I haven't been very active recently because I've only got a 56k connection at home. I'm moving in to a flat in a fortnight, though, and I'm looking at UK broadband providers... I'm sure most people here has some experience with them, but this is a completely new thing for me.
The rest of the post is just copy and pasted from my livejournal, so it's a bit of a gamble whether it will display correctly or not.
The situation with the phone line is that it won't be active until the 19th of September, but it's likely that it'll be simple and free to switch it back on. For phone service, I think we only need BT Option 1, as it's the minimum we can pay (it includes the line rental) and it's adequate for how much we're actually going to use it.
Broadband is more difficult, as I don't have any experience with setting it up at all. At the moment, there are three possibilities I'm looking at:
<a href="http://www.solo.pipex.com/">Pipex Lite 2000 5GB</a> - 2MB maximum bandwidth, 5GB usage a month, free hardware and setup. They advertise it as £9.99 a month, but it isn't really - it's that for the first two months, then £23 after that, which is still outwardly comparable with the other services in terms of price.
<a href="http://www.plus.net/residential/broadband/broadband_plus.shtml?link=resbb_pluslink">PlusNet Broadband Plus</a> - 2MB maximum bandwidth (split between 50), unlimited usage, with free hardware and setup. This is the company that I know the least about, but it also looks the most promising. They say that the Plus package is for "email and surfing" rather than downloading, but I can't really see why. It's £14.99 a month.
<a href="http://www.tiscali.co.uk/products/broadband/1mbunlimited.html?code=ZZ-NL-11XY">Tiscali Something</a> - I've been warned to stay as far away from Tiscali as is humanly possible, and further research on the Internet seems to agree with this, but Whitney used them two years ago in Oxford and never had a problem with them at all. They also seem to change their offers by the week, so it's a bit difficult to choose one. The one I'm looking at just now is £14.99 a month, and gives 1MB bandwidth, unlimited usage, and a phone service that's cheaper than the BT one. 2MB is only £2 more a month, though.
As the phone line isn't switched on for a fortnight, I can't actually check the availability until then, but from looking at <a href="http://www.broadbandproviders.co.uk">this directory</a> it seems likely that we have access to them all.
Any ideas? Comments from people who have had experience with these companies would be much appreciated.
I use PlusNet, Wong. I think you'll find the £14.99 is quite restrictive on filesharing and that sort of stuff. I have the "Premier" account myself (£21.99), which they recently upgraded to 1mbps free of charge, which was nice of them. I have no real complaints about their service... sometimes the connection cuts out and I have to reconnect (happens rarely), but they always answer support tickets etc. I was quite annoyed when they announced plans to introduce download limits but they withdrew them after an outcry (they cited technical difficulties but the plan seemed pretty set in motion), which shows they at least listen to their customers.
I too have also heard bad things about Tiscali. PlusNet are the only broadband provider I've had and I've never seen any cause to change. Check out www.adslguide.org.uk if you haven't already, they have reviews and ratings and the like for all the UK providers.
UKOnline.net is good, I use it. It's £10 a month for unlimited 512k broadband with no download/upload limits. Connection is free on offer I think for a while, but you have to buy a modem. What's more, if you are recommended by a friend (AKA me) then you get the first month free, as do I. If it asks you who recommended you, put in firstname.lastname@example.org.
I always got the impression that filesharing taffic is restricted on that service, particularly at peak times. But they didn't offer that when I signed up so I'm not well versed in all the packages they provide. Plus the contention is higher (50:1 vs 30:1) so your transfer speeds may suffer if a lot of people are downloading. If I were you I'd read the small print, but I still recommend them.
I'm actually with Tiscali 2mb Broadband - had no problems with it YET, although every now and again the connection can go a tad slower than it should, but that could be my network playing up. But yet it's fine for me..