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Very tiscali'd off!
Member Name: clumsy1974
Date: 21/04/04, updated on 08/10/04 (1014 review reads)
Advantages: Easy set-up
Disadvantages: Poor support, Poor problem resolution, Awful billing
UPDATE - JULY 2004
I have now cancelled Tiscali - after a second bout of the same trouble below. Even this was painful. They cancelled the account without so much as a letter of confirmation - leaving me without a service. I have joined f2s - expect a review on them soon...
Alternate title -
Tiscali Internet ? costs more than you think! - Read on and I will explain..
Broadband ? the brave new world!
Welcome to the high-speed age! Broadband internet is here ? and its available to almost all of us (so long as BT feel they will get enough money out of you and your neighbours and fellow townsfolk to make it worth upgrading your exchange). Official figures estimate that there are now around 11% of UK Internet users with Broadband services at home. Quite a small percentage, but the UK actually has the fastest Broadband take-up rate in the world, according to the Oxford Internet Institute?s report of 2003. I suspect the UK telephone network?s slow response to the demand for the technology has made us seem a little backward compared to the US or Japan where home users can get connections of 7mb per second today. BT have announced this week that a trial in Milton Keynes, to extend the distance users can be from a BB enabled exchange from 3km to 6km ? this could mean that only 500,000 people in the UK would be beyond the reaches of high speed access.
Getting online with an ISP
To get Broadband through an ISP, you need a BT line. If you dont have a BT line, then you will more than likely have a cable TV providor or other service that offers its own flavour of High Speed access. To go along with the basic line rental, BT offers its own connection and ISP service. Its actually one of the most expensive services in the high speed space - £29.99 including ISP access (£27 without) for 512mb. However there are various providers out there that will handle you Broadband business happily. Tiscali are one such company.
Formed from L
;ine-one Internet, and based in Milton Keynes, Tiscali offer a whole suite of internet access packages, including traditional dial up, and three levels of Broadband access from £15.99 per month to £24.99.
Subscribing to Tiscali is fai
rly painless. You can do it
all on line, from checking your BT number for Broadband compatibility to setting up your email address and payment options. Once you?ve completed the process you just wait 10 ? 14 days for your start-up pack to arrive. You may have to pay a start up and modem fees depending on what time of the month it is, what deals are available and what package you start your subscription with.
What you get for your money
This is where things start to get complicated. The market has become very competitive. Providers cannot do much discounting on the prices they offer, due to the cost BT charges them for the access to the network. What they have done is provide you with a selection of connection options that allow them to throttle the pipes they have. You will often have a slower connection speed, a limited time on-line, or a reduce data rate per month. There are often more users to each connection the ISP rents from BT ? this is called contention ratio ? and you often wont find the ISP publishing this ? you?ll have to hunt around for the figure yourself.
The cheapest option from Tiscali (this month) gives you 3x dial up speed (150Kbps), and unlimited access. There are no set-up fees with this option. For £19.99 per month you can have 256Kbps (5x dial up), again with no restrictions. Strangely there is a £25 start-up fee with this choice. Also in the same price bracket you can get the full speed package (512Kbps), with either 50 hours online (2p per minute after this) or 1Gb of data downloaded or uploaded per month,
then 2p per Mb after that. The choice is yours and it would depend on your usage pattern. £24.99 per month will get you full, 512Kb
ps, access with no restrictions. All of these packages come with a minimum subscription of 12 months, and free USB modem. &
#89;ou get up to 5 email addresses and 100mb of webspace ? should you need it.
Is it worth the money?
I first signed up in June 2003. I selected the 256Kbps option
that Tiscali were promoting (then only £14.99 per month) The set-up was painless. I simply plagued in the microfilter (stops your high-tech line sounding like two bean cans and some string), a cable for the PC and the CD for the software install. When instructed, I plugged in the USB, then I was off. I have to say that in those early days, I was highly underwhelmed. My 56k dial-up was faster! I called the Tiscali help line and here the trouble began. The ?technical? guy was clearly based ?offshore? ? and his instructions to me were of a fairly basic level, and of no real effect. It took several calls to the ?Un-Help? desk before I had some software that optimised my connection ? actually getting it working. I was pretty unimpressed, but tied into a 12 month contract.
After a while I found I needed to increase my access speed. I upped my subscription to 512Kbps access. This was actually rather good, and all was happy in the Clumsy house.
Then we moved to Andover. It?s Broadband enabled here too, so I asked Tiscali to move my account over to my new number. This was not the easy task you might think it would be. Tiscali don?t deal directly with BT, so I had to ask both parties to do the transfer separately. This went OK, and we were back on line by the Monday after we moved. A
s you know, when you move house, you get a final bill once all the connections are closed off at your old home. I waited (I needed to send this to my old landlord, so I could get my rather large deposit back) and waited. Still no final bill for our old account. I called
6;T after a month, to be told that I still had an active broadband connection, so no
final bill could be issued. Four more calls to our friends on the help desk were required, before this mess was cleared up.
Three months later, the connection died. Another call the helpdesk and we were left with no access for three days.
Then, the best Tiscali mess-up came through, just today.
br>Apparently, I have not been able to pay my bill since January! I am not destitute, so I was quite puzzled by this. The lady on the accounts line was able to tell me that this may have been due to me being issued a new debit card. Strange how this happened in November, yet they took payments in December and February. In total I had racked up £122.20 worth of unpaid bills. I have settled up, but will be checking very carefully next month - to ensure I have actually paid this time.
Would I recommend Tiscali?
In a word, NO. The painless way you are hooked into a 12 month contract leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy, but that feeling quickly dissipates when you first call the support desk. By the time you have had to stump up four months worth of bills in one go you are left looking forward to the day that contract ends, as I am. I will be cancelling my contract on exactly 12 months, and am open to suggestions as to where to find my Broadband service from then on.
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