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Dump Broadband, Dig Out Your Modem! 566

Posted by timothy
from the coal-heat-is-next dept.
wilstephens writes: "Found this article on CNet about the latest trend of people dumping broadband in favour of their modems. Cheaper, and more reliable service, apparently! 'Katy Ling, a software consultant who had her home wired for high-speed Internet access last year, did what many technology analysts said would never happen: She bailed out of broadband...'"
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Dump Broadband, Dig Out Your Modem!

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  • cause she is broke (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2001 @12:45PM (#2538483)
    She did it cause she is broke so what. If I had no job and had to cut back that is one place I would look at too
    • Amen (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Christopher Bibbs (14) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @01:11PM (#2538752) Homepage Journal
      If I was out of work I'd cut the cable, cable modem, Netflix membership, sell my motorcycles, and anything else to keep food on the table (and keep the table). The article states the painfully obvious. Broadband comes out of discresionary spending and when you need to save money, dropping down to regular dial-up is a viable option to many people.

      So long as I have disposable income, however, the extra $20/month to have a cable modem as opposed to a traditional dial-up is worth more, than say, my weekly trip to the arcade.

      A better (real) story would be about people who aren't worried about their jobs or the economy dropping broadband because they see no value in it.
  • dslreports (Score:4, Funny)

    by psychalgia (457201) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @12:46PM (#2538491) Homepage
    was running this as a story as well, basically most of their users came to the conclusion that the general populous would "sell their grandmas" before returning to a modem. Non-techies don't want to wait for their information, this is the only thing that brought them to the 'net. at least I _hope_ it wasn't for the ads...
  • I could tolerate the net at 56k. Plus, the phone lines in my area are so noisy that you'd hardly ever get 4800 baud on them.
  • Going back (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Alomex (148003) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @12:47PM (#2538497) Homepage
    I'm seriously considering going back to telephone modem. I'm using cable modem here, and the service seems to go down every other day and be no faster than 100Kbps. Before that I had DSL and that worked like a charm, but there's none to be had around my new house.
  • Doesn't Suprise Me (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LowellPorter (466257)
    When broadband first came to my area, it was cable modems to a small section of town... only a few people had the access. This year the local cable company was working on doing the whole town, but excite@home stopped taking new customers, so that'll kill new cable access. DSL has been spotty with all the companies going out of business and there's a long wait when you call for them to set up the service (Ameritech). I called and they said they would be there in 4 weeks. 8 weeks later they still hadn't installed it. I cancelled it.

    Long Live Dial up!!!!!!!
  • She obviously didn't know how to download stuff from Usenet. An ISP with a good feed and retention on alt.binaries.multimedia.* is enough to make DSL worth dropping cable TV for. And having a fixed IP so you can SSH back home is nice, too.
  • by well_jung (462688) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @12:47PM (#2538504) Homepage
    I can understand how someone could choose between, say, food or broadband. But So long as I have 50 bucks left over after the car and house are paid for, my ass ain't digging that goddamn modem out of the closet.

    And frankly, I don't know anyone else that would, either. I supect the Author's sole anecdotel example is also their neighbor. There isn't a story here.

    • I supect the Author's sole anecdotel example is also their neighbor. There isn't a story here.

      So you view Net access as a necessity, and you would pay for it before anything else. Good for you. However, since this is a site with "News for Geeks", I presume you are a geek. Not everyone else views broadband - let alone Net access - as a necessity. Many people still see it as a luxury, and as such are less likely to pay a premium for it.

      Don't be so sure that the author's example is the only one available. There are LOTS of people who have made similar choices, and there are WAY MORE people who chose never to pay the premium to go to broadband in the first place - else subscription rates in areas where available would be 100%, which they certainly are not.
  • by baptiste (256004) <mike&baptiste,us> on Thursday November 08, 2001 @12:48PM (#2538510) Homepage Journal
    It still amazes me the # of users of my websites that still use modems. We are now planning to install mod_gzip [remotecommunications.com] for Apache to help modem users download our larger pages faster. It didn't seem worth it at first with folks moving to broadband, but we still found many of our users listing 'modem' as their primary access method when they register. Plus it'll reduce our bandwidth demand for users who have broadband - they'll get larger files faster too. Yeah, it adds overhead on teh server CPU, but for us its worth it since we have headroom to spare.
    • Is that reliable? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by barzok (26681) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @01:01PM (#2538660)
      Maybe your users select "modem" with the thought that if they select higher bandwidth, you'll force-feed them a more graphics/flash-heavy site, and they don't want that?

      Or maybe they think cable modem == modem?

      If I had a dollar for every website form I filled out truthfully, I'd be a very poor man.
    • Lemme know when I can get something other than a modem or (ugh) GEO satellite, and I'll gladly switch.
      • Lemme know when I can get something other than a modem or (ugh) GEO satellite, and I'll gladly switch.

        I feel your pain. :-) Took flippin' forever for Cablevision to finally get out to Pavement Narrows (which is just north of Bridge Freezes), and they never did follow up on my entry on their waiting list -- I got a little tag hanging on my doorknob from a local sales rep. Called up five minutes later and had it up and running three days later. That was about five months ago, and my DirecPC dish is doing nothing but giving some tired birds a place to sit. I ain't NEVER going back. Death first!

  • If was using DSL mostly to commute and I left my job and had less cash laying around, I'd probably cancel the DSL too.
  • by DrySkin (521788) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @12:48PM (#2538513)
    We must be lucky where I live. I have had DSL for over 2 years now, and I have had almost no problems (well, one modem did die). Almost 100% uptime, on the DSL line and with the ISP (Open World Inc.) Course, now that I've said this, I'll probably get home and find it dead. Some basic info on where my DSL is coming from: Lexington, KY. DSL line provider: Verizon DSL service: 768 down, 256 up ISP: Open World Inc www.stdio.com
  • by scriber (89211)

    I've got a cable modem, and every night when the traffic starts to get high, service totally stops. This isn't too bad, because I live close enough to campus to run to a computer lab when I really need to, but it's annoying nonetheless. The solution: we called the cable company to complain about their horrible service, and they credited our bill for the month's worth of broadband. I won't argue with free broadband, even if it doesn't work from 6-12pm most nights.

    If you're having trouble with your broadband service, try complaining. The worst that could happen is you'll have to leave a message, but you might be surprised what happens.

  • Some stats? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Debillitatus (532722)
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the only positive evidence they present in this article that people are dumping broadband is Katy Ling. I feel sorry for Katy and all, but she hardly constitutes a trend. (?)

    I mean, they also said a few things along the lines of "experts who have just as little evidence as us predict a downturn, etc.,etc.". Whatever.

    • Amen. Everything I've seen from the surviving DSL providers and Cable Modem providers says that people are still signing up for service. If there is a trend of people dropping service, it's still outpaced by new installs, as the total number of subscribers is still groing quite rapidly.


      With the economy in such a bad state, I can see where a lot of people might have to cut expenses. A broadband connection is an expensive luxury for some people, and might be the first thing that goes when they tighten their budgets. But, for a great many of us, our broadband connections are a necessity. For someone who telecommutes or runs a home-based business, a good net connection is indespensable.

  • I think this is pure BS. I'd give up the net before going back to 56k modem. I was a lan party maniac until I got broadband, now I lan from home.
    I have the net at work to surf, with out the sub 75 ping my sdsl gives me I'd just do without.
  • reliable? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sc00ter (99550) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @12:49PM (#2538528) Homepage
    I have AT&T Broadband and before that MediaOne, and I always had a rock solid connection, and my IP almost never changed.. No way I'm going back to dial-up

  • Cheaper? Maybe.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by torako (532270)
    I think the main question (at least for me) is not how *fast* my connection is, but how much i have to pay. Here in Europe we don't usually have flat rates and have to pay about 1 us cent for every minute of online time. For browsing the web it doesn't really matter whether all those pages build up really quickly or rather slowly because I'll always need more time to read the stuff than I need to download it. Considering big downloads a faster connection is better, because it saves time and thereby money. But if I could get a flat rate like it is usual in North America I probably wouldn't care if my download takes a couple of hours or so. That's what a second phone line (or ISDN) is for. Just my 2p..
  • by GunFodder (208805) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @12:50PM (#2538533)
    With a dialup modem I used to get a lot more done around the house. I could go get coffee while waiting for pages to load, or do some cleaning. And I got a real sense of well-being when I left my machine on all night to download a 100MB game demo and it actually worked!
  • I've grown so accustomed to highspeed access that broadband is almost a "necessity" for me; I'd consider cutting the stream of crap on cable television before I'd dump my cable modem.

    That said, I can imagine that for many users, high speed access is a frivolity. Let's face it: you need a high speed connection mainly for gaming, porn, and overwrought sites with lots of graphics.

    You could probably get by with a regular modem (and, hell, a text browser), if you actually wanted the Internet just for information.
    • "That said, I can imagine that for many users, high speed access is a frivolity. Let's face it: you need a high speed connection mainly for gaming, porn, and overwrought sites with lots of graphics."

      Don't forget large or medium-size downloads, like StarOffice, or Windows shareware, or JVMs, or Linux free software, or mp3s.
  • Look, if you want broadband to work, you need a company focussed on their customers, with a manageable customer base and no plans for massive expansion. Videotron, in Quebec, Canada, provides reliable, inexpensive cable internet to one province, and one province only, with a possible market of around 5 milions people. They have kept their operation small, their staff trained, and decided not to expand into other provinces. In this way, they are able to maintain a high level of service. Your mileage may vary, but I have only had 2 down days of service, living in 2 large metropolitan regions of Quebec, in 2 years.

    This is in direct contrast to Bell Canada, who's attempt service all of Canada has led to an incrdibly bad DSL service and Rogers cable modem service collapsing under the immense wieght of their customers.
    The moral: Don't bite off more than you can chew. Canada may not be as competitive, but there are lessons to be learned from staying in business long enough to make money off the customers you already have.

    • Actually, Bell Canada is not trying to provide DSL service to all of Canada. I live in Saskatchewan and I pay my DSL bill to Sasktel, not Bell. Now it is true that SaskTel and Bell have some agreements, but Bell has nothing to do with the high-speed service out here. I believe they only service Ontario, though they may have taken on some of the maritimes as well. The Sympatico service, to which I believe you are referring was an agreement between the telco's to provide similar look and feel to their respective customers with long term plans of allowing local dial up anywhere in the country. However, aside from the websites which were mostly mirrored with a bit of regional info added, everything was maintained by the individual telco. Every province was responsible for its own server, tech support, installation, etc. SaskTel was also the first province in Canada to provide DSL, as well as being one of the best converage areas in the world. Tisdal, a town of about 5000 people has DSL.

      On that note, in 3 years of DSL service with SaskTel, I've had about 20 hours of downtime. This does not include the day of downtime I've experienced when moving. I used to use the local Cable company but found I'd lose service for 30 or so seconds at least once a night, which gets very annoying when gaming.

    • Good point made here...although Canada has it's share of bad ISPs (Bell), there are many broadband providers that are global pioneers in the business and provide very reliable service.

      In my observations in Alberta (Edmonton and Calgary) broadband has generally been reliable and brodband adoption continues to increase despite the economic downturn. Videotron was introducing cable broadband service in Alberta (Edmonton) and Quebec as early as late 1996, and their cuustomers seems quite satisfied apart from the wait times when service is required.

      In Calgary, Shaw cable has weathered the growing pains without TOO much difficulty, and service continues to improve. Shaw was wise enough to cut ties with @home when their difficulties affected Shaw's quality of service. This month, Shaw is pulling the plug on at-home completely and moving all their customers to Shaw's own infrastructure, which has been in tested for a few months now in parallel with @home. Perfect timing considering the complete mess @home is in right now.

      I myself use DSL to brovde my internet needs. I work from home and run servers so I opted for TELUS-Cadvision "Basic Business" service. It provides me with 7168 (down)/1024 (up) kbps (although typical d/l is more like 2048), I get an 8-ip static subnet on which I can run servers or whatever else, free dial-up access, 1 year free DNS hosting and a lot of other goodies, all for approx. US$65 per month. "Home" or "starter" DSL or residential cable typically costs little more than US$25 per month.

      No only is it cheap, it is reliable...in 2 full years of service, I've had less than 1 hour without internet access. It took a few weeks before I got it installed, but they got it dome the day they said it would be done when I first applied for the service. Tech support is quite good too---they don't even hang up on me when I tell them I run Linux!

      That's my US$0.0125...have a nice day!
  • by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @12:51PM (#2538545)
    Most people still can't get cable modem or DSL.

    Those who can face unreliable service, high prices, and shamefully bad customer service and support.

    And its getting worse. Most of the start-ups that may have created competition in this market have gone under, leaving the cable and telephone monopolies in charge.

    I don't know if the solution is more or less regulation and/or public involvement, but in the current atmosphere, things are going to suck for a very long time.

    • Most people still can't get cable modem or DSL.
      Those who can face unreliable service, high prices, and shamefully bad customer service and support.


      Maybe that's how it is in the US, but up here in Canada my ADSL has seen only 1 outtage in 6-7 months, and TS has been fine all twice that I've called them. :P

      Besides that, it's $42 Canadian (after taxes) a month for 1mbit, which is about $25 US.

      -- iCEBaLM
  • what? (Score:2, Funny)

    by gray code (323372)
    K.D. Lang bailed out on her "broad" band? oh crap, now what will the girls listen to?

    har har....
  • Big suprise. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sj0 (472011)
    The truth is, most people don't need that much bandwidth(which is irrelevant in many cases because of limits put on broadband in many areas), people don't care if their computer is connected 24/7, and a lot of people just use their computers for sending E-mail and chatting. Broadband is nice, but why would people stick with something expensive and elabourate when a cheap and easy solution exists? Broadband is great for people who use computers for games, or downloads, or even for developers, but when all you are doing is checking your E-mail and chatting, 56k is more than enough -- especially for half the cost.

    • The truth is, most people don't need that much bandwidth(which is irrelevant in many cases because of limits put on broadband in many areas), people don't care if their computer is connected 24/7, and a lot of people just use their computers for sending E-mail and chatting. Broadband is nice, but why would people stick with something expensive and elabourate when a cheap and easy solution exists?


      Well, maybe telephone internet is cheap in the US, but outside the US telephone internet is quitte expensive.
      I live in one the highest cabled country's in the world (97% of all households have cable) but the price you'll pay for one hour of internetaccess is around $ 0,50 an hour.
      And that's between 19:00 and 08:00.
      Between 08:00 and 19:00 it is three times as expensive.
      Cable and ADSL on the other hand is quitte cheap here.
      I'm paying $ 36,26 a month for cable internet with almost no limit and 512/128 speed.
      ADSL is a little bit more expensive ($ 40 a month) and the uplink is only 64 Kbit/sec instead of 128 Kbit/sec for cable (depends on the cable company).
      The difference is, that you have some choice.
      Or cable internet from the cable provider or ADSL from two or three company's.
    • Sure, if you factor in the cost of having Microsoft send you all the product update CDs... I'd rather slam my head repeatedly with a toilet seat that wait for Internet Explorer's latest 17MB update to download, and I bet you would, too.

      Of course, you are free to ignore that sort of thing if you don't mind getting Nimda/I love you/melissa/loveletter/kournikova etc.

      The bottom line, of course, is that slower speeds are OK if you never do the fancy stuff, no one EVER e-mails you "funny" 1.5MB videos,and you really believe that you'll never need to download software or upgrades or patches ever again.

      On the other hand, most of us who really USE the internet - instead of dabbling in it while pretending to be consultants - already know that if you use it all the time, you need an extra phone line, making DSL and cable modems more economical - you get much more for the same price.

  • Five years ago, those of us who knew the Mysteries of the Web Host were preparing for a mass conversion of people to the Ways of the Net. We were telling people (and ourselves) that Faster Is The Future(tm), More Is Better(tm), and Wait'll You See What We Have In Store For You(tm).

    Then, most of those morons signed up for the Great Satans of AOL and MSN. :)

    Seriously, though, this is hardly a shock. Firstly, modems have relatively minimal drain on bandwidth resources, and since there are infinitely more providers of modemic service than fatpipe, it's easier to conect (provided you have either a mom-n-pop shop or a few numbers to call).

    Fatpipe is also expensive. Cable modems are somewhere near $40 a month for unreliable party-line bandwidth; DSL is more cash for less hash; and satellite two-way has bad lag (so would you after a 100k mile trip per packet).

    In this economic dounturn, more people are looking to save money, and this is one easy way to do it. (Most people surf the web to find a few relatively important sites to them and then maybe putz around for other items of interest.)

    I mean, $15/mo $40.
  • by joshv (13017) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @12:53PM (#2538568)
    Once I actually found a reliable provider who could install it I have never had a problem with broadband.

    I first got a cable modem about two years ago via RCN. Recently I moved to a new place which is not wired for RCN, so I switched to SBC (Ameritech) DSL. Surprisingly I really have had no major problems with the speed or reliability of their services (though I do take issue with the price).

    I did have problems getting DSL service from a few providers, the standard DSL Hell - but they are both now in bakruptcy proceedings or already bankrupt - so go figure.

    To go back to a regular modem is just unthinkable for me. Maybe my experience is atypical because I live in a large and competitive urban broadband market.

    -josh
  • Not me I say! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Com2Kid (142006) <com2kidSPAMLESS@gmail.com> on Thursday November 08, 2001 @12:53PM (#2538571) Homepage Journal
    After that time I got those 2MBp/s download speeds over my cable modem, there was no way that I was going back.

    I reguarly get 300KBp/s per file transfer from fileplanet.com, and even faster tranfers from other sites.

    Being able to download a 5meg Shockwave Flash file in the time that it takes a companies logo to fade onto the screen also helps.

    Alot.

    Ping times under 100ms are also great. So is that nice west coast backbone that @Home has for its users.

    I originaly started out with TCI@Home then AT&T bought them up. Now I have AT&T Internet Access, Cable Television, and Cell Phone service.

    And you know what? I am being treated great. The few times that I have had to call text support were great, hell, the tech guy and me were swapping anti-MS jokes back and forth. The uptime is incredible, especialy after AT&T took over from TCI, and I have not had a service interuption for, God, almost a year now! The few service interuptions that I did have in 1q01 all lasted less then 10 minutes except for one that had was 30 minutes. After that there has not been a single problem for ages now.

    Hell, when my power went out my UPS kicked in and I was still able to surf the internet. Cable Modem service was still up. Now _THAT_ is what I call robust service.
  • Broadband was almost like a "trend". Average people that browse the web maybe 1 hour a week and get their email everyday do not need their broadband; and, due to economic times, they'd rather go for a cheap alternative.

    People that napster all day, play games all the time, are online a lot for something other than browsing and chatting will keep their broadband.

    Its a sign of a trend, or of the economic times...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2001 @12:54PM (#2538576)
    Anyone who has access to broadband is lucky, and if you have your choice between DSL and Cable, you are even luckier. But whatever your "choice," you are lucky, and the provider treats you that way -- its as if they are doing us this big favor, and we shouldn't complain because we have no other choice.


    I ordered digital cable tv, phone, and internet from the same (nameless) provider. It took two weeks, even though all the cables and hookups were already installed in the house. When they showed up, they said, "whoops - your phone didn't get put in the DB, so I'll hook it up now and all you have to do is call to activate. They shouldn't have to come out here again." After 2 hours on the phone trying to convince them to just activate it, they said, "Sorry, we have to send out another technician, and that will take another week."


    "Can't you just try activating it from there and see if that works?" I begged.


    "No."


    So another week without phone service went by. The technician came and, guess what, it was already all hooked up. All he had to do was call some special number to have it activated.


    Then, when I got home that evening, I went to check my email and guess what? My broadband Internet connection was gone. I called tech support again (and waited in the easy-listening queue) only to be told (after reboots and wire reconnecting) that they'd have to send out another technician, and that they didn't have any spots open until TWO WEEKS LATER.


    I wanted to tell them to shove their connection and cancel all my services. I wanted nothing more. But I don't dare do it -- I live in a "low" aread where cell phone service is bad, TV reception is bad, and DSL isn't offered, plus I bought my own cable modem.


    They know I'm stuck with them, no matter how crappy their service / prices are. Short of disconnecting myself from the world and going back to 56k, I'm there.

  • With Northpoint and Rhythms going under and Covad on the brink there isn't much left to choose from for xDSL.

    That's what happens when you compete against the phone companies. The phone company should lay the line and not provide the service, then you wouldn't be directly competing against your provider.

    We dropped our Broadband and switched to T1.
  • I'm afraid we don't have this choice:
    IRELANDOFFLINE PRESSURE GROUP ANNOUNCES "BLACKOUT" PROTEST

    DUBLIN, IRELAND -- November 5, 2001 -- IrelandOffline, an independent organisation working to bring affordable Internet access services to Ireland, has announced the "IrelandOffline Blackout", a multipronged protest scheduled to take place on Friday, November the 16th, 2001. The protest has been organised to highlight the non-existence of flat-rate and broadband Internet access services in Ireland - services that make Internet access affordable and so promote the growth of Internet use, e-commerce, and competition.

    blackout.irelandoffline.org [irelandoffline.org].

  • I guess I'm one of the few that has actually had really, really good luck with broadband. I've got Verizon's DSL and it's reliability has been great, and they haven't raised prices like I thought they would. Unless they jack the price up or it starts dying all the time I'm sticking with it.
    • Wow... that makes two of us. I guess we got lucky with Verizon... they had service hooked up early, runs great, the only time our DSL died was when the yutz from the phone company unplugged the wire in the terminal box by accident ;). Ten minutes later, worked again... only downtime I've had in almost a year of service.
    • Southwestern Bell's DSL service has been nothing but reliable for me.

      I moved here right when they were first rolling it out. thousands of people had backordered DSL service. There was a week or so when everyone got activated and things bogged down really bad, but after that week I have seen no latency or packet loss due to my DSL connection.

      People always bitch about their telco, but SBC really did their DSL service right, IMO.
  • EarthLink spokesman Kurt Rahn says that high-speed subscribers would "rather sell their grandmothers" than go back to a pokey dial-up connection.

    I wouldn't sell my Grandma.........but I might lease her.

  • by pod (1103) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @12:56PM (#2538606) Homepage
    I read this article yesterday, and it was so painful. The very premise is bogus. You're paying about 2-3 times as much for a cable/dsl line as for dialup. While such a price may be a little hard to justify for people already on a very tight budget, chances are you can spare the dollar a day required to keep your line.

    And the value in 'broadband' is not the speed really. We've heard many times now, it's the instant availability stupid. People hate to have to wait (through busy signals potentially) to get online witha modem to check their mail. They like to have ICQ/AIM running all the time to see when their friends are online and to chat. It's all about convinience.

    Besides, the article is full of contradictions, for example take this bit:

    [ISPs] are looking for high-speed subscriptions' profit margins to bolster their bottom line...

    and later:

    ...operating margins excluding sales and marketing expenses for cable modem subscribers are as low as 5 percent, and they say DSL is break-even at best.

    So which one is it? I work for an ISP that does DSL, and let me tell you, there are no margins on DSL. It can easily take a 2-3 years to start making money on a DSL client. Hosting (and dialup to a certain extent) and bandwidth reselling is where the margins are.

    And as a later paragraph puts it, high-speed subscribers would "rather sell their grandmothers" than go back to a pokey dial-up connection. It'll be hard for anyone to convert back to a dialup connection.

  • by Snafoo (38566)
    How strange. Up here in Canada, where Ma Bell still has a sanctioned and legally-enforced local-service monopoly, ADSL is more popular than the Beatles. Simply put, there *is* no reliability problem -- my service has worked perfectly since the day I installed it (although there *was* a one-month waiting list, IIRC.) Cable-internet is popular too, but generally more expensive (on the order of 17%) and slower to boot. Many of my friends have it, even the nontechnicals. It's the new 'cable' -- a somewhat-premium service that everyone desires.

    Price is $40CD/mo. , which is $30US.

    Perhaps (and as a linux zealot I say this reluctantly) there's a place for limited (and legally enforced) monopolies in *some* markets (just not the OS market no thank you bob ;)
  • by Erasmus Darwin (183180) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @12:58PM (#2538633)
    For people with a short attention span, the article takes a long time just to say:
    Economy bad. People out of work. Luxury spending allegedly curtailed.
  • I really can't see that happening in the real world, unless of course your ISP has a 50% average uptime. i've had many HS ISPs, and even with even the worse of them, i would bitch and moan when it was down, but never would consider dialup. now i am forced to be on dialup because of my new location, and i can't understand anyone who would *choose* this..

    Ok maybe if you're a tight-wad, and you use the internet maybe 2 or 3 times a week to check your mail, it wouldn't be a big deal, but i personally can't stand clicking on my inbox, and then having enough time to go make a coffee before i get to the next page. And with so many people on HS internet these days, i find the majority of sites are loaded with graphics and the like which make them almost impossible to view on dialup.

    And forget about downloading the new Mandrake release iso or something, not on dialup, unless you have a few days of spare time to kill...

    I can understand some people being "fine" with dialup, not seeing the need for speed, so to say. but that is akin to my father being "fine" with his pentium 166.. its all a matter of perspective; if you don't know better, then dialup is good enough for you.

    i dont know, but in my oppinion, anyone who would choose dialup after tasting the speed of 1 megabit or more of bandwith, is the same type of person who probly has a few whips and chains in the bedroom, cause they like pain.
  • after they pry it from my cold dead fingers.


    Sure my DSL isn't the best, but it beats the hell out of a modem. I can get a constant minimum of 400kbps which ain't too shabby considering it's split with my roommate. Sure it's a hassle to reboot when the connection drops (discontinued 3Com DSL modem with driver issues) but it is not worth going back to dialup, especially when there are two web-heads in the house.

  • Boycott Broadband (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sabinm (447146)
    This isn't surprising if you are not mission critical

    Where I live, I waited for broadband for two years. During that two years, I've seen download caps, bandwidth restrictions, disallowing of multiple IP addresses as well as privacy intruding features of ISPs RIAA and the federal govt. People who actively seed back doors if you actually UTILIZE the bandwidth that you pay for. Plus the qos stinks. nothing out there is worth it. Sure you may be able to vid-conference, but with whom? Watch movies over the web? Not until the entertainment industry pulls out of their litigation. I only surf a total of about 10 websites. And I need broadband for this?

    I always said that anyone is a fool to pay for dialup. not I extend that. Anyone is a fool to pay for internet service. Broadband is useless in any applicable sense these days, and dialup is not a premium. Maybe this whole lousy ISP dynamic will collapse and be replaced by community networks. That would be golden, and something that I would pay for. Instead of paying corporations to tell me how much and what I should download and what I should use my property for.
  • Even out in a rural area in Minnesota, I've seen this happening for about the last month. Nothing major, but a customer here, a customer there, maybe 2 for a month, dropping High Speed to return to dialup.

    Reasons I've heard so far 'too expensive', or 'expense did not justify the speed' and what not. Let's face it, this isn't cable. We've got DSL out here, and people are paying for it. NOt cheap, it's under the control of the local telco's, and if I were not an employee getting major discounts, I probably would not get DSL.

    For the average home user, what advantages does DSL or other high speed alternatives give them? Faster downloads? Everyone likes that, but it's where most of the 'benefits' end. Most of the folks who have DSL out here don't know enough to understand how to save files into particular places, let alone how to watch streaming videos.

    So what do the people who's kids talked them into getting DSL get, after their kid leaves? Not a lot, if they don't really know how to use their computer, or if all they do is browse CNN/stock sites, and do email. What's the point in paing that much more per month, just to do email? Not a lot, I'd say...

    It does make sense. Until ISP's don't gauge prices, it won't matter. Sad thing is, we aren't even gauging prices. We're making a little money now, but we had to pay to have a lot more range then any city DSL company, with fewer subscribers.
  • by geekoid (135745) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `dnaltropnidad'> on Thursday November 08, 2001 @01:02PM (#2538668) Homepage Journal
    ...if people would learn how to make a damn web site speedy.
    I no longer view /. at home because there damn ad system stalls the whole load.
    Not to mention the site that have 1/2 a meg or more index page, sheesh.
    Anybody who designs a site for a wide range of consumer customers(as opposed to business cutomers) that doesn't design the index page as a basic, small page that allows the consumer to choose between a high band width page and a smaller low bandwidth page, should be fired and ceramoniously stripped of there editors. I had DSL for a year, then cable for a year, and I gaurantee you if I could get them for a reasonable price, I'd do it again.
  • by mtrupe (156137)
    Is that the people there to serve are incompetent. Just yesterday I called asking where to FTP to for my web space, since that info was never given to me. The guy on the other end of the phone said "Uhhhh.... FTP? You lost me."

    When it was installed, the dude who set up my computer was a complete moron. I have AT&T Cable, BTW. Of course, they wouldn't allow me to do it myself, so this dude takes my case apart, and boots up my computer. Before I can say anything he puts the PCI NIC in while the machine is on. HE said "They saw you shouldn't do this, but its okay." Then he was surprised when Windows did not auto-detect it.
  • I expect that the same people are also cutting back on their cable TV subscriptions.
  • by gribbly (39555) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @01:05PM (#2538690)
    if this really does turn out to be a major trend, a positive side effect would be a lot more consideration for low bandwidth users. Sites may return to being trimmer, more text-oriented. You know, like the original vision Tim Berners-Lee had for the web!

    It's hardly an original point, but it's worth mentioning in the context of this story. Most of the useful information I get from the web is text.
    E.g., slashdot, virtua fighter websites, drudgereport, etc.

    The main exception to this is probably mapquest. The rest of my browsing is work research and/or entertainment. My point is that very often 90% of the data I download is extraneous images and other content (e.g., ads, decorations, other blah...) that I pay zero attention to. (BTW, I have T3 at work and DSL at home).

    On a dial-up connection (and I used to use one, from *Australia*) this is really annoying. With broadband it's not so bad -- but what could be better than surfing a more text-based web with broadband? There wouldn't _be_ download time as such -- the amount of time it takes to d/l a pageful of text is trivial compared to the time it takes to find ther server, and (often) for the server to retrieve/generate the page.

    So in some ways a mass defection back to modems would be a healthy thing for the web.

    grib.
  • I can't seem to put my finger on it, oh wait. It's the complete lack of evidance that broadband defectors are on the rise.

    The article says "Broadband defectors on the rise" yet only cites on person who was using DSL to telecommute and after losing her job, without the cash for the connection there wasn't much point in keeping it. Hey, if I got canned and bills were stacking up, the first thing to go would be my cable modem too. That's just silly.

    They claim that a lot of people are dropping broadband, but then relate it to the loss of jobs in the high-tech sector. Hello! The high-tech sector is probably the primary user of this and yes, again, if you lost your job could you justify spending $40-$50/mo on an internet connection vs. paying the rent and putting food on the table. Talk about stating the obvious.

    Even then, most of the ISPs they talked to said that growth was slow or subscriptions were rock steady. So where's this image of digital rats deserting the ship? The final blow came when they shifted the article towards @Home and Napster, trying to blame them for the downshift in broadband dwindling. @Home screwed up because they grew too fast and too large for their own good. Any company will suffer that. Napster, well, that's another story but again, it has nothing to do with broadband. They say there's no "killer app" for broadband. What the hell is that? You have a browser, an email and maybe and ftp client. What more do you need? What do you expect out of bandwidth?

    Short of it is that I don't see any defectors in broadband subscriptions and like Kurt Rahn, an EarthLink spokesman said, high-speed subscribers would "rather sell their grandmothers" than go back to any modem solution.

    liB
  • You'll get my broadband when you pry it from my cold dead nics !
  • It is a luxury (Score:2, Interesting)

    by NMerriam (15122)

    There's no debating that at the current time, broadband is a luxury like cable TV or long distance telephone calls. These are the luxuries that you'll probably hang onto until you've already cut back on eating out and movies and other easy to eliminate budget items.

    I would imagine just as many people are dumping $50/month cel phone plans as are dumping $50/month DSL plans. If you have less income, or none, its not like you can't survive without the 3000-minute cel plan or unlimited broadband. These are people with serious budget problems (an unfortunately large population).

    I doubt folks are going to be dumping broadband (or cel phone, or Cable) unless they have something specific they need that $50 for (like food or rent).
  • One consultant changes jobs and decides DSL isn't worth it-- fine, she can go back to the stone age if she wants. I sorta wonder what she does with her pc anyways....

    Let me just say that they'll get my broadband over my cold dead body.
  • If broadband actually worked reliably, it might sell better. PacBell and AT&T Cable in Silicon Valley both have had major multi-day outages in the past year, outages big enough to get press coverage.

    It's amusing that people get really upset if cable TV goes out, but tolerate data outages.

  • by Arethan (223197) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @01:08PM (#2538716) Journal
    I used to work in the Cable Modem industry, back when it was "New Technology(tm)". The biggest selling point that I noticed for the tech savvy was the speed. (Obviously.) However, the tech savvy market is smaller than you think. So the real highest selling point was the cost vs benefit. For example:

    _Dialup Model_
    56k ISP: $20+/mo
    2nd Phone line: $20+/mo
    waiting 10 minutes/MB: pain in the ass

    _Cable Modem Model_
    Modem Rental: $10/mo or less
    Connection Fees: $30-$40/mo
    waiting 30 seconds/MB: less pain in the ass

    The point is, for the same price, or even $10 more, people could have the same non-voice-line-interrupting service, and even get some extra speed out of the deal. People that had the more expensive ISPs (AOL comes to mind) were even more prone to make the switch, since they would actually be saving money by switching. (We provided @Home at the time, which provided content so people used to AOL wouldn't feel too out of place.)
    • Your analysis presupposes that all people care about Net access equally, such that they 1) will pay a premium for faster speed, or 2) will pay for a 2nd phone line if they opt for dialup. Both presuppose that the individual really cares about readily available, high-speed access, but many do not.

      It might make economic sense to you, but there is a clear difference in cost ( using your numbers, a total of $40-$50/month if the person is willing to use his/her voiceline for dialup) for the luxury of faster downloads and no wait time. Even $10-$20 a month (if the dialup person springs for a 2nd line) is not a trivial amount. If you're just checking email, or reading CNN in the evenings, you really don't need broadband. Heck, just a few years ago, I used to download LOTS of binaries over a 28.8K connection - I just would start the download before I went to bed.

      Not everyone cares if they have dog-slow downloads, and not everyone cares about a 30-second wait to dial into their ISP. Most people still view Net access alone as a luxury; more still view fast and always-on Net access as even more of a luxury. And cost-conscious people are most likely to cut their expenditures on luxuries first. As, for instance, with the woman in the source article who seemed to have lost her job.
    • Not quite... (Score:3, Informative)

      by DrCode (95839)
      Your numbers are a bit exaggerated. For my dialup:

      56k ISP: $13/mo
      2nd Phone line: 0
      Download time/Mb: ~6 minutes
      Time to connect: ~10 seconds (wvdial is great)
      Busy signals: Never.
      ISP downtime/problems: 0

      Plus, my ISP (hevanet.com), whom we've been with for over 7 years, runs BSD, so they provide a shell-login, and have always been Unix-friendly. From what I read here on Slashdot, lots of the broadband companies seem to go out of their way to make life difficult for non-MS users.


  • as with everything it comes down to value vs cost. I spend most of my waking time at work where I have net access, so by the time I get home I read mail and that sabout it. when I first heard about high speed connections I had grand dreams of running my own web service, and doign all this stuff. but the reality of it is it's not worth $50 a month, for something I used essentially, less than 1 hour a day. that equates to $2 an hour to check my e-mail and down load the latest movie reviews. I figure I will switch when the pricing is around $30 an hour.
  • 1. Unreliable connections experienced on Cable. (frequent disconnects)

    2. Connection speeds lower then modem speed when connecting to server hosted on modem bandwidth.

    3. Cable does not play my favorite song on connecting.

    4. Cable security is low. (People can actually hack in my computer without having to wait)

    - Cable is haunted by big nasty ghosts

    Dump your broadband! Use MODEM!
  • I've had some sort of full-time connection to the Net for about 8 years now, starting with a nailed-up 33.6 modem (with a router on my end), moving through ISDN, DSL, and finally cable today. Over all those years, I was only down for about 3 days between the Northpoint shutdown and when the AT&T tech showed up at my house with the cable modem (I spent the weekend in between rewiring the house). I couldn't conceive of life without a full-time fast connection.

    With it, I provide e-mail to myself and some friends, web service, and a fast connection that lets anybody anywhere in the house plug in and run fast. There's an Airport base station too, with a hacked-in antenna, to allow use around the immediate neighborhood. Through it all, prices have steadily fallen (from $79/month plus phone line charges of about $45 for the V.34 to $50/month for the cable modem), performance has improved, and I couldn't imagine going back to the dark old days of dial-up. When I travel, I try to stay at hotels with broadband (a lot of Marriotts have it), and only occasionally are forced to use a modem. It's painful.

    As a result, there are a lot of things I'd part with before I'd give up my connection. I'd chop out regular cable TV, ditch the OmniSky service (which is pretty darned cool, though), toss the cell phone, and stop collecting comic books before I dumped broadband. Easy.

    When you get used to the convenience of having an always-on connection, very few people are going to give that up - though they may not be as dependent on it as I am. The only real people I see as being likely to churn out are people with serious cash flow problems (where the $50/month may be the difference between food and no food), and maybe folks who have had service problems to the point where they say "screw it, this isn't worth the money".
  • Broadband won't go away. It may be more expensive, or harder to get, but it won't go away.

    This is really a transition time for computer communication/web/distributed computing. People haven't really figured out what the web is good for, and companies haven't really figured out how to use it.

    As the kids that are around ten years old today grow into adulthood -- kids that can't imagine life without computers, the net, and web -- these are the kids who'll first really see how it will all integrate into their lives.

    Broadband will be part of it. I have no idea how it'll look, but it'll be there. My suspicion is that we'll have a single cable that handles all communications -- TV, Phone, Computers, new stuff -- and that things will become more and more networked within a home. Maybe not -- but I'm not worried about broadband in the long run.

    Might worry about losing my current DSL connection though...

    Sean.

  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Thursday November 08, 2001 @01:14PM (#2538769) Homepage Journal
    Two years ago, PacBell was putting out all of these offers for DSL - cheap, fast, etc. The problem was, they didn't have service rolled out yet. The parent company, SBC, was offering something they didn't have the capacity to actually implement. Why? Because they were scared of cable companies and pioneering DSL providers like Covad.

    When I first made an inquiry with PacBell about getting DSL service, they told me I was too far out. So I contacted Covad, and lo and behold, they hooked me up. I had service through Fastpoint Communications. It was awesome. I had true, always-on static IP, blazing-fast DSL.

    But Fastpoint had a difficult time getting DSL subscribers, due largely to the fact that PacBell was able to jam marketing messages down the throats of phone customers, not to mention TV ads, magazine articles, and the like. Of course, the fact that most PacBell customers were having installation nightmares was beside the point.

    I actually had one friend who spent six months trying to get connected through PacBell. FIVE home visits later, they finally got it working. Another friend actually had to contact the California VP of Sales for PacBell in order to get some action on his stalled installation. Talk about a bait and switch tactic.

    In any case, Fastpoint went belly-up. So Covad passed me on to Earthlink. Whatever problems Earthlink is having seem to be self-created. Their phone support people are truly awesome - great attitude, very helpful. But it took a while for my service to get started, and I was actually DSL-less for two months. Once it started working, I was moderately satisfied with my new PPPoE (yech!) connection, but not as happy as I'd been before with Fastpoint.

    Then I wanted to add a second phone number to my apartment. I had to switch to PacBell for my DSL because since they own the voice line, the only way to get a true DSL Internet and voice on the same line setup is if you use PacBell!

    So now I am using PacBell, with an annoying PPPoE, dynamic IP setup. I've just put in an order to convert over to static IP, which means I'll now pay $70/mo., and I'll have five IP addresses, when all I really need is one, perhaps two.

    I work from home, so fast, reliable Internet access is key for me. I use PacBell because I basically have no other choice. They submarined the competition, played every stall tactic in the book, and now they're a local monopoly.

    Will there be any action on this at the state or federal level? With the current economic and political climate, that's highly unlikely. To me, the subversion of competition in broadband was the real tragedy of the dot-bomb crash. I don't give a crap about pets.com, but we all lost out on a great opportunity when the Baby Bells subverted true competition.

  • I use a conventional modem at home out of choice - despite the availability of broadband in my neighbourhood - I just don't see a justification for my home use at the moment. Despite being a continual computer user (and finding broadband at work invaluable) I don't think I'd make sufficient use to make aggravation of an installation worthwhile. Sure things may change if I start working from home, but with a typical daily transfer of say 2MB (little of which I interactively wait for - think email and downloaded software packages.) why do I need this whiz-bang high capacity? I would like to have a personal server on which I can securely stash all the data which I don't carry with me on my laptop, for which I would need an always on connection, but I don't see ADSL like services as the solution there - I'd want something symmetric - being related to Scruge however, I won't even consider a leased line:-)


    Broadband will take off when it is cheaper to have broadband for a month than pay for a dialup bill... We need mass take-up for broadband to really take off, and that means making it a cost effective option for occasional users who currently enjoy their hour online each month for at most a few pence. Maybe the answer to this is to start charging by the MB for transfers? I suppose that would mean people would need to run a secure OS too to avoid extortionate bills:-)

  • I am dumping my cable modem only because I have found that someone else in my apartment building has an open wireless access point with a DHCP server and a fat pipe to the Internet. I plan to piggy-back on their connection and save me $40/month I pay to AT&T@Home. Under normal circumstances I would not consider it seriously, but my job situtation is very unreliable. They could let us go any day now. My wife and I have totally gone in savings mode. Heck we even turned off our land line phone, to save money. We do have cell phones, so it made that decision a little easier.
  • Man, you can't get me to revert back to dial-up modems. I've waited so long just to dump the unreliable, slow, and randomely-disconnecting devices for a better solution for a home Internet connection. I have AT&T Mediaone cable, and it works great. I can download stuff at 177KB/sec every night, while I was lucky to download at 3KB/sec with a 56k modem that only connected at 28.8kbps because of the line noise.

    I've used modems in about 6 different locations around the country; out of these, only 1 place yielded a connection speed greater than 50k. On average, I've experienced connection speeds of 24k. Then factor in the extra packet latencies from having such a narrower pipeline to the ISP, and download speeds will never actually reach 24k, not even close. Then count all the extra bloat that Web pages have nowadays, which are designed for broadband connections for the most part, which is enough to make a normal person go insane and jump out the window.

    No sir-reee... I ain't dumping my broadband for nuttin'.

  • by Bowie J. Poag (16898) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @01:21PM (#2538822) Homepage


    The kinds of people who end up dumping broadband fall into two categories.

    1) "I cant find anything useful to do with it!"
    2) "Oh, help me, my broadband service has been a nightmare!"

    Both of which are fairly stupid conclusions. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean its not there--There are plenty of things on the net for which broadband is perfectly suited for. Here, i'll give you a real world example: I stopped watching TV news about a month and a half ago. Now, I just pull in feed via DSL from CNN and ABC News. I don't find much sense in 24 hour nonstop anthrax coverage, so I omit that crap from my feed. Tipped over vending machines [cokemachineaccidents.com] have killed more people in the past 10 years than Anthrax has killed in the past 50 years. I'm surprised the nightly news isn't giving you stooges hourly vending machine updates.

    Anyway, onto the second category. Broadband service providers by in large don't have their acts together, but thats not the technology's fault. Its the fault of the people handling it. We as Americans are far too impatient with such things. We just want to plug it in and see it go, and no form of broadband works that way. People who complain about broadband service are the same people who complain that their tires get dirty from off-roading. Wait until the damn road is paved, then travel on it.

    For the record, i've had DSL for the past two years or so. I never had a problem with the technology end of it -- But I have had a problem with the human end of it. Namely, inept technical support, and billing, which is to be expected whenever theres a big rush to do anything.

    Getting rid of broadband is like saying we should get rid of cars because they cost more to maintain than bicycles. No thanks.

    Cheers, and yes, PROPAGANDA is still running,
  • I don't have a phone line at my house!

    I decided that instead of paying $25-28 a month for a landline, I'd ditch it in favor of a cell phone, which costs me about $40 a month including long distance.

    Cable modem is $40 and cable service $30... so I'm saving cash on the stupid phone line in favor of the added features & convience of a cell.
  • The first factor was simple economics.

    My family has been on cable for a little over a year now, since it first became available in our neighborhood. My selling point to my wife was that we were paying the $19.95 monthly usage cap every month on the phone bill, largely because of computer use, and we were paying $17.95 every month for ISP subscription. Add that up and we're a few bucks shy of $39.95, which was the cable fee. By acting early, we got installation and the first month free. Counting just that free first month against the extra expense of cable, we're still better than cost parity with phone+ISP.

    The second factor was phone availability. We had constant contention between phone and computer on the line. I didn't mention this in my original sales pitch to my wife, but it quickly came out.

    I never mentioned performance at all. I waited for her to tell me about how fast things suddenly became.
  • This has come up before, but it's really bizarre how you have to pay so much for broadband, and yet get so little.

    I complain about service sometimes, but I haven't had an outage for months, and the one that I did have was pretty brief. I pay $40.00CDN a month, and I don't know a single person - not one! - that still uses dialup. Even people that don't really need it have it. A friend of mine in Didsbury, Alberta (try looking it up on a map. I dare you.) is getting cable access soon. You can even get cable in Hicksville, Alberta. Geesh.

    Meanwhile, you folks have shitty service, at bad prices, and it's actually worth it for you to go back to dialup? What's the world coming to when the (ostensibly) most technologically advanced nation can't even get decent internet access to its citizens?
    • But the snafu you're witnessing is due largely to our devotion to competition and the corporate tendency towards greed. It'll probably take the government to straighten things out so it can flourish enough to become a common service.

      On that note...

      Isn't broadband in Canada government subsidized? I forget where I heard that, but if it is, then Canada really is in the same boat with the difference of having our mistakes to learn from before doing their own broadband.
  • by peteshaw (99766) <slashdot@peteshaw.fastmail.fm> on Thursday November 08, 2001 @01:24PM (#2538855) Homepage
    Yeah, I dropped my dsl line back in October. My carrier got bought out by RealConnect and at the end of my one year contract I was notified that my 49.95 128K IDSL line would be *slightly* going up to $169.95!

    What really annoyed me was the letter itself. Okay, I can understand if costs go up. But (a) there was no apology in the letter and (b)I was given 7 days to make up my mind on continuing the contract.

    So I call up RealConnect and mildly explain my position, which is that you are trying to gouge me with an insanely high price. They in turn blamed Network Access Solutions for ratcheting up the residential rates to match business class. NAS is the only provider to the local switch, so after some research, I figured I was pretty much hosed.

    Needless to say I do my big downloads from work and at home I say, "Welcome to NetZero!"

    Postscript: After one month plus at 28.8K (my phone lines are &@#'d up buts thats another story) I don't knotice it that much. When I'm online my phone calls are forwarded to my cell, and I can't download ISO's, MP3's, or mulimedia, but who cares? I can easily do without that junk. Email, ebay, online shopping, messaging, you can do 90% of your stuff with a dog slow connection.
  • People are dumping electricity for candles. Running water for wells. Plumbing for outhouses.
    If anyone who has broadband and has a use for their computer being online then why be so retro. But man -- if this is such a big trend then maybe those "Free ISP's" with the big business plans can give it another go no?
  • A couple years ago, I got cable modem service when it became available in my area. It was nice and fast, but like an old British sports car, it was out of commission about half the time, usually when I wanted to use it the most: the weekends. The customer service was horrible and it got to the point that my wife's AOL service was more reliable. Speed is great, but I want the ability to check my email whenever I want and if it's down when I want to use it, it's worthless. So, I went back to dialup. Sure, not being able to download the current iso in an hour or so kinda sucked, but I got over it. I have DSL now and I've only had a couple minor glitches and they were usually during the weekdays during business hours, so it wasn't that bad. It's much better than the cable modem service that I had.

  • by rjamestaylor (117847) <rjamestaylor@gmail.com> on Thursday November 08, 2001 @02:07PM (#2539160) Journal
    She bailed out AFTER losing her job. Duh. As a WORKING professional I cannot do without broadband.

    I am an AT&T Broadband customer and am very satisified. Very little down time (much less than PacBell/GTE/Verizon DSL I've experienced). Fast connections. Good tech support (once you get past the 1000th level of voice prompts from the I-wanted-to-be-a-Top-40s-announcer male voice).

    Even for a wireless I prefer broadband. Love that Richochet - want it back.

  • by Myself (57572) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @03:00PM (#2539568) Journal
    and it's portable, too. You can't take your cable modem out of town and use it in an El Cheapo motel room!

    My MediaOne cable modem was horrible. For the 3 months I had it, it was literally down more often than it was up. I spent more time on dialup than on cable during those months, and I'm glad I didn't cancel my dialup ISP in anticipation!

    When it was working, the speed was as advertised. No complaints there.

    Then MediaOne took it upon themselves to portscan my machine. They found FTP open, which I'd set up the previous day so I could get to some files from a friend's house. Anonymous access was disabled, I made sure of that. They then proceeded to try standard guest and visitor logins, which of course didn't work. Then MediaOne (this is all in my logs, coming from their machines!) started guessing common words, one of which worked. Well duh, I hadn't exactly locked the box down like Fort Knox. I just wanted to set myself up a little remote file dump! So MediaOne gets in, notices I have some MP3s on my drive, and proceeds to yank the plug.

    I get a nice letter in the mail a week later, saying I've been terminated for violating the service agreement. Because they hacked _my_ machine. The RIAA has like-minded friends already if they plan to move in this direction.

    Needless to say, I've been on a POTS line with a v.90 modem ever since. The account goes with me when I travel, it's never down for more than 5 minutes at a time, and in the extremely rare event that my favorite POP is busy, there are two more within my local calling area. Cable just can't offer that reliability or portability.

    Not that phone lines are perfect! The Ameritech bozo who installed my line "buried" it so poorly that it got hit by a lawn mower. The resulting splices in the line keep me down to about 33.6 most days, slower if it rains, but it always gets me to my mail, at least.
  • VPN: The Killer App (Score:5, Informative)

    by StevenMaurer (115071) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @03:04PM (#2539596) Homepage

    I'll never go back to dialup. Ever.

    Why?

    Simple, both my wife and I use it to connect to each of our corporate intra-nets using VPN. And if you want to do any real work, NFS mounts, Windows junk, remote compiling - anything - you really have to have enough speed to make it worthwhile.

    It's not different for non-technical people either. If you use accounting programs, inventory tracking, anything else using a client-server model, broadband speeds are the only way to go for any real work at home.

  • by dR.fuZZo (187666) on Thursday November 08, 2001 @05:51PM (#2540296)
    I was using Qwest as my DSL provider and my ISP. Well...they were just doing that little deal where their ISP customers were being switched over to MSN. So I wasn't that crazy about that. I considered finding a different ISP and keeping the DSL, but I didn't for two reasons.

    1. Thought it would be good to spend a bit more time offline.

    2. Qwest's service sucked.

    To give you an example of 2, here's how it went when I called Qwest to cancel my service.

    First person: Wants to go over all my personal info to make sure it's up to date. We do so. He says he'll transfer me to the folks who can cancel my DSL.

    Second person: I get a paragraph of Spanish before I can make it clear that speaking in English works much better for me... Turns out the first guy transferred me to the wrong person. This is the Spanish Repair line. I get transferred.

    Third person: Says she cancelled my ISP service, but not my DSL service. Says she'll transfer me to appropriate dept, but she disconnects me instead.

    Fourth person: I call back. I can barely understand this person through her Ebonics. She transfers me without telling me that's what she's doing.

    Fifth person: He tells me that it doesn't make sense that the third person cancelled my ISP service. He's supposed to do that. He finally (I think) takes care of everything.

    The thing is, this wasn't too bad considering how some of my other calls have gone. Anyway, now I'm on a dirt cheap intro sale for dial-up with a company that's actually local. As opposed to doing anything with my Qwest account, I actually did all the sign-up stuff online.

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