Monday, June 26, 2017

My Personal Post Mortem Evaluation

If this project had been delivered under my auspices as a Technology Executive I would ask for a post mortem.  Projects that come in a year after their promise dates deserve some reflection on what went wrong even when the end result is a great one.  This was not my project and I know woefully little about the most significant cause of the delay which I understand was the time it took to come to agreement with Openreach on the deployment strategy for our solution.

My minimal understanding is that in order for Temple to have the optimal solution, which is to have our own phone cabinet and accompanying DSLAM cabinet, Openreach needed to open their network to Call Flow.  Apparently this is not something that Openreach wanted to do.  Hence the escalation to Ofcom.

This lack of information, however, is my primary complaint about the project.  Roger and I were extremely interested in all aspects of the project, we were willing to get our hands dirty, and we were at least reasonably knowledgeable on aspects of a technology rollout.  Unfortunately, even when Ofcom was involved on behalf of our village, we were not informed.

I wonder if we could have helped?  I think we could have.  Unfortunately through this entire project we, or myself at least, felt a little like a mushroom.  We did get regular status updates...but generally only when we asked.  So we asked often.  This was a government funded project and I think we had the right to know what was being done on our behalf.  It was also a technology project yet other than a very static website there was no proactive use of any of the myriad of web based communication products and techniques that could have been used to keep us informed.  In my experience, proactive communications reduces the need to answer calls that might not have been made in the first place if information was made available more freely.

So that is my post mortem evaluation.  Involve the end user to the greatest extent possible and communicate openly and frequently.  The project was a success.  The result is truly game changing for Temple.  We are glad to have it in place.  Can't help but wonder if Roger and I could not have helped to get it here a little sooner though!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

It is Here and it Rocks

As of Tuesday, the 13th of June, Temple is well and truly on Superfast Broadband!  The homes closes to the cabinet are getting over 100mbps.  Homes on the Island are getting over 50 and at least one nearly 100mbps.  The home furthest away from the new cabinet is getting 40mbps (though this may have improved since this was written given some profile changes made by Call Flow).

Given that download speeds before the upgrade were in the range of 1 to 3mbps ... this is truly transformational:

  • My wife works from home occasionally across a typical Virtual Private Network and has struggled in the past with speed.  Access to corporate systems based in the US is now faster at home than when she is in the office.  
  • A neighbor was still not completely convinced about the upgrade until they missed a show and the was able to stream the catch up version  without waiting for hours.  They are now convinced.
  • I did a stress test where I ran three video streams, an audio stream, and did a 100gb download, all with no discernible impact on each other.  
  • The Waitrose ordering website is running faster than ever as well! Which is good since whoever programmed it obviously did not care about those of us with crappy Internet connections.  It took me a good 15 minutes less to do this weeks order than it did for last weeks.  
  • Over the weekend my wife and I watched a movie on our Apple TV device.  Normally we would have had to start the download days in advance.  This weekend we streamed HD in real time.

Superfast Broadband rocks.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Switching from BT to Call Flow

Below are some points of interest for folks switching to Call Flow from BT.  Roger from the Island got this info from conversations with BT and with Call Flow.  This is the text of his message to the Island Residents:

You only need to read this if you are taking up or thinking of taking up the Call Flow Superfast Fibre Broadband service.

Residents are signing up for Superfast Fibre Broadband with Call Flow
 because e
nquiries about staying with existing supplier like BT, Sky, TalkTalk are getting the same response ... they are
​ not currently offering​

So if you want to upgrade you need to use this link to register: erage-and-speed/ 

Put in your postcode and select your address from the dropdown
​        There is a Special Offer on​
 the top package and you may wish to add one of the Phone Call Packages.

Existing supplier BT has been acknowledging requests through Call Flow with standard letters saying they're sorry to see you go but mentioning a couple of important points. 

They say that you're leaving the
 Broadband and that your Phone Landline will continue on new terms. 
​Ignore t​
his is
​ as it is​
 a very short interim position. 
nce Broadband is swapped to Call Flow, they will automatically then switch the Phone Landline to Call Flow. If you are switching
 the Landline and Fibre Broadband can only be Call Flow, 
​that's ​
​ -​
 not one or the other.
​ The whole procedure should take less than two weeks once Call Flow have processed your order.​

Secondly, and an important consideration
​. O
nce you've switched
 there is a period of just 30 days to make arrangements for your BT email address. If your email ends with then it will disintegrate along with all historical records
 after 30 days with no way of recovery. And if someone writes to you at your old email it will not be delivered. 
​Same probably applies to you with TalkTalk and Sky.
You have two alternatives. You can change your email to one of the independent emails like Gmail or Hotmail and advise every one of your contacts to use your new email. Or you can pay BT £5 a month for their Premium Mail Service to 
​effectively ​
​back ​
your old email on a 30-day rolling notice contract. 

My advice would be to bite the bullet and change to Gmail
​ or Hotmail​
, advise everyone but then 
​if you're worried about missing emails, ​
​consider ​
 the £5 a month to BT for a few months to see what continues to come through on your old 
​ ​
email address, mopping up stragglers by reminding them you've changed to Gmail
​ ​
Once emails stop coming through to your old 
​ ​
email address you could cancel the 
​£5 ​
​monthly Premium Mail Service​.

Any questions please post below.