Have no fear, this is far less technical than you think. Something you all must be itching to know: Which internet provider or service to choose. So here is what IT consultant Michael Mertens has to say, based on many years of experience with his clients, when his clients ask which internet provider should I choose?
AOL A company shaken by various take overs and mergers. Some say they have now for years the worst customer service known to man, beast and IT specialists. Firmly positioned at the bottom of various league tables, including the WHICH? report. Quite some of our customers were charged quite high prices on many years old tariffs. Probably just a little human error.
Tiscali, TalkTalk – belong to CarPhoneWarehouse, comfortably sitting on the lowest three ranks for years in the WHICH? report. According to an OFCOM report the slowest provider in the UK. There were cases for heavy handed tactics to extend contracts without telling their customers.
Eclipse These were really good, a true West Country experience. Quality. Until the owners sold it all to KCOM group in Hull. Things became quite different since, up there in Hull.
Demon. Well, the devil is in the detail shall we say? In 1992 they were class, the techie’s choice. If only they were not sold to THUS in ’98, part of Cable & Wireless (Yes its true, C&W still exist). Their customers live close between fire and a hot place I say. One of my customers pays £49/month for under 1 MBit of speed. Not a good choice then.
BT Internet might have a more direct access to their own copper lines, so that should be OK, and indeed this is sometimes the case. But they don’t run their own email services, instead have this outsourced to Yahoo!. Yes who, No Who, Dr Who ?? Ya Hoo. Ah, well then. BT can’t get their famous HomeHub as stable as one really needs. Said HomeHub is also not any faster than anybody else’s. What the difference between a traffic jam on a single vs double lane motorway? You feel less lonely. Mind the gap between billboard, TV ads and reality.
PlusNet Owned by BT. Now wants to become famous with the latest definition of what “unlimited” really means. Totally unlimited nonsense. Will there be an “absolutely, totally unlimited” one day, with an add-on you can buy for “unrestricted, absolutely, totally unlimited”??
Yahoo! – Maintains an overly strict anti-spam policy which leads to rejection of genuine emails incoming as much as outgoing. To contact them is almost impossible, one only ever gets automated responses. They basically seem not to care very much about UK customers.
Waitrose – Does not run an own provider, but uses the services of Brightview. Which used to be one of the better providers. Brightview also trades as Plusnet or Madasafish. Maybe a choice for basic needs. Owned now by BT, but luckily not (yet) run by them. As time passes their quality will drop to BT levels and has already done so. Their call center is at least not in India. But in Durban, RSA. Which gives you almost the same regional accent on the phone. You can’t have it all, right?
Hotmail – suffers from spam way more than anybody else. Owned by Microsoft. Good if one needs a throw-away email address to renew one’s car insurance. But this name makes it impossible to not giggle every time. Hot mail, please, you can’t be serious. Now being renamed as Windows Live, it becomes a marketing tool for Big Brother Microsoft to throw down numerous unwanted services. Before people learned its new name, they changed it to Outlook.com and dropped support for certain normal email standards. Their way or no way.
Googlemail technically not a bad service, the only problem: They read your mails in an attempt to deliver better search results to you, otherwise known as adverts. Of course they claim otherwise and don’t call it “to read” but to analyse” Big Brother in a BIG way. Do we trust the young nephews over the pond that much? I don’t. Google, the only company which has a 200 year business plan (seriously).
ZEN Internet – Widely respected provider with good quality. Scores top in WHICH? consumer magazine. They even have real English people on the phone.
Utility Warehouse. Resells whatever seems fit, mainly TalkTalk. High prices to allow them to give pseudo-generous cash backs. Do they really think we won’t realise that? Sold by multi level marketing bods who call themselves independent distributors, a bit like Tupperware. Really? Independent from what exactly? It’s a discount club, not an internet provider.
Michael Mertens, author of this rant. An undiscovered little gem in the big ocean of IT firms. Known for a strange accent, but blimey he knows what he is talking about 🙂