Moving ISP (AOL to Sky)

I live in a remote location with a basic telephone exchange which is nearly three miles from my house. My first ISP (Euronet) sadly went bust in 2006 and there were no LLUs in my exchange, so I had a very limited choice when it came to getting a replacement, which wasn’t helped by needing unlimited downloads. The only choice I had was between Tiscali and AOL. Now everybody knows how bad AOL are, but Tiscali make them look like saints, so Hobson made the choice for me. At £8/month things weren’t too bad, though time has helped heal the wounds of having to speak to their help desk. They were a totally clueless bunch. I recall that they told me I could never have had a connection without installing the AOL software. They clearly have no idea of what they are talking about. About two years ago they tried to double their fee. I fought it off conceeding a small rise, but last year the monthly charge rose to £20. This is because they have no LLU in my exchange, so in other words, I have to pay double to get the worst service they provide because they haven’t invested in my exchange. Sounds nearly as fair as having to pay for the support calls when they have screwed up my connection again. Anyway, apathy and an increase in download speed to 2Mb/s meant I left things the way they were, but when speeds slowed to 1Mb/s I decided I could take no more and looked for a better deal. It certainly wasn’t the first time either.

Talk Talk were now listed as having an LLU here so I decided to give them a go though I quickly backed out of that when it became clear just how useless they were. A pushy helpdesk person with little or no knowledge tried to force me to take limited downloads against my wishes. Her explanation of why I couldn’t have the unlimited downloads promised until the point of payment were infantile. An indicator of what would come later was enough to end any ideas of using this ISP.

I then discovered that Sky had just put their equipment in my exchange too. I decided that their unlimited broadband and phone usage package was worth a try and signed up on line. I signed up in mid December, so due to the holidays my go-live date was 3rd Jan 2012. The modem/router (Sagem wireless N) arrived a few days before. It’s a bit annoying that I must use it (otherwise infringing Ts&Cs), but it doesn’t look terrible, unlike the AOL junk. My Netgear may find it’s way onto eBay.

On the agreed go-live date I returned to my desk from lunch to find my broadband disconnected and the phone line working. I nervously plugged in the Sky modem/router and away we went without the slightest hitch. The first 10 days are a tuning period, but the initial 2.1Mb/s where as good as I could hope for. Over the next couple of days the upload speed has increased to about 0.7Mb/s, so I’m pretty happy at the moment. Downloads are (apparently) truley unlimited and unlike AOL I can also download during peak times (evenings). I’ve downloaded several GB already and it’s all good. The router appears to compare adequately with my DGN 2000. This includes the wireless N signal.

Costs are :
Line rental £12.25 – a slight saving of BT line rental
Unlimited phone calls £5 – practically all calls apart from those to mobile phones
Unlimited Broadband £10 – uncludes £2.50 suppliment as I don’t have Sky TV
Withhold number and caller display are free

Total price is £27.25/month though it will only be £20 for the first six months. This is considerably cheaper that AOL (£33.50 including line renal) and additionally includes free calls at any time and a much faster Internet connection.

The final joke is that AOL emailed me 8 hours after the switch (and wrote a few days later) to say that they were aware I was leaving and it wasn’t too late to change my mind. Just the level of service I’ve come to expect from them. Good riddance to bad rubbish I say.

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