Help me cast off Virgin cable broadband once and for all!
June 11, 2009 7:36 AM   Subscribe

Virgin Media cable broadband sucks, what provider can I use after my contract is up?

We have been using Virgin's (in)famous 20mb cable broadband since August and are tied into a 12 month contract. The internet is usually fine and when it works, it is very very fast. Unfortunately, Virgin are also prone to periods where the internet is mostly unusable; either it is doesn't work at all or it is just too slow. At the moment I am sat behind a connection with a ping of ~2500-3000ms, where it is usually ~20ms. Tech support doesn't fix the problem more often than not.

At the start of this coming August I will be free from this contract and am on the lookout for an isp that can just provide fast, reliable internet with (very important as living in student houseshare) little to no months caps on usage. We are not connected to a BT line and do not want to pay the ridiculous £140 to connect to them in order to sign up with a new isp.

Is there any company out there that is good for me?

posted by tumples to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
If you're in a city where it's available, Be Internet is as fast as it gets, and has gotten good reviews (I know one person using it and he was happy).

Otherwise, I certainly can't say enough good things about Nildram when it comes to ADSL. We only get crappy speeds thanks to living rurally, and BT sucking, but Nildram haven't let us down in years, and the only problem my brother had with them was just an accident when his work stopped paying for his connection.
posted by opsin at 7:47 AM on June 11, 2009

According to this comparison site Virgin is the only cable broadband ISP these days (there used to be NTL, but they were taken over by Virgin).

So you might be short of luck. Are you sure there's no BT line? Even if it's not being used, there might still be one, unless it's a very new house.

Alternatively, might your landlord be prepared to hook the house up to BT? It's a pretty standard thing to expect of a rented house.
posted by altolinguistic at 7:47 AM on June 11, 2009

(opsin, the OP doesn't have a BT line, hence the problem)
posted by altolinguistic at 7:48 AM on June 11, 2009

I cant praise Be* Broadband highly enough. I was getting 16-19Mbps download speeds off them. Their customer support is pretty good. Plus when I came to cancel the account (Im moving to a place without a phone line that has in house broadband) they dealt with me quickly and efficiently.

If you care about upload speed you can subscribe to their pro package and ask them to turn Annex M on on your line. This let me get upload speeds of up to 1.5Mbps.

Although without a BT phone line you wont be able to use them. I'm not sure of your options to be honest. To recieve ADSL you will need a line into the building. I would check with BT if there is a deactivated line to the building. If there is it should be able to be reactivated for a lot less than the extortionate £140 charge.
posted by gergtreble at 7:59 AM on June 11, 2009

Virgin is the only cable ISP in the UK. All your other options require a phone line.

If you don't want to sign up to BT, put your postcode into this page and choose from the LLU operators listed as available.
posted by Mwongozi at 8:51 AM on June 11, 2009

(opsin, the OP doesn't have a BT line, hence the problem)

Gyah, sorry. One of those bloody days!

To add, though, in getting reconnected, it certainly was the case that under certain circumstances (possibly only if you have previously been a customer of theirs) that you can get the line reactivated for free. If there is no physical line, or if you've never had an account with them, prices may vary greatly.
posted by opsin at 10:25 AM on June 11, 2009

Response by poster: Is there a way to see if this line has been used by BT before, so I can then check to see if I can get it reconnected for cheaper? I live in a student house with a turn over of two years, so I have no idea as to who used who before us.

Thanks for the great answers so far though :)
posted by tumples at 12:23 PM on June 11, 2009

I switched from Tiscali to Be following a recommendation by Vacapinta, and it's been great.
posted by roofus at 2:21 PM on June 11, 2009

Best answer: tumples: just give BT a call and tell them your number. They'll be able to tell you if there's an existing line and if it can be reconnected without a charge.
posted by altolinguistic at 1:09 AM on June 12, 2009

doh! tell them your address, even, as presumably you don't know what any previous BT phone number was.
posted by altolinguistic at 5:24 AM on June 12, 2009

I recently lived in a flat which had previously had a BT line, but for some reason - I think they mentioned it being out of use for 3 months - it had been deactivated. Cost £120 to get it reactivated by BT, so don't count on it being much cheaper than a new line installation.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:49 AM on June 12, 2009

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