I'm stuck in a quandry with Be, and BT.
I've used Be as an ISP for nearly five years and I've generally been happy with them. I kicked their useless BeBox into the cupboard under the stairs, bought a decent Draytek router, and never looked back. I was rewarded with a rock solid 14mbit connection that has supported running my business web and mailserver, and VOIP connections without any serious problems. At one point I threatened to switch sides to O2 - who offered similar service for less. Be gave me a discount on my monthly bill, and I stayed put. I laughed at BT with their crapware infested 'BT yahoo customised' browsers, traffic shaping, slowdowns - and general inability to deliver a decent service...
However, I'm starting to think that all is not well in the Be world. Like many, I've also noticed the ever growing mystery packet loss, and the need to refresh my web browser before all the page furniture will return. Their position on fibre broadband is increasingly untenable. Yesterday, I received the "we're going to start mucking about with our network - and your IP address will change" email. I'm starting to think that it's time for a change, and that Be have just lost the plot.
I regard BT as "the great Satan" of the DSL business. Their marketing is aimed at idiots, and their call centres are staffed by a mix of semi-trained script monkeys, and jobsworths who couldn't find their own posterior with the aid of a mirror on a stick. I've worked with BT in a professional capacity - and although the good guys certainly do exist, they sure don't work in customer facing roles in BT retail... Where I live, I don't have a cable option - so realistically it's a DSL variant or nothing.
However... much as I hate them, BT are offering me a 56mbit FTTC connection for reasonable money. Many of you have migrated from Be, and even though you're not saying "Come on in, the water's lovely", you seem in general to say that you don't regret the move. Many years ago, I kicked BT into touch completely by moving my landline to the Post Office, both to save a few quid, and to rid myself of a company that I loathe. LLU'd in name only, but at least I didn't have to pay BT any money. However even the Post Office have now increased their charges and BT are now price competitive for landline again.
I really am tempted by the idea of a solid fibre connection, offering fast and genuinely unlimited data transfer - at a couple of quid more than I pay currently. As far as I can see, no ISP who piggy-backs a fibre offering on the back of Openreach infrastructure are offering 'genuinely unlimited', at least not at comparable pricing or without a traffic shaping AUP. Much as I respect (and would consider) Zen, AAISP and the other premium ISPs - they're either too expensive, or offer too little for the money. Quality of service and support due to my local hosting requirement is the most important factor in my decision - but cost is (and has to be) a major factor too. Anything over £30-40 a month would be too much to swallow.
So. I have a number of questions that are bothering me.
- Firstly, am I mad in even considering moving to BT? Surely BT can't have changed it's spots from the company that many of us know of old? Although I have deep mistrust based on many years of of watching them stuff their customers, if they can deliver the service that I need at the right price, I would consider returning to them. Their offer of free, unlimited Openzone access also appeals.
- Do they provide FTTC on a pseudo-LLU'd phone line, or is there a contract term that insists on a BT billed phone line as well?
- Will BT allow a 'residential' line (I'd need fixed IP) to host web and mailservers - or do they port block, or wave a TOS around stating that it's not allowed?
- If hosting isn't allowed on their 'Residential' package, or they don't offer fixed IP, do they allow 'business Infinity broadband' on a residential line?
And finally, in the worst set of circumstances, namely that I have to move both phone and broadband back to BT - what's the trick in doing so whilst minimising service downtime? I've heard various horror stories about Be wrongly placing ceases on associated phone lines when someone requests a MAC, so avoiding a week without either net or phone would help. Is it easier to move phone followed by Broadband, or just to hope that everything goes on one day?
Any thoughts or advice considered...
So many questions, so much confusion.