Holding your ISP accountable

I just moved into a newly-built home here in the UK and was deciding which provider I should pick for my TV, Landline phone and Broadband.

My partner decided that she really wanted Sky’s TV offering, Sky+HD. In my mind I thought “I could get discounts if I bundle my services together with Sky…”.

Installation

I decided to take the plunge and ordered Sky+HD with Movies and Box sets with Sky Anytime Talk (Landline phone) and Sky Broadband. The person I spoke to was very nice, offering us a great deal with discounts for ordering all three services from themselves. However, she said that I could not get fibre because it was a new building that was only hooked up to ADSL. I shrugged ‘Fine’ since I couldn’t really do anything about it.

A few weeks later, we moved in and a Sky engineer came to setup our Sky TV and phone. He stated that BT OpenReach would have to visit also to fit the phone line (since BT own the lines across the country). I shrugged ‘OK’ (since at this point, we had had no TV, phone or internet at all. So some services are better than none?).

Later that same day, a BT engineer arrived (late!) and installed the master socket and hooked us up to ADSL.

Problems…

At first, the internet was not working so I called Sky and they said to wait a day and see if it works tomorrow. Slightly dismayed, I waited.

The next day, it still did not work so Sky booked an engineer to come out. Later that week the engineer arrived and said that BT’s wiring was terrible and rewired their work. Why could Sky have not done the wiring in the first place?

Anywho, internet was live! I was connected (somewhat)!

More problems…

After some time using my internet, I found it was terribly slow. I couldn’t stream video, downloads were counted in hours instead of minutes and it generally was flakey.

I called Sky. Asking what I can do about the speeds.

After telling me to unscrew the faceplate attached to the port on the wall (which I really don’t think they should be telling customers to do), Sky stated that my internet was meeting the minimum speeds of 3MBits/s.

So I left it.

After a few weeks however, internet speeds were still terrible so I called Sky once more. They stated that Fibre had just become available in my area and I could have it for an extra £10/month. I went for it. They said it will be installed on 10th March 2016 (which is a fair while away).

So still stuck with this terrible ADSL ‘internet’, I decided to create a little project to show just how bad it was.

The project

After seeing an article discussing how to monitor broadband speeds, I decided to follow the article and create a ‘broadband speed checker’ that runs every hour using a Raspberry Pi ethernet-connected directly into the Sky router.

My Raspberry Pi now does an internet speed test with the closest speed test server (based on latency) every hour and posts its result to IFTTT which then adds a row to a Google Sheet.

That sheet is found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1y9mX31XZjY_A8HWCRLGT3QEQttvRkSOoh_WL70dugo4/edit#gid=0

As you can see, my speeds are below the minimum, even though Sky keep on denying it.

Today, I sent them a Tweet to this sheet and I await their reply.

And that, is how you hold your ISP accountable.

This is my first article I’ve ever wrote on Medium, please leave me some comments as I’d love some feedback :)


Update

As of 10th March 2016, my fibre has now been activated and my spreadsheet has been reset. It seems to now be showing 29mb/s… Still below the minimum guaranteed for fibre which is 40mb/s.

So now I must battle with Sky again to achieve the speeds that I’m paying for, I will keep you posted.