OT Escape from Castle NTL

There was a time I thought the NTL 3 in 1 idea a good one (TV, Phone and internet). This was indeed a good deal and for a couple of years and it's worked pretty well. But things are changing.
First the hardware setup. We have an NTL cable from the road to a Set Top box. One line goes to the STB and another to the box that the 'phone plugs into.
Now the moans. For starters the FREE dialup is of course no longer free and indeed has seen a few price rises since the freeness was removed some time ago. Almost every week I get a ntl broadband offer which while cheap to start with, I know from past experience will soon float upwards,
Since the ntl analogue box was changed for digital Set Top box (and I was 100% assured NOTHING would change as regards setup, cost etc - and it was all done for free) I find the new "Base Pack" (a collection of TV channels) just happens to cost a few more pounds per month that the old analogue one. Of course no one told me that even though I asked several times if the change would cost me more. Even though the cost increase isn't great I very much dislike this not being made clear to me until I got the first new bill after the digital STB was installed.
So I'm just looking at ways to escape Castle NTL. Perhaps You can help along the way with all/any of these…
Phone. I suppose this is the easiest to escape from. We still have the old BT phone lines installed. Simply sign up with BT then?
TV Well Freeview has all the channels I want anyway. So if I buy a Freeview STB (I am in a suitable postcode area to receive the signal). That removes the "Base Pack" or any other "pack" costs.
Internet This is the most tricky aspect. I'd need to sign up with an ISP to at least maintain my dialup system as now. However if I ever want to go broadband I only have that BT phone line available. Is broadband possible down such a line, or do I need some other line installing? The NTL digital STB has a nice cosy ethernet port on the back - it looks oh so temping to keep ntl just for that - unless you can tell me something different of course.
I used to be with Demon Internet (but switched to NTL for the 3in1). Now, I see Demon do not do an "Unlimited" use dialup. Seems their cheapest dialup is pay per call, which I don't want.
Well, that's the background. What to you think the chances of me escaping Castle NTL?
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Dave wrote:

<snip>
Well, I had to do it as I moved from the Parched South to the Frozen North. There is no NTL cable (or even Gas) in the road in my Cumbrian village.
I wanted broadband, since I had been using NTL's cable broadband in the south. Almost all BT telephone exchanges have ADSL capability, so moving your phones back to BT gives you access to a whole heap of ISP's who offer cheap broadband deals, from about Β£20 pcm (after the initial discounted period), but you will need to buy an ADSL modem - if you are already using an ethernet connection then an ADSL router is probably the best bet as your PC is already wired for it. (I'm using Freedom2Surf and no complaints)
In the end I opted for SKY for the TV, as there is no Freeview here, and I will probably convert to FreeSky when the initial year is up. 600 channels and STILL only BBC2 with anything on (although I quite like Discovery Real Time for DIY stuff :-).
I guess I'm paying Β£40 here for what was costing Β£30 before, but I do get Sky for that, and the ADSL seems faster than the cable. F2S don't send me interminable offers either - this is worth quite a bit!
R.
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Dave wrote:

Yes, or there are various companies who now provide line rental over the old BT line.

Problem solved.

Go to the BT website and check your old phone number (not the sky number) for broadband availability on your exchange.
I would sign up with BT for basic phone service and then shop around for a phone + broadband + free calls deal that suits your requirements.
MBQ
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Dave wrote:

I find it hard to understand why anyone would choose dialup when they have the option of ADSL. Yes, you can have ADSL on your BT phone line; that's all you need.
You can get decent ADSL from £18/month (I know you can get it cheaper, but cheap connectivity is never worth it). http://vispa.com/broadband-consumer.php
If you really want dialup, you can get it both as pay as you go or flat rate: http://vispa.com/dialup-consumer.php
If you get ADSL, just buy a modem+router, such as: http://www.expansys.com/product.asp?code 7467
--
Grunff

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Grunff wrote:

You can get it considerably cheaper than that, "cheaper" doesn't always mean "cheap".
MBQ
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A small list I made c/o another newsgroup - afaik they all still work
Free PAYG dialup access numbers -------------------------------
Provider Tel Login Password ---------------------+---------------+---------+---------- www.mistral.co.uk 0845 028 8888 any blank/any www.freewire.net 0845 028 0088 any blank/any www.pobox.co.uk 0845 080 0180 pobox blank/any www.pobox.co.uk 0845 604 0259 "" "" "" "" www.runtime.com 0845 055 1826 runtime runtime www.uk-isp.net 0845 123 1665 ukoffer ukoffer www.ace-internet.co.uk 0845 638 9166 trial free www.ukpost.com 0845 123 1720 signup signup
0845 054 5955 Any (non-empty) username and password, CLI required
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Dave wrote:

Dont pay what you havent agreed to pay. And why anyone would pay per month for tv I dont know. Many companies do broadband on BT lines, unlike ntl, and broadband prices start from £9 pcm. Dialup prices statr from £3 pcm for evening only use (onetel night owl). Just look for comparison tables.
NT
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Dave wrote:

yup.
Basically yes - go to <http://www.bt.com/broadband/bb_info.jsp?targetSection=packages&vasid »V> and insert your postcode to check it's available in your area. You get ADSL broadband rather than cable; the site will explain all about it.
Talktalk currently doing a "free 8Mb broadband for life" offer: <http://www.talktalk.co.uk/talktalk/servlet/gben-LLU-PageServer?article=MAIN.UK.TALKTALK.STATIC.TESTHUB which is probably to good to be true but has to be worth looking at. You do need a BT line for it though.
I'm on NTL myself and am very tempted to jump ship; prevented largely by inertia and the kids, who would throw wobblers if they lost the huge raft of ghastly American cartoon channels that the NTL package includes!
David
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Lobster wrote:

<http://www.talktalk.co.uk/talktalk/servlet/gben-LLU-PageServer?article=MAIN.UK.TALKTALK.STATIC.TESTHUB
Or a talk-talk line. It's only actually available where talk-talk have their own equipment in your exchange otherwise you pay more, depending on which phone package you choose.
MBQ
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snip lots of moans ....
I had Nynex -> became NTL analogue-> digital set top box but changed to Sky as my 'TV' source. It was a struggle to get NTL to accept that I no longer wished to purchase a TV supply off them. However they are currently my ISP. The wall mounted box installed yonks ago has two separate outputs; one went to the 'TV' set top box; the other (previously unused) is the 'internet' connection thingy. NTL supplied me with a 'free' cable-modem box. A pc is connected via a ethernet or USB to the cable modem which is connected to the previously unused port on the wall box. [I later upgraded when rooms were being decorated away from proximity to the wall box and currently have the cable-modem connected to a cable-router and electrickmagically have wireless connection from whichever room my wife has banished me to currently.]
Street->wall box->cable-modem->ethernet/USB->computer. or Street->wall box->cable-modem->->cable-router->wireless(computers)
You don't need to have the TV service off NTL in order to have broadband from them.
HTH
--

Brian




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Dave wrote:

Is it just me, or was NTL always going to be too good to be true ? Haarumph.
I'd use BT because it will simplify your broadband installation and widen your choice of providers. Make sure that if you use the same broadband service as a friend that you give them the reference as it'll knock money off their monthly bill. Just a thought.
Just a couple of random opinions on ADSL... Go for an unlimited account if you want to do any music/software/video downloading. If you just want to surf, don't sign up for more than 512k/sec, it'll be a pointless waste of money. Whatever you do though, make sure that your line can support the bandwidth that you sign up for. If you go for "up to" 8Mb/sec and your line can only support 2Mb/sec it will be an expensive PITA to downgrade your connection again. Trying to get BT to upgrade the line will be a dismal journey into the rancid bowels of hell.
If you get an ADSL router, it will have a nice cosy ethernet port on the back too. If you want, you can plug a 16 port switch into it and serve the entire house with a nice cosy port in each room, and/or a wireless bridge to serve the rest of your neighbourhood...
If you get a wireless ADSL router or a wireless bridge, please, please, please enable the security. The number of times I switch my laptop on and connect to some random tw*t's unsecured wireless means it's practically pointless me having broadband at all.
Chips.
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Dump the cable TV service and go direct to Sky for the TV, or even freeview if the range of programmes is OK for you.
Keep the ntl phone line and go broadband with them, can't understand why anyone is on dial up anymore!. I've got ntl BB, and ADSL via BT, one for home the other for work use. The ntl knocks spots off the BT offering for performance and reliability:)
have a go at them and threaten to leave and see what sort of deals they can offer. They are desperate to hang onto customers especially good payers!.
And their customer services are improving!. At least the last time I spoke to them they did what they said they were going to do, and they are in the UK unlike BT;(...
--
Tony Sayer


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Our problem with BB (through BlueBlunder) is the contention rate. A few years ago it was fine - we were quite early adopters and we had the thing pretty well to ourselves. Now, however, there are times of day when it all slows down. Nothing like dialup, obviously, but not as fast as peak.
--
Skipweasel
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Thats like saying I cant understand why don't people get cable. Some people can't have broadband even now because of distance, old cables etc etc. Life ain't simple for a lot of people even if yours is!
Dave
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Well aren't BT claiming that BB is now within reach of some 98% or is that not right?...
--
Tony Sayer


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tony sayer wrote:

It may be that 98% of people 'live in an area served by a broadband-enabled exchange'.
It doesn't mean that everyone in that area can get broadband though.
Owain
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irlingcity.coo.uk> writes

Well just how far does the wiring extend from a BT exchange?, AFAIK BB connections are possible, tho not that fast!, up to some 7-8 Km....
--
Tony Sayer


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tony sayer wrote:

It's not the distance, it's the attenuation...
With a 50V ballast resistor bridge (50 ohm elements), a modern telephone incorporating ASTIC, and 20 lb/mile UG cable, 570 ohm line loop is the max permissible resistance for 60mA transmitter current, equating to 6.45 miles. [Atkinson]. (This was when trunk lines were cabled in up to 100 lb/mi.)
I expect loop length was pushed further when electronics got pushed into local exchanges.
Bandwidth deteriorates rapidly with line length; which means that broadband-users located beyond 3.8 miles (6 kilometres) from their local telephone exchange are restricted to 1Mbps or less. http://www.bbwo.org.uk/broadband-2175
In Jim from Lincolshire with a loop length of 11 kms won the uk.telecom longest local loop award, beating off the previous holder from somewhere near Spean Bridge.
Owain
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stirlingcity.coo.uk> writes

Arguably much the same thing;).....

Well some BB is better than none!. The "always on"! connection I reckon is what people find the best attribute...

Jezzzz thats going some!....

--
Tony Sayer


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Dave wrote:

Or possibly other subscribers.. Or use VOIP ?

Yup. Freeview is pretty good.

Any BT line that has a DSLAM at the exchange can be broadbanded with any ISP.
Some of them offer a phone package as well, so although BT own the lines, you are not their customer, the ISP is, and it buys bulk copper, DSL access and frame relay backhaul off BT and runs its won phones over that.

100%.
If you are in a broadband area, and a freeview area.
Simplest is get a phone line from BT, cheapest option possible and mention that you want it for digital use.
Then get in touch with any ISP and get broadband installed
Then buy a secondhand set top box on ebay for peanuts, and a decent antenna for your location, if you haven't already got one, and go and enjoy it all.

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