Ay Dee eSs helL - Choosing a broadband provider

I’ve been getting my broadband through freedom2surf for years now. On the whole they have been pretty good, but several months ago I started to get way too many “outages”; manifesting as DNS lookup failures and page request time-outs. Later this turned into more traditional slow speeds (my 2Mbit line was only achieving between 300-700Kbit). I felt was unacceptable so I started to look around.

For the same money with BT, I’d could get 8Mbits (although other sources indicate that 5.9 is my maximum), free wireless minutes (which could prove useful) and some hardware. I’m sure a BT Home Hub has it’s problems, but it would allow me to reduce the box and PSU count in the office which is a points scorer.

Despite not being completely sure, I went as far as ordering and getting a Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) from f2s, but BT missed the switch over due to the MAC expiring. This wasn’t strictly their fault, though the use of the MAC was not really made clear and this delay allowed my reservations to fester.

BT’s service track record isn’t the best. Not to mention this very worrying association they seem to have struck up with phorm. My feet were turning decidedly cold toward switching over to BT.

More recently we’ve been having TV reception problem in even the slightest bad weather. None of the neighbours use freeview, so it’s been difficult to isolate as an ariel or a transmitter problem. This made me think about cable. Perhaps I could get broadband, phone and TV all from virgin media and solve all of my problems!

Saying that Virgin and NTL before them have an even poorer reputation than BT. Their V+ box sounds cool, but would not mix well with my MCE set-up, that I love. Add to this that Virgin are also entertaining this three strikes and you’re out policy that I find myself opposed to. Not because I agree with copy write infringement, just the arbitrary and unconstrained policing of it. Who decides what it a valid strike?

During all of this deliberation, my existing connection had been running much better. I’d started to wonder if it might be better just to stay with my current provider. But no sooner had I thought it, I couldn’t get a three consecutive page loads without bouncing the connection.

Now this might suggest a problem with my router and the router may have been the cause of the problems from the very start, but it could just as easily be a problem with the connection that is causing the router to mess up… I don’t want to buy a new router, just to discover that there was nothing wrong with the old one!

This stuff isn’t easy to figure out and it isn’t made any easier by the resources you need being only accessible to you through the medium you are having problems with!

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