Trouble wi’ broadband

A decent domestic broadband circuit is pretty important for most of us and especially if, like me, you work from home some of the time. I’ve been fortunate that over the last few years things have been pretty good however that may be changing and the frustrating relationship between ISPs and transit providers operating in the UK makes for annoyingly difficult decisions.

As I’m sure you know, almost all services are asynchronous with much higher download speeds than upload. This can be a problem when working from home as the balance between up and down is quite different from the gaming and streaming most ISPs seem to target.

I’ve been used to a really good service from IDnet over Openreach actual fibre to my actual house (rather than a box on the street 2KM away) but I’m about to move house to somewhere this is not yet available.

Even though the new place is just up the road, further into the same town, all Openreach currently offer is DSL and the promised speeds are not very good. The only alternatives are Virgin Media or LTE mobile broadband.

This is where Openreach’s approach becomes frustrating. They’re definitely going to offer FTTP to our new house at some point. It’s already available across a lot of the town and they want to turn off legacy DSL and analogue kit as soon as they can, rather than keep maintaining it. Trouble is I don’t know when they’ll get around to doing the install. It might be next week or in a few years and nobody can or will tell me.

Knowing when a service might become available is really useful. Much as I loathe them, the best performing service available is offered by Virgin Media, their best deal is on a 24 month contract and I would be thoroughly annoyed if I committed to that only for Openreach to roll out the fibre a few weeks later.

Virgin Media will offer a 12 month contract if you demand it – though they’ll try to tell you they don’t and nobody else does either, which is not true – and I opted for this choosing a install date after completion of the new house. Unfortunately it turns out while you can schedule the internal work, you can’t schedule the external work so there was a high chance of someone turning up at a house we don’t yet own and trying to pull in cables…. It took quite a lot of effort to help their customer services understand why this wasn’t acceptable.

My issues could be, if not solved, certainly assisted by Openreach providing an indicative fibre roll out plan for an exchange. But they don’t, probably won’t and I’ll keep whinging at the void/internet.

Meanwhile I have a LTE modem with a 3 sim that provides sort of ok connectivity. I will route traffic over L2TP to AAISP to avoid the layers of NAT and maintain a static public IP.

As an aside, after I cancelled the Virgin Media installation I got a survey about the person I’d spoken to. They got 5/5 for everything because even though things could have been better, we all do that for the folk on the sharp end…. don’t we.

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