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My ISP cut my FTTC speeds due to stability issues. Ways to improve it?

Hello there.
I live in a small town in Apulian countryside, South Italy.
At the moment there’s no 5G in the area, there are only 2 mobile carriers (Iliad and WindTre) that have a decent LTE connection, but it’s unstable. Telecom used to be the one and only ISP that served the area, but we only had 20Mb ADSL until recently.
It’s been only a couple of months, but fibre has finally arrived in my town. FTTC, of course, with 100 Mb/s down and 20Mb/s up maximum speeds.
I’ve been one of the first users to upgrade from ADSL to FTTC, and at the beginning I experienced up to 97 Mb/s in download (tested through Ookla on a Dell XPS 15 connected via Ethernet directly to the modem) and 20 Mb/s upload. Unfortunately, as soon as more users started to upgrade to FTTC, I started to experience network instabilities (losing connection for brief seconds to the outside world. Not an issue when web browsing, but problematic when videoconferencing, playing videogames online or transferring files from or to the Cloud).
I called the ISP support, and they sent a technician who told me that I had only two possibilities:

  • keep the 100 Mb/s download profile but risk network instabilities
  • change profile to a 69 Mb/s down (nice!) capped one, and hopefully get a more stable connection

I opted for stability over speed, but I’m quite a bit annoyed, considering that I’m paying the same for a ~40% download speed reduction (the 100 Mb/s theoretical got up to 97/98 Mb/s, while the current 69 Mb/s setup gets me up to 61/62 Mb/s down directly from the modem).
I was wondering… is there a way to improve line stability so that I could let my ISP bring me back to the faster profile?
I thought about:

  • changing modem
  • changing in-house wiring
  • shortening the distance between the outside cables and the primary telephone plug that is used for the modem

Do you have any other suggestions? And is there a way to have something like a “double” connection (DSL+LTE) for faster speeds and redundancy?

That sounds to me the ISP has to redo their homework and upgrade their side of the connection. Not much else you can do, I’m afraid.

One benefit though: as you pay for but don’t get the advertised speed, demand a corresponding reduction in subscription fee for your connection.

Fibre+LTE is technically possible, but quite a can of worms to dive in to. Not recommended for novices!

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Yes, I know. But the ISP has probably taken old and underpowered hardware from older lines and put them here in this area. It’s not highly and densily populated, so I belive margins are lower: they need to run way longer cable lines to reach the same amount of paying people of a proper city area.
They just intsalled this shit, and basically have a monopoly in the area. Can’t see how they’ll redo their homework

Nothing at all?

Can’t ask for that, as they advertise the line for “up to 100 Mb/s speed” but on the contract the minimum they guarantee is 40 Mb/s, so I’m technically over that baseline.
Already tried, anyway.

mmm… ok

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Yeah unfortunately unless you can convince them that their systems are the problem and they need to fix them there is nothing you at home can do to fix it.

Maybe find out if there are any high profile users around that NEED a stable connection and if they are getting it, and either find out how or if they are not getting it, maybe lean on their power possibly with a few other people also with the same problem and make it the ISPs problem.

Like the story recently of the guy, I think also in Italy, who had his photos transported on DVD by horse because it was faster than his internet. Then made it news and they immediately fixed it.

Unfortunately just just don’t care unless it is worth it to them either by being good enough to get more customers or being bad enough that it makes the news and makes them look bad potentially losing them customers, it is all about the money.

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This is still the nature of FTTC, its not perfect. The perfect world would be that the ISP / last mile owner would upgrade the connections to be better suited but if Italy is anything like the UK, thats not going to happen any time soon.

There is a few things to check with FTTC if the engineer didn’t already check them.

Your home wiring for your phone line
Quite line test to check the cabinet to your house is actually OK
Your equipment. It should work, but sometimes your own equipment may actually be causing stability issues.

I’ve had stability issues as well recently (current gen FTTC in the UK is capped at 70mbps, mine was auto reducing its self to find a stable connection way down to 6mbps~) and it looks like it ended up being by normally reliable draytek modem that was causing the issue (or the ubiquiti device managing the connection as well). I ended up back on the ISP provided router (which is actually a prety decent piece of kit) and setting the stability myself), i get a stable 65mbps.

The unfortunate thing is the type of technology used means the connection is generally managed by the ISP and not user configurable to be able to test line profiles and different configurations to test stable speeds, so its hard to trouble shoot.

Worth though potentially making sure your house telephone wiring is up to scratch and that your modem equipment is working and hasn’t had reported issues, and that the line from your house to the cabinet is clean (quite line test in the UK). Anything outside of those parts is completely out of your control.

What I did when I had that issue was disconnecting all the other phone plugs throughout the home to avoid any possible interference through those dinky little cables. It made the connection more stable for sure.

^ This is what you need to do. Maybe get a better modem, try to isolate the plug from the outside and call them one or more times to try to get them to improve your speeds.

69Mb/s is already a very good speed for FTTC and 100Mb/s is the very top so I wouldn’t pressure them too much to make this change.

Redundancy is much easier than combining those connections. But both require more complex systems and a way better router than one off the shelf you might buy. Maybe one that can support custom firmwares like OpenWRT would do the trick.

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How far away are you from this curb cabinet?
It’s this a building, or a house?
Are you sharing this equipment with anyone else?
Can you take a photo of the inside and share?

If it’s at the edge of your property you could run direct burial shielded cat6 ethernet from your house to where it is and ask the ISP to send the technician to reconnect you - same as as they typically would after someone renovates their home and moves cables around.

The other option would be to bury a conduit (flexible HDPE pipe like they’d use for water lines; 2.5-4.5 cm outer diameter would do nicely) between that point, and a weather proof cabinet on the outside of their house. They can put equipment on the side of your house, and pull ethernet or fiber through it to that curb connection point. To make it easy to pull cables through the pipe buy a fishing line, attach it to a plastic bag and use a vacuum cleaner to pull a pair of fishing lines through, before burying.

On the other hand, if it’s far away, I’m not sure if there’s anything much you can do.