Pipex has grown over the years and traditionally had an image of appealing to the more discerning broadband customer. It seems this core of long term customers are noticing the changes in performance as their ADSL connections are moved from the IPStream set-up of Pipex to a mixture of Tiscali LLU and DataStream connections.
In terms of the contracts most consumers have with their broadband provider, the wholesale connection type is not specified so providers are at will to move consumers to a different platform. In the case of customers moved to the unbundled network ease of migration will be a worry, but as the MAC process is supported by shared LLU, which Tiscali use, migration should not be a problem. It was over concerns like this that Plusnet introduced an opt-out option during its 20,000 user dabble with Tiscali Wholesale LLU.
So far it would appear the changes in wholesale provider for Pipex connections is done in a stealthy manner with the customer not getting any notice about it. Where people have asked, an innocent sounding phrase like 'work is being carried out on your line at the exchange' is used, avoiding the mentioning of unbundling.
The difference that seems to be driving people away is the traffic management used by Tiscali. Given that the Tiscali retail products manage to provide 'unlimited' broadband at a price point where most providers will only give a 3GB to 5GB allowance, but even more amazingly include free weekend calls and telephone line rental for £14.99, seeing fairly harsh traffic management on a Tiscali networked connection should be no massive surprise.
The moral is that while cheap broadband is available, if it promises what looks like too much, for example unlimited downloads for a lot less than the competitors, then be prepared for traffic management techniques. This means at peak times you may find applications such as video streaming only work at slow rates if at all. Generally products with a clear usage allowance offer better performance, but for heavy users may end up costing more. The choice is ours as consumers, pay more and get better performance or suffer congested services that are cheap as chips.