Question for UK users re. broadband/phone packages.
Thread poster: Jana Teteris

Jana Teteris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:31
Latvian to English
+ ...
Nov 16, 2009

After having recently moved back to the UK after a long stint abroad, I am now trying to choose a suitable telephone/broadband package and it looks like I've narrowed the choice down to two suppliers - namely BT and the post office.

I've read very mixed reviews re. the above suppliers and therefore, would be grateful to hear opinions from other translators. How happy have you been with BT and/or post office broadband? Would you recommend either of them, or another supplier?

Many thanks.


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Lutz Molderings  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:31
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Virgin Nov 16, 2009

I was with Tiscali, BT and Virgin.
Both with BT and Tiscali I had frequent downtimes.
With Virgin I was very happy. Excellent speeds thanks to cable Internet, good offers and fairly good CS.
They even let me cancel my 12-month contract after only 7 months because I was moving abroad.


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Ramon Inglada  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:31
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
BT, but... Nov 16, 2009

Hi there,

I've been using BT for more than 2 years and service has been good, with no downtime and reasonable speeds.

However, there are 2 big problems with BT:

1) Customer service is abysmal. I really can't describe here how useless and infuriating the so-called "support service" is. Calling them is just a waste of time.

2) The router they provide (BT HomeHub) is of appalling quality. Mine would stop working for no reason at all, would prevent me from connecting wirelessly from time to time, would reduce speed to a snail pace as well whenever it pleased for no reason... after my 3rd HomeHub, I decided to use my own router and, since then, no problems at all whatsoever. I thought the problems were with the line, but no, it was just the HomeHub (which basically, at least in my case, was a piece of junk... the 3 of them).

Therefore, I'd recommend BT only if you're technically savvy enough as to be able to use our own router and not to have to contact customer support to deal with any technical problem that might arise. Otherwise, BT is really not an option.

I hope this helps!

Ramon


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Jennifer Gordon Taylor  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:31
Czech to English
+ ...
Which? Nov 16, 2009

Which? Magazine suggests O2 Broadband, particularly if you have an O2 mobile phone, and also suggests Utility Warehouse. I've not heard of the latter, and since I haven't lived in the UK for 9 years, maybe you should take my advice with a large pinch of salt, but these are their Best Buys from reader surveys.

Just another suggestion...

[Edited at 2009-11-16 15:47 GMT]


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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:31
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Cable or phone line? Nov 16, 2009

It depends on whether you can have cable broadband or not.

Before I moved to my current address I had cable broadband with Virgin, no problems at all, but that was about 2 years ago.

There is no cable where I am now, so I have to have a BT phone line whatever. I started off with Pipex (part of the Tiscali group), but their customer service is appalling so I left (with great difficulty, in fact, they weren't even capable of cancelling a contract). I moved to Zen, and am absolutely delighted with the service. I've even called and had the phone answered by the same person two or three times, which in this day and age is pretty amazing!


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:31
French to English
Homehub (and yet...) Nov 16, 2009

Ramon Inglada wrote:

The router they provide (BT HomeHub) is of appalling quality.


It is, or it is for wireless. Utterly abysmal. I have said so before on here. I have said so on BT's own forums. Bearing in mind it is heavily promoted for its wireless capabilities, it is an outrage. And yet, if you read the small print, it says (I paraphrase) that if wireless works for you, consider it a bonus, it's really designed for Ethernet. And in that regard, it works fine.
They will insist on upgrading the firmware in the small hours, when I'm still using it, which can be a pain - but I guess the majority of users are asleep then.

Customer services - not brilliant, unless you are prepared to wield a screwdriver and/or run stuff using the command line, both of which they have asked me to do. OK for me, I suppose, possibly less good for the nervous or unknowledgeable. I'm inclined to think BT are the least bad. And it should not be overlooked that they still control the majority of the local loop, even if technically it has been spun off. So, y'know, if it's 4:50 and you can fit one more job in today, one's a BT customer, the other's with Talk Talk (say), then...


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Jana Teteris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:31
Latvian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Nov 16, 2009

Thanks so much for the feedback. On paper, the post office broadband deal looks too good to be true and therefore, I guess it's going to be BT. I'm actually using a BT ethernet connection at the place I've been staying for the last several weeks and I'm very happy with it. Not being technically savvy I wasn't able to establish a wireless connection to the 'home hub' - and to be perfectly honest didn't realise that I was supposed to be able to do that.

I hadn't thoght to look into a cable connection. Anyone have any recommendations re. Virgin (again the reviews are very mixed)? Having said that it actually looks like it's more expensive in the long run, and I certainly don't need all the TV channels they offer.


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:31
Dutch to English
+ ...
Demon Nov 17, 2009

I have been using Demon for more than 5 years with a Belkin router I purchased separately. I can honestly say I've never had any problems except when the router itself broke and I had to replace it. It is fast, never down and maintenance is usually on a Sunday in the early hours.

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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:31
Member (2004)
English to Italian
good experiences with... Nov 17, 2009

clara.net (which I use today and I've used for years with no problems - but expensive if compared to other providers)), zen internet (used for 9 months at the rented accomodation where I had to move because of flooding - very good) and virgin.net (ok, not brilliant... and not the cable package). I use virgin ad backup connection and for the children's computer...

G


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xxxJPW  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
Youu might want to check out this website Nov 18, 2009

Hi Jana, if you haven't seen this already, this website offers comparisons on a wide range of different ISPs and packages for the UK: http://www.thinkbroadband.com/

There are links (on the left) for comparing broadband providers, running a speed test on your line, help forums, who operates in your area, rate your provider, etc. You don't necessarily have to register simply for comparing what's on offer in your area.

As for me, well, here in Northern Ireland the choices are somewhat limited (no surprises there), but I personally would not go with BT even if they paid me, after all the rigmarole they put me through.

To give you a sampler: it took them six weeks (I kid you not) to find my address, after accusing me of not actually living there, charged £125 for ten minutes' work switching on the phone line, had appallingly rude customer service, took money off me in advance without permission, etc. etc. It was a long and sorry saga, but in the end I got a complete refund and an apology for all the nonsense I had to put with because like the Jack Russell that I am, I refused to let them get away with it. They are a complete shower.

And, as pointed out previously, their homehubs are atrociously bad. Never seen a worse piece of kit in my life. But bear in mind, any ISP is gonna supply a basic router since they have to give them out in huge numbers, tens of thousands.

I was previously with Orange, and I never had any problems whatsoever, although their customer service is shockingly bad I never really needed to use it. I am however, STILL waiting for them to supply paper copies of my bills, some months after I quit them. And I quit them because they unilaterally put up their price by 33%. So they must be one of the dearest now.

Now I am with the Post Office and, apart from a couple of occasions where I had to reset the router, no major problems, good speeds, etc. although I do live very close to the local exchange, which I am sure is a factor. Their customer services teams seem to be locally based, judging by the accents I heard on the few occasions I had to ring up, but having said that, they aren't any better than any other I have experienced: they get no training or not enough or the wrong type or whatever, it's an industry-wide issue I believe. They are poorly paid so they have no incentive to really actually truly help anyone. Or else they simply don't know the answer.

The one provider I do keep hearing good things about is O2, but unfortunately they aren't directly available here in NI (yet). And Zen seems to win lots of awards for its service every year, but I suspect they don't operate in my area either.

Hope that helped,

JP.

[Editorial note: the preview screen kept throwing out forward slashes everywhere I used an apostrophe. I don't know if they will actually show up or not. If they do, either my keyboard's knackered or else there's a bug in your system. I'll find out when I hit the 'post' key].


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:31
French to English
Karma, probably Nov 19, 2009

So, I slag off BT one day and what happens the next....?

Home hub plays up. Lights off, and stuff, quite serious - all the lights are usually on, it's usually just connectivity issues. And it's 1 a.m. and I'm being keen to get stuff done (as I am tonight!). And so I phone the support number, at which point I find out BT only offer support from 8 a.m. to midnight. So that could be a factor you might like to bear in mind. If only I didn't suffer from such inertia with my "service" providers...


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:31
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Orange and Post Office Nov 19, 2009

I guess that, once again, I'm an oddity. I get my broadband through Orange, which is working well (at last), and my telephone line through the Post Office, which also seems to work well and offers free calls throughout the UK and in several foreign countries (including the USA) between 6 pm and 8 am and at weekends.
I should probably switch my broadband to the Post Office too, to get a cheaper combined deal, but I simply can't face the hassle of changing my service-provider (and presumably my email address) yet again.
I've heard bad stories about BT too. The TV consumer programme Watchdog doesn't think much of them!
Best wishes,
Jenny


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Natalia Mackevich  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:31
Member (2009)
English to Russian
+ ...
Virgin Nov 19, 2009

Sveiki!
We use Virgin (mobile, landline, broadband for 30 GBP/month + free TV) and are generally satisfied.


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Jana Teteris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:31
Latvian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
BT it is! Nov 20, 2009

I've gone ahead and ordered BT broadband. I've been promised that I'll be up and running on the day I move in next week. Watch this space........

Thank you to everyone who responded! Much appreciated.

Jana


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