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Decent VDSL ISPs

Discussion in 'off topic' started by MJS, Aug 21, 2020.

  1. MJS

    MJS Technical Tinkerer

    After nearly two decades with Plusnet I'm ready to throw in the towel. I'm having intermittent problems and can't even talk to an engineer because they're too busy and just hang up on me now.

    I'm after an ISP that doesn't do lowest-common-demoninator level of service. I work from home using video calling and remote desktops and probably will be for the foreseeable future. My connection latency and QoS is important, headline speed isn't, we're 400m from a VDSL cabinet and up to now it's been really reliable.

    I don't need BT sport, a working POTS service or any fancy add-ons. An email address would be handy, but that isn't something I can't get from Apple, Google etc.

    I like the idea of Andrews and Arnold because I can talk technical to them and they're consistently rated the best by those that use them, however they're very expensive. I saw Uno was a relative newcomer that supposedly has A&A-like levels of service but far cheaper, does anyone here use them? Is there anyone else I should be looking at?
  2. davidlf

    davidlf Active Member

    Have a look at Zen Internet. I use them myself for domain hosting and internet, and recommend them to customers.
    ghostbusters likes this.
  3. bernardhepworth

    bernardhepworth pfm Member

    I'm in the same position as you MJS.

    I don't understand how Plusnet get high ratings for customer service, as they are just not good enough.

    They are very coy about telling you but you can keep your plusnet email address for free by using their webmail service.

    I've just set my daughter up with Zen Internet at her student house and I'm looking to use them to replace plusnet
  4. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader From the Dark Side

    What are these ' intermittent problems ?' Maybe its something local? A home BB service is a 'best endeavours' type SLA thats why its so cheap for what you get. If you require a business SLA then go for a business service. It'll cost more but you'll get the service and support. Broadband enhanced (see links below) looks good value with 4G ensure bundled in.

    However your existing problems are still worth investigating as it may be resolved from your end with luck. For most BB vendors the 'last mile' is provided by Openreach (BT) unless they have their own infrastructure in the ground.

    BTW POTS is planned for sunset 2025 and will be replaced with an IP service.


  5. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    Zen or Andrews & Arnold, been using both for myself and clients for donkeys, proper tech support, get what you pay for, in reality it isn’t that much dearer.

  6. hifinutt

    hifinutt hifinutt

    Thick question...what's vdsl?
  7. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day


    Very high-speed Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL)
    hifinutt likes this.
  8. hifinutt

    hifinutt hifinutt

    Ah thanks ...never heard of that
  9. MJS

    MJS Technical Tinkerer

    The problem with intermittent connections is that Plusnet's sanitised router doesn't tell you anything useful about the line, and when you want to call them up as the issues are happening in real-time you can't get through to anyone. I'm in rural location just outside Bletchley but we're on the Bletchley exchange which is fully unbundled so I should be able to get a choice of backhaul providers. If I lived on the other side of the railway tracks I could have gigabit fibre :mad:
  10. Mark Grant

    Mark Grant Trade: Mark Grant Cables

    Have to disagree with that :) , VDSL is fake fibre.

    Real fibre needs a fibre optic cable installing, if you haven't got a fibre optic cable to your premises then it is fake fibre regardless of what the salesman says.

    Millions of businesses and home users have been sold fake fibre.

    An easy test to see if you have real fibre is to do a speed test to the nearest server with a wired connection to your router.

    with real fibre the ping would be 1ms or 2ms as below.


    jackbarron likes this.
  11. gintonic

    gintonic 50 shades of grey pussy cats

    not always, it might use FTTC and copper to the premises
  12. peterev7

    peterev7 Member

    I suggest that you have a look at IDnet.
    They do domestic and business packages. Not cheap, but service is good. Very easy to contact and speak to somebody if you have an issue.
  13. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    Google for geekery as there are many flavours but for simplicity there are 4 main types of broadband - ADSL, VDSL, G.Fast and FTTP

    ADSL modem link all of the way to the exchange max 21Mb/s

    VDSL modem link to the street cabinet fibre to exchange max 80Mb/s aka FTTC

    G.Fast variant of VDSL on short lines max 160Mb/s

    FTTP fibre installed to property 80Mb/s or 160Mb/s - 330/500/1000 here or coming to a town near you soon aka FTTP​

    Then you get Ethernet usually starts at 10Mbps both ways (symmetric) up to 10Gbps - spendy aka Real Fibre
  14. MJS

    MJS Technical Tinkerer

    All the fibre I use at work starts at 10Gb ;)

    I agree with BT's FTTC being fake fibre, they're just trying to sweat the last bit of copper* for as long as possible.

    *Sometimes Aluminium, although that doesn't officially exist. It certainly did where I used to live in Kent - you could even see on a time-domain reflectometer where the join was.
  15. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    Part of Milton Keynes was cabled with Alu makes no odds once they started to get FTTP though (I think they got it ahead of others due to Alu), must have been a pita before that, I think somewhere over in Glasgow was same - new town build rolled out with Alu
  16. MJS

    MJS Technical Tinkerer

    MK I believe was wired up without copper from the main exchange. It kind of was a hybrid fibre/POTS installation to local cabinets, much like FTTC is now. It worked fine until ADSL came along and absolutely no-one could get it. Now it's one of the most connected cities in the UK.

    Alas, although I can see it outside my window I'm in a different local authority.
  17. LecsonQuad

    LecsonQuad pfm Member

    I'm with Zen. Not the cheapest but reliable and with very good UK helpline.
  18. MJS

    MJS Technical Tinkerer

    I'm looking at ISP Reviews - Zen are either really good or really crap nowadays, or it's just the really pissed off ones that are vocal and everyone else is fine. It's good to hear positive experiences on here.

    Edit: My local exchange has Zen's own network equipment, and their router seems like a good model. I'm swaying towards them.
  19. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    Zen have had issues due to restructuring, I have complained along with many others from what my Account Manager told me, they appear to have addressed the issues raised by Partners for the most part, hard to tell until we get through COVID if the support will be as good as before. I've called in half a dozen times recently and had the same level of excellent support - they even call you back and chase up issues. My problems arising mostly due to the recent Storm at rural sites. They are still my favourite followed by A&A who are more techy focused.

    They are all much of a muchness until there are problems, if you're lucky you can get away with a cheap as chips provider for years, personally I want peace of mind there is backup if things go tits. Cheap and cheerful I use PlusNet - usually as a failover option if 4G is not viable.
  20. MJS

    MJS Technical Tinkerer

    Plusnet have been great for the most part, they certainly are cheap and cheerful, I just want a basic connection after all. But the needs of today's connection is vastly different to that of 6 months ago. I don't want to have to engage on twitter to get someone to tell me turn it off and on again, which, by the way is what has been fixing the issues. I'd rather someone could tell me why that's the case.

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