ISPs Have Us By The……

Yeah, just like lawyers, the IRS and any other category you can name.  Why you ask?  Let me relate my story to you.

My previous post indicated that we moved into a new house.  As a result, all utilities need to move and this includes the Internet connection.  Awhile back, I switched from cable to DSL.  I have DISH Network for TV which is better than cable was, well for some things, and DSL with Verizon for Internet. 

Cable speeds are much better at 8Mbs compared to DSL at 3Mbps but cable is a shared connection.  That means two things;
1) As more of your neighbors come online and use their internet connection, your available bandwidth drops
2) Shared connections make it easier to "eavesdrop" on connections on the same segment

Anyway, back to my gripe.

I called Verizon and indicated that I would be moving and gave them the new address.  Told them I needed the phone AND the DSL service moved on the Aug 31.  If you are like me and work in the IT industry, you need your Internet connection like a cab driver needs a car.  My entire land-based phone service is through Vonage as well with the exception of a standard line with Verizon just to get the discounts.  This means I need Vonage for long distance to Canada for calling family.

I was told by the rep on the phone that they couldn't get to my house for service change until mid to late September because the house had been vacant and as a result, the service was not "connected", whatever that means.  I indicated that this was clearly not acceptable and then I needed my phone and Internet due to work etc.  The typical sob story you give for these situations.  She put me on hold and came back a couple of minutes later and said she called the local office that would be doing the work and they could send someone on the 31st.  Thank you, I said, and we completed the request with the work order numbers and nice day wishes etc.

On the 31st, there was never any sign of a Verizon truck or rep at the house.  Someone was there all day long so I know this for a fact.  However, later that evening, I plugged a phone into the jack and lo and behold, I had dial tone and could place calls.  Yeah!!! but wait....... Booo!!!  No DSL on the modem.  What?????  So, i dig out my trusty HTC Mogul (Sprint 6800) Pocket PC phone and proceed to connect to Verizon's web site to check the status of my order.  Phone service?  Complete!  DSL?  Scheduled for Sept. 26.  WTF?  A month with no Internet or long distance?  I think not.


1) Wait for DSL
2) Call Comcast and pay for cable
3) Get Clearwire

Option 1 is not an option.  Option 2 would require basic cable to get a cheaper rate not to mention some kind of contract that would have me paying for Internet service twice once DSL came back up.  Why not stay with Comcast?  See my complaint above about that.

Option 3 is what I chose.  Now here are my thoughts on Clearwire;

Their web site says you can get a no-contract service with month-to-month option.  Sure you can, if you order online and wait for an unspecified amount of time for them to ship you the modem.  Can you get it in store?  No.  I checked with Costco, they wanted at least a year and you could only get the $44.95/mth plan for that year, paid in full up front.  Circuit City was a joke.  I first had to chase someone down to help me at all, then we had to find someone who knew about Clearwire accounts.  Once that was acheived, the guy tells me their sign up site is down.  He was happy to sell me the modem but couldn't guarantee that I would be able to get service.  The mode alone was $300.

I finally went to Best Buy where they had Clearwire rep onsite, with a Clearwire shirt and everything.  She was very knowledgeable and helpful and got me setup on a one year pre-paid for the premium at $36.xx per mth.  Finally, Internet connectivity was back within reach.

I get home, setup the modem as per the quick start guide, get three out of 5 lights for signal quality and boom!  I have Internet connectivity.

Here's a strange observation.  At only 1.5 Mbps in comparison to 3 Mbps with DSL, I find web pages load quicker and the experience is overall not too bad.  Vonage appears to have some minor issues but I am still trying to sort out if that is because of the Clearwire service or my location for the phone base station.  In my renovations, I turned a 2 car attached garage into a family/den/computer room and I noticed that wireless network connectivity wasn't good throughout the house so I am thinking it may also be affecting my chordless phones as well.  They are 5.8GHz but still, they worked good in the other house.

I will reroute my Clearwire connection and Vonage router to outside the room later and see if that clears it up.

So, as you can see, ISPs can hold us hostage with their service as we rely on them for installation and service.  Just burns me, but, what can we do about it?


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