Madasafish broadband: what did it offer?

julia kukiewicz
By Julia Kukiewicz

madasafish broadband

IN AUTUMN 2015, Madasafish customers received an email from Plusnet telling them that their ISP would be closing from the middle of that December.

The Yorkshire ISP had owned and managed the daftly named ADSL provider since 2007, but the packages from the smaller company were starting to look more and more dated - so following indications in 2014 that Madasafish were on their way out, at the end of 2015, Plusnet pulled the plug.

Here we take a look back at the prices, speeds and extras they offered.

Madasafish broadband deals

Each package offered a maximum connection speed of up to 6Mb, using a single ADSL line. Price was therefore dictated by the usage allowance. Here they are in brief:

Package Broadband Monthly price
Max Up to 6Mb
5GB
From £9.99
for 3 mths,
then from £14.99
Max Plus Up to 6Mb
20GB
From £19.99
for 6 mths,
then from £25.99
Max Premier Up to 6Mb
50GB
From £25.99
for 3 mths,
then from £29.99

In 2015, 5GB was already quite a low cap - there were an increasing number of unlimited packages with faster connections available for the same price or less - but it still offered a reasonable allowance.

It was enough to allow customers to download the equivalent of around 100 CDs of music - although even then it was unlikely to be suitable for those who enjoyed a daily sit down in front of BBC iPlayer, or that happened to be addicted to YouTube - and Netflix was out of the question.

The 20GB Max Plus and 50GB Max Premier deals had limits more in keeping with the kind of data caps Madasafish's bigger rivals offered - but again, they charged much higher prices for what would soon be considered moderate use packages.

Check this guide to find out how much data is enough, and what it's possible to do with the sort of allowances available from Madasafish.

While the monthly costs were starting to look high in comparison with those charged by their rivals, all Madasafish broadband packages included a free static IP address, a free wireless router - and no setup fees.

Line rental

Furthermore, those looking to combine broadband with line rental, Madasafish were significantly cheaper than almost all of their competition: customers paid just £11.99 a month, for which they also got free evening and weekend calls to standard geographic numbers plus 084 and 087 numbers.

Upgrading to their Talk Anytime plan cost £5 a month extra - at the time, BT charged £7.45 on top of line rental of £15.99 per month.

Extras

On top of the cheap phone line, free equipment and setup, and a static IP address - which tend only to be available from smaller, more exclusive ISPs - Madasafish included various other features and perks.

Showing their age and roots somewhat, Madasafish boasted that all their customers had free access to more than 100,000 Newsgroups - the precursor to online forums, mostly based within the old Usenet system.

Another throwback to a more innocent, pre-Facebook age was the free "generous 100MB of webspace" that each customer was allocated to create their own website.

Users got unlimited email addresses, webmail, and free "state of the art anti-virus technology" and spam filtering to protect them from potential nuisances and worse.

Madasafish also ran a referral system, where existing customers could earn £20 for a successful broadband referral and another £10 if the new user also signed up for the landline; the new customer would get up to £15 as a welcome gift for taking up a referral.

Partnered with Plusnet

As we noted above, since 2007, when BT bought Madasafish, the ISP were put under the management of Plusnet: the Yorkshire ISP looked after all their day to day operations.

Until they were closed at the end of 2015, Madasafish continued to operate as an independent brand but it was more or less a "white label" ISP, offering different packages and prices from the same provider.

Plusnet have built up a reputation for being a pretty good provider themselves, one of the main budget choices for those looking for faster speeds and unlimited downloads at lower prices than Madasafish charged.

Read more about Plusnet in our full review here.

Other fish in the sea

Madasafish still lives on for those who had their email only service. They were a great little ISP in their day, with good value packages and useful features for earlier adopters.

But like the IP address they offered all their customers, their packages and prices remained static as the rest of the world moved on. The result was that there were plenty of other fish in the sea offering a lot more for less.

Comments

1
13 April 2016
Bryan Knight

It seems Plusnet have reduced the performance of Madasafish to the point that it is no longer functioning.
The servers are dropping out before you even have time to complete a single sentence e-mail or check through to sent mail etc.
I have been contacting tech service for 2 weeks now and they admit there is a problem.
They tried to connect my old <a href="http://disq.us/url?url=http%3A%2F%2Ffreenetname.co.uk%2F%3As2IgbkhReueoWHBDnpplvhHWtpE&amp;cuid=2412393" rel="nofollow noopener">freenetname.co.uk/</a> madasafish onto the plusnet email system and that worked for about 10 minutes.
Lucky I have gmail to fall back on while they either sort this or until I just get bored and move on!

2
16 September 2015
Philip Pyke

I have a BT land line and pay line rental to BT. If I join PlusNet they charge &pound;16.99 a month line rental, so I'd be paying twice for the same line.

3
15 October 2014
Paul

It is an absolute joke that Madasafish have stopped allowing CGI or PHP scripts on their servers, thus making it very poor in my opinion. I will be transferring to another host.

4
1 October 2014
David Godfrey

As with Robert, I started last century with Globalnet and that has continued to be our email and website address. On the whole it has been OK, but the purchase of a new TV (and return home of a son) has triggered alarming bills. Unlike Plusnet Madasafish don't offer unlimited broadband. If Madasafish is absorbed then I guess there is no reason why we shouldn't keep Globalnet while changing to a better tariff, for now it seems to be a useful way of making big profits from long term customers.

5
9 May 2014
Robert Clay

I've been with MAAF since they took over Globalnet eons ago. Always found them good, and was completely taken aback this morning when checking their website from work for webmail to find as of the end of this month they are becoming (or at least flying under the flag) of Plusnet. What that will mean to me is not apparent at this time ... :-/

9 May 2014
Choose team

Yeah they've been owned by Plusnet for years now but it looks like they might be withdrawing the Madasafish brand - sad!

6
3 March 2014
xpressanny

We have been very pleased with Madasafish and love the name! MAAF was one of the very few providers who understood Macs and could sort stuff out easily for us. Bit confused by the downloading stuff though as it can be very pricey indeed. We would move to PlusNet but sadly that would mean changing all our names etc and not sure we want to go through all that. However we do want to move over to the new system and not sure MAAF will do this. PlusNet do. So we will have to see.

7
19 September 2013
Robert Avery

I have had excellent reliability and service from initially freenetname a little later MAAF (took over freenetname) since 1998 - however the service whilst solid is dated.

No unlimited download option, we always go over the 50Mb limit which can make it expensive at peak time, such as school holidays. The webmail is clunky and the 100Mb message limit ludicrously low by today's standards. I've taken this up a few times and the suggestion is to forward emails to Hotmail or Gmail, hardly a solution.

The biggest issue is download speeds. After an issue that was dealt with excellently by support staff where my speed went sub 1Mb it's back to the 4Mb I've consistently had over recent years, however, the Plusnet average in my area is 21Mb.

It's looking to be a struggle to stay with them with these limitations... I'm a little tied as I use my domain name for business although I'm sure there are ways to change that - just a faff!

8
9 October 2012
Bill Ward

My experiences of MAAF support are very different from the 'excellent customer service' that you refer to. This may be because they are good at dealing with a simple fault but appalling at dealing with any that can't be fixed with just 1 or 2 contacts. I've just had a fault ticket that had 17 different support staff and took more than 2 months to resolve. A couple of days after it was 'resolved' a new fault developed which, after a few days, was fixed principally because other people in the road had lost their phone lines. This fix lasted 3 days, MAAF then told me that a fault I knew nothing about had been fixed - this made absolutely no difference to the new problem so when I queried this I was told that another fault had now been found and that BT would fix it in 10 days or so.

This has been the worst but not the first example of very poor support that I've had from MAAF and the only reason for staying with them is that I haven't got round to dealing with the problems that will be caused when I lose my e-mail address.

The problem, at least in part, is that their is no continuity for any call that lasts for more than a few contacts. Each contact seems to be picked up by whomever is available and after a few of these they don't bother to read the entire history of the problem. There is apparently no monitoring by any more senior staff to pick up on problems that drag on for too long and nobody takes ownership of a problem - it's more a case of using the quickest standard response and getting rid of the customer as quickly as possible.

It even extends to MAAF sending me an e-mail after a problem was cleared which appeared to be asking me to provide 'feedback' on their service. Unfortunately the e-mail was blank - just the header - so I replied to it asking what was I supposed to do. There was no answer.


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