O2 Broadband fails to deliver or support

Since I’ve moved to O2 Broadband on the 30th of October I’ve had nothing but problems, and I’ve struggling trying to get an uninterrupted connection to the Internet.

Honestly I can’t remember how many times I’ve called their support, but I’ll try and talk you through what’s happened and update things as and when they happen. Here’s a rundown of the problems that I’ve been experiencing with the service.

Here’s the problem. The connection continually restarts, disconnecting, pausing for a period of time, and then reconnecting after two to three minutes. During the worst periods this happens every fifteen to twenty minutes, during the best it has remained up for a couple of hours.

Also I’ve had a nightmare trying to set-up the router and I find that devices connected wirelessly cannot access network shares, etc with the devices that are connected through the Ethernet connection and vice versa.

If the devices trying to access shares are on Ethernet then they can communicate fine and access shares. It’s very strange.

Speed tests show that I am receiving just over 4Mbps download speed when I am paying for an 8Mbps connection. Not something you’d expect within the city limits of Edinburgh.

Add to that the issue that has just arisen with their DNS Servers whereby requests are regularly failing, and I’m receiving the worst service I have in seven years, the period of time I’ve been with Demon Internet previously.

So here’s the rundown of what happened, this is an extract of a letter that has been sent to the CEO’s of O2, Matthew Key and Peter Erskine.

Since signing up to O2 Broadband on the 30th of October I have been experiencing a constant problem with the connection where the connection is dropped and restarted in intervals from fifteen minutes to thirty minutes.In the past week the connection time has, thankfully, increased. However there are still random disconnections which cause any active downloading or gaming sessions to be cancelled. This proves a huge annoyance when I am trying to download trailers to write about on my private business site Filmstalker (www.filmstalker.co.uk) and find that often the downloads need to be restarted, often multiple times.

While I have found your support teams to be polite and willing to help, I have yet to have the problem resolved, and the non-arrival of a BT Engineer to check the house connection has prompted me to write this letter to you.

I am sure you will be able to obtain the history of the problem through the case number above, although how detailed that will be I am unsure as I am continually asked to explain the problem and previous contact, fully and in detail every time I phone. To summarise the contact I’ve had:

  • I reported the problem and ran through the usual issues: micro filter, interference, location, etc.
    • – This was the same location, position and micro filter that the Demon router had used for three years
  • Initially the support person did not believe there was an issue and increased the noise gain on the line. This did help and the disconnects stopped, but it was removed after a twenty four hour period at which point the disconnections began happening again with the same regularity
  • After calling the helpdesk again the support staff went through the standard questions again and informed me that a monitor would have to be placed on my line for twenty four hours
  • I called back the next day to discover that the monitor had failed within the first few hours and it had to be run again
  • I called back the next day and was told that there was no record of a monitor and I would have to call back the following day to talk to the support person who set it up
  • I called back the next day and discovered that the monitor had been lost or showed no data, I fail to recollect which, and so it had to be run again
  • I called back the next day and it was confirmed that the trace was showing the disconnections. If I remember rightly it was now that a BT Engineer was suggested
  • The call was raised with BT and I was told that they would investigate
  • When I called back to find out what had happened with the BT investigation I was told that they had checked the exchange and that there was no problem
  • The support raised the call with BT again and arranged for them to come to my house to check the phone lines. I arranged for a day off and we scheduled the visit for the afternoon of the 28th November between 13:00 and 15:30. I went through a rather protracted and painful conversation to ensure that I would receive a call back afterwards
  • I was home all day and no engineer arrived or called
  • Calling support I was told that BT had actually closed the call. They had visited the exchange and determined that the problem lay with O2, not BT, but no one called to tell me and my day off was wasted
  • I was told that the support contact would reopen the call and get BT out to the exchange to fix something

When I sent that letter this was the last contact I had from O2. However the day I sent it I received a call from them asking how things were and if the problems were still occurring, this is the same question I receive at every phone call. Things still aren’t working.

After another frustrating call I told them that I had to get this fixed, and considering the amount of time it was taking I would be easier changing provider.

They were very apologetic and told me that they should really run a trace for a couple of days to understand the problem and be able to investigate the matter more thoroughly. I agreed and expected to hear back from them in a number of days.

It was the following day that I received a callback with a new reference number for the problem, not the one I have been given all this time. So I called back today and started the conversation with being asked if the problem was still happening, how often the disconnects were, and the standard questions which I’ve answered every time.

I was passed through to second level and talked to a support person who told me that they couldn’t find the BT call on the system – what BT call I have no idea, perhaps they mean one of the two that were opened and closed previously – and would give me a call back.

That call back happened an hour and ten minutes later when they returned with the news that they had fixed my connection and there had been no restarts in the last hour.

On asking how they did this they said that they had increased the noise ratio, which meant I might get lesser speeds. Now that was frustrating as I was already receiving just over 4Mpbs (according to speedtest.net).

No, apparently I am getting over 6Mbps, and he could show me in the router. So I connected to the router and found that it actually said just over 5Mbps (although running multiple speed tests show from 3.5Mpbs to 4.1Mbps) and that the up time was only 5 minutes!

Asking me to verify my home number there was a pause before he told me that there had indeed been resets in the last hour showing fifteen to twenty minute gaps. He told me he would raise another call and get back to me in fifteen minutes.

This is getting ridiculous.

Update: 18/12/2007

Earlier this evening I received a phone call from the support teams again. “Are you still getting the disconnects?” – I honestly felt like screaming. It turns out that they want to run a test on my line…

What? Haven’t you done that already I asked? Wasn’t that being run? Well apparently it was but then BT reported back that there was no problem – this would be BT who were called twice before and reported there was no problem, the same BT who didn’t turn up at my house for an appointment.

It turns out that now they’ve “made some changes” to my connection and want to monitor it over the next twenty-four hours. Fine, what’s another day paying for an always on 8Mbps line and getting up for fifteen minutes 4Mbps?

After the call I checked the router, here’s what one of the key areas now says:

Bandwidth (Up/Down) [kbps/kbps]: 910 / 3,981

Now that’s what I’m getting for my 8Mbps connection.

I guess that this is increasing the noise gain on the line to see if reboots keep happening. Well I can tell them that not five minutes into the connection being on after I hard rebooted the router for the test, it automatically restarted.

Personally I remain convinced that this is the router. However now I’m really losing my patience, and if the fear of being cut off over the holidays wasn’t at my heels then I would leave now.

Update: 19/12/2007

The connection speed has changed again, back to the following:

Bandwidth (Up/Down) [kbps/kbps]: 910 / 5,091

Update: 20/12/2007

Now back to the following after my letters to the CEO’s were responded to by O2. More on that to follow.

Bandwidth (Up/Down) [kbps/kbps]: 910 / 3,964

Update: 13/06/2008

Well the problem still isn’t resolved. A lot has happened and I’ve not been updating so let’s see if I can summarise for you.

I pushed forward with the support line and through a couple more calls of repeating the same tests again I managed to get a BT Engineer sent out by O2 to check the condition of the lines from the exchange to the house.

When he arrived, and thankfully he did, we discovered that the two and a half thousand feet from the exchange to the house master socket had no signal degredation, but the fifteen feet from the master to the first slave destroyed the signal giving me less than half the speed from the slave socket.

Now don’t turn away thinking that this was the problem, stick with me here.

The engineer went to the first slave socket and opened it up, discovering that the wiring was a complete mess – those were his words, and he had plenty more to say too. It turned out that the wiring in a house has to be in a ring network in order to keep the voltage constant for the attached devices. A ring tone takes a tiny voltage but an ADSL takes a larger one and an ADSL2 larger than that.

My house had been wired in a star network, i.e. every socket in the house was cabled directly to the slave socket, thus splitting the voltage from the slave eight ways. Not only that but they were eight or so if the clear block wiring connectors splitting and connecting wires in the back of the slave socket, and they all came piling out when the socket was taken away from the wall.

Looking at it the Engineer was convinced that this mess of wiring done by some “sparky” – again his comments – was the cause of the problem.

After a little discussion and me assuring him that I agreed and understood the after affects, he disconnected all the other points in the house and left the slave directly connected to the master.

Fantastic, suddenly there was full speed and no degredation of signal in the fifteen feet from the slave to the master. The BT Engineer was now happy that the house wiring was perfect, although I had no sockets in the rest of the house connected any longer.

Since then the problems have continued, and the connection continues to disconnect and reconnect at regular intervals. I’ve raised it a couple of times with the support desk but due to a wedding, honeymoon, and all sorts, I’ve been rather busy. After the film festival in the next two weeks I’ll raise it all again and see where I get to.

As of now though, the house wiring is still an issue. BT helped me by disconnecting all the sockets apart from the slave directly wired to the master which they have shown as fully operational.

I took the issue to Cala Homes telling them what the Engineer had said and their response, which I’ll reprint in full in another story, was that they did not wire the house for internet connections and only made sure it worked with a telephone – the house is only four years old. There are no standards which they should wire houses to, and so tough luck.

3 comments on “O2 Broadband fails to deliver or support”

  1. Anonymous Reply

    Hi, silly question, but have you tried plugging the router into the test socket and seeing what results you get? If they are significantly better then its your internal wiring. I had a similar problem. If this is the case disconnect the extensions in your master socket then this should be ok. Let us know how you get on.

    What speed internet did you have before?

    When you get into the realms of 8mb its more sensitive.

    Hope this helps.


  2. Richard Brunton Reply

    Well I really have to update this as there have been quite a few developments since. Let me get an update done in the next few days so you can see where I am with this.

  3. Jonny Reply

    I’v got the same problem with O2, but it only happens when I use a phone or if the phone rings. It’s probably something to do with the old and long wiring up to the 3rd floor. However I am getting quite a good speed, I paid for the 16mbps service, and I’m getting around 13+ mbps. Last time I was with Eclipse Broadband 8mbps service, and I got around 2mbps. Did you manage to solve it?

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