IC24 - supposed to be free after eight of an evening wasn't it? - well, let me tell you - I signed up six months ago after an awful lot of hassle with a previous provider (sorry, you'll have to guess but they always were Big Trouble, think about it, not too hard, because I want you to read this). IC24 have long since abandoned their free net surfing offer, so don't even try and get with it any more, but I thought it would be useful to give you an insight into my experiences with this ISP. It took me quite some time to get IC24 loaded up the first time and there were a lot of problems with it - I got the normal ones like the software trying to take over all my settings and I spent about an hour getting things properly sorted out. By then I was into the time that you have to pay for the connection (yeah, I know it's only local rate, so I wasn't too cheesed off) and logged on. It worked okay and seemed to be quick and relatively reliable, but oh dear, as portals go the IC24 site was an absolute canine. Atrocious colours, amateurish, ill considered design, very dull content, difficult to read on the high resolution which I use my monitor at, slow to function and unimaginative with dull articles - I don't think they could have done a much worse job if they'd have been trying. Well, I certainly wouldn't be visiting them again... Okay, the next day I tried to get set up for the free access I had been promised. The first problem seemed to be that they were only offering the free time until a certain date - it had gone back a couple of times (it currently sits at May 27, so I guess it's gone now). The first option to check out was registering online - what a mistake! I sat there trying again and again for about two hours off and on between doing other things and never got anywhere - was it me or was this site just unworkable? Okay, I'll try the telephone - here we go again, enga
ged, SOLID for two hours, what a bummer! Okay, let's take the third option, the e-mail notification. Done it, now let's just wait and see what happens... three weeks later and I was still waiting, re-sent the mail, still no reply, this service is impossible to get. Given up, gone home, totally p***ed off. I gave up trying to get the free online service as a bad job long, long ago and I've not tried since. There are precious few other reasons to sign up with IC24 other than free airtime, and I always found the times they offered to be pretty restricting anyway. They only offered 8-12 every evening including weekends, alot worse than other providers. Can anyone let me know if they've had a better experience because I don't want to give them a hard time for no reason, but I've been totally appalled by this service...
IC24 was the first isp in UK to offer tottaly free internet access on weekends with out any subscription or local call rate charges un like any other ISP who claimed free access but charged you at local call rate. It used to be the best but now that so many free packages are available it may not be the best any more but still speed wise it is superior to many other. You can still get free access from 9 to 5 pm on weekends and at local call rate at other times.I used to get connected immediately but now you experience engage tones very often. So as compared to other services available now it is no more recommended but still if you use internet very occasionally and only on weekendy it may be the best choice for you. The timings for free internet access has changed and now it from 8 to 12 pm every day and it is even better. You get connected very easily and the speed is good as ever. With so many companies going out of buissness IC24 is still providing an excellant service totally free of charge.
An email received today (31-05-2001) from ic24, the Internet Service Provider from the HUGE Trinity Group (which includes cable TV stations, the Daily & Sunday Mirror, The People and a multitude of free and pay newspapers up and down the country - as well as overseas interests) have indicated that their free 0800 internent access offer was to end after around a year in one form or another, citing the service cannot be sustained. Here's the email (with my commentns after it) - Dear IC24 User Internet access service trends have gone through some of the fastest transitions of any customer service in history , and this continues today. It is clear now to all UK Internet Service Providers that providing free telephony service hours as well as free access services cannot be sustained indefinitely, and we at ic24 are no exception to this - all good things must come to an end. And, unfortunately, our pioneering 'After 8' campaign must do just that. On Thursday May 31st our free online time promotion will end. Of course, we will continue to operate our acclaimed 0845 'pay-as-you-go' service and should stress that our 0845 service is completely unchanged and still very much available. As you may know , this service is the basis of ISPA's ISP of the year for 2000 We know that most of our customers will find that our 0845 / pay-as-you-go service is still the most cost effective way for them to access the Internet and our 0845 service will continue to provide the high levels of performance availablity and reliability that you have come to expect. We are currently developing a series of unmetered, unlimited use telephony packages, and will advise you of those within the nect 7 to 10 days. We'd like to thank you for using ic24 to date, and hope that you will continue to enjoy and benefit from a truly great service.
So, it's a truely great service, is it? I'd have to disagree. Since I first went online, I have used several ISPs (I think it's rather wise having a backup ISP in case your regular ISP is 'down') and the most unreliable (after the scam called 4uNet) was ic24 with multiple problems which take a long time to resolve. Tech staff do not know the difference between an ISP and a bumble bee and there is no way I'd trust them to turn over the channel on a television than trust anything they suggest for problem solving. That is, when they reply. The true reason for axing the free service (which has such poor bandwidth that more often than not, no connection can be made and so you use their 0845 'pay' dial up instead. ic24 gained a lot of new custom when they introduced the free dial offer but now, I can forsee people ditching it as noone wants 0845 access anymore. Perhaps if ic24 had it's unmetered deal in place (or a close start date) then it wouldn't be so bad for the users - and for the company as they wouldn't have to look for new customers again or try to win back the old ones. As for the web site itself, it's a rather boring effort which could do with a complete overhaul to make it more user-friendly and attractive. One thing to bear in mind with ic24 is that, although you can receive email through any ISP, only with an ic24 connection can you send email (for some unknown reason ic24 email can be sent with a Liberty Surf connection). This is so that you must pay ic24 to send the mail. If all ISPs were 0845, then I would still consider using others before ic24 due to the vast amounts of downtime they have. I have one of my web sites hosted on ic24 and, apart from poor bandwidth, has had several periods of downtime that can last for several days WITHOUT a curtesy email to state it's down. That wouldn't cost them a cent to do. Due to the amount of users who have
bookmarks and so on for this site, I am reluctent to move it elsewhere and file transfer is easier to ic24 than a lot of other ISPs servers. Thumbs down, then.
The update is at the end of this op.I first started with IC24 last year it was my first ISP I really searched around for one that was genuinely free.I used to have a bit of trouble getting on at the weekend (when the free time was 8 till5) but since it changed to 8 to 12 every day I dont really have any trouble. The max I have to try for is between 2 and 5 mins. The pages appear really fast, with IE5.5 not so fast with Netscape 6. The only real gripe I have is the e-mail server goes down quite a lot, last time for 3 or 4 days,which can be a pain. When I first started I had a lot of trouble sending and receiving e-mail.I went to loads of places for help but did not get any.As a last resort I e-mailed IC24's help line,this is free if you use e-mail, 50p a min if you phone,they were so helpful it was unbelivable. It took some 6 weeks and about 25 e-mails but they sorted everything out even though it turned out to be something I had done wrong when I set my account up. They did not get funny about all the e-mails I was sending, sometimes 2 or 3 a night they answered very quickly,within 10 mins, and they even followed up after it was sorted to make sure every thing was OK. I would,and have recommended them to others, even to someone in my local bank who was trying to push their ISP. IC24 now longer has free call access but is a local rate 0845 number. I have been in contact with them and they say they will be starting it up again soon, but with new terms and conditions.
I have an ic24 for free ISP. The great thing is it's free of charge, no bills, BUT and a very big BUT because, for some reason they've come up with an ingenious idea. The idea being: "I know, lets cut them off every hour to increase the chance of them getting cheesed off and shove a cat into a microwave...", well somewhere along the lines of that. Why in all honesty have they put it in, some one help because I have fried my cat several times now...
I used ic24 alot about 6 months ago, but I become very bored with waiting for a connection and eventually I switched to freeserve's off-peak service. IC24 offer free internet access at certain times (evenings and weekends) for free. There is no joining fee or any kind of telephone fees, its all free until IC24 decide otherwise. This is great if you want free access to the internet and don't want to pay a penny. Dial up to IC24 can take ages and sometimes you may find yourself waiting in excess of 20 minutes just to get online, especially at busy times. You'll have to dial up to IC24 and just leave the dial up program running to keep trying to connect until after many, many attempts it finally does. After using IC24 for alittle while you, like me, will also become tired of having to wait to get online. Also the connection speed can be quite slow. Only try IC24 if you really don't mind waiting to get online, but want to have completely free access. IC24 also offer the local rate dial up service where you pay 1p/min (off peak), but this is a much better service as you can usually get on in the first dial up attempt and the connection seems much faster than the free one. If you are wondering why it takes so long to get a connection to IC24 its because they have so many customers that their telephone lines are so busy. Try it if you want, but I recommend the freeserve off peak service, which gives free access to the internet (evenings and weekends) for £5.99 a month. Its an absolutely excellent service, with a generally fast connection.
Lets see hmmm. I’ve been with IC24 for sooooo long now that I kinda have to rack my brains to remember how I got involved with them. At the beginning ---------------------- It all started with the then ill-fated Screaming.net, which promised totally free Internet access (that’s no monthly ISP subscription combined with FREE calls to the ISP). The only downside was a change of telephone line supplier, else you’d still be paying for the calls through BT. However this service was much maligned in the early days – Ann Robinson and her chums at Watchdog had a REAL go at them when many hundreds of customers complained that they were continuing to be charged and that they could not access the service despite having changed telephone companies. Needless to say I was put off completely by Screaming’s ‘free’ service. This was about two years ago, and following on from then, several companies said that truly free Internet access would only be months away. AltaVista promised this in early-mid 2000, and had huge publicity on the news (Newsnight) and e-mail newsletter subscriptions numbering in the thousands. I was one of those subscribers. I got 3, before AltaVista’s research and development departments realised that their approach would not be effective enough for the number of users that expressed interest. [They had planned a completely free ISP, paid for by advertising alone]. It was a nice idea, and that’s all it’s proved to be – if there was any substance to it, you’d bet that it would have taken off already. Towards the present – and no Clearwater in sight…. -------------------------------------------------------------- So by the middle of 2000 it seemed that we Brits would NEVER get free ISP calls like they do in the States. Not that surprising, as regular telephone companies in the States, the equivalent of BT, prov
ide free off peak local calls as standard! The leap to free ISP calls isn’t that big from there on. But with the £200/second behemoth that is BRITISH Telecom and with very few to have the American audacity to actually band together and COMPLAIN, there’s absolutely NO incentive for British Tossp*t to provide us with this service. We seemed to be doomed to the typical liberty taking that huge corporates have with Britain – the promise that change IS on the horizon, but it takes an absolute EON to get there (if at all) with the money-grabbers milking us for ALL we’re worth. Just look at the car manufacturers as well! But things seemed to take a turn for the better in late summer last year, when I witnessed funky purple pairs of female … um …. eyes …(as well as the rest of her pretty face) against a black background on barely believable adverts. IC24 was the ad, and the logo was in them eyes… owh Aye they waar… OO Arrr! >>squaaawk<< IC24 – the first ISP with Free time online. --------------------------------------------------------- I really could not believe this, and let the ad pass about twenty times before coming to the conclusion that ‘getting the CD can’t do any harm’. So I dropped into my local Esso station where the CDs were being dished out, and haven’t looked back since. The much-maligned setup ----------------------------------- If you read a few of the other IC24 opinions, you may come across nicks and knacks about how people didn’t realise that the initial Internet Explorer Setup right off the IC24 CD ISN’T actually the 0800 service. Sure enough that’s true. But I really think that’s more of an indictment on the idiot that was sucker enough not to read the fine print! Once you go through the on-screen instructions provided by the CD and you log on for the first ti
me, one of the first things seen was on the IC24 homepage was the link to 0800 access. I can’t damn a person hard enough if they were fool enough to think that such an unbelievable service would come so easily. Clicking on this link downloads a very small automated IE setup file. When you clicked on this, a few config files in your Internet Explorer files are altered, meaning that the next time you restart IE, your default ISP will be ‘IC24 for Free’ (as opposed to IC24). I read somewhere that one dooyooer got a huge bill because they didn’t set up the 0800 service. And while new ‘IC24 for free’ users will be a rare breed in the days to come, I really can’t emphasise more that in the long run, this was a minor (and it is only minor) inconvenience and only affected you once. Day-to-day usage ------------------------ Right from the offset it was made clear (on the adverts, CD cover and IC24 home page) that you did not have the free reign of normal ISP’s with regards to times of use. IC24’s 0800 service was initially restricted to 8pm to midnight on weekdays, and 9am to 5pm on weekends. That was 36 hours of free online time per week. Certainly more than adequate for my needs, and I had no problems with that, considering I worked for most of the hours when it was not available. Outside these hours, dialling the 0800 number gives you the familiar female BT voice saying that the service is not available currently. The Phantom Menace ------------------------------ So once set up, what was the service like? Well, it became immediately obvious that logging on may be a bit of an epic struggle. Initially it seemed as though this was a real fly-in-the-ointment – the first time I tried the 0800 service, I think I was trying at around half past eight in the evening. With experience I now know that the best times to log on on weekdays is punctually on
the hour – that’s when there telephone hubs have free routes and (after 8pm) it’s when people are forced out. For now is where one of the most important aspects of ‘IC24 for free’ is revealed – that you can only have one hour at a time! This is more an inconvenience than a problem, because often you can log straight back on after your hour is up – it was a course of action taken by the ISP purely due to the popularity of the service and the need to allow all users to have as much opportunity to use the service as possible, while restricting abusers. What may be of slightly more concern is the connection speeds you attain. You always seem to get somewhere around 40,000 and 43,000 bps. While this is not diabolically slow, you never seem to get the regular 55.6 kbps that you do on other ISP’s like Claranet. Ironically though, downloading mp3’s (say a 3.6 meg one) takes a lot less time than either of my other regular (lo-call rate) ISP’s: JungleLink and Supanet, despite the fact that they get connection speeds higher than IC24. What about technical support? ------------------------------------------ I have NEVER needed technical support, and I think that the rates they charge are ABSOLUTELY ludicrous – they are taking the p*ss, as all such premium rate lines do! P”ss may be too strong a word. Advantage is certainly more appropriate. Any such premium rate line takes advantage of the user. Whether it be a poor fool whose computer has them stumped, a sad b*stard who can’t face the opposite sex and reverts to a chat-line, a pathological mobile phone user that absolutely HAS to have the latest ring tone or graphic, or the spoilt brat that desperately wants to enter the phone compo to win that dream console. Is it too hard to read up on how these ISP’s work? Is it too hard to read the fine print? Is it too hard to read the online or windows inst
ructions? If you’re not a good student, then why not just ask a friend? Why do you have to give these parasites even more money? Listen, I’m all for IC24 and the service they provide, but I have no sympathy for people that think technical support lines are good – they’re just lazy and if you wanna give up your money for your own shortcomings, then that’s your problem. [I’ve worked in technical support, and some of the most basic questions that people ask …. Grrrrrrrr.. I had to leave just for the sake of my blood pressure!] The hub, the hub ------------------------ There’s no doubt that the concept of an ISP with free online time is one that would interest EVERYONE, yet I don’t feel that IC24 would be everyone’s cup-of-tea. There are a number of reasons for this, not least the fact that it can be difficult to log on. To give readers a better idea of the difficulty I’ll give you an example – that of moi. I have a base in North West London – here there is a relatively high population density, meaning that the telephone hubs in the area are fairly intricate and extensive. Logging onto IC24 proved far less troublesome here – on an average weekday, you could get on in about three attempts. On a busier weekday it could take up to thirty attempts – this might seem a huge amount, and may be indicative of someone with a lot of patience or just dogged determination. But in truth I used a ‘robot’ – Go!Zilla download manager can automatically attempt ISP log on for you (read my outstanding op on that for more info) and only through looking at its log did I realise that 30 (rapid-fire) attempts were needed before success. My other base of operation is outside of London in Radlett, Herts – a much more rural and less densely populated area with a less extensive network of hubs. The telephone hubs here also have a hugely annoying
feature in that if you attempt to call a line and are unsuccessful more than four times in less than two minutes, then you are barred from phoning that number for 5 minutes! This renders a robot like Go!Zilla useless in those intervening five minutes. More than that, if the robot is continued to be used in those five minutes, a signal is sent down the modem which re-bloody boots your computer! That can be hugely damaging to the structure and contents of your computer. So unlike in London, you have to manually keep an eye on your logon attempts to IC24. :-/ That said, no matter where you are in the country, it’s a lot easier to log in on weekends. IC24 isn’t for everyone ------------------------------- Judging by all this experience that some of you may perceive to be negative, you may ask yourself why I have persisted with it. Since ‘IC24 for Free’ came into existence, I very rarely used the Internet on weekdays, and more importantly wasn’t addicted to Dooyoo. On weekends I would download mp3’s, software updates, and patches for games, as well as entering compo’s, sending e-mail and having to do research for Uni. So I’m by no means a very light user. Light users may as well bypass all the inconvenience and use the regular IC24 service or any other ISP that provides internet access with no monthly subscription, just phone call charges at local rate. That’s more than adequate for e-mail purposes. Through IC24 I reckon I’ve become a fairly heavy Internet user. Online death matches became a reality for me without having to worry about charges. Mp3 downloads don’t hurt as much neither did 80 Meg patches for Half-Life. It’s all about the Moh-nay! ------------------------------------ Once you get over the idiosyncrasies of ‘IC24 for Free’ I find that it is the BEST option for me. I’m not SUCH a heavy Internet user t
hat the new BT Surf time packages would be worth my while. All in all, my BT line rental costs 30 squids per quarter. My total call charges vary from 50 – 60 pounds on top of that. I think that if I paid for BT Surf time (tenner a month), then my bills would never reach the lows that they sometimes do at the moment, and the would on average be the same as my highest recent bills. One of the pleasing things to my eye is the extreme reduction in Internet calls exceeding 2 hours in duration – this is all thanks to IC24, which has definitely made a positive contribution with regards to economy. And the longer this 0800 service is continued, the more I can benefit. So when the hell is the last day of IC24 for Free? ----------------------------------------------------------------- IC24’s free 0800 service last summer was touted to last until 31st October 2000. But thankfully there have been numerous extensions to this deadline for the cessation of the service. Firstly there was an extension to the end of the year, then one to the end of January, until finally (probably the last) extension to the 14th February. You can only assume that the sheer popularity of the service has made IC24 think again about stopping the service. In truth I think they are slowly trying to wean us off the service. The January extension was accompanied by a reduction in weekend free hours, with ALL days of the week now having the 8-midnight service. [It’s nice to know that some suppliers of addiction are trying their damndest to ‘cure’ their followers gently …… UNLIKE DOOYOOO ….. ahem …. <<sniff>>. … <<oh, the anxiety!>>] ************** *** UPDATE *** ************** IC24 is still working, and it's the 15th of Feb ....... Long may this continue (Along with Liverpool's success in Europe after THAT result over Roma!!! :-) *******
******* Regular users like myself have recognised the best times to log on and thus get the best out of the service, and once it goes, IC24 will leave a gaping hole in our online lives, with other related consequences too. The loss of IC24 may mean the loss of appetite for Dooyoo …… maybe not :) [May Dooyoo never end]
I was looking for an ISP to connect to the Internet with, and IC24 cuaght my eye on a subway advert. I phoned up for the free CD-ROM, which took 5 weeks to receive by the way. And then it came around to installing it. This is the part I really disliked. It tried to take over my Internet Explorer's settings and changed it. This really annoyed me, and without installing it fully I had to spend about an hour removing all of the garbage, even so far as going into the registry. Maybe if I had let the thing install itself fully I would have had an option of uninstalling, but I wasn't about to chance that. I noticed that the "help" lines are expensive to call, and somehow I just couldn't believe that there would be "expert" techies on hand to help anyone. Needless to say, I didn't even bother calling, considering the lack of quality in the product. Maybe this doesn't qualify as a review seeing as how I never really used it, but there is no way you could convince me it is a good deal. They call it free, but you can only connect at certain times and it was only for a limited time. Free with some major penalties then......I'll just pay for one, it's easier and it doesn't really cost that much anyway. I won't bother continuing with this "review", as I feel it is a waste of my time. On a side note, I give this product 0 stars......DooYoo won't allow anything less than 1 star.
With all the recent falls of several big ISPs (especially in the unmetered market), IC24 really has made its members proud. Providing fixed hours access for absolutely nothing for almost a year now is excellent. How they can afford to do this and whether their members are at any time using the 0845 number or shopping with them I do not know. All I care about is I'm saving money with a legitimate offer. I have actually used their 0845 number when I want to quickly get on and off outside of their promotional hours as well. Each offer has a limited period but this is absolutely fine because so far, they have either come out with better offers after the deadline or continued with the current one. Go, go IC24! Very highly recommended. www.anandp.co.uk
I don't much mind about customer care - some friendly but clueless person patronising me at 50 pence a minute is not my idea of customer care. "Have you plugged it in?" I'm only interested in one thing, performance. I want to be able to view what I want, when I want for as little money as possible. ic24 sounded as though it might offer that. I'm sure it does, but I never found out. I spent a week browsing the web through their local call number, and a weekend listening to my computer redial. Set up was identical to the majority of ISPs. Set up a new dial-up profile, upgrade you to the latest version of IE with their graphics all over it and sort you out with an email address. It took two weekends for me to connect, only to be kicked off less than an hour later. I went back to previous ISP simply out of spite rather than stick with ic24's local call connection. There's no point having a free service if you can't connect to it... Now I have to fight the ironic smile whenever I see their new adverts assuring free off peak calls. I'm sure someone out there is getting them (advertising laws are at least that strict) but after a month of it not being me, I lost interest. Don't bother.
Free Internet service provides has been all the rage recently, but they are getting less and less by the day. They have been all the rage, everyone joined then, this is what many thought the Internet would be like in the future. It may take a little longer than people thought. The first player was the X-Stream service, which provided add software in exchange for free Internet. Everyone flooded to use the service, many signed up but could never connect, and those that did manage to connect had extremely slow connections. Not only were the connections slow, but also only gave the user a small amount of time to utilise the service, which kept cutting off. The next service was the IC internet service which provides free acess after 6 until 8am for no charge, but this will soon be abolished in January. You could never have expected great things from free Internet providers. There connections where unstable, and the software will undoubtedly slow your system speed. This can lead to more frustration, which was more than it is worth. The free Internet scheme has now evolved and many have found that the cheapest way to provide free Internet is with the flat rate scheme. The best I have come across is the BT scheme, where you either pay £9.99 a month for free Internet after 6pm until 8am an all weekend, or unmetred access for £14.99. Its just not profitable for companies to provide completely free, add based Internet services.
I've heard many people complain because ic24 is constantly engaged - that is true. However, it is the only completely free ISP with no attachments in the UK. I have also noticed that ic24 is largely overlooked when magazines etc. do reviews of free ISPs. They tend to concentrate on ISPs like AOL and telecomm schemes like BT's Surftime (which, I might add, was an utter failure when it was first launched). It is a pity that ic24 will finish at the end of the year - but hopefully BT will have sorted themselves out by then. Finally, I wrote this opinion on a connection on ic24 - proving it does work! I usually get through after a couple of attempts. Thanks for reading, Dom :-)
IC 24 were one of the first to give free 0800 internet access for no charge. At the moment there are only 2, X-Stream and IC 24 and IC 24 is better by a long way. At the time of writing, IC 24 provide access to the internet from 8pm till midnight everyday until the end of January. The service is likely to extend well past this date as it has after other deadlines. The access is not that bad either. It is quick on a 56k connection. A bad part of the service is that it has a 1 hour cut off period, but hey - it's free. If you are thinking of signing up, do and after you have, sign up for the Scotish version (it does allow UK subscribers) which uses a different number and you are most likely to get through first time.
** UPDATE ** Alas IC24 have ended their 0800 evening service as the running costs were just too high to maintain. I, for one, am sad to see it go as it means that I have to pay to get on the internet now. However, a few days ago, I did receive an email which said that they were looking into providing a subscription based 0800 service and would release details in the next few days. Until then, their fast 0845 service is still up and running although you have to pay to go online. I will keep my review intact until they announce their subscription based 0800 service as I will hopefully join it and be able to update this review with more details. <><><><><><><><><><> IC24 is an ISP which offers 0800 access to the internet each day from 8pm - midnight. "So what" you may be saying "a lot of ISPs offer that". Well, yes they do but what makes IC24 special is that you do not have to pay them a penny for it - no monthly or annual charges, no need to join BT Surftime, just free 0800 internet access. You can either register on-line or via a free CD (available in various places such as Esso garages I believe). I personally registered online (www.ic24.net) and the whole process took no longer than 5-10 minutes. Basically you register for standard access (this is access using a local rate dial-up number) and once you have joined up, you then can register for the free hours. In doing so, you are given an 0800 number to use during the appropriate times. I have been an IC24 user now for about six months and I find it to be a good service. Many people complain about the lines being engaged - well, I have to admit that they are very busy but if you persevere, you do eventually get through usually within 10-15 attempts. This, I consider, to be not too bad seeing as you do not have to pay any subscription charges whatsoever. Howev
er, what I have found that if you register with ICScotland.net - the Scottish division of IC24 - then you pretty much get through first time. And I'm not sure if you even have to be Scottish to take advantage of it (well it doesn't say so anyway!) As for connection speeds? Well, I have a fairly ancient computer and modem and find that it always connects to IC24 at my maximum speed (28,800bps) thus making it as fast as my other ISPs. For those of you with faster modems, you may not get maximum speed but you should at least connect at 28,800bps. The website itself is pretty standard with the usual mix of news, sport, weather forecasts and shopping links. There are also links to certain newspapers as they are in some way connected with the site (owned by the same company I think). You are also given POP3 email although your email address consists of yourusername@IC24.net. Unfortunately your user-name is just a jumble of hard to remember numbers and letters. But you don’t have to use the email if you don’t want to. However, I have been reliably informed that they now offer email addresses with firstname.lastname@example.org Since I have been using IC24, the free time was "for a limited period only" but it always seems to be getting extended which is unusual as most other 0800 ISPs seem to be going bust. Currently the offer is on until the 6th May 2001 so even if you only use it for two weeks, it will still save you some money if you usually use an 0845 dial up number. It may also be useful for those of you who have limited free time from your own ISP. Eg some people get 100 free hours per month and have to pay 1p per minute thereafter. You could use IC24 during the specified times free of charge and use your own ISP outwith this time. As someone who recently lost 24/7 access due to a certain ISP not being able to continue the service, IC24 (specifically ICScotland) has been a life
saver for me as I am a poor student and can't afford big internet bills. As with a lot of free providers, there is a cut off after one hour but I have found that sometimes they forget and I have been on-line for 1 hr 20mins before. I think that they have caught onto this since I first wrote the review as it hasn't happened since! Sometimes they also forget to log you off at midnight as well. I won't say too much about this but sometimes you can manage to get some extra minutes if your hour time limit hasn't been reached by 12am. I know that IC24 have been getting a lot of bad press about being unable to connect but, to be honest, in the past few months, this has been less of a problem for myself when I dial up through ICScotland and IC24 itself has improved as well. So if you haven’t signed up already, then why not give it a go. You don’t have to use the 0845 number to be able to use the 0800 number so you have nothing to lose. However, I use their 0845 dial up outwith the free time as they have to make their money somehow and if I use their dial-up occasionally then this will generate some revenue and perhaps they will keep extending their deadlines. I also have the ICScotland website as my start up page to at least generate some advert banner revenue as well for them - am I being nice (or just selfish in that I don't want to lose my free internet time???) If you get an engaged tone then don't give up - just keep redialing. And if you get sick of the redial then it is not as if it has cost you anything except for 10 minutes of your time. However, if you get through even just for a few hours during the free offer in April/May, then you may save a few pounds on your phone bill. And I expect that the free time will be extended beyond 6th May. Well fingers crossed anyway! Incidentally, ICScotland were named number one consumer ISP at the recent ISPA UK I
nternet Industry Awards 2001 (the same awards that gave our very own dooyoo Best online consumer product/service award) so they must be doing something right. They certainly get my vote!
IC24 have been around for a while now and have got themselves a decent reputation as they have become the new X-Stream. They offer people free internet access with no call charges for nothing. Obviously there are restrictions as anyone would expect with such a service but the important point is you can surf without paying BT a penny. The deal is that you go to www.ic24.net and create an account with them. Then once you have an IC24 username and password, you can signup to their free call offer. You download the software and once signed up you are ready to go. The offer is that during weekdays (Mon-Fri) you can use the free call IC24 dialup between the hours of 8pm-12pm. During weekends you can dialup between 9am and 5pm. Although the service is restricted to these time bands, it isn't a suprise as it would become financially unviable for them to offer it longer and i'm just greatful of free access at all after being treated so badly by Liberty Surf. I won't tell any lies about connections and connections speeds however. Yes you have to wait a long time to connect because of engaged tones and basically the service being very busy. Also when you get on the connection speeds are normally very poor and not very quick at all and there is also a rate of "dead connections". Having said this though you don't worry about connection speeds too much when your ont paying for your call or any subscription charges. Also there is a 1 hour disconnection when you have to reconnect. Overall this is a service that people who don't need the internet much can use and only want an hour or so use a night because it is possible to connect easily around 11pm weekdays and get an hour online. For heavier uses and those without the patience I suggest you look elsewhere.