A pathetic appeal for ISP help

Over a month ago now, I got a lovely letter from TalkTalk welcoming me into their corporate family. Which was quite a surprise cos I ditched TalkTalk as soon as my contract was fulfilled over 18 months ago, because of their absolutely abysmal line speed and constant drop-outs (and let's not go near the customer service). I switched to Tiscali who, it turns out, have been taken over by the dread TalkTalk (how did I miss this? What part of the Guardian was that in?).

I tried calling Tiscali to find out if the infrastructure would be affected – whether, in time, the lovely connectivity I enjoy with them is going to vanish one night when we're all transferred to a new server, and nobody could tell me. (In fact, let's not go near customer service at all; we all have our call centre nightmare stories where all we need to do is reset our passwords and we have to go through 10 minutes of pointless scripting.) But just on principle I can't stand being with TalkTalk again, so I may need to switch ISPs. But my life is such a disorganised shambles that if it's taken me this long to even start thinking about it, the chances of me getting my head around the options are slim-to-none. So I'm asking for your help.

A few notes: I could really do with a package that has free international calls – the few times I've used Skype I'm not sure I fancy using it as the only method of calling my parents; I don't need / want 1,000 channels of telly, even though from the amount of junk mail I get from Virgin Media I'm guessing the street is cabled (though it could be just that, since Virgin's only up the road, they get rid of all their letters by dumping them through local letter boxes. Surely nothing else could explain this three year attempt to batter me down).

Help? Anyone?

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5 responses to “A pathetic appeal for ISP help

  1. Jason January 26, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    I’bve been very happy with be for the past year. You pay for what you get, basically.
    It’s not cheap – for just under £18 a month, I get constant speeds of 10Megs downstream in SW8.
    Customer service is really great, and you receive emails ahead of any (rare) outage.
    If you need to be online constantly and reliably, be should work for you. Rolling contract as well.

  2. Dave January 27, 2010 at 9:00 am

    I use Zen, for one reason: good customer service.
    They’re also not cheap. But they *are* helpful.

  3. Tom January 27, 2010 at 9:47 am

    .. and I use Virgin’s cable internet, which I’d recommend. It’s less prone to speed issues than ADSL (it either works or it doesn’t, generally) and doesn’t cost too much.
    I think, though I’m not sure, that you can get it without the TV etc, but I must confess to paying for the lot – I have a geeky need for High Def television, which they provide.
    No idea about call packages etc I’m afraid. Oh, but you could try Vonage – it’s like Skype, but without faffing about with a computer to make and receive calls.

  4. MerryGlennie February 1, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    I’m afraid I can’t recommend another ISP as I’m in the same Tiscali/Talk Talk situation as you. However, I’m impressed that Virgin have only been harassing you for three years. I’ve had to put up with junk mail from them (and their predecessor, Telewest) since I moved into my current address over a decade ago. Still, at least the overly-frequent letters are better than the personal visits I used to get from their salespeople. Anyway, as for Virgin’s broadband service, everyone I know who uses it complains that it disappears without notice on a regular basis and their customer service is pretty useless. Unfortunately that sounds like most other ISPs. Perhaps making a list, closing your eyes and sticking a pin in the list somewhere would be the best way to find a reliable, customer-friendly ISP?

  5. Rachel February 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Well, it’s only 3 years harrassment cos I’ve only lived here that long… not impressed with the sound of Virgin dropping out every now and again; that drove me insane with TalkTalk but I’ve never had a a problem with Tiscali.
    Rolling contract sounds like an excellent idea. Thank you everyone, lots to think about!

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