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View Full Version : UK ISP's - Who are you with and do you like it?



johnuk
October 8th, 2011, 03:34 PM
We switched from Virgin to BT.

Now, on BT, the internet is all over the place. The connection speeds are up and down faster than a hussy's knickers after a bottle of lambrini, the line / router often drops the connection entirely. Or it's connected, but moving at 0.1kbs and timing out every page.

We have three to four people in the house, all wanting to go on youtube and move a ton of photos and videos around or play games.

The BT line is so bad, it's worse, in every way, than the Blue Yonder and other connections we had half a decade plus ago. I've literally had to run round to my neighbours house to send files in time for deadlines. That bad! And it's 100% nothing to do with the physical line, setup or interference (the router is on top of the socket and I've had the same problem with three different computers on two different OS's with all the breakers switched off in the house). Neither does the net speed up / free up at night, it actually goes down later into the night (e.g. 12am onwards).

I'm now looking at swapping again and Virgin seems like the obvious one.

I'm amazed to see BT up on the recommended lists.

I'm looking for 10 - 20 MB (10 would be fine I expect, since 20 is a bit unrealistic) and >!UNLIMITED!< line capacity. That has to be truly UNLIMITED.

Who are you with and are you happy?

haqking
October 8th, 2011, 03:40 PM
We switched from Virgin to BT.

Now, on BT, the internet is all over the place. The connection speeds are up and down faster than a hussy's knickers after a bottle of lambrini, the line / router often drops the connection entirely. Or it's connected, but moving at 0.1kbs and timing out every page.

We have three to four people in the house, all wanting to go on youtube and move a ton of photos and videos around or play games.

The BT line is so bad, it's worse, in every way, than the Blue Yonder and other connections we had half a decade plus ago. I've literally had to run round to my neighbours house to send files in time for deadlines. That bad! And it's 100% nothing to do with the physical line, setup or interference (the router is on top of the socket and I've had the same problem with three different computers on two different OS's with all the breakers switched off in the house). Neither does the net speed up / free up at night, it actually goes down later into the night (e.g. 12am onwards).

I'm now looking at swapping again and Virgin seems like the obvious one.

I'm amazed to see BT up on the recommended lists.

I'm looking for 10 - 20 MB (10 would be fine I expect, since 20 is a bit unrealistic) and >!UNLIMITED!< line capacity. That has to be truly UNLIMITED.

Who are you with and are you happy?

BT get slated alot, i have tried lots but BT has always been my favourite, there Support sucks but to be honest i dont need to talk to them ;-)

I have a 20MB Unlimited, i connect at between 16 and 18, SNR is between 6 and 9, attenuation at 35

Solid and reliable all the time, the SNR can fluctuate of course but i have good quality installation which i did myself internally and i use a Netgear Router not the hubs.

I rate BT 9/10 but i know for some they suck, depends where you are and line quality really and exchange i guess

ugm6hr
October 8th, 2011, 04:22 PM
I've had experience of:
TalkTalk: 2 houses, both bad. And bad customer service too.
Virgin Media (cable): as good as any.
Eclipse: reliable, but I only had 1 1GB/month service, and that was a few years ago.

haqking
October 8th, 2011, 04:26 PM
I've had experience of:
TalkTalk: 2 houses, both bad. And bad customer service too.
Virgin Media (cable): as good as any.
Eclipse: reliable, but I only had 1 1GB/month service, and that was a few years ago.

TalkTalk are 100% bad reviews from anyone i know who uses them.

Virgin Media not available where i am

Zen Internet (use to be great, now becoming bad)

Sky, bad locally but elsehwhere around where i live other people have no issues.

Orange (reasonable)

Alot of "bad" though i think you have to take with a pinch of salt as alot of users say that there ISP is bad because a certain website doesnt load, or flash dont work on yourtube...LOL

I have been to a few friends houses who say there ISP is terrible to find a 50 foot extension cable that the router is plugged into or something similar

Carterclan
October 8th, 2011, 04:45 PM
I have Sky unlimited up-to 20 meg, but my phone line is not capable of anything close to that. I don't have any issues with them at the moment but a couple of years ago they were carrying out line checks and decided that the optimal speed for my line was 2Mbps and actually capped me on that.
Before that I was getting a relatively consistent 3.5-4Mbps. So needless to say I was not happy getting capped at 2 especially when I'm paying for up-to 20.
It took a couple of phone calls and some threats to take my custom elsewhere before they would remove the cap. Since then I can't grumble as I have had no issues.

coffeecat
October 8th, 2011, 04:53 PM
Zen Internet (use to be great, now becoming bad)

Where did you get that idea from? :-s

Paqman
October 8th, 2011, 04:55 PM
Plusnet are excellent. People say good things about Zen, but I've never used them. Wouldn't touch BT or Talktalk with a bargepole. I'm using Sky right not because you get a very good deal if you've already got the TV, they're ok but the router they send you has locked firmware and you need to do some jiggery pokery (http://andyduffell.com/techblog/?p=911) to get the user name and password out of it.

johnuk
October 8th, 2011, 05:08 PM
Thanks for the replies, more are welcome.

How about 'bethere'? Someone said that's good.

ugm6hr
October 8th, 2011, 05:21 PM
How about 'bethere'? Someone said that's good.

A friend has it, and says he wouldn't consider anything else. In fact, he convinced his parents to go with them too.
Although I don't think they cover as much of the UK as other ISPs (at least that used to be the case).

haqking
October 8th, 2011, 05:27 PM
Where did you get that idea from? :-s

well actually i shouldnt of said bad as a generalisation, i meant it as in the people i know using it, plus one company.

I think alot has to do with the fact i live on an Island though ;-)

coffeecat
October 8th, 2011, 05:32 PM
well actually i shouldnt of said bad as a generalisation, i meant it as in the people i know using it, plus one company.

I think alot has to do with the fact i live on an Island though ;-)

I'm relieved! :) I've been with Zen since earlier this year. I moved so that I could talk to real techies on the help desk. I have no complaints. Indeed, taking the six ISPs you've mentioned, the comparative charts with thinkbroadband.com make interesting reading:

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/isp/compare.html?isp_7=1&isp_13=1&isp_21=1&isp_105=1&isp_84=1&isp_6=1&commit=Compare

:wink:

EDIT: of course, charts like that are all subjective based on customer feedback.

markp1989
October 8th, 2011, 05:45 PM
I have only ever been with 2 ISPs, AOL and Virgin.

I was with AOL from 1999 to about 2009, they sucked from the start, but went down hill from 2008 onwards, I was getting constant problems, slow speeds, ports blocked etc, If i called them up I would get told "1mbs is a very high speed you should be happy with it" even though i was paying for 8. we went through a stage of having constant outages, for about 5 hours at a time, if i called AOL they would blame BT, if I called BT they would blame AOL.

I have been with Virgin from 2009, was originally on the 10mbs plan, I updated to the 50mb plan in October 2010, I have had very few problems and the speed as remained consistent.

one day the internet was down for a few hours, I called them and was told they were aware of the problem and it would be sorted soon (which it was) they also refunded 5 on my bill that month.

From my experience Virgin are fine, where I live no one else can match the speed since my BT phone line sucks no company will even offer me more than 7mbs

haqking
October 8th, 2011, 05:55 PM
I'm relieved! :) I've been with Zen since earlier this year. I moved so that I could talk to real techies on the help desk. I have no complaints. Indeed, taking the six ISPs you've mentioned, the comparative charts with thinkbroadband.com make interesting reading:

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/isp/compare.html?isp_7=1&isp_13=1&isp_21=1&isp_105=1&isp_84=1&isp_6=1&commit=Compare

:wink:

EDIT: of course, charts like that are all subjective based on customer feedback.

Yeah i agree, i was with Zen years ago and had no complaints as like you say the helpdesk were actual techies which was good.

I am not too keen on the fact that they dont do unlimited now for residential though, unless that has changed again.

However the people i know who use them have been having some issues with them, one of them is a techie himself but is having alot of dropped connections with 3 different routers now. But a few does not mean as a whole they are bad, my list was purely about the people i know who use the ones i mentioned.

And definately subjective, i mean BT are slated pretty much all the time but i love them and have a great connection.

roll of the dice when it comes to ISP

personally i miss Compuserve and my mosaic browser on dial up...LOL

SharkMonster
October 8th, 2011, 08:05 PM
Virgin Media, they're good as long as you can get through to their UK call centers if there's a problem.

BT were okay when I had them before, I agree they get slated more than they deserve.

O2 were good as well, very reliable. Although for me BT and O2 both had pretty poor speeds (due to me being far from the exchange) but their service was fine.

majabl
October 8th, 2011, 08:22 PM
A friend has it, and says he wouldn't consider anything else. In fact, he convinced his parents to go with them too.
Although I don't think they cover as much of the UK as other ISPs (at least that used to be the case).

I used BE until I moved house to somewhere with an exchange from which BE doesn't operate. I wish I could still us BE - it's the best ISP I've used.

I'm on O2 8mbps now and it's OK. There's some kind of traffic shaping at peak periods in place on it now, so it's not as good as it once was, but there's no better ISP until my local exchange gets upgraded.

dave01945
October 8th, 2011, 09:14 PM
I've heard good things about BE and plusnet but I have never used them myself.

I've always used sky and always had a great service, speed has been 15-20Mb and never had any problems, it has always worked 24/7. The price is very reasonable especially for unlimited usage, the only downside is the router isn't the best.

heard alot of bad things about virgin they may offer good speeds in certain areas but the have a very aggressive bandwidth capping policy.

also I am from the east

johnuk
October 8th, 2011, 09:34 PM
If i called them up I would get told "1mbs is a very high speed you should be happy with it" even though i was paying for 8. we went through a stage of having constant outages, for about 5 hours at a time, if i called AOL they would blame BT, if I called BT they would blame AOL.

:)

I've heard that before.

Even aged 10 when we still had an Amiga, I went to the computer store and demonstrated that holding down both the mouse buttons allowed it to boot as a 500.

The guy in the store said "no it can't". Well, there it was, happening right in front of him.



personally i miss Compuserve and my mosaic browser on dial up...LOL

Our first connection was with UNet I think, when a static IP was standard.

I remember opening comic chat and thinking ":O there are others!?"

It had a weird problem though, in that, if I stopped moving the mouse, the modem would hang up.

I can still remember the handshake sounds from it and the dialing. :P

Like the tape drive, for the BBC micro... nnnNnNnnNnnnschhssssssssshhhhhhh



heard alot of bad things about virgin they may offer good speeds in certain areas but the have a very aggressive bandwidth capping policy.

I don't know if that's a new thing, but when we were with them about a year ago there seemed to be absolutely zero limit to the amount they'd let go through. And, as someone else said, it was consistently on bar the odd maintenance period, that they'd inform us of and that'd actually end when it was supposed to, going back up to normal straight away.

Hopefully they haven't messed their pants and ruined it in the meantime.

------------------------------------------

I'll throw a metaphorical spanner in the thread.

Do you think ISPs are able to (and do?) throttle traffic in reverse? E.g. if they detect that packets are going out to a known speed test server, they open the bandwidth for it?

dave01945
October 8th, 2011, 09:48 PM
:)

I don't know if that's a new thing, but when we were with them about a year ago there seemed to be absolutely zero limit to the amount they'd let go through. And, as someone else said, it was consistently on bar the odd maintenance period, that they'd inform us of and that'd actually end when it was supposed to, going back up to normal straight away.


I can't say first hand as I have never used them myself and I think it only affects you if you are a heavy user but compared to many other companies it is a very strict policy and they have been criticised about it alot here is a copy of their Policy (http://www.virginmedia.com/images/tm-table-su-large.jpg)

Thats one of the main reasons I use sky as they have no traffic management policy for unlimited customers and i can't complain about the price it is about 20 month for the broadband and line rental. the speed doesn't go to 100Mb like virgin but I have never had a problem with 20Mb

Merlins
October 9th, 2011, 02:42 PM
My experience of TalkTalk has been very good (perhaps the 'silent majority?'). Was on their free broadband for a couple of years with no problems. Just had their Fibre To The Cabinet and download tests showing 30+Mbps (over 3MB per second download). Can't say I have anything to complain about with them. Am using 11.04 with TP-Link WN822N.

johnuk
October 9th, 2011, 02:57 PM
Just checked the bill, the BT is 34 a month with the phone rental. :O

Insane cash for the service. Got to go, pronto.

It was actually fitting out last night, on a Saturday, at 11pm. Cracked open a beer to check the forum and it was, ironically, timing out this page. :D

Nytram
October 9th, 2011, 03:04 PM
I've been using Telewest/Virgin for around 10 years and always been happy with the service. It's not perfect, I've experienced a few minor outages, but nothing worth complaining about.

I've always got maximum speeds, except on the few occasions I've been "traffic managed/throttled" after some big downloads.

Elfy
October 9th, 2011, 03:10 PM
Was with talktalk till I moved home. They needed much to long to get it all going again. Went to BT who did it all in a couple of days of moving.

Staying with them for a year as they gave me very favourable rates for a new contract at their unlimited package after they completely got some tech issues wrong leaving me wishing that I was back on dialup.

I had started looking into the likes of Zen - all on hold for a while now.

keithpeter
October 9th, 2011, 03:20 PM
Freeserve -> Wanadoo -> Orange

No major issues, usually get around 450Kbit/s on big downloads, I live nearish to the centre of Birmingham and use a BT landline.

I use a netgear adsl modem/router/wifi box that I bought myself. Don't like closed routers with hidden passwords &c.

cheers

lemmy999
October 9th, 2011, 04:58 PM
O2 user, less than 1/2 a mile from my exchange, download speed is usually in the 14-15 meg range.

I have had occasion to talk to their first and second line support ( based in Scotland) and have been suitably impressed.

My total bill for phone+ broadband this month is 28

mendhak
October 9th, 2011, 06:22 PM
We switched from Virgin to BT.

Now, on BT, the internet is all over the place. The connection speeds are up and down faster than a hussy's knickers after a bottle of lambrini, the line / router often drops the connection entirely. Or it's connected, but moving at 0.1kbs and timing out every page.

We have three to four people in the house, all wanting to go on youtube and move a ton of photos and videos around or play games.

The BT line is so bad, it's worse, in every way, than the Blue Yonder and other connections we had half a decade plus ago. I've literally had to run round to my neighbours house to send files in time for deadlines. That bad! And it's 100% nothing to do with the physical line, setup or interference (the router is on top of the socket and I've had the same problem with three different computers on two different OS's with all the breakers switched off in the house). Neither does the net speed up / free up at night, it actually goes down later into the night (e.g. 12am onwards).

I'm now looking at swapping again and Virgin seems like the obvious one.

I'm amazed to see BT up on the recommended lists.

I'm looking for 10 - 20 MB (10 would be fine I expect, since 20 is a bit unrealistic) and >!UNLIMITED!< line capacity. That has to be truly UNLIMITED.

Who are you with and are you happy?
If you switch back, you could ask BT for a refund. If they refuse, you should lodge a complaint with OfCom, they can take things further for you.

I'm with Virgin Media.
Pros: Very stable, great speeds. Very few outages.
Cons: Their customer support can be unhelpful.
Protip: Never mention you have Linux. Always say Windows. Speak slowly.

grahammechanical
October 10th, 2011, 12:09 AM
Plusnet for me. At the time the price was good without having to switch land-line providers. I see no need to switch

Regards.