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Totally OT: Broadband Rant - cannot depend on it!!!

Totally OT: Broadband Rant - cannot depend on it!!!

Old Oct 17, 05, 3:34 am
  #1  
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Angry Totally OT: Broadband Rant - cannot depend on it!!!

Totally OT, however I need to vent my frustration somewhere this morning! Plus as it is needed for me to access Flyertalk, it is slightly appropriate!

In summary - I have been completely without broadband since 5pm Saturday afternoon.

It may sound rather trivial, however if the past weekend has taught me anything, it is certainly how dependent I have become on the Internet.

However, thank god for GPRS! Although what with 150MB of usage over the last day, my bill will be interesting for this month!

Other than my dependancy on the Internet, I have learnt some interesting truths about how the ADSL system works, served by BT.

I am a BT Broadband subscriber. Like many, I was very pleased with the recent upgrade to 2.5Mb recently from 512Kps for no extra cost.

However, Saturday afternoon, things started to go a bit wrong. Firstly, websites were not being truly resolved, however were found when entering the IP addresses directly (for some sites). Then from 5pm the system did not accept my username anylonger.

Basically, no further progress has been made since then! Can you believe it that they have no staff in work on a Sunday to try and sort it out?

Would business customers get this level of service?

Recently, I have been considering the option given to me of working from home twice a week, however after the nightmare this weekend it would be impossible. My job is soley dependent on a net connection to access the servers in work. It is still not working at home this morning.

What amazed me even more, after speaking to endless moronic staff who seem to know only how to plug something into the wall ( ), that BT broadband is just a sales pitch, and the real underlying service is served from another part of BT, who also serves, Bulldog, etc and all the other ADSL service providers!

My situation is currently 'with the wholesaler' who I cannot contact directly myself! Unbelieveable!

Furthermore, my landline has remained fine throughout all of this, however it does go to show you cannot be be completely dependent on broadband yet. Voice over IP, video conferencing? All completely useless in my house at the moment.

Any comments anyone?
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Old Oct 17, 05, 3:45 am
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So sorry to hear about your frustrations. That sounds quite awful.

I'm just about to invest in a broadband carrier - and I would guess that you would not recommend BT!

Can you - or anyone else - recommend a decent, trouble-free broadband provider? Please don't laugh me out of the building, I'm being serious!
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Old Oct 17, 05, 3:53 am
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Originally Posted by ajax
So sorry to hear about your frustrations. That sounds quite awful.

I'm just about to invest in a broadband carrier - and I would guess that you would not recommend BT!

Can you - or anyone else - recommend a decent, trouble-free broadband provider? Please don't laugh me out of the building, I'm being serious!
ALL the ADSL options which I think is a fundamentally brilliant technology is served by BT in the UK via their conventional exchanges which have been upgraded countless times since early digital exchanges in the 1980/90's.

The other option is NTL which are c**p from what I can tell with what friends have experienced.

I quite like the satellite option, using convential dial-up for site requests, and satellite reception for receiving the actual contents, pages, etc.
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Old Oct 17, 05, 3:55 am
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The BT Wholesale situation seems to be deteriorating. Basically, the units are required to be internally seperated so BT Retail has no unfair competitive advantage on service grounds. But ultimately they are not accountable to anyone, and shielded from angry customers by this setup.

My father-in-law has been waited three weeks for BT Wholesale to do some rewiring to get him broadband. All the ISP (plus.net, who I do recommend for browsing and email, not p2p and gaming) can do is call every 2 days to be told nothing has happened; please chase us again in 48 hour.

flyclub, I'm no expert on these things, but searching for and then manually entering BT's DNS server IP addresses in your connection settings may help.
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Old Oct 17, 05, 3:59 am
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Originally Posted by pauldb
flyclub, I'm no expert on these things, but searching for and then manually entering BT's DNS server IP addresses in your connection settings may help.
I was about to do this Saturday evening, however the system then locked me out completely by not accepting my username so I couldn't even get connected!

What annoys me more, is that I have recently moved into the more technical web support aspects with my job (on a 100 person organisation level, so were not talking major banking scale... ), so I certainly understand the technicalities, however actually being able to speak to someone who has the slightest technical knowledge is the frustration!
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Old Oct 17, 05, 4:21 am
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Reminds me of when Telewest installed my Broadband years back. Really didnt want to let the "engineer" on my pC. Did anyway as he insists he knew better than I. Two hours later he had still not managed to get the router etc talkng or picking up IP addresses. Asked him if I could have a look and he begrudingly lets me (well it was my own PC!) five minutes later things are bursting into life ....
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Old Oct 17, 05, 4:30 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by ajax
Can you - or anyone else - recommend a decent, trouble-free broadband provider? Please don't laugh me out of the building, I'm being serious!

Well I am with Wanadoo - costs 22.99/mo. (billed to my Aadvantage Visa card for the miles...). I think this is the 2MB option.

When it works it is great - came with a WiFi box which glows enticingly, and slots nicely behind the radiator covers and lights up the way to the loo at night as well.

I have had someproblems mainly due to my antichrist neighbour Duncan who is an investment banker AND drives a Porsche. As if that isn't enough to make him disliked by the world, he turns on something when he gets back home which interferes with my signal. Not sure what it is butu it is very annoying. Anyway, we are all hoping as he is only a tenant that he will depart shortly.

Otherwise there is something new called www.now.com broadband which is either radio or satellite, but I am not sure.

Entered my postocode and despite being central london it said there was no coverage there yet, so will see with this one.

Before said antichrist arrived I had no probs at all with wanadoo, and highly recommend them.
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Old Oct 17, 05, 4:53 am
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"ALL the ADSL options which I think is a fundamentally brilliant technology is served by BT in the UK via their conventional exchanges which have been upgraded countless times since early digital exchanges in the 1980/90's."

Actually there is a thing called local loop unbundling now whereby the ISP takes over ownership of your phone line from BT, so they provide voice, broadband and other VAS to you directly, bypassing BT completely. The 2 big ones who do this are Bulldog and Homechoice and because of this they are able to provide an 8MB connection (plus line rental) since they have installed their own newer, upgraded equipment in BT's exchanges. BT is in the process of trialling 8Mb but that won't be available until next year, and even then probably at highly inflated prices to protect their ARPUs. All of this depends on where you are as not all exchanges have been enabled for the higher speeds.

I read that Wanadoo and AOL are thinking also of going down the LLU route but again as they have a big user base they will not provide the best offers, although customer service will probably be better than the smaller ones (Bulldog especially!).

Interestingly in France you can get ADSL2+ which has speeds of over 20MB for only around 25 EUR! The UK is still some way behind the rest of Europe on speeds, even if penetration rates are fairly high.

"Otherwise there is something new called www.now.com broadband which is either radio or satellite, but I am not sure"

Now is a wireless broadband ISP, using radio signals to deliver to your home. It's not using the newer WiMAX technology which will enable higher speeds and I do not know how reliable the connection may be, although I would have thought less so that through a fixed line. One advantage is that you don't need a BT line to receive it, although at 18 for a 1MB line, it's hardly cutting edge. I would recommend that if you realy want wireless that you just get a wireless router but stick with someone like Homechoice (who provide phone, broadband and TV for 18 a month, reduced to 15 for 1st 3 months)

Just my opinions but hope it helps
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Old Oct 17, 05, 4:54 am
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No computer stuff is ever totally reliable. In an attempt to get this someway BA related - they have been known to cancel flights due to computer failure.

That you've had no connection for a couple of days isn't great, but needs to be considered together with how long you've had broadband for and whether you've had any previous problems. Please don't declare you only got it last week!!!

Work from home and you'll suffer occasional with IT problems. Work in the office and you'll suffer occasional IT problems there. Not to mention the inevitable occasional problems getting to work.
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Old Oct 17, 05, 4:55 am
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I just cancelled my broadband with AOL. For 3 months I could not log so. So I call AOL and get through to 1st level support somewhere in India. Half an hour later get transferred to 2nd level support somewhere in Ireland after waiting another half an hour. They say its a BT problem and will talk to BT. They tell me to call back if problem not resolved in 7 days.

7 days later I call AOL and get through to 1st level support somewhere in India. Half an hour later get transferred to 2nd level support somewhere in Ireland after waiting another half an hour. They say its a BT problem and will talk to BT. They tell me to call back if problem not resolved in 7 days.

The cycle repeats several times until a BT guy actually came to visit us. He tells me BT line is fine.

Then the cycle repeats again a few times. Incidentally I tried to claim back subscription for the three months. I talk to 'Billing'. They tell me they cannot refund until 'Technical' tell them there is a fault. Hold on another hour (yes, you got it, 1st level in India followed by 2nd level in Ireland). They tell me I have to talk to Billing. And so it went a few times until I got the money back.

To add insult to injury AOL no longer have a freephone number for their helpline. They have an 0870 number that can cost up to 15p/minute (companies get a cut of the 0870 cost so its an additional revenue stream).

Then I told Billing I wanted to cancel. They said that I was locked into a 12 month contract and would have to wait 6 months. I said I was going to cancel anyway as they could not supply me with a service. I wrote to them as such and finally it was all cancelled.

Advice: think very carefully before selecting AOL. They used to be very good and prompt but now if you have a problem you could easily spend 20 hours calling an 0870 number.
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Old Oct 17, 05, 5:00 am
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Originally Posted by JSC
Actually there is a thing called local loop unbundling now whereby the ISP takes over ownership of your phone line from BT, so they provide voice, broadband and other VAS to you directly, bypassing BT completely. The 2 big ones who do this are Bulldog and Homechoice and because of this they are able to provide an 8MB connection (plus line rental) since they have installed their own newer, upgraded equipment in BT's exchanges. BT is in the process of trialling 8Mb but that won't be available until next year, and even then probably at highly inflated prices to protect their ARPUs. All of this depends on where you are as not all exchanges have been enabled for the higher speeds.
Very interesting - I didn't realise Bulldog, etc, had advanced that much to use LLU - sounds a much better option.

I will look into this asap as I am convinced they would look after 'their own' much better.

Thanks!

P.S: - Still not working at home.....
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Old Oct 17, 05, 5:05 am
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Originally Posted by phillipas
Work from home and you'll suffer occasional with IT problems. Work in the office and you'll suffer occasional IT problems there. Not to mention the inevitable occasional problems getting to work.
Rather ironically, my father used to work for BT and was part of the development team in the early 80's when they were rolling out the fibre optic technology nationwide on the main trunk routes between the major cities in the UK.

Consequently, we had the internet back in 1993 with Compuserve via ISDN. I think it is was called 'Home-Highway' back then. Worked very well.

Remarkably we had ISDN until 2000 ( I think) when ADSL took over, so we are entering our 5th year with ADSL at home.

Consequently, we were able to try various USB ADSL modems, routers, etc over the weekend and non worked with various computers, etc, at home which is why we are convinced the problem is at the exchange.

In fact father finds it more frustrating than me with comments like "why can't they let me back in the exchange"
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Old Oct 17, 05, 5:06 am
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Originally Posted by ajax
Can you - or anyone else - recommend a decent, trouble-free broadband provider? Please don't laugh me out of the building, I'm being serious!
See this site for independent reviews: http://www.adslguide.org.uk/

I'm with http://www.plus.net , and have been reasonably happy with them.
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Old Oct 17, 05, 5:07 am
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The whole 'it's reliant on BT' issue is perhaps demonstrative of the fallacy of the government trying to break up a natural monopoly. The competition is good in theory, but often falls down in practice. Surely a well regulated monopoly would be better?
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Old Oct 17, 05, 5:11 am
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Originally Posted by flyclub
Very interesting - I didn't realise Bulldog, etc, had advanced that much to use LLU - sounds a much better option.
Except that Bulldog's CS is meant to be completely appalling, on a new level.

The other LLU player worthy of note is Easynet which is possibly being bid for, mostly likely by BSkyB who appear to want to enter the broadband (and IPTV) market.

www.samknows.com shows if your exchange is unbundled, and by who.
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