT Openreach back on the 20th July, back then they said:

You can’t order a fibre service today but typically it’ll be available to your premises within the next month.

Now over a month later, you still can’t place an order a fibre service.

I do wonder if they are finalising the activation, but who knows.

Still waiting….