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Review of ICUK

Linux33

Member
Hello,

I thought it would be good to post my experience after my first few months with ICUK. ICUK staff, please see my question in bold towards the end and respond if possible.

Like many others, I left ADSL24 due to their diminishing service and their traffic shaping policy (despite saying on their site that there is no throttling).

Pre-migration
ICUK was slightly more expensive but I decided to pay the extra migration fee so I would have a 1month contract with option 5 (adsl2 I assume using LLU with no allowance limits). I found their website to be very informative and to the point/concise about download/upload allowances, pros/cons of different packages etc.

Migration experience
The migration was somewhat slow although this could be due to my migrating shortly after the new year break and there being a backlog of work to clear due to bank holidays. The fact that I was moving onto LLU probably complicated things since they needed to book in a BT engineer to finalise the migration. The only downside was no communication from ICUK after the automated response saying that they had received my order and would be in touch closer to the migration.

However I was able to use their excellent online tracking system which sets out an informative roadmap for the migration to get an update. I got in touch after been stuck on the last step of it for some time. I was quite pleased to see that my email sent in the evening had an informative response early the next morning which responded to various queries I'd thought to ask in addition to an update on the migration date.

Internet Experience
Since then, I've seen an increase in speed from 2.5mb to 3-3.5mb (I'm unfortunately limited by my distance from the exchange). I assume that the use of the high quality wire (copper) direct from from house to the box in my street makes up a little bit for my distance from the exchange and boosted the speed.

I've not experienced any memorable loss of service except maybe my connection going dead for 1-2mins and coming back on, either on it's own or due to me restarting the router. This could be due to a problem with my router.

BITTORRENT

I make use of bittorent a lot due to being a linux user since I feel that the least I can do for the hard work put in by the open source community is to host/seed linux distributions on bittorent indefinitely. I also occasionally will download rare retro tv episodes and radio shows/interviews using bittorent and have found that there is no capping/traffic shaping and excellent upload/download speeds. Remember I am on the ADSL2 option 5 which uses LLU, not any of the standard ADSL options.

BBC iPlayer, general streaming
I found this worked fine for downloading 700mb versions of questiontime/newsnight etc with rapid download speed when using the iPlayer desktop program.
Trying to stream it live on their site was pretty poor though, even with the low quality option, though this could be due to the time of day I was using it (Sunday afternoon).

Streaming in general (including HD 1080 option) seems to work as well as one could hope using youtube given my 3-3.5mb connection.

Final Thoughts
So in conclusion, I am very pleased with the service both in terms of customer service and internet service which ICUK have provided thus far.

Price/Value for money
ICUK isn't the cheapest provider around and to enjoy uncapped usage you do need to move onto LLU. This means that if you migrate away, your new provider might charge you upto £50-60 to go back onto standard ADSL(2). However so far it's been worth it and I think they are offering a good level of value for money for what the consumer gets.

I hope ICUK continue to maintain and improve on their excellent service and don't let their users down like many other previously fine ADSL resellers/ISPs such as ADSL24, freedom2surf etc.

On a side note, I wish BT would upgrade the whole network away from copper so people like me who are rather far from the exchange (despite been in London in an ADSL2 enabled exchange) can get speeds higher than 3.5MB so I can stream 1080 HD on youtube/bbciplayer without needing to pause it at the beginning and then do something else for a while which it caches. I don't mind so much when it's just me, but if I'm showing something to family/friends, it's somewhat irksome.
Virgin have a monopoly on the fibreoptic broadband market in terms of what is affordable and available for the average broadband user and can offer upto 50mb broadband.
Conversely BT offers at most 16-24mb with most people getting nowhere near that due to us not living within 100 metres of the exchange. Boroughs in London can be 3-6miles in length so I'm sure many people are in the same situation as me. I did read the following though:
last week [article dated on 25/1/10] BT announced a rival fibre optic home broadband serviceBT Infinity. Priced from £19.99 per month, Infinity subscribers can access internet connection speeds of up to 40Mb. This will be available to four million homes by the end of December 2010.
So I will be researching when this will be available in my area and seeing if ICUK have plans to offer this to their customers. Any comments from ICUK Staff on here would be welcome.


Thanks for taking the time to read my extensive review and the subsequent thoughts on the future of broadband. I noted that there doesn't seem to be any new reviews on the forum so thought I would contribute.
 
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