[ubuntu-uk] Broadband

Andrew Oakley andrew at aoakley.com
Sat Feb 23 23:12:31 GMT 2008

les wrote:
> wireless router might be useful. Has anyone any suggestions as to which 
> ISP's are most suitable and Linux friendly? One constraint is that it 

British Telecom's default supplied wireless router seems to work well 
with my Dell Ubuntu Linux laptop, but then so does every other wireless 
router I've connected to.

For "beginners" I always recommend BT for ADSL, since if there is a 
connection problem, they can't blame it on anyone else. Other ISPs, if 
you get a connection problem, sometimes they try to fob you off saying 
there's a fault on the line, and that it's BT's fault; BT then come back 
and say it's the ISP's fault, and so it goes on in circles. Both my 
parents and my in-laws use BT broadband and have had zero hassle. Once 
my dad reported a connection problem to BT, it turned out to be water 
collecting in a cable tray under the pavement over the road, and of 
course they sent a man out to dig it up and fix it.

To be honest, once you've set up the wireless router and the wireless 
card on the laptop, there is very little other Linux-specific 
configuration to be done, so I wouldn't worry about an ISP being 
specifically Linux friendly, not for a beginner who isn't going to run 
their own servers or so forth.

For more advanced users such as myself, I recommend www.SurfAnyTime.com 
. They're a small ISP based in the Isle of Man, but have very good UK 
connectivity and bandwidth, very high uptime, offer static IP addresses 
at no extra cost, have good download limits for the prices, staff 
understand Linux needs such as running SMTP servers from home, and the 
staff are happy to "talk tech" direct to customers. Best of all, they 
have public support forums where the technical staff - including the 
company director himself - take part and answer questions day in, day 
out. Doing support in public is great because it makes it easy to figure 
out whether everyone else is having the same problem as you! Of course 
there is telephone and email support too if you need a little more 
privacy (not that email, or telephone for that matter, is particularly 

I also recommend my employer www.names.co.uk but due to my declared 
interest I won't brag too much. Suffice to say that most of our techs 
run Linux or Mac/BSD on our desktops at work, so we're definitely Linux 
friendly. We also have real genuine British call centre support staff, 
manned until 8pm, with real 01xxx telephone numbers (although we provide 
0845 numbers too) actually sitting in England (Worcester), and actually 
in the same open-plan office as the techs! I can't guarantee the first 
person you speak to on the phone will be a Linux expert, but the second 
person... no problem.

Andrew Oakley

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