Stumbling at the Finishing Line

Time for yet another instalment in the long-running saga of trying to get broadband internet available in our area. Our story began five years ago when I described the connection to the internet as being like a piece of wet string. Thus began our struggle to get a fibre-optic network laid around here.

After a number of false starts, things began to look up when work finally began on laying the network in July 2018. It was a big project that has taken more than a year to complete, but a couple of weeks ago people started getting connected and using the network.

However, it soon became apparent that not all was well. Consumers can choose between two internet service providers (ISPs) on the network: Caiway and Solcon. It became clear that the only people who were receiving the internet modems and able to activate their internet services were Caiway customers. Solcon customers were (and are, at this time of writing) being told that the network was not ready for use.

It seemed odd, so I contacted the network provider, Glasvezel buitenaf, who were clear that the network was indeed ready for use, and that they had told both Caiway and Solcon that this was the case. Indeed, their contractor, BAM, had completed the work on the distribution point in our local small town on the 19th of September. Then it was up to each ISP to define the settings in the distribution point’s patch panels, so that their internet services could be delivered to their subscribers’ addresses. Caiway has done this; Glasvezel buitenaf was, and is, still waiting to hear from Solcon.

Needless to say, I had chosen Solcon as my ISP (more fool me). So on the 28th October I sent them an email to ask when I could expect to have internet services delivered. The reply (also on the 28th) was (in translation):

I see that Solcon is still waiting on the fiber optic supplier. Of course we want you to have fiber optic internet as soon as possible, however, we are dependent on when Glasvezel buitenaf reports the line is available. To date, that has not happened yet.

Yesterday, I phoned Solcon, only to get the same story (we are waiting on Glasvezel buitenaf). I said that this was very odd, since a) Glasvezel buitenaf say they are waiting on Solcon, and b) my neighbours who are Caiway customers are happily using the network.

The helpdesk person promised to investigate further and send me an email reply on what the situation was. I’m still waiting for both the reply and any visible change in the status of my request for internet services. Oh, and Glasvezel buitenaf are still waiting to hear from Solcon what the patch panel settings need to be.

I think the next stage will be to assemble the torch and pitchfork brigade – if nothing happens soon, I’ll be asking the Village Community Council to alert our Solcon customers that a mass complaint is in order.

Addendum 8th November 2019: After publishing this post, I sent another email to Solcon yesterday. This was to outline the situation as I saw it, and to point out that I was still waiting for a reply. I have to say that I quickly received a reply from the Solcon Salesdesk that actually cast some light. Apparently there are three parties in the chain, not two, as I’ve always been led to believe. There is Glasvezel buitenaf, the owner of the network, then there is (new to me) the network operator: CAIWEAS, and finally there are the companies such as Caiway and Solcon, who deliver internet services to the customer. The Solcon reply stated that indeed, Glasvezel buitenaf has said the network is ready, but that control has now been passed to CAIWEAS, and it is this party that Solcon are waiting on, not Glasvezel buitenaf, as they originally stated.

A further clue is in the name CAIWEAS I think. It sounds suspiciously close to Caiway, so I suspect that the companies are intimately connected. Which probably explains why Caiway customers appear to be first in line to receive service. I expect that Solcon customers are banished to the back of the queue. Oh well, I’ve waited five years, a few weeks more isn’t going to kill me, I suppose.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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