I’ve been using Be Broadband for a few months now. They caught my eye as one of only two ISPs offering ‘unbundled’ ADSL 2+ broadband in my home area and I was keen to see how much difference ADSL2+ makes. ADSL 2+ is marketed as an ‘up to 24MB’ broadband service but as with all these ‘up to’ services very, very few people get anywhere near the theoretical maximum.
I have an ADSL Max (‘up to 8MB’) service on another phone line here and get about 5-6 MB download speed. The Be service gives me 8-10 MB depending on time of day. If I connect my PC directly to the router I can push that up to 12 MB at certain times of the day – using WiFi does have an impact on speed, even when I’m close to the router. At the top end this is not far off the estimated speed for the line and is no doubt influenced by other factors.
A frustrating issue with ADSL broadband is the number of factors that can impact on performance – distance from the telephone exchange, quality of the copper wire between your house and the exchange, internal wiring, other phones and devices plugged into the line, ISP contention ratios, router, ISP line settings. The list sometimes feels like it’s endless!
A key quality check with an ISP is their technical support and Be has been very good here. I’ve discussed a number of points with technical support agents and they have a good understanding of broadband issues and resolutions. Call hold time is negligible; another plus point and the number is freephone.
The broadband provisioning process was excellent, considering it operates within an overall industry framework. The router arrived next day and the service was up and running on the due date a few days later. Order progress is trackable via the customer portal and via SMS.
The router is fairly typical of routers included by ISPs in their broadband packages. It does the job although not surprisingly doesn’t give the impression of being in the same league as the sort of router I’ve bought myself in the past.
Overall I’m a big fan of Be. ADSL2+ does make a difference (for me) and the overall quality of service is excellent (which is not the case for some ISPs). Based on my experiences I would definitely recommend them if you’re in the market for broadband.
For anyone who wonders who Be is; they’re owned by O2 and also run the O2 fixed line broadband service.