Three years ago broadband may have got a small mention in the national press, but now most journalists have it at home and many of a papers readers have it, broadband is now getting many more column inches. Unfortunately not all of it is good for some specific companies or the industry as a whole. Talk Talk features in a question and answer session at the Daily Mail which can be read at ThisIsMoney.co.uk.
The questions appear to centre around the problems of those waiting to get their free broadband connected, rather than actual issues with the service. It is interesting to find that again the figure of 476,000 inquiries is used rather than how many are actually up and running on the IPStream or LLU services. One thing worth noting is that after recent Ofcom talks, the connection fee no longer exists but there is a £29.99 fee for the recommended ADSL modem. The Talk Talk website claims the modem uses technology that has only become available in 2006 (we wonder what technology they mean, or is this just marketing talk). The modem is ADSL2+ compatible, alas TalkTalk are only provisioning using the ADSL standard at present, and for many people still using fixed speed 1Mbps and 2Mbps services. The most important issue is that if you have a broadband fault, Talk Talk suggest fault resolution will be easier with their modem - so it seems the modem is perhaps not as optional as people would like.
Perhaps a lot of the issues with Talk Talk revolve around the broadband being a free extra-value service on top of a telephone package. Providers where the broadband is the centre piece of their package may go a bit further to avoid long waiting times to get the service up and running for example. Another bundle provider is Sky, and after what looked like a good start we are starting to see posters complaining of the waiting time to get up and running. It is fair to say that if broadband is important to you, that you should decide how much it is worth and then take a look around the provider market, the cheapest providers have tended to have a legacy of long support queues and less emphasis on customer care. There will be the exceptions to this rule, and word of mouth rather than clever marketing will help those companies grow.
To show it is not just Talk Talk that has issues, a large broadband article that we contributed to was published by the Sunday Times a couple of weeks ago, but is still very relevant. This item centres around comparing a number of providers, with the speed comparisons being the average of speedtest results for customers who said they had an 'up to 8Mbps' service and averaged between 6pm and 10pm.