Every once in awhile, Rusty and I get to a place where we have HAD IT with dialup. Fact: web designers do not design for slow connections. If DSL will support the glitz and glamor they want, they’ll go for it, and I’ll spend 3 minutes or so waiting for a page to load. Typical speed at Black Water Farm is 26.4K; I sometimes used to connect at 28.8, but more often it was slower. What it is right now, I have no idea; Apple in their infinite wisdom quit putting modems in Macs, and the little box Apple External Modem has no readout and none of the system tools that are supposed to inform me in fact do inform me of the connection speed.
So what’s the big deal? Order DSL and be done with it, right? Well, not so fast. In our corner of the universe, apparently nobody provides it, in spite of us living between two major cities. Not SuddenLink, our cable provider, nor Verizon, our phone. There’s a guy a mile away who has it through Embarq, but that’s a different county, and they didn’t want to give it to him, even though his two neighbors have it.
So I went out to whitefence.com and saw that AT&T was offering service at an affordable price. Oh joy! I did a little research, found nothing bad about them (couple complaints from 8 years ago), and put in the order.
They rejected it. Even though whitefence claimed they served my area.
Well, I called ATT for an explanation. And the guy (Ron) was pretty upfront, that we were just too far from the switching station (theirs, or apparently anyone else’s) to get good signal at the specified speed (1.5.m). So I asked, if maybe, the basic 768k service could work. He couldn’t answer that, but connected me to somebody in sales (Patrick), who was also quite helpful. Alas, no, that wasn’t going to work. They could provide EVDO. The problem was, that was $60/month, per computer, which means $120/mo for this household. No, we aren’t going to pay more for Internet than we do for groceries. We discussed Hughes.net (Wild Blue is full up in our area) and he related his personal experiences with Fair Access Policy. For $60/month, one should get more. He also suggested I call Verizon and see what their workaround was, if any. Both the people I talked to were pleasant and professional, and while they didn’t give me what I wanted, at least they tried.
So I went to the Verizon website, trying to find a number to a real human being. I thought I found one, and after negotiating various mechanized menus, I got the message, “no, we can’t serve you”. Also mechanized. Just then, I got a popup on the computer; somebody wanted to help me via IM. OK. I explain the situation, and I get a message that, “No I can’t help you; see this Web addy”, where I’d just been. I typed “Kiss my ass” and closed the window. They I got another window asking me about my customer service, and they got a screenful. I gave them the number to make nice if they wanted, and they haven’t wanted. I did put down to be notified about both DSL and FiOS; I figured that if they knew there was a demand, they’d get off their asses and do something to meet it, with all that stimulus money Obama is throwing their way. And SuddenLink has no plans to upgrade their local system.
So it looks like hughes.net is the only way to go, right now. And I see no reason to pay twice what I should for a substandard service. No, that’s not meant as a slam on Hughes, but just that it’s a flawed technology. Well, so is dialup.