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Equivalence may bring fault resolution delays
Wednesday 08 November 2006 11:01:00 by Andrew Ferguson

Since the roll-out of ADSL broadband to consumers in 2000, there has been people raising the issue of why it can sometimes seem that going with a BT Retail broadband connection can sometimes mean provisioning and faults handling seems faster. This ongoing concern has been addressed by the launch of Openreach in 2006, whose task is to provide equivalence of access to any company wanting to make use of the local loop in the UK.

One provider has issued a press release detailing an issue which does appear to be bourne out by the experiences of the general public. Newnet is warning its customers that with the separation of broadband services such as ADSL and SDSL run by BT Wholesale from the local loop that the addition of an extra layer in the fault finding/resolution area may well bring delays. Newnet is saying it has employed extra staff to staff its helpdesk, since chasing faults for customers is taking longer, which of course has a knock on effect in terms of customer perception of the company.

This problem will not just affect NewNet but any of the providers using a BT Wholesale broadband service, and stems from the fact that everyone who has a BT PSTN circuit will actually become an Openreach LLU customer. The idea being that Openreach will handle all provisions and faults through the same systems as LLU providers like Bulldog, TalkTalk, Orange & Sky do now.

We hope that with time and once all parties have got used to the extra layer that delays will diminish. In an ideal world we can but hope that the system will bring improvements, rather than equivalence meaning an equally poor service to all customers.

For those who have read to the end of this news item and are worried about the prospect of becoming a LLU customer, we should point out that nothing physically is going to happen to your telephone line or broadband connection as a part of this equivalence operation. What will change is how providers place orders and report faults, and how this information reaches the engineers who do the actual work.

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