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This page is about
UNMETERED ACCESS INTERNET CONNECTIONS in general, and isn't an advertisement for any particular ISP
UNMETERED ACCESS means that you don't have to pay anything for the time you are online. So, instead of paying 1p/minute for the pay-as-you-go calls, you pay a flat rate for your internet connection and then you can be online for as long as you like, without having to worry about the time! Some unmetered connections are off-peak Internet access, so that means the Internet is free after 6pm, all night, until 8am the next day, and free all Saturday and all Sunday, and some are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some ISPs put limits on this, and some don't. See "unmetered" notes. It's a free market, so you should choose carefully and not just run the first CD that drops through the letterbox! There are various considerations to think about when choosing your Internet Service Provider.
Here are a few:
BT Anytime - British Telecom's Internet service has a lot of good things to recommend it: Fast UNIX, good security, run by the UK's biggest phone company, etc. It does come in for criticism from some people because of personal experiences typically where they've encountered difficulty getting to talk to someone in BT! There was also some fuss a while back when BT decided that some people were using the unmetered access too much and were going to have to pay more! However, it's most likely been sorted out now, and BT Internet is being continuously developed and improved. I have seen some things improve there myself. Also, BT Internet has the advantage of being the same company as most people's phone company in the UK, so the billing is all done in the same place. Another thing to consider about BT, which has advantages as well as disadvantages, is that it is run to some extent like a public service rather than primarily for profit. Other info: 20Mb, £14.99/month. There is more info on the page BT Internet By A Customer
OneTel - The OneTel unmetered access Internet connection is currently (2003/10) a penny less than £13/month and is reasonably fast. The company would like to get a larger share of the telephone communication market, so will be likely to be keen to offer competitive unmetered access Internet connections to help gaining a market share. For more about this, link through via the Page about OneTel
LineOne SurfTime - Offpeak connection for £11.99, although it may be cheaper if you have BT Together and if you set it up right. Webspace is 50Mb. More about LineOne SurfTime at the LineOne SurfTime page. There are some peculiarities since Tiscali bought the company, but we know what they are and it's quite good value. Some of the peculiarities are GOOD, for example no-one has objected to some of us being online on this for an average of three hours per night. However, some would say that the price was increased by Tiscali to persuade people to move to Tiscali Anytime.
Tiscali Anytime - Tiscali Anytime is £14.99/month for an unmetered* access tariff 24 hours a day 7 days a week, so you can be online at any time of the day or night if you like! 50Mb of webspace, although a quirk of the webspace is that if a page fails to upload it will not say "404 error" but will default to Tiscali's own website which has loads of advertising! This and other clever business tactics by Tiscali are things to watch for, but don't let that put you off. Tiscali Anytime is quite a good service, especially if you have BT Together and set it up right. There is more info on the Tiscali page. * "Unmetered" ? No, it's not actually unmetered, it's carefully metered and limited to 150 hours per month. That's still quite a lot. However it shouldn't truthfully be called "unmetered"!
V21 - (lost) - Specialists in 24 HOUR ACCESS INTERNET CONNECTION, with a good commonsense way of running the service. £9.99/month with no commitments for a minimum period, and an UNLIMITED webspace! There is more info on my V21 page which explains the facts. Note: Although sometimes termed "Unmetered" it's actually limited on the "Lite" package to 42 hours per week. Still, that's 6 hours per day which is more than enough for most people.
Now, going back to the general question about whether it's better to be on an unmetered access connection or be pay-as-you-go, really it's a matter of how much time you spend online on average. By using Charge Advice it's possible to find out how much all the local rate calls cost, and if the total averages more than 40p/day, SurfTime would be a good idea as £12/month is (1000/30=) about 40p/day.
As a very approximate guide, if you're online for more than 40 minutes per day, or four and a half hours total in an average week, then you'd be better with unmetered access, but if it's much less, then it's better to choose pay-as-you-go.
Another point to consider about unmetered access connections is that SOME ISPs are slow. Listen to people's personal experiences of different ISPs and then make your own mind up. I know that LineOne is the same speed for unmetered access as it is for pay-as-you-go, and I believed V21 was fast because they made a point of stating that some other Internet Service Providers slow you down.
Another thing to consider is the cut-off time. Among unmetered access ISPs, some will cut you off randomly after a few hours, some will cut you off at precisely two hours even if you are downloading something big at the time, and some will start charging you after the first so-many hours without telling you. Make sure you KNOW about this before signing up. Always read the contract!
Special note: How UNMETERED really are some of these "unmetered" connections? The situation is not as simple as it may seem, and has to be looked into closely. See How Unmetered?
Of course there are a lot of choices in the unmetered access Internet market, and I haven't included them all on this page. I have affiliate links to these people from other pages and I speak as I find.
For a fast Internet connection, faster than a normal phone line, there is Broadband, which is like an unmetered access connection, but faster.
This page was written in the days of dial-up Internet access.