Automated Home 2.0 – #39 The Pain of Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)

After sharing next door’s internet for a few months we now have our own fibre connection. Unfortunately getting here has been a painful experience.

The Worst Double Act in History?

The BT and Openreach double act are more comical than Laurel and Hardy, but the slapstick soon wears thin.

We have fibre running along our road and I always knew getting an FTTP connection to the new Automated Home was going to be possible, but I also knew it was going to take stamina. Our other next door neighbour logged over 50 hours on the phone over many months, trying to organise his FTTP, before finally giving up and going with a wireless solution instead.

Openreach Vans

While we were building we had to run a copper cable in the BT supplied ducting. BT would not take an order for fibre until we had copper phone line installed first. In an age when we are supposed to be conserving our natural resources more than ever, how many metres of copper wire are going into the ground that will never be used?

Once the traditional line was in we were then allowed to order the fibre. This led to a ‘full house’ on the usual BT Bingo game. Lost orders, re-orders, delays and no shows at appointments after staying off work and sitting in for hours waiting. On one follow-up call to BT the lady told me that NI Openreach team were particularly hard to get on the phone. The irony of the UK’s biggest communications partnership not being able to contact each other was not lost on me. On that same call I was asked if I would have the Openreach guys number that worked on our house previously and be able to phone him myself. The lady explained if she rang them that would be seen to be an unfair advantage to BT over other broadband providers. BT cannot contact Openreach? Really?

Blown Fibre

It was interesting to finally watch the fibre being blown down the ducting from our garage to the pole. We have a much neater (Nokia?) ONT FTTP modem than the last house although the fibre looks quite vulnerable against the wall.

It was another wait of many weeks before things progressed on from this stage though. And I was still fielding the usual ill-informed BT phone calls saying my home would be ‘surveyed soon’ even though I already had fibre in my garage.

From the point where the fibre enters the garage it is patched into an RJ45 wall-box and the in-wall cable from there heads over to the rack in another corner of the garage. I will be adding a PoE Splitter here so we can power the ONT from our UniFi switch.

Openreach FTTP Wall Box

Persistence

The whole process took hundreds of phone calls and multiple visits. Persistence is the name of the game though and we had our final visit from Openreach, with everything finally connected up 7 months after I placed our order.

In the end this was mainly thanks to ‘Chris’ a local contact at Openreach who took control, sorted the issues and made things happen. I feel genuinely sorry for these guys having to deal with systems which are so clearly broken and in total disarray.

I had 3 x £25 credits applied to my account over the whole saga, but as with our previous experience, I would much prefer that BT and Openreach keep their money and just get it right instead.

In the last few weeks we have installed a UDM-Pro as our FTTP Router – but more on that in a future post.

We now have a sub 20ms ping time and a 150/30 service, with the faster Up speed particularly welcomed as it makes streaming our UniFi Protect camera system even smoother. The next pricing tier would take us to a 300/50 connection and there should be plenty of capacity to go all the way to 900mbps in the future if and when required.

A fast Internet connection is central to so many things we do in the home today and it’s such a joy to finally have here, despite all the pain of the process. So then, if you are about to set out on your journey with BT / Openreach you have my sympathy, but hang on in there, FTTP is worth the wait.

Remember to check out our Instagram to follow the project, read the rest of the Automated Home 2.0 blog posts and find the links to all the products we’ve used in our self-build.

7 Comments on "Automated Home 2.0 – #39 The Pain of Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)"

  1. Congratulations Mark! I will have to wait to Winter 2023 for the rollout of Project Stratum before fibre arrives here. Will make do with 4G with its variable speeds and pings and the 8mb land line.

  2. We had FTTP installed last year and it was absolutely painless, BT and Openreach were brilliant. The connection speed is consistently 148Mb/s down and 30Mb/s up.

  3. @Mark B – Thanks

  4. @Ian – Lucky you. This is my 5th FTTP install and 3 out the 5 have been similar to this.

  5. Richard Manford | April 20, 2021 at 12:35 pm |

    We are a community group trying to get FTTP and agree that the individuals in Openreach are very helpful but the ‘system’ in Openreach is a nightmare. I am surprised you were not given FTTP in the first place as we told this is standard now on all new build. Whilst getting the initial quote for our area we were given addresses of recently built houses who Openreach told us were eligible for vouchers even though they already had a FTTP connection. Now the voucher scheme has changed we have not heard from them for a month.

  6. I’ve been wondering about FTTP in my area for a while. Unfortunately BT own the conduit in the road and as a result only services that utilise their hardware are ones that we can have. Unsurprisingly these are all less good than the BT service. I can’t fathom how BT wants to charge me £576 a month to have FTTP installed when Openreach are laying the infrastructure at the bottom of my road but with no plans anytime soon to actually put it in the road xD

  7. Andrew Henry | April 25, 2021 at 9:22 pm |

    You may wish to notify BT that you will be charging them for your time at around £25 per hour.
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3091022/Man-wins-1-500-payout-Sky-BILLING-25-hour-time-wasted-two-YEARS-trying-service-cancelled.html

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