What is Broadband ?

ADSL stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. Asymmetric, because the download speed is faster than the upload speed. The speeds are the same each way for SDSL.

The basic DSL protocol splits your existing copper line into 256 logical channels, only one of which is needed to provide the telephone/fax service that the whole line used to provide. That single channel remains connected into the national switched telephone network and its traffic continues to be time-chargeable as before. Thus the manner in which you use the line does not change and is quite unaffected by what is happening on the 255 DSL channels. Your line rental agreement can be transferred to us without in any way affecting the broadband operation.

The other 255 channels are used for the parallel transmission of IP packets, which are the currency of internet traffic. IP stands for Internet Protocol. These channels connect into the national IP network, a different part of your local BT exchange. Data from the 255 channels is re-assembled at the exchange and transmitted across the internet. Your DSL connection is always on, and is not time-chargeable.

Residential systems usually have a 'contention' of 50:1 and this also suits basic business use. A contention level of 50:1 means there really could be 49 other people trying to get down the same line at the same time as you, which is why the 20:1 products are rated to give you more exclusive access. Such congestion really does happen with some mass market home broadband ISP's who manage their own BT exchange delivery and data. In such instances increasing the download speed does not help much. The only solution is to change to a less congested provider. Like us.

Why M-Line Broadband ?

1. High quality, very reliable. Our service is delivered over BT's IPStream system *.
2. It is billed along with your calls on same bill. A single bill for all your land line telephony.
3. Only one month's notice period. Most suppliers make you commit for 3 to 12 months minimum.
4. Contention ratios are lower in practice than the services are rated
5. No premium number help lines. Normal 0800 number access as for the telecoms service. We do not out-source to call centres.
6. No download limit (except in the capped instances shown below). Many providers restrict this, and/or charge extra.
7. Upload limit for e-mail attachments is a very generous 25mb. No limit for FTP.
8. All systems below give you a single fixed IP address. Free.

* BT's IPStream is very stable and reliable. It uses BT's traffic prioritisation (contention ratios) and as such cannot be overloaded and has no single point of failure. We use multiple data 'pipes' across the data centres and are thus able to balance the load from our end-users. Even at busy times there is no degradation of quality or connection and in the event of a 'pipe' fault or failure there is built-in redundancy.

The Agreement & Fault Handling

The broadband service we provide is 'wires only'. That means we give you access to the internet at the network teminating point (NTE) on your premises. Our obligation is thus exactly the same as for line rental. All equipment, wiring and other matters beyond the NTE are the responsibility of the customer. The router you will use to connect your computer to the internet is as much your responsibility as are your computers and telephone handsets, notwithstanding we may have supplied the router ready programmed at the outset.

We do not manage your e-mail. If e-mail is not working, but you can still browse websites, there is nothing wrong with our connection. You will need to contact your domain managers or e-mail providers.

We will of course be helpful on occasions where a fault is suspected, but we ask you to apply some first aid in an attempt to diagnose the fault. This will save time and frustration. The bottom line is that it is most unlikely the fault is actually with the broadband connection itself, and that in most instances you can fix the problems yourself:

1. Remove all equipment from the line except the filter, plug in a single reliable corded handset, and check if you can call in and out to your mobile. If you cannot, please report a line fault. To 0800 026 1550 or 0800 980 5090.

2. If voice works, the fault is not with the line. In the vast majority of such cases the fault lies with the router. First switch it off, wait for 30 minutes then power up again. Watch the DSL light flash red, then settle to steady green. Check access again. If that does not solve the problem, your router may well have failed.

3. Routers do not last long, and you should always have a spare ready for such instances. On your monthly invoice we include information (ADSL username and password) about your broadband that (if we supply your broadband) will enable you or your equipment supplier to set up a new router. It will also be clear from that information if we do not supply your broadband.

4. In very rare instances, not even that restores the connection. In such cases we have to file an actual broadband fault. One of the first questions are are then asked is 'has the user changed the router'. So buying another router when the first router might not have been at fault is not a disaster. You will need it at some stage.