Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

The Cable Bermuda Triangle

With it being a month until I move into the house, it’s about time to get the most important thing sorted – cable. That way, we’ll have multi-channel TV and broadband internet pretty much from day one. Or at least, that was the plan. Trust us to choose to live on the only street in the whole damn area that doesn’t have cable.

Of course, we only found this out today, although why we didn’t pick up on the fact that there were no big green boxes on street corners and that every house had satellite dishes is beyond me. But anyway, we’ve had to look at alternatives.
Broadband is a requirement. There’s no way that three of us are sharing one telephone line. I’ve had to use dial-up for two years now and it’s been painful – imagine 3 of us sharing it. After spending a while on ADSL Guide, Bulldog seemed to be the cheapest at £33 a month (inc VAT) for a 1Mbps connection, and they seem to come out about average. If money was no option we’d probably go for Zen Broadband since they seem to be much better than the rest of the competition, but it’s going to be an extra £7 a month and we’re all Computing students anyway so we can either fix any problems ourselves or we’ll know someone who does.
Next is TV. Bradford is in a valley, and that means that we don’t get particularly good TV reception. According to DTG we can get reasonably good reception on Freeview (but won’t be able to get all channels) just as long as our aerial is in good nick. It’s possible that we could get TopupTV to get channels like E4 and Sky One but again I’m unsure.
The other option is satellite. You can get the free-to-air channels via a satellite dish but it apparently costs a bomb to install, or means buying dodgy-looking equipment off eBay. Which means Sky.
Sky have an offer on that means if you sign up before June 21st, you get free installation, free digibox and free minidish (although the house already has one), plus Sky Sports free for 3 months. But it’s still £40 a month. I don’t know about movies but we don’t need Sky Sports as there are plenty of perfectly good pubs in the area. So, cutting those out takes it down to £20/month, which is reasonable.
As for phone, I haven’t looked at anything, but we only really need it to receive calls, so preferably something with cheap line rental.
And then we’ve got the less important things to sort out, like gas, water and electricity. Hopefully USwitch will be useful for that.


  1. ADSL rather depends on you having an existing phone line inplace. If you’re having to get a phone line first, then you’ll have to wait up to three months while BT decide whether your line is capable of running it and then actually install it – only then does the 12 month contract kick in, which meant for us last year it wasn’t worth it. Well, actually 5/7ths of the house believed it wasn’t worth it. Tesconet’s 56k dial up was shared between seven people quite well – though granted most of the time we just went to the library to do anything.

  2. Can I recommend for Broadband – 1MB connection with no download caps for £30 a month.

  3. I’m using Zen for Broadband, at the moment they are on the more expensive side but I haven’t had a moments problem with them.