Which BB provider?

Soldato
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Hey chaps,
Just finishing up with Sky, originally planned to go with Zen and keep sky TV basics (£5 pcm) but money is now incredibly, tight for obvious reasons. So considering other BB offerings.

Options currently are:
  • Sky, able to use own equipment. 60mbit ish. £27pcm. Good upload, no complaints.
  • Virgin, SH3 in modem only. Worse upload. Puma chipset still an issue? 100mbit. £27pcm
  • Vodafone - £24pcm, no idea what I'm getting into. Equipment etc
  • Other vendors like TalkTalk, little to no saving, heard they're not good.
I like to use my own kit. Been perfectly happy with Sky, and by removing the phone package and getting rid of the speed boost / guarantee nonsense, it's the same price as Virgin. Doubt that will affect anything, it was free initially.

But worried about the SH3 as it's had some issues and I can't use my own modem as I can with Sky. Faster downloads would be nice, but concerned about gaming performance and the Puma chipset. Apparently modem only mode now rectified this?

Not used any other vendors for years, so happy to hear opinions as they're a total unknown quantity.

Advice much appreciated!
 
Soldato
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With adsl does it even matter who you go with since it all goes through the same telephone line so speed wont be different.
 
Associate
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Ive used my own kit on talktalk, voda, plusnet, bt and sky all were basically exactly the same apart from voda which was terrible and I had to drop out of the contract in the cooling off period so many drops.
I'll just move onto the next one which is cheapest when my renewal comes up.
 
Soldato
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With adsl does it even matter who you go with since it all goes through the same telephone line so speed wont be different.

Virgin isn't ADSL, it's FTTC. However, their SH3 uses a modem that uses the Puma chipset which has been plagued with issues, and you need to use it, even if just as a modem.

Additionally customer service goes a long way for me, hence considering Zen originally.
 
Associate
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Virgin Media can be very dependent on the area but at least in my experience, SH3 in modem mode has been absolutely fine. Downloading / streaming / work VC / online gaming
 
Soldato
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Virgin isn't ADSL, it's FTTC. However, their SH3 uses a modem that uses the Puma chipset which has been plagued with issues, and you need to use it, even if just as a modem.

Additionally customer service goes a long way for me, hence considering Zen originally.

From what I understand (not much), Virgin is a totally different network that will connect to your house via a separate coaxial cable that may need to be installed if you don't have it. It tends to have better throughput but I think I heard worse latency in some cases.

FTTC is effectively what most areas are now offering over the telephone lines. This is often advertised as 'Fibre Broadband' and is just fibre to the green box then the same copper line to your house, so your speed will depend on the length and quality of that line. This is also referred to as VDSL, with ADSL being the older option over the phone line which will max out at much lower speeds (maybe 10-15 mbps, I can't remember correctly). VDSL can be good for up to 80mbps if you have a short, good line to the green box.

You could also check if you can get FTTH, which is a true fibre connection and I think these can go to silly speeds like 1gbps etc. if you want to pay. Not many areas have this yet, but I think you can use a BT line checker to find out if you can.

EDIT: I see you're looking at support as a way to help swing your decision. I just renewed my VDSL/FTTC contract with Plusnet as the price was competitive with everything else and also whenever I've had to deal with them it's been super easy and fast, especially with the UK call centre. Hopefully that's still a thing. I can definitely recommend them unless you need bleeding edge functionality like IPv6, which they're a bit slow to take up.

EDIT2: If you live in a 'busy' Virgin area, the performance can be absolutely terrible. The service and support is even worse. I had their service in an oversubscribed city area (Bristol) and latency was awful, upload was awful, it was impossible to game. This went on almost 2 years and after weeks of arguments they sent me a £12 cheque in the post. What a joke.
 
Soldato
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Virgin Media can be very dependent on the area but at least in my experience, SH3 in modem mode has been absolutely fine. Downloading / streaming / work VC / online gaming
This. Some areas are heavily oversubscribed and if you live in a university town then the service can be awful. A friend routinely saw 5-10mbps at peak times in Edinburgh which magically resolved itself over the summer and at Christmas and during the day and after about 1AM. Moved to Sky and got a consistent 60 mbps and was much happier.
 
Associate
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I've had very few problems in the years i've been with VM (M200) and i'm still on the SH2AC I would like more upload but i have no intention of touching the SH3. (although I use all my own kit and the SH is modem mode)

I'm patiently waiting for the day hyperoptic is available here i'd switch to their symmetrical service in a heartbeat.
 
Soldato
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SH3 is fine, VM is quite dependent on how good your area is though. Mine has been, on the whole, superb for circa 15+ years.
SH3 works fine in modem mode, I use it with my own router.

New customer might get the SH4? dunno.
 
Associate
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SH3 is fine, VM is quite dependent on how good your area is though. Mine has been, on the whole, superb for circa 15+ years.
SH3 works fine in modem mode, I use it with my own router.

New customer might get the SH4? dunno.

As far as I know doesn't the SH3 still have hardware level latency spikes still even patched?
 
Associate
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Possibly but it doesn't appear to affect anything from my point of view. I play Fifa 21, Apex Legends and POE online. Son plays Warzone, GTA V, Apex Legends and Minecraft. Neither of us notice any issues.
Fair enough, I just remember when I was looking at network upgrades for better wifi and no network congestion the SH3 was not in a good way at the time.
 
Soldato
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Very much appreciate the advice chaps.

After a sales call with Virgin, they're off the table. Some of the most disgusting and aggressive sales tactics and upselling I've ever experienced.

Not sure if they've outsourced addition call centres who work on commission, or they've just changed since I was last with them, but I was genuinely surprised.
  • Had to tell them 6 times I wouldn't be signing up today, incredibly pushy
  • Had to tell them twice I did not want to receive marketing materials, even after clarifying this unprompted at the start
  • Had to tell them 4 times I did not need faster than 100mbit, constantly attempted to convince me otherwise after this
  • Had to repeatedly explain that the self-install would not work as I had removed the cabling. At least four times.
  • Had to explain God knows how many times I would rather not have an SH3 before they investigated the 4 or 2ac, over 30 minutes to get them to find out
  • Even after saying I was ringing re: the online deal, they wanted to charge me nearly £100 of fees and had to point out individually each one was FOC online
Whole experience was by far the worst of any service provider I've dealt with that I can recall. Ended up telling them as much as that their behaviour alone meant there's no way I'd be using them.

If I were not as with it, or vulnerable, a simple query call could have easily led to me being in an 18 month contract way outside of my budget. Pretty disgusting, at least imo.
 
Soldato
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Very much appreciate the advice chaps.

After a sales call with Virgin, they're off the table. Some of the most disgusting and aggressive sales tactics and upselling I've ever experienced.

Not sure if they've outsourced addition call centres who work on commission, or they've just changed since I was last with them, but I was genuinely surprised.
  • Had to tell them 6 times I wouldn't be signing up today, incredibly pushy
  • Had to tell them twice I did not want to receive marketing materials, even after clarifying this unprompted at the start
  • Had to tell them 4 times I did not need faster than 100mbit, constantly attempted to convince me otherwise after this
  • Had to repeatedly explain that the self-install would not work as I had removed the cabling. At least four times.
  • Had to explain God knows how many times I would rather not have an SH3 before they investigated the 4 or 2ac, over 30 minutes to get them to find out
  • Even after saying I was ringing re: the online deal, they wanted to charge me nearly £100 of fees and had to point out individually each one was FOC online
Whole experience was by far the worst of any service provider I've dealt with that I can recall. Ended up telling them as much as that their behaviour alone meant there's no way I'd be using them.

If I were not as with it, or vulnerable, a simple query call could have easily led to me being in an 18 month contract way outside of my budget. Pretty disgusting, at least imo.

The first four points are not cool, but sales staff are paid to sell, it's actually a thing that they have to ask you if you'd like to place the order now, if you want the online deal, you do that online as different sales channels have different offers. The fifth is obvious - you can't have a SH2, they haven't supplied them in years (officially), you also won't be given a SH4 as you aren't taking Gig1 and don't therefore fit the criteria. The final point is a strange one, if you ripped out the isolation plate and master socket, then technically you are liable for the cost of it's replacement - it wasn't technically your property to remove and the contract you (or whoever had it installed) agreed to stated as much, same with OR master socket or ONT. Other than that, the only way I can see you getting close to the number you suggest would be if you had a conditional pass on the credit check and were required to pay a deposit, but it doesn't sound like you got to that point as you clearly say you didn't place or try to place an order. Whoever you go with, use Quidco/TCB, it's literally free money.
 
Man of Honour
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When I signed up to VM I just went on thier website and did it in 2 seconds without needing to speak to them?
 
Associate
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With adsl does it even matter who you go with since it all goes through the same telephone line so speed wont be different.

Yes it matters, because after you reach the Broadband Network Gateway of your provider (the otger end of the physicsl link) then your traffuc goes across their backbone routers to their peering partners. It's no use (fir gamers) having great bandwidth if you have poor latency dye to provuder backbone MPLS hops, QoS queuing and congestion.

Very few ISPs (none?) publish details about their latencies in the consumer market.

By the way, Fortnite servers reside on AWS. You can check your latency to AWS using ping.psa.fun.
 
Soldato
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The first four points are not cool, but sales staff are paid to sell, it's actually a thing that they have to ask you if you'd like to place the order now, if you want the online deal, you do that online as different sales channels have different offers. The fifth is obvious - you can't have a SH2, they haven't supplied them in years (officially), you also won't be given a SH4 as you aren't taking Gig1 and don't therefore fit the criteria. The final point is a strange one, if you ripped out the isolation plate and master socket, then technically you are liable for the cost of it's replacement

Thanks for the input fella.

Virgin installed neither an isolation plate, nor socket, inside the property. It was coax cable and a splitter, which Sky clipped off. They can have it back if they want it, it's in the loft ;)

It was around £80 worth of fees iirc, including an engineer visit which was free when I signed up with them last time, and with Sky. Generally speaking telephones sales absolutely have access to online deals, that's just not what they start at.

It's disingenuous, imo, to attempt to add installation fees when you've already stated you're looking at the online deal. I've got no problem asking for business, I made a living out of it for years. I've got a problem with attempting to overcome repeatedly, ignoring anything the customer says. The experience was akin to a dodgy double glazing salesman applying as much pressure as possible.

If I haven't used Virgin for years, why would it be obvious? I don't keep up with the technology provided by individually ISPs when I'm in contract, and I don't use them unless necessary. For me at least, it was an entirely reasonable question.

When I signed up to VM I just went on thier website and did it in 2 seconds without needing to speak to them?

My experience is precisely why I spoke to them. In the past Virgin were pretty good, this was not.

In contrast, I was done with the best rate from Sky in 10 minutes, they answered technical questions quickly, and once I refused the business, they didn't repeatedly push, or carry on the conversation as if I'd said nothing and they needed my details to get signed up. If anything I underplayed how aggressive Virgin was, for the sake of brevity.

Anyways, decision is to stick with Sky, they've been good, I can use my own kit, and I got a decent rate.

Thanks for the help chaps!
 
Soldato
Joined
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6,962
Telephone sales do not have access to other sales channels offers as a rule, they operate as a separate channel to online, direct retail, 3rd party retail and field, each has its own budget and offers. While technically they could use another channels campaign codes (offers), if they do, the marketing budget comes from the other channel, when the adherence reports come out all hell breaks loose as tens of thousands of pounds from one department has been spent by another who are also now getting paid bonuses because of it at the expense of the people who it was intended to be used by, that doesn’t tend to go down well, I know people who were fired for doing exactly that.

As soon as you said you were calling about an online offer, if they couldn’t use that particular offer code, they should have politely pointed out they couldn’t offer you that deal and you would need to order online. Instead you both wasted 30+ minutes in what seems to have been them trying to get you off the phone by using overly pushy closes/pricing (it makes zero difference to them if you are charged fees/given free install etc.) which obviously isn’t going to work or help and you getting more frustrated because you weren’t aware they couldn’t help you to begin with. If you’ve worked in target orientated commission based sales, you can probably relate at some level. I’m not excusing it, clearly a simpler and easier way to deal with the enquiry existed.

Either way, at least you got sorted :)
 
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