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Internet connectivity

It doesn't seem that long ago that I thought it impressive that my internet synchronised at a nippy 4.6megabit, although it usually hovered around 3.7. And, indeed, it wasn't - it was the 13th of March, just a little over two months ago.

Then, last Friday, an idiot farmer broke the line. Orange said it would be repaired today. And it was, though I noticed that a big fat wire (serving myself and the other properties at the top of the lane) had been replaced with a wire so thin that I couldn't even see it at first. Did they only repair me, or is that barely-there cable supposed to be serving all of us?


That's like half the speed it used to run at.

A few quick tests suggests that it might not have made too much impact to Netflix, altough I have not found something with a lot of motion. Prime Video, on the other, is a disaster. Even something that didn't have that much motion (random pick - the beginning of "Godless" with some people on a bus) started off as expected and within seconds became a blurry blocky mess. 2 megabits isn't really enough to support video.

I'm not sure I'll get much of a response from Orange, I'm a single person at the end of a long line and I think the amount that you are actually guaranteed in your "up to X megabits" is something utterly impractical like 64kbit. In other words, they're willing to guarantee it'll ran as fast as the fastest analogue modem from the end of the last century.

However, as the Degrouptest site says my line should support 3.5 megabit (and it did), I have begun by leaving a message on the support forum. I'll let you know if anything happens...


Update (still Tuesday)

An assistant on the forum got in touch really quickly to say that I should call 3900 and ask to have my line reinitialised. After explaining things a few times, the person I called understood and passed me over to tech support...where I explained again. But she wasn't getting my French so she had me talk in English which she was fluent in, but she said that she was obliged to speak in French. Kind of the opposite of how it usually goes!

Livebox restarted, I'm now getting about 700kilobits (!). She said not to worry, the process to stabilise the line and sync at the best speed it can will take about 48 hours. She will call me back on Thursday afternoon to see how it got on and if it is still slow or not. Hmm, isn't that a public holiday?

So, wish me luck!

I'll leave this information here (and update it) in case anybody else may need it. You should call 3900 (if you're an Orange France customer) and have fun with the phrase-interpreter. I just said "oui" to confirm that I was calling from the line with the problem, and then said "service technique" over and over until it gave up and connected me to a real person.
The phrase you'll need is "r&secure;initialiser mon connexion", and you're on your own with pronouncing it. Saying reinitialise in French is a bit of a tongue twister.

If it works and I get my speed back, then consider me impressed. Like I said, fingers crossed...


Update 2020/05/20 (Wednesday)

Morning. Still at 0.7megabit.

A web counsellor got in touch on the support forum to ask me for my name, address, and phone numbers by private mail (this is so that can access my dossier). When on break at work, I sent the info.

When I had returned home, he had gotten back to me to say that the repair was provisional and will need a specialist team to properly fix what has gone wrong (though no estimation of a date regarding that because COVID). He had also fiddled the exchange to bump me back up to 2 megabits, but said that due to the nature of the repair it may be a little unstable.

You know what's funny? If Orange had just come out and said that right in the beginning I'd have accepted it. I mean, sure, it sucks that my speed is about half what it was, but it doesn't take much brain power to understand that some internet is better than no internet.
I waited over seven years to get myself back online, a couple of weeks of slow internet isn't a hardship. As I said, some is better than none.

I watched a few episodes of Magic For Humans last night, and since I was completely zonked (didn't sleep the night before), a film that I have absolutely no recollection of. The quality was more or less what I expected from Netflix. I'm on the basic "SD" package (that appears to serve up some sort of HD). I would imagine I'd have a different story to tell if I had a fifty inch television and UHD streaming, but I don't. It's a five inch phone and the basics.

I didn't try Prime, that doesn't appear to degrade as well; or maybe Netflix recognises that my device can handle HEVC so they can send a better picture for less bandwidth? I don't know...


Update 2020/05/21 (Thursday)

The person called back, and seemed a bit confused that somebody else had done something else. I explained what was going on, and I'm not entirely certain whether or not she is/was aware that it was a provisional repair. After all, you'd have thought that would have been something to point out in the first place, wouldn't you?

She isn't able to give an estimation of when the repairs will be done. Maybe one or two weeks. She said to call back on 3900 if things haven't improved by Friday 29th (next week).

I think I might, instead, give it two weeks and if there's no improvement, get back in touch with the support person on the forum. He seemed to better know what was happening.

Either way, just got to be patient for now.


Update 2020/05/29 (Friday, the following week)

Livebox is reporting the speed as 3.3 megabits. So either it has been fixed and it's just a little slow, no doubt thanks to the dry weather (it didn't run at 4.6 all the time, usually closer to 3.7) or there's some magic making the patch job run quickly.
I've not been up the lane to look. But we can probably consider this "fixed", don't you think?

Not bad. Did it in under two weeks (and restored some connectivity in the mean time). Not bad at all.


Update 2020/05/31 (Sunday, the following week)

Nope. It hasn't been fixed yet. Just walked the lane to look.
So I'm getting 3.4 megabit off the patch up. That's...crazy... I'm not complaining, mind you. ☺

Though, given how it has been patched, it'll be interesting to see how it behaves when it rains.



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