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Saturday, 23 June 2007


ISP. Internet Service Provider.

I feel sure they are the same the world over in their ineptness and total disregard for their customers be they home users or business users. However, our incumbent telephone and broadband provider are surely worst of the lot. They control the telephony in this City. The have no competition in the broadband field. They have become inept, aloof and utterly contemptuous of their customers.

I will not name my ISP as no doubt they will see it as an attack and try to stick me with some libel rubbish. Over the years, including a long time before The Internet came along, I have been arguing for the greater good with our incumbent telephone company. When all the provided was basic telepony services the arguments were usually restricted to noise on the line sort of arguments. Then our incumbent telephone company decided to dip their toes in Internet Services. Since they did this it has been a seemingly neverending round of argument after argument.

It is worth mentioning here that our city remains the only one in the UK to have its own telephone company, with all the restrictions that implies. Sure, other telephone companies can come here and provide all the usual services but our incumbent telephone company makes doing this so expensive it becomes prohibitive for any prospective company to come here and offer telephony services.

In recent times, compared to the length of time this company has been around, they started offering broadband services. First 256Kbps down then 512Kbps then 1024Kbps through to 8129Kbps. The 8192Kbps is sold as being "UpTo 8MB" and right there is their get out clause if for whatever reason your line cannot get that high. The current top end broadband connection for home users is 8MB and I think 24MB for business (oh and how you pay through the nose in blood for this!). There are many customers who cannot attain the magic mark of 8MB and the only way this could be fixed is for the telephone company to spend money on upgrading ancient wiring. That, however, is highly unlikely to happen.

They often ignore customer complaints. They always deflect questions. They more often than not send out canned replies. Their HelpDesk is useless for all but the very basic user. They have no way whatsoever of interacting with PowerUsers (there are a lot of those which makes this fact all the more surprising). The problems encountered by any one person are always at the customer end and never, ever, at the ISP end. Etc, etc, etc. I am sure you get the idea.

Now, there are a few, like myself, who will argue for the greater good. You know, if I argue for myself they will fix things for everyone else. At least that is how it should go but more often than not it does not go that way. Their prices remain high compared to similar services from other ISP's around the UK. The services on offer, particularly broadband, are often slow or simply broken. The ignorance within the company to issues raised is institutionalised. We users lag behind other ISP offering regarding top speeds. The HelpDesk is useless for all but the most basic of users. The list of issues gets ever longer instead of ever smaller. They have fixed things along the way but by and large there remains too many issues to let the whole matter drop.

One area that sucks bigtime is their recent introduction of Traffic Shaping. They call it something else but it is Traffic Shaping. With this they have slowed down all the protocols except for a few like email, web browsing (but not downloading) and Skype. All others are shaped to be as slow as they can be without, they hoped, the customer noticing. How wrong they were. People like myself use all the available protocols so immediately spotted this Traffic Shaping across them all. They make claims that they shape traffic for the good of all customers but they never reckoned on someone like me who uses all the new and still uses all the older protocols. That led to a protracted discussion with them over this whole debacle. But, so intent on slowing peope down they are they at first denied they wre using it. Their usage of was badly flawed in its execution but they would never admit it. They did fix a few things within it but a lotremains slewed against us PowerUsers.

I have been arguing with them now for at least 20 years and I am growing ever tired of doing it. I am looking locally for someone to take up my mantle as the more my arthirits attacks my body the less inclined I am to wade into yet another argument with the 'Home users count for nothing' telephone company. However, until such a time as I have selected someone to continue to to fight this cause I shall continue myself.

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