Thursday, 31 January 2008

Leaving Pipex - changing my ISP

As an experiment I decided I'd keep a blog of what happened when I tried to change
my ISP.

A little background first - I've been with pipex for years. As a business customer
I have paid them quite a lot of money for an excellent service. It's worked
really well. I've had no problems with them at all during my time with them.
Until recently.

About a fortnight ago our home router had it's IP changed. Now we've had a static
one for such a long time that it came as a shock. We found out it'd been changed
because something stopped working that relied on knowing the IP of the router.

The service was a little flakey after then but it's possible that phone lines
might have had something to do with it as the BT engineer has been perched up
the pole outside on and off reconnecting phone lines. As a result we'd noticed
pages taking a bit longer and some general lack of quality but nothing really

Then I stopped getting access to giganews in the evenings. This was really
strange. I assumed that as it'd been on my laptop each time it was software
related and was toying with investigating but couldn't be bothered as it worked
during the day when I was on my main work machine.

Anyway one evening I happened to be on my main machine - and found newsgroups
didn't work. So I wondered if it was giganews having problems. I eventually
logged into my giganews account to find that I was well under my paid newsgroup

So I did a traceroute via giganews and found the following

1 ( 0 ms 0 ms 0 ms

2 ( 0 ms 0 ms 0 ms

3 ( 88 ms 88 ms 87 ms

4 ( 88 ms
( 88 ms ( 88 ms

5 * * *

6 * * *

7 * * *

Max number of unresponsive hops reached (firewall or filter?)

1 ( 1 ms 0 ms 0 ms

2 ( 0 ms 0 ms 0 ms

3 ( 5 ms 5 ms 6 ms

4 ( 8 ms
( 6 ms ( 6 ms

5 * * *

6 * * *

7 * * *

Max number of unresponsive hops reached (firewall or filter?)

So it suddenly became clear that tiscal were now running the ISP and had probably
moved us over from Pipex's IP to one ruled by Tiscali.

A quick message or two on a forum and someone pointed me at this story on The

bandwidth throttling flub fix flops

Apparently Tiscali have messed up and we're not alone - Many Pipex customers
have who had not realised their line had been migrated to the Tiscali network
have cried foul after having no problems under the old regime.

Tiscali paid £210m for the Pipex broadband customer base last year. There's
growing disquiet among the new members that they still pay Pipex prices for
cheaper, apparently shoddier Tiscali service via its LLU network.

So I emailed pipex with a copy of my traceroute from giganews and also said
I was cheesed off at paying so much more than the advertised amounts on pipex's
site these days

Pipex Business Pro Broadband

* Up to 16Mb with unlimited usage
* Business Grade Broadband
* FREE WiFi Router and connection*
* 500 inclusive TalkTime minutes
* Dedicated 24/7 UK business support centre
* Pipex Pro business broadband for just £19.50

I got an autoresponse giving me a reference number and then got this

"Completed as it's an internet account and support @ were Copied in on the email already"

Well it isn't completed. They never gave me an answer to either parts of my question.

So I decided to leave. Looking at the options I think we're going with Be There.

So this morning first thing I rang and asked for a MAC number. It's 3-5 working days for one to be issued. Why do you want one, she asked?
I asked if it was too early for a rant and told her the service was rubbish now it was with tiscali and she tried to tell me that it was still pipex and she wouldn't listen to me telling her about my traceroute saying my giganews died at a tiscali bit.
She reiterated it'd be 3-5 working days for a MAC number, and that we'd be refunded pro-rata for any unused time.

I also asked her about the price thing - and she said that's really new and they'd be telling me about it soon. Well as my invoice is due in two days I suspect they're leaving it to the last minute to tell me how much it'll be - so I will update as to exactly how much they charge me!
(Apparently we're paying top whack for 2Mb when they offer so much more for less anyway - so I'm doubly cheesed off with what's happened!)
OK, some of that is probably my fault for believing I'm always going to be offered the best deal without kicking up a big fuss!

So it's Thursday 31st January 2008 and in 3-5 days I will have a MAC number which can release me from Tiscali.

Sadly I've heard loads of stories about tiscali being harder to get rid of than any other ISP on the planet so I'm not holding my breath for this one!