Serious BT Broadband issue - very hard to resolve via call center.

edited 29 June 2011 at 10:35AM in Broadband & Internet Access
10 replies 1.7K views
uexuex Forumite
6 Posts
edited 29 June 2011 at 10:35AM in Broadband & Internet Access
Hi all and thanks for reading my post. Firstly let me lay down some background information as i would like this post to be left, once resolved, to help inform others should they experience this very strange and 'awkward' issue with their BT or other broadband service.

My name is Aaron Conway and i am an IT professional, when i say im an expert, i DO mean expert. I am not a householder who happens to be proficient at emailing 'funnies' and turning routers on and off. I run a firm in west wales repairing home and business computers and quite often resolving broadband issues too. At last count the repair totals were over 5,500 individual issues resolved within the last 5 years.

This may sound like trumpet blowing, but i feel it is important that i establish my position as someone who genuinely has good knowledge and experience in IT beyond the scope of home PC's and a bt home hub.

My issues began in 2009 with AOL (BT come later) and the issue then was so difficult to express to staff that i actually gave up, because at the time, it did not affect my business or personal life. The issue was as follows;

From EXACTLY 3.30pm each evening until midnight my connection would become unstable dropping from a perfect, solid 8mb, to around 300kbps or lower. Just about acceptable for internet and email but not for the many multimedia services out there. This was not only limited to evenings, from 3.30pm Friday it would not return to normal until 1am Monday.

Clearly this appears to be a shaping issue right? i mean obviously its excessive however peak time shaping is common and the fact of the matter is i did not use the PC at peak times very much so after 10-15 calls with AOL and their word that there was no rate limiting on my service, i gave up.

For the record throughout this period the synch rate of the line was 8125kbps+ DS and 456kbps US the speed test results returned around 6.5 - 7.5 mbps off peak and around 0.3mbps on peak. I also have access to a newsreader application used for downloading large amounts of data via multi threaded http transfer, this is where things got a little interesting, if i used enough individual connections i could still achieve 7mb+ transfer speeds ON peak despite the speedtest reading being consistently below 0.5mbs, try explaining that to any call center home or abroad!

Either way as stated i had given up on the issue putting it down to bad luck that the shaping software AOL were employing was impeding my service. I lived with it like this for 2 years.

Recently i purchased a subscription to SKY including the player and some sports packages and decided that i wanted to be able to stream video at a good rate during peak times and especially on weekends. So deciding i would get nowhere with my now 5 year+ old AOL subscription it was time for a wholesale move back to BT, hoping the issue would either resolve itself or at least worsen to the point of being communicable to a customer service representative.

Clearly with the advent of this post neither has occurred. Having spent hundreds of ££'s to buy my way out of various phone and broadband contracts i now have around 0.05kbps (or 56k yes like the modem) 24 hours a day 7 days a week. However i have a line synch speed of 8125kbps DS 423kbps US. This really confuses the call centers! In fact yesterday an indian lady DEMANDED that my internet was fine despite the fact that the DNS lookup was failing on every website tried.

There are a few reasons the poor old call centers are struggling with this one, number 1 is line speed all line tests come back perfect showing a solid 8mbps which i certainly cannot refute. Equally i will get web for around 5 mins after a router reset, max speed achieved during this window is 1.5mbps (according to however this rapidly drops back to around 0.3 or less rendering the internet unusable. Ping is around 250-3000+ some of the highest figures ive ever seen on an 8mb line. However there is no packet loss in testing. Now however my previously mentioned multithreaded newsreader will not download thus it is no longer a threading issue in my opinion.

So now i am stuck, awaiting a call that im fairly certain will never come from BT second level tech. Based on past experience calling cancellations may lead to some intelligence or at least an email address of an even higher tech department, but there is certainly no use further relaying the issue to the bog standard call centers who simply dont understand that i have 10+ computers and more than 100 routers at my disposal, thus a 156th reboot will not be necessary.

Well you made it to the end and right now you may be wondering what im even hoping for from this post. Well one is to begin to document the chain of events in case things get so serious that i call out BT for being in breach of contract, but two, more hopefully, is that someone involved with BT might be kind enough to get in touch and assist me in tackling this rather odd network problem, and then others will be able to follow this thread in the future.

Thanks for your time


  • edited 29 June 2011 at 10:54AM
    uexuex Forumite
    6 Posts
    edited 29 June 2011 at 10:54AM
    latest speedtest reads 0.07mbs down 0.01mbs up

    on the phone to BT CS @ 10.53am
  • uexuex Forumite
    6 Posts
    amazingly i think i just got through to the smartest man in India! Very impressed, he ran through technical details of the fault with me, explained that it was clearly an exchange throughput issue on my line (well yeah, known that for 2+ yrs) and that it would take 24 to 48 hours for the engineers to investigate and analyse the issue. Most surprisingly he gave me his full name (had to spell it however ;) ) and said he would accept full responsibility for the matter being pushed forward. No more than a token customer service ploy no doubt but still somewhat refreshing. What started as a potential BT bashing post may end up being a glowing appraisal of their customer service! Certainly far better than AOL thus far......but still no internet.... thank god for USB tethering and posh mobile phones!
  • HappyMJHappyMJ Forumite
    21.1K Posts
    You have to call several times to get the intelligent call center advisor. Good to hear you found one. The one I spoke to once didn't know the traffic shaping policy and claimed that all internet providers do the same once I explained a bit more about it. There's not much I can say I'm sure you have tried almost everything. Oh "did you turn it off and on again" LOL.... That always works doesn't it?

    My resolution to the traffic shaping was to use a proxy VPN in the US. Got my speeds right up from useless to 90% of the line speed.
    :p Regular savers earn 6% interest (HSBC, First Direct, M&S) :p Loans cost 2.9% per year (Nationwide) = FREE money. :p
  • PlutoinCapricornPlutoinCapricorn Forumite
    4.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    What a story. There is an official BT rep on this site: I think he mainly posts on the Home Phones board, although sometimes internet access is involved. He does sometimes intervene and get things sorted out.
    Who having known the diamond will concern himself with glass?

    Rudyard Kipling

  • uexuex Forumite
    6 Posts
    @ happyMJ a vpn would be somewhat impractical due to my usage levels (more than 100Gb per month download) however it is interesting that youi mention it as i have never heard of it being used to circumvent shaping. I have a recorded conversation with the (british) sales representative assuring me no peak time shaping, stating that "BT no longer practice this on unlimited services". I dont believe that for a second but i do hope that i can get at least a few meg on peak as i know many of my customers have no peak time streaming issues.

    @plutoincapricorn - Would be interested in his opinion on the matter hopefully he checks in at some point.
  • harenghareng Forumite
    532 Posts
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    That was one reason i would not go with BT or any other large organisation blatantly touting for business.

    The route of my FTTC troubles have been BT related not the ISP. Eventually sorted, rarely drop below 29meg in peak but has been 30k

    Why is it BT wont provide information to ISP's on individual exchanges.
  • You've been with two providers - AOL, one of the worst rated in the country, and BT who never fair much better than average.

    Do you want BT to resolve this, or try someone else who is far more competent? You could try Zen and IDNET, indeed one called AAISP volunteers to fix previously known issues on lines.

    Your post doesn't give enough clues to determine what the issue was. Perhaps it was throttling with AOL but that seems neither here nor there now. You mention specific times, which would point to a specific cause. Have you thought about REIN (electrical interference) which can impact ADSL services?

    As it stands now, suggest either BT sort it or release you from contract to someone who can supply the service. Writing to them specifying the date by which you expect it sorted or else you'll consider them in breach of your contract and move away without penalty might focus minds and stand you in a good position if you have to act on that.
  • HammymanHammyman
    9.9K Posts
    uex wrote: »
    My name is Aaron Conway and i am an IT professional, when i say im an expert, i DO mean expert. I am not a householder who happens to be proficient at emailing 'funnies' and turning routers on and off. I run a firm in west wales repairing home and business computers and quite often resolving broadband issues too. At last count the repair totals were over 5,500 individual issues resolved within the last 5 years.

    Business slow in west Wales then? :p
  • BT_company_representativeBT_company_representative Organisation Representatives - Private Messages may not be monitored
    1.9K Posts
    Hi Uex,

    I would like to take a look at your broadband for you. Please could you send my in your details using the link found in my profile?


    Official Company Representative
    I am the official company representative of BT. MSE has given permission for me to post in response to queries about the company, so that I can help solve issues. You can see my name on the companies with permission to post list. I am not allowed to tout for business at all. If you believe I am please report it to [email protected] This does NOT imply any form of approval of my company or its products by MSE"
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Forumite
    0 Posts
    Tenth Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    You mention you use over 100Gb amonth!!! That ain't causing the problem but BT unlimited is not unlimited!! once you reach 100GB within a month they will throottle you at peak time for a whole months... i had to watch meself after suffering as it was impossible to play game... but aprt from that i live out in the country in devon should get 8meg max but on get 7100mbps straight 24/7. so im happy... thou did have a problem once when BT link was snap outside house & when i phoned them up the said the line was fine when they test it.. Imagine the s*** i went through took me a week to get them to get an enginner out... oh and as for the resprentive above trying to help you... dont bother they useless. Hope you get it fixed
This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides

Energy price cap could be extended beyond 2023

New plans have just been announced by the Government

MSE News

Cheap contents insurance for tenants

DON'T assume your landlord covers you

MSE Guides

Summer sizzlers round-up

Incl £2ish sun cream & £1.50 disposable BBQs

MSE Deals