Friday, 11 May 2012

Tech I love – BE Broadband competition

Tech I love – BE Broadband competition

Hello, I don't normally do a shameless spam everyone to enter a competition thing but right now I'm a bit unwell so can't do very much else and because I think Be* are a company that deserves to be plugged. 

For those who don't know Be* or Bethere (don't ask why they can't seem to make up their mind about the name, it's called Be* and used to always be written with the asterisk but the website URL is bethere.)  Anyway they are an ISP in the UK that provides service over ADSL2+.  as an unbundled provider that means that they (like everyone) use the bit of wire that BT own but everything between the phones exchange and the rest of the internet is using Be*'s network rather than a repackaged BT service.  For those that don't know BT's network is not great and at peak times is known to choke under all the traffic it has.  On the other hands Be*'s network is in my experience fantastic. 

Having been a bit ill I've been at my parents for the last week and they have Sky broadband and theoretically they should get the same speed as I do.  (The line sync rates are almost identical but as they used to get 8mbit sync  on an old ADSL1 connection I'm not going to comment on how appalling it is that an ADSL2+ connection with Sky syncs at a lower rate than Tiscalli managed)  So being used to Be* at home its really easy to forget that they are superb at what they do.  Of course they are one of the more expensive ISP's out there but you get what you pay for.  However its really easy to forget just how good they are compared to the competition as most of us aren’t changing connections very often.

The last week I spent convalescing and suffering the horror that is Sky broadband I thought let’s give my mobile connection a go and see how it compares.  The mobile in question was the HTC Sensation XE (the review of which is below somewhere) and I was using it on 3.  My normal mobile is on O2 via Giffgaff but Giffgaff forbid tethering.  So, out in the sticks where my parents live (no 3G on O2 and only 2 bars on 3) I thought how good can it be?  well 3 surprised me, if not stunned me in that it consistently hurled data at me ranging from about 3mbits to 10 but mostly sitting at around 5 or 6.  It was still a mobile connection so ping times where high and sometimes it would randomly drop and speeds would plummet as happens with wireless.

So how does all this relate to Be*?  Well before being back on a non Be* connection these were all things I never thought about.  I never needed to.  My Be* connection has been practically faultless in the roughly 3 years I’ve had it.  Sure they have some routing issues occasionally and I did have an issue where I had to ring the customer support.  The CS is all based in Bulgaria which may put off some people but actually they are fantastic.  If you are in anyway techy and actually know what you’re talking about you I'm sure will have been frustrated by getting CS agents who clearly know vastly less than you do.  (Oh Sky you know I'm looking at you.)  This is not the case with the Bulgarians, they know exactly what they are talking about and if you talk technical then they actually know what you're talking about!

Be* is the summation of what I want from technology.  It sits there and does its thing and I don't have to think about it in the slightest.  Technology should be about what it can do for you and just work in a way that's seamless making the internet a pleasant experience.  No sitting getting annoyed and thinking "what the hell is going on!"  It isn’t what I could ever refer to as a sexy or cool technology but I can’t really think of any more important that an internet connection.   Everything I do just about goes through the internet (I have no TV but I do have Netflix) and short of electricity I’m hard pressed to think of anything more important to my normal day to day life.

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