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.
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.
TalkTalk (from the Carphone Warehouse) are offering “free” broadband. The deal is you sign up to TalkTalk as your phone provider (£11 line rental a month - the same as BT), take out one of the call plans for 18 months (£9.99 a month which includes unlimited* local, national and international** calls) and pay a £29.99 setup fee. For this you get up to 8Mb broadband (very likely to be lower though) with a 40Gb download limit and an ADSL modem. Total cost (for 18 months): £407.81, about £22.66 a month. Seems like a good deal… TalkTalk * Calls must last less than 70 minutes. ** To a list of 28 countries including America, Australia and most of Europe.