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BT Total Broadband Anywhere review

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BT Total Broadband Anywhere
  • BT Total Broadband Anywhere
  • BT Total Broadband Anywhere
  • BT Total Broadband Anywhere
  • BT Total Broadband Anywhere

Summary

Our Score:

7

Broadband, once a luxury envied by those still stuck in the dark ages of dial-up Internet, has in a relatively short time become just another must-have service at home; along with electricity, gas and water. ISPs are having to become ever more cunning when trying to convince customers that their broadband offerings are better than others', or offer something that can't be had elsewhere.

BT, as evidenced by its (often extremely annoying) adverts, is well aware of that fact. To capitalise on this, offering services such as BT Vault online backup storage, BT Vision IPTV or BT Total Broadband Anywhere. It's the latter that I'm looking at today, so let's dive in.

BT Total Broadband Anywhere is an extension to BT's top-end broadband package that offers, for every-so-slightly under £5 a month (thanks VAT cuts!) and the signing of an 18 month contract, a handset which can be used to take BT broadband out of the home. Or so the marketing blurb suggests.

The reality is slightly different. The broadband package of an (up to) 8Mbit connection, unlimited broadband with 5GB of online storage and BT's Home Hub router isn't too bad. And there is the option to add BT Vision, albeit for an extra monthly fee.

The ToGo handset, as the mobile is referred to has, at first glance, a pretty meagre package. 50 cross-network minutes, 50 text messages will probably be too little for most mobile users - although there are package options to increase that allowance. Moreover, 10MB of wireless data on a GPRS handset is decidedly not what I'd call mobile broadband.

However, in addition to the above allowances, BT ToGo also offers access to its vast OpenZone Wi-Fi network. When connected, it's possible to make phone calls over the 'net and access the Internet, be that for browsing, sending emails or anything else, the foremost of those options being the most notable, as it compensates the otherwise miserly 50 minute calls allowance.

BT Broadband Talk, as the Internet phone call service is called, isn't limited to hotspots, though, but rather works over any Wi-Fi-enabled Internet connection. If you happen to make most of your phone calls at work, and have access to Wi-Fi there, the small data and minutes allowances might not be an issue.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

SRS

January 24, 2009, 6:43 pm

The ToGo (ugh!) really got beaten with the ugly stick didn't it? Look at the Palm Pre, look at the latest blackberries, look at the iPhone. Hell - even look at the G1, then look at the ToGo. See? Ugly, underpowered and ancient.

Adrian Matthews

March 23, 2009, 2:59 pm

For those whose aim is to look good I suppose the HTC handset could be better, but ugly is only a matter of opinion. From real life use it doesn't look bad at all, not that that bothers me. More importantly it works well and sits in the hand very well, and the two batteries are a great plus. If only there was a way of charging them without their being inserted into the handset they'd be even better.





After the tweaking to the OS that BT have done the smart phone is very useable, far better at ordinary tasks than the Blackberry I had, which was a pain to set up and counter-intutive in many of its functions. The quality of the handset is very high, and the sound almost startlingly clear compared with literally every phone I've had in the past 20 years. Basic phone memory is decidedly stingy, however, and a memory card upgrade is a must.





This was an upgrade from BT's normal Option 3 bradband package, and it's probably the best scenario for this particular mobile offering, with the possibility in my case of a new smart phone and 250 minutes for GBP15, the same price as 3 Mobile with a few more minutes and a very basic phone, but the BT offering also brought me a significant reduction on my Option 3 charges. Other parts of the package I negotiated - normal phone with evenings and weekends free, additional VoIP phone which gives a second number and effectively a second line, perfectly decent Wireless N router, not particularly good but useful DVR, and access to a library of downloadable films and TV programmes (normally at extra cost) which in practice are rarely used.





I've been with BT for broadband since it started in my area seven or eight years ago, and their customer service is, as others have said, normally very friendly, though with rare but glaring exceptions, but BT corporately nearly drove me up the wall this time trying to set the new package up, with multiple examples of the right hand not knowing what the left was doing, or more importantly, saying and offering, and their billing is so opaque that I'm still not sure I'm getting quite the deal price I was offered. Mental note: ask for details in writing in future about what I'm being offered and which department's offering it. Plus they forgot about the new Home Hub they promised till reminded, and they didn't port the mobile number from Orange despite being given the PAC code till they were reminded. They nearly got me charged another month's rental from Orange.





The basic 50 minutes per month of calls is pretty laughable by today's standards, I agree, and 250 for GBP15 which I pay is still not exactly the bargain of the century but more or less adequate for me. I do need more minutes overall, but bear in mind the free evenings and weekends anyway when at home or when near a hot spot or other wifi, and I fill in any gaps should I look like going over my limit or should the signal be bad with an old phone on cheap pay as you go. Add to that a separate 3 Mobile laptop broadband dongle for GBP10 per month and I've managed to cut my real combined home and self employed business phone, TV, broadband and mobile costs from about 120GBP per month to more like 70GBP with the addition of access to the Internet in almost all situations. And I've got a very decent smart phone to replace the truly horrible Samsung U600 thing I used to have from Orange.





Things like live rail information are a doddle to use on the HTC handset, but everything you've heard about Internet Explorer Mobile is true! For true web surfing having the 3 Mobile dongle (and Firefox) is the real answer, but even the tiny laptop I have will not fit into my pocket.





My verdict: nothing in life is perfect, but this is shaping up to be a pretty good package for my needs, and a pretty good smart phone. I probably could have done better last time around, but this time, after a bit of haggling and with the addition of 3 Mobile's nicely cheap broadband dongle, I've been able to greatly increase the functionality I get and also cut the overall home and business bill I pay by nearly half. Always say you're thinking of going elsewhere - it can work wonders!



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