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Standard User daved476
(newbie) Thu 16-Feb-12 18:39:59
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Help choosing ISP

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Hi everyone. I am looking for some help choosing an ISP. We don't currently have home broadband (other than via 3G).

We are in West Ealing, London and our exchange details are here: Perivale exchange

It looks like we have plenty of choice - a little too much in fact.

We have a BT line fitted but are out of any minimum contract periods. BT Infinity is available, as is Virgin. BT speed estimates are 18Mb on ADSL2+ and 40Mb via FTTC.

We have a very old master socket without the split faceplate and it has a hard-wired extension from it. Would this prevent us getting broadband or limit the speed?

Want broadband for general web access, email, working from home etc. Would use it during the day as well as evenings. Would like to be able to access iPlayer etc and maybe some of the film streaming services. Not interested in gaming.

Have no idea how much data allowance we would need - would appreciate guidance here.

Don't want to spend a fortune but equally don't need to go for the cheapest possible option.

Would appreciate any guidance you can give.
Standard User RobertoS
(sensei) Thu 16-Feb-12 19:32:42
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Re: Help choosing ISP

[re: daved476] [link to this post]
If you have checked your phone number in the Infinity checker, then you may get away with their 40GB allowance version, but I have my doubts. Your safest bet would be the unlimited one. It might be worth asking BT what happens if you go for the 40GB allowance one and it isn't enough.

There are many other ISPs that can supply FTTC, see my page and the link on that to Orly/Yarwell's summary speadsheet of them. There will be lots of other players by now but little publicised. For any of these to be on your shortlist you would need to be able to specify your requirements very precisely in terms of the usage pattern and volumes. As you say, I don't think you can possibly do that as you haven't got broadband at the moment.

Also read the parent page of the one I just linked to. It tells you more about FTTC installations. In the case of your master socket the engineer would completely replace it with a modern one.

The FTTC modem has to be by the master socket, or at the end of a Data Extension Cable that the engineer can fit. Up to 30 meters away is the standard provision. Some engineers can be persuaded by tea/coffee and biscuits to move the master socket if the current location would be very inconvenient. The best ones don't even need the drink and biscuits, but no doubt many welcome them smile.

VM Cable may or may not be OK. It seems to have an extremely wide variation in the "Customer Experience", depending on the particular location. It would not use your existing phone line.

Don't forget if you go for Infinity then by ordering online through TopCashBack or Quidco you stand a fair chance of a few pounds back.

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"Where talent is a dwarf, self-esteem is a giant." - Jean-Antoine Petit-Senn.
Standard User daved476
(newbie) Sat 18-Feb-12 12:33:33
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Re: Help choosing ISP

[re: RobertoS] [link to this post]
Thanks for your comments, RobertOs.

Just to clarify, I wasn't restricting the options to FTTC/Virgin. Do you think I should avoid "standard" broadband? To be honest, the speeds are a little meaningless to me - in general use, would I notice much of a difference between 15Mbps and 40?

If you move to FTTC, is it still possible to go back to adsl?

Things seem to have changed rather a lot since the last time I looked in to this around a year ago. Back then, it seemed that BT should be avoided at all costs and that Be was about the best available. Things seem to have flipped around rather

From browsing around, it seems that the cheaper offerings have varying degrees of traffic management imposed. I am not clear what the practical effect of this would be - what should I look out for?

Any other comments/suggestions gratefully received.

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