Openreach has declared a Matter Beyond Our Reasonable Control (MBORC)

BT Openreach – the organisation that maintains the UK PSTN & ISDN infrastructure which supports traditional (non-IP) based telephone lines, along with ADSL and fibre broadband connections – announced on Tuesday that it had closed its overseas call centre due to a lockdown in India. This has now restricted all orders and faults to key critical services until at least 1 June.

In addition, Openreach has declared a Matter Beyond Our Reasonable Control (MBORC) on ALL products, effective 24 March 2020 at 23:59. The declaration of MBORC means Openreach may not be able to meet its normal Service Level Agreements (SLAs) / Guarantees and removes the recourse normally available to suppliers when these are not met. This also unavoidably impacts all communication providers, including Chicane Internet, in ensuring services are provisioned and repaired within the normal guaranteed timescales.

The news means that no new business orders will be looked at until this time, including PSTN (single analogue telephone lines); ADSL, FTTC and FTTP broadband services; and fibre Ethernet where any visit to site is required. In some cases, a self-installation option may be available (for example, on broadband services being added to an existing telephone line), but even these could be impacted if Openreach subsequently deems a site visit may be required.

Openreach will now prioritise only essential work and absolutely minimise work that requires its engineers to enter end customer homes or business premises.

Provision work (new services) will be limited to:

  • Self-Install activities (i.e. where there is no engineer visit to the customer premises, this is normally limited to the addition of broadband services to an existing line)
  • On-premise work for Critical Network Infrastructure customers (NHS, pharmacies, utilities, emergency services, retail and wholesale food distribution outlets, financial services business and other categori
  • es defined by the government)
  • Services to vulnerable customers (in-home and carried out safely only where essential)
  • Customers that have no other form of broadband or telephony available

Repair work will focus on restoring service with safe working practices with revised processes to further reduce social interaction wherever possible.

With immediate effect

  • New installation/provide orders will be closed until the 1 June.
  • In-progress appointed (where an installation date has been confirmed) orders will be attempted to completed outside of the customer premises
  • Non-appointed orders will continue to go ahead where no visit is required to the premises (for example, upgrades to fibre-to-the-cabinet)
  • Repairs can still be reported but non-urgent repairs may be reviewed
  • Engineers will be asked NOT to enter customer premises and to enable/restore service where possible from outside of the premise
  • Chicane Internet will work with Openreach to identify Critical Network Infrastructure and vulnerable/Covid “at Risk” customers in order to prioritise these

Please be aware that our engineers are also following BT Openreach guidelines and are prioritising the critical jobs while suspending the day-to-day site visits.

Our priority is to ensure that you remain connected at this time and we will work with you, where applicable, to identify where alternative means of connectivity is available.

ADSL broadband and Fibre-to-the Cabinet (FTTC) services

Products which may be impacted as a result of the above announcement include but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Analogue single lines (often referred to as PSTNs) & multi-analogue lines
  • ISDN2 and ISDN30 services.
  • Generic Ethernet Access (GEA) services including G-Fast, Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP)
  • Fibre Ethernet
  • Any new business orders which may utilise Openreach or Chicane Internet engineering resource

In addition to the above, the Openreach Number Portability helpdesk has been closed. This will impact any orders where number porting is required, for example, from fixed-line services to an all-IP solution.

As the situation is changing daily, we aim to provide more detail as we have it, including answers to the questions you’ll no doubt have after reading this.

As soon as we have more relevant information from our carrier partners, we’ll share that with you.

Is BT Spying On You?

Last year there was Google-gate, when it was revealed that the internet giant was spying BT spyingon your emails sent through your Gmail account. Well, a recent article in Computer Weekly tells of another sinister plot…or is it?

According to Jennifer Scott’s article, BT has been accused of giving customer data to US and UK intelligence agencies without consent by an anonymous group of engineers calling themselves The Adversaries. They claim to have technical details of how your data is being routed through government servers.

How is that possible?

Well, your home (or office)  router is assigned an IP address so data can travel to and from a local network area with a firewall to keep your data safe. But the group claim there is a second IP address on your BT router, which is separate from the firewall and undetectable, which lets the ISP (internet service provider) view all your data and take it out of your local area network without your knowledge.

Scary stuff, but is it true or is it just scaremongering?

BT have admitted to the second IP address, but said “it was so it could make software updates without the need for an engineer to visit.” They went on to say “this is extremely common in the industry and it is well known. It is also the case that many other devices, such as gaming consoles and smart TVs, have such addresses.”

The main issue is that all the second IP addresses are registered to the US Department of Defence (DoD) adding weight to the groups assertions that BT is routing the data through the NSA.

So, is this a conspiracy or it is innocent?

Robert Graham, owner of Errata Security, is quoted as saying:

“The reason all these address spaces are DoD is because that’s really the only source of unused IPv4 addresses left. All IPv4 address ranges have been assigned. But, the DoD has been assigned 20% of the IPv4 address space, but most of it is used within the DoD, on their own private networks, and is not routable to the outside world.

“This [use of addresses] has caused a fevered round of speculation that this is actually a secret backdoor for the NSA/GCHQ, so that they can secretly monitor and control people’s home networks.

“Maybe, but it’s probably not the case. The better explanation is that BT simply chose this address space because it’s non-routable. While it’s assigned public address, it’s only used inside the private DoD military network. Try trace routing to that address space, you’ll see that your packets go nowhere.”

Interesting stuff and we’ll leave you to make up your own mind about this. Suffice to say neither BT nor GCHQ wanted to comment.

You can read the full article from Computer Weekly here.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.