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Internet access through an 0800 number with **NO** monthly fees? Sounds to good to be true? Well it's true. Towards the end of last year NTL launched a new internet service called NTL Home. I've been using it for half a year now, and would like to share my cable experience with you!
What is NTL Home? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ NTL Home is the latest unmetered internet access service from the telecoms company, NTL.
What does it offer? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The service offers unlimited internet access to the whole of the internet via NTL Home's special software. This service sounds unbelievably good value, especially from NTL which until recently seemed to be going bankrupt, but it is absolutely true.
What does it cost? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The service is currently FREE. Yes FREE! I don't have to pay a single penny a month to use it. Of course you do still have to pay your usual line rental for NTL's basic Phone and Cable TV package, but as this is only around £15 a month, depending on how many cable TV channels you go for, it is still a remarkable deal. Bearing in mind many other 0800 access internet companies charge £14.99 a month for this service, you are effectively getting your phone line and Cable TV free!!
##SEE NEW TARRIFS BELOW##
What do I need to use it? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ You will need three main things to use this wondeful service. First of all you will need a computer with a modem so that you can access the internet. Once you have got a computer you will need an NTL cable phoneline to use the service via. I believe that you are not allowed to use the service via a BT phonline. Lastly you will need a CD from NTL with special software for dialling up the service. This also comes with your username and password.
How fast is it? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The internet access itself is unusually fast for an 0800 access service. When I sent of for the service, I assumed it was going to be a very slow internet connection, but was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was actually faster than many 0845 services such as Freeserve's Pay as You Go service.
What do you get as part of the deal? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There are several features that all customers get access to as part of the NTL World deal. The main services you get are a free POP email account, access to thousands of newsgroups and access to special NTL Home "channels". Don't forget that you also get free software sent to you when you register as part of the deal (see below)
What is the software like? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The software is basically a dial up program for use with the service. The software's main features are three easy to use buttons to access your mail, newsgroups and the Internet, a connect and disconnect button for dialing up and a big box containing the NTL Home website which shows the latest news, weather and several other channels. The software automatically places a link to itself on the desktop, and a special button in the "Tray" on the startbar to make it easy to find and use. Some of you however may find this annoying, so they have cleverly included an option to get rid of both of these features. Included with the software is a support agent which supposedly makes it easier to change settings and make sure everything is running smoothly.
Setting up the software was very easy for me and the whole process went pretty smoothly. The program didn't take up too much space on my hard drive, and I have had no real problems with it since I installed it. The only thing that has gone wrong is that it has interfered with dial up networking, which is mentioned later on.
The only really annoying thing about the software is that it shows a big NTL sign everytime you load your computer which takes around ten seconds to go. You can't even click to get rid of it!
Can you get it? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ When I signed up for this service, all NTL customers were welcome to have this service for free. However since then they have revised their charging structure and now charge £5 for a new account. Don't forget that you can only use this service if you have an NTL phone line, but these are good value too. New customers are also charged for access now - see below for more details.
NTL world has a useful online service to check if your area has cable and is eligible for FREE internet access. The service can be found at http://www.ntl.com/locales/gb/en/home/ask/
##NEW TARRIFS## ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Unfortunately, due to NTL's rising debts, they are starting to charge for this service. Existing customers will soon have to pay £5 a month for their internet access. This is still £10 less than many other leading 0800 access companies are charging. However, new customers are charged £10 per month, as they did not sign up before January 2002.
How long do I have to wait for a disk? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This is one of NTL Home's main problems; Disk waiting times. When they introduced the service they were overwhelmed with demand any many people had to wait three or four months for a disk. Unfortunately that included me! However, they claim that this was only because they were having troubles inplementing the infrastructure needed to ensure a good level of service, and that without this wait many customers would not have had the same level of service that they had. Currently, according to other people who have recently signed up to the sevice, the disks are being sent out much quicker so you should be online within a month at the most. Don't forget that if you don't already have an NTL line, then you should expect to have to wait longer for the line to be installed, and then for the CD to arrive.
I don't have an NTL phone line - What should I do? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Don't panic! There are still a couple of ways that you can get hold of this great service. The easiest way is to install a second line in your house, leading to your study or wherever your primary PC is, and take out a contract with NTL for their phone line and cable service. This will cost you around £15 a month for line rental and TV, plus the £10 internet access charges.
Your other option is to pay NTL £15 a month a get internet and phone through an existing BT line. However, I don't think that you are applicable for the same free internet access service as NTL Cable customers if you decide on this option.
What are the benefits of this service? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The obvious benefit to this service is unlimited internet access for free or very little cost. Also, because you are getting your internet access from NTL as well as your phone line, you have only one bill which makes it much simpler.
Are there any drawbacks to this serice? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As with any service offering deals as wonderful as this there are a couple of drawbacks to the service. The most obvious one is the fact that you seem to have to have an NTL cable line to use the service. This is an obvious blow to non NTL cable customers who wished to use the service.
The second drawback is that you have to use their special dial up software to use the internet access. A problem I have found with using this software is that you can no longer seem to be able to use other internet access services such as Freeserve, with this software enabled. The reason for this is that it changes some of the Microsoft settings, thus disabling Dial Up Networking, which most computers use to access the internet.
The last drawback to the service that some customers have experienced is the long waiting times for the disks. However the problem seems to have been sorted so it shouldn't be a problem for new customers.
Conclusion ~~~~~~~~~~ NTL World has been a great service to use what with fast internet access, low and non existent costs and easy to use software included. The only problems I have had with the service were in its infancy when disks took time to be dispatched. However as this is all sorted now I would highly reccomend this service to anyone looking for MUCH cheaper internet access.
Contacts ~~~~~~~~ If you want more information on the internet access then you contact them in the following ways:
On the internet: http://www.ntlworld.com/
Via email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
On the phone: 0906 5587654 (technical support) 0800 052 4315 (Server status line)
Via Snail-Mail: Ntl Group Ltd ntl House Bartley Wood Business Park Hook Hampshire RG27 9XA
Having heard many BAD things about them I think I will wait before jumping on board. This is a much better op. I am impressed with how quickly you are picking up on Ciao ways. Well done Wayne
MRSCANADA 20.04.2002 17:40
I'm the idiot that they wrote the book 'Computers for Idiots'!...but I know that this is a service you can use(if
you want to) to get onto the internet. I use our phone company for this..Nice review as always..LL