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FAQs: Broadband & Telecoms

At the top of this page, some select broadband and telecoms questions not specifically addressed throughout the site. See further down for FAQs on business and computing.

Are you allowed to work on my residential phone line?

Yes, wiring and equipment after the master socket is your responsibility and we are of course permitted to maintain it for you. Steve White, PCWorkspace, is moreover a qualified and former BT engineer with field experience on occasion recommended by BT customer services.

How quickly can you come out to look at my fault?

Occasionally we can arrange to call the same day, if only to evaluate, but almost certainly within 24-36 hours. If we are booked up for the day, there may be an option to make a priority call out albeit this would likely incur an additional 'small' call-out charge.

Is it not BT's responsibility to repair my phone line?

Possibly, your service provider, BT, Orange, Sky for example, will maintain your phone line up to the master socket within your property. With the exception of the master socket (NTE5), however, internal wiring, sockets and telephone equipment are your own responsibility.

Is there a way I can determine whether the fault is BT's or mine?

Yes, and this would be the most sensible course for you to take. Notwithstanding the more obvious, providing that you have a Telecoms, BT or Openreach two-part master socket (NTE5), you can of course call your service provider, BT, Eastern Electric, Plusnet etc…

…Though not always possible, the service provider will likely advise you to unscrew the bottom half of the socket, then plug a phone into the test socket (see image), in theory at least bypassing extensions eliminating conceivable internal issues. To that end, they should be able to establish very quickly if there is a problem with their supply.


Potentially this is a much healthier state of understanding for the client because, a) if the fault is with the service provider, they will resolve the issue and not charge, and, b) if the problem would appear to be internal, you can now with some certainty avoid the otherwise likely high call out charge had you called the service provider to your home only to establish that the problem is not theirs…

…And rest assured BT, for example, will be equally all the happier if they have consequently found that there has been an issue with their services which of course they will now be aware of. Notwithstanding that our fees for resolving internal (including extensions that run externally) are typically much less than those levied by global businesses such as the major service providers.

Will my service provider charge me for repairing my fault?

The service provider will not charge if the fault is between the BT exchange and your master socket, however, if a fault is found to be on your wiring and/or equipment then they will charge you for an engineer to attend and fix the problem. If still uncertain where the fault might be or unsure how to check it, you would almost certainly be better placed to call us to diagnose the problem for you…

…If the fault is on your wiring we can of course repair it. If the fault is on the BT network, we will freely advice and your service provider will not charge you for fixing the fault, though we may then ask for a comparatively small engineers' fee to compensate for our time and trouble.

FAQs: Business

In addition to the service questions tackled here, in-depth advice is addressed throughout the site and on the advice and fees page.

Are you VAT registered?

We are not VAT registered, but we do provide a detailed receipt to all customers and clients. Business can of course offset up-to 100% of IT fees against their tax threshold, consequently might like to contact their accountants for advice.

Do you build systems?

Yes, for clients – a customer who has returned to us. Time constraint, however, does not allow for comparative quotes, therefore we are only able to accept 'fit for purpose' commissions based on our best advice to a pre-considered budget, and where a deposit has been agreed.

Do you charge for a call out?

No, not during normal working hours, if an appointment is made, though an engineers' fee may apply.

Do you offer a collect and return service?

Yes, however there may be a small charge for this, though comparatively low service fees will more than compensate for any collect and return costs there might be, currently not more than £10.00 (Peterborough).

Do you offer a free quote?

We are more than happy to offer a free health-check or freely give a professional opinion as to what may be required, along with an estimated cost, however, we need to be sure that time spent, conceivable parts needed, will achieve this and potentially offer a return on investment.

Where there is clearly damage, or a greater exploration and/or hardware dismantling is essential to diagnose a problem and find a solution, notwithstanding technical knowledge and experience, an engineers' fee may be appropriate to compensate for time taken if a client subsequently simply opts not to go ahead with essential repairs or recommendation.

An engineers' fee, otherwise offset against repair costs, is an important policy directive to help protect the business from those who might abuse services or disregard time and trouble taken. A written quote or an engineers' report can be provided in alliance with retail or insurance pre-requisite conceivably in support of any claim a client may have, e.g. accidental damage or an out-of-warranty request – please ask about this.

Do you offer on-site service?

Yes, maintenance, repairs and some upgrades can be performed on-site. Regardless of a conceivable collect and return fee, however, notwithstanding troubleshooting and quick on-site maintenance, many jobs are best resolved and prove less expensive if returned to the workshop; further ensuring a quality service, added value, doubly making certain that nothing is overlooked. To that end, it may be recommended that a unit is returned with us.

Do you offer training?

Yes, we can arrange step-by-step training, one to one or small groups, spanning from applications, Windows, design including web design and computer build.

Do you repair MAC's?

No, though we may be well placed to advise, we are fundamentally a PC specialist… main focus is on personal computers including laptops, notebooks and netbooks, broadband and telecoms, largely for the domestic, residential client, small business and/or venture.

Do you sub-contract, work with contractors?

Yes, we welcome opportunities to work with other contractors, particularly in the residential telecoms sector at our currently very competitive day-rate plus materials.

Do you work with networks or servers?

Not specifically as our target market is not corporate or industrial, however, Steve is a BT trained broadband engineer, may be able to assist in network cable structuring, if not network administration. Moreover, our pricing structure may best suit, best place us to resolve any number of issues without the need to employ a specialist.

How long will it take to service my computer?

A rapid service is an option, though a full service is typically completed, ready for collection or return to the client within 24 hours. Time taken may be less, and on occasion a little longer subject to how old a computer is, how much resource it has, conceivably adding to bench time, updates and the like. Perhaps enquire about a free health-check which will give a much clearer idea of how much time might be required.

How much will it cost to recover my computer operating system?

Assuming a good hard-drive, no hardware issues, a likely cost to reinstall a software platform or reinstate a licence is more often under £30.00. However, notwithstanding collect and return, there are a number of conceivable variables that may marginally increase the total including: removing the hard-drive for external, structure repairs, cloning or extensive data recovery; extended bench time and/or service packs; licence issues; sourcing missing drivers/support software etc. Visit our dedicated repair page for more possibilities.

If a call out takes 30 minutes, will I have to pay for the hour?

No, moreover time taken problem solving PC issues is not charged, but we must invoice an engineers' fee on call out though this will of course be offset against repair costs.

What experience do you have?

Steve qualified as a further and adult education teacher (Computing), studying a range of application and skill in support of business and education, further gaining from educational consultancies, schooling and developing information technology; combining ICT, teaching, technical qualifications and experience in establishing the business in 2002. Earlier working as an ICT/ECDL Distributed Electronic (Distance) Learning Tutor he had taught, and supported IT tutors, in further education for a number of years including activities in retirement, with a spell lecturing in computer science at Stamford.

With ten plus years practical experience, many of them as a field engineer, Steve has gained a wealth of knowledge in computing, and in providing personal computer services to the end user, home and enterprise, more recently adding to his know-how on contract with BT as a field (IT and BB) engineer in the East Midlands.

What computers do you support?

We support all personal computer types, laptops and broadband including: Acer, Asus, BT (E.g. AOL, o2, Orange, PlusNet, Sky, TalkTalk, Other inc. Mobile…), Compaq, DELL, eMachines (Gateway), HP, IBM/Lenovo, Packard Bell, Sony, Toshiba, Virgin Media, Windows 10, Windows 8 / 8.1, Windows 7, Vista (Microsoft Support ended) and XP (Microsoft Support ended). We of course also support earlier platforms, e.g. Windows '98; ME; NT; 2000, however, may not be cost effective to repair – please ask about this.

What does no fix, no fee mean?

If we commit to off-site works but then find that a system is beyond economical repair (BER), we may operate a 'no fix, no fee' or 'reduced fee' (essential repair) policy. Systems assessed as BER on-site, engineers' discretion.

What is the difference between call out and engineers' fee?

A call out fee will apply to a priority or out-of-hours site visit, whereas an engineers' fee is applied if a customer opts not to go ahead with repairs which are otherwise offset against costs.

What methods of payment do you accept?

We currently accept payments in cash, bank transfer or company cheque only. Payment by business cheque must be made to: 'Curiocafe'.

Payment for parts and services must be made with cash, bank transfer or business cheque prior to or upon the delivery of services. In all instances cash is preferred. Business cheques may be acceptable, however a small admin charge is applied and a clearance period, not likely exceeding ten days, may apply.

Prices published within this website are accurate at time of press, may be subject to change without prior notice.

Why Peterborough PC Support?

PCWorkspace, our trading name, was founded in 2002 following a period of information and communication technology, computer training, development and test trading. We are a professional, friendly, helpful and reliable company serving the Peterborough area, specialising in PC, broadband and telecoms support. The business continues to expand its resource and improve services. Due to some more recent diversity and transition, 'PCWorkspace' now operates as 'Curiocafe' for banking purposes only.

FAQs: Computing

Computer resource and support within this site is ongoing, developed whenever possible. Please by all means contact PCWorkspace if you have any questions or content that you would perhaps like considered.

Can I retrieve my data from a damaged USB stick?

It is not inconceivable to recover data from a damaged USB stick. The cost of recovering information however, may far outweigh the value of the device or files.


Always ensure to leave a copy of the file(s) at the source as a back-up, at least until the data has reached its destination. Assess the value of your damaged data, conceivably arrange to bring in your USB stick for evaluation. Consider a USB hard-drive instead of, or in addition to, a USB stick and, in any event, always safely remove hardware.

Free AVG has been recommended. Is it okay, do I not need to buy my Internet security?

Internet security advice should be tailored specifically to the end-user. If advised by a third-party based on their personal experience, it would perhaps be wise to install free software with caution. If your PC and its use has been properly evaluated, free AVG for instance may well suit requirements (may now be limited, perhaps consider Avast instead). It's important to note, however, that while a free or basic Internet security with its limitations may be fit-for-purpose or appropriate for an aging resource, this nonetheless shouldn't automatically imply that it's in some way better than a leading product, and that the right course of action might be to instead upgrade the system.

If a product such as AVG or Microsoft Security Essentials (Windows 7) is installed, it would help to develop some understanding and proactively maintain the application. More about: Infected Systems and Internet Security.

Is it legal to connect to any available wireless network?

While there may be some grey area in law regarding unsecured networks, there is nonetheless a clear distinction between free access in McDonalds and logging onto your neighbour's wireless network for some free surfing without express permission.

Dishonestly using an electronics communications service with the intent to avoid paying is breaking the law, and it is a matter that the police are taking increasingly more seriously. Moreover, it is likely your door that the authorities will knock on if someone is downloading material, on your service, that they perhaps shouldn't.

What is a firewall?

An Internet firewall is software or hardware that helps block hackers, viruses and worms which potentially infect your computer via the Internet. If you are a home or small-business user, installing a firewall (incorporating anti-virus) is the most effective and important first step to protecting your system and its contents. It is increasingly essential to have this type of security software installed and enabled prior to connecting to the Internet.

What more can I do to avoid malevolent downloads?

Many abhorrent downloads are arbitrary, designed to mislead, therefore the best advice might simply be, be aware, don't automatically give permission and be sure to identify or research .EXE files (perhaps downloaded to your desktop) before you run them.

Install a well known Internet security such as Kaspersky, McAfee or Norton, limiting any likelihood of installing Rogue Software in the first instance, albeit on a whim.

Proactively maintain both your Windows and Internet security updates to ensure a stable platform, protecting against Trojans that require no interaction, that seek out flaws in the system, which may also trigger Malware and/or Rogue Security.

Help to keep your platform at optimum performance by routinely updating third-party components and programs, maintaining, clearing out deadwood and Internet cache, and defragmenting the hard-drive partition(s).