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35 Reviews
  • must have a BT phone line
  • Ripp off
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      23.02.2004 15:06
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      • "Ripp off"

      My connection keeps dropping out (right green light flashing on modem). BT told me to but new equipment including 6 filters and a new Modem. They then sent four different visits of engineers to my home. After 6 months, nothing has changed. The operators are offensive and use the 25min queue on the help line as a tool to get rid of me. They refuse to call back and use every excuse for me to always have to call back. They have accused me of lying and deny that they told me to buy new equipment. Overall a very unpleasant experience and dreadful reliability/service. Even their complaints department are the same. I will be changing to a new ISP shortly and can't wait.

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        18.02.2004 19:07
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        I didn?t know whether to put this review in BT ADSL or BT Openworld, as the review will be related to the both of them in all honesty. Just a warning. The company I work for has recently moved premises, and it has been my merry duty to organise a lot of the IT, which has gone badly, wonder what that says about me. I had organised on the day we moved to have BT come in, and install our phone system, and set up the line for the broadband, no worries I was told, and engineer will be there to help you. Easy I thought, well done BT, the phones and the broadband all set up in one phone call, who could ask for more. Well, obviously, this review would not being written if it was as simple as that. The day for moving arrived, we were all packed up, and indeed the office did move, but did the phones? Did they nuts. Now, the list of things I had organised were (this must be complicated, as it obviously confused BT to pieces) 1. Broadband Line enabled 2. The phone lines set up 3. A message on the old number informing people of our new number 4. Faxes diverted So, four things, and the percentage of success? 0%, yes that is right, out of a four possible things I organised for them to do, they managed to get all of them wrong, that is a superb display or stupidity, worthy of a huge international business, makes you proud to be British doesn?t it? So how did they mess this up quite so well, hmm, the engineer apparently called at about 8.00am, which really helps a 9-5 company ? oh the genius. So unsurprisingly that wasn?t done, the broadband crew went quiet; numerous phone calls (on mobiles due to the phones lines) presented us with the problem of nobody being able to deal with it, because the gentleman we needed had gone off on a much needed holiday, I mean, that?s only fair, because he was a model of organisation, must be stressful. This meant we actually basically shut down for a WEEK, as we had no lines to divert to, really good for a small business, well, you should have guessed then that we got it all sorted in a week, but not broadband, that would be too easy, we received the box for the broadband after a about two weeks; okay here comes the review on the broadband review. Broadband is enabled through a small black box, I wouldn?t say it is a hard thing to set up, I had to set it up through a server for four computers, and did it an about an hour as I managed to confuse myself. It is an easy thing as it has three lights on the front, and will tell you when each part of the operation is working. This does break it down quite well. There is one light for power, another for broadband line, and a third for the local intranet. In the booklet it tells you what colour represents each problem, until eventually you will have all three in three and your ready to start surfing. Once connected the broadband has been superb, it really is so quick, I like to download a couple of things, mainly music to see what new bands are like, and I?m downloading them in about 4-5 minutes at the most, which is nothing short of stunning compared to how long it used to take, now I?m just running out of money to buy all the albums of new bands I?ve found. In short, broadband is superb, and I would recommend to anyone and everyone, however, make sure you have everything sorted won to the last detail with BT, as their organisation is non-existent. Right, I?m going back to find more bands, I love coming to work.

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          14.12.2003 20:45

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          • "No alternative i the service goes down"

          The emotional ISP - Advantages: Email to SMS service - Disadvantages: Webmail service is VERY slow and often crashes, Connection goes dead every few hours, No alternative i the service goes down

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          23.11.2003 05:21
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          Not enough choice in this market. We are lucky to have broadband at all. BT advised we were right on the edge of the broadband availability range from the exchange but were willing to give it a go. It does work, and most of the time it works no problem but every now and then it falls out and requires the router and the host computer to be restarted, a nuisance but we may be able to work out how to do that without getting off the sofa :-) Slightly confusing documentation and setup not straightforward where the service is to be shared from a router across a home network. We need to experiment quite a bit and eventually got it to work by assigning each PC a permanent fixed IP address. Couldn't get much help from helpdesk on this one. In addition, there is a slightly peculiar authentication arrangement; you have to set up authentication for each service, and not for the gateway as a whole. Still, it works.

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            12.09.2003 16:02
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            Okay, we've all been there. You just can't take it anymore. The pain's too great. The 56k modem just has to go! So, what are the alternatives? Well, it's going to have to be broadband. But which ISP do you choose? At the time I was in rented accomodation in a second floor flat so choosing cable wasn't an option as I couldn't have all that making holes in the wall stuff. Instead I chose BT Broadband. Why? Well, I was already with them for the Anytime package and despite annoying me with their restrictions on being online I thought I'd try their broadband package. Also, at the time (Feb 03) they had one of their offers on - £50 for the equipment (ADSL USB modem, 2 microfilters, cables, etc.) and no activation fee! So, I set about ordering it. The main attractions for me was that there was no making holes in walls, you didn't need some engineer to come around to plug things in and you could literally plug it in and off you went. When I placed the order the staff were very helpful, advising about cancelling my Anytime account, etc. I wanted to keep my e-mail addresses though so they gave me too options. For nothing I could keep them and use their web mail or for £1.50 a month I could keep them and be able to use Outlook, etc to access them. I went with the second option. I also ordered another couple of microfilters from them so I had enough for all the phone sockets in the flat. Microfilters need (in theory) to be connected to each 'phone socket you have to filter the signals of the normal 'phone and the ADSL. The conversation ended with the agent informing me that I should receive my equipment in the next few days and that the service would be activated in 7 days time (the standard for connection to the exchange). A few days later and, as promised, my equipment arrived. However, instead of sending me the 2 microfilters I'd ordered they instead sent me another box containing ADSL m odem, cables and 2 microfilters. What a bargain! Just a few pounds extra for the microfilters and I get a free modem with it. I immediately put this down to good customer service as I knew a big company like BT couldn't possibly make a mistake ;) On the day of activation I was up bright and early. The agent had told me it could take up until 6pm to activate but I thought I'd chance it. As soon as I plugged everything in (at around 8am) I was able to connect straight away. One word from that point - Wow! 512kbps! How had I ever managed with a 56k connection?!?!? Web pages loaded fast, downloads were so much quicker and I could stay online for as long as I wanted! Since then I can honestly say I haven't had a problem with BT broadband. Very occasionally there'll be a slight problem with one of the exchanges but I can say this has only affected me once in seven months, and then only for a couple of hours. I've never really had to 'phone customer relations but they have a good presence on their support newsgroups though providing information and updates. Also, when I brought a house and moved out of the flat they were excellent in sorting out the transfer of the service from one property to the other. Again, no problems. What about the cost? Well, obviously it'd be nicer to pay less than £27 a month but if you use the internet as much as I do then it doesn't seem too bad. Although perhaps a 1MB connection for £27 would be even nicer ;) The other obvious advantage of broadband over 56k is that you can use your telephone at the same time. So, my verdict? I can't complain at all. The whole ordering process was smooth, no problems with fitting it and the connection is fast and good. Also, helpful and easy when moving too. Well done BT. I hated you with the Anytime package and felt you didn't provide what you offered. However, I can't fault you on the Broadband package. Others may tell you a different story but I can only judge on what I experience.

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              09.07.2003 04:57
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              i registered for bt broadband about 4 months ago now & for 3 months i've have had nothing but problems, the comp locks up when you try to disconnect. i phoned bt & told them about the problem & they gave me a number of excuses from about 15 different advisers such as the usb port is not compatible, theres not enough power for the modem i need a usb pci card, its not compatible with xp so i installed it on a comp with windows ME & its not compatible with that either. I still have the problem & i hate bt their absolutely useless.

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                01.11.2002 15:35
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                • "must have a BT phone line"

                BT wouldn't have been my first choice of ISP after a brief but very infuriating period of having a dial-up account with them, but at the time I decided to move up to broadband, BT was my only option. I would have prefered cable broadband, but the building I live in is only cable enabled to the 8th floor, and I live way up in the clouds. It was BT or nothing. Thankfully, it's worked out very well. I signed up to ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) in it's early days, before everyone else starting rolling out their ADSL products. In those days...way back in the technological mists of 18 months ago... you needed an engineer's visit to connect you, you paid £150 for the privelege, and then you paid £39.99 per month to use the service. Nowadays, though you can still have an engineer to install the service if you want (at £250), you can connect yourself with the "Plug and Go" package where you pay £65 to have your phone line ADSL-enabled, and you can choose whether to buy your equipment from BT (£85) or someone else. The monthly charge has now fallen to £29.99. **** So, What is ADSL, and Why do you want it? **** If you're like me, you live your life on the Internet. I was more or less housebound for almost 10 years, and the Internet was my way of keeping in touch with family, my social life, my education, my support group, my shopping centre, my creative outlet, my playground, and occasionally my workplace .. you getting the picture? I was online more than was good for my bank balance in the days of pay-as-you-go, and more than my series of ISPs liked once flat rates were introduced. When I couldn't get out to join the world, the Internet brought the world into my living room. I don't know how I ever lived without it. In the circumstances, I reckoned it was worth getting a decent service and paying a bit extra for it. ADSL gives you download speeds of up to 10 times the speed of a re gular dial-up modem, across your existing BT phone line. It does this by splitting the voice signals from the data signals, so they don't interfere with each other. It is asymmetric, in that the download speed (500 kbps) is greater than the upload speed (250kbps). It is also a contended service, which means that you share your bit of bandwidth with up to 50 other users. You might think this sounds a lot, but when you consider how many other users you share bandwidth with on a dial-up line, it's nothing. And what are the chances of those 50 others all being online at the same time as you? Even then, unless you're all into serious gaming, you're not going to notice a serious drop in service. The splitting is done by replacing the main phone jack if you go for an engineer installation, or by a set of micro-filters if you opt for self-install. The filters plug into your existing phone sockets, and you will need one for every socket with a modem, fax, or telephone connected to it. If you buy your equipment from BT, 2 are provided, but you can buy extras if needed. The plug and go method gives you the most flexibility for where your ADSL connected computer will be situated. With the engineered installation, you have to decide on the location and stick to it. With self-install, on the other hand, you can have the computer next to any phone socket with a filter. The other main reasons you want ADSL, apart from the speed, are that it's always on", yet you can still use your phone line for voice calls while you are connected. This means you don't have to dial-up and wait for modems to shake hands and play nice before being connected. It also means you don't get any engaged signals. The average connection time is 20 seconds and you only have to do it if you switch your computer off and on again. There are no call charges, except for normal voice calls, faxes across the normal phone line, etc. **** Sounds great, so How do I get it? **** First of all you need a BT line. Secondly, you need to be connected to an ADSL enabled exchange. To check that, go to http://www.btopenworld.com/broadband/availability/0,,csn=consumer,00.html and put in your full telephone number. If you are one of the lucky ones who is in an enabled area, you now need a PC or Mac with a free USB port, Windows 98SE/Mac OS8.6 or above, 180MB free HD space (120Mb for the Mac), and a CD-ROM drive. Next you need a credit card, or Visa Delta card. They will charge your initial fees and monthly subscription to your card. Now take your card to the site and sign up. BT will agree a provisional date for your service to start, and then carry out some tests on your line. They don't need access to your house for this. If all is well with your line, they will ADSL enable it, and send out your micro-filters, ADSL modem (assuming you are getting the full package), and software in time for your start-date. The rest is up to you. It's just a matter of plugging everything in and installing the software - I managed! **** What else do I get? **** You also get 50Mb of webspace, a dial-up account for getting access to your email when away from home, up to 10 email addresses, webmail, a 24 hour local-rate helpline, and BT Openworld's portal site as your homepage. **** How's it all working out? **** The speed is fantastic. Pretty soon you stop going "wow" every time you click on something, though, and take it for granted until you are forced to use someone else's clunky old 56K connection. Then you go home and kiss the stingray (ADSL users' jargon for the rather distinctive Alcatel modem), but you don't admit that to anyone. It's pretty reliable. Mine has been down only 3 times in 18 months. This is where it all goes pear-shaped, I'm afraid. It's great when it works, but on the rare occas ions it goes wrong, getting something done about it takes longer than it should. If there is a serious failure, getting through to the helpline involves listening to a lot of cheesy music and being assured you're moving up the queue. When you eventually speak to a human being, their first assumption (unless there is a known issue with your "gateway") is that the problem is at your end, so be prepared to do a lot of rebooting, and reinstalling before they will accept a fault report. Once you have reported a fault you have to leave the machine running so they can test the line remotely. Trouble is, you can't tell when it's working again without rebooting and trying to connect. They are supposed to phone you and tell you this, but they have yet to keep that promise with me. The BT news server is seriously crap. I don't use it, and I advise anyone signing up with BT to sign up with a free news server that's independant of their ISP. http://news.cis.dfn.de is a good place to start. I've never regretted getting ADSL, and BT have proved much more reliable than I anticipated. At £29.99 it's still quite expensive, but if you're a heavy user like me, and can't get cable, it's well worth the outlay.

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                  23.08.2002 02:28
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                  I'd been accessing the internet on a 56K modem for years, and since having broadband at work I'd been thinking about getting it more and more, sick of coming home to what now seemed like a pitifully slow connection. After weighing up the pros and cons of the different providers - and finding that many of them don't provide the service in my area - I plumped for BTOpenworld Broadband. I chose the Home Plug & Go version which I had to self-install. It cost me £85 for the modem and filters, and I'll be paying £29.99 per month for always on, super fast connection. And I can actually use my phone for making and receiving calls whilst I'm online (something my long-suffering friends are very pleased about). In case you don't know, broadband is different from normal narrowband connections for several reasons. Firstly, if you're using a narrowband 56K modem, you'll only be receiving data at speeds of up to 56K per second. And if you're using a modem with less power than that, well, things will be even worse. Narrowband can mean slow (or very slow) pages and extremely long downloads. Broadband can be received via ADSL, which runs over normal phone lines but much faster, via cable modem, which is only available to you if you've got fibre optic cables running to your house as with cable TV, and dedicated ISDN lines, which run at around 64K+ (the advantage with these being that you can lease a whole line to yourself, whereas on ADSL you?re sharing it with other users, which will affect speed at busy periods). Broadband's main advantages are that pages load faster (they say up to a whopping 10 times faster), downloading stuff like software is much faster and unlikely to crash half way through, and your phone line can be used normally while you're on the net. Also, you don't have to dial-up in the normal way as your connection is 'always on'. There is of course much more to know about all of the above, but I don't know it. Anyway, my BTOpenworld Broadband connection is ADSL, and the only thing I really care about is whether it works and how good it works. Getting hold of BTOpenworld Broadband is relatively simple. Go to their website (www.btopenworld.com), click on the broadband information and you can buy it there and then. First, however, two checks need to be made. 1. Can your PC take the strain? 2. Is broadband available in your area? You can check the first by answering a few simple questions and the second by putting your postcode in and searching. If the answer to both is yes, you're off and running and it's just a matter of filling in a couple of forms and giving your credit card details. You are then given an activation date and you sit back and wait for your equipment to arrive. What arrives several days later is a modem and filter pack, and your connection software. My modem is an Alcatel speed Touch USB in a gorgeous shade of turquoise. It looks like a mini spaceship and is really funky. Simply plug it into a free USB point on the back of your PC at one end, and one of the filters at the other. Then plug your filter into your phone socket. You will need a filter for each phone socket in your house. The pack comes with two but you can easily buy more from either BT or high street stores for about six quid each. Next you install your software and then you're done. Or, in my experience, you're just beginning, because I've not been off the net all week. I've downloaded software in under 2 minutes when the time given on the site was 18 minutes. I've flipped between pages and sites instantaneously. Most of the time, I've been connecting at 576,000 bytes per second, as opposed to the 48,000-52,000 I connected at on my 56K modem. It is absolutely brilliant, and makes the internet a far less frustrating place. To test the speed of my connection, I've deliberately been visiting sites I used to avoid because they took so long to load. I used to have to wait ages for asp pages to load, like those you find on Uproar when you want to play games, or Tombola when you want to try and win a bit of dosh. I now connect instantly and playing away at my chosen game within seconds. (Alas, however, I have to report that not even broadband can load that dreadfully designed yougov.com in anything less than 30 seconds). I'm not the world's biggest fan of BT, and fully expected something to have gone wrong by now, but, touch wood, nothing has. I have had a fantastic online experience over the last few days and could never go back. Highly recommended. I seriously considered giving it 5 stars but I decided that it could only have four because: 1. It's too soon to tell how durable it is 2. It's still too expensive

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                    06.08.2002 02:25

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                    • "Their complaints department only except written communication!"

                    BT are the worst ISP I have ever had the misfortune to use. - Advantages: I'm no longer paying them - Disadvantages: Poor service, Incompetent staff, Their complaints department only except written communication!

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                    23.07.2002 00:19
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                    Why Broadband? BT Broadband has now reduced the cost of its Internet Broadband services, but does this mean a decrease in quality in order to balance the books. Before this decision, BT realised that many of their customers were flocking to Telewest in order to achieve their high-speed Internet service package. But now that BT has competitive prices, how good are their services. What Is Broadband Broadband is not just incredibly fast Internet access but also, there is fact that you have the ability to be on the Internet and telephone at the same time. This happens because of the ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line), which splits the existing phone line into different frequencies thus doubling its functionality by the power of two, Internet and telephone. However, you must be within 5.5km of a telephone exchange otherwise your Internet access won’t be as fast and the telephone quality will dramatically degenerate. Lucky for me, I live right next to one thanks to good house buying planning (see my opinion). I have also noticed that when you are on the Internet and try to phone out, the quality of the telephone is generally rather poor and you have to raise you voice considerably just to be heard. But then at other times, the service is very crisp and better than normal telephone quality operating standards. Installation – The Website It is possible to achieve information from the BT website concerning their installation package. You also have the ability to see if high-speed Internet access is actually available in your part of the country although you can’t actually complete the process over the Internet, it is a good starting point to find out the benefits of broadband. Installation – Telephone Once you have worked out the package that you are going to get, simply telephone BT and give you’re details in. There is an installation of £80 plus. You choose to buy the eq uipment and install it yourself thus cutting installation costs. I chose against the later in fear of any damages although if you are confident with the interior of your computer I don’t see why you couldn’t install it yourself. However there is a telephone queue, and although the phone call is free, it can actually become rather frustrating waiting for 15 minutes listening to those awful telephone melodies. The Package The package contains everything that you need to install the Broadband onto your pc. It includes: -Alcatel ADSL External Modem -Telephone Wires -BT Openworld Software -Other Small Extras The Speed The speed of high Internet access is nothing to joke about. Dial Up Modem users will be overwhelmed by the 40k/s download speed as-well as the quick surfing capabilities that obviously go hand in hand. In saying this, users will also welcome the fact that they will no longer have to go through the gruelling process of dialling up and verifying passwords. In addition, there is no longer the fear of being abruptly disconnected from the internet without warning, in fact, you are never disconnected, full stop. Accounting There is no problem with the banking and debiting services. I found that my debit card was debited correctly and I have no unsettled disputes concerning their organization or reliability. Customer Service Apart from the long queue on the telephone service I have no other complaints about the consumer service and otherwise they are rather efficient as one would expect from a leading company like BT. However, the technicians I found, don’t lie but they are economical to say the least with the truth. They are quite happy to tell you of all the benefits but when it comes to the negatives of the product, they are rather discrete and shy about their knowledge. Conclusion I do recommend the Broadband s ervice for anyone who downloads products off the Internet or who craves faster Internet connections. However, for someone looking for a quick fix, someone who rarely uses the Internet this is not the package for you unless you want to find yourself in unnecessary debt. Broadband is only for those who live life in the fast lane.

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                      12.07.2002 01:26
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                      • infrastructure

                      I've been with btopenworld for about a year and I have to admit that most of the time there's no problem. My machine is always connected, I download at a more than satisfactory speed, and I rarely have to reboot, as others seem to have to do. But .. once every six weeks or so either I can't get my email, or the speed is dreadfully slow, or something crops up to get me reaching for some technical assistance. And that's where it all goes wrong. The support is abysmal - and I am a very easygoing user, having worked at an ISP and being technical I have some empathy with the plight of support staff. But having the gall to charge for assistance when it's quite obviously their problem, forcing users to wait for so long to even talk to anyone (more than half an hour at your own expense is quite usual), updating the free pre-recorded line sometimes hours after I've "discovered" the problem is all too much to bear. No ADSL supplier is going to be perfect in the current climate but I strongly advise anyone thinking about getting ADSL to look into how they are likely to be helped through these issues by their would-be provider and make this at least as high a priority as the actual cost of the service. For myself .. I have had enough and despite the pain of moving I am seeking an alternative ADSL supplier that either gives better support or has a more reliable infrastructure.

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                        29.06.2002 23:20
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                        • "Not helpful in the slightest"

                        Having been using BT to connect for years I was always partial when deciding to connect to broadband with BT. To add icing to the cake, they offered me a free modem and filter pack, and charged just (sarcasm) £85 to activate a line, which took them very little time or effort (thats what the technical basically told me), and £30 a month, well, £29.99. Well, I encountered my first problem when one of the filters didn't work, after finally getting through they sent me a new filted six days later, not three as promised. Next up on the agenda...The corrupt disc, having been dialing for 36 hours (not constantrly, but a few times an hour, started off constantly but I got fed up) I got through to someone, who asked me what number disc I had received, he told me that the disc I had was faulty and they had found that out 3 or 4 days earlier, I staright away asked him to repeat my email address to me, he told me it, so I asked him why they hadn't emailed me (and all people who recently ordered broadband) aking to check we had the right disc, he told me that it was a good idea, it took me 5 seconds to think of and they hadn't thought of it in 3/4 days! This happened Monday the 24th of June, its now Saturday the 29th and I am awaiting my disc, which although promised next day delivery, when I phoned and asked about this, they told me that it was due to be delivered on July 3rd...But they couldn't explain why when I asked them, I was hardly suprised...after all, my activation date was origanlly July 2003. So you would think that I would have no more problems, no!, but you'd think so wouldn't you. When out at my local shopping centre on Friday (28th June) they phoned me and asked me to connect to Btopenworld, I asked them why they phoned my mobile to ask me, and they said that no one had answered my home phone! how stupid of them, if I'm not at home I cannot connect, I then told the lovely lady that even when I got h ome I couldn't connect as I had a faulty disc, and then she apoligised and told me she didn't know, fair enough (although she should have known). So am I done, you'd think so wouldn't you, today (June 29th) I recieved yet another phone call on my mobile, from the same department as the day before, they asked me to connect, I explained about the day before, he then told me he knew nothing about that, so why don't they speak to each other, and why after many phone calls have they still not given me my disc. Just an update my disc has now arrived (Tuesday) but it still doesn't work, unfortunatly everyone in the technical team tells me to uninstall and then reinstall it, as if thats going to help doing it again and again. After I do as they say they all then gave me a different ending, if it's not 'the filter doesn't work;, its 'the disc is faulty', or 'you are red flagged' or 'your pc needs formatting', or leave your pc on for 48 hours and it will be sorted out from our end. Saturday 6th July:I received a phone call from the technical team and they infomred me that they found an error, they had my activation date as being the 1st January 3000! Don't ask why, and now I need to phone the billing team on a weekday when they are open and hopefully it should work. Monday 8th July:I phoned the office and they told me that the line would be reactivated in the next 24 hours Tuesday 9th July 5.45pm: I phoned the technical team 31 hours later (the billing team were shut) and I couldn't get throught and I still can't, after speaking to someone else who agreed with me that the service was toilet and that Telewest would be a better option (and never even tried to make me reconsider switching) and as soon as I can I am getting a refund, its been 3 weeks to the day it was meant to be activated and they have no intention of doing anything, the complaints team havent emailed me back in the last 3 1/2 days. Tuesday 9th July 8.15 pm: After phoning their technical team and being engaged and waiting for 60 minutes, I gave up with them and I decided to phone againt but select a different and the bloke who ansered the phone agreed about it was ridiculous how long I was on the phone for and then when I asked him why I should stay with BT Aand not switch to Telewest he never gave m a reply but told me to speak to product sales who were just as unhelpful. As soon as I can get through to them tommorow I will get a full refund and then most probably change my ISP connection to Freeserve as I can no longer stand BT, they are pathetic. Sunday July 21st: My new ADSL modem arrives and as soon as i put it in I'm connected to broadband, so it turns out all along that the only problem was my alcatel modem...and a faulty filter...and a faulty disc...and my activation date, but its all solved a month after I wanted the service and apart from the slow dial up as it take ages to verify my username and password its very good. The worst thing is that I am still paying for this service. I would never reccomend that anyone orders this broadband from BT.

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                        16.06.2002 16:34
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                        Well it's true isn't it? Buying your underwear at M & S you know it will cost a few pennies more but you can be sure it's good quality, well that's how I feel about BT Openworld ADSL. Being a bit of an auction addict I spend ages online buying selling creating auction ads, and although I have my trusty mobile I was missing too many important phone calls, hubby was getting cross and more importantly Big Brother was about to start... I ummed and arrhed about the cost £30 a month, £85 installation (half price if ordered before the end of May)for BT Home 500. There were cheaper deals around, Blue Yonder £13 - 3 month trial, and Freeserve were cheaper too (but I don't get on with FS!) but I really felt that BT had served me well over the last 18 months, so I took the plunge, and tried to order online. However I got stuck at one stage (trying to remember one of 1000's of passwords !)and ended up phoning the orderline. Do you know it took 4 minutes ? I was well advised about what would happen next, what to expect and what day I would have my account activated. So what do you get for £85 plus £30 a month. Well within 4 days I had parcel containing 2 ADSL filters to plug into my sockets, clear jargon free instructions and my little green smiling Spaceship ! Yes that's what I've got, a little green smiling spaceship ! It's my modem and it's so simple to install him. I was nervous on my activation date, you know, if it ain't broke etc, but I did it in a matter of minutes, software installation, reboot, connect and away you go. Fast, oh yes 4 minutes for one mp3 file ! Heaven. Pages load in seconds, emails arrive in flashes. So do I have any niggles? Yes, but they are minor. 1)First upon connecting the BT Openworld browser window sometimes takes ages to load, and can freeze,no idea why but I guess I can change that by altering my homepage. 2) Although I have a fast conn ection, I only have a 550MHz processor, so it probably doesn't run to the speed it could. 3)Sometimes if I do disconnect during the day, and then come back to it later I have to reboot as the modem won't connect. 4)Have to have a firewall, which takes up more system resources, but better to be safe than sorry. 5)The kids have realised and that makes for more bargaining between them and me!!! Costing me a fortune in bribes. For £1 a day I'm happy with my little green spaceship !

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                          11.06.2002 06:35
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                          • "don't always get the benefit of the fast speeds"

                          I’m an impatient person. I hate waiting for anything - food, being served, friends, petrol, the weekend and most importantly, waiting for my internet pages to load. I have been with Lineone (Tiscali) for a couple of years now and had no problems with them, but I was getting very impatient with the slow internet speeds (in general, not Tiscali). My partner needed the telephone line free for work purposes, but I was clogging it up being on the internet every evening, so we were considering another line. Then I heard that BT had reduced the price of their Broadband offering to all internet companies. This was the solution! Not only would I have a speedy internet, but it would keep our line free for telephone calls. I immediately went onto the Tiscali site and tried to sign up. For starters they had not reduced their price from £39.99 a month to £29.99 and secondly, when I did a line check (more on this later) it said that I would not be able to get Broadband. •• MY EXPERIENCE OF SIGNING UP •• Off to BT I went, but was also disappointed to see that their site hadn’t been updated either so was still showing £39.99 a month. I have also heard some dreadful things about BT internet, so with some trepidation I rang them up. They explained that the price was coming down the following month (April 2002), so I could sign up now (March) and the price would be reduced from April. They performed a line check to see if I was close enough to the telephone exchange and confirmed that I was (why would Tiscali and BT be different – it is the same telephone lines?). They then told me that I would be charged £150 for installation and an engineer would come out to my house. Now, I had heard on TV that they were going to reduce their charges, so I queried it. They reluctantly admitted that from the next day they were launching their ‘plug & play’ package that would only cost me £85 for the equipment. Bl**dy chee k trying to charge me £150 when the very next day the price was dropping! I duly rang back the next day and signed up after a very long wait in the telephone queue. They explained that the contract was for a minimum of 12 months and my credit card would be charged each month. I was given an activation date (2 weeks ahead) and told that the package would be delivered to my home address following a final line check, which I passed. •• THE GOODIES •• The package arrived about a week later and I waited until just before the activation date to set it all up. I am not exactly known for my technical skills but even I managed to set it up easily. You are supplied with the relevant wires to connect to your telephone line, some software and an Alcatel ADSL external modem, which looks a bit like a green space ship. The instructions are very clear and basically you connect the wires to your telephone line, install the modem software, connect the modem, install the BT Openworld software and off you go! A day before the activation date I gave it a go, and lo and behold I was surfing at incredible speeds. •• AM I IMPRESSED? •• Yes, generally. I am connecting at 576,000 bps and up to 288,000 bps downloading. Attachments on hotmail load incredibly quickly as do software upgrades. When you first turn the PC on everyday and sign on to the internet, it is wonderfully quick without all that slow dialling and verifying password. However, I have been disappointed with some sites where I don’t appear to be benefiting from my fast speeds. Even Dooyoo sometimes reverts to my pre broadband speeds (despite the internet icon saying I am still on 576,000 pbs). However, generally I have been very impressed. My credit card has been debited with the correct amount and I have had absolutely no downtime or problems at all. Their e-mail is generally reliable. although I have had two days where I was unable to send e-mail immediately, but they eventually went about an hour later (the message was something to do with the server having too many connections). You can have up to 5 e-mail addresses, although I am only using the one. There is free web space available, but again it is something I do not currently use. In 3 months of BT I have been unable to log on on 3 evenings. I rang the technical support line - what a waste of time! For anyone needing it the number is 0845 6007020 option 2 (charged a local rate). They then give you another free phone number for a status update of 0800 1690199. The number was constantly engaged on each occasion. I did ring the status line and it always played an up to date recording explaining what the problem was if there was one. It always tells you to to unplug the modem, reboot the PC, and plug it back in when the PC is at the desktop. This works as long as you reboot one extra time. •• WHAT IS BROADBAND •• I’ve already said that I am not a techie, so this is my simple explanation from what I have managed to understand. ADSL stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, and it works by using your normal phone line but splitting the data over the frequencies on the line which, means you can be on the internet and the phone at the same time – wonderful! The problem with this technology is that the further away you are from the telephone exchange, the more the signal degenerates. This means that you can only get ADSL if you are 5.5 km or closer to the telephone exchange, which restricts many people. One advantage is that you have permanent access to the internet with no timing out after a couple of hours. One disadvantage is that it can leave your PC open to ‘abuse’ from the internet and so you should consider installing a firewall before getting broadband. •• HOW DO I SIGN UP? •• The website is now up to date, so visit www.btopenworld.com. It walks you through the process, which is: check the product suitable for you, availability (line and PC check), pricing and order. The minimum specification for the home package is: ++ PC USERS ++ + Pentium 500 Mhz + 32MB RAM + 16-bit sound card + 4-speed CD-ROM player + Video card/display 800x600, 256 colours + 150 MB free on hard drive + Windows 98,98SE, ME, 2000 Professional or XP + An available USB port ++ MAC USERS ++ + PowerPC 601 or equivalent 200Mhz + 32MB System memory (RAM) + 2-speed CD-ROM player + Video driver/display 800 x 600, 256 colours + 100MB free on hard drive + Mac OS 8.6 and higher + An available USB port •• THE WEBSITE •• The BT Openworld website is pretty boring, concentrating on the sign up procedure, a speed demo, latest news and an about us section. However, the BT site (www.bt.com) is much more comprehensive, with everything from directory enquiries, to customer services and from buying phones to paying bills. No news updates or magazine type stories like many other ISP websites though and I have not received any newsletters from BT since joining. •• ADVANTAGES •• + Generally excellent speeds + No two hour cut off + Easy to set up + Quick and reliable to sign on •• DISADVANTAGES •• + It’s very expensive at £29.99 a month + The £85 equipment charge + You need a firewall to prevent hackers. + You don’t get the benefit of the fast speeds on some sites + You must have a credit card + The BT sales people are sometimes economical with the truth + The technical support line is constantly engaged + You need to unplug the modem and reboot the PC quite a lot Overall, despite the occasional problem, recommended so far.

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                            24.05.2002 00:45
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                            • "Extremely slow"

                            I have been with Openworld since December, out of the 6 months I've been with them I've had one trouble free month. I have just received my latest bill from BT, it is £102 and £93 of that is from ringing the so called technical help, it takes anything from 20 minutes to 2 and a half hours to get through. Then they tell you either it's your fault or that they will sort it within 48 hours (this usually means, 1..they don't know what they are talking about and 2.. it will actually take about a week to sort.) After all of the trouble I have had with them I wouldn't recommend them to anyone. Then to top it all I received my BT Openworld bill for £791, apparently they want me to pay up to next January. They are a con, they take your money and then give you very little service for it. One more little thing, last time I complained, on 23/05/2002 I happened to mention that it was as if they were throttling my service because I use peer to peer download. Obviously, this was denied, but for some strange reason the following morning the service was at full speed. Draw your own conclusions. I am supposed to be on the Business 500, it's more like being back on 28Kb Dial up.

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