back to article 22 million Brits suffer broadband outage blues and are paying a premium for it

Suffered from broadband blackouts over the past 12 months? You aren't alone because an estimated 22 million Brits endured outages of three hours or more, and are paying a higher monthly subscription for the pleasure. This is according to price comparison website Uswitch, which pressed 2,000 subscribers to open up about their …

  1. Mike007 Bronze badge

    Most Brits find broadband outages to be almost as annoying as someone jumping a queue? If it is that annoying how come so few people are willing to spend an extra £5/month on a decent ISP?

    I hope people working from home on the cheapest ISP they can find get their wages docked for hours not working...

    (Of course some people might have an issue with their line they can't get Openreach to fix, but most of the outages people complain about are either a crap ISP because it is 50p/year cheaper than a decent one or WiFi issues caused by a crap WiFi router at the opposite end of the house because they don't want to buy a whole home WiFi system)

    1. xyz Silver badge

      No, the problem is crap UK infrastructure.

      Here in Spain you can get a 300mbs fibre + 2 mobile lines for 30 euros a month contract in any part of the country (Digi.es). If you want "smart" fibre (500mbs + 2 mobile) that's only 21 euros but you have to be in a city for that. You can even get 1gbs for 30 euros on that.

      UK infrastructure seems to be stuck in the 2 tin cans and a bit of string era

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        UK infrastructure seems to be stuck in the 2 tin cans and a bit of string era

        Not really and by 2026 the figure should be over 90%.

        If everyone in the UK took the highest speed service they could get our average would be a lot higher. However people in the UK typically buy on price rather than speed. To be honest given how few services actually need more than 20Mb/s that might be quite sensible. A 60Mb/s FTTC connection would be more than adequate for most families even if they enjoy UHD streaming.

        And I do suspect that most of these issues are down to the ISP rather than the physical connection. That's based on my own experience (a couple of complaints from neighbours but perfect service for me) and from following forums like Thinkbroadband.

        1. crg the new one

          > people in the UK typically buy on price rather than speed

          Hmm, I believe people in UK typically buy the only thing available at their address, which in 99% of cases is ADSL (so no broadband).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Buy on price

            When TOOB (the company who is digging up out already crap roads to lay Fibre to the BT Poles) want to charge an extra £5.00 per month for a fixed IP address is it little wonder that price pays a huge part in purchasing decisions.

            With my current ISP who had been very good over the last eight years, I paid once and that was it. I for one can't wait until Toob loses its monopoly on FTTH in our area. Whats that? They have it unto 2035? Fsck them.

            1. Happy_Jack

              Re: Buy on price

              It's an extra £8 per month for a fixed IP address with Toob, not £5, and it also frees you from the carrier grade NAT, which is the important point. It seems reasonable to me when you consider the base service is 900Mbps FTTP at just £25 a month.

            2. Martin-73 Silver badge

              Re: Buy on price

              Just apply the same logic to toob as the other wankers apply to openreach (i've noticed toob using o/r poles)... hi, your fibre to my home, thank you, i want to use another ISP.... over that fibre. If that is not allowed, raise all levels of hell.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            ADSL is broadband, and more than 90% of the UK has access to a fibre-based solution. Around 50% has access to FTTP, although take-up is well below that.

          3. AndrueC Silver badge

            Hmm, I believe people in UK typically buy the only thing available at their address, which in 99% of cases is ADSL (so no broadband).

            Rubbish.

            https://www.uswitch.com/broadband/studies/broadband-statistics

            "UK broadband statistics show that there were 27.8 million fixed broadband lines in the UK at the end of Q3 2022—an increase of 91,000 (0.3%) year-on-year. Of these, around 70% (19.4 million) were predominantly FFTC or full fibre variants"

            That's nearly two years ago.

            https://www.cable.co.uk/broadband/guides/broadband-availability-snapshot/

            "Broadband Technology Availability Percentage

            ADSL 97%

            FTTC 96%

            FTTP 22%

            Cable (Virgin Media FTTC) 53%"

            Almost every property in the UK has access to VDSL.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            That would be ADSL+ which is over a copper (or aluminium - spit) pair.

            Which is no longer allowed.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "If everyone in the UK took the highest speed service they could get"

          ,,, the bottleneck would then be in the core network.

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Meh

            I doubt it. Time and time again the UK core network has been shown to have ample capacity. Everyone suddenly working from home didn't bother it. Apple releasing an iUpdate doesn't bother it. Major sporting events don't bother it. There is no issue with the capacity of the core networks (there are multiple such networks) and historically no reason to think that is going to change.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "To be honest given how few services actually need more than 20Mb/s that might be quite sensible."

          Yeah. I'm on VM BB and it's fine. Without being on certain benefits and dropping to a cheaper "social" tariff, the minimum priced BB I can get from them is 120Mb/s. For me, that's massive overkill 99% of the time. And I can't even use it because my home network was "leading edge" back in the day when a dual 100Mb/s NIC in the firewall PC was the bees knees :-) I really ought to upgrade it one of these days. Internally, I now have a GB switch, so those newer devices on the LAN can talk to each other and the server more quickly apart from the WiFi devices because the repurposed WAP is only 2.4GHz.

          In a way, my LAN+external connection is a reflection of what the poster above said about Spain and UK infrastructure. Spains is newer and better, UK was good but is older. You can't just swap out/upgrade an entire infrastructure quickly, easily or cheaply. There's a sort of leap-frog effect with big infrastructure. Some 3rd world countries have far better mobile coverage and pricing than UK or EU countries because they were building out from scratch with the latest 3/4/5G kit, not looking at the ROI on the 2/3G kit and a nationwide copper wired network. Assuming a "perfect" world and ignoring money-grabbing, incompetence etc that seems to be rampant in any large operation. If you just spent £20B on a network and have made £10B profits so far from it, you're not going to rip it out and upgrade to latest shiny just because your neighbour has the latest shiny without a very compelling reason. For the vast majority of the UK, current speeds are adequate, and most can easily more if the want it. (Although I admit and agree there are users left in the shit, even quite close or even inside major urban areas)

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "Although I admit and agree there are users left in the shit, even quite close or even inside major urban areas"

            And a far better use of money is upgrading those rather than upgrading the bulk of the network which is already delivering better performance than those users get.

        4. IamStillIan

          Most of us don't need more speed...

          > people in the UK typically buy on price rather than speed

          This focus on speed is the real point - it's popular with marketing folks, but not actually catering to the real need.

          People knock on my door asking if I'd like to upgrade my 100mb/s service to 500mb/s - and I ask, what would I do with 500mb/s at home, and they waffle a load of nonesense which could be done on a 25mb/s connetion.

          Speed isn't the issue, stability and reliability is. Where's all the marketing saying "Guarenteed xxx uptime, and wacking great compensation if we don't deliver" - that I'd pay for.

          The only effort I've seen is "guarenteed wifi in every room" type offers, which means they'll give you a mesh repeater if you've got a bit house; no commitment on the main service they actually provide.

      2. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Silver badge

        We were all set to have decent infrastructure over 30 years ago that they'd been developing since the '70s; but as with so much other stuff, Thatcher intervened because it would upset the free markets or some such crap so we're still largely stuck with shitty infrastructure to this day.

        And yeah, I know the sad Tory gits will downvote me for criticising their precious neoliberalism like they always do. Never known such a bunch of perpetually butthurt snowflakes.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "We were all set to have decent infrastructure over 30 years ago that they'd been developing since the '70s; but as with so much other stuff, Thatcher intervened because it would upset the free markets or some such crap so we're still largely stuck with shitty infrastructure to this day."

          Sad that so many people believe in the Maggie Thatcher, broadband snatcher myth. Old Doc Cochrane believes he had the solution, and I don't doubt he understood the technology of the day and the long term direction....but read the details - BT building their own factories to make the stuff, that same old 1960s public sector attitufde of make rather than buy, really going to go well wasn't it? And of course, where was the demand for broadband back in the early to mid 1990s? Where were the ISPs offering 100Mbps packages? At that time PCs had 40 MB hard disks, and a bus that ran at a snail pace, so who could make use of it? There was no IP TV services, no terabytes of hilarious cat videos, no social media to mock the afflicted or share bile-filled and fact-free opinions.

          However, lets assume that Maggie hadn't stopped them, they'd done a valiant job, where would we be now? Realistically we'd presently be stuck with a national network of thirty years out of date and almost certainly non standard fibre optics, all the original electric crumbly and unreliable, spares unobtainable, with a monopolistic BT telling us that we had to move with the times and pay for another complete rebuild of the network. And maybe you can't, but I can remember the pre-privatisation BT - a dreadful, expensive, inflexible company who decided what you'd get and when you'd get it, without regard for anything but their own view of the world. Doc Coc's perfect world of BT FTTP would simply have been a huge money sink.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Realistically we'd presently be stuck with a national network of thirty years out of date and almost certainly non standard fibre optics.."

            I dunno. I'm connecting to the web over a system designed by the General Post Office sometime early in the last century to carry 4kHz voice calls. My twisted-pair line is capable of 74Mb/s (measured ny Openreach last month) and I'd have told you that was impossible when I started my engineering career. The line stays up when grid power goes down, supports remote diagnostics and is fail-soft in the sense that if one wire breaks I can still get useable data rates from the remaining one. If the same people who designed this system had had a go at an optical fibre system it might have been the envy of the world.

            When I started my career as a comms engineer in 1981 the lab store room still had a load of production prototypes of the mm-wave mixers, diplexers and channel filters for the GPO's (might have been BT by then, but we still called it the Post Office) waveguide trunk network. From memory of the size of the guide in these components it was probably WG22, which would have put it in the 25-40GHz band - but this might have been the first IF. They were milled out of copper slabs about a foot square and came in two halves (the waveguide split half way along the llong side) and used a mix of standard waveguide components and suspended stripline. I think that the total bandwidth of the trunk system was about 80GHz. The trunk was circular waveguide - about 6 inches in diameter which was made of a continuous coil of very fine insulated copper wire coiled on a former then embedded in a resin. It was done like this to stop waveguide modes with longitudinal wall currents propogating and therby force the mode where the attenuation reduced with frequency (can't remember which one, now - it was a long time ago, but one of the TE ones). Optical fibre killed it dead - hence the pile of bits in the store room.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            "BT building their own factories to make the stuff, that same old 1960s public sector attitufde of make rather than buy, really going to go well wasn't it?"

            If some utterly new technology is invented and you want to deploy it who is going to make the hardware? It's new. Are you going to wait around for somebody else to start making it so you can buy it or are you going to get off your backside and do it yourself?

        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
          Coat

          Never known such a bunch of perpetually butthurt snowflakes.

          You should see the LibDems.

      3. abend0c4 Silver badge

        In the UK we prefer our broadband to be like our school ceilings - unstable and prone to drop out at any moment.

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Alert

          Now we're just like those indomitable Gauls over the English Channel, fearing the sky falling on our heads

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "UK infrastructure seems to be stuck in the 2 tin cans and a bit of string era"

        You are wrong .... that is the infrastructure that we are *getting* ... previously we had the 2 tin cans *but* no string !!!

        :)

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        How much of a taxpayer-funded top-up subsidy is added to that Spanish 30€?

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Most Brits find broadband outages to be almost as annoying as someone jumping a queue? If it is that annoying how come so few people are willing to spend an extra £5/month on a decent ISP?

      I agree with you and yes it depends where the fault really are. Were they in the cabinet, exchange, backhaul or their actual ISP's servers?

      Mind you I suppose we could argue that if everyone was prepared to pay a bit more then it would filter down to the underlying supplier thereby addresses issues in the last mile.

    3. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Exactly, get a decent isp, stop bitching

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        The vast majority of properties have the choice of exactly one actual broadband ISP carrier - Openreach - aside from a very few places that have Virgin cable and FTTP.

        Almost every ISP is an Openreach reseller. The banks of modems are long gone.

        All you're paying extra for is bypassing the CGNAT, and a nicer person to phone when Openreach break it. So it's not surprising that very few people do.

        1. Martin-73 Silver badge

          I am on openreach. And have a decent ISP... your argument is invalid

        2. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Oh and i have both virgin and toob available. I will stick with fttc, because A&A are simply better.... Yes an o/r outage can take me down, but same can happen with the other 2 options. Toob is looking possible as a backup semi-redundant route (a jcb local to the house could still kill it as they're using GPO ducts) but... no, openreach is not the problem

  2. Flak
    Go

    Lateral thinking

    The question of who is willing to pay for resilience and / or a good provider is a pertinent one, but my suspicion is that most will still be tempted with the cheapest service possible.

    What many may not consider is that most people have a resilience option in their pocket (yes, subject to mobile signal and data plan, I know...):

    If things go south for a while with your fixed line service, turn your mobile phone into a hotspot and carry on.

    For most there will be at least some usable service, most often at no additional cost.

    I have done this when needed and it is one of the reasons I have not invested in other resilience (e.g. a 4G router) for the house.

    None of this takes away from awful service provided by some service providers - it just may ease the pain and irritation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lateral thinking

      "What many may not consider is that most people have a resilience option in their pocket (yes, subject to mobile signal and data plan, I know...):"

      Once again, assume everyone else has what you consider *normal* !!!

      I live in a town that has 50K population and has been around for 70+ years.

      Large sections are Not spots for Mobile coverage and Telephone networks are also mostly 50 years old as well .... i.e. Old copper mostly routing where the population is not !!!

      In short, Broadband is quite bad and mobile cover is also. Not in prosperous south so not pulling in money to encourage investment in inproving our lot !!!

      I am sure this is more typical as BT have avoided investment for decades as not 'worth the effort' !!!

      BT & Openretch are reluctantly upgrading now but we will be the last to get the most minimal improvement ....... sound familiar !!!

      :)

      1. Flak

        ''most'

        Appreciate your point and have felt that on occasion, too.

        Hence the 'most' and qualification of mobile signal.

        I agree with your comment that the current service availability and quality is not good enough and certainly not 'world beating' or even world class.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Lateral thinking

        "Large sections are Not spots for Mobile coverage and Telephone networks are also mostly 50 years old as well .... i.e. Old copper mostly routing where the population is not !!!"

        On the other hand, back in the 1950's when it was all being built, the telephone network was probably over provisioned with all the latest gear and the envy of the rest of the UK who still had to apply for a phone line and potentially wait many months for one to be installed while your "new build" town residents could probably get a line installed more or less "on demand" :-)

      3. AndrueC Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Lateral thinking

        I live in a town that has 50K population and has been around for 70+ years.

        Large sections are Not spots for Mobile coverage and Telephone networks are also mostly 50 years old as well .... i.e. Old copper mostly routing where the population is not !!!

        In short, Broadband is quite bad and mobile cover is also. Not in prosperous south so not pulling in money to encourage investment in inproving our lot !!!

        No need to be coy - name and shame.

        Use this site to show us the availability.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Headley_Grange Silver badge

    Age and Apathy

    The frequent drop-outs in my street are mostly due to the cables laid over 50-years ago in the soft right next to the gas pipes and water pipes, which have both been replaced in the last decade or so. Before FTTC at the end of the street there werer Openreach contractors digging most months to fix a dodgy line or a cable broken by another utility and taped together with gaffa tape - as mine was. FTTC has made it better because it's got enough grunt to get over some of the losses or a break in just one cable without people really noticing unless they are very heavy bandwidth users (I'm not). I'm on BT and they're fine in terms of the day-to-day service and have been good on the 2 or 3 times I've called them out since I got t'internet about 20 years ago. I don't know if BT are expensive or not - the service works, support is OK and I'm a lazy bugger so why change?

    Apart from apathy and long contracts, ISP email addresses are probably a big reason for people not changing more often. My cousin's partner signed up with Virgin when their contract was due cos it was cheaper than BT, only to have to pay BT to keep the family's BT email addresses alive long enough to sort out all the important services that used them and overall it's probably cost them more in £££ than staying with BT would have and certainly taken a lot of time to sort out. They're still paying for their BT emails and I they'll go back to BT when Virgin's up. I did consider letting wider family have emails on my personal domain (I don't host it), but after a few seconds' thought I came to my senses.

    1. Lurko

      Re: Age and Apathy

      I'd agree that a long-used email address is a tie, but most ISPs are killing off their email offer for new customers, and letting it wither for the legacy customers who still use it. Sky might choose to stick it out as they've maintained email for customers who leave for years now, but for most people relying on ISP email and staying "because I''ve been using techno.phobe@virginmedia for twenty years now" needs to buck their ideas up and sort out something that isn't dependent upon the shallow goodwill of a large corporation. Arguably the same might be said of Gmail.

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge

    WiFi or broadband?

    > A third that lost connectivity were doing so at least once a month, and a quarter moaned it continued for three hours or more a week

    It needs to be distinguished whether the disconnections occurred between a person's router and the world, or between their router and their device.

    Merely saying. "the internet's down" is far too blunt a statement. Especially as local failures hold the potential for them to be under the control of the user, or at least due to the equipment they chose, or the way they use it.

    1. IanRS

      Re: WiFi or broadband?

      This is exactly why I have built an internet status widget (ESP32 with OLED display onboard) which reports one of the following connectivity statuses:

      No Wi-Fi: Check Wi-Fi router is running

      Wi-Fi linked, but no connectivity: Check Wi-Fi router is running

      Only to Wi-Fi router: Check Wi-Fi and VM boxes

      Only to VM modem: Check purple bar on VM box

      Only into local VM network: No local fix

      Full connectivity: Be happy

      The only thing it cannot check is the VPN gateway at my wife's place of work, so guess what is the leading cause of my wife yelling "The internet's down" when WFH?

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Re: WiFi or broadband?

        And if a work-at-home person wanted an hour or two away the office and it's productivity monitoring arrays, what better way to get than blaming the "everyone knows it's unreliable" home internet connection?

  5. Terry 6 Silver badge

    VM

    Connectivity has been reliable for years, pretty much solidly. Odd glitches from time to time have been fixed pretty quickly. We get every drop of the 650mb we pay for.

    But VM clearly don't keep their front line staff informed, so if here is a glitch you'll be running through the "reboot your hub - still not working- oh dear we'll book you in and send an engineer two weeks from Wednesday" bollocks.

    Add that to the "We're unusually busy right now" 40 minute waits, and the staff who stick rigidly to the script even though it doesn't relate to what I actually said...

    Today. Me: There's a problem with your speed monitoring app connecting to the hub.

    They: "Oh you have a problem with your wifi"

    No: My wifi is working perfectly. But your iPhone app can't connect to the hub

    Them: OK we'll just reboot your hub.

    Me: I've rebooted the hub. I've rebooted the phone. I've even reinstalled the app.

    Them: OK If you just switch the hub off and count to 10 then turn it back on again...

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: VM

      Re: VM

      Oh by the way. The (solved, no help from VM) problem is a known bug feature in iOs. As far as I can piece it together, f you have a VPN app installed Ios seems to switch a VPN on itself, when you disconnect your own. A VPN button mysteriously appears in the iPhone settings that turns itself back on if you turn it off. Removing (Proton) VPN removed that VPN too. Madness

      But problem solved- and once my VM new "Pod" is settled down I'll reinstall Proton VPN and dump the Virgin connect App.

      No votes

  6. DaveMcM

    Big city not always better...

    Good broadband in the UK doesn't necessarily require being near a big city - I get quicker (60+ Mbps vs low 50s Mbps both on FTTC Fibre 2) and more reliable broadband living in a little coastal village in the Scottish Highlands than I ever had when I lived on the edge of Leicester, and they are in the initial stages of installing FTTP around the village too, so it should be set to improve even more soon.

    1. crg the new one

      Re: Big city not always better...

      Sorry but what you're describing, 60Mbps, is not good, is not broadband, isn't speedy. That should be the lowest by law.

      The definition of "decent internet" should be something like 150Mbps on a fibre that can deliver 1Gbps, kind of 10W out of an audio amplifier that can deliver 100W.

      Why such headroom? Because that 60Mbps line is a lame ADSL which already struggles to deliver that, and will go down to 1.5Mbps when it will be raining, while 150Mbps over a 1Gbps FTTB will deliver 150 only because it's software limited by the provider, and will never no lower than that. That's the reliability part.

      (Speaking from experience, I had 150, 500Mbps and 1Gbps on fibre lines, such fibre has 4ms ping to GCP, AWS and Azure, in day to day home use, even heavy use, you can't say it's only 150Mbps or it's the full 1Gbps. Only downloading CoD MW from Steam makes a difference, as it's 230GB)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The definition of "decent internet" should be something like 150Mbps

        Why? Most people don't need that sort of speed. I'd sacrifice some speed for lower latency.

        I get 76Mbps download on my FTTC connection. I could go higher if I let VM dig up my recently laid drive so I'll wait until I can get FTTH and a fixed IP for under £30/month.

      2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Big city not always better...

        I have 58Mbps in a flat in Edinburgh. Rock solid, and quite enough for anything I need, which is quite frequently two of us on videoconferencing at the same time.

      3. AndrueC Silver badge

        Re: Big city not always better...

        Sorry but what you're describing, 60Mbps, is not good, is not broadband, isn't speedy. That should be the lowest by law.

        What is that you can't do with a 60Mb/s connection? Even when shared by a family. Tell us what makes it inadequate, please, because 60Mb/s is enough for two or three UHD streams with plenty left over for email and gaming(*).

        (*)Admittedly not if you include game updates but that just requires patience or scheduling the updates for when no-one is stream UHD video.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Big city not always better...

      I have FTTP in a small village in SW Scotland. Openreach do the fibre, A&A are my ISP, I pay for 80Mbps because I have no need for more and at worst I get a couple of minutes outage every couple of months. Normally in the middle of the night, which makes me suspect it's a maintenance thing.

      I have built a battery backup for the ONT and my router, VOIP box and file server which gives me three hours of running in case of a power cut. Never needed more than thirty minutes or so.

  7. Tubz Silver badge

    Compensation, good luck getting that, OFCOM gave enough wiggle room in the regulations that 99% of the time ISP find a loop hole to refuse. Any downtime, no matter how small these days, should be an instant 1 day credit, only then will we see ISP come together to provide 100% uptime resilient network.

    1. Lurko

      This is a tech forum, surely if you're here you understand that there's no such thing as 100% uptime, that you choose a target level of availability (say three nines, or four nines), and you then swallow the corresponding bill.

      Let's assume you'd accept an hour's down time a year, that's four nines, or 99.99% availability. That's going to involve massive levels of redundancy - would you be prepared to pay the costs for that? As a guide, I'd guess four nines would meaning taking what you're paying now and doubling or trebling it.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        I think part of the problem is that telecoms equipment is so reliable, that it normally provides what appears to be a four nines service.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is there some relationship between "admitting a fault" and compensation?

      That would explain the complete pain (you know they're lying) of "it's all broken" combined with the status page saying "all working fine"

  8. davemcwish

    One end of the alphabet ISP subscriber - maybe I'm lucky

    In all the time I've been with mine I can only recall one outage which was due to the wholesale provider BT Openreach having and issue. As regards to cost/speed I'm only on a FTTC 67 Mbps DL service as it's just good enough and the exchange/street has only recently been upgraded to support Full Fibre (FTTP). Switching and keeping the cost the same would give me a 100 Mbps service with others available that I don't really need; 300 Mbps (+£5), 500 Mbps (+£10), and 900 Mbps (+£20).

  9. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    We have bigger things to worry about

    and that is the pending switch off of the POTS network. Most people have no clue that this is happening. This is a disaster waiting to happen. That Iceberg is just feet away.

    1. davemcwish

      Re: We have bigger things to worry about

      My ISP put a blog post out to say that PSTN Stop Sell for new services takes effect this month. I haven't heard yet when I'll move to Digital Voice.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We have bigger things to worry about

      "that is the pending switch off of the POTS network. Most people have no clue that this is happening. This is a disaster waiting to happen"

      I agree, it'll be just like the Y2K bug. That was a disaster waiting to happen, and I'm sure the world ended because of it.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: We have bigger things to worry about

        Y2K was a known issue, lots of people put in a lot of effort and got stuff fixed. End of POTS is also a known issue and ... Well, and what? If PlusNet support is anything to go by it's "I'm sure they'll do something."

        You're comparing apples and cheese.

    3. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: We have bigger things to worry about

      I lose POTS next month. I don't really use the landline, so it's not a big problem for me, but I'd like to keep the landline just in case. Problem is that I hadn't realized that it's not a standard plug-n-play VOIP. If you're on BT then you have to plug your phone into a BT router. I assume it's the same for other ISPs. I don't use the BT router and I was going to upgrade my Draytek to one with VOIP, but it seems that it won't work. I've never used VOIP and I don't really understand it, so this might be very obvious to Reg readers- and if I'm mistaken then I'm sure someone here will let me know for which a beer icon will follow.

      Meanwhile a friend is having a terrible time with BT because his dad has some sort of man-down alarm that works automatically with his BT line. He's being shunted from pillar to post to get it sorted out and each pillar and post seems to want to install kit and charge an extra tenner a month for the service.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: We have bigger things to worry about

        You need to port your existing landline number to a VoIP provider and run your phone over the data service.

        The voip service I’m intending to deploy in October, connects each phone by a VPN tunnel to get around the whole NAT, SIP, VoiP router configuration issue, although it’s worth giving the phone VPN traffic a higher priority and putting the phones on their own SSID which can likewise be prioritised.

        1. Headley_Grange Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: We have bigger things to worry about

          Thankss - I'll do a bit more research.

          1. AndrueC Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: We have bigger things to worry about

            Your ISP should be able to provide you with a plug and play solution. If not just sign up for a VoIP provider and port your number. I signed up with Vonage and they just send out a small box that you attach to your LAN and that has a normal telephone port. No config required.

      2. John Miles

        Re: We have bigger things to worry about

        I just have FTTP from Zen, the router* they supplied allows me to different VOIP's so I have an Andrews & Arnold VOIP which was cheaper than the Zen options.

        * The router Zen sent is just acting as a ATA

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We have bigger things to worry about

          The other nice thing about the Zen-supplied router is that if you have an outage on the fibre side you can tether your phone to it via USB, switch on the 'backup' option, and the router will use your phone's connection until the fibre link comes back.

        2. Headley_Grange Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: We have bigger things to worry about

          Cheers

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Internet's down." Pick up phone to check for dial time. Oh, no DECT base station. "Electric's off - again."

  11. Charles Smith

    Ridiculous outage

    Our broadband was out for a whole week in June this year. It's ridiculous that Openreach didn't armour it's FTTC street cabinet to resist a laden 24 ton skip lorry.

  12. YetAnotherXyzzy

    I work from home, so 3 hour outages aren't acceptable. Which is why I have a second ISP and automatic failover set up on the home office router. Problem solved.

    1. Handlebars

      on a separate line, to a separate cabinet in the opposite direction? I'm half expecting you to say yes! For me, plan b is a mobile network router.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Plan A - fixed line ISP - Full service to whole house

        Plan B - mobile data ISP - Email and web service to whole house

        Plan C - get in car and visit friends/relations in neighbouring villages - fixed line full service to individual(s) who make the journey…

        Plan B is two providers, the EE 4G mast backhaul uses the same duct as the fixed line - twice in the last two years 400+ metres of this duct has been emptied of cables taking over a week for service to be restored. The Other provider (Three) I have a directional (3G) antenna on the roof to their mast which has a differently routed backhaul…

  13. Ben 56

    Turning off copper phonelines

    BT who own the network, wants to turn off all copper phone lines (PSTN) by 2025. ISPs that use the lines will instead be providing VoIP only calls over fibre.

    Advocacy groups are calling it a shambles because of outages like this, where people are unable to call emergency services nor able to get a mobile signal as a backup, because of another shambles that is our mobile networks.

    Deaths caused by outages in 2025 should be corporate manslaughter, do you think ISPs will be held to account for BT's decision and Ofcom waving it through?

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Turning off copper phonelines

      BT who own the network, wants to turn off all copper phone lines (PSTN) by 2025.

      No they don't (well they might want to but they know they can't). What BT is turning off is something called WLR which is just the wholesale voice service. Copper lines will remain active and in use across the country and will only be turned off if/as/when an exchange reaches an FTTP threshold of 75% (presumably at that point they will also fill in the remaining 25%).

      1. Ben 56

        Re: Turning off copper phonelines

        BT's own page stated the PSTN was being turned off I. 2025... https://business.bt.com/why-choose-bt/insights/ip-technology/big-ptsn-switch-off-2025/#:~:text=difficult%20to%20maintain.-,By%20the%20end%20of%202025%20PSTN%20will%20be%20switched%20off,via%20broadband%20or%20mobile%20data.

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