I’ve had a load of ISPs and every year they seem to get more expensive. Most technology makes vast improvements but the cost stays relatively flat. A good dot matrix printer cost $150 dollars in the early 90s and twenty years later you can get a good laser for $150. Cable internet is a vast improvement over dialup but far more costly.
It isn’t really the cost that makes me so frustrated but more the lock on the market and lack of choice. Right now if I want cable I have to get Comcast. If I want DSL I have to get AT&T. I’ve been seriously pissed off by both of those companies at one time or another but have to choose to get acceptable service. I could hop back and forth between companies taking advantage of 1yr deals and introductory pricing but I have not. I don’t because switching is time consuming and there are outages and costs related to switching. I’ve switched before and can never seem to get one setup on the same day the other is turned off so I either pay two ISPs or have no internet for a period of time.
If I switch back and forth I could get something close to $40 a month for 6Mb of bandwidth. Its been about three years since I have switched so now I am paying $70/mo and have some crappy 6 channels or so for basic cable because it was cheaper to get the combo. I really only want internet but they don’t offer any deals on the stand alone service.
I watched AT&T put up the fiber lines for UVerse and really thought about switching. But they really pissed me off when I had DSL. The service was ok for a while but then went to crap, disconnecting constantly and download speeds were way below what they promised. I tried to get out of my contract but they wouldn’t let me. Their tech support would constantly blame me for all of the slowness and never offer any real solutions to the problem. I never paid another bill to them after that and canceled my service. It put a ding in my credit but was worth it.
So now I am stuck with Comcast who really pissed me off last week. Here is what happened in order:
Net down power cycled everything, no dice, bypass router and power cycled everything, no dice. This usually fixes the problem that happens once or twice a month.
They walked me almost the exact same steps I just did. Support says they can send a tech two days from now or I can go pickup a new modem
Next day I picked up a new modem
Install, activate fails
Support unlocks modem
Activate fails again
Support unlocks modem and changes something on their end which gets me back online
Reconnect router and it works for the afternoon but fails that night
call support again, either wait 5 days or pickup new modem
Next day picked new modem which activated smoothly
Support fairly quickly blamed the modem and scheduled a tech. The earliest a tech could get out was always more that two days which pissed me off the most. So instead each time I drove the 15minutes and picked up a new modem on my lunch break.
They assured me I won’t pay for the downtime, however I would gladly pay the few extra dollars to never have to talk to them. Personally I think $70 a month should get me somewhere in the 5 9’s neighborhood.
### update ### Tuesday night the internet went down again and Wednesday morning I called support again. A tech came onsite Wednesday and found water in the lines outside. There was a splice near the eaves trough and other signs of bad cable work just outside the house. My DS power level went from -10.5 to 0.0 – 0.5 which is perfect.