Returning to UK - Internet?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by RickT, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. RickT macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2005
    I am returning to live in the UK (after 12 years in USA) and plan to buy an iMac.
    I need an ISP and have beed recommended FreedomtoSurf for Broadband - anyone any experience with F2S? Also the iMac will be located where there is no convenient phone jack. What would I need to connect the iMac wirelessly? I understand F2S supply a wired modem that I wcould locate next to the telephone jack, but I guess I would also need something to connect to the Modem that would "talk" wirelessly to the iMac.
    I am a switcher from Windows and hope to be able to import e mail addresses and messages I will "export" from my existing computer in the USA to a CD.
    Any help for the easiest solution would help - as you all can tell I am not technically savvy but can follow instructions!
  2. geese macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2003
    London, UK
    I;ve not used that ISP, but I think ISPs are much of a muchness. I'm on Virgin broadband which are OK, although their billing is a bit silly.

    Anyways, you'll probably get a cheapo USB modem with your connection. I got a long 10 metre extension cable from the filter to the modem, that worked.

    Otherwise, you could get an Airport express and use that wirelessly.
  3. jonat8 macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2004
    United Kingdom
  4. tek macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2003
    your main options are:

    Cable: ntl/telewest. Right now up to 4mbit for about £40/m (I pay £27/m for 2mbit). The service is pretty reliable (there are horror stories though) -- i've had about 5 hours downtime in 4 years. They are upgrading to 10mbit within a year. NTL enforce proxy caches which can be an inconvenience as at times the caches become slow due to maintenance or whatever, meaning web traffic crawls. To fix this, you have to manually set another proxy (there are about 90 to choose from) on port 8080. It's not a big deal, but annoying. NTL and Telewest are trying to merge, so that could result in better prices/better service (telewest is slightly faster and no proxies).

    ADSL: For up to 2mbit, any provider will do. are good, Zen are 'the best' but pricey. Watch out as they will try and fob you off with a USB modem which is a) Insecure b) Can't be used with a router and c) Doesn't have drivers for mac.

    If you can get 'LLU DSL' broadband then do. The main players are Bulldog and UKOnline. With these services you can get 8mbit broadband for the same price (or less) than regular ADSL.

    Wireless: Now (used to be called Netvigator). Not great, but a much better alternative to dialup.

    One thing to watch out for is 'data caps'. These are almost unheard of in the US, but are now a very common thing here. You may be thinking you're getting a bargain, but some ISPs cap you at 1gb per month. I am on a 30gb cap per month and consider myself a 'semi-heavy' user - i'm not always downloading torrents etc. but I do at times. I use about 20gb per month I estimate.

    Some links:

    Independant ISPs (My ISP, 30gb cap per month on most plans.) (Other cable ISP, no caps) (LLU 8mbit, 500gb cap) (LLU 8mbit, no caps) (Wireless ISP, handy if you can't have cables but the service is slightly laggy and the caps are dire.)

    Regular ISPs, reselling BT wholesale ADSL
    Freedom2surf (you know this one) (expensive) (expensive but good) (BT Yahoo!, reasonable..) (Really useful, will tell you what services are available in your area).

    EDIT: I didn't read that you weren't technically savvy. In this case, you'd probably be better off with Zen which (although pricey) has very good support and service. They will sell you everything you might need to connect to a mac and have a dedicated mac support team.
  5. shortyman macrumors member


    Mar 26, 2005
    Somerset, UK
    I would also recommend looking at Pipex ( - i've just gone with their solo 1000 service. Its an uncapped service, and is supposed to be 1mbit line but is actually a 2mbit line. It would appear from what people say that their line speed is double what they advertise on all services.

  6. JupiterTwo macrumors 6502


    Mar 29, 2003
    Yep, I'm with F2S and can heartily recommend them. They've been very reliable for me over the last years, and a have a very reasonale price to feature ratio on their services. I'll second Adslguide as a good site for UK Adsl info - they have hw reviews and very active ISP forums.

    F2S can supply a wifi adsl router for you too (or you can pick one up from another source - there's lots to choose from). That should work fine with your new iMac, plus anything else you might want to connect.

    I'm not sure which Windows email app you're using, but be wary of the Outlook pst files if you use that. I've not come across an easy way of getting those onto a mac (or anything else - most of the tools require a fully working copy of Outlook to be on to do any conversion).
  7. RickT thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2005
    E- Mail CSV Files

    I would have to export as a CSV file from the Earthlink e-mail system.
  8. AlBDamned macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    My Freedom2Surf 2MB connection should be up and running tomorrow (and upgraded to 8MB in about 3 weeks :) ). It will have taken just six days to set up and I received replies to both emails I sent them, within 30mins.

    On here, people have had very good experiences with F2S, Plus.Net and Pipex. is an excellent site and if you use the compare ratings it gives good up-to-date stats on reliability, customer service and so on.

    Also, have a look at this thread UK Broadband Provider

    and this one: UK Online Broadband or other ISP

    Good luck!
  9. pissed-monkey macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2005
    London, England

    All i can say is never EVER go anywhere near Bulldog. Unless your doing some sort of crazy experiment into just how badly a company can be run....

    And what about 24meg broadband, cant say anything about the company yet, but they promise not to do a "bulldog":

    FYI Im on and cant be happier, but Im signed up for BE for when in gets to my postcode, cant hurt to try..... :rolleyes:
  10. pissed-monkey macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2005
    London, England
    forgot to say, wonder how bad Bulldog can be?
  11. AlBDamned macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    I'll second that motion - again! Steer clear.

    If you're really adventurous, you can look at It's wireless broadband. No need for a phone line or any wires at all (save the power one I think). Impressive if it works but still only 2MB. Give it time though.
  12. cahillj macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2002
    Carlisle, MA
    Just moved the other way, the second time!
    First, are you buying the iMac in US or UK?
    If US, check before you buy that the power supply is 120/240V switchable see here
    Apple Tech Specs say 120/240V but I'd look at the back of the iMac to be absolutely sure.
    Also note that AppleCare bought in the US is not worldwide for desktops, only laptops.
    For a wireless connection the new iMac G5 has Airport Extreme (wifi) built in so you only need to buy a wifi base station. The Apple Airport Express is good, small and the power supply is autoswitching for UK/US.
    To connect this to the internet you need an ADSL modem which has an Ethernet output NOT USB which is what most ISPs give you for free.
    I used an X modem from ADSLNation, a new version will be available soon here
    This was VERY easy to set up.
    You'll also need filters for each of the phone sockets that you use. Again ADSLNation sells these, and explains how to connect it all together here
    I used BT for my ISP, it worked fine YMMV(!)
    good luck!
  13. osiris315 macrumors member


    Apr 7, 2005
    Valencia, Spain
    I can recommend Gravity Internet as a very reliable ISP. I use these guys all the time for my business clients and I've never had a problem.

    I've also managed to switch their Tech Director who has just jumped in with a PM G5 and, last time I spkoe to him, was loving every minute of his new Mac experience. He even bought me a few beers for the recommendation.... which was nice :D

    They use IPStream products, exactly the same as Zen, but are cheaper.
  14. alexeismertin macrumors regular


    Jun 2, 2005
    Bristol, UK
    Telewest if you can get it in your area

    Price £15 for 512mb broadband + Cable TV (12 months contract)

    Free modem & Free installation

    The modem can be used via ethernet cable to your computer or by plugging it in your Airport base station (I use Xpress). No modem drivers required like some of the modems offered by various broadband companies, also some modems you HAVE to connect via USB to you computer.

    If you want cheap, reliable & easy to install then go for this.
  15. RickT thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2005
    Thanks Everyone

    Just an update - I e-mailed F2S and Zen yesterday for more information. Zen replied quickly with advice on their packages and connection methods; I then asked a few more questions and got an e-amil reply within the hour with the answers and giving me a name and direct phone nimber to call as soon as I got to the UK for quick sign up and connection.

    No reply from F2S yet despite 2 e-mails!

    Now Zen might be a bit more expensive than F2S but as customer service is so good I guess no one will be surprised I intend to use Zen. They quoted a wireless modem/router at 89 pounds.

    In reply to the question about buying an iMac in USA, I looked into it and although it's a bit cheaper here than in UK - mainly due to 17.5% VAT - it just isn't worth it. However, I will buy software here (Microsoft Office for ""students"" is 50 dollars (30 pounds) after rebates! and Adobe Elements 3 is 75 dollars).

    Generally we are buying everything we can - clothes, household goods, towels, linens, rechargeable power tools (+ transformer) here because generally they are almost 1/2 price we would pay in UK. I guess rip-off Britain is well named.

    Thanks again - any other advice welcomed.
  16. AlBDamned macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    In that case go with Zen, first encounters count. It's amazing what different experiences you can have from person to person, with ISPs.

    £89 is expensive for a wireless modem. Have a look at the wireless stuff on We just picked up another D-Link one for about £65 inc. VAT. Just make sure it is a wireless modem and router, not just a router.

    Although I imagine your salary will increase proportionally, earning the pound instead of the dollar, some things will seem a great deal more expensive over here (electrical goods like Apple Macs). However, many things work out at similar prices. I remember being in Vegas earlier this year and had the idea to pick up some new jeans from the Diesel store, but they were more expensive than they were. That's one minor example. :)

    Good luck with Zen. They do indeed have very good reports. And good luck with your move generally!
  17. RickT thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2005
    Waitrose Broadband

  18. AlBDamned macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    Waitrose looks like it has a 5GB limit on it so that's a no go really for the money. I believe Plusnet offer 2MB uncapped for about £15 or so.

    FYI, my F2S 2MB connection did indeed get connected today, bang on schedule. £27.99 a month and it's running at a close to full 1.9MBS.

    PS. Did John Lewis actually have an iMac for sale??!!..... ;)
  19. Savage Henry macrumors 65816

    Savage Henry

    Feb 20, 2004
    in a one horse, two house, three pub town.
    I moved from NTL to Waitrose and, so long as you have a BT line, the move is sweet. I use an Airport, so the wireless is not so important. The chariddee thing is a sweet bonus for a not badly priced 2mb service. The help lines are entirely free and 24 hrs. It's a pretty exlusive ISP so you can get your email that actually resembles your own birth name. I'd recommend them.
    We use them for a number of sites at work and though the service is good the business end seems a bit ropey, but it could have been us asking for slightly out of the ordinary things.
  20. Savage Henry macrumors 65816

    Savage Henry

    Feb 20, 2004
    in a one horse, two house, three pub town.
    It's actually 5 gigs capped with £2 per month for each gig after that. Sure, it's a comedown from uncapped that I had before, but to date I've not broken beyond the 5gig mark ... but I realise other people have differing net needs to I.
  21. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    BT have just announced that they're not going to be enforcing the caps particularly on their products unless you go seriously over them.

    So, if you're on the 15GB plan and go over occasionally, they're not going to bother. If you're consistently over 20GB or so though, they'll suggest you upgrade to the dearer 30GB plan but unlike their original plans, you now won't have to pay for the extra bandwidth or be reduced to 128Kbps for the rest of the month. BT aren't v Mac friendly (in support terms) but their actual broadband service is pretty good - mine has never (touch wood) dropped out and connects at the correct speed. And, if you phone and complain, they'll reduce your monthly fee.
  22. Chappers macrumors 68020


    Aug 12, 2003
    At home
    I'm with BT - have to say I'm quite happy but still unsure if Tiger will work with their modem (does anyone know?).

    If you're quick you get 40 free songs on iTunes for joining them.
  23. al3000 macrumors 6502

    Aug 16, 2005
    Could somebody please explain to me what a contention ratio is, and is it important? thanks :D
  24. AlBDamned macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    Yep - unfortunate typo there. Consider it edited. :)
  25. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    i se bulldog, which was hell till i had my line checked out and then it was caped at 6Mbit then the SNR went up to 6-7 now it's solid, contary to popular opinion my experience with their tech support was good, i put it off because of their reputation but they seemed to have turned it around i was not on hold and the guy knew what he was talking about

Share This Page