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      13.05.2004 01:13
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      Blazing Modems- Wanandoo ADSL. Are you?? Tired of dropped connections? Sick of waiting ?months? for web pages to load? Had enough of the ?will it, won?t it connect? while dialling up? Like to use the phone and surf at the same time? You know what I?m talking about. Tight Git? I?ve been on the verge of ordering some form of broadband connection for what seems like forever BUT being a canny Yorkshireman (def. A Scotsman with every ounce of generosity squeezed out of him?), I could never quite bring myself to spend the extra cash each month. It was always just above the threshold of what I was willing to pay for the service and if the monthly price was right, there was usually as snag in the form of activation fees and cost of modem and filters which meant that the partially filled in sign up form got binned ?again? Sigh, back to the crappy 56k then. The situation for me was made worse by having a superdoopermegaspeedy office connection, which only highlighted the trauma of putting up with the dial-up at home. Restraint was needed, it would do no one any good if I really did sling the whole lot out of the window would it? Enter Wanandoo. The ad that hooked me was actually at the bottom of a review I was reading over on Ciao?it works then (take note marketing peeps). 512k broadband for 17.99 a month...hmmm, clicks the ad, no set-up fees?hmmm?free modem?extra hmmm?not a lot more than I pay for unlimited dial-up?one more time?hmmm. Legging it downstairs to get my bank details I arrive gasping at the PC and begin to sign up, before they change their mind! All going well till the final page when I?ve filled in my card details and the next page fails to load?bugger (crappy 56k connection). Try again then?same again. & #84;hird time lucky? Nope. Old tech to the rescue, I phone up and speak to a human being, not a recording offering 30 options of which mine is ALWAYS the last. He is efficient, helpful and sorts my membership in a few minutes. The line will take around 10 days to be activated, I?ll get an e-mail letting me know it?s ready and then they?ll debit my account for the first month! Great! 3 days later postie arrives with a package. Excitement! Can you feel it! There?s a letter (cast aside in the unpacking frenzy), a shiny silver Speedtouch USB modem, two ADSL filters and a cable plus a ?resource pack? with membership guide and software. JOY, I read the instructions (unusual) but a good thing in this case. ?Hold fire on the modem!? it says in big letters, (how did they know?) better take notice then, install software first. OK, all done. Now you can plug it in and when (in 10 days, groan) you get 2 green lights, you?re ready to surf at 512k! As I connect it, the PC pings up that the new hardware is ready to use and two green lights appear, surely not, I have to wait don?t I? Checking the connection it fires up right away and I?m in! Smokin?? You get? Everything you need to get up and running within minutes of your kit arriving, if like me you?re lucky enough to get the line activated straight away. The modem is very small affair that takes up about as much room as a handprint on the desk. Two ADSL filters that you have to have in order to separate the talk from the data otherwise your phone will be unusable. One has to be fitted to each device you connect though the telephone connection although it?s OK to connect a double adapter after the filter for Sky etc. Software installation was simple using Windows X& #80; and it all went so smoothly I could hardly believe it. The general advice is that you don?t use a phone line extension as it can interfere with the signal but mine is running perfectly at 576Kb on a 15m extension, odd that? You also get? Unlimited e-mail addresses, unsure about web space though it?s not an issue for me as I?ve never used any yet! A tenner to spend on legal downloads from the Wanandoo music club and McAfee Security Centre software free for 30 days but with a permanently free privacy service which allows you to stop nasties popping up. It has a very comprehensive database of rude options for you to block?I learned quite a lot of new stuff there?ahem, anyway it stops the kids, or anyone else accidentally hitting naughty sites which is a big plus as I can let them wander round the web in peace! You don?t get? Bandwidth.In line with most other providers, and in an attempt to regulate the few who use the net to transfer literally hundreds of GB worth of data (it?s reckoned that 1% of users hog 90% of the bandwidth available) you don?t get unlimited bandwidth, this is the amount of data you can download and upload over any given period. In this case you?re capped at 2GB a month, no good if you intend to use it to load your hard drive with movies or music then but for average surfing it?s plenty. According to industry sources, (Virgin net) the average user gets nowhere near 2GB in a month. It works out at 64MB a day, which is a lot of browsing and e-mail, which is all my home PC, does. If I want movies etc I have the office PC don?t I? If you don?t have a speedy office PC you can pay the extra £10 and get a 15gb cap. Freedom to jump providers. It?s a 12-month contract but at that price I couldn?t care less! Ther e are providers offering migration services to people with active connections, NDO for one offer an uncapped 512k service for £19.99 BUT I didn?t have the connection OR the modem and filters. Next year tho! Well? Worth it or what? With their acquisition of Freeserve and new marketing strategy, Wanandoo have gone for the jugular in the sub £20 broadband market here. BT?s comparable offering at £19.99 only gives you 1GB bandwidth and the activation and modem fees take the monthly cost back up to around £26, a very small saving over the uncapped version with free kit! Come on BT, we all like a laugh but not at our expense! After a week of 10x modem speed, I did try the old dial up again and was mortified at the performance. For just a few quid more, it has to be worth it. The reduction in general stress levels caused by slow connections (you?ve all had a rant at the pc haven?t you, come on I know you have!) The open connection, the ability for the missus and kids to run up the phone bill while I?m surfing (hang on a mo, I?ve been had!), all make it a joy to use. Twelve months ago the perceived wisdom was that the market would not see further reductions in costs but it looks like the shake up is only just starting and it can only get better! TFR Chris

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        11.02.2003 08:22
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        Why would you want to get Broadband? -------------------------------- Its ten times faster than a normal 56kbps connection. So you will be able to download songs etc much faster It also lets calls to be made and receive on your on your house phone. So no more busy signals when someone phones. Your also always connected to the internet so no more haveing to dial up to the net. How much does this cost? ------------------------ First of all the connection charge used to be £65. But Freesrve is giving you this for free now. However you need to get a Broadband modem which will cost £84.99. Then you have to pay £29.99 each month and you will also get 24/7 access with this. How to get Broadband --------------------------------- Like i said you need to get a Broadband modem. Then simply log onto www.freeserve.co.uk and follow the instructions to sign up.You connect the modem to your USB socket, and plug it into your phone point.Your highspeed connection should be up and running within 10 working days of placing the order. Overall it seems a good idea. Especially if youve got a slow pc. Most films take up to days to download but with this they will only take hours. Bad point is its gonna cost £29.99 a month. Which might be too expensive for some folk. Another bad point is that Broadband isnt available in every area. So if you live in a Hamlet or Village you might not get it.

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          01.07.2002 20:35
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          Well, is there a secret code or anything else for getting good customer service? Reading some of the op's praising freeserve customer service beggar belief. Perhaps their families are customer service reps? On the 15th May 2002, I received my broadband pack (after a much longer wait than the advertised ten days, incurring 'phone calls and emails!) Having three 'phones, I needed three filters. Unfortunately one of the filters was defective. I 'phoned customer service and was assurred a replacement would be sent out directly. Guess what? Dispite repeated calls and emails (I even wrote to John Pluthero CEO) we are now in July and I am still waiting. Having a 'phone out of action is frustrating at the best of times. When it is just down to a couldn't care less customer service department, it is doubly so. So, just be aware, once they have your money, (which they take instantly!) they don't care!

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            17.05.2002 05:21
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            • "telephone support at 50p a min"

            I've had the Broadband service for a few months now and overall I think it's not bad. I brought the Alcatel modem for £99, which looks very eyecatching in turquoise and shaped like a stingray. The setup process is simple enough too. When I was living in Toronto a couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to experience the broadband service there. And I must say that it was slightly cheaper at about £20 a month and faster at 1MBps (1000k). The Freeserve price isn't the cheapest but I am getting speeds in the region of the 512k which is maximum speed of the service. One of my biggest gripes with Freeserve is their customer service. It leaves very little to be desired. I tried to email their technical support on one occasion and all I got was an automated response! Not very reassuring when the only alternative is to call a premium rate helpline at 50p a minute!!! Maybe I got too used to the free technical support numbers they have in North America. Even so, competitors like Pipex have undercut Freeserve's monthly charge for Broadband and as a former user of Pipex's dial up service a number of years ago I have to say their support is very good. I have to admit that it was a number of years ago when I was using Pipex (remember when internet access was priced by the hour in addition to your telephone charges?) but I am very tempted to switch to their Broadband service as I save a few quid a month and they are much more accessible for support and they have a national rate number for this, unlike Freeserve's 50p a minute rip-off support. You know what, after writing this review, I think I will switch to Pipex after all.

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              08.05.2002 18:27
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              • "the crom they provided contained spyware
              • which myself being a computer programmer found out."

              ive been wanting broadband for a year or so now, my friend has it with ntl and the speeds are crazy, downloading full movies in a few hours, full music albums in just 10 minutes, all because of broadband. so i quit my smoking habit and went down to currys and purchased broadband in a box from freeserve. the salesman phoned up freeserve and sorted everything out for us, i went home installed everything effortlessly, without even reading the instructions. phoned freeserve up and registered the bank details and such with them, i was then informed after i handed over the £84.99 for the kit, and my bank details for the subscription that it will be available to me in 7-10 days. i was not told this, i was under the impression that the broadband in a box service was completely self install, and you would be 'running it in a matter of minutes' as freeserve said. i have yet to be connected as i just got broadband in a box a few days ago, which i will update this opinion when ive been connected.

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                30.04.2002 20:40
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                • "the list goes on!"

                For years now I have been dreaming of high speed internet access and checking the telewest site regularly to see if I was able to pick up the blue yonder service but only to be told I was outside of there territory. Finally this spring I had an email from freeserve offering a new broadband service at a competitive £29.99 a month and only £84.99 for installation, so I went down to my local Dixons store to purchase the box and sign up to a 12-month contract. The sales person was very helpful he explained he had to check my phone number with freeserve to make sure my telephone exchange was calibrated for the service. Now hear is ware the problems started the sales person told be I would be online in around 4 days which I thought was great, so I parted with my money and made my way home with my spanking new Alkatel modem. Now first things first I phoned freeserve to register my bank details and much to my surprise on dialling the number I was greeted by one of them irritating cuing systems, I timed the wait at 47 minutes (not bad). Once I got through the telephone assistant took my details then dropped the bombshell that the engineers got a lot of work on and I will probably be around 3 weeks before I would be ready to roll. (Great!) I was not very happy by this news but hay what can be done. Anyway 2 and a half weeks later I received an email from freeserve informing me that my line had finally been calibrated and I was ready to go, So I ripped apart the packaging installed the software which went on fine, plugged in the modem and guess what It did not work. So back on the phone to freeserve and again it took 75 minutes to get through. The telephone assistant was almost helpful he phoned B.T and informed me the email was sent out by mistake and the line had still not calibrated, and it was still going to take 2 weeks because they are very busy at the moment. This news did not go down well and I was starting to get board, it now s eems like months ago I went out to buy the modem. Finally it is now 11 weeks ago I got the modem, I keep phoning freeserve but still the engineers are busy. I am still yet to experience the joys of freeserve broadband but it feels that it was never destine to happen. I will update this opinion once I actualy get the service up and running, so check back in a few months.

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                  02.02.2002 01:40
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                  • "Penalties for ending the contract early"

                  I've had Freeserve ADSL for just about a year now, give or take a few days, and would thoroughly recommend it if you are considering the ADSL route. Here's my tale... The quest for a "permanently-connected, all-inclusive, makes-the-tea-for-you" ISP began the summer before. My friend had introduced me to 24-7freecall who charged £24.99 for a so-called unlimited connection to the internet, or words to that effect. As I often spent virtually every waking hour uploading some web site or another, surfing or chatting, that was quite a lot of time every week. Unfortunately, they decided to remove my access in the November as they considered I was in breach of their Acceptable Use Policy. I wasn't the only unhappy customer, and was involved in a lengthy exchange with them about the fact I'd had no notice and therefore not meeting their terms of our contract. Anyway, I digress, and will write the details of that another time! My friend (yes, the one who recommended that...) had just signed up to the BT Home Highway service, as he did the same kind of work, including lots of file uploads and transfers for his home business. We sat down over a cuppa and worked out the costs. The thing about Home Highway, which is virtually ISDN, is that yes you got better download times, but only if you used both "legs" of the connection therefore incurring effectively two call charges. On top of the BT cost you still had to pay your ISP - in his case Claranet. We then did a direct comparison with what BT Openworld would cost. The biggest turn-off with ADSL is the initial survey cost you have to pay the company, so we took that cost into account and did a comparison over the course of a year. Initial costings showed that I would be paying the £150 installation plus £39.99 a month, but would achieve much greater surfing and download speeds. I weighed up the options carefully, and if you are considering ADSL you need to look at what you want to do with it... ADSL is ideal for: quick downloads, eg music and program files; if you want to host your own site (you may want to consider the higher-end packages or a dedicated line rather than the home packages); if you want an always-on solution; it frees up your normal phone line so you're not relying on BT 1571 or mobiles! On the other hand: it doesn't always download normal web pages that much faster than an average modem; it still relies on the speed of your PC to a great extent; it is much costlier when compared with say the normal Freeserve anytime package; the installation cost can be prohibitive; for traditional ADSL you have to live a certain distance from the exchange. So taking all that into account... I decided that ADSL was for me, and contacted BT with high hopes of a quick installation and super-surfing speed... But, alas, it was not to be. Having checked on their site that my phone exchange was equipped to handle ADSL, much to the envy of my friend who's wasn't, I then had to register. They then came back to me to say thank you for registering my interest but although the exchange would take it, they would not be able to install in my area until the following year, if not longer. I registered my email address and sat to wait. It's a good job I didn't wait for a response from them, as I didn't hear from them until late last year, some nine months after I'd already started using Freeserve! As you can probably guess, I started shopping around. I was pointed to some very informative and VERY technical sites giving different options, and checked out local magazines (I know - if only I'd used Dooyoo!). I eventually decided to go with Freeserve. Their prices were identical to BT, they were a very well known name in ISPs that several of my friends already used. Further, their customer service and technical staff knew what they were talking about and were always fri endly and helpful. I did a line check thanks to a BT Engineer friend. Although I can see the exchange from my back window (if I lean out on tiptoes - it's the other side of some nearby houses), I was advised that lines to exchanges sometimes go by very funny routes. It appeared that my line was indeed only 0.2 miles from the exchange, so I contacted Freeserve, parted with my refundable deposit and waited. A couple of days later I was advised by email that my line had failed the test! I was incandescent with rage - I had worked myself up to get this ADSL and I wasn't going to be tripped up at the last fence! I phoned them and asked why, and you guessed was told I probably live too far away from the exchange. Well I kept my cool, but did explain that I had performed my own line test and lived close enough. They then said that it could be due to noise on the line. Back to the internet newsgroups for advice. I was advised that there were things that could be done to sort the noise out, so I rang Freeserve to see if they could do anything about it. They went away, tinkered a bit with the line, came back and said I'd passed the test! Hurrah! Bye bye £150... We set a date, and low and behold at 8am on the morning we agreed a few days later, a very helpful BT engineer turned up on my doorstep. All in all order to installation had taken three weeks, as I couldn't get the time off for an earlier appointment. I'd not given much thought about where to put it. The main box replaces your standard BT one and has an outlet for your normal phone handset. I'd thought about having an extension lead upstairs and mentioned this to the engineer, who very kindly provided all the cables and boxes I would need. Had I actually decided where I wanted the extensions put in, he would have done them for free. He explained that he had been allocated two installations that morning, and given that mine had gone so smoothly he woul d have had time. They're not supposed to offer extras without charging the industry rate, but if they have time you may be lucky. Just ensure you have an idea where you want them to go! Having tested the connection he stayed until I'd loaded the modem onto my PC. They don't do that for you, but will stay to ensure it all works OK, just in case. I was given the Alcatel USB "stingray" which is quite nice but it's a bit of an awkward shape and I could do with a longer lead from it to the PC. The instructions I'd received from Freeserve the week before were very comprehensive and easy to understand, even for non-techies. One thing it hadn't pointed to, which I felt was a pity, was a pointer to the Alcatel website to download the latest driver for the stingray. There had apparently been some operational problems with the previous version. And so I had my ADSL connection. I'm fortunate because there are only two of us connected to ADSL in the exchange which means I always get good download times. I'm not sure how well it would work if the rack was full (as far as I recall, it's a 1 in 50 ratio on each rack). The service has served me well over the last year. It's generally very quick, although their web caching can be a little unreliable at times. At the times I've wanted to use the connection it's only failed to work twice in that time. Once was when there was a big BT outage in the region which affected it (I couldn't even connect via my trusty old 56kbps modem) and the other a couple of weeks ago. Shame, I had to resort to vacuuming instead! Their customer services can be very helpful, as I have already mentioned. Like most companies, though, trying to contact them via email can be very daunting as you inevitably email the wrong department and it can be days or weeks before it filters through to the right one! It's a national call rate but I prefer speaking to someone, but that's just a personal choice. They were very helpful in helping me set up my account to access the ADSL service and email, and they let me pick whichever username I wanted (which, incidentally I related to my business). I must admit that I don't really use the Internet nearly anywhere as much as I used to. I still enjoy the convenience of much faster downloads and it doesn't matter if I leave it connected to the internet all evening. There are grand plans afoot to have a permanent connection up and running when (if?!) we ever build our server, but I spend too much time surfing and, erm, writing opinions! Some other things that I probably should mention about ADSL... If you are using any sort of alarm system, Redcare etc, that sends a pulse down your phone line, you won't be able to get ADSL. You can connect to Home Highway though (further details of the why's and wherefores are probably better explained by BT at www.bt.com). Also, when signing up to any company selling ADSL you will have to sign a minimum contract - this is usually a year. Read the small print very carefully about what it will cost you if you pull out of the contract early. If I wanted to cancel the contract before now, I would have been liable to pay them the remaining rental costs for the remainder of the year. It's non-transferable if you move home, and if you do you have to go through the survey and installation thing again. Even if you've moved into somewhere where they had ADSL previously. Daft, I know, but I don't make up the rules. Oh yeh, about the stingray... A bit like Sky TV, your monthly charge covers the rental of this. Unlike Sky, after 12 months you are still renting that equipment, and should you terminate their contract they'll turn up to take it away. If you are going to another ADSL provider they'll provide you with one of their modems (not necessarily the stingray) once you've paid your deposit , installation fee etc. See how expensive it is to chop and change? If you're going down this route you really need to decide 100% in advance: (a) which ISP you are signing up with; (b) which service you are taking from them; (c) that you aren't going to move in the near future; (d) that you are happy with their terms and conditions. The ADSL service does still have an AUP, though it's on different lines to the standard one. It is less concerned with the time you have on-line (obviously) and concentrates more on WHAT you can and can't access while on-line. If you are considering ADSL, I would definitely recommend using Freeserve, although you should always shop around beforehand. I should, perhaps, point out that I'm not in a Telewest area and when I asked at the time I would be unable to get their service which they were talking about introducing. I can't say for sure whether they would have been a contender, as I only really had the choice between ADSL and ISDN. I wouldn't swap this for the world, now. Although I wouldn't quibble if they offered me a reduced rate now I've passed my 12 months' minimum connection...!

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                    31.05.2001 05:28
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                    Finally, BT get around to giving the UK what we've been waiting for - quick Internet. Having preregisted with both Freeserve and Openworld, I waitied to see who would respond quick. It was freeserve. With some trepedation, I paid my £150 and waited for the nice man to install the box. They came and installed the box, and I couldn't log on. Two calls to Freeserve led me to their download page - apparently the driver provided my the modem didn't work with WinMe. So, a 4MB download on a 33.6K modem. So much for no more waits. Finally, after installing the new driver I'm up and running.. Is it as quick as they say? YES. Blummin' quick is the best way to put it. (actually there's better, but this is a family forum). Downloads go up from the 3K you're used to with dial up, and Getright reports download speeds in the region of 60KB/s when doing multiple files. That's about right - (60Kbytes = 480kbits) so the contention ratio of 50:1 isn't an issue. Whether thats thumbs up to Freeserve or BT, I don't care. (for those who don't know, the home ADSL has a contention ratio of 50:1, so for every 50MB of bandwidth to the home, BT only need 1MB in their network. In theory, this means you could end up with 10kb link, but in practice this isn't an issue as it'll only be there if everyone is using it to the max at the same time. It's expensive - £49.99 per month for new installations (although I still get it for £39.99), and there are cheaper ways of getting fast access- Cable offers similar speeds, and about £25pm, although I've heard that it's not as fast in practice. Reliability is good - the service isn't down very often. Twice now I've been unable to log on for an entire night, and the next day it's been fine. I assume it's some issue with BT, but it may be freeserve. I've had one time where my account was closed because of lack of use - but I'd been online most of the previous day. I wonder if it was over use? That took a couple of calls to a national rate number to fix, which wasn't ideal. (now I know, if it happens again I can do it via the web) Well recommended, but be aware - it's expensive. Ask yourself - do you NEED it? and, can you AFFORD it? It's £50 per month for a year, add to that £170 installation, it's over £700 for the first year) Don't forget, as well as the £50 ADSL, you still have to pay for a phone line.

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                      02.05.2001 20:24
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                      I had Freeserve Plus (ADSL) installed around 3 weeks ago. I have to say I have no complaints. BT apparently said my address was incorrect but Freeserve managed to get BT to send the engineer as per the sate I requested. BT gave me a courtesy call confirming the installation date and time, and Freeserve also did this. In addition, questions I had asked Freeserve via email have been answered within 24 hours. Freeserve also called me on the morning of the installation to say that the engineer will arrive around 9:30am. and he did!!! All in all, it took 13 mins to get me hooked up, then all I had to do was install the modem drivers. Fantastic! I did have an initial problem dialling up for the first time. But I called techinical help and within minutes I was surfin'. The speeds are great, I hope Freeserve keep up this great service. I am a happy bunny!

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                        02.05.2001 19:17
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                        A long long time ago, in a universe far far away… well, alright, last summer, I pre-registered for BT OpenWorld. I wanted broadband, and I wanted it bad. BT promised that my exchange was ready for it, and in just a few short weeks I’d be ready to roll. I called them in August, as I hadn’t heard anything, but there was no need to worry, just a few short weeks, and I’d be surfing at speeds I’d only dreamed of. I called them in September, I called them in October. In November I was getting just a little tetchy, and by December I was about to go postal. Yes, I could have ADSL, no, they couldn’t tell me when. In a fit of pique I contacted FreeServe, yes they could give me ADSL, but I’d have to wait, they were busy this week, how about next Tuesday or Wednesday, morning or afternoon? I coughed up the installation fee, a hefty £150, and booked a day of work. They sent me an installation checklist, and it all seemed fairly straightforward apart from some questions about network cards, so I called the helpline. They explained that this was nothing to worry about, every computer had the equipment they needed, no shopping required. I waited home, the excitement building with every second. I waited some more, oh, the joy of anticipation, I felt like a kid waiting for Santa. Noon came and went, technically we were into afternoon, but hey, I‘m not unreasonable, I waited some more, but at 2pm, it was definitely afternoon. I called the help line. ‘Oh, yes, there is a problem at the exchange, we can’t fit it today. We really should have told you. Sorry’. Insert a golly fit here, followed by ‘we don’t know when it will be fixed, we’ll have to call you back’. They arranged to install later in the week, I stayed home another day. The chap arrived – woohoo. He was a BT engineer. As BT were too busy to install a line for me I thought this a little odd. He explained that OpenWorld are a separate company, and although he was installing ADSL all day every day, it was largely for FreeServe, because OpenWorld could not cope with the volume of orders they had. This didn’t make a lot of sense to me or him, but what did I care, I was getting broadband! He drilled, he pinned, he tacked, I made him coffee and did my very best not to follow him around saying ‘is it nearly ready yet’ every 30 seconds. After an hour he called me, and said we were ready to connect. He gave me the ethernet connector and asked me if I needed ‘nat or non nat’. I smiled, and said in my most technical voice ‘er dunno, whats that?’. He showed me the modem, which had clearly been stolen from NASA, and said ‘I think we may have a problem’. The connections he had for me were for a small business running a small network, not a nerd with a dooyoo problem. We called FreeServe. They blamed BT. We called BT, they blamed FreeServe. I had BT and FreeServe call each other, they blamed each other. I ate chocolate. No connection today. Although the BT chappie could nip back to his base office and pick up the correct bits FreeServe wouldn’t authorize that without the requisite paperwork. My bottom lip quivered. My initial questions about network cards should have triggered the FreeServe help line to check my order status, but they didn’t. The FreeServe ‘customer service’ chap told me that it was BTs fault and they ‘were always cocking this up, they paid call centre staff minimum wage so they got morons’. Seem a little strong? Think I’m making it up? I taped the conversation because I had been astounded at how rude he had been throughout. I explained that I had a contract with FreeServe, and I was paying them for a service, so I did not care about BT, if they were ‘crap’ then perhaps it was unwise to tell your customer that you had chosen a ‘crap’ contractor to work with. Using all of his highly paid customer service skills he replied ‘don’t get shitty with me’! Then it got unpleasant … The following morning the BT chappie arrived, all the right connectors, the right modem and a fully functional connection. Now all I had to do was install the FreeServe software and I was ready to go. The software wouldn’t load. I had a faulty disc. As tears welled in my eyes the BT bloke clearly started to panic. He set up a direct connection without the FreeServe ISP wares. I had broadband. Woop de doo! The connection is lightening fast. I can load a dooyoo page in under two seconds, even with a firewall running. I could download a song from Napster in less time than it takes to play it. I could, but that would be illegal, so of course I wouldn’t. The connection is always on. In four months the service broke connection once, for under ten minutes, and FreeServe gave me two days advance warning that it would happen. I love DSL. £39.99 a month is well worth it. The installation fee is high, but following my experiences I got £120 of that back, so no real problem there. The only difficulty I have had was that after being away for a couple of days I couldn’t log in at all, no matter what I tried. Eventually I had to use my dial up 56k modem to access FreeServe to get help line numbers. The painful slowness that I used to accept as normal was astounding. It took half an hour to down load two days worth of e mail. DooYoo pages looked like they were being carefully constructed from scratch in front of me. After conversations with four different FreeServe staff, each one unable to transfer me to the next so I had to keep ringing back, I finally discovered the source of the problem. Because ADSL users don’t log in through the usual ISP route, FreeServe automatically ter minates any user who hasn’t logged in for 12 weeks. The terribly helpful chappie told me that they knew this was going to happen, the software really was pants, and it was aright pain dealing with people who rang up about it because they got so annoyed, and he couldn’t blame them really! I can’t fault the ADSL line that I have. The connection is as quick as promised and downtime has been negligible. FreeServe delivered when other ISPs only promised, yet they did so with such an appalling customer service level that I’d be very cautious about recommending them to a friend, unless of course that friend wanted fast permanent connection and was prepared to wage war with idiots to get it.

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                          07.04.2001 05:02

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                          I have been using the FreeservePlus ADSL service since January 2001, and can honestly say I have no complaints whatever about the service. The web access is lightening fast as is connection to the service. The only problems I have encountered were with a faulty modem on installation, which was quickly rectified. The FreeservePlus helpline is easily accessible and offers practical help with any configuration or technical problems. The Only downside is that the service is not cheap, at £150 installation and £39.99/month, however this seems to be the going rate in the UK for broadband access. An excellent service all round.

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                          27.03.2001 05:46
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                          I ordered adsl on nov 27th and was given a 2 week waiting period for the installation date, and it was installed on time without problems. The adsl service is something that is suppose to offer you internet access 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and it does this very well when its working, unfortanetly when its not working this is where the weakness comes in. The premium rate support lines are only available up to about 8pm meaning no 24/7 support, and as problems are normally bt's fault you get a response telling you to reinstall the drivers and reboot when this doesnt work they then finally get onto bt and you have to start waiting. Of course when you dont get the service during this period and still payinf for it, it becomes frustrating. It turned out to be a dslam board fault on the exchange. To sum it up when its working its a very good service there was a temporary problem logging in but thats now been resolved. Also they have done some recent upgrades and things seem very reliable now and I am very happy with the current level of reliability, I always get the speeds what I paid for and haven't had my ip changed yet since i signed up, plus the added bonus of my own hostname. Compared to other isps in terms of price and reliability I honestly think I have chosen the best one. They just need to change support to 24/7 and refund you for lost time of the service then it would be a very good service.

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