back to article ISP Zen's slower customers choke over breakfast

Customers on Zen Internet's slowest package lost connectivity this morning, for an hour or two, but a rebooted router should now bring things back to normal. Anyone on Zen's "up to 8Mb" tariff will have struggled to surf the web between 7.45AM and 9AM BST, at which point Zen got a temporary fix in place bringing connectivity …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Zen not the cheapest but their service is excellent

    Since it's normal to kick ISP's when they're down, I thought I'd just add my 0.02 Euros worth and comment positively on their service. I know this is going against the grain but hey ho...

    My view is that shit happens to all ISP's, it's what they do when it goes wrong that you pay for. When I have had to call Zen I have managed to get through to somebody quickly (no 30 mins hanging on the telephone), they have been very knowledgeable and were very happy to go straight from "have you rebooted the router" to a sensible technical conversation without going through every stupid option on their crib sheet, they have called me back when they said they would and generally I'm as pleased with their service as I can be.

    I pay far more than the cheapest providers but then again I get a good service from them with UK people who really do understand what they are talking about, are happy to have a Smoothwall firewall in the way and were genuinely interested in solving my problem.

  2. Kebablog

    I believe I'm on the up to 20mb service (but only get 5) but it looks as if my connection is down as well.

    Annoying, but happy with Zen - as above they are good to speak to and generally things work fine.

  3. Kebablog

    Update, there's a separate service update for us brummies

  4. Craig McAllister

    I moved away from Zen

    ...but to be totally honest, they have been the best supporting ISP I've ever dealt with.

    I'm currently on O2's LLU ADSL (on an old package with no limits, a 1-month rolling contract, etc).

    If Zen did the same thing for even double the price, I'd move back: that's how good they are.

    You get what you pay for with them, which is: a solid service.

    Even when things go wrong they are good to deal with, in my experience. They don't dumb down their service either: if you want to do something a bit interesting like running the DD-WRT firmware on your own router, they don't mind, and will provide you with things like ADSL encapsulation settings and stuff without complaint or confusion. Try doing that with any* of the volume ISPs and see where that gets you!

    * (Except BE*, who are also excellent)


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I moved away from Zen

      Be have slipped in recent months.

    2. Lee Dowling

      Re: I moved away from Zen

      I don't know of a single UK ISP who do not provide VPI, VCI and encapsulation settings to anyone that asks. Actually, I don't know of one that doesn't publish it on their website somewhere as well.

      God knows what service you've had in the past but I'd be amazed if they didn't provide that information on request, even from the call-center junkies.

    3. Danwold
      Thumb Up

      Re: I moved away from Zen

      I almost moved away from Zen a while back because of the 50GB monthly limit but now it has been doubled which is fine for my purposes.....

      Had actually got to the stage of cancelling the service, but reinstated it when Virgin decided they couldn't be bothered to stretch their cable to my house. I got an email from the same chap at Zen I spoke to when cancelling to ask me why I'd decided to stay and thank me. A very personal service.

  5. Sir Runcible Spoon



    Never heard of it. 21CN though, I have.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sir

      20CN is the old BT network, before any fibre.

      21CN is the new network.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon

        Re: Sir

        Fair enough, just never heard it referred to as that. I always thought of it as POTS (Pile of Total Shite)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another happy Zen customer

    They supprt they provide is definitely better than any other ISP I've used.

  7. adam payne

    I use Namesco and I pay more than cheapest provider but I know if I have a problem they'll be able to sort it very quickly. I don't mind paying extra for good service.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Slowest Customers

    Actually ...

    Zen's slowest customers are probably on their Home 500 service.

    I'm one of them 'cos BT say my line won't support a Meg :(

  9. Kubla Cant Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Crap technical support hours

    I moved to Zen about six months ago. No complaints, but I was disappointed to learn that their technical support lines aren't manned 24 hours/day. 0800-2000 weekdays is almost exactly the time I spend out at work. 0900-1700 weekends isn't even trying - our village shop is open longer than that.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Crap technical support hours

      To be fair, when you contact Zen you end up talking to knowledgeable people who will work their backsides off to help. They also try to keep each issue to the same support bod.

      Last year I had an issue just before I went on holiday. Zen were updating me by phone and email while I was away. Took a lot of stress out of the situation because everything was quickly resolved despite me being away from the office,

      I'd probably rather have reduced hours but with good quality support, rather than the 24 hour service at my old ISP which saw me waiting in 40 minute queues even at 9pm and where I was just speaking to droids working from a script.

  10. Ketlan
    Thumb Up

    Expensive but worth it

    Another Zen fan here. Been with them for years and it's very rare that I find myself unable to connect. Okay, a very occasional glitch like this is an irritation but Zen is one of the few companies that seem to give a shit about its users and will go out of its way to support them and get any problems resolved. Bizarrely, they seem to use support staff who actually know what they're talking about and are able to converse with geeks AND ordinary mortals. THAT'S worth paying extra for, on its own.

    My neighbour, who has been with Talk Talk (spit) and is now with BT (meh), is constantly asking me for help with her connection because her ISP is cheaper but useless. I recommend Zen but the price is a killer for her (and most other people). Yet I never have a complaint about my ISP, unlike her and everyone else I'm in contact with, who seem to moan incessantly about broken connections, speed limits and hidden costs.

    It's true what they say: you get what you pay for.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good ISPs don't have to be expensive (or maybe they do, these days)

    Just ask any happy ex-Metronet customer. Small but perfectly formed. And different.

    But Metronet are not around any more, whereas Zen still are.

  12. Displacement Activity

    Good support? WTF?!

    I spent 2 months trying to convince Zen that my broadband wasn't working properly. They needed me to run BT's SpeedTester, and here's the problem: when the line didn't work, it didn't work. I might eventually connect to SpeedTester, but it gave up after a few minutes. When it did work, it worked fine. Does not compute. If you don't have a real result with a slow rate, they won't do diddly squat. You can't imagine the amount of time I spent telling "technical support" that this was a completely illogical argument. When the line wasn't working I could hear crackling on both the voice and ADSL lines, and the modem reported lots of bins dropping out, so I got BT to look at the voice line. The BT guy confirmed that there was a problem, and got a line location for the fault. He also checked the ADSL line, and confirmed that it had the same problem (unsurprising, since it's in the same cable). He wasn't allowed to test an ADSL line, so he couldn't report it. Did Zen believe me? Did they hell. Still didn't compute; your bins are irrelevant; your voice line is irrelevant; if your voice line is affected it's all your fault anyway; still needed a Speedtester result. In the end I started shouting at them and told them I'd pay the BT callout (£150) if it was my fault, which turned out to be the secret passphrase. They called out BT, who found that a squirrel had chewed through the cable, about 50m from the office.

    They were great when I started off with a 1Mbit business line with them years ago, but that's history. The BT callout charge has just paralysed them. I'm moving as soon as I get around to it.

  13. Ambivalous Crowboard

    Used to be a Zen customer

    although was never a fan.

    Given the runaround by their tech support because their email smarthost kept intermittently bouncing my mail saying that my sender envelope domain didn't exist, even though I was conversing with them using said email address. They denied it was their problem and said it was my MTA at fault, even though it was *their* SMTP server reporting the error.

    Also had fairly poor throughput from the off, called their tech support and they said "your line is fine, it's because you've got loads of stuff open, close some stuff" and after two years I switched to BT Business (yes, yes, I know) and called *their* tech support. They suggested I checked the MTU, changed it, and doubled performance instantly.

    Oh well.

    Disclaimer: 100% not paid by BT, and 100% not a fan of BT either.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Division between broadband and voice and ADSL specifications

    I don't work for an ISP but having been on the receiving end of a fault with another ISP some years ago I did some reading and this is how it works.

    Unless your voice service is also with your ISP the ISP is limited in what they can do as if for example there is a lot of noise on the line this has to be reported as a voice line fault to your line rental/voice service as BT Wholesale won't take instruction from an ISP in the same way as your voice provider can't take a fault report for ADSL.

    Yep its a crazy situation but that's thanks to our beloved telecoms regulator.

    Also ISPs submit a line test and get told by BT's systems whether it passed or failed so I gather, if it passed they are unlikely to accept a fault

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