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Update On My Problem

Just read 5 Reasons Internet Access in America is a Disaster. I realize that it is on a humor site, but the Daily Show is on Comedy Central. It pretty much explains what I’m going through.

When I first got DSL, Sprint was using Earthlink, and with the DSL service you also had dial-up back-up if the DSL went down. When Sprint sold out to Embarq, Embarq used its own system, and that didn’t include dial-up. It also meant that all of your Earthlink e-mail addresses and on-line storage went away. Now CenturyLink has taken over Embarq, and the e-mail/web site shift is coming. CenturyLink has also implemented modem leasing, rather than the original policy of just giving you the modem they wanted you to use. They want to charge me $3/month in addition to the $100/month I already pay for a modem that probably costs them $25 or less, plus $14 to ship it to me.

To be fair, the $100/month includes a landline telephone with every feature the telephone company offers. The only thing connected to it is a 20-year-old Plantronic headset phone that doesn’t have the capability to use any of those features. If I had to keep the landline, I could get by with the most basic plan for telephone service they offer, as politicians and wrong numbers are the only calls I receive on the thing, but if I did that, they couldn’t give me the special rate I receive for DSL as part of a “bundle”. Oddly enough, the price is going to be $100/month no matter what I do. In another amazing coincidence, if I went with the cable company, their plan works out to $100/month. Isn’t competition under “capitalism” wonderful.

There are a lot of problems with satellites, but I have an extra $50/month to deal with them.


1 hipparchia { 06.24.11 at 7:54 pm }

back in the days of bellsouth i had their fastest dsl, dialup backup, and a landline phone with the 2 0r 3 extras that i wanted, all for ~$45/month. plus, their tech support rocked. the cable company otoh only offered almost-as-fast-as-dsl [no phone, no dialup backup] and for $10/month more.

then along came at&t, who kept erroneously billing me $100+/month for ‘package deals’ i never asked for AND they had crappy tech support. bunch of crooks.

i now have cable phone+internet for ~$65/month, with excellent – nay, primo – customer service and tech support. not quite as good as the deal from bellsouth but lightyears ahead of at&t, so competition is still working here, to some extent.

of course, i read that other countries have truly FAST internet for about half what i pay for my “moderately fast” internet, so the benefits of “competition” would appear to be that i can afford the almost-best of the mediocre.

2 Bryan { 06.24.11 at 9:26 pm }

You live in a market large enough for competition, Hipparchia, whereas I am part of a captive audience.

I finally had to order a modem over the ‘Net, because none of the local businesses had anything that would work with the local DSL system. It’s incredible – there are only two choices in this area and they don’t carry equipment for works with one of them.

3 hipparchia { 06.25.11 at 3:06 pm }

You live in a market large enough for competition

such as it is… i get a choice between an overpriced service and out-and-out price gouging,

4 Bryan { 06.25.11 at 5:07 pm }

…And I get $100/month no matter who or what I choose.