Advantages Free technical support, Easy to install, Fast and reliable service
Disadvantages Initial connection fee and modem costs are somewhat expensive
I made the decision to purchase broadband about a year ago, after I'd finally realised that waiting hours to download anything was becoming slightly irritating. I used to have a 56k modem, before that, a 36k and before that, nothing. So, though the jump from 36k to 56k was noticeable, in the fast paced world in which we live I soon begun to tire of it.I purchased BT Openworld Broadband mainly because I had a standard BT Openworld package at the time, BT was also a long standing company, so would have many years experience and expertise in telecommunications. Basically, I like something I know I can trust (Saying that, in terms of speed and connection quality, all the suppliers seem broadly the same so my first recommendation would be to choose based on customer service etc. but I'll come onto that later…).
So that brings me here, 1 year down the line, having first used broadband internet 365 days ago, now instilling upon your own kind selves the depth of my aged wisdom…Pricewise, BT OpenWorld broadband is comparable to the other providers on a pretty equal plane; I myself pay £29.99 a month by direct debit for my 512kb connection, though I now see on their website that you can pay £27 for it, £28 for non direct debit, hmmm…
An Alcatel Speed Touch USB Modem is provided with the complete package, at a cost of £50; though ordering online will save you 20%, at just £40. The modem itself is very good, unlike the ugly boxes you may be used to. The fact that it’s a USB connection makes it more versatile and easy to setup etc., though I think all ASDL modems are (correct me if I’m wrong). This price gives you: the modem, the USB cable, the telephone cable and two microfilters (these are needed for your computer/ phone line so that it can filter the incoming signal into its separate parts i.e. phone call or internet information). Beware, if you have a computer and a phone in different places, this will use up both your filters; if you were to have a third phone or computer connected to broadband (which you can do) then you will need to purchase extra filters, but you can do this on the internet so no worries (just remember!).Cost-wise again, there is also a one-off £30 connection charge and you sign for a minimum contract of 12 months (though most companies do that). Comparing the connection charge price with other companies, Freeserve offers free connection, at the same monthly price, which is perhaps something you may wish to consider. Pipex charge just £17.57 for connection, and includes the modem and filters as well. However, there have been complaints of poor service from Pipex (though the company has responded saying that things are going to get better).
In fact, that last Pipex comment is a nice link into my most important section, Customer Service:As most companies use BT’s wholesale ASDL package, the quality of the broadband is pretty similar. The reason we get broadband so cheaply (sort of) now is that the companies themselves then give us a share of broadband with other people. Thus, one company might give us a 20 to 1 ratio. This has an impact on us as, if more people are using the overall line, our broadband will be slower. However, I don’t want to linger on this point as most companies provide a very similar ratio (BT as well) with 30 people to 1 connection, so I don’t consider it to be of utmost importance. As I was saying…
Most Broadband companies are very similar, the connection fees and modem prices tend to change so you may wish to consider these (as I have outlined above) though these are only one-off charges. The monthly fee remains pretty much the same for all the companies. The main differences come, then, in the customer service.I have had BT Broadband for just over a year now and have never had a problem with it. My line has never gone down unexpectedly (in fact, I don’t think it has ever gone down!), I’ve never connected at incredibly slow rates, when I’ve rang the company in the past they have been friendly and helpful. They were quick to answer my call and quick to answer my query. I am always notified of any changes or additions to the service (such as their new free virus scanner) and they tell me every time they debit the monthly fee from my account. Some people have complained about the service they have received, but in the time I have had the package, there have been no problems at all. On all costs, then, BT Openworld Broadband had proved to be, for me, a hassle-free experience.
I hear news that this is not always the case with other providers. Pipex has been reported to have had poor service in the past, with Freeserve being reported to have incredibly slow and expensive customer service (at 50p a minute!) BT customer service is completely free, so I’d definitely recommend it on that front.As we draw to the end of my extensive (but, I hope, useful) review of BT OpenWorld Broadband, I will summarise my experiences and opinions of the service I have received. Though the initial setup fee is a bit more than that of other services, the monthly fee is the same. The package is easy to install and the service is easy to use. There is free technical support, by e-mail and phone if you get stuck, and you are always kept informed of changes or additions to the site.
It is easy, when you have had something for a while, to come to take it for granted. I went on a friend’s computer the other day. They had my old 56k modem working. The slowness of their internet actually shocked me. Perhaps through having things easier and easier, faster and faster, we come to expect more and need things to be easier and easier, faster and faster. But, if we are going to need these things anyway, then why not get the best? I don’t believe I’ve found it, but it’s pretty close.Thank you for reading,
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