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Friday 8 September 2006

Pipex buys Bulldog [Lurks]

It seem as if Pipex has bought Bulldog the broadband ISP that's renowned for it's London-based ADSL2+ service. You might view this in the same way as EA buying a developer you're quite fond of, nothing is likely to be the same again. What leads me to such a spurious claim? Well because a couple of years back Pipex bought Nildram. That established a pattern of behavior I don't think it's unreasonable to expect to see again.
Nildram was the clan's favorite ISP, a relatively small ISP with a large number of gamers. In fact the Jolt gaming service was a spin off from Nildram originally. Support was personal and generally excellent and highly technically competent and performance was in the top tier of anything you could buy for the home. They were also innovative, pioneering ADSL bonding. Unfortunately after Pipex took over, it promptly turned the whole thing into your standard British company. Rubbish support, emails that take weeks to answer, telephone voicemail hell and performance, for WoW at least, was basically hosed. Oh and forget anything innovative like bonded ADSL, far too much hassle when you're just part of the numbers-game collective. Pipex, in short, fucked our favorite ISP so I have difficulty becoming enthused at the subject of this blog.
Still, Bulldog is a very different ISP than Nildram was. It was never a particularly small, friendly and service driven ISP aimed at a niche from the outset. It was just telling the country that you could get faster Internet with them, even though the fine print ended up being "* a tiny bit of London" at the time. If what it ultimately means is that Bulldog has the financial wings to get their ADSL2+ unbundling out to more exchanges then, unlike the Nildram buy-out, it might actually be a good thing. At least Pipex isn't buying something with amazing support in the first place. And let's face it, we'll be waiting a long time for BT to pull the finger out and roll out ADSL2+ nationally.


  1. Interesting. I've been with Bulldog for a good while now and am on adsl2+ with roughly 17mb and 1mb up. Their privisioning has always been excellent for me - i.e speeds and backbone, where thye've always fell down is ludicrous customer support.
    Will be interesting to see how this develops, as is Pipex takes this over from C&W, they'll have one of the widest reaching unbundled networks. Let's just hope they don't start doing horrible things like traffic shaping.

  2. Good point. There's no traffic shaping imposed on Nildram but the pricing puts it into a premium ISP category and there are some traffic restrictions. Bulldog, it strikes me, are about offering the biggest number to consumers in terms of how 'fast' your Internet connection would be, while also keeping the cost pretty low. That's a prime target for traffic shaping really just like they've implemented it for their own-brand ISP. I'd hope for a simple cap scheme but to maintain performance during peek hours, particularly when everyone is on some very phat pipe, traffic shaping starts to look pretty attractive to these guys...

  3. You will be saddened to hear that it looks like Nildram are now traffic shaping. I have noticed a significant reduction in speed across port 119 for usenet and I am sure similar will be found on gaming ports... There support team admits that this is now the case with details to follow.

  4. What a sad state of affairs. I'm baffled why people don't move really, that must be what they're relying on. No one who joined Nildram would likely have joined if they knew this sort of stuff was forthcoming. I mean they have traffic limits already, what's the justification in having traffic limits and shaping? That's tantamount to saying that your limits are bollocks. The solution is call up and get a MAC code. There's still a few smaller ISPs doing the same sort of thing Nildram used to be about. Andrews & Arnold for one.

  5. I'm still with Nildram at the moment so, obviously, I'm currently looking at where to move to next..

    The only things I require from an ISP are..

    - No (or very generous) traffic limits..
    - No traffic shaping..
    - The ability to get a few IPs pointed at my connection..
    - Reasonable pricing.

    Andrews & Arnold sounded great.. but their prices looked to be a little bit on the expensive side (well, if you have a habit of downloading large quantities).

    Has anyone found any other decent alternatives lately?

  6. The A&A pricing structure is very weird. Basically you get bugger all traffic limit but it only applies from 8AM to 6PM Monday to Friday. And it's only downloads. It's completely unlimited and unshaped outside of those hours. I find with the simple application of the scheduler in utorrent there's no problem at all :-) Furthermore, if you want to go to MaxPremium (higher priority traffic and 800k upstream) it's actually less with these guys than anyone else, allowing for working with the crippled downloads during office hours of course.
    You can get all the rest of the stuff you asked for (they gave me 5 IPs on the spot when I needed them for something) and a bunch of stuff which would, quite frankly, make your inner geek spooge at the seams. Wait until you see the traffic and line quality graphs and texts to your mobile when your line goes up and down, free fax to email number, DNS delegation directly to your own server and did I mention the support on IRC? I got them to report a BT group fault after debugging PPP logs on IRC on 10AM Sunday morning. I'd have been chasing my tail for ages with any other ISP.
    If you're a geek, and I know you are, there's no better ISP. Oh and they're Linux freaks too. They even say Windoze/Micro$oft and stuff like that, surely this is your definition of heaven on earth?