Sorry State of Guernsey Broadband

Well after reading my good friend Jason (deedoubleyou)’s blog post on the recent upgrade of Guernsey broadband here, I thought i would add my two cents. As I have found out this week, an upgrade to 8mb in Guernsey means an upgrade maybe, if you’re lucky By the way if you read the rest of the post, I really recommend OpenDNS, I think its great.

**Warning: Rant Alert**

I have spent the last few weeks getting a little bit excited about the impending upgrade to 8mb for all Guernsey ADSL connections. This comes at no extra cost, and if it was anything like the previous upgrades (1mb -> 2mb; 2mb -> 4mb), it would require no interaction and one day you would be downloading something and look at the transfer speed and think ‘ooh that’s fast’. Unfortunately for me, this time, this was not the case.

Previously, whenever one of these upgrades had gone ahead, my area was always one of the last to be upgraded (They do the island parish by parish) but I always traditionally got the best of the best connection speeds. By this I mean on a 2mb connection I was downloading at approximately 300kbs, on a 4mb connection around 480kbs. This meant previously I was under the impression I must have a fairly decent line into my house.
One day, I got home and started Firefox, everything was rolling along fine. And then I hit a problem, a server connection error. No website would load. So I fired up the router stats page, this showed I was still connected to the internet, a whopping 7990kbs.I remember thinking “Great, ive been upgraded to 8mb, just iron this out and get downloading”.

Initially I tried to use the DNS app on the router I couldn’t resolve any websites. Now I use OpenDNS, as it is better than the servers provided by my ISP (As the propagation on my ISP’s servers is never very regular, however that is a different moan). I checked the OpenDNS website on my phone (3G connection) and everything seemed ok. So I tried resolving again and it worked.

I put it down to an intermittent failure, however a few hours later it happened again. This time I tried connecting to a website by IP address, eliminating DNS from the equation. Surprise, surprise, this also failed.
I put it down to a bad night, and went to sleep. The next night was playing Forza 3 on Xbox Live with some friends, and every 15 minutes or so was being kicked from the game. I could then instantly reconnect, but it was starting to get annoying waiting around in lobbies for everyone else to finish, then only being able to do half a lap of each track.

Not an issue I thought, usually the support at my ISP (Wave Telecom/Newtel) is pretty good. So I picked up the phone. Firstly there was no Broadband support number listed in the phonebook or on a bill, so I rang the mobile support one. The lady that answered the phone there said she could help me. So I explained my problem, she went through the usual rigmarole of unplugging and plugging in the router. To which I explained to her I had done this, I had checked my IP settings, everything was connected properly. She then said she could escalate it to an engineer, so far it had all been pretty painless.

About 45 minutes later I had a phone call saying they could see I had been disconnecting and reconnecting a lot over the last few days, and there had been some packet loss on the line. In order to maintain a stable connection they were capping my connection a 4mb, and they suspected that the previous instability was due to line quality, although that could be at any point in the connection between the exchange and my router (not necessarily in my house). This pissed me off slightly as I am still paying the same amount as somebody on 8mb and I don’t live in the middle of nowhere so I would have expected a decent phone line quality.

I then asked what the procedure was for investigating it to get me back up to 8mb. She explained I was now permanently capped at 4mb and would not receive any further upgrades. If I wanted the line to be re-investigated, and to be fixed it would be at my cost.

So it looks like so much for every household been upgraded to 8mb ‘free of charge’. I’m still stuck at 4mb forever, unless I feel like paying for an engineer to investigate my line, which is all at an unknown cost.
Well played Wave/Sure, well-played.

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