The Best ISP?

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The Best ISP?

Postby shifty_ben » Sun Apr 22, 2007 8:51 pm

I'm not looking to start an argument quite like the Smoking debate, but who's your favourite and worst ISP? Anyone who has read my site knows that Tiscali is by far the worst and sadly I am not sure that PostNuke could handle a single post containing all the reasons for this, but briefly summed up - they are theiving b*stards with the worst customer service in the world, read the posts at if you don't believe me

I was with Freeserve a while back, before they became Wanadoo and they were pretty good (this was in the days of drooling over 28.8k modems mind you), but I think BT Total Broadband is by far the best so far. Admittedly that is probably because I make good use of all the things they offer (Norton AV and Firewall aside) my phonebill is tiny now because I only use the VOIP when I am in which is mostly evenings. I hadn't noticed the level of downtime Tiscali had until I went with BT, but they are very reliable and very friendly when you do have to phone them

Having said that I have heard Bulldog is quite good, though I am unlikely to leave BT now that I have my bluephone/BTFusion Handset.

Anyone else?

p.s. Would have put a poll at the top but there are just too many ISPs out there
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RE: The Best ISP?

Postby Ram » Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:07 pm

I've been with NTL / VM now for 7yrs, can't really fault the connection, it's had it's up and down but I guess all will have.

CS on the other hand is **** with a big C

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RE: The Best ISP?

Postby nelz » Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:00 pm

I found NTL to be rubbish, with long outages. I use Zen now and find them to be excellent, both in the quality of service and their customer service. I did have to power cycle the modem last week, no idea if the fault was with the modem, telco or ISP, but that was the first downtime this year.
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RE: The Best ISP?

Postby nordle » Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:07 am

Been with eclipse since 2004, it just works. I last contacted support a couple of years ago, via online ticket system, with a brief question. They replied in 3 hours and were helpful. At the time, ordering was easy, with steady order updates via net account.

My router currently sais it's been connected continuously for 182 hours 18 minutes, usually its about 300 hours.

Free single IP, no limits, no port blocking, no throttling. But its a little pricey @ £25/month

I recommended to a few people to have a look at namesco as I used to have some hosting with them and it was good, plus they seem to be in the press a lot having won various ISP awards.
Anyone, the people who I spoke to have said they are very happy. £20/month, free router, 1mth contract, really easy to order. ie one ordered on Monday and it was up and running on the Friday with the delivered router!
One emailed them 3 times about various things (she knows nothing about computers at all! a real hand holding job), each time they got back to her in 30-90mins.
Only downer is, 10GB limit. And if you already have a router then theres no advantage. For £25/month you get 60GB limit, but again, £25/month can seem a little pricey.

My uncle uses TalkTalk and is very happy! £20/month = 8MB broadband + free phone calls.
BUT they have a really bad rep with regard to, well, everything. I know someone at work who signed up in January this year, still waiting and its nearly May! Keep getting the dates shifted by TalkTalk.
They came to market with a package that was too good to be true, now they are struggling to complete orders.
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RE: The Best ISP?

Postby roseway » Mon Apr 23, 2007 6:07 am

You're never going to get a representative view of that question here, just a few anecdotes. The best place to look is and its associated forum. You're right about Tiscali though.

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RE: The Best ISP?

Postby shifty_ben » Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:05 am

More interested in the Anecdotes really, BT costs me 26/month so it falls into the band of seeming a little pricey, but then I do get a lot from it (the max bandwidth limit they offer is 40 Gig though).

The BT HomeHub is quite a nice piece of kit though, my dad worked on testing it so the last time he came round for a visit he was seeing how many of the testing points were left open.
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RE: The Best ISP?

Postby MartyBartfast » Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:06 am

I've been with NTL/Virgin Media for about 8 or 9 years, both dialup & now broadband and I can't say that I've ever had a problem. I can't comment on their customer service 'cos I've never had reason to call them. To add a bit of balance though, their support newsgroups do tend to show that my experience isn't shared by everyone and other subscribers do seem to have their share of problems.
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RE: The Best ISP?

Postby M-Saunders » Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:22 am

I was with Zen for a couple of years and they were spot-on -- fast and very reliable.

Currently I'm on Demon; only been with them for a few months but no complaints so far. This is 8Mbit with no bandwidth cap (but a 'fair usage' policy applies -- ie don't P2P 24x7 for a whole month).

Both are a tad more expensive than the 'bargain' ISPs but the reliability is worth a wee bit extra IMO.

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RE: The Best ISP?

Postby shifty_ben » Mon Apr 23, 2007 9:29 am

but the reliability is worth a wee bit extra IMO.

Anyone who has been with an unreliable ISP should appreciate it so much more! I never had any real qualms with Tiscali's service whilst I was with them (reliability wise) it was only when I changed to BT that I realised how shockingly poor they were
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RE: The Best ISP?

Postby Ram » Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:24 am

Give Sky a ring, they have a current offer of £26 for basic TV and phone calls, if your eligible you get upto 8 meg BB free, then add £11ish for the BT line.

Which at £37 sound like a good deal, which I'm looking at but I have to first get a BT Line.

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RE: The Best ISP?

Postby davecs » Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:43 am

In my dial-up days I had accounts at Freeserve, NDO, and Freeola. Of those, Freeola had good e-mail addresses and webspace addresses. However, the advent of Broadband left them looking a little sorry, as their prices just don't compete. However if you want, as part of the deal, a website with a usable name, with full cgi support and no practical limit on size, then Freeola looks a little better! I still recommend them for dial-up users.

Being an NTL cable customer, I switched to NTL dial-up and eventually Broadband. I found the connection solid most of the time, but when it did go wrong, customer service was hit and miss. On one occasion, shortly after I started using Linux, and realised that I really needed to connect their modem via Ethernet, I got a really bright lady who talked me through unloading their software from Win98, and setting up ethernet manually (it's so easy in Linux!!) so I could dual boot. However I got my first experience of on-line collaboration from the USB connection, working with a guy in Hong Kong to rewrite a RedHat script to reconnect dropped USB ether connections so that it would work in Mandrake. I even found it archived on the net when I needed to refer to it in order to do the same thing for my sis-in-law's Speedtouch 330 under PCLinuxOS.

Last autumn I found that NTL's charges were moving steadily upwards, I had already got my Sis-in-law and mother-in-law on TalkTalk, quite simply because they could not afford anything else. So I was aware of the potential problems. My sister in law's Speedtouch did not work with the supplied software (in Win98), but the customer service which got us there in the end was awful and caused a 2-week delay. The upside was that the TalkTalk software never got installed, I just downloaded the Win98 drivers from Thomson and off she went. There was no actual "break" in the connection, though. And best of all I got it going in Linux.

My mother-in-law's case was different. There was a period of several weeks where her phone went wrong, there was no internet, her phone came back but with the wrong number, you name it. All I can say is that we got there in the end. Since then, there were some problems due to the Sagem F@st800 modem not loading the firmware or occasionally losing it. I got a TalkTalk MT882 modem from someone else who had switched to wireless, rock solid ever since. She's running PCLinuxOS also.

I did help someone else with TalkTalk after months, but it was 100% user error. They use WinXP, and had it set up initially for dial-up. It kept trying to dial up instead of connecting to the router. It's a long story, but I bought them a wireless router and a BT Main Socket ADSL adaptor for Christmas, and installed it for them. As they hadn't done a great deal with their lappy, there were no personal files on it. Really. I just re-installed the WinXP image, set the router up with the lappy at the BT socket, then took the lappy upstairs and set the wireless up. Again no TalkTalk software. And I removed no less than 6 ADSL filters from round the house (yup wired phone in every room). I'm sure having all of them in parallel couldn't have helped.

I switched to TalkTalk this year. I had to get a BT line put in last Autumn, and when I gave NTL 30 days notice to terminate my phone, they stopped it 3 days later, so I was without a phone at all for about 10 days. The good thing was that I could keep cable broadband separately. I decided that I would not give 30 days notice to NTL until I had TalkTalk broadband connected. My "nightmare" period was just under 2 weeks, after they LLU'd me, I lost my line altogether but once I was able to report it, they put it back on, but the service kept starting and stopping. Half way through the second week I got a call on my mobile from them asking them why I was not indoors, and I told them that I was not expecting them. They came again the following day (it was actually BT Openworld) and did some repairs to the line outside my house, since then it's been pretty good. Had a few problems with billing, could not access on-line bills, but now cured. I get speeds which vary between equal or just under my NTL speed, up to 3 times as fast.

Under NTL I was paying £17.99 for Broadband, £11 for line rental, and an ever-increasing amount for phone calls, including "connection charges" which made even a brief wrong number or recorded message cost 5.5p.

Under TalkTalk I pay £19.99 which includes Broadband, Line Rental and calls to 01/02 numbers. Mobile Calls, 0845/0870 calls are cheaper than NTL , too, and they do their own version of BTs friends and family scheme for mobiles and one 0845 number.

TalkTalk do an 0800 number for telephone failures, and 0870 numbers for everything else, but the 0870 numbers are free from a TalkTalk phone. They do a Technical Support line which is an 0871 number costing 10p/minute, but I can beat that: My Technical Support advice, especially now they supply an Ethernet router, is just ignore their software, and follow the "AppleMac" instructions for all operating systems.

By the way, the stated spec is 8Mbit/sec, 40Gb/month traffic, though they also say that if you go over your 40Gb they will contact you about it rather than just slap a charge on.
Last edited by davecs on Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: The Best ISP?

Postby Nigel » Mon Apr 23, 2007 11:47 am

I've been with Freeserve/Wanadoo/Orange for some years now, ever since BT made such a meal of trying (and failing) to replace the duff modem they sent me when I first tried to get broadband.
I was going to switch last year as the package that seemed good value some years ago was starting to look a bit expensive - Tesco was my intended supplier, as they told me officially that "unlimited means unlimited - no bandwidth caps whatsoever", but when I called Orange for the code to change, they offered me a very good deal to stay with them - £18/month for the fastest service they can give me (currently 2Mb) with no cap and a fair use policy that means unless you regularly go over 50Gb/month they don't bother you.
I carried on using my existing 3Com router instead of the "home hub" they sent me, as I don't want all the extras and I don't like the idea of them updating my router remotely (I want control of my equipment). I have noticed more downtime recently... it seems to happen quite often on Sunday afternoons, but it's usually back within the hour without me having to do anything.
My main problem with Orange is that they really want me to take all sorts of extras (VOIP, links with my mobile phone etc etc) and all I want is reliable wires-only internet access.
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RE: The Best ISP?

Postby dwjs1974 » Mon Apr 23, 2007 12:40 pm

Hi all,

from my personal experience avoid Claranet is a must..
I recommend Globalnet who is my current ISP I have had a dial up with them for over 7 years and BB the last 4 or so..
I worked at NTLfreedom oh dear what a shambles although I bet the rebranding NTL to virgin Media isnt going to help....

I have a 1meg BB connection I am happy with 1meg people want the 8meg go faster with strips...
Now to support 8meg you have to be quite close to an exchange but people dont realise this and when they get a 4meg connection on ADSLmax they complain cos the connection keeps dropping...

I pay £29 a month & have an unlimited bandwidth although I am normally around 40gig a month might be a bit more now I use Joost which runs great on my connection :

Please note these views are my personal views.

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RE: The Best ISP?

Postby towy71 » Mon Apr 23, 2007 1:14 pm

I'm with zen and can't praise them highly enough, several friends have had problems with various ISPs but having transferred to zen they are very happy bunnies too.
zen also provide a 256kb service if you are at the limit of adsl, eclipse will also provide this slower but still effective BB connection where others won't (pace BT, Virgin, Orange, Tiscali)
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RE: The Best ISP?

Postby Rhakios » Mon Apr 23, 2007 6:09 pm

Well, I'm currently on cable with Blueyonder/Virgin Media and it seems fine. The installers were a couple of decent blokes who did precisely what was asked and weren't at all bothered by my Linux set up, they just let me test it and asked if was happy.
As I haven't had any problems yet, it's hard to say what their service is like. My brother, who has been with them since cable was first installed in his area, has found them helpful, once you can get past their scripted question and answer initial approach to tell them what the problem actually is.
I notice that nelz says that he found NTL (who are now part of Virgin Media) to be rubbish and I wonder if this was on dial-up/ADSL. I was going to try NTL back in the days of dial-up and found them to be a bunch of idiots then as well.
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