Broadband Providers

Cable modem… being… flaky… must… tell… others…

We’ve endured about a month and a half of ever-worsening internet access at the house via our cable modem. We’ve called a couple dozen times. Every person on the phone and every regional call center (we’ve only spoken to a local rep once; we are forwarded to a seemingly random call center) approaches sending an actual line technician to fix the problem in a way that is something akin to the mood swings of an 18-month old child. Some send people out, some don’t. So we’ve yet to see 24 hours of internet access. Supposedly a line technician was scheduled to “look at” our line. We saw a truck in the hood yesterday afternoon and today. The truck today included orange cones, which is a great sign of hope for the rebel alliance. Alas, the dropping is still occurring.

A regular service technician has been out three times. Our neighbors have been offline at random times, including losing television reception. Because of the historically crap TV reception (gotta love monopolies), when we bought our house, we went with satellite TV and have never had better TV reception, with the exception of the local UPN affilliate who can send a signal to a satellite, but does so with equipment from the 1950s. America’s Next Top Model is wrought with horrible audio and I’m not talking about the panel scenes now featuring Twiggy™.

I’ve replaced the cable modem.

I’ve tried three different routers (Airport base station [Snow model from early 2002], Linksys [previously noted] and a fantastic Belkin Pre-N router).

I’ve power-cycled the cable modem and the router on average of a dozen times a day. The stair running in the house is helping me lose weight, feel better about myself and look good, too.

After a week and a half of an hour of internet access a day, the limit has been reached. A whore is amongst us.

We’re moving to DSL. Maybe. Yes, I’m aware of the supposedly superior technology involved with DSL. Being as we live in a neighborhood with ancient wires, our speed will not be as high as it was with the cable modem. But at least we’ll be able to work. Maybe.

However, DSL migration has been less than satisfactory. Today I’ve spent far too many hours on hold with the DSL support people than I should have. Our speed at the end of the call: ISDN circa 1996. A DSL tech is due tomorrow, but I have little faith. Our home is 81 years old. Who knows how all the jacks are wired and how good the connection from the street is?

What I’d love is a fiber line, straight to my house. Anyone who lives online as much as our house does, has to come to the realization after suffering severe outages that internet access should be treated like a utility and available to everyone all the time. Broadband companies can offer ISP services, video on demand, VOIP or develop new revenue streams using their brilliant technological minds. If I paid a flat fee for access and then another fee for ISP services, that opens the market up to a ton of players who could give me email, hosting, movies or whatever and the competition would mean better pricing.

The Salt Lake City mayor opted out of an initiative that was supposed to network the state with fiber right to the house with gigabit ethernet speeds. At least that’s what the marketing materials say. There have been problems. Awesome Salt Lake Mayor quote:

“I just don’t see the social good in using taxpayer money to fund a network that provides more television and bandwidth for illegally downloading files.”

— Rocky Anderson, Mayor, Salt Lake City

Apparently that’s all that happens online, once you get there; time wasting with evil TV and even more illegal activity. It is this short-sighted grandstanding and ignorance about a medium that keeps C-level cities from attracting creative, smart people. The mayor is not the whore though. Not yet, anyway.

Long story longer: broadband providers blow [insert animal, derogatory slur or other object here] for a nickel and give change.

If you know of a better way to get broadband in a metropolitan area of nearly a million people in the mountain west of the United States, email djblurb at this domain or leave a comment below.