UK Broadband ISP - who should I pick?


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peej
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With our BT connection dropping below dial-up speeds this week I've finally decided to kick the buggers into touch.

So, out to the AATG masses, which broadband provider would you recommend. The catch is we can't have Sky or Virgin (unless we pay for Virgin's extremely expensive service, we can't get the standard connection at a decent speed).

Any thoughts on O2 as they're the ones we've got our eye on.

#1 at 10:03:59 - 03/06/2010
ilmaestro
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Virgin's extremely expensive service.
#2 at 10:41:30 - 03/06/2010
blizeH
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Looking at this myself to be honest, Virgin 50mb is mighty tempting but unfortunately cable doesn't really meet my requirements so I can't have it.

The main contenders I've narrowed it down to are:

Be - https://www.bethere.co.uk/ (super cheap and super quick)

Vivaciti - http://www.vivaciti.net/ (great service and support)
#3 at 10:42:35 - 03/06/2010
peej
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Be's owned by O2 innit...I think we're interested in O2 because we've got mobiles with them so we should be in line for some discounts and benefits.

Not heard of Vivaciti. Will have a looksee.
#4 at 10:55:23 - 03/06/2010
Whizzo
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ilmaestro said:Virgin's extremely expensive service.
I love my VM connection.
#5 at 10:55:37 - 03/06/2010
peej
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Not an option really. We don't get enough use out of it to justify the stupid price as we're not mad pirates/TV torrenters :)
#6 at 10:55:58 - 03/06/2010
evilashchris
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Be seem to be much better than O2 from the reports I've heard, even though they are part of the same company.
#7 at 11:18:53 - 03/06/2010
peej
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Yeah that does seem a bit weird.

I mean we're going on the basis that no one can be as bad as BT at the moment but it's still a flippin' minefield.
#8 at 11:19:45 - 03/06/2010
HairyArse
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Why can't you go with Sky? I recommend them.
#9 at 11:23:51 - 03/06/2010
peej
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No interest in Sky telly and I really, really couldn't live with myself if I ended up swelling Rupert Murdoch's coffers, even by a penny or two.
#10 at 11:27:17 - 03/06/2010
oneiros
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Heh; and there's me thinking I might move from Demon to BT...
#11 at 12:20:25 - 03/06/2010
peej
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The thing is, we never get a straight answer out of BT - and since we let the contract lapse we've been charged 22 quid a month for a service that's worse than dial-up...so unless you're prepared to pay for their premium packages, I wouldn't bother.

Though at the same time I wouldn't stay with Demon either. They have a funny idea about "unlimited" downloads (but then again don't all ISPs?)
#12 at 12:21:55 - 03/06/2010
billdoor
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whatever you decide, check out quidco to see if some supplier will give you a hundred quid for clicking through from there.
#13 at 12:28:21 - 03/06/2010
peej
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Hmmm good suggestion.

#14 at 12:30:08 - 03/06/2010
Tiger_Walts
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O2 have an approximate 1/3 off incentive if you already have a mobile contract with them. Their service is an unlimited one with a fair usage policy and 12 months is the minimum contract period.

Whether the service is any good in your area I don't know but Sam does. Or at least he used to.
#15 at 12:32:03 - 03/06/2010
peej
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That site seems a bit too US-Centric but it (laughably) says we can get just about all the major ISPs at our postcode when they've told us themselves we can't. Bit annoying.

I can understand why I've never changed from BT before, it's a fucking mare!
#16 at 12:37:59 - 03/06/2010
Tiger_Walts
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Samknows used to have info on the performance for all UK ISPs publically available but it seems a different beast these days. I guess they're using the site to collect ISP performace data to sell on in some way.
#17 at 12:46:16 - 03/06/2010
peej
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Aye could be.

One thing I have noticed is that using the nasty BT java-reliant speed checker throws up a painfully low BRAS setting (no, nothing to do with women's boulder holders). We're getting 250k when it should be over 7000 or more.

Likelihood is some stupid dynamic line management stuff has kicked in and dropped the BRAS low to try and keep a consistent connection for some reason. We do switch our modem off at night (always have, and certainly have for the last 5 years at this house with no performance issues).

BT's tech help are like Dell's though, they assume that you're a fuckwit and make you jump through a ton of hoops before they'll bother to look at your connection / line.
#18 at 12:52:40 - 03/06/2010
CrispyXUK
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I use ADSL24.co.uk, who are rather spiffing. They sorted my shitty line out that BT didn't fix for a year.
#19 at 13:45:25 - 03/06/2010
blizeH
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CrispyXUK said:I use ADSL24.co.uk, who are rather spiffing. They sorted my shitty line out that BT didn't fix for a year.

Yeah ADSL24 used to be the same as Vivaciti/UKFSN but recently changed I think - how are you finding them now Crispy?!
#20 at 14:09:43 - 03/06/2010
frod
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I can recommend Vivaciti IF Cable & Wireless provide LLU in your local exchange. (vivaciti are just resellers of various broadband providers).
#21 at 17:18:02 - 05/06/2010
frod
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also, if O2 provide LLU in your local exchange they're good.

if they don't, they're totally fucking awful.
#22 at 17:18:44 - 05/06/2010
HoriZon
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I'm on IDNet though its not the 24Mbps service as its not in my area yet the ADSLMax service is great (i get the full 7Mbps out of it my BRAS is 7.1 with a connection rate of 8128Kbps).

No Throttling:
We guarantee no throttling, no traffic shaping, no port blocking, and no contention on our network. No contention on our network is achieved by not oversubscribing our broadband services and ensuring that bandwidth investment exceeds customer demand. This means that we can guarantee the maximum throughput that your line can support at all times.

One month rolling contract.

They have a few packages with different download caps, the upload allowance is unlimited.

IDNet

Their tech support is great and is based in the UK and you get straight through.

Best ISP i have ever used tbh.
#23 at 18:54:08 - 05/06/2010
peej
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After 3 weeks they (BT) finally sorted out my broadband at home and now it's up to 6mb, which is quicker than it's ever been.

Which begs the question, why the fuck didn't they give me 6mb in the first place considering how much I'm paying.

Definitely still up for changing ISPs but for now it's just nice to be able to download stuff in minutes rather than hours (the speed was so slow at one point during the downtime that the Xbox Dash took TEN FUCKING MINUTES to appear)
#24 at 12:37:08 - 14/06/2010
peej
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Here we are, less than a year later with the same problem. Back down to dial up speeds, still shopping around and still looking at either Virgin or 02. Anyone got an opinion on 02? Surely they've got to be better than BT?
#25 at 10:52:30 - 08/02/2011
ilmaestro
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I am still happy with Virgin, and have been for the last few years I've been using them through various name changes.
#26 at 11:13:50 - 08/02/2011
peej
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What's their standard service like? We'd just want broadband. No phone line, no telly, none of the daft extras - just fast broadband (or faster than fucking 250kbs at least) without some crippling price tag.
#27 at 11:29:01 - 08/02/2011
ilmaestro
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Hmm, interesting question especially re: price, we get it silly cheap because we get everything through them. As far as speed goes, having used their 10Mb connection for a long time (currently 16/month for 3 months then 21/month if you don't take a phone line with them), you should consistently get download speeds nudging over 1mb/s as long as the other end of the connection allows for it, in my experience.
#28 at 01:26:29 - 09/02/2011
billdoor
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We have virgin cable and get 9.5mbps from our 10mbps line, with an upload speed of 0.94mbps. Dunno what it costs exactly since we get a phone as well. All in- with free landline calls, it costs us 40 a month.

I switched because the ADSL was playing up and the deal with an engineer was shit. He'd look for a fault outside the house and if he didn't find one or missed one or was incompetent, we'd have to pay a 150 call out charge. Since I had my modem plugged straight into the master socket I knew the fault wasn't in our house but didn't want to be fucked over.
#29 at 09:02:23 - 09/02/2011
boabg
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It's actually cheaper to take the phone line. The package lowers the price of the BB.

I've been on Virgin/ntl: for 11 years now and I could count on one hand the number of times it's actually fell on its arse.

On my 20Mb line I get sustained 2.5MB/s (until the traffic shaping takes over)
#30 at 12:26:27 - 09/02/2011

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