GUIDE How to Choose a Broadband Internet Provider - Page 8 - UK ISPreview
GUIDE How to Choose a Broadband Internet Provider
By: Mark Jackson - September 5th, 2011 : Page 8 -of- 9
"there are plenty of rules and regulations that have been designed to protect consumers, even if some of them are merely voluntary"

how to choose a uk broadband providerTake for example, TalkTalk, which until its 2009 acquisition of Tiscali had been a fairly reasonable if not untroubled provider. At first glance many expected that TalkTalk's seemingly superior balance of services and support would rub off on the new Tiscali base of the business, but in fact the opposite seems to have occurred. Here are a few examples.

* New Email SPAM Deletion Measures Anger UK TalkTalk ISP Customers

* Ofcom UK Force Broadband ISP TalkTalk to Repay GBP2.5m Over Billing Mistakes

* UK ISP TalkTalk Tops Ofcom List of Telecom Operators with Most Complaints

* Ofcom Accuses UK ISP TalkTalk of Using Dishonest Conduct to Sell its Service

* Ofcom UK Toughens Broadband Complaint Handling as TalkTalk Labelled Worst ISP

* Ofcom UK Fine Broadband ISP TalkTalk GBP3 Million for Continued Billing Mistakes

It's also fair to say that ISPs do have the capacity to improve. The Mobile Broadband services from Three (3) use to be among the country's worst but the operator has recently managed to turn that around and become one of the best, at least in terms of performance and price. It's for all of these reasons that prefers not to label any specific ISP as the "worst"; the winds of change are constantly moving. Today it might be TalkTalk but tomorrow it could be somebody else.

Awareness of Important Industry Rules

Contrary to the belief of some, the UK internet access industry is not the Wild West, even though it might sometimes appear to be that way. In fact there are plenty of rules and regulations that have been designed to protect consumers, even if some of them are merely voluntary arrangements. It's worth familiarising yourself with the important ones.

1. Ofcom's Migration Rules

Ofcom’s General Condition 22 (GC22) rule mandates that all fixed line broadband ISPs must supply a Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) within 5 working days of request and free of charge. This facilitates your ability to switch provider and means that customers cannot be held to ransom (prevented from leaving) by their ISP for any reason. MAC’s are separate from any disputes, financial or otherwise, that you may have with your ISP.

In practice the MAC system is far from perfect and usually only applies to DSL providers. This is due to the technical incompatibility between other broadband technologies, most of which require an entirely new connection via different infrastructure to work.

Further Details:

2. Ofcom's Voluntary Broadband Speed Code of Practice v1 [2008] and v2 [2010]

At the time of writing Ofcom operates two codes of practice, both of which aim to ensure that the broadband speed you receive is as close as possible to what your ISP predicted you'd get during signup. Two editions of the code exist, with the original 2008 version being much softer than the latest 2010 edition. Further information, including what the rules mean and a list of supporting ISPs can be found below.

Further Details:

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