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back to article ISPs: Get ready to slurp streams from Murdoch's fat pipe

O2 has begun telling its home broadband customers that they will soon be shunted over to BSkyB's network. As exclusively revealed by The Register earlier this year, O2 - the trading name of Telefónica UK Limited, which is majority-owned by Spanish parent company Telefonica - was in talks with BSkyB about a possible sale of the …

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Unhappy

As an O2 customer I've been finding this very sad, partly because I don't want my prices to go up, partly because I don't want the quality of my service to go down, and partly because I don't want to help line Rupert Murdoch's pockets. I'll be cancelling my service and attempting to move to an independent ISP, but there don't seem to be many of those left nowadays.

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Independent ISP...

"I'll be cancelling my service and attempting to move to an independent ISP, but there don't seem to be many of those left nowadays."

May I suggest Zen.

I have found they provide an excellent service and would strongly recommend them.

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Independent ISP's

There are lots! Personally I'm with ADSL24, but at our IT company we manage 200-300 data only ADSL lines and ISP's used include A&A, XLN, Xilo, BeThere and FAST.

You will pay more (£25-30/month) but at least when things go wrong you won't be calling a NGN to speak with a numpty in India reading from a script!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Independent ISP...

> I have found they provide an excellent service and would strongly recommend them.

Second. The only catch with Zen is their data caps.

When I was leaving Zen (to go to Be) I got transferred to their retention department. "Lets have a look at your account." said the guy as he rattled his keyboard, this was followed by a long pause as he read my data usages. "Uh....I'll get your MAC sent right away."

Anyone have experience of Plusnet's fibre offerings? I know their customer service is meant to be execrable, but on the face of it it's uncapped fibre on BT's network for significantly less money and with the option of a static IP.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Independent ISP...

PN's fibre offerings are good.. There might be sone traffic shaping but I've not noticed it. I'm on the unlimited fibre and its fine.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Independent ISP...

In support of PlusNet I've have been with them for over 10 years, on one of their Business Packages. I have had very few issues with the service but on the occasions I have contacted their support team with an issue or query have usually got a response in minutes. I realise this might be different for their domestic customers.

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Re: Independent ISP...

"The only catch with Zen is their data caps"

Absolutely. I was actually with Zen for a while, and I moved from them to O2. With O2 I've had just as good a service as Zen for far less money and with no data caps at all. It's been fantastic. That's why the Sky takeover sucks so much.

I'll consider moving back to Zen if their data caps are less silly than they used to be, but I'm certainly keen to look into other alternatives too.

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Meh

Re: Independent ISP...

Plusnet Fibre seems OK but not better. Daytime I generally get 40/12Mbps although sometimes at evening peak drops to about 20/12Mbps. Single static IP address is no hassle (£5 one off).

There were a couple of occasions a couple of months ago where the speed really dropped hard in the evening (less than 5Mbps) breaking iPlayer HD streaming although that was noted as an issue on their status site and it seems to be resolved since.

The Fibre install was messed up an I had no wired internet for a week and I had to get tethering working on my phone although I don't think Plusnet were to blame, general OpenReach incompetence issue that could have happened with any ISP I think.

I'm glad I moved from O2 before Sky arrived, don't like that Plusnet is BT but was much cheaper than better (A&A, Zen) options and I can move at the end of the contract (probably) to one of those.

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O2 prices going up?

My mum was an O2 customer for broadband, took a phone service from BT and TV from Sky, in the end switching from O2 (on the top tier package) to Sky she is now saving about £10 a month on the broadband service alone. Only issue is the speed has dropped by about 2 to 3Mbit/sec to 13Mbit... but she's happy.

I do agree with you though about lining Rupert Murdoch's pockets, in the end I figured with my mum since she's a Sky customer anyway it might make life easier for her to have one bill, and she did get £20 of M&S vouchers and £50 cashback from Topcashback too which was a nice bonus for her.

Rob

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Go

if it makes you feel better

buy a vpn and spend a week downloading fox content. should give you a nice fuzzy glow

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Independent ISP...

So much must depend on area. I had the 5Mbps issue but disconnected and reconnected and it was fine. I'm on a solid 35/9 which doesn't change much at all.

Fibre install was done within 35 minutes on the first day of the really heavy snow fall.....

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Re: Independent ISP...

A key point you need to know about PlusNet; they are in fact, BT. Simply with lower prices and better support, but fully owned by BT. This means you are basically getting the standard BT Wholesale fibre offering, just like BT Infinity, just without the home hub and free wifi minutes.

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"Sky will be sending you a welcome pack as well."

And a copy of every email you have ever deleted.

Seriously, I'm with Sky (because they bought the ISP that was the only one in the exchange that wasn't BT) and it's OK as a basic home broadband. I moved to using gmail as an email sender but that's because I'm the geeky type that likes to control my reply-to headers. I think port 25 is also unblocked so you may be able to run your own MTA.

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Anonymous Coward

Company names

"Sky Home Communications Limited"

No doubt will be shortened to SHCL, pronounced 'shackle'. Seems appropriate.

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Who else has left already?

I left BE as soon as the take over was announced.

BT Infinity has been good so far and I'm not giving any money to Murdock.

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Re: Who else has left already?

I planned to, made the call and everything.... Then got offered half price for the next 12 months and decided my moral values would be sidelined

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Unhappy

Re: Who else has left already?

Would love to follow you, but "Infinity" is how long I'll have to wait before fibre is installed in my town.

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Chz

Re: Who else has left already?

As a long-time Be customer, I was on such a sweet grandfather deal that they couldn't offer me anything better to stay on. That's one thing I'm going to miss; not having price rises every year.

On the other hand, there was a large portion of the Be customer base waiting for a FttC offering from Be. Almost all of whom (myself included) have fled to BT Infinity or the BT-owned Plusnet offering. I can hold back my sorrow for the 75/18 Mbit uncapped service I now get. Just be sure to throw BT's Home Hub out a window and use a proper router. But then Be's customers were generally tech-savvy and the Be*Box was a pile of crap so most of us had something better anyhow. (The Billion 7800N is a nice piece of kit, and their support is superb.)

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Re: Who else has left already?

I've jumped to BT Infinity as well; was planning to do so anyway, but the sale to Sky was the little nudge that was needed.

However, it looks like BE/O2 have given my email address to Sky anyway, and there doesn't seem to be an 'unsubscribe' option.

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Re: Who else has left already?

My Mums leaving as soon as I get some free time to help her.

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Go

Re: Who else has left already?

"Then got offered half price for the next 12 months and decided my moral values would be sidelined"

Yeah, just wait til the service becomes abysmal in the next 3-4 month, you'll be wishing you hadn't agreed to that, it's a 12 month tie in at the lower cost (I've just had the same offer and told them where to stick it).

Mac code is en route, bye bye bethere, hello Andrews and Arnold!

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Stop

I'm leaving

I won't support Murdock - I'm due to move in the next 2 to 3 weeks or I'd have moved ISPs already. Seriously sad how few ISPs are left. My last ISP freedom2surf was taken over by talktalk and suffered too.

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Holmes

Re: I'm leaving

Most ISP's still relied on BT's lines & network....

So even with another provider, your using BT, me? i go direct (well as direct as is possible, since I can't buy direct from BT Wholesale) One thing that is funny, as a business customer, I pay more but get a british person on the end of the phone when I call.... as a home customer, I end up going round the houses with an indian call center with someone who can't understand the notes on the system...

The BT Openreach engineers? brilliant guys, found the fault in minutes and set about fixing it... after 3 years of being told there is no problem by an Indian call center....

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Re: I'm leaving

You missed some steps, I used to be a F2S customer many moons ago, and they were first bought by some other ISP the name of which I've forgotten - although I somehow remember their adverts featured D.Hasselhoff. This is when things started to go bad. I'd moved flats and signed with another provider (Entanet reseller) way before that ISP and its F2S brand got bought by Tiscali, which was then bought by Talk Talk. iirc F2S ceased to be an independent ISP in 2005.

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Re: I'm leaving

I wouldn't go anywhere near BT as a home customer! I haven't got the need for a static IP and my exchange isn't oversubscribed so Sky BB is absolutely fine for me. I had one bad experience with their customer services in 5 years, when my modem packed up late in the evening and I reached someone in an Indian call centre, and it took some "Can I speak to a technical person?" to get him to budge from his script...

Other than that their customer services and tech support have been excellent, I've had problems with the cable outside the flat which needed to be replaced. Explained my PD steps and they booked a BT engineer straight away. And yes the BT guy was very good too. I'm sure there are plenty of good people at BT, you just never get to speak to them as a first point of contact if you're a home user...

And as a home user it's that first point of contact that matters - you need someone to understand your issue so they can escalate to BT if required. Now with Sky my first point of contact will be someone who has tech training and understands PD 9 times out of 10. Not a BT or TT script monkey.

I can't actually judge TT from personal experience, and I never had broadband from BT, but my experiences with line rental were bad enough to put me off dealing directly with them entirely.

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Mushroom

@Florence Re: I'm leaving

The name you're looking for is Pipex - my first broadband provider and sadly mourned. For one of the very early business ISPs, they really went down the toilet when they started trying to be just another consumer pipe-shifter. I left just before the Tiscali borging: I already wasn't happy with them for how much better the deals the aforementioned Hoff was punting at new customers were than what I as a long-suffering customer was getting. I'd heard enough horror stories about Tiscali's CS so it was definitely time to bail.

Ended up with Demon, another dinosaur with (certainly to begin with, relative to the rest of the market) integrity and competent CS (if you phone at the right time of day). They've since been through the stomach of Cable & Wireless, who've been relatively hands-off thank heaven, but are now in the jaws of bloody Vodafone, so who knows what's in store now. Wish I could afford Zen, but might have to swallow my pride and go Virgin (I'm stuck with them for TV as no aerial where I live but wouldn't touch them for ISP due to the Phorm thing), but I reckon I'll see how *their* acquisition turns out first.

Bloody mergers & acquisitions, bloody, homogenisation, bloody "bulking-up" - did RBS + ABN/AMRO teach you people nothing?

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Megaphone

Re: I'm leaving

Sounds like my experience.

After going for the cheapest possible provider (Tesco) while at uni I joined Freedom2Surf - When Tiscalli took over I then ran for the hills; Migrated to ADSL24 (EntaNet reseller) and was happy with the service until a number of day long outages in quick succession (seriously one fibre run from Nottingham to Sheffield which kept getting half inched :( ) to BeThere - already left those as I will not give a penny to Murdoch if I can help it but alas they managed to cancel the phone line before my migration to EE was complete therefore OpenReach decided to cancel my fibre install - damn, and then on migration day Be decided to terminate the ADSL as there was no active phone line for it to run on top of.

After deciding to go for EE due to the price/availability/offerthey had on (and the realisation that any indy will be gobbled up by one of the borgs sooner rather than later) I was dreading dealing with there legendary customer services, but so far they have been brilliant and got the phone line working within minutes and less than 24 hours later a new fibre broadband order is booked and in hand! Hopefully it will all go as planned this time (time will tell of course). Thankfully the EE 3G network improvements means I can make use for my T-Mobile full-monty tethering at a reasonable speed until land line service is resumed.

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Anonymous Coward

BE

Left BE recently, didn't want to but there's no way I'm having my pushing my packets up Murdochs pipe

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BE

Been with Be for several years now and they have to be the most reliable provider I've ever used, of any utility/service. I had noticed a drop in sync speeds after the takeover by O2 though, down from 18Mb/2Mb to 12Mb/1Mb for no real reason so I ended up dropping to a lower package since I was no longer able to take advantage of the Annex M or whatever it was.

To be honest even when my exchange is FTTC enabled (Southbank estimated Nov 2013) I'm not really sure I would leave Be in its present form. Though it sounds like they're merging their network with Sky around about then so I might jump at that point.

The main thing that concerns me is I've not seen any mention of what will happen to the static IP service once the network merges with Sky. My guess is that Sky are hoping anyone who actually wants power-user features like that will actually jump, leaving only the people who used Be's basic broadband. I would have thought it would be inconvenient offering static IP services to a small percentage of their customers.

So it would probably be either Zen or AAISP if I move to FTTC. I'm afraid you'd have to pay me to go anywhere near BT or PussNet. The way their network basically closed during the early evening was a complete nightmare.

I'm not particularly bothered about the higher speeds of FTTC at the moment. I want no usage limits and a high level of service availability/no throttling. A consistent but lower base speed is more useful to me, especially when I tend to let P2P run overnight anyway.

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Chz

Re: BE

I would go so far as to suggest that Sky don't *want* Be's customers. They're generally clued up and have expectations of the service that Sky would rather not have to live up to. The want O2's customers. If the Be users all fuck off somewhere else, it'll be fine by them.

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Re: BE

As a PlusNet FTTC customer I have to disagree with you about their evening network speeds.

I don't see any real slowdown in the evenings at all.

Where I live, most of the street are on Virgin. compared to my connection, that really crawls in the evening.

so much so, my neighbors switch over to my WiFi network in the evenings.

250Gb cap (unlimited 00:00->08:00) though but I've never got above 60Gb per month.

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Re: BE

The reason I don't want to go near PussNet is I had a business ADSL line back in 2004-2006 or something (before moving it to Be). When it was set up it cost £50 per month. 18 months or so in I decided to take a look at their product range and noticed that package was no longer offered but I was still on the same tariff even though the equivalent package was now £25 per month cheaper. However my parents' connection, they were on the basic package which was deprecated and their monthly charges were increased to the new cheapest package. So they're prepared to change your tariff up automatically without notice but not make it cheaper.

With Be on the other hand, I'm still paying the same rate I was 5 years ago, despite the equivalent package now being £4 per month more expensive.

Memo to PussNet... Manners cost nothing.

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I would have thought the kind of people that used Be were a million miles away from the kind that used Sky. I left Be a couple of years ago because of their lack of fibre (as Bain would say). I am with vivaciti which has been okay if a bit expensive.

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Anonymous Coward

Been with both...

... and frankly Be's routing/peering was and is crap compared to Sky.

I sync faster on Sky than I did on Be and the couple of times I've had to call up (daytime hours) everything was sorted out within minutes - which wasn't the case with the Bulgarian support Be used. Don't get me wrong, the Bulgarians were great but if anything actually required Openreach intervention they were just as rubbish as every other mainstream ISP out there.

I think people are over-reacting - I have no doubt at all that Sky's Indian callcentre is crap and you'd be better off asking next-door's cat what the problem is, but the same is true for all the other major ISPs. Call between 9-5 and Sky are fine in my experience.

tl;dr Sky ADSL on this exchange is faster, more reliable, has better routing/peering and is less than half the price Be was. YMMV of course.

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Happy

Left Be about 2 weeks ago

When they asked why and I told them that I didn't want to give money to murdoch, the chap at the other end said 'fair enough' and my MAC turned up in an email about 2 hours later.

BT installed Infinity 2 just over a week later.

I have to say I'm impressed so far with it - although there are a couple of anomalies I can't explain.

Using Speedtest.net to Xilo in Maidenhead, I used generally to get a ping of about 15-20ms, occasionally it would be longer but rarely more than 22ms. Download speed would be 9.5Mb/s max. Now with Infinity 2 my Pings are always over 20ms and sometimes as high as 30ms - however the uplad speed is now greater than my old download. The new dowload ramps along at 80Mb/s most of the time and on one occasionon during the first 24 hours it hit 100Mb/s. It hasn't done it since (well not when I've been testing).

I was with a client on Monday who had just had Virgin Cable installed. His pings were 8-11ms - but his max download speed was less than 8Mb/s.

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Anonymous Coward

So the Anti Murdoch brigade

Are out in Force, dont forget those of you going to BT, Plusnet, etc that Sky Broadband and phones are actually BT service re-sold. (as are MOST SMALL ISP'S)

Most ISP's use BT infrastructure as, apart from a few like Virgin, they do not have fibre or copper in the ground around the country, so "poking it to the man" is only on paper, they still are cosy in bed with each other beyond the master socket

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Re: So the Anti Murdoch brigade

> Sky Broadband and phones are actually BT service re-sold

Phones yes, broadband probably not - they are an LLU operator in my local exchanges.

Personally I wouldn't touch them with a bargepole, though colleagues at work are happy with them. Apart from the ethical consideration that I wouldn't want to give a penny to anything touched by News International, there's the minor detail that I won't consider and ISP that charges extra for a static IP (like BT), let along one that doesn't have the option (like Sky).

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Pint

Re: So the Anti Murdoch brigade

Personally I wouldn't touch them with a bargepole

Seconded. It's nothing at all to do with Sky's technical competence or lack of it. Neither is it to do with their prices. It's to do with my perception that the Murdoch empire is evil, and as such I refuse to voluntarily give it any of my money.

I thought folks celebrating Thatcher's death was extremely distasteful, but I might allow myself a private drink or two on the day that I hear that Rupert Murdoch is no more.

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Moving From BE LLU To PlusNet FTTC?

Anyone know if there's any difficulties with moving from an LLU service to FTTC? I've heard it used to be difficult switching ISPs once you were on LLU - is that still the case?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Moving From BE LLU To PlusNet FTTC?

There's a "migration matrix" over at TBB :

http://www.thinkbroadband.com/guide/migration.html

Might help?

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Meh

Hmmmmm

I dropped Sky TV because of Murdoch (I've never been with a Murdoch owned ISP).

I do wonder, though, how many of the anti-Murodch brigade who have posted here subscribe to Sky TV, or watch Sky channels via Virgin?

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