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UPDATE13 Customers of Broadband ISP Fast.co.uk and 186k Face Shock Cut-off

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016 (11:55 am) - Score 15,820
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Sources have informed ISPreview.co.uk that customers of broadband ISP Fast.co.uk, sibling Firenet and supplier 186k are facing a nasty Christmas SHOCK after the provider, which until recently had been quite stable, suddenly announced that they were “unable to continue” the service.

Customers who attempt to contact the ISP via phone are being told to seek an alternative provider for their broadband and a short service status update confirms this message, while also apologising “for any inconvenience this may cause” (spoken as if the collapse of a vital service were somehow a minor or temporary fault).

Status Update (Dec 13, 09:34 GMT)

If you’re currently experiencing an outage with your broadband service please be advised that you will need to find an alternative broadband provider as we are unable to continue to supply your current service.

Please direct any queries to support@fast.co.uk or support@firenet.co.uk.

Other services, such as website hosting and e-mail are unaffected.

We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.

Some of our industry sources have alleged that Fast.co.uk or 186k may have failed to pay its Wholesale bills, possibly for many months. As a result it seems likely that the supplier might have cut-off their service (we will query this), although the fact that Fast.co.uk had not made customers aware of the problem until it was too late is a serious concern.

Luckily Ofcom’s new migration rule means that customers can start an automatic migration away from the provider by simply signing up to a new ISP (details). Indeed one of the reasons why Ofcom adopted this Gaining Provider Led (GPL) approach is precisely to help tackle situations like this one.

A number of ISPs, such as iDNET, claim to be receiving calls from Fast.co.uk’s subscribers today and are offering to help out. More as soon as we get it.

UPDATE 12:06pm:

Multiple sources also appear to be suggesting that 186k has been closed down and customer lines ceased (186k is connected to Fast.co.uk and they also supply a number of other vISPs). The problem could be about to get even bigger. We note that the statement put out by fast is also being mirrored on 186k and other linked vISPs, such as Firenet, albeit with email/name details changed.

UPDATE 12:18pm:

Another ISP, Aquiss, has begun circling the carcass with an offer of its own for those affected: “Following a series of calls and emails from Fast customers this morning, it would appear that Fast customers have had their broadband services terminated, with messages on their switchboard that seem to appear to point customers towards looking for a new ISP. Line checks in all cases appear show that broadband services are no longer active on the lines.

Aquiss is offering a helping hand to restore services quickly by offering FAST customers free activation (saving £49.95) for orders placed before December 17th 2016. Please call Aquiss on 01746708090 or email sales@aquiss.net for further details.”

This offer also applies to those at the other impacted ISPs (186k supplied etc.).

UPDATE 12:38pm

The way that 186k/Fast.co.uk etc. have stopped their broadband service means that customers may be forced to pay for a new broadband line activation since the traditional GPL migration path, which is often free for ADSL switches, might not work. We are engaging Ofcom on this.

UPDATE 12:45pm

A tweet from ISP Andrews and Arnold (AAISP) once again confirms the exodus.

UPDATE 1:09pm

A quick look at the company details for 186k (here) show that they’ve recently had some musical chairs with company names and their accounts are overdue since 30th November 2016, although this by itself is not too unusual (plenty of companies suffer accounting delays).

UPDATE 2:35pm

iDNET confirms that they’ve been able to switch some customers today, significantly faster than other ISPs have been suggesting.

UPDATE 4:15pm

Ofcom has responded to offer this initial comment.

An Ofcom Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We take the customer impact of providers going out of business very seriously and are working to establish the facts of the reported closure of 186k and Fast.co.uk.”

UPDATE 5:22pm

ISPreview.co.uk can confirm that the wholesale supplier, which 186k allegedly neglected to pay, was NOT BT Wholesale (at least not directly). We do know that 186k and Fast.co.uk also had some unbundled (LLU) platforms too, which leaves a few options that are being chased (e.g. Vodafone, TalkTalk etc.).

UPDATE 14th Dec – 7:06am

We understand that TalkTalk Wholesale has no direct trading relationship with 186k, although one of their partners did supply them (we don’t know which one, yet). The complex web of vISPs, resellers and second level suppliers is making this a particularly difficult situation to unravel. Both BT and TalkTalk based lines are involved, it’s just a matter of finding the responsible supplier.

Elsewhere AAISP noted that they’ve been able to get customers with BT lines back online quite quickly, although they’re not the most affordable ISP.

UPDATE 14th Dec – 10:52am

Some of the older 20CN BT lines being picked up by other ISPs appear to be tagged by Fluidata (FluidOne) and they’ve just issued the following statement.

Simon Stokes, Head of Channel for FluidOne, told ISPreview.co.uk:

“FluidOne are the Data Delivery Network and provide wholesale access to Service Providers. Our channel team can provide support to resellers currently affected by this disruption and immediately restore services. We urge all affected end users to contact their partners and for their partners to contact us.”

We did ask if they could offer some extra insight into how the situation occurred, but they were unable to provide anything further beyond the above comment.

UPDATE 14th Dec – 3:52pm

Judging by some of the feedback we’ve seen. Any connection on the FluidOne network can be reconnected without the 10 day wait, provided it remains on the FluidOne network. Any reseller who’s on the FluidOne network and has a BT service can bypass the 10 day wait also. We’ve seen a similar story on the TalkTalk lines, provided they stay with a TalkTalk based ISP / service.

UPDATE 15th Dec – 3:04pm

At present an awful lot of ISPs are keen to say that they’re “willing to help,” but there’s no way we’re posting such identical messages from every provider (it reads too much like repetitive marketing SPAM), although one or two have done an interesting twist. For example, Zen Internet..

A Zen Internet spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We are keen to reassure all residential consumers and businesses that there are ways to get reconnected reliably and quickly. We are happy to help ex Fast.co.uk customers get reconnected as soon as possible.

We have to follow industry lead times, which are currently recommending that all new connections will be live from around 29 December. At the same time, we know that many people will want to connect with friends and family particularly over the Christmas period.

In that spirit, we will happily offer any ex-Fast customer who signs a new contract for broadband with Zen a free hotspot device on loan until they get their service connected. The device will be delivered within three days of agreeing to their new contract with Zen, which means that they can be up and running in plenty of time for Christmas.

The events at Fast.co.uk will have come as a shock, but at Zen we will do all we can to help people get connected in time for Christmas.”

We assume they mean “Mobile” hotspot and we’re double checking the details. UPDATE: It’s a 4G Mobile hotspot on the EE network.

UPDATE 7th March 2017

We’ve been surprised to find that some of the 186k / Fast.co.uk / Firenet etc. customers have continued to stick with the provider(s) for web hosting and email, despite the failure of broadband and an inability by company management to clarify what happened. Such a massive failure is usually a good indication that it’s time to change provider.

Never the less we note that some people, those who remain, appear to have lost access to their emails since around mid-February 2017 (this doesn’t yet impact all of the associated ISPs) and we’re now hearing about problems with web hosting.

UPDATE 28th March 2017

After months of silence 186k just issued a Twitter update on their hosting issues:

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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185 Responses
  1. Peter Knapp

    Website is back (presently)

  2. Can I just remind those responding to this news that we don’t allow marketing SPAM in the comment section.

  3. Vince

    Mark – I suggest doing some digging in relation to one Marco P Marrocco, who has a connection with a lot of companies you might start to put some links together. Cough.

  4. Kits

    This is sad news and at a time when getting them back online could mean Christmas without internet.

  5. Jo Quinn

    How on earth can we just be switched off like this. Fast have been an excellent service I cannot believe we have been treated this way.

    • Rachel

      That was my first reaction too, I’m ashamed to say. Then I realised how easily I’ll find another ISP, but how hard it’ll be for the poor sods that worked there will find it being out of work unexpectedly right before Christmas. This isn’t like when a useless company with crap workers like CityLink went bust a few years back. Then, there was an element of “they brought it on themselves.” But Fast provided an excellent service to me for 10 years. I hope the people that work there will find new employment very soon, and am sure they will; they were good at their jobs.

  6. Damian

    I just got re-connected straight away with iDNET – hope that helps others that thought they were facing a Christmas without a connection! BT and others were quoting me 29 December as earliest date

  7. Steve Jones

    It does seem to me that Ofcom ought to be able to have foreseen such a circumstance and have some form of service continuity system for a failed operator. Either that or some form of financial bond system which would allow enough time for a controlled failover (albeit they might not like that as it would be a barrier to market entry). It won’t be perfect of course as there may be things external to the basic BB service which could cause loss of service due to company failure, but surely something better could be done. After all, it’s Ofcom that are encouraging as much CP and network diversity as possible.

  8. I work for Net365 based in Bradford and we are offering ex-186k DSL customers a virtual lifeline by porting lines within the hour! Its very simple to do and if we can help anyone please contact us.

  9. john aspinall

    OK i sympathise with the customers but its nice to see that vermin 186k out of the market, remember back a few years to the v21/biscit/eezedsl farce caused by 186k

  10. Pete

    iDnet informed me that ADSL customers are getting connected quite quickly, but fibre is taking longer (5-10 days was mentioned).
    I’ve been with Firenet for almost a decade, I’m really surprised by the way it’s being handled as they’ve been a great isp with excellent support.

  11. James

    I’ve got up and running with IdNet on ADSL.

    Took about an hour in all to transfer over.

  12. Those who are being reconnected with IDnet within a short period of time are likely to be getting connected to the TalkTalk network as it appears Fast/Firenet/186k were using both BT and TalkTalk products.

  13. Colin Parkinson

    I have been with Firenet probably from the beginning and had a ‘vet’ account.
    What pees me off about this debacle is the lack of warning and the contrite message on the site.
    I want an adsl only deal, no phone, as I have that already with BT.

    Any suggestions guys?

    Colin

    • Damian

      That’s what I ordered from iDNET earlier today. Was up and running as soon as I put in the new username and password provided via email

    • Guy

      BT copper wire phone. aaisp vanilla BB ordered this am, BB working at lunchtime.

      Happy.

  14. Kits

    @ Damian, That was because you were already on TalkTalks system anyone on other systems cannot be connected as fast.

    • Damian

      Got you. Would have thought worth a phone call to them to check if on TalkTalk system anyway – I was looking at a connection date of 29th Dec elsewhere so was very lucky it worked out for me. I was with Fast on a LLU package if that helps anyone.

      Think it’s absolutely awful that the plug can be pulled on so many customers with no safety net/ability for other companies to be able to step in and short circuit the normal re-connection time period. Hopefully this debacle might trigger some sort of regulation process that enables other companies to step in.

  15. Alan

    Wonder why our Fast provided telephone lines are still working. (and how long then might keep working )

    • Line rental is often a separate service for ISPs and there may be a different contract / supplier involved, although in absence of any further updates from the provider then it’s probably reasonable to assume that the phone service may soon follow a similar path to their broadband.

  16. David Webster

    I signed up with IDNet this afternoon. A couple of hours later my login arrived by email. Router updated to replace the fast login and I’m up and running…. Got to be happy with that.

  17. Kits

    Again David not everyone has that chance only those who were on TalkTalk network before will have that chance as BT not required to complete the task.
    Sadly many will not be lucky and I guess around end December begining of January will be their reconnection dates.
    Any that were on BT’s network will again not be able to move to TalkTalk network that quick so really it is only a small number of Fast customers that can get this chance.

  18. CPShines

    Weirdly, our router got reconnected to the Internet last night (Fast.co.uk customer). It’s been given an RFC1918 IP, default gateway and DNS servers, but we are not able to browse. Clearly something is going on but not sure what yet.

    • Alan

      Yeah my router reports DSL: UP but no connection to anything

    • Lee

      From your routers post the gateway IP it says in the connection details, it will tell you if your on BTwholesale or talktalk and give you a better idea who you can move to

    • CPShines

      As a Fast.co.uk LLU customer, IDNet have told me they should have me back online by EOB or early tomorrow.

  19. captain.cretin

    I could never put my finger on it, but Fast always set off a premonition of trouble; I dont mean recently, I mean ALWAYS.

    I hope everyone gets back online with minimal grief and expense.

    Oh, and Mark, another not so subtle punt for another ISP appeared a few posts after you reminded people not to do it.

    • Alan

      I have been with Fast since 2007 and never had an issue their support staff were always brilliant in getting BT to man up to their faults.

    • Rachel

      I agree with Alan. Fast Support was always excellent in the decade I used their services. It’s disappointing that someone senior in the company has left it this late to let customers and Fast employees themselves down. But the support staff were right at the top of their game – always excellent at responding to support requests in a timely manner, and they got problems solved. I moved to Fast from Virgin around 2005, because Virgin’s support had fallen to unusable levels from a previously-excellent service. I was happy with their service the whole time I was with Fast.

      I agree also, though, that Fast had become somewhat flaky in recent months. There’d been a few outages without explanation. And when I asked recently if I could pay by Direct Debit rather than Debit Card to aid compliance with my bank’s current account conditions, their responses were really weird and unco-ordinated. Initially they said they couldn’t do it. Then the next day when I emailed to explain my motivations and ask if they planned to make Direct Debit available as a payment option in the future?, they said “actually, we can do that, here’s details of how to set up a Direct Debit” (with some third party intermediary listed as the payee.) Then when I set up the Direct Debit, it got immediately cancelled by Fast, who apologised and said they’d offered me that option inappropriately.

      At the time (a few weeks ago) I thought someone must have been at the Christmas sherry a bit early, and just chalked it up to one bad day. I now realise it may have been one further sign of the trouble to come.

    • Lucie Brione

      Yes, I agree with you captain.cretin, but only since they moved their offices to Northern Ireland (which I presume is when they transferred to Firenet). I’ve been with them since 2007 and they were faultless then.

  20. Chris Penrose

    There is a proxy message now on all our services. The wholsale provider is Fluid Data, they don’t provide services direct to end users but recommend contact with their other recommended resellers who can re-enable the service in about an hour. Fluiddata have a team working on it.
    They are contactable on 0207 0996898
    They recommend their partners, Net365, Abzorb Data, and IDNet who are fully aware of the issue and able to help.
    That’s what one of those is doing for me and my clients as I Type

  21. P Kean

    14 December
    I have spoken to Fluid Data and they are extremely helpful with the Fast.co.uk situation
    I am on the scene again in a while – cannot say how happy that is – I must say that ISP Review has been very helpful with the news of the situation, and Chris Penrose – I cannot thank you enough for your post regarding Fluid Data – and of course Fluid Data as very, very helpful

  22. Rachel

    In a related matter, issues like these are why I always have a prepaid 12GB / 1 year dongle to hand. Last night, I was able to just plug it in to my router and keep right on going. I can also take it with me when I’m going out, to have fast broadband on the move.

    The dongle usage limit is lower than I need for using all the time. But the speeds are actually comparible to my Fibre broadband connection. I might consider sticking with the dongle for a while and see how it works out. A dongle costs about £60 a year / 12 Gb. Compared to £312 a year for fibre, with 20-100Gb per month available (depending on ISP) that most people I suspect almost never use.

  23. Sad to hear of the situation for all concerned.

    We at M12 Solutions are also able to assist affected customers with a *same-day* switch, in most cases.

    We are not the cheapest provider, however we believe to have a great value deal.

    We have a range of business-grade services with the highest service levels available on DSL (7-hour fix), elevated traffic, 24×7 support from our Hampshire office, and the PSTN line bundled with the same Care Level 4 as standard.
    So if you are after something more-premium, then we hopefully have the product for you.

    Appreciate Mark’s comments about marketing services in the comments, but given the above and the situation, I think it’s best for all concerned to be aware of the providers able to assist in this difficult time!

    Matt Skipsey
    CTO

    https://www.m12solutions.co.uk/2016/12/14/fast-186k-broadband-offer/
    0345 408 1212

  24. Sorry to hear about this. We provide Business Services and remote workers only NOT residential. Any businesses or remote workers affected can contact us for service.

    Peter Savic

    http://www.plumcom.co.uk

  25. As other providers are letting customers of these ISP’s know that they can reconnect within hours I feel able to post this.

    We at Cloudscape Connect Ltd are a channel partner with FluidOne (Fluidata) and are able to reconnect customers within a few hours either Business or domestic. This applies to customers with either BT services or TalkTalk services.

    We are contactable on 0116 274 7360 or at https://www.cloudscapeconnect.com

    • Simon

      Im told by another provider that “WBC Fluid Data” will take 10 working days- and that this applies to me. Only LLU Fluid Data is immediate. I have no idea what that even means- but does that sound right? Fluid didn’t hint at any problem like that when I spoke to them…

    • Rachel

      And I feel able to post this: http://tinyurl.com/StopSpammingYouBottomFeeder

      Frankly, this incident is briging some of the uglier and less savoury ISPs out of the woodwork. I wouldn’t be a customer of any business that marketed their services this way. Please stop this spam, it reeks of a disctinct lack of class. It’s like hitting on a widow at a funeral.

      We’re on a ISP review site, FFS. If people want to find another ISP there’s plenty of reviews only a click away. Using the comments section for free advertising is tacky as hell.

    • Hi Rachel,

      I think you have missed the point. We have been asked by FluidOne, the wholesale provider, to make ourselves available and to inform those who have had the misfortune to loose their internet just before Christmas. We did not spam this comment section, we emailed ISP Review first. We are proud to have helped a huge amount of ex Fast.co.uk etc customers get back online in time for the festive season.

    • Rachel

      No it’s you that’s missed the point, Kevin. But that doesn’t surprise me, since most marketards are morally blind and greedy in equal measure. I’m sure Admin will make sure you get it, though, if you keep pushing your crap service in these comments. They already warned you about it above. Muppet.

  26. Jayne

    We have 2 lines down with an internet business and busy rescue to run.
    BT and IDnet can’t get us back on line until after xmas.
    This is shocking, cannot believe this could happen

    • 2 lines or 2 broadband connections? Are there any neighbouring companies who you might be able to piggy back from. I feel for you but there should be a temporary solution waiting to be found.

    • John

      Sorry but someone has to ask why you would have a business line with either of these?
      Or is it 2 residential lines and you will now try and claim it’s affecting your business?

    • Jayne

      We have 2 separate lines so 2 separate broadband connections.
      We had been with Fast for 6 years, with excellent service, good support until this and they did offer business broadband.
      We are talking to another company who think they can get us back on today with at least one line so keeping fingers tightly crossed.
      IDNet have given us a date of 30th December which is ludicrous.

      John, your comment at best was unhelpful, you clearly have nothing better to do.

    • Jo Quinn

      Has anyone any more news as to what has happened to Fast/Firenet?

  27. Jayne

    Apparently Fast allocated some customers to BT and some to Talk Talk. It’s the customers with BT that will have to wait as BT wholesale will drag it out until after xmas or longer. They are worse than useless
    The Talk Talk customers are getting reconnected quickly

  28. Colin Parkinson

    How can we find out if we were BT or talktalk?

    • CPShines

      I *think* that if you had an LLU deal with Fast, then you are on TalkTalk gear. I don’t know about the other deals and ISPs affected though.

  29. Jo Quinn

    You would think in cases like this where the ISP / supplier has broken the contract that the Ofcom 10 day rules could be bypassed.

    • I don’t think it’s OFCOM’s rules that are the issue it is more likely that great big telecom company with a massive marketing budget but a seemingly tiny delivery budget dragging their feet that is the issue.

  30. Colin Dalziel

    I have been with fast.co.uk for many years and they have been great, but I must admit I was beginning to have doubts of late especially as they seemed unable to offer 80MB fibre which competitors were able to do.
    Yesterday I signed up with Zen Broadband for super-fast 80MBps FTTC though they are quoting 29 December for a connection date. So its my 3G dongle over Christmas!
    As with fast.co.uk many years ago I checked reviews to find highly rated ISP’s which normally offer better service even for a bit more expense.

    • @Colin Dalziel – It’s worth trying your new username/password to see it it works – I know we’re making a few tweaks to help ex Fast customers get online, many are already online.

  31. Richard King

    I’ve been a Fast.co.uk customer for almost ten years. The service I’ve received from them, both in terms of support and connectivity, have been excellent and I’ve recommended them to others on that basis. Feel a little foolish for that now.
    I’m genuinely gutted that a company I had faith in, and who seemed so committed to good customer experience, would do something so poor. They must have known the writing was on the wall. Must have known the bills were stacking up and the end was in sight, and did nothing to facilitate a transition.

  32. Beverley

    Hi I too had been with Gofast/Fast for around 8 years and always found their phone support friendly and helpful when i chose to upgrade router etc. Yesterday’s stark message cam eas a bit of a shock as I am in the middle of online exams/learning and am self employed from home so took me a little while to work out all the options open to me. I won’t mention names but some of the big companies I rang yesterday were pretty unhelpful and were saying around 10 working days may be longer because of Christmas. Then talked to IT friend who said to go with reliable smaller company on a one month contract (guess that was what I had with Gofast ?). I called IDnet yesterday afternoon who said they would investigate the possibilities with my BT line I rang back this am and after a bit of checking with their technical guys was advised i could swap my ADSL over to them within an hour or two. Good to their word I entered the provided login details and I was back on the intenet again. Still receiving emails fine via Gofast address but had to alter outgoing mail settings to one from IDNet. I use 3 Gofast addresses and need to have time to transfer these to new addresses as I am not sure how long Gofast emails will continue to be sent/received. I am very grateful for helpful advice and quick service from IDnet and for giving me what I needed at the moment not trying the hard sell to something nearly 3 times the price. Will take my time to see what faster package I should upgrade to over the festive period. Like one earlier commenter I really feel for the staff who are now facing a miserable Christmas. Blessings to one an all BYOUNG

  33. Dave Pearce

    Been with Fast for 13 years – superb service and such nice guys too. Disgusted at what had happened, having to find out by listening to an inadequate voice message. Sorry for the people working there. I moved BB to BT yesterday but with 29/12 connection. In meantime next door neighbour is letting us piggyback her WiFi.

    • Hi Dave,

      We can get you back within 24 hours if you have already placed a migrate to BT so no need to wait till 29/12. Just call us on 0116 274 7360.

      Cloudscape Connect Ltd

  34. Oggy

    Always good to see the vultures surrounding the carcass touting for business.

  35. AlanR

    Tuesday 13th December was definitely not what we expected to get up to – dropouts were tolerated – then when the custom switch off/on failed to work it was a phone call to Fast and so saddened to hear Mark announcement this is not so much a drop out as a black hole daytrip! Panic set in as a net free xmas loomed.

    AAISP however broke all the rules – having spoken to many other big boys and beginning to accept 10 to 12 days predicted by most – AAISP stepped in and managed the impossible in 10 minutes. It was 50:50 but we got the right side of 50 this time – so maybe xmas won’t be so bad after all.

    Well done AAISP – a brilliant job – and from contact experience so far – this is going to be a long and pleasant relationship.

    • Mike Wall

      Echo that – rang AA on Thursday having spoken to a number of other ISPs (including IDNet) who checked the line, said nothing could be done quicker than 10 days due to me being on the BT infrastructure. Spoke to a nice guy named Michael who said that if I signed up with them they could give me the connection details as it was possible it would work straight away. If I then wanted to cancel I’d be free to do so: if not, worse case I’d have started the 10 day migration period. Entering the user name and password I was given into my router that evening and I was up and running immediately.
      Morale of the story is that I suspect that ALL ISPs can do this.
      Sidenote: strange that the gofast.co.uk webmail servers are still running? Presumably this means the company itself still exists in one form or another

  36. Susan

    We’ve been with Fast for 10 years with excellent service and support, so yesterday’s sudden turn of events came as a shock. Don’t know what’s happened but feel sorry for the staff at Fast. Contacted several larger ISP’s but all gave 10 days to get us back online. IDnet were very helpful but again predicted 10 days, so facing no internet at Xmas. Then AAISP came to the rescue, I tried their new username / password and it worked! Back online in minutes! Thank you AAISP, fantastic – you’ve made our Christmas!

  37. Graham Davies

    Until 9.37 on Tuesday I had been really happy with Fast -their support guys really good to deal with, professional knowledgable and patient!

    With the assistance of ISPReview, who managed to suss out what was going on with Fast, and provide great information about possible solutions, I contacted IDnet who have got me back on very quickly, offering the type of tech support I valued from Fast

    So big thanks to ISPreview and IDnet, and big commiserations to the technical staff at Fast who have found themselves out on their ears before Christmas. Somehow I don’t think that they will be out of work for long, (which is more than can be said about Fast’s financial controllers)

  38. Paul

    I’m on a monthly contract with Fast. Does anyone know whether Fast will now stop taking the monthly payments? Or should we be contacting our banks to halt future payments?

    • mark77745

      I emailed Fast a support ticket to ask what on earth was going to happen with accounts and service. Unsurprisingly I was ignored. Phoned….and no answer. I was *straight* onto the bank to block all future payments. My advice is, get onto the bank immediately.

      I’ve been with Fast for 10 years. Sorry, but any company that was failing to pay the bills to the point where their supplier pulls the plug is also capable of charging your credit card without warning!

      Any trust I had in them dissolved on 13/12 at 09:37.

  39. Ruth

    We have all our business hosting for our website and email with FN hosting which are part of the Firenet/ Fast group. I know they have a message saying that they will still keep emails and hosting up but my question is for how long? If they can just pull the plug on their broadband customers it worries me as a business reliant on their hosting provisions that they could also do the same for this. Does anyone have any info about this? FN hosting have the same contact number as Firenet/Fast and I can’t get through to find out what our business position is. This is utterly disgraceful!

  40. Max

    You guys are the only place where we are getting any information about what is going on. Well done for that, without you we would be bumbling around in the dark …

    We were very happy with Fast for over 12 years, and were happy to pay over the norm for what was a very good service and very good support, so it was a shock to be just dumped, with no information other than “sod off” …

    We are now waiting for our new ISP to get us set up, and busy changing all of our email addresses in Amazon, etc. to Gmail ones. Once that’s done we will be stopping any further payments.

    Ofcom need to get their act together so that providers have to set up a “soft landing” for customers in these situations, and define a minimum level of communication required.

    The senior management team at Fast need hunting down and preventing from having senior roles in any business in the future, as they have demonstrated that they are not competent persons.

  41. Kits

    I would say contact your banks and cancel to be safe if any money was taken for this month would also mention that as bank might be able to claim it back for services not delivered. If they were taking regular payments from CC this is going to be harder to stop you might need to cancel the card and get a new one.
    For many trapped in this nightmare this is a good read and very helpful.
    http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/recurring-payments

  42. Liz

    I’ve had problems with Fast (nightmare!), Abzorb managed to get me reconnected same day. Thank goodness for that, couldn’t have done without my internet before Christmas.

  43. AV

    Always had a good service with Fast. Seems like they took payment from my account on the 12th December and went bust on the 13th December. Someone, somewhere knew what was happening. Credit card company says I can’t claim the money back – doesn’t seem right. Will look for a new provider. Thanks to ISP for the updates and comments.

    • gerarda

      The credit card is only liable if the cost of the service is over £100. However you should still dispute the charge as not being provided.

  44. Peter M

    I phoned IDnet, who advised me that as I was on a BT ADSL connection at the exchange (rather than a TalkTalk connection), unfortunately it would take them 10 days to get me back on line. I phoned Fluiddata on 0207 0996898, who suggested I contact Cloudscape. Phoned Cloudscape on their 0116 274 7360 number, who talked me through reconfiguring my router and had me back on-line in less than 20 minutes!! Many thanks to the staff at IDnet, Fluiddata and Cloudscape, in each case my call was answered almost immediately, and the staff concerned were very professional, understanding and helpful. Thanks also to ISPReview, without which I would have been totally in the dark.

  45. Pete

    After being quoted the 29th Dec as earliest date I could be online, Andrews & Arnold came to the rescue.

    Rang them up and they checked my line and said sign up and you’ll be online in 2 mins.

    They were as good as their word;

    More expensive than my previous isp, but after a few days offline (tethering is only as good as your mob signal ) I would have gladly sacrificed my 1st born to get back online.

    Thank you very much Sean from A&A for the excellent support.

    Now to chase Firenet for reimbursement.

    Happy Xmas

  46. John Baldwin

    As a longterm Firenet customer I find their complete disregard of customers totally unacceptable. Is anyone aware of how I can claim for cost of disruption ca used by Firenet’s failure to deliver the services promised? I’ve kept my side of the bargain by paying all my bills on time.

    • the hatter

      Not wanting to be too harsh at what’s no doubt a stressful time for you, but as a residential customer your compensation rights are minimal to none for consequential loss. If broadband is vital to you, then you should pay more. Diverse residential broadband as a minimum (BT vs talktalk backhaul vs virgin fibre vs 4g) or diverse business connectivity. Faults are guaranteed to happen so either you need to be prepared, or you need to accept the costs associated with them.

  47. Rob

    A big thanks for the heads-up from ISPreview. For some strange reason, this debacle has hardly been covered anywhere else.

    After eight years with Fast, what has happened this week has been immoral, highly unprofessional and rather stressful. Luckily, AAISP came to my rescue and their service has, to date, been first class. Thank you, AAISP, for getting me back online so promptly!

  48. James Balmain

    Like so many others, I simply can’t believe fast have treated their customers like this. I’ve been with them for years and service was always good, worth the premium they were charging.

    For those people on fibre products, I was resigned to waiting the prescribed period, but I called Cloudscape on the off chance a quick migration for FTTC was possible, having seen the comments here. It is and I’m happily back online. Disaster averted. Thank you.

    For those with a less forgiving outlook, no I don’t work for them and had never heard of them before reading this thread.

  49. Jo Quinn

    I am a little surprised that no one has found a Fast/Firenet employee to talk to. Surely if they have been dumped out of a job at this of year they would have something to say?

  50. Tony Colbert

    A very big thank you to Brain and Simon and the team at IDNET who were able to get me back online this morning.Exceptional service and support.And also to Ispreview for highlighting the FAST situation.

    I’ve used Fast for many years and as others have said they provided an excellent service so I’m was really shocked and hacked off with they way their senior management has handled this whole issue.

  51. Pete

    I’ve just had a look at my bank statement and it’s telling me that Firenet took £147.56 instead of £27.56 last billing date!

    They’re now impossible to get hold of, recorded message on phone and not answering support email.

    Anyone else experienced this and any suggestions?

    • Kits

      Hi Pete I think you need to report this as fraud since the payment that was due is less than taken. Report to both bank and police they do have ways to investigate these things where more than the contracted amount was taken.

    • Pete

      yeah, thanks Kits, already told the bank, gonna see what they can do.

      I wonder if anyone else has been overcharged?

  52. Richard King

    After getting cut off by Fast on Tuesday morning I placed an order with BT for broadband. It was a knee-jerk reaction to being cut off by a “small” supplier, and I figured they’d get me back online as quickly as anyone else. They quoted me December 29th, but even that was a provisional date – subject to the vagaries of delivery…. engineering…. blah blah.
    The prospect of living through Christmas with two pre-teens suffering YouTube withdrawal didn’t exactly appeal. I dug out the ancient MiFi – but it clearly wasn’t going to cut it. Getting cold feet with BT already, I cancelled the order. I spoke to an extremely helpful guy at AAISP, called Mike, who told me they’d taken on other FAST customers and had some successes with instant re-connection, but they couldn’t be 100% sure how long it would take. I then spoke to an equally helpful guy at iDNET who, after a quickly line check, seemed sure they could get us back online today. I signed up, received an email within 90 minutes containing login details, and after a quick config change to the router we were back online. Excellent service from AAISP and iDNET. Thanks.

  53. Cliff

    Anyone caught in the same state as me (waiting 10 days for (IDNet) could do worse than make a complaint to ofcom using this form: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/how-to-report-a-complaint/changing-provider
    The more of us who do this, the less chance crap like this continues. Lets not let this happen to anyone else.

    • Pete

      Cliff, iDnet couldn’t help me but they pointed me in the direction of A&A who got me back online within minutes of signing up. They’ll run a check with you and tell you there and then if it will work.
      I recommend you call them.
      Good luck!

    • Pete

      BTW Cliff, I had already signed up to BT and iDnet, all I had to do was ring and cancel.

  54. Malcolm

    Cloudscape got me reconnected in under an hour!! Thanks guys, anybody stuck should go them a call they saved my Christmas!

  55. James

    How long should a cancellation of a migration request take? I placed an order with Uno but they were quoting 29/12 for connection. Spoke to idnet and they can get me back online straight away. I’ve cancelled my order with Uno who say they have actioned it yet an open order still shows on the line. Idnet can’t get me back online until the open order is cancelled.

  56. Max

    We were paying Fast by card under the name Internet Services. When it all went pop, we put a block on any further payments to them (13 December) as the next payment was due on 15 December. We’ve just found out that they took a payment on 14 December under a different name (Firenet). We are talking to the Bank about this now, but wanted people to be aware.

    This adds further evidence that the senior management of this lot are criminals …

    • Pete

      I payed Firenet by card. I checked my statement yesterday and noticed that they had taken £120 too much on 2/12. My bank is looking into it. In nearly 10 yrs they’ve not made a mistake with payments, yet a week before they disappear they do this!

      I do feel for the support staff too, what a time of year to be made unemployed!

    • Elizabeth

      Unbelievable! Taking money out on a different day from usual and by a different trading name requires premeditation and intent. If it had been the same business name on the usual day then maybe understandable, but that is pure deceit. Hope your bank refunds you asap.

    • Lucie Brione

      I received an email on 22 Nov about that change of name. It read:

      Dear Customer,

      Please note that payments you make to us by credit or debit card will now show on your credit card / bank statement as “Firenet Ltd” instead of “Internet Services”.

      This is due to changes by our card processing provider and is only a change to the name shown on your credit card / bank statement which we hope will make identifying payments made to us easier.

      —————

      So I don’t think you can say it was done on the sly.

      A few days later on 2 Dec, I received another e-mail:

      Changes to our opening hours

      We constantly review the volume of calls our contact centre receive to ensure we have the most team members available during our peak periods, so that your calls are answered as quickly as possible.

      This review has shown that we receive very few calls after 6pm, as such from Monday 5th December 2016 our telephone lines will close at 6pm during the week, allowing us to have more people available to cover the day time periods.

      After 6pm, support is still available via e-mail (support@fast.co.uk) where many members of our team keep an eye on tickets and work on ongoing, or new urgent cases.

      We’re committed to delivering the highest level of customer service and believe these changes will let us deliver better service.

      ——————–

      With hindsight, it does seem strange that after no communications from them for months, if not years (I signed up for line rental in May, but can’t find a mail confirmation of order. Also I was told I was going to receive an itemised list of calls every month by e-mail, but have never received any), they suddenly send 2 e-mails in as many weeks. It looks to me the writing was definitely on the wall.

      To be honest, since they transferred to Firenet and moved their offices to Northern Ireland, I noticed a drop in customer service quality. For example, I was no longer able to send e-mails from my phone (unless on Wi-Fi) and they were not very helpful when I flagged this.

    • Max

      Lucie,

      We have received no communications from Fast or whoever about that change or anything else, so feel perfectly justified in saying it was done on the sly.

    • Lucie Brione

      Sorry to hear you didn’t get the email. It was on 22 Nov, you may want to check your spam folder.

  57. John Howarth

    A big thank you to ISPReview for giving the heads up on solutions to this affair, and introducing me to a whole bunch of providers I’d never heard of! I initially knee-jerked by ordering a BT account, and was given the same 29 Dec date as others were. Following suggestions here, I contacted IDNet, who were unable to help as the line was tagged (presumably by BT?). I then contacted Cloudscape Connect using the number given here in a previous post, and they assured me they could help. It took three hours to get me back on, fully operational again. And what courteous people they are.

    In an old drawer, from around 2002, I came across the signed Christmas cards that Mailbox Internet (later 186k, and then later still Firenet) sent me. How times change.

    • Jayne

      We did the same John, BT worse than useless quoting 29th when I’m sure they could have done it in hours. IDNet even worse quoting 30th.
      Massive thanks to Cloudscape Connect who we contacted after I saw a post from Kevin on here. Both lines back on now, great guys, very helpful.

  58. Max Turner

    I’d been a fast.co.uk customer for 7.5 years, and despite their being more expensive than the big players, they offered a level of tech support that suited my style – namely, techie blokes who were happy to help you, weren’t reading from a script, and would often go the extra mile to sort a problem out for you, even if it was something that technically, they weren’t supposed to help with (finding me router firmware updates over Christmas, as it was quiet and so they had the time to look, was one example.

    I’ve ended up going to Andrews & Arnold now. It was a toss-up between them, Zen and IDNET.

    I signed up online with AAISP at about 5pm, and chatted to them via an online chat window. They advised me it officially takes ten working days to switch, but that I should call back tomorrow morning at 8am and someone would see if they could fix up some sort of connection for me.

    Sure enough, by 8.10am, my fibre connection was back in business, logged into their service, but via my old 40Mbps Fast/BT circuit. Apparently, come 30th December it will kick over to the newly provisioned connection, and my speed will go up to the 80Mbps service, with only a momentary interruption of service.

    So far, I’m very impressed with AAISP.

  59. Simon

    Ive been with Fast for a long while and enjoyed their excellent customer service and extremely reliable internet.
    I was shocked when the service ceased on 13th Dec and I was even more shocked to find they had gone out of business without any notice to customers.
    Imagine my further disappointment to find they had commited fraud and taken the regular payment.
    Such a pitty to watch a great service fall from grace in such a manner.

    • J. Hill

      In exactly the same position as you Simon, and now having great difficulty in persuading our bank (TSB) to refund the monthly payment.

      In our case (1) the debit was taken by a different trading name (Firenet) from the usual “Internet Services”.
      (2) The company had already ceased trading and knew they would not be providing a service
      (3) The money was taken 24 hours earlier than usual

      If that is not fraud then clearly I need a different dictionary.

    • Lucie Brione

      Hi Janet,

      I received an email from Fast about the change in name on 22 Nov, you might want to check your inbox and spam folders.

      I have phone with Fast and email too, both still work (hopefully will continue until IDNet takes over, otherwise it will cause me a headache).

    • Lucie Brione

      Sorry, don’t know why I assumed your name was Janet !!!!

    • J. Hill

      My name is not Janet and I did NOT receive any emails advising me of a change of business name.

  60. Bill Svensson

    Thank you ISPReview.

    You were the first to shed light in the darkness we were all thrust into. Many thanks to you for that.

    As the thread developed solutions which worked became apparent. Early on some providers were a bit slow to recognise quick solutions, others were more on the ball. For me my saviour was IDNet who I would personally like to thank in the same way others have thanked other providers who were early to recognise rapid solutions.

    I fear I will need a new e-mail address pretty soon

    • Lucie Brione

      Likewise it was IDNet who rescued me. Uno didn’t seem to be aware of the situation and just quoted me a 29th Dec reconnection date “due to OfCom regulations”.

  61. Another thank you to ISP review for this thread. Returned to base at weekend after a 3 week business trip to find FAST had gone up in smoke. Having read this thread rang AAISP this morning (19/12), and was online by the time I had put new username and password into my router/firewall.

  62. Jo Quinn

    Has anyone any more info on what has happened to FastFirenet

  63. Paul

    Anyone looking for a new supplier would be advised to contact them first to check on the best package. It is possible to get reconnected very quickly, but only if the new package uses the same equipment at the exchange.

    I was unaware of this until my new supplier (Uno Comms) let me know. By switching packages I was able to get connected immediately with new logon details, instead of waiting until 30th December.

    In my case I had initially selected a package which used BT exchange equipment, but my Fast.co.uk service was connected to Talk Talk equipment at the exchange. None of this is obvious to the casual user, so asking a few questions up-front can be useful.

  64. Stan

    Like many others on here. I also used Fast.co.uk for years after finding them as the top site on a customer satisfaction survey. I stayed with them because the reality lived up to my expectations. I feel sorry for the support staff who were never anything less than courteous, friendly and helpful. I never ended a support call without the situation being resolved.

    I eventually tried my mobile phone supplier (EE) who, like all the others, couldn’t connect me until December 29th. however, they did send me one of there little mobile hotspot devices. This arrived by express courier at 11am the next morning and I was connected within 10-15 minutes.

    The original Fast message said that email services would be unaffected. I can still receive emails but cannot reply or forward them, nor can I send new emails. I get server interrupted error messages whenever I try. I’d very much like to keep my Gofast email address because it is my contact point with so many relatives, friends, colleagues and companies.

    I don’t have too much technical knowledge in this area so would be grateful if anyone can give me pointers to how I can best solve this email problem.

    • Richard King

      Hi Stan. The bad news is that the gofast.co.uk domain belongs to Firenet, and anything sent to it arrives at their email server. If that server goes offline for any reason your email will stop working completely.
      It is technically possible to direct individual email addresses (yourname@gofast.co.uk, othername@gofast.co.uk, etc) off to other places, like Hotmail or Gmail, but it’s something they would have to set up and administer for you.
      Whatever the truth, FAST seem to be in a very precarious position, and it seems entirely possible the email service could disappear without warning. I would seriously consider moving to another provider.

    • Stan

      Thanks for your help, Richard.

      I think I’ll play safe and look at other email providers tomorrow.

      In the meantime, I’ll try to evaluate just what would be involved in simply creating a whole new mail account and biting the bullet of letting everyone know.

    • Darryl

      You can still send emails from your gofast.co.uk email via https://mail2web.com – just remember to cc yourself in as the webmail service doesn’t keep copies of sent messages

  65. Donald

    As an unsophisticated, residential, user of the internet I understand that glitches may occur from time to time but, on the few occasions over the years when I had had occasion to contact Firenet, I had found them pleasant and helpful to deal with.

    What surprises me most about the abrupt withdrawal of service is that, so far as I can ascertain, OFCOM has no provision for such an event analogous to the OFGEN provision which recently kept electricity and gas supplies on when a small energy supply company went under.

  66. A Sharman

    Does anyone know how to get a migration code from a defunct isp?

    • AlanR

      Quite simply – you don’t need one any more. Ocfom ditched the process that required one before migration was possible – amongst other reasons to help in such a situation just like this. I found AAISP brilliant and they were able to restore my service just 10 minutes after my first call to them. They have since advised me my changeover will complete late December or thereabouts – but while I wait my internet works just fine and I’m not really quite sure how – but hey – do I care? AAISP may be achieving the impossible but I’ll happily life with that.

  67. Colin Parkinson

    I need a bit of help here please guys!

    Whilst with Firenet I used Webmail, so had no record of my emails actually on my computer.
    I have resurrected my gmail account and will now use that as my primary email.

    But how can I get my old emails (lots)from the Firenet server onto my computer before the plug is pulled.

    I am still getting new emails from Firenet at the moment but using gmail to reply.

    Thanks guys

    Colin

    • John

      Hi Colin

      Appreciate your prob. Note down the info on this page http://www.fast.co.uk/support_email.php

      The basic settings for the gofast.co.uk e-mail service are:

      POP Server: mail.gofast.co.uk (port 110)
      SMTP Server: smtp.gofast.co.uk (port 25)
      Username: emailaddressgofast – remember to add “gofast” to the end! Example: support@gofast.co.uk has a username of supportgofast
      Password: password chosen at signup
      E-mail Address: emailaddress@gofast.co.uk

      You then need an email client which you can be set up easily to log in to – once its set up its possible to drag the messages you want to save into a different location so they acually sit on your computers hard drive.

      The company that make the Firefox browsr do a nice one https://www.mozilla.org/en-GB/thunderbird/features/

  68. Jo Quinn

    Case gone cold it seems.

  69. Jason

    I have an issue with my email now. It’s a 30 year old mailbox.co.uk service that had been adopted by Firenet.

    It still works but since mid Dec I am deluged with spam – around 1000 a day. Also some of my own mails have been bounced back as the ip has been blacklisted.

    Yes i have other accounts but i also have 30 years of mail legacy.

    Any advice?

    • Lucie Brione

      Not sure if this would work in your case, but do you have an email client on your computer you could download the emails to? Then you should be able to save them as files or back them up on your computer or in the cloud. I know I can save specific emails or do a backup of my messages using Mozilla Thunderbird.

  70. Brian Clarke

    After being with firenet for many years was absolutely amazed at the sudden lack of communication and that even in mid January there is still no information. Was very impresed with them up to that point and was happy to pay their higher fee.
    Now with ZEN and while they do not do introductory offers, their service is excellent (not the cheapest but you get what you pay for) spending a long time on the phone to get me set up, including sorting out how to get my emails into outlook. This included how to get webmail read in outlook, which is relatively simple when you have someone who knows what they are doing and has the patience to guide the less initiated. So far am still using firenet emails but gradually telling people my new email addresses (can have more than one) as cannot trust firenet to continue.

  71. Joanna

    I think the email service has been pulled in the last hour ? Anyone else not able to get in to gofast webmail? And anyone know what if anything can be done – or is that it ?

  72. Joe Quinn

    Just noticed this myself, hopefully everyone has got everything moved away from them by now.

    I am surprised that there has been no explanation / info / dirt on what has actually happened to them (fast that is)

  73. AlanR

    Yeah – snap – me too – thought my mailer was having a connection wobbly then I read its notice closer and realised it was fast.co.uk it was have problems with. Further checks find the web site is “page unavailable” so I guess that’s finally it.

    Mysterious disappearance – no further info on what/why/how it all went wrong – maybe its been “taken” down for reasons you don’t need to know *wink* *wink*

  74. JohnR

    Just looked at my email and haven’t got anything for a week so I guess its like everybody else the email service is gone. My business suffered when they just switched off the internet connection with no warning just before Christmas but they did state that the emails would be unaffected. Now with no warning again the email server has been switched off, a message prior to this would have been good. Isn’t there some regulative body that polices internet providers??.

  75. Marion McMillan

    DISGUSTED PENSIONER… gofast.co.uk should hang their head in shame. It is now March 10th, I have had no emails, since gofast.collapse,cannot access emails. We registered with UNO based in Sheffield…the nightmare is with them is MUCH Worse, WE HAVE PAID UNO, and to date UNO has be absolutely USELESS in getting our emails sorted out, we CANNOT retrieve our emails still LOCKED IN with the old gofast…UNO …PLEASE DONT RELY ON THEM for HELP they have no patience with silver liners, and indeed refuse to beleive THEY are to blame for the problem of email retrieving from our now defunct provider gofast.co.uk… I’m of to learn the medium of smoke signal’s got to be better than any UNO UK who have left us totally helpless.

  76. Simon Devine

    Have been a Firenet customer for 10-15 years. Real shame they’ve bitten the dust. Big shame too that there was a lack of communication on the issue. Although my email and web-hosting seemed to remain in service, I was unable to make any changes to my sites/emails, etc. I spoke to 1&1, who transferred the domains to a account with them. Had to then call Nominet and “Re-establish my Identity” on the accounts which Firenet had registered with their address and contact details. Once this was complete, changing the IPS Tag to “move” the domains to 1&1 was quick and easy. The Nominet Identity process cos me £12 for as many domains as I had (4) and the IPS Tag change cost another £12. Irritating to have to do it but sorted within two days and now I have full control of my domains back again. I’m sure there are many other companies out there who will help with the transition in a professional way.

  77. Richard Pennell

    We have just noticed that firenet have taken a card payment today for the services that they used to provide, even though they have been transferred away following their service cancellation. Beware!

    • John Howarth

      Same has happened to me yesterday Sat 18th March. My invoices always used to fall on the first of the month. December’s payment was taken, the service fell silent on Dec 13th. I got reconnected, as advised to do by Firenet’s website, a couple of days later (by Cloudscape Connect – excellent service). I checked my Firenet account after 1st January, and no payment was taken. So far, so good. Yesterday, I received an email stating that my ‘subscription payment’ had just been processed. I looked at my still present Firenet account page, to find that a payment described as due on 1st January had just been taken.

      Curiously, my email is still receiving messages (you know, those that you don’t ask for), and I can still send email if I choose to. I have, of course, shifted all my active email to a new account elsewhere.

      A response to Firenet has not generated a reply. These guys are now crooks. As Richard says above – BEWARE!

      I will be contacting my bank on Monday.

    • Peter

      Absolutely: Beware!
      Firenet sent me an email on 18th March to say they had taken payment, and my bank confirmed this was indeed the case. This was the payment that would have been due on 1st January 2017.
      My bank immediately blocked further payments (although warned that they couldn’t prevent them taking payment under a different trading name).
      This morning, I had another email from Firenet saying they were unable to take payment (presumably the one due on 1st February), so my ban’s measure has obviously kicked in.
      My bank advised me to contact them again once the payment appeared on my statement to start a dispute process to get the payment that was taken successfully back.

  78. Anu Sharma

    I am really angry to say the least, firenet has processed monthly payment subscription from my account yesterday and today which is nearly three months later their service went down. I can’t even log back into my account to take my payment details off as my account doesn’t seem to exist anymore.

  79. I’ve been with Firenet for web hosting since they began, and the support technicians have been brilliant – quick to respond, and most helpful. We were on first name terms (kind of unusual for an ISP); I shall remember them with affection, and I hope they find new jobs.

    My website is still up, but I cannot upload any changes.

    I moved back to China a week ago, so it could be a little difficult to see what’s real and what’s a phishing scam when looking for another ISP.

  80. David Marsden

    I have also received two payment notifications, yesterday and today. I have obviously replied requesting immediate refund. I shall have to wait to see if I get a reply.

    I shall inform my bank to block payments.

    I am sure there will be other people as annoyed as I am!

  81. Chris

    I received two Billing Notifications from Firenet Ltd (part of Fast Group) on 18 and 19 March 2017. It turns out that both are recurring payments now pending from my bank account and the bank cannot respond to them until after the payment is taken.

    I thought I has stopped this payment back in December 2016 (when Firenet stopped supplying their broadband service) because I went to the bank to do so. However banks can’t see recurring card payments so they can only check your direct debits and standing orders.

    If I ‘cease my account’ via the Firenet login to remove my payment/card details the form does not respond (and there is a £31.12 & VAT cease charge too).

    • Peter

      I made a complaint to Ofcom today.
      As for “cease my account”: if you moved to a new provider, they would have — by law — had to inform Firenet that you were changing, so Firenet can’t plead ignorance.

  82. Chris

    Thanks, I have just completed a monitoring form via Ofcom and it looks as though you then have to use an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme, 186K are registered with Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme (CISAS).

  83. Keith Mc

    Emails from Firenet advising payment taken for the service that stopped last December and Visa payment taken from my account this morning.
    Payment disputed with bank.
    I could access my Firenet account page this morning but not this evening!
    Phone number is unobtainable.

  84. Chris

    Today two months’ payments were withdrawn from my account by Firenet by recurring card payment, the amount should be refunded by my bank but there is nothing the bank can do to stop this happening again.

    CISAS (International Dispute Resolution Centre) told me they do not represent Firenet but advise contacting:

    Ombudsman Services: Communications
    PO Box 730
    Warrington
    Cheshire
    WA4 6WU

    enquiries (@) os-communications.org

  85. Our company’s domain and email stopped working today and we couldn’t contact Firenet. We were not aware of the issues the company had otherwise we’d have stopped using them!
    Obviously, we need to get our domain and email transferred to another hosting company urgently but can’t contact Firenet to get the authorisation code. Does anyone have any idea what we should do?

    • Peter

      Are you sure you need an authorisation code?
      Your new provider might take care of all that.
      Since yesterday, only Webmail is still accessible on FirenetNo access to account information.

  86. @Peter

    Yep, definitely need an authorisation code. I’ve contacted the registrar (Twocows) to see if they can help.

    This morning email is (sort of!) working again for the moment at least.

    • Chris

      You need to get a tag code from your new registrar then do this (sorry if this is blindingly obvious but it worked for me):

      Log in to your Firenet client control panel

      click on ‘My Domains’

      click on the little triangle on right of your active domain

      Click ‘manage domain’

      On left click ‘release domain’

      Enter your new registrar TAG

      Click ‘Release Domain’

      Your email address can be re-set up if it is linked to your website but you need to back up the old one first and there will be a time where it will not work. My new provider talked me through this bit.

    • Hi Chris

      A bit difficult to do this when the whole doamin (including the control panel) is down!

  87. Chris

    Today I have had a sincere sounding apology from Firenet (for taking the funds) and a full refund “it will not happen again”.

    I have also heard from the Ombudsman Services – Communications who say Firenet does not participate in their scheme so have directed me towards Citizens Advice.

    P.S. Thanks Rachel, that is really helpful!

    • James

      How did you receive notice of refund?. Firenet page is down and there is no access to emails and phones are off.

  88. Chris

    Related article in the papers Wed 22 March 2017: Plusnet fined £880,000 by Ofcom for billing customers after contracts were cancelled

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/plusnet-broadband-880000-ofcom-billing-customers-contracts-cancelled-landline-a7642881.html

  89. Chris

    James, I received an email back from support (@) fnhosting.co.uk in reply to a support ticket I had sent through & I can see the refund in my bank account.

  90. James

    Chris, Thanks for your reply. I have no access to email from firenet, will I have to see if bank gets payments back

  91. Peter

    I have had the payment that Firenet took on 18th March refunded, apparently following intervention by my bank, with whom I’d raised it.

  92. Firenet have restored upload access to my websites, after a period of no access to them, so I shall stay with their web hosting service and see what happens.

  93. Richard Bancroft

    I’m a mailbox Internet/186k customer, still using their email service following the broadband cut off in December, which did not affect me. Does anyone know who is now operating this service, or how to contact them? The email service is down as of yesterday evening. This happened before around 5th March, but the service came back up after a couple of days.

    • Mick

      Hi Richard, like you I am also a mailbox customer, they used to have very good, personable customer service but earlier in the year there was a problem, all lines of enquiry were useless, phone numbers either didn’t work or were on an uninformative loop and it eventually took 16 days for an email response which was curt at best. Today it looks like we have another issue just like before, have you lost your incoming email?

  94. Richard Bancroft

    Hi Mick, Glad to know I’m not the only Mailbox customer left! Mailbox were taken over by 186k some years back and it seems that it is that company which ran into difficulty in December, leaving its broadband users stranded. Earlier in March, when the email service was down for a day or two, I got no response to emails and the support numbers for Mailbox, 186k, Firenet all gave the same recorded message. About a week ago I received a Mailbox invoice for renewal of my domain name, and paid it, so their service seems to be functioning. Yes, I have received no incoming message since yesterday evening. Outlook cannot locate the server pop3.mailbox.co.uk. As Mailbox Internet Ltd is listed as the sponsoring registrar for the domain names my wife and I use, I don’t know how easy it will be to move the two domains to another mail service if the outage continues and it is impossible to contact Mailbox.

    • Not easy! I’ve been trying the get an EPP code to move our company domain from Firenet for a week, now! The registrar had to give them two working days to respond once I’d got them to send the request. Once that passed I was then passed on to a “reseller” to handle it further. These companies are all across the pond. Still waiting for the reseller to get back to me and meanwhile my company are without a web site or emails – nightmare!

    • Mick

      Looks like we’re in limbo again! I had a reply from an Eric Forrest back in late January, he offered no apology or alternative contact details. I’m really not sure what to do now, the supply of these services are essential to running a business however when it goes tits up like this there is nowhere to turn to for help. Chris, who is/was the registrar you contacted? Maybe a support group needs to be set up, there’s likely to be lots more people out there as helpless as we are right now. I only found this message board by a google search for mailbox.

      Mick

    • Mick

      The registrar was Tucows. However, yours is probably different. If you do a whois lookup on your domain it will show the registrar info so you can contact them. I used https://who.is/ to do the lookup but any similar site will do.

      Chris

    • Mick

      I have just spoken with Nominet who have partners that are in contact with 186k, according to 186k they have suffered a ‘major network failure’ they have engineered at the site trying to rectify the problem and they hope to have services back up an running as soon as possible. Whether you believe what they say is up to you, I personally would rather have a provider with support that responds to it’s customers enquiries not an entity that treats it’s customers like this, to be left in the dark about your essential services is simply unacceptable and I don’t see how they’ll be able to stay in business with a reputation that is so bad.

      Nominet will try to help anyone move their accounts from any of the associated 186k services if your domain ends in .uk but I have found them very helpful so maybe call them anyway.

  95. Simon

    My email has just stopped working as had my webpage. I had no idea they were having problems and I had only renewed my account in February. I am with Freedomnames (186K)You tend to take stuff like this for granted until it all goes south. Have they definitely gone bust, do I need to get a new host and what are the chances of a refund if they new they were having problems and still renewed my account?

  96. Chris

    My trusty mailbox.co.uk email address is not working today either.

  97. Mick

    Even the webmail facility is up the spout, hang them I say.

  98. Chris

    I won’t miss the vast amounts of unpalatable spam that has been constant over the last few months.

    If people are looking for new UK providers, I got really good telephone support from Zen Internet and 2020media.com

    • Mick

      I’ll check them out Chris, I’m leaning towards 123-reg myself for similar reasons to those you’ve given. It’s been good to share woes with you guys today, good to know that I’m not alone and I’ll check in here again during the week to see how you’re all getting on.

      Mick

    • I’m planning to transfer to unlimitedwebhosting.co.uk (if I ever get my authorization code – grrrrr!)

  99. Mark Cornwell

    They seem to have disappeared again today. No websites/emails working.
    Their site has gone and phone lines not working

  100. Paul

    Does anyone know what the actual problem is with Firenet, I have spoken to Nominet who have been very helpful, and I am going to try and move my hosting later today, I would like to know whether my emails from the last 48 hours are on the Firenet servers or not.

    • Paul

      If you were downloading emails at the moment Firenet went down then I don’t think any emails will be on their servers. Any sent subsequently will be queued by the sending email server and retried for a while, after which they will be bounced back to the sender. So if you transfer your domain you may get some that were sent in the last few days when they retry again.

      You’re lucky you’re on a .uk domain! Ours is .com and we’ve had to go through US/Canada based companies. It’s now been a week and we’re no nearer to getting an authorisation code …

  101. Chris

    Mailbox emails working today!

  102. Chris

    Joy, no I have a mailbox.co.uk email address. Have you tried emailing: support @ fnhosting.co.uk they sent me an email yesterday…

  103. Brian Clarke

    I too was a firenet customer for many years and was disgusted beyond words at their December fiasco, especially as they had previously been very helpful.
    I changed to Zen in January, who I am extremely impressed with (you get what you pay for so no introductory discounts but they did waive the connection fee as as firenet victim). I stopped the firenet direct debit but did get two reminders from firenet in March that hey could not collect payment, interestingly dated Early January! Still able to send and receive via firenet webmail although this stopped for several days recently so anticipating this will eventually fail altogether.
    Am amazed that the internet does not have any information about all this after December, apart from updates to this thread. Why is there a silence about such a major issue?

  104. FN Mirams

    Firenet E-Mail plus a recommendation.

    As a Firenet customer for over 8 years it was a sad loss but I can strongly recommend http://www.thepphone.coop (The Co-operative Phone & Broadband) who’s broadband arm originates from their merger with Poptel.

    Our Firenet E-Mail accounts have remained and are still active and anyone with one should still be able to access and manage tbem tbrough Worldclient, at https://webmail.firenet.co.uk

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