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What's a good ISP for just internet?
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Old 17-05-2021, 12:13   #1
Frank15
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What's a good ISP for just internet?

What's a good ISP for just internet? I'd rather buy my own router and switch.

Then I'd use a ROKU for streaming.
I'm currently on Virgin Media (300Mbps download), too expensive, and I don't need it that. I'd like 100 or 200 Mbps download speed if possible.

I'd welcome any recommendations.

Last edited by Frank15; 17-05-2021 at 13:07.
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Old 17-05-2021, 12:44   #2
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Re: What's a good ISP for just internet?

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Originally Posted by Frank15 View Post
What's a good ISP for just internet? I'd rather buy my own router and switch.

Then I'd use a ROKU for streaming.
I'm currently on Virgin Media, too expensive. I'd like 100 or 200 Mbps download speed.

I'd welcome any recommendations.
That sort of download speed requires a good 4G or 5G set up. You would be very lucky to get anything like it from any “fibre” product relying on Openreach infrastructure. If you go the mobile broadband route though, do not buy a data-only SIM. It’s cheaper to buy a full service SIM on a contract with unlimited data (because the data-only market is less competitive).

You are still absolutely allowed to put your SIM in a modem/router of your own choice. I use a Huawei B818.
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Old 17-05-2021, 13:09   #3
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Re: What's a good ISP for just internet?

I'm looking for home internet, not mobile. Thanks for your answer.
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Old 17-05-2021, 13:16   #4
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Re: What's a good ISP for just internet?

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I'm looking for home internet, not mobile. Thanks for your answer.
It *is* home internet, if you put the SIM card in a modem/router and then sit it on your sideboard.

My home internet is provided via an EE mobile phone SIM that I have installed in a Huawei 4G router. It costs me about £37 a month for an unlimited call/sms/data contract, it gives me download speed of up to 120Mb, and through the router it runs all the family’s computers and tablets, and 3 TVs that are equipped with Netflix.

Obviously I don’t use it for calls or texts, although you can actually connect a housephone handset to the router and use it that way if you want to.

You simply aren’t going to get the download speed you want from BT or anyone else re-selling their fibre product.

Last edited by Chris; 17-05-2021 at 13:20.
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Old 17-05-2021, 13:19   #5
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Re: What's a good ISP for just internet?

I would see if you can get FTTP from BT or someone else if they offer it in your area. I currently pay £39 per month for 150Mbps down, 30Mbps up & phone (don't need the phone but it's no cheaper without it!)
There may be offers and obviously depends on how much you currently pay Virgin Media.

I do believe it is fairly easy to use your own modem & router, I personally haven't done it as I find the BT Smart Hub 2 more than adequate for my needs.

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You would be very lucky to get anything like it from any “fibre” product relying on Openreach infrastructure.
That perfectly describes my setup with FTTP from BT, a "fibre" product which relies on the Openreach infrastructure.
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Old 17-05-2021, 13:26   #6
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Re: What's a good ISP for just internet?

Fibre to the premises is still very rare across the UK as a whole, and unless they’re offering significantly better than 150Mb down, an urban 4G connection is still faster if the operator has upgraded the local cell tower for 256QAM. The maximum download speed in that scenario is 1.6Gb. Furthermore, in many large towns and cities 5G is now available, and a SIM from one of the main mobile operators should work automatically on a 5G network, so long as the hardware it’s installed in is 5G ready. The Huawei B818 I use isn’t 5G ready but there’s no shortage of products that are.
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Old 17-05-2021, 13:29   #7
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Re: What's a good ISP for just internet?

call virgin tell them you are leaving put in your months notice and wait a couple of days. They should call yu and give you a good deal then repeat next contract. You wont beat VMs speeds

for example I pay £27 for 200 meg and 5GB sim with unlimited calls and txt
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Old 17-05-2021, 13:37   #8
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Re: What's a good ISP for just internet?

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Fibre to the premises is still very rare across the UK as a whole, and unless they’re offering significantly better than 150Mb down
Agree that the rollout of FTTP is not great yet, but always more areas are coming online with it.
When I was looking around at providers there were a few who were willing to sell me 1Gps down & up, just cost a bit more than £39 per month!
As it is with BT I can go 900/110


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an urban 4G connection is still faster if the operator has upgraded the local cell tower for 256QAM.
I'm sure the potential for 4G is better than my experience, have done speed tests on Android phones & iPhones and none get near 2Mbs down where I live, which is very much urban, again a different operator may be better, but haven't tried that as yet.

But as always, it depends where you live and what is available to suite your needs.
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Old 17-05-2021, 13:40   #9
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Re: What's a good ISP for just internet?

The major difference with 4G as home internet is you are using a router you can attach an external antenna to - for a permanent installation you can mount a very high-gain antenna outside your house. That radically improves your ul/dl speeds over anything you would expect from a phone indoors.
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Old 18-05-2021, 07:52   #10
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Re: What's a good ISP for just internet?

Further to the above, here’s a speed test I just performed on our set-up. We actually had a few issues yesterday with the cell tower our router connects to. Connected to a more distant cell, we were reduced to a mere 40Mb down for about 6 hours. Now EE has finished repairs, we’re getting our best speeds ever from the local one.

This is a rural cell tower that hasn’t been upgraded for 256QAM, so the theoretical max speeds are 150/50. Allowing for the fact that I’m 5 miles from the tower, and speed testing over Wi-fi, 134/20 is pretty good.

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Old 18-05-2021, 11:15   #11
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Re: What's a good ISP for just internet?

Thanks for your answer, interesting.

---------- Post added at 11:15 ---------- Previous post was at 11:11 ----------

Thanks for your answers. Very interesting post , I didn't know you could get those speeds over cellular, I wonder how it compares to cable or fiber, I guess cellular internet isn't as good as cable/fiber, I'm thinking or latency, reliability, etc
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Old 18-05-2021, 11:17   #12
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Re: What's a good ISP for just internet?

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Further to the above, here’s a speed test I just performed on our set-up. We actually had a few issues yesterday with the cell tower our router connects to. Connected to a more distant cell, we were reduced to a mere 40Mb down for about 6 hours. Now EE has finished repairs, we’re getting our best speeds ever from the local one.

This is a rural cell tower that hasn’t been upgraded for 256QAM, so the theoretical max speeds are 150/50. Allowing for the fact that I’m 5 miles from the tower, and speed testing over Wi-fi, 134/20 is pretty good.

what package you on and who are you with ? Smarty or 3s unlimited deals would be pretty cheap. What kit you use? to you have an antenna outside?
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Old 18-05-2021, 13:44   #13
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Re: What's a good ISP for just internet?

We have to use EE because they’re the only ones serving our local area adequately. Some neighbours have attempted to use 3 or Voda, with awful results. I have a contract SIM with EE already, so the SIM in the router is a second line on my existing contract. As I said earlier, you can put a phone SIM in a router without issue, and if you’re going to go down the 4G (or 5G) home internet route, you absolutely should do so because data-only SIM contracts are ridiculously expensive in the UK (largely because so few people use them, and therefore they don’t really understand them - as the OP ably demonstrated above).

I am paying an additional £25 a month for the second SIM which has unlimited everything. I have a student discount though, and it is a second line deal. My neighbour is paying nearer £45 for the same service from EE. My neighbour and I both have identical equipment - a Huawei B818 router, and a Poynting A-XPOL-0001-v2 omnidirectional antenna. His is pole mounted on his eaves. Mine’s attached to the inside of an upstairs window with suction cups. We have the same kit because he copied my installation after asking for advice (he knew I’d done some research before purchase). We were both absolutely sick of slow ADSL and no prospect of fibre within the next 18 months.

Unlimited data really is a must for a family - we’re getting through about a terabyte each month.

Last edited by Chris; 18-05-2021 at 13:48.
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Old 18-05-2021, 14:40   #14
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Re: What's a good ISP for just internet?

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Originally Posted by Chris View Post
We have to use EE because they’re the only ones serving our local area adequately. Some neighbours have attempted to use 3 or Voda, with awful results. I have a contract SIM with EE already, so the SIM in the router is a second line on my existing contract. As I said earlier, you can put a phone SIM in a router without issue, and if you’re going to go down the 4G (or 5G) home internet route, you absolutely should do so because data-only SIM contracts are ridiculously expensive in the UK (largely because so few people use them, and therefore they don’t really understand them - as the OP ably demonstrated above).

I am paying an additional £25 a month for the second SIM which has unlimited everything. I have a student discount though, and it is a second line deal. My neighbour is paying nearer £45 for the same service from EE. My neighbour and I both have identical equipment - a Huawei B818 router, and a Poynting A-XPOL-0001-v2 omnidirectional antenna. His is pole mounted on his eaves. Mine’s attached to the inside of an upstairs window with suction cups. We have the same kit because he copied my installation after asking for advice (he knew I’d done some research before purchase). We were both absolutely sick of slow ADSL and no prospect of fibre within the next 18 months.

Unlimited data really is a must for a family - we’re getting through about a terabyte each month.
Sweet definitely something to consider for future.
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