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NTL. Once upon a time I seemed to notice all the online websites that would have a pop at NTL for their appaling customer service. I used to have a little giggle at all the acronyms people would invent for their intials. My favourites being Not Till Later and NT Hell. I had the misfortune if signing up to NTL for standard telephone service. Then came the big day, alsmost like going from nursery school to primary, when I though I would step up to this big thing called the internet. So I gave them a ring, and requested I speak to someon about internet services and was told it can't be done in my area, but to wait till later and it should be rolling out soon (hence Not Till Later). Not only that when we decided to set up with other companies we were told that you had to have a BT line. Well we waited and waited, and no-one EVER called back to let us know about internet in our area. And we went over to BT. BT 1 NTL 0
I have been with ntl for over three years, and it is in the last year that the service has totally deteriorated. If you like sporadic tv and broadband connection, waiting for hours in phone queues and patronising 'customer relation staff' then ntl is for you! After three years of losing TV and broadband services on a monthly basis I decided enough was enough. I ultimately terminated my contract with them after notifying them of my house move - after 45 minutes in a queue I managed to get through. Then they cut me off four days earlier than I had specified. After another hour in a queue, my tv package was half restored - lots of channels missing - no broadband. Another phonecall- another hour - still the same. Giving up, I left it until the next day. Another hour - the 'customer relation' man laughed that it 'wasn't fair - was it?'. Another 30 mins to technical support - yes broadband was back at least! However, after all this messing about I decided I'd had enough and phoned to give them the required 30 days notice to terminate my contract. Another 45 mins only to be told they woudn't move me unless I ageed to spend another 12 months with them. Obviously I said no, so they cut me off there and then!! A 'manager' phoned me the next day to tell me he didn't believe that the service was so bad - 'the customer isn't always right - hardly ever' he said. Amazingly poor service, expect to spend absolutely ages on the phone in queues, poorly trained staff, expect to have to argue with them to get the service you pay for - don't bother with them - SKY is much better!
I hate this company with such a passion. It destroys me to think that I have had their services installed and now I am stuck with them for 12 months. I thought it was the only company I could have for digital tv and so took all the services. Before you even consider the cost (they actully compare OK) you should find all other options because the rules that the company has in the way they deal with customers is shocking. The customer service people who are in general very helpful are locked in to giving shocking service because of the companies rules. It is simply despicable. These rules are designed to milk you out of as much money as possible and with the least amount of satisfaction. I could go on for hours but what would be the point - JUST DONT SIGN UP TO NTL.
I signed up with NTL about 2 years ago, when they offered the best broadband package around. BT wanted £80 for a modem and £40 for 'activation', so I thought i'll have a look aroung for my broadband package. There it was, 600k line for £25 a month, with free modem and connection! I was pleasantly surprised when I rung the NTL Home sales line, and had an engineer on my way in 2 weeks. The line was installed on time. However, when trying to install the software, I had a slight problem and had to call NTL Home Technical support line and yet again, I was pleasantly surprised. The girl at the end of the line knew what she was talking about, and had me on the right track within minutes. And there was no waiting for them to pick up the phone. They picked up immediately after 2, yes 2 rings! So I was happily going along with my very good and very quick and very reliable broadband service, when I had to change my computer. All my e-mail settings had been stored on the old hard drive, and I could'nt get it back because somehow it was broken. So I tried e-mailing NTL with a hotmail account. I tried for several months, and still no reply. So I called them, and the problem was sorted in 20 minutes. The reason why they did not reply was apparently because they are not allowed to reply to mails from other accounts other than NTL's own. Fair enough I thought. About a year after I had been using NTL broadband, a letter came through form NTL asking whether I wanted their phone services and cable TV packages. I had already had Sky digital, and was very happy with it, so I didn't want to change. However, as we always make long international phone calls to Hong Kong, Canada and the USA ;, the NTL option seemed very good. If i paid £25 a month including line rental, I would get all daytime calls free to the UK, and all day international calls for a fraction of the price of BT. NTL were offering Hong Kong for 5p a min, (BT 49p per min) and USA/Canada for 3p a min, (BT 23p per min). Too good to be true I thought. But I was wrong. Been using NTL phone for around 10 months now, and not a single problem since. Bills have been reduced for aroung £65 a month on BT to about £30 a month on NTL. Can't say fairer than that! The installation was also easy. As I had already got broadband, the cable connection was outside my house. So all they had to do was connect a line from the box to my phone sockets in the house. The even transfered my number from BT free of charge. NTL provide a good value for money service. The only thing that I don't like at the moment is that there is no caller display in my area. But there may be in your area. Caller display is not a feature that NTL will include in my area in the near future, so I will be without for quite some time. But the amount that it reduces my bills is enough. Overall, a competent company, with good services at good prices. The only reason I wanted to leave BT was because they gave me problem after problem after problem when I moved house, and also after I moved. Maybe I'll have to write a review on them too!
To NTL forum posters, As part of a group at University of Wales (doing a Masters Degree in Business) we're writing a paper on effectiveness (or maybe lack of it) of the call centre employed by NTL. Our concentration is mainly on providing feedback to FIX things that are BROKEN, however, any feedback good or bad would be greatly appreciated. We have setup a temporary e-mail account firstname.lastname@example.org where you can e-mail us any of your comments. Please refrain from spamming the e-mail account as: 1) It's not worth it - it'll just get deleted 2) It's not worth it - the e-mail account will only be active till Jan '04 Any real comments sent to the e-mail address would be greatly appreciated, and who knows, as this will be an official publication, it may find it's way to NTL management who'll use it to correct their incomptences??? So - GO AHEAD - GRIPE AWAY!!! Again - the e-mail address is: email@example.com
My relationship with NTL began 3 years ago. I had just bought my first property and like any male the first thing I wanted to get sorted was not furniture, décor or anything dull like that, but digital TV. How could I live without Sky Sports and live footie!! As I had bought a flat the building was not owned by me, which meant I would have to ask the owners permission to attach a Sky dish to the side. Unfortunately they refused so the only other option was to get NTL installed through cable. This wouldn't be a problem I thought, NTL are a big company and couldn't be any different to having Sky. How wrong could I be?? The only problem when it was installed was the interactive side. Not only was it painfully slow (and still is), it kept crashing which meant I had to pull the plug out, wait a few minutes, then plug it back it. Not a major problem as this didn't really interest me, I have Internet access through my PC, and I could live without it. After a few months the price suddenly went up about £8. I phoned them immediately and they said that they had sent me a letter informing me of the price changes and restructuring of the channel packages. I thought that I must have not taken any notice of the letter when it came or it had been lost in the post. Over the next couple of weeks though I spoke to other people who had NTL and found out I wasn't the only person this had happened to so either the postal service in the south is very poor or the letters were never sent!! Shortly after this the channel packages were changed again giving people less flexibility than ever. Basically for the standard package it would be around £17, which isn't too bad, but you get very little. You get your 5 five terrestrial channels plus the news channels and a few others. For all the channels it is around £45 but say you wanted to save money and not have the movie channels, or not have the sports channels you woul d only save around £3. I know the idea is to get you to buy all the packages but it would be so much better if you could have more choices in the channels you want, more of a pick and mix, but the way NTL structure it you either have the bare minimum or the whole lot. My next problem came when I decided I'd like to have my phone line reconnected. I have a mobile so didn't really see the point of having a landline as well but if you have an NTL line the line rental is free if you have NTL digital TV which is very good. The problem was getting hold of someone to tell them what I wanted. They have introduced a new system when you phone that involves you entering your NTL phone number via your telephone so they can bring up your details quicker. This is all very well but I DON'T HAVE A PHONE!!!! You can't enter your mobile number and there is no way you can skip through this. The only way you can get past this is to enter someone else's phone number, which defeats the object and confuses the person on the other end of the line! When I eventually did get through to someone they gave me another number to phone so I had to go through the whole charade again. This continued until I got passed back to the first person I spoke to so I gave up. I have tried twice since and have either been passed around their staff or have been told they would call me back. I'm still waiting I wouldn't recommend NTL to anyone. They are a mile behind Sky in terms of performance, value for money and customer service and the only reason I stay with them is because I have no other option. I am buying a house soon and as soon as I do I will be buying a dish and will no longer have anything to do with NTL. I'm sorry it had to end this way??????
Well where shall i start? What with having a decent service to begin with has now changed my mind over the past few weeks! Ive had many problems just of late with the Digital service and Broadband which took two weeks to resolve taking many boring phone calls some lengthly. Three engineer visits one eventually things were righted with a new box. I asked for compensation ie credit on bill for this months but when i recieved it to my horror they didnt keep thier promise had charged me the full wack of the monthly cost!!! Why do people like this treat their customers appaulingly and dont keep promises to certian agreements... That's why i have decided to change over to SKY DIGITAL something i should have done along time ago. NTL Customers beware.
Now as I have NTL in both phones and cable it would be only right for me to have them in Internet access as well. When I applied for my FREE CD they were the only Internet service providers to give the Internet away FREE of charge. Of course to have this you have to have an NTL connection but as I have that anyway it made no difference. It only stayed FREE for about a year before some many people went to NTL that they could not keep up with all of the traffic coming in as a result of the no cost scheme. Now I pay £5.99 a month until next year when I will pay £12.99 a month. To be totally honest when it goes to the £12.99 a month I will change because it is ok to have a slow connection why you are paying very little but when it goes to full price I will switch to an Internet provider that has a faster more powerful connection than the one I have dragging on my 56k modem right now. Yes, but to be fair to them we never have any problems with the Internet connections that they have set up and most of the time the Internet is running smoothly. The weekends are the worse time however because everyone is using the NTL Internet and the connection tends to run slowly and some times won?t run at all. It does get the job done and I am making money over the Internet now though so I guess I cant really complain it would just be nicer to have a faster connection. They have a timer of 2 hours in which you can do what you want over the net before you are disconnected and then after that you have to re connect again. This used to drive me up the way especially when they disconnected you if you did not refresh to Internet every ten minutes but that does not seem to happen anymore. When it did I could not play any online games because the connection would keep disconnecting but I can now so that is another worry off of the list. NTL is more of a family based Internet provider for family use of the Internet where as I am not a family man and use the Internet for serious research reasons. I would recommend NTL to a family but not to a website designer like me so I would give it an average rating.
NTL... as with all similar companies, they have their 'haters' out there, but equally they have plenty of satisfied customers, of which I am one. How To Get It: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Having been an ntlworld dial-up internet service customer for almost 3 years, and faced with the prospect of the price rising from £5 to £10 from January for the internet service I was currently receiving I decided it was time to speed up a bit and give broadband a try. I didn't really know how to go about upgrading to broadband so paid a visit to www.ntlworld.com to have a look. After having a play with their easy to use system checker and making sure my PC was up to spec to cope with broadband I gave ntl a ring. Suprisingly it didn't take long at all to get through to a human being to submit my request. (For those who have never rung ntl before, you often need to make sure you're sitting comfortably - though admittedly they are getting quicker). After checking with me what speed connection I was after and asking a few questions about my PC, I was given an appointment date (there was approximately a four week wait) and told that I'd receive confirmation within the next couple of days. As promised, the confirmation came two days later giving basic details of my appointment and details of how to contact them if it turned out to be inconvenient. All I had to do was sign and return the document sent with the letter and wait... As with most companies, I wasn't given a time, just a time-slot - between 12:30 and 17:30. This was fine for me as I wasn't at work that day, but for those who aren't at home much, these time slots can cause difficulties. Getting It: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The big day came, and at about 13:00 a man from ntl turned up. He came and had a look at where I kept my computer, then took the time to explain where he could instal the box and run the cabling. Quite suprisingly he was very conce rned about doing a neat job, and without even asking he was quick to offer to make sure the cable didn't follow the easy route (a straight line down the front of the house), but made sure it was as discreet as possible. Even more suprisingly, he asked to borrow th vacuum cleaner when he'd done to tidy up his mess from drilling. When he'd done, he showed me my new 'box' and cable modem, passed me a a CD and instruction book and left me to it. Installing broadband was simple - just a case of putting the CD in the CD-ROM drive and following the on-screen instructions. And that was it! Ready to go. What You Get: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The difference between my original dial-up service and my new 128k service was instantly noticable. No more waiting for the service to dial-up and no more disconnecting whilst you're in the middle of something (ntl's dial-up service cuts off every 2 hours). Ntl's literature describes the service as: * High-speed, faster than standard dial up service * An always connected, continuous service * Unlimited internet usage * Leaves your phone line free for you to talk * Up to 15 email addresses for you and your family * 55Mb of web spave so you can build your own website. In addition, ntl provide a program called 'CorrectConnect' on the CD that is used to instal broadband. It is optional as to whether you decide to instal the program, but it claims to 'enhance your Broadband service by enabling you to view, test and repair your own connection. There is also a messaging feature that will provide you up to the minute information on your service.' The Costs: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Currently ntl are offering free installation on their broadband service (correct at time of writing), however it is only available to cable customers in certain areas. Not everywhere in the UK have the opportunity to use ntl even if the y want to. For the 128k service, the monthly subscription price is £14.99. This is favourably comparable to the majority of other broadband and even dial-up providers. Ntl do also offer even faster broadband connections though these are slightly more expensive. To Conclude: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I was very impressed with ntl's service in arranging for and completing the installation. The service was easy to set up and since I have been using it has caused absolutely no problems. The extra £4.99 per month is certainly worth it and I would recommend it to those who are in an area covered by ntl who are looking to upgrade their internet service.
If you can cast your minds back many moons ago?.. People were just getting excited about the internet and we got it installed. Back then we used AOL as our ISP, getting charged a flat rate of £9.99 plus 1p for every minute online. Average phone bill was £50 and no one could get us on the phone because it was constantly engaged. You could also make a cup of tea in the time it took for a page to download. The Present Day***** Today we use Ntl Broadband. What a difference! We had changed from AOL when ntl came to our area and give us internet access totally free, this lasted a few years until they decided to charge a fee of five pounds, which we still considered cheap. We were quite happy with this until the ? nice guys? from Ntl called us one night asking if we would like to upgrade to broadband. I hadn?t really looked into this before but was quickly talked into it. (They can be very pleasant and persuasive when they want to be). The deal was for £25 they would fit and supply us with a cable modem and charge us £14.99 per month for unlimited access. Getting it installed***** A day and time was arranged quite quickly and they arrived and fitted the cable box outside without too much mess. The cable modem (called the surfboard) was supplied along with an installation disc and booklet to guide us through the process. It all seemed very straightforward and we set about the task. Sadly we hadn?t checked on the spec of our computer, not only did it not have an usb port for the surfboard to plug into, but it also was not powerful enough and we had already signed the direct debit and would be paying for it very soon. We realised the time had come to upgrade the computer! Good news for the stepdaughter who had just started at university and was already casting her eyes on the old one. A computer base unit was bought from Time and we were off and running in no time The Advantages***** The best thi ng is the fact that it is on all the time, never having to sit there and listen to that dialling tone, only to be told its engaged and to try again. The other thing I noticed was the speed, the pages download very fast and everything just seems to run smoother. I can now watch videos, listen to the radio whilst I am surfing and download music, which I would not have done before and the whole family use it to download games. These are downloaded in next to no time. The other good thing about broadband is it frees up the telephone line and people can get through to us once again. Overall we are happy we made the change and think that this is the way forward. Our computer is used more than ever now by the whole family. The Disadvantages***** And Lastly. No opinion on NTL can be totally positive! you know that there will always be a downside. When you get the surfboard installed make sure you ring Ntl to cancel your old internet subscription. It was 2 months before we realised that this was not automatic and we were paying for both.
When I heard,NTL had a broadband package for 14.99 I was delighted, and rushed in to signing up for it. Unfortunately it wasn,t all good news. After they came to install it(and left me a nice little basic package to set it up) I found I couldn,t get it working. The problem, the cable modem will not install into my computer. Now the fact that I,m totally dumb on computers dosen,t help the matters. So I had to phone up NTL helpline. After trying three solid days I just couldn,t get through, you know the annoying "all out operators are busy at the moment please hold on and we will be with you as soon as possible" Staying with the phone to your ear for an hour starts get annoying so I gave up,thinking I,ll send them a email instead. I went to the NTL website and thought I,d try the problems page first FAQ. In fairness there website isn,t bad, the first thing I noticed was some software to download to check if your computer can accept broadband. On doing this I found It was, yippee I thought its just me doing something wrong. So I tried installing it again, but still no luck. Going back to their website I found a article on WINDOWS XP. This basically said that they are experiencing problems and it is still going through process of trying to get it working. As I had already opened a Direct Debit under a years contract I wasn,t very happy. And the fact that the Broadband Installer pack says for use in WIN98/2000 Pro/ME/ and WINDOWS XP Home edition I thought this was totally unfair. I,d thought I.ll ask a couple of friends (the people who think they know everything about computers) and got the explanation of I need to update my drivers. Onto Microsofts windows update website I go, but still no joy. I now have someone with exceptional computer knowledge (apparently) who reckons he can sort it out for me this week. If this dosen,t work I,m going to have a nice time trying to get my broadband cancelled. So just a warning people before rushing into NTL, s broadband make sure it is compatible. Oh and to make it worse, the cable box outside my house has been vandalised by some kids. And I can,t even get through NTL to tell them about this. I hope they haven,t destroyed the connection to my house otherwise I am doomed!!
I sometimes think NTL purposely want to lose the 'digital war' with Sky. They have an ITV digital company that has destroyed itself, but still can't seem to make any headway. The frustration is that cable digital has the technology to beat satelllite hands down, so come on!!! I signed up to NTL digital as soon as possible (about 18 months ago) - and am still waiting for interactive services and text. I distinctly remember receiving a piece of direct mail a couple of years ago explaining the possibilities with digital - email, shopping online, games, etc - by the sounds of it, you have to be one of the lucky few to get access. If you are thinking of getting digital, check with them whether interactive services will be available - you don't get a cheaper price if they are not!! I have lost count of the number of times they have promised that they would be running within a few months - don't get hoodwinked into it. As for customer services, I don't think you need much more information here. When you finally get through to them (usually at least 15 mins hold), they do not keep a log of previous conversations so you end up explaining everything countless times. You also get the feeling that the staff are as downtrodden and annoyed about it all as you probably are. When we first 'upgraded', we spent three days without a picture. The number of 'phone calls, missed appointments etc. was shocking. On a positive side, the range of channels are good and packaged well; 'Front Row' gives you the chance to watch movies for the same price as a DVD from the video shop; the picture is generally very sharp and clear and there are some adequate guides to making your viewing better (e.g. setting reminders for programmes). The 'phone service is also a cheaper one than BT. But, get your act together NTL. Sky needs some decent competition - you're well placed to provide it.
I know, I know. Yet another NTL op. As if there aren't enough. But bear with me. Because I got NTL last month. And the only reason I got it is because I read some favourable DooYoo ops (and tried to blank the unfavourable ones from my mind!). So I thought I'd summarize what, in my opinion, is good about NTL... and what is bad. First, a brief overview. NTL is one of the biggest telecommunications/cable companies in the UK - it provides a range of phone, TV and computer connection services through a Cable connection into your home, thus avoiding the (mostly) out of date, poor quality BT phone lines, the dodgy aerial-recieved terrestrial TV channels, and the ........... ......... wait of a dial-up modem connection. Well, that's the theory. And, in practice, it actually seems to do what it says on the tin! But wait, we're getting ahead of ourselves... So, I decided to go for NTL, primarily because I wanted a faster internet connection (but I made sure my wife believed it was for the Cable TV Channels!). Being a busy man (and a typical male chauvanist pig!) I left the organisation to my wife while I went off to work. She rang on Tuesday, and they not only gave us an automatic discount on the installation charge (she's a born haggler, my wife!), but agreed to install it all the following Monday. Yeah, right! Heard that one before. To my complete surprise, at 10am on Monday morning, an NTL van rolled up outside the house. The incredibly pleasant engineer explained exactly what he was going to do, and which wires and boxes were going where, and then got on with it - even burying the cables under the gravel surrounding our house. One of my concerns were the number of holes which were going to be drilled in the walls, but he did it so well, you'd hardly notice. And even the boxes are unobtrusive (to say they were attractive might be pushing it a bit!) He was done in about 1 1/2 hours (and 4 cups of tea ). The next NTL van rolled up as he left, and they set up the actual TV end of it all. (It seems a bit odd to have 2 vans doing the job, but they worked so that one was finishing the job before, while the other went on to the next job, and it seemed to go OK). So, all installed and ready to go? First job for me was to check the computer connection. I opted to do it myself, rather than let them set it up, although they did offer. And it was the easiest thing I've ever done. Plug the modem into the cable coming out of the wall. Plug the other end into a USB slot on the computer. Insert the CD. Install the software. Sign up. Bingo. And, boy oh boy, did the connection fly! I've reached 90kB/s download speeds, and average around 30-40. It saves a lot of time and hair-pulling, and is one of the best presents my computer has ever recieved from me!!! And it's an "always on connection", so you remain connected to the internet as long as the computer is on. Of course, that slightly increases the risk of hacking and viruses, but if you're careful, it shoud be OK, and I've now installed a firewall to block unauthorised access. So, no complaints there. How about the phone line? Well, a phone's a phone, innit?! I can't say I've noticed a huge difference, but the free calls to other local NTL users means my wife rings her family a lot more. Still, gives me time to play on the internet (because you can use the internet and the phone at the same time!)And my wife tells me the bill is much less. OK. Sound quality seems good, but I can't say it's had a huge impact on me, really. So, onto the telly. We previously had Sky, and I think, in comparison, Sky was better. But this was a package, and worked out a bit cheaper, so we thought we'd give it a try. And it's really not too bad. The channel selection isn't quite as extensive as on Sky, but it does contain a couple that Sky doesn't. As with Sky, you can opt into Premium channels, like the Movie channels, Sky Sports, Disney etc., but our experience suggests that most of the time, you get more than enough from the basic entry-level package. Add to those channels several digital-quality radio stations, and you have a nice entertainment package. But... Yes, there's a but. I don't think the Cable TV streaming is quite as good as Sky. We still suffer occasional pops and clicks, and lose channel information from time to time. And one thing we have noticed is that the TV image freezes frequently when you're downloading/uploading a lot on the computer. The picture quality and sound quality is generally excellent, and the channel select menus are easy to navigate (and it seems far too easy to set reminders for programs - even my 14 month old daughter can do it!) The interactive section contains lots of silly games, and general information, but doesn't seem quite as nice as Sky's (although we highly recommend the "Bingo" game - great fun!) As to the downside... As most of you will know, NTL is in dire financial trouble. How this will affect the end-user remains to be seen, but it could cause potential problems. NTL are renowned for their appalling customer service. As you will have seen, we've had no trouble as yet, but the general feeling is that NTL are in a big rush to sell, then lose interest once they've sold. I can't say I have had any experience of their customer support to comment. So, all in all, we have no regrets about NTL. It has provided everything we wanted, in a nice easy package, and we currently have nothing to complain about... stay tuned!
I use NTL for my cable internet access and a land line, and have done since I started college last year and they were offering a free installation deal for people moving into halls. It got installed within a few days of me ordering it and I got my Mac connected to the internet with a minimum of fuss. No need to call tech support or anything. It costs £35 per month for the internet access and a phone line, and included in that is rental of a cable modem so you don't have to spend £90 on your own modem like with ADSL. Cable internet runs at about 512k as opposed to 56k for your average modem, so you really notice the difference when downloading large files. My phone and internet access worked fine for the nine months I was in halls, there were a couple of outages but not for anymore than 30 minutes or so and not during the week when I might have needed the 'net for research. Certainly very much better than modem internet access. My friend also had cable access in her room, and I installed it on her PC for her. This was a lot more troublesome than on the Mac as we had to use USB and the computer didn't want to install the drivers from the CD provided. If this happens to you just move the files from the CD to your desktop and somehow it finds it easier to install them. I've just moved into a house and out of halls, so I ordered a reinstallation at my new place. They said they'd phone me in a few days to arrange an installation time and took my mobile number. A few weeks later I'd heard nothing so I called them up again; it turns out that they hadn't put my mobile number in my file and were trying to call the land line that I hadn't had installed yet... Anyway, we sorted out that confusion and I got it installed a few days after that. If you're moving house they will put you onto their moving department but you may need to call the main customer service number to get things chased up. < br>I also had to install the modem onto my boyfriends new PC. They've now got an installation CD which talks you through all the stages of installation and registration which makes things much easier. I would recommend NTL internet access because once they have installed it and you've got online it's pretty much perfect. You just have to be a bit pushy to get it installed.
I've seen all the negative opinions on NTL and to a great extent I have to agree. They are regularly incompetent, mess up your billing, and it can take aeons to get through to them on the phone only to find that they are unable to solve your problem anyway because they haven't got the faintest idea what they are talking about. If I were writing this opinion 18 months ago after the complete cock up that was the installation of our cable modem, I would probably be giving them a more negative opinion than they are getting now. The thing is, I cannot live without NTL because I cannot live without my cable modem. OK, I know it's sad, but anyone who has broadband internet access knows you simply cannot go back to a dial up once you have got used to the faster connection. I know BT are now offering ADSL, but my experiences of BT through my work have led me to loathe them even more than NTL (subject of next op I think!). In my last house we had two NTL phone lines (originally we had one for our dial-up connection), the digital television service, and the cable modem. The installation of the telephone and the TV went almost without hitch - except that they originally billed us for 6 days before we moved into the property, despite having been informed on more than one occasion of the precise moving date. In their defence, they corrected this problem speedily. We had our cable modem installed about a year later. The initial installation was OK, but the modem would intermittently drop the connection for periods of anything from minutes to hours. This was not exactly my idea of "always on internet access". We spent hours on the phone to the special cable modem helpdesk, which is NOT a freephone number (rather a local rate call). Eventually, they confessed that they had discovered that the cable modem they had supplied us with was a new model, and they had realised that it did not work properly on the infrastructur e in our area. Bit of a fundamental cock up if you ask me. Anyway, it was ultimately resolved after about two months when they provided us with a new modem, which was actually an old modem as it was the model that preceeded the one we were originally given. This works fine. I complained about their standard of services, and was given the first two months of our cable modem service free (£50). We went through a spate of problems with the digital television service, where it just kept going off! I was very patient with them until they caused us to miss episodes of Buffy and Angel, at which point my anger flared! Again, we received a credit from them for the times we had problems. We experienced a problem on both our telephone lines, where the lines were so crackly we were unable to hold a conversation. Fortunately, this worked to our advantage when we telephoned to complain, as they could hear what the problem was! After shouting our details to them through the crackle, an engineer fixed the problem. It turned out to be water in the line, after a van had driven in to the connection box and opened up a leak. This could hardly be NTLs fault, but we can't have been the only people suffering, and they were not exactly prompt at fixing it. Again, we received a credit against our bill for the time the service was not up to standard. We recently moved house to another property that already had digital television and an NTL phone line connected. We informed NTL in good time, and established what arrangements we had to make to transfer the services over. For the grand fee of £50, we had to take our digital box with us and plug it in at the new property. We decided we only needed one phone line, and arranged to move one of our telephone numbers with us. We were moving in on a Monday. We were told that our telephone would be up and running from around midday, and that we could simply plug our digital box in and receive all the channels we had before. The property we moved to did not have a cable modem connection fitted, so we had to arrange for that to be installed. After much faffing about (they wanted us to go 3 WEEKS without the cable modem - so not possible for internet junkies like us) we arranged for the cable modem connection to be done on the Wednesday morning. Seems straightforward doesn't it? Well of course not, this is NTL we are talking about. Monday evening, just moved house, no phone. Line totally dead. I wanted to phone my parents to let them know how the move had gone. I had to call NTL on my mobile phone (so no freephone there then) and finally got through after three quarters of an hour. I discovered that when they had arranged for our cable modem to be installed on the Wednesday, they had also moved our telephone and television installation to the Wednesday. I was informed there was absolutely no way they could have our telephone connected before that now, as it involved someone physically making the connection at the box. We panicked and checked the TV. We still had our channels on Monday night, but they had gone by Tuesday morning. (Fortunately for NTL this meant I did not miss Dark Angel, or there really would have been hell to pay!). The "cable guy" turned up at 8 am on Wednesday moring and everything has been sorted since. Except the billing. We have 2 NTL bills (they bill separately for the TV on one bill, and the telephone and modem on the other - how confusing is that) and we pay them both by direct debit. I had been assured that these DDs would remain in place when we moved. So I was less than chuffed when I received a snotty "you have not paid your bill" letter from NTL. When I telephoned them (I know the NTL piped phone music by heart now) it transpired that they had kept one DD, but not the other. Great help. I paid the bill on the phone and re-set up the direct debit. Problem solved. Except that on my next bill I discovered they had slapped on a "non-direct debit handling charge" of £2. Rest assured, I got them to remove that charge! So as you can gather, I am not thoroughly impressed by NTLs service. However, I stick with them because: * I cannot live without the cable modem * The telephone service is reasonably priced, especially when compared to BT (and they now do a scheme where you pay £8 per month for free evening an weekend calls to local and national numbers) * I regard them as the lesser of two evils (soon to be coming op on BT!) If you are stuck with NTL as I am, you may find these tips useful: * If you have a problem, try phoning them at 8 am when their lines first open - you can get straight through. * When you get the message "To help us identify what knid of phone you are using, please press 9 now" DO NOT press anything. They will assume you do not have a touch-tone phone and you will be entered straight in the queue for a customer service advisor. * Be nice to the poor sod at the end of the phone - they probably hate NTL even more than you do. I actually got into a conversation with one once who sympathised with the problems I was experiencing, as he had had the same problems with them himself! Generally this makes them more sympathetic, and it's easier to negotiate credits where they've messed things up. * Check your bills carefully and make sure you pick them up on it straight away if there's anything you disagree with. In my experience they will put it right, but you may have to be patient! So, NTL far from perfect, but you can get a reasonable service from them if you keep on top of them. What does NTL stand for? We asked them, and apparently it doesn't actually stand for anything. However, my husband and I have concluded it stands for Nasty Theiving Liars. This amused the NTL customer service advisor I informed of th is no end!