I was fairly sure that installing fibre to the home wasn’t going to be very straight forward. Vivaciti (the ISP I’m trialling with) advised the appointment would be around four and a half hours but said it would be better if someone could be in all day as it might overrun. And overrun it did. The engineers were here from 9am until gone 7 in the evening! Something tells me this might not be considered financially viable until they can think of some more efficient ways of pushing the fibre to the house.

It seems to me that the engineers BT have doing these installs are pretty new to the whole situation. It became clear whilst trying to discuss with them the placement of the termination box, use of wireless and the type of cable needed to connect the router to the fibre box that they had a fairly limited knowledge of these subjects. For instance they tried to convince me that 802.11N wireless is not affected by walls. This is, of course, completely incorrect. Yes, it is much faster and has better range than 802.11G but a thick wall will still cause signal loss.

The main issue they had was with blowing the fibre cable down the tube from the cabinet to the house. The weather was very wet and apparently this was causing the cable to snag; a situation that required them to disconnect the equipment from that end of the duct, reassemble it at the house and blow the cable back. Apparently it took them six attempts to finally get it through. Once connected we were left with this…

The cable comes from the duct into the box on the right. A cable is then fed into the box on the left which I am sure is meant to be on the inside of the house seeing as it has ethernet and telephone ports as well as a bog standard power supply. Luckily this is all inside the garage but the engineers tried to tell us it was water proof and they had already installed some outside! I can’t see how that is safe or secure.

Since installation we’ve had to run a 20 metre length of ethernet from the garage to the study where the router is kept. This wasn’t too much of a hassle for us but I can imagine people less technical would have trouble if an engineer just plonked the box in some hard to reach corner of the house.

So overall installation could be seen as barrier for both the customer and BT. If every house takes this long it just won’t be economical to do every house on the exchange, or even in the estate. The engineers seem slightly apprehensive to place the termination box too far away from where the duct comes through so there may end up being a bit of installing left for the customer as well. In my opinion this is a small price to pay for the increased performance over your average Milton Keynes internet connection.

Next post – speed tests!