Broadband Problems

May 7, 2011

So, A few months ago, O2 put up their broadband pricing, and I wasn’t that happy with a huge increase in price. So, I decided to bite the bullet and leave to go to Sky Broadband. It was the same price as I was already paying, and thought to myself, the service can’t be any worse. 

Well, the problems started, once I got my activation date. One issue with Sky Broadband, is that you cannot use any other equipment, other than their equipment. This, in my opinion, is one of the most stupid rules around, as I will now explain.

18th April came along, and I had no router from Sky. I had a modem that I used for ages without a problem with o2, and another modem router, that I keep as a spare just in case. Even if I went to a store that day, I couldn’t have bought anything that would connect me to their network. This is a huge failure on Skys part. Additionally, I called numerous times, chasing when I would actually get a router. I spoke to someone on the 26th April, who confirmed they would get one sent out. Surprisingly, the dispatch note, had that date on, and my online account updated with the information that it was dispatched. I did however call on the 17th April, 18th April, 23rd April, and the 26th April, all to find where my router was. All this time I was (potentially) without the internet. It was as if Sky did not care.

Thankfully, a friend of mine moved house, and didn’t use Sky Broadband at their new house, so had a router lying around I could borrow. This meant I could actually get on the internet. However, the problem with the routers are that Sky cripple the software so much, they are only useful for people who use only the supplied equipment, and nothing else. In other words, I cannot use it in a bridged/half bridged mode, which would then effectively mean it is a modem, and pass through the external IP address to my own internal network / router. The reason I want to do this (and have done for a couple of years with o2), is that my Apple Time Capsule supports dual wireless networks when in this mode, but also, Back to My Mac functions fully, and I can access my time capsule, and also shared computer screens when on a different network.

Obviously, trying to explain this to people on Sky Broadband Helpline is a lost cause, as they just don’t understand. So, once I received my router, it turned out to be faulty, and about as useful as a door stop, as it disconnects on a regular basis. Searching the forums on the internet, it seems that these new Sagemcoms are renowned for doing this, and Sky will just keep sending more out, until one works. I can’t be bothered with that, and the time that takes. I just want my broadband to work.

Ok, so now I’ve got my router, faulty, but I’m actually connected on the network, I find that even when using the same DNS as before (having to manually put it in each machine, as you can’t edit it on the router), the connection is slow, and really glitchy. I request a web page and nothing, it just hangs there “contacting”. If I ever attempt to refresh a web page, nothing. I put my cursor in the box, and hit enter again, eventually I get the page working. Now, as a picky IT Professional, it would be expected that I notice these things, but when my mother and sister notice how crap and slow the connection is, that’s saying something and that just isn’t good.

So, today at 2pm I get on the phone to Sky and give them a rant and want to leave with no penalty. I’ve specifically asked that I could leave without a penalty, and got confirmation verbally that this is the case. It was mentioned that I’d have to leave their phone service as well, which I said I was more than happy to stay with. The operator on the phone agreed to this, and said as there is no tag on the line, no MAC is needed.

So, after 40 minutes, getting things sorted with Sky, I call up O2, and take up their offer of 6 months free broadband. I give the operator my phone number, and then he tells me that I need to move my phone as well, because it isn’t a BT line any more, as Sky have taken full control. Weird thing is, Sky didn’t need full control when I had only my phone with them, but did when I wanted broadband. So, I think sod it, and I’ll transfer the lot. I then get told I’ve got a £45 charge to pay to convert my line back to a BT line for O2 to bill me for everything, and because the Sky Broadband I have is not fit for purpose in my opinion, I just have to bite the bullet and pay for it. I’m not happy about this charge, and cannot find anywhere on their website about this connection charge. According to myself, I have a landline and a broadband line, so am connected, but just moving provider. This has never cost me money before, and OfCom need to sort something out when transferring fully unbundled lines.

Finally, When giving O2 my direct debit details, they tell me that they can’t recognise my bank, and therefore cannot take payment. Oh yes, O2 think that my bank doesn’t exist. This is something I will tackle in the next few days, rather than do it now. Luckily, I have another bank account so can give those details, but I’ll have to remember to put money in there before bills go out. O2 should be able to take direct debits from all UK bank accounts, regardless whether they are new or old. If O2 do read this, they need to get Metro Bank on their systems.

All I want to know if if Sky are even going to attempt to charge me anything for leaving their phone / broadband service, as currently I’ve not agreed to any charges. Once I have my activation date, I will call up Sky, and have it out with them again.

I should never have left o2 in the first place, but in this day and age, I have to try and save money where possible. Why pay for something when someone is offering the same for less. Obviously, less means worse.

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