Tag Archives: Broadband

Readers Questions

Just when I thought the subject of Broadband Torbay wouldn’t make an appearance in Click for some time then here it comes again, back with a vengeance due to a recent question that I’ve received.

We are a couple of ‘silver surfers’ who both enjoy using our computer, e-mailing and surfing the web (all self taught) and are able to do this with the help of our three knowledgeable offspring who answer most of our queries from afar and who indeed occasionally pop down to ‘upgrade’ or put new programs on that we feel we need. We have, for example just been introduced to Microsoft Publishing and MSN Messenger.

With the advent of Broadband to this area soon I’m finding that I cannot get a complete answer from anyone as to how we go about getting it. My son keeps e-mailing me to ask if I’ve ordered it yet however there does not appear to be any publicity from ISP servers seeking our money and so I do have a number of questions for you:

Firstly, having looked at www.Logon247.co.uk and seeing a company offering a lower cost per month than most for broadband, how do I go about ordering it? Will it come supplied with the modem necessary for the broadband installation? Additionally, if we change to this company, will this affect Freeserve for e-mailing and MSN Messenger or do you change your e-mail server at the same time? If we can keep Freeserve then surely we will still have to pay for it in which event how would I go about cancelling it?

Finally, will BT have to come before we can do anything to convert our two outside lines into one (to save money) and from this new system on one line can we run our wireless phone which has three handsets and our computer which shares another outside line with our fax/telephone instrument with a separate land extension. My son says he can put our final choice of ISP server in when the line has been activated. Please help, from slightly confused surfers.

Mr & Mrs CR Potts, Brixham

For those readers living in Brixham I should say that your local exchange gets activated on the 25th of this month so if you’re interested in receiving broadband then please check out potential availability at www.bt.com/btbroadband - You will not be able to get it just yet although it is good to see the availability of broadband spreading throughout the bay!

The first thing that strikes me about this letter is the fact that you haven’t mentioned the company that you are thinking of going with and so therefore I’m unqualified to advise you on whether or not the package includes an ADSL modem. The one point I would make to you and my other readers is that if a particular broadband package looks too cheap to be true then check it is the full 512Kbps speed and not a reduced 256Kbps variant. There are dozens of ISPs looking for your business however so I’ll leave it to you guys to find the one that you think best suits your needs; just make sure you don’t end up paying for extras such as web space which you may never use.

Your current e-mail address will be retainable when you get your new broadband package, whoever it is that you choose to go though; you will have to ensure that you keep your incoming mail server set to Freeserve and just use your new broadband provider to send the e-mail which is a trick I may well go into for a future article. Since you are currently only paying when you connect to the Internet, you may as well keep your old Internet account open when you change to broadband as you won’t ever be ‘dialling up’ as such as so you will not be charged. MSN Messenger is completely independent to your choice of ISP so this will not be affected at all.

With your current two line setup, BT will at your request just disconnect one of your lines leaving the other one standalone; it is not a case of ‘merging’ the two lines together. I don’t believe that this will involve an engineer visit but rather someone flicking a switch on some computer in London and then all you have to do then is get the other line converted over to Broadband which should work fine with your current wireless handsets.

Windows XP Service Pack 1

Several months ago, Microsoft released a major update for Windows XP home and professional editions, which was designed to correct the majority of issues that users had experienced since it was originally released. The update also added several new features and with many people in the bay taking the plunge and upgrading to Windows XP, I thought it time that I explain what these free of charge updates offer the average home user.

The ‘Service Pack’ centres on improving the general security and stability of the Operating System by bundling all of the previous critical updates together into the one file as well as a fair amount of new code. Those of you who run Windows Update on a regular basis will probably already have a large majority of the fixes already installed on your system but there are still a number of other reasons for upgrading.

First and foremost is that it’s completely free of charge from www.microsoft.com, however you should bear in mind that the full installation version weighs in at 130mb so if you don’t have it yourself, you may wish to find a friend with Broadband or leave your computer downloading from the Internet overnight. For those of you who have been running Windows Update on a regular basis, there is a ‘express installation’ version, which only downloads the additional files needed to make up the complete Service Pack. This Express Installation version can be as small as 30mb in size depending on how up to date your Operating System was kept in the first place.

One of the main new features that you’ll notice is the ‘Set Program Access and Defaults’ wizard. This is a result of Microsoft’s continual conflict with the Department of Justice in the States who have ruled that Microsoft are forcing their programs onto people free of charge with their Operating Systems, therefore making it hard for other developers to compete on a level playing field with their own software. This new feature of Windows allows you to specify that you want to use, say, Netscape Navigator for browsing the Internet, Sun Java Virtual Machine for running Java files and Winamp for playing music files. The Microsoft equivalent programs will then be hidden from view although not removed from your hard disk entirely.

The Service Pack is completely uninstallable as long as you specify that you wish to create the appropriate backups when you actually install it. By uninstalling the files, Windows simply reverts to its exact state before the update, complete with any bug fixes you may have already had installed left intact.

If you own Windows XP and have sufficient time to download this update or have broadband then it’s definitely a worthwhile venture however don’t even consider paying money to get a copy on disk or downloading it if you haven’t unlimited Internet Access.

Finally, before I leave you this week I thought I would give you with a brief update on my ongoing saga to get ADSL installed in my house, which many of you have shown a genuine interest in. I attempted once again to sign up with Freeserve months ago and went through the motions of getting my line retested to see if I was yet a suitable candidate. Once again it failed but strangely, 3 months later I’m still being billed £27.99 a month for a broadband service I don’t have nor have ever had. I contacted Freeserve and they refunded me the money I’d paid and said that I wouldn’t receive any more bills but several weeks later and I’ve just received another bill for £27.99 to cover yet another months worth of my non-existent ADSL service. Broadband is great when it works but the providers should really work closer with BT to ensure that things are very quickly put right when they don’t.