Broadband contracts

  Singerz 11:30 26 Nov 2003

I am looking at getting broadband but want some advice as to the length of contract to sign up for.

It's cheaper to sign up for a 12 months contract as opposed to a month by month basis.

But what are the risks of 12 months contract? Obviously if the company goes bust I have no provider and don't get my money back.

What I am most wary of is that if the provider I choose turn out to be bad, I am tied in for a year.

Does anyone have some advice as to which way I should go?

  MichelleC 11:55 26 Nov 2003

I've used Pipex, Datanet and Plusnet for home and work and some are better than others on support. I joined Pipex when they did a free modem exchange but hadn't geared up for the surge in sign-ups. Support then was rubbish, but maybe ok now. Datanet are very good on support but I now use Metronet click here as I now only pay for data-rate and last mth's bill was £11, and their support is excellent.

  minter 14:01 26 Nov 2003

Blimey, that's cheaper than most, if not all, the 56k ISPs charge.

At the moment I too am with Pipex, and they have an £18 connection fee (includes modem and filters), but I think there is a £87 fee if you pull out before 12 months are up.

Thanks to MichelleC I will now be chomping at the bit waiting for the 12 months to finish.

Pipex's help is only available office hours Mon-Fri. Bit awkward at weekends, when most problems occur.

But crossed fingers, have not had any major probs up till now.

  Djohn 16:15 26 Nov 2003

I've just changed from AOL broadband to zen Broadband, AOL have a 12 month contract but released me from this. zen is month by month.

with AOL I was averaging 320-330 kbs but with zen it's up to 480 kbs, quite a difference in speed. j.

  Hunte® 18:14 26 Nov 2003

Beware the long-term viability of any ADSL provider who charges less than about £18 per month for 512K connection. The BTWholesale part of the bill (that has to be paid regardless of usage) is about £15, so by paying only £11 per month, they are losing £4 on the BTW price, before taking into account any other charges.

Personally I use Force9 - click here - (AKA Plusnet) and pay £21.99pm for connection, 250Mb webspace, CGI, PHP, MySQL. There is also a cheaper £18.99 pm option that bars P2P apps and binary newsgroups.

  Forum Editor 18:56 26 Nov 2003

You need to remember that ALL broadband providers have to buy the service from BT wholesale before thay can provide it to you, so anyone who is charging you less than the standard wholesale cost per month is losing money. No company can trade like that indefinitely, and either costs will rise, connection speeds will drop, or the company will be in trouble.

Signing a 12 month contract isn't so terrible, provided you go with one of the established providers. I've had an ADSL connection from BT ever since the service started, and apart from a couple of minor teething problems right at the start when it was all very new , and a billing problem on one occasion the service has been superb.

  bremner 19:00 26 Nov 2003

FE is right... apart from NTL and Telewest who are not ties to BT as they are cable broadband and NOT via telephone lines.

  spuds 19:01 26 Nov 2003

If you compare the ISP companies terms and conditions, you will find slight differences between each company. A couple of ISP companies have in their twelve month contracts,a free release clause, if you move house and BT cannot provide a suitable connection or same telephone number installation.This sort of thing would be worth thinking about, should you wish or need to move house. Having a ISP who like many, have to connect via BT line could prove to be of advantage, should you wish to pursue the connection or re-connection problem.BT cannot provide a suitable line, so where would it go from there?.

  Sir Radfordin 19:16 26 Nov 2003

Ah but NTL and Telewest supply cable internet access, and everyone else supply ADSL! (Though NTL do both as they have a deal with AOL for ADSL!)

Zen have a very good reputation and the 1 month contract is a huge bonus. As FE points out there is little danger with many of the 12 month contracts, after all people take them out all the time on phones, sky, cable deals. I would be more wary of a pay-up-front deal for 12 months.

  Djohn 19:52 26 Nov 2003

Also, as FE and sir rad say, "There is nothing to be feared from a 12 month contract" I had such a contract with AOL and they released me from this after only four months.

My request for release were genuine and AOL agreed so. This is another good reason for choosing an ISP that is prepared to listen to it's customers, and put the customers interest first, rather than hold you to a contract that is not in the best interest of either party.

I had been with AOL for three years, first on dial-up, then the last three months on Broadband. The service from them was always first class, I was very happy to be with them until their recent policy of dealing with email, caused problems that we could not work around even though they tried very hard to resolve them. j.

  Dipso 21:48 26 Nov 2003

I have been on ADSL now since May 2003. I spent a while researching before I made my decision and I narrowed my choices down to either Zen or Virgin. The reason I chose these were 1. They both had free connection (at the time) and 2. They both had a 1 month contract.

I had read through many reviews click here from people who had signed up for 12 month contracts and found the service was poor but were tied in for the remainder of the contract.

It's up to you but I think I made the right decision. I chose Virgin in the end (because I had never heard of Zen before!) and they had a good rep for their dial-up service.

After being connected for a couple of months I found that I could save myself at least a tenner a month if I switched to Metronet. I haven't looked back since (and I am glad I did looking at Virgins service lately!).

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