by Malcolm Rowe

To Be

Yesterday afternoon, I decided to move ISP. Wait, no. Yesterday afternoon, I got a migration code from Demon and put in an order with Be. Last month, I decided to move ISP.

I’ve been with Demon forever, in internet years: I joined sometime around 1992 or 1993, to the best of my recollection, when Demon was quite literally the only remotely affordable choice for a (dial-up!) internet connection. Over the years, they’ve been, variously, the fastest, the most reliable, or the only ISP without an insane ToS.

But for the last year (or two… or three?), they’ve been in maintenance mode: not a great service for not a great price, and it’s really just been inertia that’s kept me as a customer.

The final straw came early last month when my connection went down for about two or three hours. This hadn’t been the first time I’d lost service, but it was particularly annoying because it was a long outage, because I actually had something I needed to do, and because this time even their pay-for technical support line was ringing engaged. (Given which, I’m guessing that the outage was significant. It certainly hit a friend of mine on a separate exchange.)

As usual, the Demon network status page was of absolutely no use, since the time from problem to notification over there seems to be somewhere around three hours (or never). I think I lost service around 6-7pm and got it back somewhere around 9pm; I don’t recall exactly which day this was, but the note for November 12th at 21:44 looks about right — “Some Broadband customers may currently be unable to connect”, indeed — though I may be remembering an entirely different (and unrecorded) outage.

So, to Be it is. For £17.50 a month, I’ll get essentially the same connection that I was paying £22.51 a month for, except that it’ll be be slightly faster (Be reckon on 13Mbps for my line, for ADSL2+; Demon was capped at 8Mbps). I still get a static IP and much the same terms of service (in summary: we give you a connection, it’s up to you what you do with it; don’t do anything illegal; don’t be a dick), so that’s okay.

Just by the way: it’s interesting to note how little friction there is to move ISP nowadays: five years ago, I was still using my Demon email address (I hadn’t yet registered farside.org.uk), so I’d have lost that, with all the fuss that entails. And even a year ago, I’d be worrying about whether I’d be able to send and receive mail while the DNS changes was propagating around the world, but now that I’ve moved to Google Apps for email, I don’t have to worry about managing mailservers at home any more. (This cloud thing’s going to catch on, I’m telling you.)

We’re off to a good start anyway. Having ordered the connection yesterday, today I got a new ‘Be Box’ (a modem/wireless router) with all my connection details — including the new static IP assignment, which was nice. I was a little worried that I’d be required to use their modem rather than the one I’ve currently got (which is pretty new), but there’s a friendly support page that describes exactly what settings I need, so that’s okay. The changeover’s scheduled for next Wednesday, so I imagine this site will be offline for a while then — not that I expect more than one or two people to notice :-).