back to article Tiscali pulls plug on 186K

Tiscali has cut off wholesale broadband service to 186K customers. The two firms are in the middle of legal fight which, 186K claims, means it cannot comment further on the matter. But it reassured subscribers that it is still in business and that most of its bandwidth comes from BT Wholesale and their service should be …


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  1. Edward Miles

    Was I the only one...

    ...Who read that as "Tiscali pulls plug 168 thousand customers"?

  2. David Simpson
    Paris Hilton

    Who ?

    So who is 186k ?

    Paris because at least I've heard of her !

  3. Steve Davies Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    This is old news....

    Keeping upto date with the news eh El Reg?

    This happened last Friday.... Totally unannounced.

    Tiscali have seemingly taken over my DSL connection and what is more worrying, they seemed to have all my personal details to hand. I got my temp access code from them. They signed off as 'Thank you for calling 186k'. They are really taking the P**s.

    I have requested a MAC code. They have until 15:30 Friday to deliver it. One minute later and I'm making a formal complaint to Ofcom. I've had billing problems with them in the past and as such I would not trust them any more than some other prominent DSL providers.

    Thumbs down because of the way Tiscali are trying to put another ISP out of business. Thankfully, I have a mobile broadband modem otherwise I would have really struggled to get back on line again.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Seriously, find another ISP.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    A shed load of overtime...

    ... for BT frames staff like me! :-)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I read it as 186 thousand customers as well. Took me a few re-reads to figure it out! Glad it wasn't just me.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    Only ten minutes to get through to Tech Support, I wish my ISP was that fast.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    I still have dealings with 186k, unfortunately :(

    I used to deal with the very helpful IPSupport who were based in Manchester, very good people, responsive, helpful - they even ran workshops for their reseller partners (aka me and many others) so we could maximise and differentiate our offers rather just white label the same old same old.

    Then 186k came along, moved everything to a rather second rate dc in Leeds and support has been appalling ever since - I still have 4 customers under my banner at 186k who won't move!!!

    Still, they get nowt from me.

  10. Joseph Hill

    LOL @ complaint to Ofcom

    "One minute later and I'm making a formal complaint to Ofcom"

    That is all!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    186Krap more like it

    I've been with 186K for some time since they bought out a wonderful little ISP called Mailbox. For some bizarre reason, I've not moved, I should have LONG ago. The service has plummeted faster than the UK economy. The only thing that would resolve the situation is if they went bust and sold it back to the original Mailbox crew!

    As a wise man once said: If they had to organise a drunken party in Burton, they'd arrange it in the Marmite factory.

  12. Kris Sweeney


    also read as 186,000 - how the hell did they end up using that as a company name?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More LOL @ complaint to Ofcom

    Ofcom really, really, really couldn't give a hoot about your problems.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Perhaps things HAVE improved

    Once upon a time a small ISP called e7even were taken over by 186K. No notice given to their customers, no opportunity to get a MA Code; just a forced migration to 186K (new 12 month contract) or wait one month without broadband to choose your own ISP.

    I bit the bullet and waited a month. Fortunately I was able to use the web at work in the meantime.

    It seems that Ofcom _did_ take some notice of the complaints I and many others made if Tiscali are now offering MA Codes to 186K customers.

  15. n

    ...allow me to put on my rose rinted specs for a sec

    I was merged into 186k.

    186k has been moping up small lovable independent isp's with loyal customers for years, then they brought in "improvements" :0 ,a word directly linked with a downhill slide in service.

    Many (all?) customers were put on to tiscali's a result patchy speeds were not uncommon.

    Previously the small outfit i was with had a low cost offshore helpdesk.

    I know people slag offshore, but in this case it was very, very good. Same people employed from month to month, knowledgeable engineers not script monkeys, calls answered within 5 minutes of holding, cheap rate, i had some cracking fixes with those guys.

    Anyhow another "improvement" from 186k was to get rid of those foreign tech support types.....and replace them with virtually uncontactable , clueless, expensive, support with a lovely british accent.

    I hope the move to BT pipe improves speed consistency, if it does i might stay put...but with a mac code in hand as a result of this contract cockup, and a few tasty credit crunch offers in the marketplace, i might jump ship.

    PS. The author of the article says he got through in ten minutes....i think this might be a lie, as anyone can phone their only number and will find they don't have a hold/queuing system, it just gives the engaged tone, i tried about 15 times yesterday, constant engaged tone.

    Also, 186k's webform appears to be broke, when you press "send" it just refreshes the page, no confirmation of a send???

  16. David

    .. ten minutes to get through to your ISP ?

    I was with Tiscalli years ago and I dumped them for BT --- even WORSE !!

    BTs 'unlimited' broadband decided to limit me for using too much bandwidth in the evening, so my 8meg was cut to 2meg for several weeks as 'punishment' --- just about the time they started to sell TV through the network !!! BT = bloody terrible ---- Big Turd ---- Better Terminate !!

    Now I am with Be and I have only had to get through to customer service twice in almost three years. I have NEVER waited more than TWO minutes to speak to a human ! Also, they solved the problem there and then, with no fuss. With Be, UNLIMITED MEANS UNLIMITED !!

    My comment about Be is that their DNS servers are poor --- and they are filtering stuff out --- just like some other ISPs ---- its the highest level of NANNY service !! The solution is to find public FREE DNS servers and link to them instead of the ones provided by your ISP. Works for me !!

    As for dumping people. Well, I would cut off supply to a customer who failed to pay on time. Also, in future I wouldn't give them credit because they don't deserve to have it. To provide credit to ANYONE who doesn't pay is the same as making all those who do pay, pay more ! If anyone fails to understand that, I will be happy to explain in more detail. :-) Not for even a moment am I suggesting that this is the problem here !! hahahaha

  17. Andy
    Paris Hilton

    It's probably 186k's fault

    186k are without doubt the most stupid cretins available. Their rich owner just buys small ISP's left right and centre without bothering to stop to see if they can actually support the userbase. I also had a large number of small businesses signed up with the excellent Mailbox who were had brilliant support -2 rings on the phone and you're talking to an actual Engineer.

    186k bought them out and you couldn't contact them by phone because they were so busy, so they moved the call centre to India where they answered the phone a little more but couldn't really do anything there either. Then they moved it to Ireland and things were a little better although they still made stupid billing and technical mistakes. Throughout this time however, their sales line was always answered by a friendly sounding English person who couldn't support you at all (they actually said that in the phone menu).

    I have a fairly good idea of what happened - 186k bought out some companies that were reselling lines from Tiscali. Because they couldn't identify which customers they had bought they refused to pay the bills so Tiscali were forced to put up block pages.

    Thing that makes me laugh is the indignation that 186k are treating this with "It's all Tiscali's fault - OMG how dare they put up block pages!!oneone". Yes well 186k did exactly the same thing a few years ago but worse. They actually cancelled ADSL lines that they thought weren't being used without contacting anybody and then said it would take 5-10 days to get back on when people rang up. When I asked for MAC codes for 5 accounts at once the engineer was very surprised and said that everyone else just said they wanted to come back.

    I really hate 186k - they couldn't find their arses with both hands, a map, a torch, a TomTom, help from their friends and a big painted sign saying "Welcome to your Arse". Sorry for the rant but the amount of people they have screwed over by buying and ruining well managed ISP's makes me mad. I really hope all their customers migrate away from them and they go bust.

    ....Paris Hilton 'cause I said bust.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Customer Services

    One thing I absolutely cannot understand is how often people commenting on The Register complain about customer services. I mean how hard can it be to set up a DSL connection these days? Why on earth do you need to contact them ever again by phone? Even if the connection goes down just leave it alone for a while, go out for the afternoon or go to bed, you'll find it's working again later on. If you want to make sure everything is set up in the best possible way then look in the local paper and get an IT pro round to do it for you. I feel sorry for ISP's who have to compete on cost yet have to provide support for things which invariably aren't their problem (resulting in further annoyance to the customer).

  19. Andy
    IT Angle

    Anonymous Coward @ 11:37

    >Even if the connection goes down just leave it alone for a while, go out for the afternoon or >go to bed, you'll find it's working again later on.

    Brilliant! If you're in IT support and your customer rings up; try and use that as an excuse and see what happens. :) Home users shouldn't really need to speak to their ISP that often, IT companies talk to theirs all the time.

    We used to use Mailbox for DNS hosting, website hosting and reselling ADSL connections. We would have to contact them to make changes to the services and they were great. When they we're bought out by 186k we would have to call their customer services with questions like "Where has this website gone?", "Why does it say this domain has expired when I'm paying you a monthly fee?", "Why is this business connection between 2 offices running at 5kbps?", "Why have you disconnected these ADSL connections?", "Why are you billing me for a service I cancelled 2 months ago?"

    If your electric/gas/cable/tv/water/telephone provider just cut off your service for a bit wouldn't you be mad? Or would you just go to bed for a bit? Personally even if I was just a home user it would piss me right off.

  20. pctechxp

    simple solution

    If you are paying by DD, if they don't send you your MAC, log onto/ring your bank and ask them to halt the DD

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Who ?

    > So who is 186k ?

    They were part of the Lattice group, who were the parent company of Transco - you know, the gas distribution company who were created out of BG when the government opened up the gas market to competition (ofcourse all the gas is still distributed by one company, NationalGrid Transco, it is just that you now have the choice of being billed by one of many companies). Anyway the now private Transco, decided to setup a parent company so that they could diversify. One diversification was into B2B Internetworking, they thought it would be a good idea to lay fiber optic across much of the country, utilizing their existing nation-wide gas network, the idea being to lay the cables inside the pipes (using little robots if I recall) - this was all back in 2000 (I think they only got as far as a couple of thousand miles of fibre, which probably doesn't cover a great deal of the country).

    Anyway, back in 2002 Transco merged with NationalGrid, adding further irony/mockery to the governments competition plans (competition in the gas and electricity markets was always a farce as you only have a single company providing the distribution network for each). When the merger took place, Transco sold 186k to Hutchinson for £1 (Transco never got as far as turning a profit with 186K, but then 2 years with a startup requiring so much profit, they never were going to). I suspect OfGem didn't want the only real gas and electric supply company to have any stake in telecoms, but there could have been other reasons for giving the company to Hutchinson.

  22. Mel
    Thumb Down

    Dominic Marocco owns 186k

    186k is privately owned by Dominic Marocco not Hutchinson - everything that he does is about greed he is not interested in giving a good service to the general public or businesses - he is only interested in making money from good people and lining his own pockets and buying more mansions from ex yourselves a favour leave 186k as fast as you can and force this man out of any business where he is "supposed" to be providing a service to people. Insiders say he owes Tiscali over a million pound and thats why they have said enough is enough, insiders say its only a matter of time before BT pull the plug as he owes them millions aswell....why dont you pay your bills Mr Marocco and keep these poor people in the service they have paid your for, but you havent paid your suppliers for, sell a house and pay your debts, your a disgrace! and trying to blame Tiscali for this, your a total joke!

  23. Graham

    Glad I moved. And a bit @David/Be customer

    Used to be an EFH customer. They were brilliant until being bought by 186k, then it really went downhill. Eventually jumped ship when bandwidth was so low the streaming iPlayer never worked. Looks like it was a wise move.

    On Be now, and mostly happy with it. Re David and his DNS filtering with Be: are you a static IP customer? They changed their DNS servers recently and didn't tell customers, I was lucky to spot it in the scrolling news text on the account page when I went to open a ticket cos I couldn't get to a site from home that I could access from work. Old DNSs are still there, just not listing all sites, new DNSs seem ok. So I'm only "mostly" happy with Be cos of not telling customers when customer action is required.

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