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Sky Really is the Limit

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Like so many things in life, you tend not to appreciate what you’ve got until it’s gone. For me, as I’m sure is the case for so many, it’s certainly true of my Internet access. We’re all so used to being online, jacked in, connected, that any downtime feels virtually paralysing – we’re lost, disconnected individuals unable to get basic information or do anything of use, which I suppose is pretty pathetic really.

This feeling is certainly true in the work place, and it’s equally as true in the home. So it was with little amusement and no patience that I came home the other week to find that my Internet connection had gone down. I had recently chosen to migrate from my long time provider NTL to Sky. I did feel a little guilty as aside from a brief problem with my modem, NTL’s cable connection had been solid and reliable However, NTL was charging me £35 a month for a 10Mb connection, while through Sky I could get up to 16Mb for only £10 a month – no contest really. The only prerequisite was that you subscribe to Sky TV, which I do already. If you do subscribe, you can alternatively have up to 8Mb for £5 a month or a 2Mb connection for free. The reasonable sounding chap in the NTL cancellations department had offered me £17.50 – half price, to stay, but it still didn’t compete monetarily.

I thought I’d be sensible and get the ADSL from Sky up and running before I switched over just to make sure that all was well. Ordering from Sky proved a very simply process – one call and the box, containing the stylish looking Netgear ADSL modem/router and four micro filters duly arrived in the post days later. I hooked up and was online in minutes - a good start. It seemed ok, but I soon noticed that the speeds were not what I would have hoped for. Some quick line speed testing at www.thinkbroadband.com/speedtest.html revealed I was only getting between eight and 10Mb/s – not really better than NTL. I put it down to ADSL2 automatically fluctuating to get the best out of my line so I decided to bear with it. I did call the technical support and once I got past the initial front line monkeys I was told somebody who really knew what they were talking about would call me back within five days. Wow, incredible customer service.

By the time I was called back I had naturally gone over the eight days in which you’re able to cancel your contract according to Sky Broadband’s own Terms and Conditions. After this you’re locked in for 12 months.

What I was told by the Sky technical team was that line tests had determined that the best my line could handle was 7Mb/s second – anything above that was resulting in errors. As a result they had dropped my connection speed to this. Firstly I was pretty disappointed by this as I was looking forward to getting even greater speeds than I was getting with NTL – not appreciably lower speeds. Secondly, I wondered why they hadn’t conducted these line tests before connecting me up the Sky Max package – if I hadn’t done the line tests myself then I would be paying for a service I wasn’t receiving. I couldn’t help but wonder how many people on Sky Broadband, or indeed other providers offering greater than 8Mbs, are in the same boat, blissfully paying for something they’re not getting. Rather farcically I thought, I had to phone customer services and tell them to lower me to the £5 a month 8Mb package myself.

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