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FreeUK Broadband FAQ's

We hope this page answers all of your FreeUK Broadband queries. However,
please feel free to email support@freeuk.com if you still need any kind of help regarding ADSL.

  • What is ADSL?
  • Who is ADSL aimed at?
  • What are the key benefits of ADSL?
  • How does ADSL work?
  • Is ADSL available in my area?
  • If my area is not listed, what can I do?
  • What is Self-Install?
  • What is a splitter/micro-filter?
  • What if my PC is not next to a telephone socket?
  • Can I use my own modem?
  • Do I have to support my own modem?
  • Can I upgrade from ISDN?
  • What are the call charges?
  • Will I still need to pay for my phone rental?
  • Is there a minimum period contract?
  • What if I modify/cancel my contract with BT?
  • What happens if I move house?
  • How much does it cost?
  • What is the activation procedure?
  • How will I know the line has been ADSL enabled?
  • What are the Minimum Systems Requirements for ADSL Self Install?
  • Are inbound and outbound speeds guaranteed?
  • How does the contention ratio work?
  • How is the IP address allocated?
  • How many computers can be connected to my service?
  • What should VPI/VCI be set as?
  • What cable do I need?
  • What is G. DMT "wires-only"?
  • PPPoA or PPPoE?
  • What ADSL modems are G. DMT and PPPoA compatible?
  • I have a problem with my ADSL, who should I contact?


    What is ADSL?

    ADSL stands for Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line. It transforms a twisted copper pair of wires between a local telephone exchange and a customer's telephone socket into a high-speed digital line. It is called "asymmetric" because it moves data more quickly from exchange to customer than from customer to exchange. This makes it particularly suitable for applications where customers expect to receive more data than they transmit such as use of the World Wide Web, corporate intranets, and reception of digital audiovisual material. In short, it will provide you with constant, broadband access to the Internet, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no telephone, leased line or ISDN charges.

    Who is ADSL aimed at?

    Our ADSL service is aimed at our home users. It will enable you to send and receive data 10 times faster than any current dial up connection. ADSL also leaves the telephone line free to make and receive normal phone calls. Apart from being extremely fast, customers who spend a lot of time on the Internet via a dial-up connection may find ADSL cheaper in the long term.

    What are the key benefits of ADSL?

    Speed: a standard modem can reach speeds of up to 56Kbps and ISDN can give speeds of up to 128Kbps. ADSL on the other hand has the capacity to go up to 2Mbps on some of the Business Ethernet Solutions, opening up a new world of fast graphics and large file transfers via the Internet. Always On: customers no longer have to waste valuable time obtaining a dial-up connection to their Service Provider.

    How does ADSL work?

    ADSL operates over a normal telephone line. Your existing telephone line can be used to send and receive high -speed digital data and make normal voice calls at the same time. The signal is carried by two DSL modems, one at the user end and one in the local exchange. The modems have been designed to exploit the physical transmission capabilities of the copper line, achieving higher data rates over the line than ever before.

    A 'splitter' (which is a filter), one at the user end and one at the exchange end, separates the telephony signal from the DSL signal. This means that telephone calls can be made at the same time that data is being sent or received. Ultimately ADSL 'squeezes' up to 99% more capacity out of a phone line without interfering with your normal telephone services.

    Is ADSL available in my area?

    To see whether ADSL is available in your area click
    here

    If my area is not listed, what can I do?

    We can only provide ADSL in areas where BT has the infrastructure in place. BT is constantly increasing the area in which the service is available, and you may well be able to sign up in the future.

    Currently BT have upgraded 500 exchanges covering Birmingham, Belfast, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, and Newcastle. Further upgrades will include the Home Counties (Oxford and Newbury), the South Coast (Brighton, Bournemouth and Hastings), the South West (Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, Portsmouth and Taunton), and expanding Northern coverage throughout Blackburn, Carlisle, Liverpool, York, Durham and Warrington. After these initial phases BT will extend ADSL into Wales, Northern Island and Scotland (including Aberdeen). BT intend to cover half of the UK's home and business addresses by the middle of next year and reach 70% by the end of 2002.

    What is Self-Install?

    With this service you may source your own modem and you will not require a BT engineer to visit your premises as in the previous engineer install version. You just plug a micro-filter into your phone socket and use an ADSL modem. The FreeUK ADSL Broadband Self Install has a contention ratio of 50: 1 and is recommended for use with a single pc. The lead-time is usually up to 5 days from FreeUK ordering the ADSL line on your behalf. Self-Install gives you the freedom to control how and when you want to set up your broadband connection at an affordable price.

    What is a splitter/micro-filter?

    The purpose of the micro-filter is to split the telephony service from the ADSL service. This is the equivalent of the ADSL front plate that is installed as part of the existing ADSL services. As the existing front plate requires rewiring work to be carried out micro-filters are being used in its place. One micro-filter is required on every telephone socket that supports an appliance. They filter out the Data from the Voice segments hence getting rid of any interference on your telephone line when the ADSL service is in use.

    What if my PC is not next to a telephone socket?

    If your PC/network point is not next to a telephone socket then you will need to install a BT approved extension kit and plug your micro-filter into this. Extension kits are available from a variety of suppliers. The extension must be no more than 30 metres from a telephone socket.

    Can I use my own modem?

    Yes - you can use a modem of your choice. You can also purchase an installation kit from FreeUK. This will include an Alcatel Speedtouch USB modem and 2 micro filters for 99, Vat included, plus 7.99 for delivery in the UK. You can order your kit when you fill in the order form. The kit will be sent out as soon as BT have confirmed that your ADSL application has been accepted, and we aim at delivering it within 48hours by parcel force at the address provided in the order form.

    Do I have to support my own modem?

    Due to the range of modems available we'll be officially supporting only the Alcatel Speedtouch USB modem provided by ourselves. This applies to both PC and Apple Mac users. Basic support will be offered to all customers using a different type of modem.

    Can I upgrade from ISDN?

    If you request ADSL through FreeUK, we can place a single order with BT to request the conversion of the ISDN line to analogue and subsequent activation of ADSL. This process is initiated if you tick the ISDN box on the order form. Conversion of BT ISDN2 and BT Home/Business Highway, to BT IPStream Home/Office is done by an engineering visit with a 10-day lead time. This is currently charged 50.00 inc VAT by BT and may be subject to changes.

    Should the conversion fail for technical reasons, the engineer converts the line back to the original service and all associated charges are cancelled. Customers who choose to manage a conversion independently of this process are responsible for all costs incurred, due to the conversion and any subsequent costs of re-instating the original BT ISDN2/Highway service if the conversion is unsuccessful (i.e. the converted PSTN line will not support a DSL service).

    What are the call charges?

    There are no call charges at all for ADSL, just a single monthly subscription payable to FreeUK.

    Will I still need to pay for my phone rental?

    Yes. To subscribe to FreeUK ADSL Broadband service, you must have a BT telephone line and account. Normal phone rental fees will apply for your voice calls. All VOICE calls and associated charges will be charged by BT as normal.

    Is there a minimum period contract?

    There is a minimum period of 12 months on the ADSL service. If the contract is cancelled before the 12 months are completed, the customer will be charged for the remaining term of the minimum period.

    What if I modify/cancel my contract with BT?

    Any cancellation or alteration of the BT contract for the telephone line on which the ADSL service is installed (installation line) may cause BT to disconnect the installation line and/or modify the contract number associated with the installation line. As a result of this, BT would automatically cease the ADSL service on the installation line and your ADSL Service provided by FreeUK would terminate. If this happens before completion of the minimum period contract, you would be charged for the remaining term of the minimum period (12 months).

    What happens if I move house?

    ADSL is not transferrable. If you move house before the end of the contract, you will be charged for the service up to the end of the minimum period (12 months). If you wish to reapply for ADSL in the new location, this is subject to availability at the new address and you will need to resubmit a new order and enter a new minimum period contract. A relocation charge of 50 + Vat applies Should you decide to reapply for ADSL with Freeuk we would be happy with you completing 3 months on your initial contract and start a new contract at the new address if your new application is successful. The relocation charge of 50 + Vat still applies. Please note that should ADSL not be available at the new address the initial 12 months contract is to be completed in full. You can fill in the order form from the web site as normal, and tick the relevant "moving house" box for our records.

    How much does it cost?

    The monthly subscription is 22.99 Inc VAT. You can pay annually in advance for a monthly cost of 22.49 Inc Vat. A one-off installation fee of 50 + Vat also applies. You can pay by Visa, MasterCard, Delta, Switch and Amex.

    What is the activation procedure?

    You need to fill in the sign-up form available from our web site www.freeuk.com You will be notified by email that your order has been submitted to BT. In the first instance a remote line check is performed by BT. A number of tests will be performed on the line covering such things as line quality and distance from the exchange.

    If successful, an activation date is assigned to your order and a BT engineer will carry out the necessary work at the exchange to enable ADSL on your phone line.

    You will be notified of the activation date. Once the activation has taken place you will need to plug in your micro-filter(s), modem and configure your PC accordingly. There is a lead-time of about 5 working days between the placement of the order and the activation of the service.

    How will I know the line has been ADSL enabled?

    Once the necessary work has been completed at the exchange FreeUK will notify you using the contact details supplied during the ordering process.

    What are the Minimum Systems Requirements for ADSL Self Install?

    For Customers using PC's:

  • Pentium 200Mhz or more
  • 32Mb of RAM
  • 16 bit Sound card
  • 4 speed CD Rom
  • Display capable of 800x600 at 256 colours
  • 150Mb free Hard disk space
  • Windows 98, 98SE, Me, 2000 Pro or XP
  • USB Port

    For Customers using Apple Macintosh:

  • Power PC 601 or equivalent 200Mhz
  • 32Mb of RAM
  • 2 speed CD Rom
  • Video driver/display 800x600 at 256 colours
  • 100Mb free hard disk space
  • Mac OS 8 to OS 9
  • USB Port

    Are inbound and outbound speeds guaranteed?

    No. Due to contention ratios and data passing through BT network we cannot guarantee these speeds. Speeds will vary because of different reasons, including the number of other users online at the same time and the overall usage across the internet.

    How does the contention ratio work?

    The contention ratio for the FreeUK ADSL Broadband has been set up by BT at 50:1. This means that for a home user with a USB modem, the BT connection at the exchange is shared with another 50 users. Whilst some degree of performance loss will be experienced during peak periods, it is generally accepted that few people will be downloading or uploading data all at the exact same time.

    How is the IP address allocated?

    The IP address is allocated dynamically.

    How many computers can be connected to my service?

    On the FreeUK ADSL Broadband only one computer should be connected to the ADSL connection.

    What should VPI/VCI be set as?

    These two values define how the modem sets the connection up, and are unique to the UK DSL rollout.

    VPI should be set to 0
    VCI should be set to 38

    What cable do I need?

    To connect an ADSL modem to the splitter, a RJ11 lead should be supplied when you purchase your router/modem.

    What is G. DMT "wires-only"?

    G. DMT is a ratified standard defining a common interface for ADSL modems. G. DMT "self-install" ADSL was launched as a product in January 2002 by BT in order to allow customers to use DSL modems purchased by themselves, as opposed to the Alcatel USB previously supplied by BT on the IPStream home user product.

    PPPoA or PPPoE?

    All BT Wholesale provided DSL lines use PPPoATM (PPPoA) at present. For a modem to work in the UK it must be G. DMT and PPPoA compliant. PPPoA refers to how data is transferred across BT's network.

    What ADSL modems are G. DMT and PPPoA compatible?

  • Alcatel Speed Touch USB ADSL Modem
  • asus AAM6000UG USB
  • asus AAM6000PI PCI
  • D-Link DSL-100D PCI ADSL modem
  • D-Link DSL-200
  • 3Com ADSL Modem 3CP4130
  • Scan AP200 Internal PCI modem

    This is by no means a complete list and is subject to change. Please make sure the modem you choose is compatible with the Operating System you will be using.

    I have a problem with my ADSL, who should I contact?

    Your first point of contact is our Support helpdesk, from 9am to 9pm Monday to Saturday on 0845 355 5555. If the problem lies with BT the customer support representative will escalate it as a fault and FreeUK will liaise with BT on
    your behalf until the problem is resolved.