I am building a new build home and require a completely new connection including a new pole. Openreach have surveyed the site (twice) and agreed that I need a new pole, but today someone from NOW called to say my broadband order had been rejected by Openreach as the order was too costly for them and they were not prepared to fund it. The new pole is 50m away from the nearest connecting pole, down a private track with no vehicular access and will be inside my boundary so no wayleaves, road closures or anything costly or complicated involved that I can see.
Openreach did not provide any figures, nor did they offer any alternative solutions - and I was never made aware of potential costs during either of the two surveyor's visits, the most recent of which was last Thursday. I would happily pay or contribute to the cost if they would give me some idea of what it is but this was not presented as an option, they just rejected my order.
I spoke to NOW and the customer service rep was friendly but unhelpful; her only advice was to cancel my order and place it again within 24 hours 'without the added costs that Openreach are mentioning'. I don't think she really understood what the issue was.
My go-live date was 30th September and the order was already delayed by Openreach a couple of weeks ago because they apparently couldn't find my address in Royal Mail's address database, even though they've been here twice! The NOW customer service rep I spoke to on that occasion found my address while I was on the phone to him and put me on hold so he could confirm it directly with Openreach.
I appreciate it looks like Openreach are at fault here, but I can't get hold of anyone at Openreach to ask about this and I feel like they are just rejecting the order because they don't want to do the work. On top of that, nobody I speak to at NOW has the authority or knowledge to help progress this further so I am effectively without a phone line and no means of obtaining one!
Do I have any options or recourse? Any advice welcome.
Unfortunately NOW are at the mercy of BT Openreach.
Have you tried any other ISP to see if they come back with the same response ?
I would also Google your problem to see what search results come back offering advice of where you stand and what options are available to you going forward.
Thanks @schnapps, no I haven't tried any other ISPs yet but this looks like my only option.
I was hoping NOW would hang on and fight my corner for a bit since I can't talk to Openreach directly, I'll wait and see what Tier 2 say. They haven't formally cancelled my order yet so I suppose there's still a glimmer of hope.
I can't believe Openreach are allowed to do this considering they have a monopoly on the network.
@sixtysix I found this thread on the BT community that is a similar problem.
Some interesting info in there including the Universal Service Obligation that guarantees your right to a connection to the network.
No definitive answer to your problem but both are starting points.
Thanks @Saint1976, that's very interesting. Someone in the BT forum mentioned a £3400 price threshold for new connections, above which the customer would need to contribute. They also said that a single pole on private land within 68m of the nearest pole (mine is 50m away) is unlikely to come anywhere near the threshold figure so that is encouraging. I didn't know about the Universal Service Obligation either but this is exactly the type of thing I was looking for, thanks for pointing it out.
I'm hoping to speak to Openreach today and will update here when I know more.
Update: I have spoken again to Openreach and NOW.
NOW told me that as a business they do not have a facility in place for customers to contribute to the cost of installing a new line, and that there is nothing else they can do. Openreach are rejecting the order because they are not prepared to fund it. Apparently in this situation the extra costs would typically be passed over to the customer via the comms provider, but NOW do not offer this as an option because 'they do not charge for engineer appointments'. I have still not been given a breakdown of costs, or indeed any figures, so I have no idea what these extra costs are or even how to go about contributing to them.
The NOW customer service rep told me she was 99% sure my orders would keep failing so there was no point in reordering, there was nothing they could do and I just needed to try placing my order with a new provider. She suggested Virgin as they supply their own network infrastructure, but she checked Virgin's website and they do not cover my area.
My NOW order has now been cancelled and they were not able to offer any more help or advice, so I'm going to try placing an order with BT.
What about Sky broadband? As I understand they do connections and FTTP.
@gavs82008 I live at the edge of a small village in a fairly remote area so no providers are offering FTTP. I have registered for the Openreach Community Fibre Partnership but not heard anything; I believe a certain number of people have to register in my area before anything happens?
As for Sky, I am not optimistic because they own NOW and obviously use the same infrastructure so I would imagine their internal procedures are largely the same. I might be wrong, however at this point I'm going to try BT purely because of their size and position in the market. Thanks for the suggestion though.
@sixtysix Starlink could be worth a try. If it's a few thousand pounds to get Openreach to install posts etc then Starlink might be an option.
It's a few hundred pounds for the equipment and about £80 a month for the connection. Prices will drop as more people adopt it. I believe they are about to finish the hub on the Isle of Man which will give the whole of the UK and Ireland coverage.
Just a thought.