Why are you ALWAYS argumentative, contradictory, wrong, threatening and expensive...?
11 October 2010  (or get straight to the bottom for the latest updates...)
Never mind all the cuddly PR and marketing nonsense, BT support remains one of the most tedious operations in the land to deal with, because they will never ever accept a fault report without first assuming the customer is responsible for having done something daft. OK, so there's a good chance that many BT customers will have tripped over a cable or otherwise caused an obvious problem - but to treat absolutely everyone in this manner without the possibility of accepting that a customer is not as stupid as they think is not only tiresome, it is expensive.
The background here is that I get 4 DSL services from a BT Wholesale network reseller - Entanet - who add considerable value to the service of delivering internet IP connections using the BT backbone. Enta provide enhanced technical services that BT cannot - not least a simple no-fuss pay to install, pay monthly deal with clearly set parameters that can be monitored in real time. Enta also provide their customers with a decent phone service staffed by native black country English speakers who know what they are doing.
But Enta (and their customers) are at the mercy of the ever arrogant BT, who over the past 10 years of our experience always react to fault reports by insisting it's not their problem, and if they send out an engineer and he can find no fault, then there will be a £195 callout charge. This type of threat encourages the end user to test everything thoroughly to confirm that there is nothing they could be accused of, and in that process, quite frequently original working configurations get fiddled about with for no reason, because the fault was and remains, with BT.
ADSL services are technically quite complex, and have been getting more complex; and the diagnostics are complex. However in the case below I have used a perfectly simple comparison test to prove that the line under suspicion is indeed operating incorrectly, because another line from the same exchange carrying the Entanet service, plugged into the router that ceased working at around 2am on a Sunday (a time when a lot of "service upgrades tend to get done) works just fine.
Likewise the line under suspicion when plugged into the previously working router, still didn't work..
It's hard to think of a more cut and dried proof, but we are talking about BT here, so please read on...

From: Weary BT Customer
Sent: 10 October 2010 11:58
To: ''
[Busted BT #] (DANBURY)


I have reported this fault to my provider (EntaNet) using their automated phone system.


This circuit is definitely got a problem, dialtone present and voice OK, ADSL not:


ADSL Line:  01245[Busted BT #] (DANBURY)  xxxxxxxx>


I pulled the connection from a backup on 01245[Working BT #]


And plugged it into the router (Zyxel P662-HW1 - widely acknowledged as one of the best, supported in the UK by the wonderfully technically competent Electronic Frontier team, and sold by BT themselves:, and that all works OK. So the ADSL delivered on [Busted BT #] is definitely the issue.


So if you check [login1] you will see that has a connection - but it is not using its designated line number.

login2 is off the air now - because it is trying to use 01245[Busted BT #]


Kindly get BT to sort it.


[Busted BT #]:




[Working BT #]



I called Enta to try and chase this along, and was told to read the notes on their partner website. Which I did.


  10 Oct 2010 14:37 BT's diagnostics have come back as follows:

Problem Explanation: [CU12] The Copper Line test has failed (LN/EX/CE/FU).
Resolution/Recommendation: Please report this to the telephony provider.

FAULT - Battery Contact

This will need reporting to the voice provider   





I then called again and asked if they really meant for me to Call BT, if BT's own diagnostics service had reported a problem - why can't BT not report the fault to BT..? I was told that would be far too obvious and simple, and that in the real world, if I wanted to get anything done, I would have to call 152 and report the line fault myself. Which I did. I then sent this message:-



-----Original Message------
Sent: 10 October 2010 17:24
To: ''
Subject: RE: [ #2091356] AutoReply: FAULT CONFIRMED ON ADSL Line: 01245[Busted BT #] (DANBURY)


Dear Entanet:


The partners site message says:



10 Oct 2010 14:37 Peter Butler


BT's diagnostics have come back as follows:


Problem Explanation: [CU12] The Copper Line test has failed (LN/EX/CE/FU).

Resolution/Recommendation: Please report this to the telephony provider.


FAULT - Battery Contact


This will need reporting to the voice provider



So I called 152 and attempted to tell them. The barely audible woman at the end of the line said she ran a test, and could not find any fault, and that I should report it to my provider. I explained that the provider had told me that BT had told me to contact BT and report the fault. So I just had.


We then went through the inane discussion of "when is BT not BT" and after a discussion of what a daft state of affairs this seemed to be, I reminded the woman that the customer was always right. In fact, she made it worse by saying that you can get petrol and bread Tesco, but you wouldn't take a mouldy loaf back to the petrol checkout, would you? 

At which point I muttered stuff like "beyond belief" "watchdog" ending with the news that customer is always right, in case she had forgotten. And she shuffled me onto another BT Broadband help line where I sat for 12 minutes of "we are very busy". (This was 4pm on a Sunday for heavens sake - BT seems to employ about half the number of staff required to offer a service in their enthusiasm for cuts).


I asked for written confirmation from this new person that the original fault report from BT had been wrong, because I suspected Enta might not believe me when I told that that Bt had said that BT was wrong, and that I should contact Enta again. Here it is:-



From: steven.crook

Sent: 10 October 2010 17:07

To: [frustrated BT customer]

Subject: Copper line test


To William,


This email is just to confirm that I have carried out a copper line test on 01245227XXX and everything is testing fine. Also as your phone service works ok is a clue as to the line status.


Many thanks





SO I have changed the microfilter on [Busted BT #] and it makes no difference. I have swapped the lines back over. No change.


Conclusion: there is a fault with the ADSL service delivered on 01245 [Busted BT #]


The logs show that this fault commenced at 1.57.51 AM today


Request: Please sort it out - and tell BT to tell BT to stop passing the buck.


[Disgruntled customer]


I followed up with another call, and explained the story far (again) and was told that the line was listed with an uncleared  fault on it. Presumably from teh discussions yesterday with BT. I was told to chase BT to tell BT that the Fault that BT said didn't exist had been reported by BT and that this was preventing Enta from doing further investigation until it was closed.

By the time I logged in and found the relevant bit, it seemed that the fault had been closed.



So despite BT telling me yesterday there was no fault on the line, they seem to have logged something anyway; albeit they closed it almost immediately, but it was still showing the following morning,  and impeding the diagnostics by Enta.

Now able to run diagnostics again, here is the current Enta fault procedure report:- (date order bottom up)

  11 Oct 2010 17:45   Engineer booked for 13/10 between 0800-1300 
  11 Oct 2010 17:06   Line passed on for SFI booking for [No Sync]

Enhanced Care : [No]

The Following details were also given..
Please book ASAP and update reseller on 01245 227 804 line is out of sync, you will need to log CCSFI and then book

The following checks have been performed...
Confirmed With : [Reseller]
Confirmed PSTN : [Yes]
Confirmed CPE : [Yes]
Confirmed Charges : [Yes]
Confirmed Bill Payer : [Yes]
#9 Confirmation : [Yes]

First EU available..

Second EU available..
  11 Oct 2010 16:45   Problem Explanation: [NS11] The circuit is not in sync.

Resolution/Recommendation: Please follow your diagnostic procedures to resolve the fault as it is not BTW network related. Should this action not resolve the issue you can book an SFI appointment

The engineer will look at the BT network as well as any possible issue with internal wiring, filters etc.

If a problem on the BT network is identified, no charges should be raised. However if no fault is found on the BT network a charge may be raised for this visit, which currently stands at £195 + VAT for the engineer to test the frames/network/Internal Wiring/Internal Equipment. We would therefore advise you to check all internal wiring and try alternative hardware before booking an appointment. This includes trying the router or modem in the Test socket, which located behind the master socket.

The two engineering slots available for this are between 08:00 to 13:00 (AM) or between 13:00 to 18:00 (PM) slots.

Please note that if an appointment has been booked and then requires cancelling, we would need to be notified before 15:00 hours on the working day
before the engineering visit, or charges of �85+VAT may be incurred. If the EU is not available for an arranged slot charges of �85+VAT may be
  11 Oct 2010 11:34   The Line associated with the provided Service id is currently in Fault.
Resolution/Recommendation: Refer End User to telephony provider to confirm PSTN fault open.



Having shared this tale with colleagues, a couple of other matters came to light. One comment from a major ISP confirmed suspicions that BT has a reputation for equipment upgrades that can lead to apparent inconsistencies.

"Same issue. Continual faults, each one was fixed after reporting it to BT but BT's response was always "no fault found".

Finally they upgraded the local exchange. The service stopped completely and this time BT reported "Customer Equipment Fault". BT engineer turned up on site with an ADSL/2 router to demonstrate their position.

The fact was, as it finally turned out, that they'd configured the new exchange not to accept connections from non-ADSL/2 routers, despite policy to the contrary."


Much against its will, BT had to be forced to share its monopoly of broadband backbone, and then the copper itself with other ISPs in the process of "unbundling". It has done so with pretty bad grace in many instances, and seems keen to try and make the process as tedious as possible, perhaps driving people to conclude that they might as well get all the aggravation in one place and just deal with BT: "the devil we know".

There is apparently a widespread practise within BT to bamboozle customers by their arcane procedures and buck passing expertise, and never admit to faults they have frequently brought about or uncovered themselves by equipment and software "upgrades" (and any windows user knows how risky those can be...).

We, the customers accept that BT has a big challenge on its s when hand trying manage the vast and diverse range of equipment of multiple vintages that it now operates, as the result of the ponderous roll out of broadband, and the poor decisions taken to try and wring the last gasp from its decaying copper infrastructure when the rest of the planet was gearing up for fibre to the home.

Over many years experience of dealing with BT as the carrier of 3rd party ADSL services, faults seem to occur "out of thin air", and when reported, are immediately denied by BT; but then when shouted at long and hard enough, the problems mysteriously disappear without any comment from BT. The user is generally relieved to get service back, and can't face the process of trying to take BT to task for the matter, having been made well aware that there is probably going to be a further conspiracy of silence; and so BT gets away with another one.

One very useful thing would be a cheap "universal" line tester that was able to produce sensible diagnostics in a common format. With BT's threats of £195 visits, such a box must surely be possible for £20-30, and every broadband user would get one sooner or later as their BT service failed and so the long process described above drags on..


Oct 12th

The argus-like surveillance of social media by BT seems to have spotted some of my rantings about this, and I got a tweet:

@ Hi I can help with any problems you are having with your BT services. What seems to be the issue you're having?

I replied :-

 William Poel 
@ If you can assist it would be wonderful - the full story is here  email 

And then I got this absolute copper bottomed buck passing classic:-

@ We are BT Retail, not BT Wholesale or BT Openreach, will you confirm if we provide any of your services?

and then shortly after

@ email your BTa/c# to  enter your twitter id in the subject field, tweet when sent & I'll take a look & get back to you

So I did as I was asked (I always do) and await further developments.

It seems BT is happy to pretend to be one coherent all-encompassing and globally capable behemoth when they want to market their brand and their image, but at the first sniff of any support requirement, they scatter for the hills and point in all directions, threatening charges galore for fixing what is almost always their own problems. Am I alone in thinking that it's time to nail this disgraceful state of affairs once and for all?

The Dénouement

Wednesday, October 13th, 8.10am. Phone rings - BT Openreach bloke, initially tries the "is it really plugged in" routine, but soon realises I know what I am talking about and heads straight to the exchange when I tell him the fault started at 1.50am on a Sunday. That's a Really Big Clue for the cognoscenti. The circuit came back up again after 20 minutes.

Now then, where do I send BT the bill for the above investigation? And which part of BT? Tell you what, I will charge them all £1000, just to be on the safe side.