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Getting (re) Connected

So the the plan was this:

1) Change ISP

2) Buy some new stuff for the home network

3) Talk about it

 

Change ISP – So long BT

 

Now this really should have been the easy bit. I had been with BT for many years. The motivation for change came from my experience with BT. A while back they had toyed with the idea of improving my (and others) customer experience by monitoring my internet usage with a view to placing targeted advertising. They decided to trial this without telling anyone in what appeared to be a clear breach of the Data Protection Act. The whole Phorm fiasco was largely overlooked by the Information Comission but the EU are currently chasing the government over this. Anyway, BT stopped the trial but their desire the monetise their customers in this intrusive way had been made clear. Next, I received a letter saying that I from their “analysis” I had not not replaced the comtrend powerline units they had supplied. How did they know this? BT explained that they had the ability to poke around peoples home networks – and certainly their latest Homehub deliberately leaves a port open. Then there is the traffic shaping which BT are coy about. Now I am not a great downloader but when I do do it  I want it to be usable. Finally, while browsing the web I entered an incorrect URL and BT’s DNS server spewed out a heap of advertising I hadn’t asked for. Easily fixed with openDNS but irritating all the same. So although BT provided a reasonable connection in terms of speed and stability, the low price means you have to pay for it in other less obvious but certainly less welcome ways. The lesson being you get what you pay for

 

Change ISP – BE is limited

 

Having not learnt my lesson I went for a cheap alternative – BE. Migration went smoothly initially with lots of cherarful emails and texts telling how great it was going to be. Then it went bad. Now I chose BE based on their reputation and their infrastructure. The latter is very good. The former is based on past glories and doesn’t match my experience. After two days I couldn’t receive calls – so I called BT and they fixed it but then the BE line went AWOL. BE wouldn’t fix it blaming BT. The call centre was useless. They clearly they weren’t provided with sufficient information to monitor the line and could not take a decision or provide advice without defering to someone more senior. In short, they weren’t able to take ownership of the customers problem or be in a position to resolve it. Their relationship to BT Openreach was terrible. Now whatever you think of BT the reality for most ISP’s is you have to have a working relationship with them and it is unreasonable to extent the customer to manage their issues. So I asked to leave on the basis that they had never provided the service advertised. Again the lesson here is you get what you pay for. To keep costs down O2 who own BE have slashed customer support. BE has a very loyal following, much like Giffgaff but O2’s corporate stance seems to be diluting the merits they once had

 

Change ISP – AAISP

 

If BE thinks they are niche then they have got nothing on this lot. AAISP are not for the faint hearted. They also have a good reputation. The are not cheap. The do offer a one month contract (30 days notice). So finally taking on the previous lessons and not wanting to sign my life away I took the plunge. The key benefit was that I could keep the BE line. It is early days but things are good. Unlike BE, AAISP got the line fixed without any involvelemt from me. The only reason I know is that it is recorded on the log that you can view as part of the dashboard. The line monitoring tools and configuration options are all exposed to the user so you have a large degree of control. This would be the frightening part of most people I guess but I support staff are knowledgable, helpful and responsive so advice is there if you what it. The line is fast and stable and I can view its status at any point. There are no other monetising intrusions to the service – just raw internet as they advertise. Fingers crossed this could last. It is a pity I took so long to find them. Again, you get what you pay for.

 

Now to deal with number 2 on the list……..

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Categories: AAISP, BE Unlimited, BT, isp
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