May 242010

Here are some questions that have come in via our Ask Us a Question Page. I will try to answer them as best I can.

“I am finding my landline + Vat is costing more than my calls. Am just not able to continue to pay these prices and was wondering if it is possible to establish whether my area would be suited to Fixed wireless and if so what are the pros and cons. I have looked to gain more info from providers of this service but it is very sketchy and does not cover subjects such as; Do walls, trees and adverse weather conditions affect wireless and result in loss of coverage.”

When it comes to choosing whether to get broadband over the phone (ADSL) or Fixed Wireless there are a couple of things to consider. First of all, if you don’t know what the different types of broadband are check out this post, What are the different types of Broadband? The second thing to do is find out what types of broadband are available in your area. The best way to do this is to talk to your neighbours and find out what they are using and how good it is or go to your local computer shop. The local computer shop should know what broadband services are available and how good or bad the service is.

Do you have a phone line and do you intend to keep it regardless of whether you have broadband on the phone line or not? If you have a phone line you are paying line rental, regardless of whether you make phone calls or have broadband on the line. If you have fixed wireless broadband then no phone line is required and therefore there is no line rental to be paid.

Fixed Wireless broadband is generally not affected by weather, however walls and trees do affect the signal. You must have clear line of sight to your Fixed Wireless provider’s transmitted.

“Can for example an emergency service detect one’s exact location when receiving a call from a wireless phone”

What you are talking about is VOIP. This is sending your phone calls over the Internet using your broadband connection. To do this you can use your PC with a headset or you have to buy a VOIP phone. For more info on VOIP check out SKYPE or Blueface, Blueface are a good Irish VOIP Provider.

When it comes to the emergency services they cannot tell your exact location. However most emergency calls are made from mobile phones these days and they can narrow down your location by triangulating the phone signal.

If you have a router already for broadband, then do you need to purchase another along with a new phone if you switch to Wireless house phone?

If you have broadband on the phone line (ADSL) then you will need a new router which may or may not be supplied by your Fixed Wireless Provider. Yes you will need a VOIP compatible phone. Your VOIP provider can supply this. (about €30-€40 once off cost)

“Can a signal be troublesome at times? The companies promoting their products are also promising high speeds and yet this is just not correct for all customers, as they have reported on internet forums.”

The best way to check the quality of the service is to talk to somebody in your area who has the service and see what thay say. Your local computer shop will probably know the quality of the local broadband services.

“I would so appreciate just having advice on which provider is the most efficient, reliable, reasonably priced, gives the best customer care and technical support”

Although I am not in a position to supply you with a service in your area, as a Fixed Wireless provider, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on somebody else’s service.  Have a look at your neighbours houses and if you see a funny looking aerial it’s probably for broadband and ask them who provides it and what the service is like.

“My present provider promised all these at the onset, but now I cannot even contact them for support, as all I get is ten full minutes or more of adds, jingles and requests to join a competition..never a reference to putting me through, asking me to hang on …nothing. I still cannot reach them and have no idea how long the adds go on for as I cannot afford to wait that long. It is a disgraceful and unacceptable service to say the least, but before leaving them I need to be sure that I will not make a further bad choice. There must be independant advice for consumers apart from Com Reg who only give out a list of providers, their prices and so on, but there are no solid recommendations, warnings etc. It still leaves people very uninformed and open to exploitation.  trial and error situation which one must put up with for the length of the contract, or pay more money for transfer. Can you please give me the benefit of your advice?”

As you can see there is a general theme to the responses, DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE YOU SIGN UP FOR ANY BROADBAND CONTRACT. I cannot stress this enough. We all know somebody who has some computer expertise, but the most important people to talk to are people who use the service. If you were asked about your current provider you would be more than willing to tell people about the service, so would most people.

I hope this answers some of your questions or at least points you in the right direction.