Changing ISP in Italy: any advice?
December 1, 2011 12:15 AM   Subscribe

[Italy filter] There are many enticing offers in Italy nowadays for internet accounts including "free" (in the sense of "included in the price") phonecalls, etc., all of them looking quite a lot cheaper than my present contract (Alice from Telecom Italia). But I'm nervous about switching accounts...

The problem is that I seem to remember from a year or so back a lot of people complaining that, when they switched providers, they were stuck for days or weeks or even months with no access, because the provider of the account they had closed deliberately dragged their feet about the handover of the line to the new ISP. Also, because Telecom Italia own the last mile, they allegedly refuse access to technicians from other ISPs with some excuse or other ("We're fixing our own customers' problems right now, we'll give you access when we're through"), and your line problems hang about for days before they get solved.

I'm an intensive internet user, mostly to do tele-work to round up my miserable pension. No internet would be more than an annoyance to me; it would also be a financial disaster.

So here's the question: Does any Italian or Italy-based MeFite have direct experience of this and can explain the current situation? Or, given that there are probably not many of us in Italy, can you point me to an Italian forum or other site where I can read about other people's experience and learn the tricks to force a swift handover?
posted by aqsakal to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
If it's not Fastweb (who are more likely to have their own physical lines, or at least that seems to be the case here in Rome), don't bother. After having worked in an Internet cafe in the earlier half of this decade, right when Adsl was first rolling out, I made it a personal policy to stay with Telecom at my house, and added Fastweb to that very very short list when they started putting in cable lines to various palazzi.

More recently, my flatmates last year switched from Fastweb to Infostrada. The interruption in service was minimal (maybe a day) if I recall correctly, but the service after was abysmal. The surfing speeds were ridonkulously slow, especially during peak hours, and customer service was absolute shite. Even when I would have a ping times and traceroutes placing the problem square at their door, the clueless phone center operators insisted that the problem was with our operating systems (um no - I have three different ones), our computers (all six of them), or some other equally infuriating bullshit excuse that made no sense from a technical standpoint. We went back to Fastweb after 4 months.

Generally I tend more towards Telecom than Fastweb, because I usually find Fastweb to be more pricey than Telecom. The current flat I'm in though, I didn't really have much of a choice.

That's my experience, for what it's worth. YMMV
posted by romakimmy at 2:25 AM on December 1, 2011

Response by poster: Hmmm. Disappointing but very helpful input - many thanks, romakimmy. Yes, I've found Telecom pretty efficient in fixing complaints, but was still hoping to save a buck here and there. No chance whatever of new lines/opticals out here in the sticks.
posted by aqsakal at 4:22 AM on December 1, 2011

tiscali is so-so, but generally ok, and they offer POTS voice service as well -- if you choose them you can probably save a few euros of "canone".

frankly i just switched from mclink to alice, and i doubt you can find anything cheaper -- mostly because whoever you choose, you're still using telecom italia lines -- so alice is hard to undercut.
(but then again this is internet-only as i have a separate voice line)

make sure you arent being offered VOIP calls, because those are usually awful quality.

seconding that it's best to avoid libero/infostrada (they do traffic shaping, degrading torrent and competing voip offers)

if your building has fiber access, fastweb can be cool but pricey.

i guess tiscali is best bet..
posted by 3mendo at 12:55 PM on December 1, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, 3mendo. That's plenty of info to get my teeth into. It seems I'd be wiser to stay with Telecom Italia.

But I'm still curious to know whether there are still any horror stories going around about a switch in ISP leaving one cut off from the world for days/weeks, despite the good experience of romakimmy's flatmates.
posted by aqsakal at 1:01 AM on December 2, 2011

my experience was pretty good in this regard -- downtime of about an hour. What you may want to do is waiting until your new contract/connection is in place before closing the old one. There apparently is a law that forces you to pay until the end of your contract anyway and pay a €40 fee for switching -- the same law requires your old ISP to give you a "migration code" that you should give to the new ISP. It wasn't needed at all in my case.
posted by 3mendo at 8:04 AM on December 2, 2011

« Older Help me give my first lap dance!   |   Does anyone remember this educational computer... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.