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Having used the internet for about 6 years now, I have experienced most internet service providers. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, as do most companies. However I do find them all very similar.
BT Internet is the latest in my line of ISP’s. I was mainly drawn to them for the unmetered internet access. To be fair, I cannot really praise or criticise them properly, because I find most providers the same.
As I said, the main draw towards BT Internet is the free evening and weekend calls in conjunction with their Surftime service. If, like me, you pay the Surftime on your BT phone bill, then you get free internet calls between 6pm and 8am weekdays, and all weekend. However if perhaps you don’t have a BT line then you cannot pay it on your phone bill, and therefore must use a credit card. The disadvantage of this, besides actually having to own a credit card, is that the free calls are only from 6pm-midnight weekdays. I, myself, would find this most inconvenient as I often use the internet after midnight.
There is no software provided with BT Internet, besides a copy of Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook if you don’t already have them. It is a basic dial up service to an 0845 number. The thing to be careful of, is that there are two icons for dial-up - one for unmetered access and one for access during peak hours. If you are not vigilant, it is possible to dial the wrong telephone number, and end up getting a phone bill for the calls, when you thought they were free. I would advise checking which number is which from their website and checking your dial up properties for each icon, to ensure the correct number is being dialled.
Regarding email, Microsoft Outlook is an excellent email client (although I do use it every day at work, so I am used to it) however it is a shame that the BT internet mail server is shocking. I have had no end of email problems. It can take minutes to connect to the server, if at all. If you have a lot to emails to collect, then it quite frequently times out on you. They have recently introduced a web mail service to enable users to collect their email from a website. When my email problems started, I thought that this would be an excellent way to collect my mounting emails! However once again I encountered more problems. I have tried to access the web mail many times, and have in fact only reached the site a few times. It is constantly giving "web site not found" messages.
BT Internet support are not a great deal of help either. They respond to your emails quite quickly (2-3 days) - the reason for using email is that the support line costs 50p/min to call. However I have had my email problem for a month now, and numerous emails have passed between myself and them, with no resolution in sight. They don’t actually answer the questions I am asking them, and suggest very basic resolutions.
Other issues are that the service times out every 2 hours - can be annoying but you can reconnect immediately, and if you keep an eye on the time, you can make sure that you aren’t half way through a large download.
Aside from all of this, I have never got an engaged tone, and I could count the amount of line drop outs on one hand. There are plenty of companies offering unmetered access now, so it pays to shop around. BT Internet is a reputable company, but is certainly not one of the best.