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UK ISP Suggestion?

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kalkal    558

So for various reasons, I'm sort of fed up of Sky.

 

Their tech support spouts a load of drivel to the most part, just moved from an off contract plan (Sky Fibre Unlimited Plus at 55/10, which actually stayed at this speed at a stable rate for two years until today) to Their 'Superfast' service which is supposed to be capped at a max of 80/20, however, they seem to have capped me at 40/10, which is less than I was already getting.

 

Try to talk to their tech support and they're looking for 'faults on the line' its like... errrr no. You're capping me, it's not a fault. Regardless they're sending out a BT Openreach engineer to investigate, I imagine he's likely to find nothing because it's by design. (clearly capped btw, downstream is exactly 40000, upstream is precisely 9999)

 

This happened literally the day the new contract started too.

 

So I have a 30 day cool-down period, assuming he, as expected finds nothing wong, I'll be moving elsewhere.

 

But where?

 

My three main factors to look for is -

- No arbitrary speed limit like this, just give me what my line can handle

- Truly unlimited, or a FUP that's so high it'll never be an issue

- Quality tech support.

 

BE Broadband used to be excellent back in the day. Is there an ISP like that that still exists? One where both the members and staff are genuine experts and don't simply rely on a basic script to get by?

 

(Virgin cable is a non starter, not in the area at all)

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Mindovermaster    2,356

It depends where you are. Not all ISPs are located in XYZ city. Or even part of it, as North side, South side.

 

What do look up? Some sites have a lookup for your area.

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kalkal    558
1 hour ago, Mindovermaster said:

It depends where you are. Not all ISPs are located in XYZ city. Or even part of it, as North side, South side.

 

What do look up? Some sites have a lookup for your area.

Although there are local ISPs in the UK, they tend to be very expensive, definintely looking for something national unless anyone knows of a killer ISP specific to Derbyshire that won't require me to forfeit my firstborn to pay for it, I've looked into the locals before, I'm not sure why anyone would opt for them unless they just want to support local business, caps at 25gb for the base plans for example, or £80+ for 200gb.

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jimbobs    33

Anyone happen to be with Zen?

 

Considering this one, what are your thoughts on it?

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dipsylalapo    1,793
19 hours ago, kalkal said:

Although there are local ISPs in the UK, they tend to be very expensive, definintely looking for something national unless anyone knows of a killer ISP specific to Derbyshire that won't require me to forfeit my firstborn to pay for it, I've looked into the locals before, I'm not sure why anyone would opt for them unless they just want to support local business, caps at 25gb for the base plans for example, or £80+ for 200gb.

I think what Mindovermaster was getting at is that you may be limited by geography, even national ISPs don't cover 100% of the UK. That could automatically help narrow it down for you. 

 

I"m currently with VM on their 200/20 service and pay around £40/month. I've been with them for around 4 years now, not had a single fault, always get the speed they advertise, even at peak times. Only ball ache with them, is their yearly price rises.

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Skiver    1,960
17 hours ago, dipsylalapo said:

I think what Mindovermaster was getting at is that you may be limited by geography, even national ISPs don't cover 100% of the UK. That could automatically help narrow it down for you. 

 

I"m currently with VM on their 200/20 service and pay around £40/month. I've been with them for around 4 years now, not had a single fault, always get the speed they advertise, even at peak times. Only ball ache with them, is their yearly price rises.

I've been with Virgin Media for longer than I can remember, I'd say easily 10 years and I have yet to have a real problem with them. Sure there have been brief outages but no-one is going to be 100% reliable but those outages have never lasted longer than a few hours at best.

 

Agreed with Dipsy on the yearly price rises but once I get out of contract I cancel my service, ignore their first few offers and so after after no more than a week I get a call with a much better offer and sign back up. Last time I went from their 72Mb package at roughly £45 (I'd left re negotiating too long) to 100Mb for £24 discount for 18 months on a 12 month contract.

 

If they aren't available for you, a company I was recommended (but obviously not used) is Aquiss who are starting to role out FTTP so decent speeds and no need for a phone line. They do still do FTTC but I wasn't really wanting to move if it meant also having to pay for a phone line I didn't want or need.

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DaveLegg    1,005
18 hours ago, jimbobs said:

Anyone happen to be with Zen?

 

Considering this one, what are your thoughts on it?

We use Zen at work for a number of sites. Only have issues at once site, and that's due to the rural location, poor quality phone lines, and distance from the exchange. No issues elsewhere, or with their service

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Dan~    250

Considering you only get Openreach or Virgin and you can't get Virgin then you can only go with Openreach infrastructure which all other ISP's use except for Virgin.

 

So with that, I'd say go with BT, go here https://my.btwholesale.com/includes/adsl/adsl.htm?s_cid=ws_furls_adslchecker type in your telephone or click "Address Checker" it'll show you what you can really get.

 

when I was BT, I had massive issues getting Infinity to begin with, kept saying it wasn't available, it was only when I said that Infinity cabinet will be demolished by me and I'll sell it for scrap metal they then actually done something about it.  Once I had it though, I didn't have 1 single outage atleast that I was aware of.

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Nick H.    9,905
26 minutes ago, Skiver said:

I've been with Virgin Media for longer than I can remember, I'd say easily 10 years and I have yet to have a real problem with them.

Either they've upped their game or you're just one of the fortunate ones. We were with them when I was at University and we always had an issue with them. Outages, speeds not being as advertised...I think the only reason we stuck with them was because we would phone them up and threaten to leave and they would almost always bump us to the next package at no extra cost or they would reduce the bill on the current package we had. It was crazy how they would bend over backwards to keep us.

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+Zag L.    717

Nice to know that people in the UK at least have a choice of some kind. Here in the states, its usually one somewhat expensive fast cable or fiber provider and one cheaper but unusable slow DSL provider. Good luck Kalkal, hope you get a good one.

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+Fahim S.    1,087
1 hour ago, Dan~ said:

Considering you only get Openreach or Virgin and you can't get Virgin then you can only go with Openreach infrastructure which all other ISP's use except for Virgin.

 

So with that, I'd say go with BT, go here https://my.btwholesale.com/includes/adsl/adsl.htm?s_cid=ws_furls_adslchecker type in your telephone or click "Address Checker" it'll show you what you can really get.

 

when I was BT, I had massive issues getting Infinity to begin with, kept saying it wasn't available, it was only when I said that Infinity cabinet will be demolished by me and I'll sell it for scrap metal they then actually done something about it.  Once I had it though, I didn't have 1 single outage atleast that I was aware of.

I would second this although I didn't have the initial problems mentioned.  My usage is around 300GB every month and I have never noticed a slow down.  They've had the odd outage now and again, but I guess that is unavoidable.  They allow me to use my own router, because their own router sucks.  And I get BT Sports for a lower price (not sure if this makes a difference to you).

 

Virgin Media cable and Sky VDSL is available in this area, but Virgin doesn't work out to be a good deal unless I take their TV package (I hate the Tivo box, and much prefer the Sky Q interface - as well as a good range of 4K content) and I can't use my own router (as I understand). My parents had sky for a bit, and it is ok if you are the only person using it, but when you get 5 or more people using it, it is not nice which is probably because of their router, which you can't change without hacking a password out of the box.  

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Snoopy2005uk    40

Im currently using BT on the highest package and im in a little town of Belper in Derbyshire so not too far from you. Not had a single issue and speeds have been great so far. Moving house soon though and get VM so gonna give that a chance.

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DaveLegg    1,005
1 hour ago, Nick H. said:

Either they've upped their game or you're just one of the fortunate ones. We were with them when I was at University and we always had an issue with them. Outages, speeds not being as advertised...I think the only reason we stuck with them was because we would phone them up and threaten to leave and they would almost always bump us to the next package at no extra cost or they would reduce the bill on the current package we had. It was crazy how they would bend over backwards to keep us.

It can vary a bit by area, some areas have a big problem with over-subscription, but I think these days even that is getting better

 

1 hour ago, Zag L. said:

Nice to know that people in the UK at least have a choice of some kind. Here in the states, its usually one somewhat expensive fast cable or fiber provider and one cheaper but unusable slow DSL provider. Good luck Kalkal, hope you get a good one.

We have the choice of one cable provider, or any number of DSL providers - All the DSL providers run over the infrastructure owned by a national company (BT Openreach) so they should all be able to provide the same speeds as each other - what will make the difference is the provider's internal networking, and connections to the outside world

 

20 minutes ago, Fahim S. said:

and I can't use my own router (as I understand)

You should be able to put the Virgin supplied modem/router into modem only mode, and use your own router behind this. There are some exceptions to this - if you have a single static IP, or if you're on their IPv6 trial, modem mode is unavailable

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Mindovermaster    2,356
37 minutes ago, DaveLegg said:

You should be able to put the Virgin supplied modem/router into modem only mode, and use your own router behind this. There are some exceptions to this - if you have a single static IP, or if you're on their IPv6 trial, modem mode is unavailable

I thought you can turn any modem into bridge mode. A lotr of consumers and businesses (budman to both) use their own router,

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+Zag L.    717
44 minutes ago, DaveLegg said:

It can vary a bit by area, some areas have a big problem with over-subscription, but I think these days even that is getting better

 

We have the choice of one cable provider, or any number of DSL providers - All the DSL providers run over the infrastructure owned by a national company (BT Openreach) so they should all be able to provide the same speeds as each other - what will make the difference is the provider's internal networking, and connections to the outside world

 

Dave thanks for the clarification. I was under the impression that cable/fiber was more available over there. 

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DaveLegg    1,005
1 hour ago, Mindovermaster said:

I thought you can turn any modem into bridge mode. A lotr of consumers and businesses (budman to both) use their own router,

You can in most cases. Their business product that provides a static IP uses a GRE tunnel to supply that IP to their router. They don't provide any details to setup this GRE tunnel on your own equipment, and when the static IP service is enabled on your account, the option to enable bridge mode is disabled in the gateway's web interface. I think similar is true with their IPv6 trial, although I'm less familiar with that having no personal experience with it.

 

1 hour ago, Zag L. said:

Dave thanks for the clarification. I was under the impression that cable/fiber was more available over there. 

It's very widely available, but only through a single company. They installed the infrastructure, and they don't share it with others

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Mindovermaster    2,356
13 minutes ago, DaveLegg said:

You can in most cases. Their business product that provides a static IP uses a GRE tunnel to supply that IP to their router. They don't provide any details to setup this GRE tunnel on your own equipment, and when the static IP service is enabled on your account, the option to enable bridge mode is disabled in the gateway's web interface. I think similar is true with their IPv6 trial, although I'm less familiar with that having no personal experience with it.

OK, good to know. ;)

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+Fahim S.    1,087
4 hours ago, DaveLegg said:

You should be able to put the Virgin supplied modem/router into modem only mode, and use your own router behind this. There are some exceptions to this - if you have a single static IP, or if you're on their IPv6 trial, modem mode is unavailable

I stand corrected... I thought they had stopped supporting Bridge mode on their consumer product, but it appears that I was completely mistaken.  Thanks for setting me straight :)

 

My only qualm would be that I prefer separate devices wherever possible, and the modem should be a modem only - I really don't want a router with all but the modem capabilities switched off, because it just makes me feel uneasy (more things to go wrong). That's what I really like about my BT set-up.  I have a VSDL modem, plugged into my own router/firewall, with a WiFi AP plugged into that.  A device goes wrong and it is only one function that needs to be fixed/replaced.

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+Fahim S.    1,087
4 hours ago, Zag L. said:

Dave thanks for the clarification. I was under the impression that cable/fiber was more available over there. 

The UK infrastructure is very archaic, to be polite, and entry to the premises especially residential is almost universally copper.  Even those that brand their product as "fibre" are delivering the "last mile" as copper.  Typically it is fibre to a cabinet and copper from that point forward.

 

We have an almost national privately-owned cable infrastructure owned by a company called Virgin Media who provide triple (or actually quadruple) play service - TV, Internet, and Phone (and MVNO cellular service).  They started life as regional cable companies (the one in my area was originally was CableTel, which got merged into a larger entity called NTL, which merged to the now larger entity called Virgin Media, which was then bought by Liberty Global who own a lot of cable companies across Europe).  They deliver their service over a coax copper cable and have very custom hardware which is a modem/router/wifi combination (they may comply to DOCSIS, but I am not sure because it's not a market I know a whole lot about - regardless if they do, they don't support any modems but their own).  There are pockets of, usual local, privately owned cable infrastructure also.  Because the copper element is so short they can hit 1Gbps without major attenuation problems, but Virgin Media had a bit of a reputation for running a heavily congested and very aggressively traffic shaped network - I don't know if this is the case anymore.

 

There is a public infrastructure which owned by a company called OpenReach which was created as a result of deregulation of British Telecom.  BT now use the OpenReach infrastructure (effectively they are an OpenReach customer) to deliver their service (as they essentially always did), but the relationship between BT and OpenReach is generally considered unfair compared to other providers because BT and OpenReach enjoy a much "closer" relationship than other providers can form with OpenReach.  The environment is meant to create healthier competition but that is not really what happens, and is more of a compromise than a genuine deregulation. To all intents and purposes OpenReach and BT are the same company, albeit with a Chinese wall that is meant to promote fair and healthy competition.  There have been a number of attempts to separate BT and OpenReach further but none that have really yielded any success

 

OpenReach owns the national fibre infrastructure, including the Central Offices, where other providers can rent space/power/cooling, and install their own equipment renting dark fibre (or getting their own) to connect to their own backbone - depending on the provider the level of congestion and traffic shaping varies quite significantly.  These services then connect via (OpenReach owned and operated) fibre to cabinets installed on the curbside (FTTC), from which point the service is dropped to copper and delivered via an RJ11 (I think) connection into the home, where an ADSL or VDSL modem is connected - depending on the provider it may be a combined modem/router/wifi combination or with a separate modem (which is actually OpenReach equipment) - this gives about 80Mbps (for VDSL) at peak with a reasonable distance of copper but the lengths of copper runs makes attenuation a huge problem.  The cabinet for my street is just outside my garden and I get a solid 76Mbps down most of the time.  There was a small rollout of G.Fast as well (kind of like VSDL+) which has even greater attenuation problems (I think I read somewhere that it drops to less than 50Mbps after about 100m/300ft) but offers up to 300Mbps - the rollout of this is incredibly limited.  It hasn't hit my area and probably never will because OpenReach, rightfully in my opinion, have turned their attention to a full fibre (to the home) rollout rather than this stop-gap technology.  

 

True FTTP (fibre to the premises) is starting to roll out through a couple of different companies - public and private including OpenReach, subsidised by the current conservative government who want it delivered to all UK homes (non-rural) by 2025 - a hugely ambitious target.  We'll see how that goes, especially with the possibility that come December there may not be a conservative government anymore.  Some areas have this already (not jealous, honestly).

 

In fairness, BT wanted to roll out a full FTTP network as a public infrastructure in the 1980s when they were a public company but privatisation of BT by Thatcher's conservative government, and their shocking lack of foresight, at the time has effectively pushed the UK infrastructure to the dark ages (compared to other first world nations, at least) due to a complete lack of investment.  In short it is very difficult for a publicly traded company to perform such a large infrastructure upgrade, due to the size of the investment and the negative impact to  EBITDA for a few years. Shareholders of publicly traded companies generally vote against such long-term strategic investments because of the adverse impact it will have on stock prices (and thus their own money).

 

Sky is a satellite TV provider that provides a quadruple play service (TV via satellite, internet and phone over OpenReach infrastructure, and cellular via MVNO) who were recently bought by Comcast, so it will be interesting to see what they decide to do, and especially what synergies they will create with their US operation (I visited their innovation centre a few months ago in Philly and it was crazy cool).  In due course I expect them to turn into a quasi-cable provider, stopping providing TV services via satellite and moving instead to a full IP based infrastructure backed by the public fibre infrastructure - but it is a guess on my part. Their internet service is very poor, but is very cheap (at least last time I checked) especially when bought with their TV service.

 

Anyway... that's a very high level history of residential internet connectivity in the UK - as I understand it, it may contain a few (or possibly many) errors.   TBH, the most interesting thing that will happen to residential internet connectivity in the UK (in my opinion) will be 5G because it has the potential to be a massive disrupter to the market.

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kalkal    558
5 hours ago, Snoopy2005uk said:

Im currently using BT on the highest package and im in a little town of Belper in Derbyshire so not too far from you. Not had a single issue and speeds have been great so far. Moving house soon though and get VM so gonna give that a chance.

Still need to read through all of this thread in detail but I have to say now... I'm in Belper too! Not far at all lol

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ReAnimation    13

I'm with BT myself.  You can go with thier 'standard' fibre packages (infinity 1 & 2 depending on the speed you want) or you can opt to pay extra for BT Plus.

 

With BT Plus if anything does go wrong you'll get directed to a UK call center.  If you have a complete internet outage you'll get sent a 4G Wi-Fi hub to keep you connected until the fault is repaired.

 

I've been with BT now for about 3 and half years and all in all, their service is pretty good.

 

Just a word of warning though, if you do get a line fault the issue will still get escalated to Openreach.  Openreach have a target repair of 2-3 days - if the repair takes longer than this you'll get automatic compensation of £8 per day until the fault is repaired - this is part of a voluntary scheme some that some UK ISP's have opted into. https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/costs-and-billing/automatic-compensation-need-know

 

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kalkal    558

A lot of people go with BT because of the mistaken affiliation with BT Openreach directly, I understand you guys here know the difference.

 

One of my main concerns with them is FUP, traffic shaping, is it really unlimited, timed bandwidth caps etc. You know, the usual scumbag ISP stuff, I mainly want to avoid that. BTW guys.... I'd obviously be with Virgin if it were an option! I said it wasn't option in the first post 😛

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+Zag L.    717

Thanks to all the UK members (especially Fahim S.) for clearly explaining this. I've been under the belief that the UK was much further along in this regard and we in the states where the only ones in developed countries that were still fighting to get better competition/service options.  Sorry to know you all are in the same boat.

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+Fahim S.    1,087
3 hours ago, kalkal said:

A lot of people go with BT because of the mistaken affiliation with BT Openreach directly, I understand you guys here know the difference.

 

One of my main concerns with them is FUP, traffic shaping, is it really unlimited, timed bandwidth caps etc. You know, the usual scumbag ISP stuff, I mainly want to avoid that. BTW guys.... I'd obviously be with Virgin if it were an option! I said it wasn't option in the first post 😛

There is no such thing as BT OpenReach. It’s just OpenReach, which, on paper at least became a separate company a few years back. As my post said above, their affiliation which doesn’t exist on paper does indeed actually exist. 
 

I have the BT Infinity 2 Unlimited package and it genuinely is unlimited for my use. No soft caps that I am aware of (or have ever hit). The speed is consistent through the day, so no evidence that I see of traffic shaping. They might be expensive but as a residential broadband product I have no hesitation in recommending them. 

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Louisifer    758
27 minutes ago, Fahim S. said:

There is no such thing as BT OpenReach. 

I don't think they were officially called BT Openreach but branding wise they didn't hide that they owned it. All their vans had the words BT and Openreach on it. :D They only changed the branding after changing from a division to a legally separate company. 

You learn some things from the wiki, I didn't realise the final straw for BT and Openreach was due to BT Group using Openreach's money to help buy EE. Ofcom would have forced them to sell it, but the headache from transferring land ownership and pensions was more work than they wanted so they went with a soft split. :o 

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Snoopy2005uk    40
18 hours ago, kalkal said:

Still need to read through all of this thread in detail but I have to say now... I'm in Belper too! Not far at all lol

Well thats great, BT for me has been great, no caps or speed loss, 

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