I just got an email announcing that due to some sort of technical difficulties, my unbundling has been put back. No word on a new date either.
Yesterday I received a letter from TalkTalk announcing their equipment had been installed in my local exchange and that I would be connected at the end of March. Which according to some people may be the same time that I lose my internet access and phone line. They say it should only go down for twenty minutes and make big deal out of the fact that BT engineers will be doing the actual changeover. Luckily I have internet access at work so I’ll let you know either way.
Ooh, drama. I recently received an email from a Carphone Warehouse representative asking me to remove the personal information about one of their employees I had published. Specifically, two of Charles Dunstone’s email addresses.
If one or both of the email addresses are actually personal addresses of Mr Dunstone and this is an attempt to protect them, then it’s rather futile. Firstly because I first heard of them from a commenter so someone else obviously knew it a while ago and as probably told others. Secondly, the fact that they were published for even a moment on the web means they’ve been scraped and stolen by hundreds of bots. So if they are being bombarded by emails offering cheap OEM software, fake Rolex watches, dodgy claims about various stocks or warnings about losing access to a PayPal account, I apologise.
As for the many emails from customers trying to sort out problems with their service? Well if people were getting the replies they wanted from the public emails then none of this would have happened. I should also point out that the email contained a standard disclaimer saying the correspondence was private. I figured that since it specifically regarded a public action (i.e. blatantly changing content on the site) then people would notice anyway and an explanation was in order.
As a final personal disclaimer I would like to say that unlike many others I still haven’t had any problems with TalkTalk as a customer.
What this means is instead of getting a free ADSL modem, you get a free combined wireless router/ADSL modem allowing you to create a wireless home network with the Internet accessible from all the computers. Quite a few companies advertise a similar service as wireless broadband.
There are companies slowly appearing however offering genuine wireless broadband via WiMAX, for example now. Once the availability increases the issue of what “wireless broadband” means will become more important.
In an interesting move, AOL have old of their UK business to none other than Carphone Warehouse. This will not mean in re-branding so it seems AOL and TalkTalk will remain separate. It also seems that AOL will take control of advertising through TalkTalk as part of the deal. More information is available from BBC News.
A few recent entries to the list of problems with TalkTalk seem like they could be software related.
People not being able to use MSN Messenger or having problems getting their TalkTalk email for instance. The first one could be caused by a badly configured firewall which the TalkTalk software installs and the second by an apparent typo in the default mail settings. The reason I bring this up is because installing the the TalkTalk software is one thing I never did. Since I was going to use a router with a modem built in I didn’t bother waiting for my welcome pack and just tried from the day they said the broadband would be active and everything worked fine.
The irony is one of the first things any broadband technical support would ask you if you had a problem would be whether you are using a modem or a router since a modem should be simpler.
Firstly, some of the posts about TalkTalk problems are getting a little heated, especially now some TalkTalk call centre workers have posted. Try and keep everything vaguely cordial.
Secondly I have an update (sort of) regarding unbundling. I recently posted that the unbundling dates were 31st August. Well another post on Sam Knows said they were the dates Carphone Warehouse originally posted and haven’t actually been updated since. As such some people already are unbundled - most people aren’t.
The Metro, (the only newspaper I read since it’s free) had an advert from ntl:Telewest for their broadband service that said:
Cable broadband has unlimited downloads…unlike BT, Sky, Orange or TalkTalk
BT and Sky at least (and possibly Orange, not sure) definitely offer “unlimited” packages that are restricted by a fair use policy. The fine print at the bottom of the ad said that the ntl:Telewest also had a fair use policy. So how exactly are they “unlike” each other?
On a related note, the number of replies with TalkTalk complaints is getting really high. The irony is none of the broadband companies have tried competing on quality of service yet.
I saw an advert for Bulldog Broadband today on the London Underground. In large letters it offers 16 MB broadband for £9.75 a month plus telephone line rental of £10.50 a month - “cheaper than TalkTalk”. That price is indeed less than TalkTalk, but what you pay isn’t. That price only applies for the first three months, after that it’s £14.75 a month. Not only that but you only have a 1 gigbyte/month download limit, that’s about 34 Mb a day.
Surely this is a more strenuous claim than TalkTalk’s “free boadband” and they were stopped from broadcasting that one on TV?
My post about free broadband from TalkTalk has got a fair bit of traffic, in fact it’s been the most popular page since a day after I posted. I don’t think that implies the post is any good but just that lots of people are looking for info about the offer. According to the Register, Carphone Warehouse have had to withdraw their advert claiming “free broadband” since it’s bundled and therefore not free. Personally I disagree. Since the service it’s bundled with was available before at the same price, the broadband is still technically free. The same people that made this ruling by the way also said that unlimited doesn’t have to actually mean unlimited (as with most broadband “fair use” policies) if the terms are displayed. This is far easier to disagree with since calling it unlimited is wrong both simply and technically. Anyway the comments have revealed the following issues it seems:
- Limited P2P traffic - Sort of a non-issue since they clearly say they will limit peer-to-peer traffic. Worth noting if you didn’t know already though.
- Limited gaming traffic - They didn’t say explicitly that this could be throttled so more of a worry.
- Dodgy proxy server redirecting requests for non existent pages - Annoying and slightly disturbing although not a major problem. Installing Google Web Accelerator may solve this as it does it’s own proxying.
- Generally bad service - Quite a few complaints about the service not being fast etc. Not very quantitative but certainly bad for people switching to get more speed.
Although I haven’t read the terms, it may be possible to back out of the broadband free of charge. Since it is bundled after all (you’re paying for the calling plan) you may still be able to switch providers afterwards. You’ll still have to pay the £9.99 a month though but you could just make lots of calls… Phil Jones has an unofficial guide to setting up TalkTalk broadband that bypasses a lot of the problems and can help you solve others.