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Tiscali slowly migrating Pipex users to its own platform
Monday 21 January 2008 13:53:44 by Andrew Ferguson

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.

Comments

Posted by hagrid over 6 years ago
I think Tiscali wiil soon if not already also have a fully unbundled platform in operation.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"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."
I wonder where people stand legally on this? I imagine if challenged Pipex/Tiscali would lose on so many levels. Perhaps this is yet another thing ofcom should be cracking down on rather than their regular silly hotair news items and pretty charts!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"while cheap broadband is available, if it promises what looks like too much, for example unlimited downloads"
No residential Pipex packages for people signing up nowadays are unlimited anyway!
Posted by MCM999 over 6 years ago
<q>I imagine if challenged Pipex/Tiscali would lose on so many levels.</q> I doubt it given that, and as stated Andrwe F in his article, few consumer contracts specify the wholsale provider let alone the connection type.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"Generally products with a clear usage allowance offer better performance, but for heavy users may end up costing more."
Pipexs caps nowadays on packages are clear, unfortunately the performance is not "Better" in fact many will tell you its got worse.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"The choice is ours as consumers, pay more and get better performance or suffer congested services that are cheap as chips."
Where do i even start with that... If Pipex are chucking people on Tiscali LLU stuff, people may as well if they can move to bethere or similar that offer adsl2+... somehow i dont think the likes of them offer less performance or are congested... Yet they cost less than the top end 100gig cap Pipex residential product LOL
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
quote"I doubt it given that, and as stated Andrwe F in his article, few consumer contracts specify the wholsale provider let alone the connection type."
I think you will find ofcom have rules against 'slamming' infact ofcom make the bold statement here... http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consumeradvice/landline/privacy/slamming/
they can fine a company upto ten per cent of their turnover.... Which beggers the next question... Why have Pipex/Tiscali been allowed to get away with this for best part of a whole month???
Posted by CARPETBURN over 6 years ago
I guess (ofcoms site is a right mess) this would be the best place for Pipex customers that have been forced onto tiscali llu platforms to complain to them...
http://www.ofcom.org.uk/complain/landline/slamming/?itemid=285618&lang=cy
Posted by innoko over 6 years ago
Excuse me...I signed up with Pipex for an unlimited service and still pay a premium for it..so I object to the idea that all Pipex customers are looking for a cheap and cheerful deal. My download speeds in the evening are less than 30kbps.. ie no service at all. And no, I don't use any peer-to-peer or heavy downloads. What about a group action against Tiscali??
When Tiscali swapped me onto LLU, they didn't even bother to tell me that I ought to change my router settings. I had to spend x pence on 0870 numbers to find out what was going on, and I lost a day's real work in the process.
Posted by innoko over 6 years ago
' Tiscali quickly migrating Pipex users to its own slow platform'.
Posted by dopamine2 over 6 years ago
I'm one of those moved, without notification, to Tiscali's appalling network. My off peak speed has dropped from 6mbps to 3mbps, and peak time use is so heavily managed that dial-up is often faster. Tech support is changing on 1st Feb from an 0845 number to an expensive 0871 one, and I still pay a premium over Tiscali customers for my service. The bosses of Tiscali/Pipex should be publicly flogged.
Posted by scousetechie over 6 years ago
I have also had some strange goings on with my adsl. Pipex told me that "some work was going on on my line" but I know that there is no LLU available at my exchange, however my router tells me that I have gone from a fixed solo 500 to a variable interleaved connection. This is why I am moving ISP on Wednesday, I don't like things being done behind my back. Goodbye Pipex.
Posted by keith_thfc over 6 years ago
Excessive traffic shaping without warning? Forcing customers on to LLU without permission/warning?

Been going on at Pipex/f2s/Nildram for a long while......

Tiscali come along and I think so what? Looks like the same old same old to me....
Posted by Nebulous over 6 years ago
Life's too short to think about class actions for something costing a few quid a month. I was moved to Tiscali but not LLU'd and got my mac. Now on ADSL24 since 2/1/08 and very happy. The real problem is for people still under contract who can't escape!
Posted by keith_thfc over 6 years ago
Was just reading on The Register about Tiscali's latest traffic shaping experiments involving iTunes lol...

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/21/tiscali_itunes_blocked/

Sadly it still seems that few people bother to do any research before choosing an ISP.

Price alone is not always an indicator of poor quality, as with some of the LLU specialists like SKY and O2 you can get a cheap broadband package which offers a clean unthrottled service that does exactly what it says on the tin 24/7.
Posted by kenneth_lad over 6 years ago
What about BT Option 3? Not exactly cheap at £25pm but throttled to sub-0.5/1mb speeds in the evening. It's a joke how they can charge this much and offer such a poor product.
Posted by jeffshepherd over 6 years ago
Glad I left Pipex in December - a good ISP (in my opinion) spoilt by a poor parent company. Tiscali was my sole reason for migrating to Be.
Posted by Hoopster over 6 years ago
Same story here,my d/l speeds rarely get above dial-up speeds at peak times.Im livid,this level of service,is a disgrace! £24 a month for this? Something needs to be done pronto!
I for one will be contacting Ofcom.
Posted by afrieds over 6 years ago
Ive been with Pipex for six years, with no connection or speed problems, untill recently that is.Just done a speed test and only 1mbps. I will definatley be moving when my contrct is up
Posted by Cummbo over 6 years ago
PIPEX was a good service for some years..Until Saturday!
lost connection. Called PIPEX - adviser said there were problems at my exchange. 40mins later Tech Support answered. Told to reset router to a new DNS. He gave an intake of breath when I mentioned exchange problems (Bull Crap). A speed test later detailed my ISP as Tiscali. My D/L speed now 560kb instead of 6mb. What a shock I felt totally let down by PIPEX. Tiscali should be ashamed of themselves.
My personal advice would be to give PIPEX aka TISCALI a very wide berth (but you do the research and choose for yourself).
Posted by Guzzo over 6 years ago
I was unaware Pipex had a 6 year contract LOL!
Having left Pipex 2 years ago for refusing to drop a charge of £50 for moving me from £32 for 2mb to £25 for 8Mb I never regretted it at all!

Of course they then bought my new ISP F2S two weeks later. I lost my connection for three weeks
Posted by Guzzo over 6 years ago
first time in 10 years they had used Easynet as a LLU base. We all know what that means, ask any SKy customer.
Anyway they put me on BT MAX and gave me a months free membership. No problems at all for a year.
Posted by Guzzo over 6 years ago
After a year my speed dropped from 7,3mb to 0.5 for a week. I was lied to by support. What transpired was I was being mucked about at the exchange and my profile was changed on purpose. then I got an email telling me I was to be put on LLU. No reason just that Pipex was moving a wad of F2s people to LLU.
Posted by Guzzo over 6 years ago
I protested, but honestly after a week it settled down and I have had no fault or speed loss at any time since. Only once did I have a drop in speed and my profile was reset at the exchange and it has been stable for 11 months. I have no complaints.
However if Pipex port me to Tiscali LLU without notice and my speed or service varies I will contact Oftel ans start proceedings legally. I advise others to do the same.
Posted by Guzzo over 6 years ago
What you should realise if you just switch ISP's as each one is swallowed up in byouts and mergers etc, you will end up worse off. The plan is of course to eventually only have 3 or 4 ISP's in total. With the same shareholders names on each company. But if we each fight now while they are small we may delay them.
Posted by kingbaz over 6 years ago
Last year i was with tiscali and had problems which they always said were down to me
I knew very little about computers and isp,s and nothing about forums
Then i found the tiscali forum, at last i thought proper support from tiscali staff, now my connection problems could be fixed
Then i found Thinkbroadband and began to learn that tiscali had been telling lies,and running me round in circles for months.
When my posts in the tiscali forum.
Helped by my new knowledge from this forum started to warn customers in the tiscali forums what was really happening
My posting rights were withdrawn.

Posted by kingbaz over 6 years ago
Surely there must be a way to stop this bunch of manipulators and liars.
And i feel that fair play should be for all providers
People, that have signed up for broadband with little or no knowledge of the inner workings of the internet.
Should at least be protected from this devious manipulation
Barry King ( ex tiscali )
Posted by valezio over 6 years ago
I was LLU'd on 19th Dec,&lost broadband for 2 weeks.Since being LLU'd my upstream speed has halved. I think I should have had a choice - ie should have been told "We have to migrate you to LLU, if you prefer to leave we will give you your MAC code right now" That to me would at least be fair & would have saved us the disruption in service & endless lies we had to put up with.
Some of us (me included) are still bound by contracts(I am due to a speed upgrade last May) so then we have to prove that we have just reason to be released from the contract. It really is NOT on.
Posted by valezio over 6 years ago
Another thought,as a Pipex-er LLU'd to Tiscali I'm still paying £24.99 - Tiscali customers are paying a lot less. How can this be fair?
I agree with Barry, we should be protected from this devious manipulation.Maybe it would be a case for Watchdog or similar?
Posted by carrot63 over 6 years ago
"is done in a stealthy manner with the customer not getting any notice about it."

Been there, done that last year myself with Plusnet (now back on BT) so I feel for those who have (or are about to) get their speed/reliability taken to the cleaners by Tiscali's masters of mediocrity.

Ofcom won't do a thing, since this is exactly the sort of 'cheaper is great' competitive rubbish their exalted leader lives for. Voting with your wallet is the only option available. Sympathies!!
Posted by carrot63 over 6 years ago
I don't disagree about people poorly researching their prospective ISP, but really, how can you tell good from bad? Check the forums and every ISP will have some rants against them, and every poster has an opinion and an experience to relay. BT have a ton of complaints and a load of customers, small ISPs may have few complaints but few customers, it gets a little meaningless when you factor in line problems.

It's far easier to find ISPs to avoid than those to sign up to, and price really is no indication.
Posted by keith_thfc over 6 years ago
Carrot

You are spot on. Companies with huge amounts of marketing spend will continue to clean up until customers start making decisions based on research.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
A retailer changing its wholesale provision is not slamming. Slamming would be a different retailer taking over the line without permission. You don't get to specify the refinery your petrol comes from or the power station that generates your electricity, similarly you have no contractual sway over internet access provision.

If the service is materially different ie slower or with lower limits then there would be a case to answer, otherwise its "MAC please !"
Posted by denovo over 6 years ago
LLU, or not! I would be happy if their service would just work!
Posted by kaycece over 6 years ago
I stopped using Tiscali over a year ago. I wouldn't go back to them if they were the only provider. I'd go back to using pen and paper for writing letters etc.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
Just goes to show that even LLU doesn't always provide a decent service. The only good thing I'll say about Tiscali is that when I heard they were buying Pipex I chose to move to BeThere so for that I thank them :)
Posted by Guzzo over 6 years ago
I was most anti LLU until I got it. People think that because their router show 8128 connection they get full 8mb with BT Max, you don't with LLU the connection will show 7.2 connection. You still get about 6.8mb from both systems on an average connection 2 miles from the exchange as I am. I did get 0.5mb speed increase by installing and ADSL nation filter instead of the rubbish that gets supplied with routers. I ran test as the guy oppposite is on the same telegraph pole and the same ISP. He is on Max I am on LLU. Nuff said
Posted by Guzzo over 6 years ago
Oh except we used speedtest.net as a ADSL speed checker. Its the best we find.
Posted by keith_thfc over 6 years ago
Guzzo - why were you so anti-LLU in the first place?

Far less congestion under any LLU operation as you only share the pipes with customers at your own ISP. With BT Max you share with everyone in your exchange at all the different ISP's.
Posted by Guzzo over 6 years ago
I had read comments from imbeciles who had little technical knowledge. So I studied up on Comms technology. thats the trouble these days, too many idiots passing opinions off as facts based on assumtions from false data in the first place. Rather like current Governement policy actually.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
Same telegraph pole does not guarantee same line length/attenuation.

If a LLU connection connected at 7.2Mbps over ADSL link but gave 6.8Mbps through put I would be very surprised, the local ADSL link to exchange is ATM cells, which carries a 10%-13% overhead. Unless the LLU provider has moved to a full IP DSLAM - not aware of any that have.

To also say less congestion under any LLU operation is rubbish - it all depends on the backhaul in place and number of customers. LLU is of the size now that links are starting to fill up.

Posted by carpet over 6 years ago
"Posted by jeffshepherd about 19 hours ago
Glad I left Pipex in December - a good ISP (in my opinion) spoilt by a poor parent company. Tiscali was my sole reason for migrating to Be. "
I left in December too - partly because of Tiscali's poor record but mostly because Tiscali are closing down the Pipex technical call centre in Manchester making a lot of my friends redundant!
Posted by paulmumford over 6 years ago
Can someone kindly tell me how I tell that I've been moved onto the Tiscali network please?
Posted by dopamine2 over 6 years ago
"Posted by paulmumford about 3 hours ago
Can someone kindly tell me how I tell that I've been moved onto the Tiscali network please?"

Check your IP address. Pipex's usually begin with an 81 or 85, Tiscali's are 88 or 79. There may be others too, but those are the common ones.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
A lot of people think that 'LLU' is some kind of miraculous technology that is inherently better than non-LLU. It isn't. It's just a different company owning the DSLAM. The only reason it is cheaper or faster than what BT offer is LLU operators don't cover every exchange. They only bother with the cost effective exchanges.

Non-LLU (ie;BT) is in every exchange and that significantly increases the costs and logistics.
Posted by AndrueC over 6 years ago
..as AndrewF implied, LLU is still dependant on the operator having the resources and the inclination to invest in maintennance and expansion.

The cherry-picking nature of their operation suggests to me at least that LLU operators are not in it for the long-haul. I don't see them as being at the fore-front of investment.

They are just exploiting the existing infrastructure in those places where it suits them to do so.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 6 years ago
herdwick - It certainly *is* slamming, because they have changed the process involved in migrating away from them to include additional cost and downtime.

If they notified you and told you it was changing (and this would involve an option to get a MAC *before* you had to deal with the additional cost and downtime) then they'd be in the clear.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 6 years ago

Moreover, more than one person I know who's been migrated to a LLU platform has ended up having to buy new kit to connect - in at least three cases formerly ISP-supplied kit, and in another two ISP-recomended. (yes, they've had broadband for a long time...)
Posted by dopamine2 over 6 years ago
I've never been as angry about an ISP as I am now. I've been moved to Tiscali and my connection is now averaging 70kbps between 4pm and 1am, Pipex have refused to give me a MAC code, saying that it takes them a minimum of 5 working days to get one from BT. Pipex's customer support lines are now 0871 10p a minute, with about a 10 minute wait on hold before someone will speak to me, then another 10 or 15 minutes as I'm passed around. Surely there is something I can do to get a MAC code more quickly and cheaply than this, but what?
Posted by ETEE over 6 years ago
Interesting comment from ex Tiscali employee here:-

http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/showpost.php?p=21089470&postcount=1
Posted by Guzzo over 6 years ago
At the end of the day we all have to the choice to simply move to a dial up service en mass. after all what do you really need ADSL for? ebay buy, online banking transfer. Email. Online shopping. All of this can be done on dial up for pennies. If the net is about HD TV (what a joke) and, DUHHHH Gamers. God help us. If it gets too expensive I will simply dig out my old 56k modem. I managed a life before ADSL I will carry on after it!
Posted by Aqualung over 6 years ago
If people do their research i cannot understand why anyone would end up with Tiscali.
Ofcom are a joke and the government dont care/understand anything about internet as has been seen with the security fiasco.They are also very happy with the vat they collect on the artificial prices BT wholesale give out.

Somehow we the consumer have to get Ofcom to work for us how???? I'm stumped on that one ..
Posted by ETEE over 6 years ago
Aqualung, Ofcom fail to properly regulate TV and Radio as well currently preferring to leave things to "market forces".
Posted by oysterman55 over 6 years ago
As a former Pipex user, I concur with those noticing an obvious depreciation in service. Downloads dried up completely at peak time. In moving to Be I now have a cheaper and more fulfilling service. Pipex had a great reputation - it was on the slide but completely wrecked by Tiscali - the Woolworths of ISPs!
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
Andrue if I was a decision maker at a LLU operator I wouldnt rollout everywhere as well for 2 main reasons.
1 - unviable in certian areas due to distance from POP and low population.
2 - adsl is a old technology so any investment in it should be minimal just to compete.
Posted by tdavid over 6 years ago
I lost my Internet last Mon and it was two days later that I managed to contact Tech help. I was informed that work had been carried out in the exchange and that my router was at fault and therefore they could not help me. Two routers were infected tried to no avail. I find it unacceptable that a company change their equipment and then blame me for my system not working. I have done the obvious and am changing the ISP
Posted by Luvpeaceguru over 6 years ago
After the disgraceful 4 day loss of email which Tiscali recently perpetrated on its Homechoice customers, this company's reputation deserves to be in the mire and it's getting worse
Posted by hb239 over 6 years ago
I just don't know what to do. I signed up to Pipex not Tiscali. I've been paying 25 a month for a great service until 4th January this year when everything just fell apart. Okay, sure, I can move ISP, but why should I feel I have to just because my ISP has become rubbish? And from what I hear, moving from Pipex/Tiscali is a right nightmare.

But what course of action is open to me, really, *apart* from moving?
Posted by grmitchell over 6 years ago
I am a Pipex customer of more than 4 years happy service, but the past 3 weeks have been atrocious. Not just the poor service provided after migration to LLU, but the the useless support when you phone up. My train up speed has dropped from 3M to 2M downstream and 448k to 288K upstream. (I am on Pipex Midi) Pipex suggested that I change my dns settings to improve the speed. I think not.

I am moving to Be.
Posted by Blabo over 6 years ago
I noticed that my ADSL link was kidnapped by Tiscalli last Friday.

My speed has fallen from 5mb to 0.9Mb - great! No reply from support and various web links in favorites now fail intermittently. So I'm off to Demon.

A later story confirms 'if we can save more by moving Pipex people to Tiscalli (steam powered) broadband than is lost by cancellations then why not'. Shame, I was with them for 5 years.
Posted by pbsolo over 6 years ago
Just to see what 'might' be happening to my ADSL 'unlimited' package from Pipex, I did a few test downloads of rather fat programs, mp3's and video clips. Hey! Surprise surprise,.. my download speed seems to be dropping off real fast, so I came back here and ran a speed test, it had sunk to a measly 0.56Megs.
So I pinged my mate's (also Pipex) IP just for the hell of it and found that we both are routed through throttled Tiscali servers.
Hence Pipex are gonna get a request for a migration code first thing in the morning.
Posted by ouch234 over 6 years ago
Good luck with getting your mac. Requested mine 6 working days ago, only to be told by pipex that tiscali have to provide my mac code, and that i would have to wait another week. This they only discovered today. I asked why this is when my account is with them. Their comment was, SO WHAT!!!
Posted by indiekiduk2 over 6 years ago
My migration wasn't so stealth. I haven't had Internet since my IP changed to Tiscali's 88 change on Monday. Getting the blank and useless "work being carried out on your line" nonsense from tech support. Customer services say they can't issue MACs while work is being carried out and is going to take 10 days. I'm royally pissed off and ditching pipex as soon as I can. Interesting customer services is saying they have had hundreds of complaints of customers losing their connections.
Posted by hb239 over 6 years ago
Thing is, is it best to just change ISPs now or wait until Tiscali/Pipex have sorted the problem? I mean is there even a problem? *confused*
Posted by zeuss20 over 6 years ago
yes, we too have noticed since Pipex moved us to the Tiscali network our speeds have halved from 6mb to 3mb at peak times

Which ain't great
Posted by jumbokray over 6 years ago
Speed cut from 2Mb to 1MB. Refusal to advise current download usage so that they can impose a surcharge warranted or not you'll never know. Any question asked is refused an answer by hiding behind so called security and data protection issues. I could go on and on but what's the point I've been stuffed.
Posted by lawrinsonk over 6 years ago
My service was dreadful in December 2007 and I ended up making a written complaint because my e-mails were ignored, and my telephone calls were fielded by idiots who could only read from a script rather than think for themselves. My letter got me a speedy reply, assuring me that they'd done nothing, but miraculously, my service improved dramatically and I've had no problem until this week, when everything has gone rubbish again. I can't connect to my Open University intranet and web pages take minutes to load.
Posted by lawrinsonk over 6 years ago
And another thing... last month they told me I was near my download limit. When I rang them, they told me they couldn't tell me my usage. Given that I was away for most of last month and hardly used my Internet connection, I suspect that they were telling porkies - my router was turned off, so there was no chance it was hijacked, either.
Posted by powerpoint4 over 5 years ago
Was with tiscali years ago and left due to the bad connection and joined pipex which was excellent even at peak times i had around 6mb of 8mb broadband, know tiscali have taken over im lucky to get 0.8mb connection at peak times (tiscali surely know how to ruin and good broadband provider!!! welldone tiscali
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