Searching for a new t'interweb provider


Points Scorer
Having noticed over the past couple of weeks that my internet is a tad slower than normal, I finally got round to running a speed test tonight...

I'm currently with BE on their basic package (£17 p/month + £10 line rental) and in my account it states 'You'll get a download speed of around 12.0 meg on your line. Existing BE members with lines like yours get between 8.0 meg and 15.5 meg.' Well my speed test says I'm getting about 3.7mb.... :blink: I'm guessing this is pretty crappy considering what I'm told I 'should' be getting.

So I thought I'd have a quick search for a new internet provider, to see if there's anything better around I could switch to. There's only me living here, so it doesn't need to be suitable for a family of 4 or anything, but being able to play an online game and watch iplayer at the same time without either/both freezing up/lagging would be ideal.

Basically what I'm trying to find out, is how I go about trying to choose the right provider and subsequent package. I have no idea of what a 'decent' speed should be, or whether the usage limits some companies have would be sufficient for me. And also, how do I go about changing my 'net provider when I have decided who i want, as I've never had to do it myself before, so I've no idea what's involved... :dunno:
I had Be for years but they really are overpriced.

I'm now with Sky unlimited.

They handle the whole transfer and it is usually seamless.
Can't say I'm very enthusiastic about Sky tbh - had them for a couple of years, and had nothing but problems with them - both with the actual service we had and the customer service numptys trying to resolve anything. I'm not interested in Sky TV either - I find it way over-priced for the whole load of rubbish and repeats that's shown.

I'm 0.7 miles from the exchange (so I would have thought my speed would be near enough whatever is promised...).
Already had a look on U-switch - apparently Plusnet is the best in my area, but they have usage limits. No idea if my usage would be affected by any of that or not... And I've heard mixed reviews about Plusnet too...
You stream a lot of TV and download quite a bit too so I would say you're a fairly high user for just one person. I personally avoid anything with a usage cap, I used to get my broadband through BT and during peak times the internet was pretty much non-existent.

Line speeds won't vary from company to company, the physical speed is what your line is capable of. You are in a fibre enabled area so you can get higher speeds that way but would mean paying extra for your internet.
Check if you can get BT infinity. You can't go faster without cable. And it all comes into your house through the existing copper wire.
I can get infinity, but I can't really pay more than I already do for the privillage of it (the downside of living alone with only one income). Besides, the BE bog-standard package has been fine up until recently. I've not really had any problems, just had to pause any downloads when tv-streaming, but it's never been an issue. I'm wondering if it's worth speaking to BE about it first - seeing if they can shed any light on why it seems to have dropped over the past few weeks...
Get them to run a line test.

You can rule out any problems with wiring and sockets in your house by plugging the router into the master socket.
Whatever you do Sh4dow85, do not go with BT they are way overpriced and their after sales service is total shit even if you only enquire with them they will never leave you alone constantly phoning you to try and pester you into signing up and if you do sign up they will want an 18 month contract and when you leave they will carry on phoning you and getting right on your tits forever and ever.....>:(or until you buy yourself a massive air horn to blow down the line at them....
Lots of people slag them off but I'm on Virgin fibre 100Mb for over 3 years now and have had 1 outage that was caused by BT cutting through the optical cable - I've got 8 devices connected via wired and wireless and regularly get 60+ d/l on all of them at the same time and 8Mb u/l
I'm getting the impression that Mephistopheles is not a great fan of BT then...

Ok, so I'll speak to BE first and see if there's a problem. As far as I know, the router is already plugged into the main/master socket thing. My PC is connected to it via a wire, so any problems arn't due to wireless shenanigans.

I'll have a word with BE tonight and see what they come up with.
I've had BT Infinity 2 for a year now and wouldn't change it for the world. Speeds when on ethernet are roughly 80/20 (as fast as it gets) and I think we only ever had one outage for a few hours. Nothing to complain about here so I would recommend them.
Well I've just come off the live chat from a BE bod, who agrees there is a problem if I'm only getting 3.7mb (his system says 4.3mb, but confirmed I should be getting about 10-12mb). So I have to get back in touch tonight so they can do some line checks, troubleshooting and general head scratching to see what the problem is and what expensive package I should buy to resolve it.

Still having a look at other providers, just in case I can find a similar package for less pennies...
Try the following before you call them back :-

  • Find Telephone master socket (normally near the front of your property, will have an extra unscrewable panel above the socket in the box)
  • Unscrew the top panel to find an internal socket
  • Plug your router into the internal socket (at this point you will disconnect every other phone socket in the house if it is wired properly)
  • Using a network cable plug a laptop or other machine into the router.
  • Run a speed check now.
What you will find is that there may well be a difference in speed direct into the master socket. The extension wiring on most houses these days is abysmal and internal cabling noise can account for anywhere up to a 50% loss of speed on modern broadband.

Only if you don't have better connection speed through the master socket is it likely to be a line fault, but resolving line faults is very difficult and your provider will be unlikely to go through the process as it involves getting an OpenReach engineer out to your house at a minimum cost to your provider of £90 just for the guy to show up.

Line faults are fairly easy to identify yourself, they mostly show up as noise on the line. So plug a normal (non-cordless) phone into the master socket as per the process above. Press the 0 button and then listen to the line with no noise coming from the other end. If there is any pronounced hiss or crackles on the line when it is waiting to receive the next dialled digit then it is an outside line issue rather than wiring in our house.

The best reason to go through all of these checks before you call them back? The fact that if BE are doing their job properly they will get you to do them while you are on the phone anyway. If they call out OpenReach and there is no line fault then the cost for attending the call to your provider goes up rapidly.

Unfortunately if the fault is on your internal cabling then it is down to you to fix. The normal cause is sub-standard useless wiring for the phone sockets in the house run through the same conduits as the mains cable (or as was the case in the house we just moved out of, wrapped around the mains cabling in order to keep it in place).
So I rang up BE to go through the above... They can't find the sodding account. :givemestrength: Not from the home phone number, the postcode, nor the name of the account holder (still under my ex's name unfortunately, as I can't change it without cancelling and re-joining, and subsequently incurring another join-up fee or whatever).
They suggested I get the account holder to call up and answer some security questions to see if they can find it.... Well that's not even a remote possibility. I know all the security answers, and I pay the bill, but they still refuse to talk to me. The live chat advisors didn't seem to mind this afternoon and were more than happy to help out as I answered the questions correctly... Maybe I'll stop paying the bill, see how quickly they can find the account then... :rolleyes:

canis - I tried unscrewing the box at the front of the house where the phone line & internet wire goes in, but there's no top panel for any other socket... I tried plugging the phone directly into the socket, and did the 0 thing, and there is a very slight fuzz noise...

I'm thinking my only remaining option is to put up with the sluggish net for now, and switch providers so I can set everything up in my name and have the ability to actually speak to someone if it goes wrong....
Sh4dow85 Sorry, should have been better explained, this is not the box on the outside of the house, it is a phone socket on the inside, but will have an extra panel on the top of it. This is the first socket in the chain in your house and all other sockets will feed off it and it will normally be the nearest socket to where the cables come into the house.

If you do not have a socket like this then there is an issue with the phone wiring in the house and it really should be re-wired :(
Sh4dow85 the master phone socket canis is talking about will look like this.


and when unscrewed it will look like this.


Notice the internal socket on the right hand side, this is where you should plug your router into to test it...

Extension phone sockets look like this.


Your router should not be plugged into this type of socket...
Top Bottom