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Month-to-Month Dial-Up 'Net Access in the UK? 38

Wee asks: "I'm traveling to London (from the US) this coming Saturday. For various reasons I need to be able to stay occasionally connected to the Net while there. Instead of risking one of my daily-use laptops to the rigors of travel, I've built a working Toshiba 430CDT laptop from parts, purchased an appropriate power adapter, equipped it with an old modem/10mbps NIC (plus an Orinoco card, just because), searched Google for temporary two-week, UK-based dial-up accounts, only to find... nothing whatsoever. Zip, nada, nothing. Maybe AOL, but I'd have to think long and hard at giving them a credit card. I did find some companies that would sell me a monthly plan, but there were usually minimums. Does anyone know of 'temporary' dial-up accounts (with various local PoPs) in London? Failing that, does anyone know of an ISP I can sign up with for only one month?"
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Month-to-Month Dial-Up 'Net Access in the UK?

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  • Tiscali provides internet by call. Should be others.
  • Jolt (Score:3, Informative)

    by rastachops ( 543268 ) on Friday November 22, 2002 @05:20AM (#4730551) They offer a very fast 0845 (price per min) dial up service that is free to sign up for.
  • Don't... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Noodlenose ( 537591 ) on Friday November 22, 2002 @05:20AM (#4730552) Homepage Journal
    I would leave the computer at home.

    London features am abundance of large internet cafes and if you forward your mail to an web-based account you'll be able to access it without a problem. British ISP's are not a pleasure to deal with and AOL's international rates are a rip-off.

    Have fun in the UK,


    • have you tried tham all?

      ISPs aren't a breed they are people

      as diverse as any other bunch of people

      as other posters have said, get an 0845 local rate dial up

      they are usually free to sign up, the ISP splits the call revenue with the telecomms company.

      is one of many

    • I agree, I was just there this summer and I didn't have any trouble finding internet access in London. They even have coin-op terminals in the Airport.

      I know it's tough to think of being so far from home without a computer, but do you really want to carry that thing on the plane?

      The only caveat I have is if you plan on going outside of London. I spent most of my time in a small village southeast of London which didn't even have a gas station let alone an internet cafe. I'm not sure if the larger towns are different but I only saw internet cafes in London.

      Any Brits have better advice about this?
  • Don't sign up at all (Score:4, Informative)

    by Howie ( 4244 ) <{howie} {at} {}> on Friday November 22, 2002 @05:22AM (#4730558) Homepage Journal
    Assuming you already have a mail account that you want to access, then don't bother signing up to anything. There are many UK ISPs that offer "0845" access - these numbers are charged at local rate from anywhere in the country (don't forget that we still are charged for local calls in general), and make their money from revenue-sharing with the telcos, so you don't pay a bill to the ISP. You should be able to pick up a CD/Installer/Signup-Screen for one of these pretty easily.

    Drop me a line if you need help - my employer offers such a service (usually through resellers, but anyway).
    • by bob_dinosaur ( 544930 ) on Friday November 22, 2002 @05:41AM (#4730600)
      Example providers of the you-just-pay-for-the-call service are Freeserve No Ties [] and Tiscali Pay As You Go []. No credit card or personal details required.
    • Thing is, since the cash you're paying will be charged through your telco account, you'll need to sign up to a telco, such as BT, which certainly can't be on a month-to-month basis. I suggest this now become the focus of your attention!

      • by biglig2 ( 89374 )
        Well, duh! If he intends to use an analogue modem then he has to find a phone socket to plug the damned thing into, and consequential negotiation with the owner of said socket about who pays for the calls. That's sort of a given.

        Have you ever stayed in a hotel, or a friends house? You'll find you don't have to arange for the Telco to install a phone, nor do you need to get in touch with the power company to get electricity into the room, nor do you have to hire a plumber to put a bathroom in.

        Wrenching myself back on-topic, I recommend BT Click, 0845 757 6333, any username and any password.

        But I also agree with the earlier poster that you will have no trouble finding internet cafes, internet kiosks, business suites in hotels, and all sorts of ways to get on-line in London, so you don't need to bring a laptop just to check your email every few days.

        Lastly, one point to watch for - you will need a US - UK phone adaptor, since I imagine your modem just has a RJ11 connector on the end. They're a few pounds, you can probably get one in the airpoort if all else fails. You know we have different power outlets here too? Another adaptor to buy. If you;re visiting a company over here talk to the local IT guys, they may be able to lend you a local power cable for the tosh, which I find to be much handier than fiddling with adaptors.
        • You know we have different power outlets here too? Another adaptor to buy.

          As you well know, but our poster may not, the United Kingdom has different voltage, frequency, and outlets. Although almost all recent laptops come with switching power supplies which elegantly handle U.S. and all European voltages, it would be a bummer to blow a power supply (or a whole laptop) on such a thing. If your power supply is such a beast, it is probably labelled right on it "120-400V, 30-80Hz" or something of that sort.

          As far as specifics go, for the UK, it's 50Hz, 230V AC []. And Howstuffworks has a somewhat spiffy illustration of the plug appearance []. Three flat prongs, two horizontal, one vertical for grounded plugs (which hopefully your laptop has). Two round prongs for non-grounded.

          • Eh? that page on how stuff works is certainly not "spiffy", misleading is more like it.

            Those illustrations look nothing like the plugs I have in my house!

            The "ungrounded" plugs thing is also midleading, the only place you may find one of those is in the bathroom, called a shaver socket and it may have a switch on it between 110 and 240.

            The only things in the UK that have 2 pin plugs are shavers.

            They are also out of scale, showing the 2 pin plug as larger than the 3 pin.

            On a side note, my laptops both have no earth connector on them, they have the pin of course (they wouldn't plug in otherwise) but they are plastic.
            • Well, non-grounded plugs are rare, indeed, and rare enough that you don;t need to worry, but they do exist in places - my house has them here ant there, fitting the theme of "who the hell wired this place" that runs thru my place. ;-)
        • My recommendation: 0845 2066050, totalserve/totalserve. I think this is now run by BT also. You can also sign up with UKFSN [] free of charge (apparently all profits go to Linux development and they plan to publish accounts; at any rate, it's no worse than any other local-rate ISP).
    • I second that.

      Virgin.Net [] has 1p a minute (at home rates, hotels will be higher). No CD required, I use it as an emergency dial-up when my cable modem goes down.

      They offer 56k dial up, news, mail and the usual web browsing stuff.
    • One of the 0845 isp is uklinux []. The difference with them is that some of the revenue they get from local rate charges goes to open source software. you can sign up at their website and get a password etc befor you go.
  • But, assuming you mean by an "Orinoco card", a wireless Orinoco card [], you could always check for open community LANs in the areas you are travelling. At [] there's a list of open wirless LANs, including four such LANs in the UK, one specifically in London. []
  • Force9 (Score:2, Informative)

    by Komarosu ( 538875 )
    Strictly this really shouldn't be said...but ill say it anyway...dunno if its legit or not. Force9 have a lax login policy, if all you want is basic services (get onto the net) then you can use the Force9 dialup information for there 0845 number and any login/password and it will let you long as you have CallerID i think. Good ploy of Force9 imho, lets me use dialup when my DSL goes down without having to keep a active dialup account. In the UK, 0845 is local rate anywere number, so really theres no reason to have PoPs anymore (unless you get free local rate calls, then its worth it. as 0845 is at local costs, but isnt classed as local...hence i still get 10p a min charge on my mobile and it doesnt use my free minutes).
  • by steve.m ( 80410 ) on Friday November 22, 2002 @06:07AM (#4730689) Journal
    It's basically a BT dialin, but yahoo branded

    0845 609 1350 (local call rate)

    login: "yahoo" (but it seems to accept anything)
    password: "" (again, it seems to accept anything)


    (it works with Linux PPP, using PAP auth)

  • ... and look for the 0845xxxxxx ISP providers, most do not require you to sign up, you pay only the phone call.
  • As others have said, there are ISPs in the UK that don't require a subscription, but instead are funded through the cost of the local call to connect. I have used such ISPs myself, and I can confirm that they are quite convenient and don't require a credit card or suchlike.

    The thing you need to be aware of is the cost of those local calls. The price varies from 1p/minute at weekends, to 3p/minute during office hours. The cost will add up. I have received phone bills for £60 for one months internet usage like that.

    If you plan to be online for any length of time, you might want to look into the alternatives.

    The other thing to be aware of is Caller ID. Many free ISPs, in order to reduce spam, will deny you access to e-mail if you block caller ID. Not just to their servers, but anywhere. Port 25, 110 and 143 will be blocked unless they can tell where you are calling from.

    I hope this is useful

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I can think of at least one 0845 ISP that (at least in the past) allows dialup with caller ID disabled: Freedom 2 Surf []

      In any case if you're dialling in through a PABX at a hotel or office, chances are caller ID will be presented, but as the main switchboard number.

      Also, in the UK there's a distinction between caller ID being deliberately withheld and simply being unavailable. Sometimes PABXs present "unavailable" and sometimes dialup ISPs will allow that where they'd usually reject "Withheld"
  • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Friday November 22, 2002 @06:45AM (#4730789) Homepage
    Why not just look for the warchalking logos on the pavement? Actually, warchalking symbols are quite rare in the UK, but open nodes certainly aren't... ;)
  • I have used freeuk []'s dial up service (with both Windows and Linux - even though its not listed as supported by them)

    Although I haven't used it for a while (I think the last time was 9 months ago whilst setting up a new office whilst waiting for our DSL line to be fitted) one used to be able to sign up instantly for a free account.

    There are many other free ISP's - just do a google search []

  • Try a company like Freeserve []. You can register online (i.e. before you get here) and use that to connect. You'll get charged for the price of a local call (1p/minute at weekends) to dial up, but otherwise it's free. You get a website/email account, but you'll probably want to use a webmail account or something for the short time you'll be here.
  • 08456091314 (Dellnet) 08450880050 (The Laughing Policeman) I have only ever used the first one (Dellnet) very much. Both work fine with no user name and password. I've always found the service from Dellnet fine. BTW. Dont understand why you needed to sort out a special laptop to come here. I've just taken my laptop (which is a good one) all the way round the world, including Thailand. It lived in a tent with me in New Zealand for 6 months. Wish me and my laptop were back there. Do you know something we dont? Are the yanks planning on testing a EMP weapon over here or something?
  • I've traveled to the UK at least once a year since 1995 for Internet conferences, and if I wasn't speaking I'd travel light and leave the computer at home.

    There are several EasyInternet cafes [] in London -- one is just outside Victoria Station -- and it's a lot nicer on your body to carry an Easy login slip in your shirt pocket than lug a piece of computer junk around with you. EasyInternet operates on an auction basis -- when load goes up, the price goes up, and when it drops, you get more time per quid. You can loaf online all Sunday morning for practically nothing. I believe an account is portable between cafes, too. Just look for the large, bright orange signs.

    I've never had anything stolen while traveling (knock on wood) but that's always a possibility, too.

    I'm going to Zurich in January for a small private conference, and since I'm not doing a speech, the laptop isn't coming along for the ride.

    In general, when traveling internationally, Americans carry way too much luggage. There's no reason to have more than one carry-on bag, period. The OneBag guide to traveling light [] is full of great advice on how to travel without carrying so much junk you wind up on a chiropractor's table.
  • Might be worth looking at

    It's a partner of Gric ( ).

    You sign up online and buy an amount of credits which you can then use to dialup in many countries across the world without having to worry about finding or signing up with a local ISP.
  • Don't lug around a laptop. When I was in London recently my travelling companion and I bought a one-week pass at an internet cafe (see [] for the one we used). It was cheap and reliable except for the often beat-up mouses and keyboards.
  • Sign up with an ISP that's a member of GRIC ( ). This allows you to dial in anywhere (well almost) locally with a small per minute surcharge.

    Try this:

    I've been travelling the world for a year and I had local dialin access everywhere except Cambodia.

  • You can't swing a cat without hitting an internet cafe, usually within a block or so of a Tube station. Some may even let you plug in, otherwise just put your data on a floppy.

    Best rate I was able to find was 1 pound an hour, and it was fast and reliable.

    To find good deals, ask the folks behind the counter in any coffee shop.

  • I don't use them but some of my friends do as a backup for their broadband connections, see here [] for details on how to get onto them, (i.e. phone number, login/password and DNS details).

    Somebody else replied about using BTClick ... this I have used whilst off on DR tests and had no problems with them.

    I would suggest you gather the details of the different 0845 based suggestions that are posted to this "Ask Slashdot". You can then work your way through them until you hit one that works for you ... one definately will.


  • The company called pobox has free UK dialup. Visit [] for details.

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