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 Â£17.99 for Broadband, Â£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 Â£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.
Asus Asus M2N32 WS Pro+Athlon AM2/4200+ â€” GeForce 7600GT â€” 2Gb Cosair VS RAM â€” 500Gb WD5000AAKS SATA Drive â€” PCLinuxOS