BT Remove Flawed 'Bulk Regrade' Tool With 20 Minutes Notice

Article posted by Liam on Monday, 22-May-2006 16:53 PM

Late last week, BT removed access to the ADSL Bulk Regrade Tool used by ISPs to transfer customers to DSLMax and, as a result, halted Plusnet's ability to carry out promised free-of-charge regrades to customers' connections.

With less than twenty minutes notice the telco pulled the tool due to what they say was a "software glitch" and it's likely to be at least two weeks before it will be available again.

So far, Plusnet have given out free-of-charge regrades to more of it's customers than any other ISP. Presently 35,000 customers have been switched to the Max service, allowing them access to faster upload and download speeds.

Marketing Director, Neil Armstrong told The Register last week: "We use the bulk upgrade tool provided by BT, but at 1pm, with less than 20 minutes notice, BT stopped ISPs placing any more upgrade orders.

"Now we can't place more orders to upgrade the remainder of our customers until BT resolves the issues they have, which is expected to be several weeks away. This is really frustrating as customers have been looking forward to 8Mbps speeds for some time and this will lead to further disappointment."

The move to disable the tool came hours after BT reported it's figures to the city, bragging about it's "Stable" DSLMax Product.

A BT Wholesale spokeswoman confirmed the problems, saying: "We are confident that a fix can be put in place pretty quickly, but as a precaution we have decided not to take bulk migration orders for two weeks. This is so our ISP customers don't need to reset any end user migration dates."

But just what do BT mean by "Software glitch". It has been suggested that the issues may not be with the tool itself, but with the MaxDSL rollout in general. This thread on ADSLGuide might be closer to the truth with regards to the tool's suspension. MaxDSL might just have been plagued from the start.

When Max was originally introduced, a bug within BT's BRAS systems meant that users being 'max-ed' actually received no additional speed for upto 12 days whilst the systems at fault caught up.

Aside from this, a number of users have reported connectivity issues with regards to Max Regrades. These disconnections have been mainly due to the new process of negotiating sync-speed based on line conditions 'on the fly' but it seems, for many, this is resulting in numerous disconnections daily.

For many the tool's suspension may seem like a step in the right direction - buying BT some time to sort out issues experienced with many Max provisioned lines. But PUG wonder why BT just cannot seem to get it right whilst most LLU operators are seeing no such problems at the same time as being ahead of BT with speeds and ADSL2+.

The Usergroup would like to reassure customers that Plusnet will immediately continue using the Bulk Regrade tool to carry on its upgrade programme as soon as BT allow and are working through Max faults as fast as they possibly can. A BT update to service providers is due on June 2nd.

Article last edited on Monday, 20-Aug-2007 22:35 PM