Coly Computer Help


The advantages
(i) Between 9 to 160 times faster than dial up for downloading programs, music, photos, drivers, radio and video.
(ii) You can use the telephone while your computer is on-line.
(iii) Updating anti-virus and anti-spy programs takes seconds rather than 10 to 25 minutes.
(iv) Your broadband connection can be shared with other family members provided you have a router rather than a plain modem.
(v) A wireless router can share the broadband connection with a modern laptop being used somewhere else in the house or garden (depending on the strength of the wireless signal).

Broadband, is it worth paying for? If you are a Pay-as-you-go customer, check your phone bill. Add your total quarterly bill to any extra charges you might be paying for an enhanced pay-as-you-go service.

Don't be taken in by low offers which last for for a limited period.   Look at the real cost after the offer period.

The Post Office: If you pay around £70 per quarter (including line rental) and you are able to phone mainly in the evenings and weekends, then the Post Office is well worth considering. You get 8 -12mbps broadband, line rental, and free 01, 02, 0845 and 0870 evening/weekend phone calls for a flat fee of £64per quarter. Calls to mobiles are also free at the weekends. The help line has deteriorated since it hooked up with Talk Talk. On-line billing sometimes will not download, but this is improving. For fee daytime calls you will pay an extra £5 per month.

Overseas calls: Some suppliers offer free phone calls to 10 overseas destinations. The Post Office offers 40 destinations overseas for 5p per minute in the week but all 40 are free at the weekend.

TalkTalk is currently £19.00per month with free everything including TalkTalk line rental. However this service is not available everywhere in the UK. TalkTalk once had a poor reputation for customer service but this has now been largely rectified. Talk Talk now owns Tiscali and AOL.

Orange has a good offer at £24 per month but it is rather idiosyncratic. The free phone is a second phone which must be connected to the broadband modem or router.

Please note: With most broadband, 0845, 0844 and 087 calls are not free as they belong to companies other than telecoms suppliers. 0845 and 0844 calls cost 5p per minute at any time. 087 calls can cost 7p per minute at any time. However, the Post Office allows free access to these numbers at evening and weekends.

Broadband contracts are usually for 12 months or 18 months.
Ensure that the there is no charge for changing to another supplier at the end of the contract period.

If your quarterly cost is on the border-line, then convenience may be a deciding factor. If a large part of your internet activity consists of downloading programs, video, radio, photos, or music, then broadband's faster download speed may be a convenience worth paying for. Border-line surfers who regularly do a lot of research on the internet can save valuable working time by using broadband.

As the offers change almost weekly you should check the latest costs on the internet. Dozens of sites will give comparisons, but always check more than one site as some are better at keeping up to date.

I recommend that you click
 as it updates daily and it has the most helpful format. It is also firmly on the side of the consumer and pulls no punches.

I also recommend which has a wider range of useful advice than most.

Some other websites: or   When you have decided on the most suitable ISP for your needs, always check the ISP's websites to make sure the prices listed are in fact the latest offer.

Speed refers to download speed : 8Mbps broadband faster than dial-up. ISPs cannot always provide the advertised speed because it sometimes depends on circumstances beyond their control. Some ISPs will tell what speed to expect in your post code area, so ask before you commit yourself.

You can check your speed after installing broadband by using the free speed test link on, or download the free speed tester from

Usage restriction: Some providers restrict the amount you can download per month, check this on the provider's website.

Slow computer: I hear people say they are thinking of going on to broadband because their computer is slowing down. Broadband has no effect whatsoever on the speed of a computer; it only changes your telephone line so that it can carry more traffic. The telephone line to your house changes from the equivalent of a cart track to become a 20 to 160 lane motorway.

Setting up broadband internet is easy, you follow the instructions provided with the ISP's CD and eventually the screen instructions tell you to plug in the modem/router.

However, the email settings for your new broadband connection will either not provided or will be inadequate, you will need to contact the ISP's help line. Pipex does supply email settings but the ones that I have seen are complete rubbish. You will need to contact the Pipex help line, you will then be told to ignore the letter that Pipex sent you, the help line will give you the correct email settings.

Email settings: The detail required in these fields varies wildly from ISP to ISP. Here are some of the most common ones:-
Post Office: Incoming:

Orange may have other settings because it has several times changed ownership and name.

New email settings: Set up a new email account to contain your new broadband email address. You need to change the default email settings to your new broadband username and password. In Outlook Express, click Tools , then Accounts, then click the Add button and enter the details of your new email account.

Examine your anti-virus settings. The email scanner may still be set to dial-up, change it to LAN. This particularly applies to AVG.

If you have more than one account, in Outlook Express, click Tools, then Accounts, then for each account click Properties and un-tick the box labelled Always connect to this account using.

If you have only the broadband account, in Outlook Express, click Tools, then Accounts, then click Properties and ensure there is a tick on the box labelled Always connect to this account using. Then ensure that the broadband account is showing in that field. It will usually be LAN. Click the little down arrow to see the options for connecting.

The main difference from dial-up is that usually you must select the broadband connection under the Connection tab, and then select Never dial a connection in the Internet Connection tab. Tiscali USB modems are different, they use a dial up setting for broadband.

Emailing: A few ISPs allow you to keep your current email address, otherwise you will be given a new email address. You will have to notify everybody about your new broadband email address. This is no problem as it only takes a few minutes to send a round robin to all your address book contacts. Click Here to see how to do this.

Shrinking broadband choice: The UK branch of AOL has been bought by TalkTalk which has bought Tiscali which already owned  Pipex, Freedom2surf, and Nildram. BT bought Madasafish and the also the Waitrose internet service. UK ranks a lowly 19th in the world for broadband service. Adverts claiming to be £X cheaper than BT are comparing their costs with BT which which says something about BT's cost.  Also BT appears to be slow in allowing broadband suppliers to use the national exchanges. Beware, BT will not warn you when your contract is due for renewal and you will find yourself automatically contracted for another year. This is being investigated by OFT. 

When you sign up, the ISP will check your telephone line for suitability before you commit yourself. The new ISP will also arrange the transfer if you are switching the line rental from BT.

Customer care: In my experience, most broadband Customer Care Lines are good, but they are always too busy on Saturdays, if you need to phone a care line on Saturday, try in the evening after 10.00pm.

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