More BT Broadband connection woes

BT Voyager 2500V upside down

I’ve been having more ‘fun and games’ with BT Broadband, hence my online absence (my offline presence) last night. I’d e-mailed them last week when service started to deteriorate and then magically things cleared up shortly after I’d contacted them, but last night things got much, much worse: connection dropping randomly about every 30 – 300 seconds.

BT Public Switch Telephone Network

The e-mail reply I’d got from BT support suggested that I call PSTN (Public Switch Telephone Network). So I did.

I followed the voice prompts, made the appropriate selections and was told to call another number … which turned out to be the number for the original people who’d told me to call PSTN!!

BT Broadband Support

So I called them — which turned out to be a call centre in India — and spoke to a very polite man for about 30 mins, who asked me the same bunch of questions that I’d been asked last month.

But. Nothing. Has. Changed. Here.

So why is it all of a sudden dropping out again? I’ve not done anything other than fit a new, better microfilter and if anything that improved the connection. For a while.

So he said that they needed to run a line test. A few minutes later he returned to say that they had indeed found a fault, could I hold again and he’d speak to the Line Fault Team.

I held and told Jane that they were consulting the Fault Line Team. So now she thinks that not only do we have trouble with broadband there is also going to be an imminent earthquake.

After a few minutes I was passed on to the Line Fault Team, just about the time that I was beginning to feel that I was in need of a Life Fault Team. And the loo!

BT Line Fault Team

“I bet they just ask you exactly the same questions that the last person asked you,” said Jane.

Which is exactly what happened, and I was left with the following advice:

  1. Unplug your router and plug it into the master socket test point.
  2. Move your PC into the hallway and connect it to the router (do they think that everyone’s main PC is a laptop?!).
  3. Monitor the connection for the next two hours and call them back on 0800 731 8578.

“Only, you can’t,” she said, “because we’re only open from 09:00 – 21:00 and we close in 30 minutes.”

Only, thought I, I can’t because I want to go to bed now, I’m exhausted!

I plugged it in to the test socket and left it overnight in the hope that it might magically work by the time I got up in the morning.

It didn’t: I’ve been monitoring it for the last two hours off an on and it has dropped out and reconnected at least 6 times in the last 20 minutes alone.

The trial continues…

So … we still have a dodgy broadband connection, a Voyager 2500V Configuration Manager screen filled with interesting facts that I don’t really understand (noise margin, line attenuation, output power — are high numbers good? are low numbers bad?) and a frustrated user (me) who just wants a stable connection enough to update a few websites and write my blog.

I suspect that the problem may lie with the telephone line from the exchange to the house. I also suspect that the internal phone extension wiring in the house may need checked — but whom do we ask to check that?

Whatever happened to the good old days of British Telecom sending out a human to check these problems?

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

17 thoughts on “More BT Broadband connection woes”

  1. One thing you can be sure of with BT is they will never change 🙂 they specialise in offering a poor service – just wait until you try and move to another bb supplier then the fun and games really start.

    Back to the problem: I would take a look at whats running on your PC, stuff that will interfere with ports – the worst offender is Zone alarm doing its job, it sounds like something running in the background, AV, checking for updates – also from memory bt have their own blocking software (i think) so check no conflicts there.

    Check event viewer system logs (compmgmt.msc) from the run command

  2. I know that it is nothing running on my PC, because my configuration hasn’t changed since I left Cellardyke where we had no problems whatsoever in 8 months there.

    I don’t have any of BT’s ‘useful’ software installed — I just have a straight network connection into the router, and have my own security software (anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-trojan and firewall) which is all behaving as it should.

    I can only conclude that it is either a) my router or b) the line. I’ll blog tomorrow about what happened these last couple of days regarding support, suffice to say here that after a number of calls to the line fault people it has all been cleared up now — connection hasn’t dropped now for about 18 hours.

  3. Hi Gareth,

    At the risk of flogging what may be a somewhat deceased solid-hoofed plant-eating quadruped (and please feel free to use the term ‘ass’ if appropriate), did you plug microfilters into your other (inc. unused) extension sockets yet?


  4. Hi Ali, I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. I suspect that it’s just standard ADSL. That is a great site to which you linked, thanks.

    Hi Martin, after your previous suggestion of this I ordered more microfilters, which are currently happily hanging flacidly from unused phone points.

    The problem, it appears, had something to do with the phone line, but I’m unsure about the exact cause.

  5. can i just add something to your above comment the BT Technical depts both pstn and adsl depts are open 24 hours so before you start complaining check this and the fact that any adsl service can only be guaranteed to the main socket due to the fact that some idiots belive that they are able to do there own internal wiring thats why you required to test into the main test socket!!!! and nobody checks the extensions unless bt supplied them in the last 12mths. so read up on the facts before you start thinking that you know the bt or even telephone system you prat!!!!

  6. Thank you for that less than constructive and badly punctuated offering “youn prat!!!”.

    If I may offer two points in reply.

    The first thing is that I don’t pretend to understand how the telephone system or how BT works, and have nowhere suggested that I do.

    As it is, I shouldn’t have to understand the telephone network system or business in order to ensure that a service I am paying for is working properly. That’s why I pay for this service: I buy into their expertise so that I can get the level of service that they are offering. And quite frankly I wasn’t getting that, so I complained and sought their help, following their instructions on how to troubleshoot the problem.

    Which leads me to my second point, which is that I was simply following the instructions that I got from BT themselves. Instructions that I found quite frustrating, because within the course of one telephone call, for example — that lasted nearly two hours — all I found myself doing was answering the same handful of questions three or four times, and then being passed onto someone else, who asked the same questions.

    I didn’t feel that I was being taken seriously and whenever then whenever they said that they had found the problem they’d pass me on to someone else who’d tell me that that was not the fault after all. And lastly when they told me that the problem had been fixed, it wasn’t. And you wonder why I was frustrated.

    So I contacted Broadband Technical Support AGAIN and then followed the instructions that they gave me AGAIN. Which took me round in a circle AGAIN, at least six or seven times within a few days: passed from Tech Support to Line Faults to PSTN and back to Tech Support, again and again and again. Somewhat frustrating when the problem was after all at their end!

    I’m well aware of the reason why BT will only guarantee the master socket signal, and quite agree. But, if you’d read the other posts about the problems I was having, my point was that I was disputing the fact that the problem had anything to do with any of my telephone sockets and was actually to do with something at the local exchange. Which it turned to be.

    So “youn prat!!!” I’m sorry to have to conclude that your comment really added nothing constructive to the discussion.

  7. Been having exactly the same problem for two months now, line drops after around 2 minutes (we made a whole 5 minutes last week). BT less than helpful, line apparently fine, used their own diagnostic software (which at 36mb had to be downloaded from someone with a proper ISP) and it said everything was absolutely fine. Engineer came round and was confused. Went back to exchange and said they’d plugged us into the wrong port, and changed it. Now it’s even worse. And, if you like a laugh, in the T&Cs on BT’s site you’re not allowed compensation for broadband outage, just voice calls. On a better note, OFCOM have actually done something useful and said MAC codes if you wish to switch must be issued within 7 days, not like the usual 7 bloody months with BT. (This is also a fresh install of XP Pro, so it ain’t the PC.)

  8. I read with interest as I reported a really slow Broadband connection to BT, which seemed to go but the following day the intermittent line dropping started. Apparently microfilters are to blame and oh yes the third party router I am using instead of their Voyager. It’s reassuring to read that it’s not just me that get’s frustrated with BT circles and useless diagnostic processes which don’t lead to any constructive fault finding. However, the last comment I try this occasionally and I have yet to see it work, it always says it’s busy!! If anyone does have any useful help on resolving the intermittent broadband dropping I’d be grateful. Thank you.


  10. I dont know where you are but I’m in Monmouthshire. We had immense problems. BT blamed it on us, we blamed it on them. I spent hours on the phone to BT complaining about an internet service that went on and off and slow speeds when it did work.

    In the end I went with an independent engineer who just calls himself “the BT man” ( and he attended and tested the line, found the fault, fixed it that same day and now we have roughly double the speed and a router light that isnt constantly bloody flashing!

    David, Penault.

  11. Is the BT man actually a BT man moonlighting and charging for the service BT won’t provide direcftly? – call me an old cynic.
    How do you add 20 years to your life? Find a way of stopping time while you hold for BT technical support.
    Seriously though it is galling to have to pay for external support but, if there is no other choice…

  12. Well he is ex-bt so I guess he is doing what some engineers cannot because of red-tape. Either way I was very impressed. He plugged his equipment in and found the fault straight away. From our point of view we just wanted a working connection and were fed up of going back and forth with ISP and BT about who should be responsible. We can highly recommend him in terms of efficency and price. Ok so we had a £200 bill, but the time trying to resolve and stress prior to The BT mans visit made it well worth paying him. Also when you ring him its a FREEPHONE number and with no press option 1, then option 2 etc etc, you just get straight through, which made the whole experience much better.


  13. I had a lot of trouble with my BT broadband, the customer support wasn’t the best – In the end I tried out an Ofcom accreditedcompare broadband site in which I found a multitude of reputable providers, all after my business! Needless to say, I got a good deal!

  14. digital telephone systems today presents a great improvement overt the analog phone systems we used severa decades ago`;;

  15. This is really good i love enjoying . From our point of view we just wanted a working connection and were fed up of going back and forth with ISP and BT about who should be responsible. We can highly recommend him in terms of efficiency and price. Ok so we had a £200 bill, but the time trying to resolve and stress prior to The BT mans visit made it well worth paying him.

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