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How Much Should Broadband Cost? 378

Posted by Zonk
from the a-penny-per-bit dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The difference in cost between broadband options seems to be the primary motivator for consumer spending, reports News.com. Frugal consumers are opting for the lower-priced DSL options, while those with more money to spend on services are opting for cable modems." From the article: "A year-and-a-half ago, pricing of DSL and cable modem service was roughly the same. But over the past year, the phone companies have launched an aggressive assault by dropping prices. At the end of 2005, the average price of DSL service was about $32 per month, roughly $9 less than cable, according to research firm IDC. AT&T has twice lowered the price of its DSL service and now offers its 1.5Mbps service for $12.99 for the first year."
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How Much Should Broadband Cost?

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  • by IntelliAdmin (941633) * on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:41PM (#15551893) Homepage
    These low prices are only to gain market share, and things will change. I think it should cost as much as the consumer is willing to pay - at least that is how it works when you have a properly working capitalist system. But you see, the large telcos and cable companies have co-opted the system, and now are using legislation, and unfair practices to keep any competition from getting into the market. When is the last time you saw a new DSL provider *other* than the phone company? I am really worried that our options are getting smaller, and not larger - thus the prices will go up, and our bandwidth will not increase with the extra cost.

    In that same vein, I feel that their next step is to start trying to sand-box their corner of the Internet. That way they control the content too. It is no good as a commodity to them, they want to monetize it to a greater extent. The only way in their eyes it to first keep you from going anywhere else, second make it so their content and services are always faster, and better. Look at what some of them do already with VOIP. When my VOIP provider is choppy, and high latency who do I blame? Most customers are not smart enough and blame the VOIP provider.

    Remote Admin Tools for Windows [intelliadmin.com]
    • The landline companies' biggest threat isn't not the cable company, it's the wireless cell phone company. If they can add DSL as a bonus feature on your landline, that gives them an edge. There's no reason the price shouldn't continue to drop.
      • That wireless cell phone company could possibly own a big chunk of the cable company or vise versa. Competition is limited at best. The only real threat to the communications monopoly is ad-hoc wireless mesh, created by the users. If you are tied to a landline or corporate wireless, then you are owned by them.
        • I know what you mean, my landline provider was Ameritech and my cellular provider was MCI Worldcomm. Worldcomm went belly up and had their mobile phone section bought by AT&T Wireless. Ameritech then got bought by SBC. AT&T Wireless got bought by Cingular which was half owned by SBC and half by BellSouth. Then SBC went and bought AT&T, inc. and becoming at&t. Finally at&t is merging with BellSouth and all of a sudden my landline and cellular providers are soon to be the same company
    • Wrong... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Ogemaniac (841129)
      In a properly working market, the price is the determined by the costs of the sellers, not the desires of the buyers. In most circumstances, this means marginal cost plus fair return on investment.

      Think about it this way. What are the things you are willing to pay the most for? How about water, for example? It surely is much more important than DSL. Yet you pay pennies for water, even though your willingness to pay is much higher. This is because the COST of providing water is very low, and competi
      • Re:Wrong... (Score:5, Informative)

        by plasmacutter (901737) on Friday June 16, 2006 @05:00PM (#15552071)
        In a properly working market, the price is the determined by the costs of the sellers, not the desires of the buyers. In most circumstances, this means marginal cost plus fair return on investment.

        whoever taught you your economics, they should be fired.

        the price is determined by the desires of the buyers first, with the costs of the sellers a close second.

        You cannot market a product nobody wants, or a product everyone wants out of their price range or they dont buy, plain and simple, and thus the market collapses.

        Further, if you are not pressured by consumer needs and competition for those needs (e.g. if a monopoly or oligopoly is presently stifling competition) there is no reason to develop greater efficiency and lower those costs. Therefore the consumer suffers, they do not get optimal service for their dollar, and arguably the producer and even the environment suffer, as they are not making efficient use of their inputs.
        • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Friday June 16, 2006 @06:42PM (#15552569) Homepage Journal
          good points, but actually, we can either have a sharp demand/supply curve, or a flat one, or a moderately sloped one.

          in some markets, we may find that the desires of the buyers are the most significant in determing the price of the service (broadband, considering different flavors/brands/speeds).

          in other markets, we may find that the lack of competition amongst competitors (places where the same large corporation owns the cable, wireless, and DSL services or reaches a colluding anti-competitive market agreement in our under-regulated market) means that the price is determined by the sellers and their most efficient return on investment (an example being renters where most apartment buildings are owned by the same conglomerate or are dorm rooms owned by a specific college).

          and then other markets may be inbetween these two extremes.

          Assuming there isn't a monopoly or oligopoly in our current environment will lead one to inaccurately assume perfect competition, with easy barrier of entry (they may only permit one cable provider or provide barriers to cell towers or land lines for DSL), perfect information (knowing what the current and future rates are and consumers having easy access to information to determine the actual true cost (both teaser rate and lock-in rate and cost/length of service contract and installation/disconnect fees)), and perfect liquidity of capital with sufficient equivalent capital for all consumers.

          Such a perfect world (the latter case) doesn't exist anywhere I've seen. Thus, we need to use a better economic model, assuming imperfect information for competitors (no published rates), sticky prices (regulator sets levels), imperfect information for consumers (only teaser rates seen and fine print obscuring full cost so what you think is $15 is really $200 when you install), and high barriers to entry (restrictions on building, long permit schedules, long wait times for new installations, lack of supply for materials to install, shortage of contractors to install, etc).

          In other words, you're both right. And you're both wrong.

          remember, if you get two or more economists in a room, you'll get a number of different answers equal to the number of economists in the room ...

          (grin)
          • by which I took it to mean one that closely followed the perfect market model. In that case, the price is nothing other than the marginal cost of production, and has not a whit to do with the desires of buyers.

            In real markets, there are distortions which allow sellers to capture extra consumer surplus. However, these distortions are much smaller than many think in most markets. As long as you have more than two or three competing sellers, marginal prices are rapidly approached.
          • by unitron (5733) on Friday June 16, 2006 @08:17PM (#15552978) Homepage Journal
            "remember, if you get two or more economists in a room, you'll get a number of different answers equal to the number of economists in the room ..."

            Only if they are all one-armed economists, so that none can say, "On the other hand...".

        • ...in a market with perfect competition (a fair definition of a "properly working market"), price will be set by sellers marginal cost at the quantity sold, that quantity will be set by buyer's willingness to pay that marginal cost.
        • So the grandparent made the assumption that a market exists for broadband. I don't see the need to be quite so critical of him/her for going straight to the producer side.

          Further, if you are not pressured by consumer needs and competition for those needs (e.g. if a monopoly or oligopoly is presently stifling competition) there is no reason to develop greater efficiency and lower those costs. Therefore the consumer suffers, they do not get optimal service for their dollar, and arguably the producer and even
        • Re:Wrong... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by tacocat (527354) <tallison1&twmi,rr,com> on Friday June 16, 2006 @09:56PM (#15553298)

          No, actually he's only half right. It's a long aged discussion (177x?) about the differences of intrinsic values. How many pounds of diamonds will you pay for a glass of water? What if you have been in the desert for a week? But without the demand (desert) the product (water) has little perceived value.

          The biggest problem with this whole picture is that the market availability of DSL versus Broadband is severely warped and everyone knows it. But we are unable to get the congress-critters to recognize that it's really problem at the consumer level. I can't get DSL for love or money. But I can get this expensive broadband that is only offered by one company. No choices.

          I'm becoming a fan of DSL being applied to the United States in the same fashion that the Rural Electification Act was used. It required that EVERY house have electricity. I think it should be required that every house which currently have a phone line also have DSL made available at a consumer price that is consistent. You can't charge the guy with a 12 mile special line $599.99 a month and $9.99 in the big city.

          But I don't think this will happen in these times. 10 years ago I was of the opinion that the Federal Government should gaurantee delivery of a TCP/IP connection in the same manner that the US Post Office works. I still am.

      • I don't know where you live, but in Pittsburgh I pay more for water (including sewer service) for a house of 3 than I pay for DSL. Water is a municipal service and there is no competition.
        • Is that for water, or your water bill?

          The 'water bill' in many places includes sewage and possible other services.

          What does a gallon of water cost you?

      • Re:Wrong... (Score:5, Informative)

        by quanticle (843097) on Friday June 16, 2006 @05:04PM (#15552107) Homepage
        /*This is because the COST of providing water is very low, and competition assures that the price tracks these costs.*/

        Huh? How is there competition in the water market? In most every city, there is a single provider working under a government enforced monopoly. The water market is probably the single most regulated market in the nation.

        Also, if the cost of water reflected the costs of providing it, users in Phoenix, AZ would pay more than users in Buffalo, NY. This is currently NOT the case. The fact is, the price of water usually reflects the government subsidies, rather than actual market costs resulting in huge inefficiencies, and excessive depletion of groundwater supplies in many parts of the West.
        • It is possible to provide water for oneself in most areas. There are several systems for filtering water collected in gutters. The same is somewhat true of electricity, although that is more expensive to implement.
      • In a properly working market

        No such thing. Companies know they can charge more and make more profit, so long as the competition doesn't undercut them, and they do exactly that.

        the price is the determined by the costs of the sellers, not the desires of the buyers.

        That's only even possibly and remotely true if there is unlimited supply and unlimited competition.

        Yet you pay pennies for water, even though your willingness to pay is much higher.

        That's because 95%+ of us don't really need to go through a company

      • In a properly working market, the price is the determined by the costs of the sellers, not the desires of the buyers.

        In a real market, the price is determined by the costs of the seller and what the competition is willing to price at.

        If gas station sold gas at $1.00 while everyone else was $2.00 and they could do this for at a profit and do it without people having to wait in line for a really long time, then those who refused to lower their prices would go out of business. And it doesn't matter if they sim
      • You're entirely wrong in assuming that the prices of good and services have anything to do with the costs of producing or providing them.

        In a "proper market" price is determined by the point where supply meets demand. Goods and services are sold at the point where supply and demand meet because this is the price point which maximizes their profits. Sure, this assumes that competition is possible and that the markets are very liquid.

        Water is a horrible analogy since it typically comes from a non-profit run
    • by proxima (165692) on Friday June 16, 2006 @05:02PM (#15552082)
      I think it should cost as much as the consumer is willing to pay - at least that is how it works when you have a properly working capitalist system.

      Actually, with perfect competition [wikipedia.org], firms would charge their marginal cost of producing it. The intuition behind this is that if they did not, and there exists free entry (a requirement of perfect competition), then another firm would charge slightly lower, and thus get all of the customers. Of course, in the broadband industry, there exist fairly natural monopolies [wikipedia.org] because of the huge fixed costs of the infrastructure and "last mile" runs.

      Now consider what you said: the consumer's willingness to pay. If firms are able to charge as much as each individual is willing to pay, this is perfect price discrimination. DSL and cable operators do some degree of price discrimination by offering the different tiers of speed at different prices. If I understand you correctly, I'm pretty sure having DSL cost what consumers are willing to pay is not what you want. After all, I'd certainly be willing to pay a bit more for my DSL considering how much I use it.

      When is the last time you saw a new DSL provider *other* than the phone company?

      I am really worried that our options are getting smaller, and not larger - thus the prices will go up, and our bandwidth will not increase with the extra cost.

      Yes, in reality, internet service is fairly consolidated. If you're lucky, you'll have three good choices for broadband (many have two -- cable or DSL -- or fewer). Still, in many areas services like Speakeasy [speakeasy.net] are available as alternatives in the DSL market. In my experience, options for broadband are not getting smaller, as you suggest. Some communities or apartment buildings even form their own co-op style internet service providers if they're truly unhappy with the choices. Before, when most people were on dialup, it'd be hard to convince enough of your neighbors to want to start such a service.

      As for prices, we're seeing a bidding war. I would expect this to be good for consumers, so long as enough options remain. I haven't seen evidence that DSL or cable operators are selling below cost, as some have claimed. I seem to recall paying about $55/mo 5 years ago for cable internet access (in addition to the TV channels), and now prices are (much) lower and speeds are still good in most areas. The bidding wars don't seem to be driving out players like Speakeasy, so I personally just don't see such a pessimistic trend.

      • "Still, in many areas services like Speakeasy [speakeasy.net] are available as alternatives in the DSL market."

        You may pay Speakeasy, but never forget who owns the actual lines. Where I live, there are tons of people who will sell you DSL, but in the end, they all get screwed by the service and support side of Qwest. I know why they didn't participate in the phone records scandal, they were already over their "Customer Cornholing" limit for the decade...

      • >Of course, in the broadband industry, there exist fairly natural monopolies because of the huge fixed costs of the infrastructure and "last mile" runs.

        Add wireless into the mix and they cease to be natural monopolies. It's way cheaper to point an antenna at a house than to dig a trench to it. This is why telcos are fighting so bitterly and so unethically against muncipal wireless projects.

        Thank you, by the way, for what seems to have been the first correct explanation of economics in the comments.
    • But you see, the large telcos and cable companies have co-opted the system, and now are using legislation, and unfair practices to keep any competition from getting into the market. When is the last time you saw a new DSL provider *other* than the phone company?

      If you have DSL, there is a good chance you have a choice of providers.

      My ISP is AT&T (SBC). I can also buy my DSL service from Sonic.net and DSLExtreme.com and one other provider that I can't remember the name of right now. Sonic and dslextreme'
    • I think it should cost as much as the consumer is willing to pay - at least that is how it works when you have a properly working capitalist system.

      I think it should cost just enough that the company can cover the costs of providing the service, maintaining and enchancing their equipment any fairly paying their employees. Any more than that is gouging, even if consumers are willing to pay for it. Incidentally, things costing what consumers are willing to pay is NOT how a "properly working capitalist syste
    • When is the last time you saw a new DSL provider *other* than the phone company?

      Earthlink? Speakeasy?
    • I think it should cost as much as the consumer is willing to pay

      Not all consumers are willing to pay the same. In fact, few will agree on any price. So how many different levels of service do you feel should be available since there's not one theoretical consumer -- but many!

  • Cable all the way (Score:3, Interesting)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:43PM (#15551919) Homepage Journal
    I currently pay £34.99 per month for my 10Mb connection from NTL here in England.
    Even though its more expensive than ADSL, W00000t is all I can say!
    I prefer my cable because ADSL still appears to dialup and the IP changes every time you sneeze.
    The ethernet cable out the back of my machine is designed for super quick data connections and thats exactly what it does.

    As an example:
        I just downloaded Ubuntu (697.8MB) over http in under 10minutes, ~1200kB per second is nice.

    as a FYI for other NTL broadband customers get a cable modem the set top boxes cannot handle 10Mbit (but NTL will be happy to take your money anyway).
    • Re:Cable all the way (Score:2, Interesting)

      by fatgav (555629)
      What ADSL are you talking about? I'm on plusnet ADSL and get a static IP, 8Mb/s, all for less than 20 squid! Also my traffic isn't shafted through an array of transparent proxies and monitoring equipment like it is on ntl. It's much more reliable too, and better ping responses.
    • I used to have NTL cable on their 2Mbps tarrif. But after a long argument about their use of RBLs to block emails from even entering their networks (not just spam emails) I moved to a 1Mbps ADSL plan with PlusNet. What has surprised me is that in normal web browsing I haven't noticed the reduction in speed at all. I'm now paying £15 a month, which is considerably less than I paid NTL. NTL were fine when everything was working, but they are well known for their almost non-existant customer service. If
    • Don't tar all ADSL providers with the same brush. I have an "up to 8Mb" service, more like 4Mb in practice for £20 per month. More importantly for me, its got a 448k upload speed, and my IP address has never changed [netcraft.com], even when I upgraded to a higher speed. Moreover, my provider [f2s.com] doesn't complain about me running things like SMTP, HTTP, FTP or DNS servers like NTL used to.
  • £24.99 for 512/256. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by caluml (551744) <slashdot@spamgoe ... g ['she' in gap]> on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:44PM (#15551933) Homepage
    £24.99 for 512/256.
    But I stick with them because they have decent fast newsgroups with all the binaries. I'm talking about you, Zen.

    I rang up though, and asked for IPv6 connectivity. They said they didn't do it because there was no demand for it. I said, "Well, now there's demand for it", and they said that that didn't count.

    Next UK ISP with native IPv6, and newsgroups with binaries, and I'm off. You hear that, Zen [zen.co.uk]? :)
    • £15 for 2meg/256 with basic cable TV package thrown in. It was perfect until Telewest got bought up by NTL. I expect the general level of service to go downhill from here :-(

      I don't know about binary newsgroups or IPv6.
  • by MudButt (853616) on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:44PM (#15551938)
    Most neighborhoods have a free wireless broadband provider... Apparently called "Linksys"...

    • I get 3MB cable for $20 a month from Charter Communications. No contracts and I don't have to have cable TV service. I live in Long Beach, CA.
      • They just upped my rates again. I pay $115 for a 3Mb connection, Digital cable, and the premium movie channels. If I drop the premium channels and down to a lower connection, my bill would actually increase to $120. As much as I hate over paying, I hate paying a company that I know is packet forwarding to the NSA and attempting to get a QoS billing scheme even more.

        -Rick
      • Is this a promotional deal? Maybe I should move down there. By the way, where in Long Beach do you get free wireless internet?
    • I seem to recall seeing this comment Here [slashdot.org].
  • I switched for price (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doctor Memory (6336) on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:49PM (#15551972)
    I used to have cable (TW RoadRunner service). Never had a problem with billing or availability, speeds were advertised as 5M/768 and I was seeing about that. But I was paying $55/month for it, and when my local phone company (Alltel) started advertising 1.5M/768 for $30, I couldn't say no. Yeah, downloads are a bit slower, but still not bad (I generally see ~170MB/sec down, vs. 280 or so w/cable). Latency seems to be about the same. My only real complaint is that with RR, I had a quasi-static IP that I could access from anywhere. Now my DSL modem gets a 192.168.x.x address, so I'll have to pay if I want to put my web site back up... :/ Still, I figure I'm saving $300/year, so I'm happy.
    • I've got TW RoadRunner too. I used to pay $44.95, then Unite started competing with them and they offered me $29 if I upgraded to digital cable. I went from $85 a month for RR and basic cable to $70 for RR and digital cable with HBO. At the same time, my cable has gone from 2m when I signed up 6-8 years ago to something over 5m. (not sure, I rarely hit the DL cap, I don't P2P and only grab ISOs when I need them) I'm surprised you didn't get a competitive offer from TW/RR.

      I do wish they would increase the UL
    • I have a cow-orker with Alltel DSL, and their setup was messing up his VOIP. That fake IP was coming from his modem--it's got NAT in there and uses PPPOE on the WAN side. Complain loudly and to enough people and it is within their power to send you a modem set up to bridge, or get your own ADSL modem (almost any will work) and run PPPOE on your own box--you'll get a quasi-static IP just like on cable.
  • not really cheaper (Score:5, Interesting)

    by aichpvee (631243) on Friday June 16, 2006 @04:49PM (#15551973) Journal
    "At the end of 2005, the average price of DSL service was about $32 per month, roughly $9 less than cable, according to research firm IDC."

    DSL is still more expensive than cable unless you have a landline already. Home telephone service is around 40$/month here, which would make DSL (assuming I could get 32$/month anyway, which seems low) that would put me at over 70$. Compared to cable which is under 60$ and comes with "free" basic cable, since there's no way not to pay for that too.

    I've already got a cellphone and don't have any use for a landline. Maybe if the DSL providers were actually any better than comcast (local cable monopoly), but until they are it's not worth the extra cash.
    • by Eldrik (25881) on Friday June 16, 2006 @05:03PM (#15552101)
      I just received a phone line from SBC for $5.20/month. Now this is before taxes and fees, and has no long distance, and a limit on 60 local calls per month. But because I only ordered it so I could get DSL from another provider, that's alright with me.

      Basic phone service for $40/month? Sounds like you're getting ripped off and/or exaggerating.
    • DSL is still more expensive than cable unless you have a landline already. Home telephone service is around 40$/month here, which would make DSL (assuming I could get 32$/month anyway, which seems low) that would put me at over 70$.

      My case was the opposite, actually. I didn't want basic TV nor a landline. DSL at the faster speed is about $50 + taxes (including land line), whereas cable would be about $60 + taxes (sometimes they had deals for the first 6 months or whatever). Some people might find basic
    • It's the same with me. I pay ~$30 for DSL, but to get it I have to pay an additional $22 for a landline I don't need or want. Add the BS taxes and fees, and the total is around $60. Local cable internet is also around $30, but you can get it without cable tv or anything else. Cable service sucks though, so I'm happy to pay the extra for DSL.

    • DSL (assuming I could get 32$/month anyway, which seems low)

      Low? With a 1-year contract, you can get it for $15/mo, easily.

      Besides, cable companies often try pulling the same crap as telcos, and telcos sometimes have minimal fees for DSL-only lines, so YMMV greatly.
    • My DSL provider [speakeasy.net] charges me only $5 extra per month for not having a land line telephone. Even the telcos will give you DSL-only packages these days for similar prices. Your quoted prices are from the ancient past.
    • DSL is still more expensive than cable unless you have a landline already.
      Not always. I had naked cable (no TV, just internet) that was $50/mo. When Qwest finally put a CO near me, I switched to naked DSL (no voice, just internet) for $42/mo. Of course, I'm using their no-frills ISP service that doesn't even come with an email account, but who cares when you have Gmail.
    • I get DSL and a landline for $54/month in San Francisco with SBC. Comcast would charge me $58/month for just Internet access (after 3 months at $19.99/month). I don't have much use for the landline, but it does provide some utility if I lose my cell phone or the network is experiencing problems
  • ... while those with more money to spend on services are opting for cable modems."

    I don't know that I agree with that. I definitely spend more on DSL than I would with either Cable or plain DSL from ATT (I get mine from Speakeasy). I'm one their Onelink plan, which means you don need a phone /line/number from your telco. I choose to pay more for my DSL because: 1) I get pretty incredible customer support from Speakeasy and 2) Speakeasy allows me to ANYTHING with my connection. I also have VoIP throu

  • ...they lock you into a long term contract. The pricing for DSL without a contract is about the same as Cable.

  • The difference in cost between broadband options seems to be the primary motivator for consumer spending, reports News.com. Frugal consumers are opting for the lower-priced DSL options, while those with more money to spend on services are opting for cable modems.

    OK, if that qualifies as news, I think it's time to shut the computer down and start the weekend...

  • France wins (Score:5, Informative)

    by GrAfFiT (802657) on Friday June 16, 2006 @05:00PM (#15552070) Homepage
    Let's see what 29,99 can get you in France:
    24mbit internet
    WIFI MIMO router/set-top box, 1gb webspace
    Telephone line fees included, you really have nothing else to pay
    Unlimited free national and international POTS phone
    200 digital TV channels over DSL, HDTV and DVB-T compatible terminal included..

    This one company litterally drove the prices down and the offerings up.. Now that the prices are low enough, everybody is catching up on triple-play. They also have other plans, like building a mesh of wifi hotspots using their set-top boxes to route free wireless VoIP calls. Free cell phones, just imagine that..
    • You forget to mention that you can watch the free TV channels on your computer over RTSP, and use the phone service with SIP. The SIP service works even when you're not at home. Oh, and the infrastructure all runs on Linux.
    • Re:France wins (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They did the smart thing and forced separation of the line access and the line ownership. Japan and I believe Korea have done the same thing. They basically lay fiber to the home and then allow any provider to have equal access to that fiber. Thus you can choose whichever provider you want and the prices for those services go down due to competition.

      Here in the US the Telecos are spending much $$$ to guarantee that the laws don't allow such access. Land lines are a natural monopoly and there's lots of m
    • Re:France wins (not) (Score:3, Informative)

      by arbi (704462)
      For the same $29.99 USD you can get 100mbps symmetrical (100m both uplink and downlink) internet in Hong Kong. Comes with phone and IPTV as well. They also throw in an Ipod Nano if you sign the 2 year service contract.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HKBN [wikipedia.org]
  • Comcast (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stratjakt (596332)
    My comcast service went out, and when it came back up I had to re-register it when it forced me to their "sign up and download a 20 meg exe of bullshit to get it going" which made me unplug my linux based router, plug into a windows machine to get it up again.

    Once that was done, I noticed they'd pointed me to a DNS server that responded to every request with the same IP- they were bouncing all my requests through one of their servers. This broke a whole lot of shit, as you can imagine. I called to ask abo
  • fyi... (Score:2, Informative)

    by zptao (979069)
    I use AT&T's service (the 'Pro' plan), and I max out at something like 250kbps/52kbps. They use the diffrentiation between bits and bytes to fool you into paying for shitty speeds.
    • Time warner's road runner service for 30 a month for first 6 months (i just cancel and resign up every 6 months) i get 5mbps speed up and about 40-60 KB/s upload.

      austin texas :-)
    • No, they use the kilobits/megabits unit of measurement due to legacy reasons dating back to accoustically-coupled modems that ran at 150bps and 300bps, and as speeds improved that unit of measurement stuck.
  • Then they crank up your $12.99 "introductory price" to $49.95/mo.

  • age discrepancy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Triv (181010) on Friday June 16, 2006 @05:06PM (#15552114) Journal
    For the most part, young people get cable and older people get dsl. Why? Because young people tend to have cell phones and no landlines in their homes, so factoring in the cost of maintaining a phone line that nobody'll use bumps the price way up.

    Why cable companies haven't changed their marketing to reflect this, I have no idea. Behind the times, I guess.

    --triv

    • Most phone companies have a minimum service plan.
      You get a dial tone and local calls for $5~$10 a month

      DSL + $5~$10 is cheaper than most cable offerings (not including their introductory prices).
    • The other issue is that young people tend to have cable TV, and while most cable seperates the two services, having an existed business relationship is alwasy a plus. Only about 60% of US household have cable, but I am sure that it is nearly 100% for young adults who could also afford broadband. OTOH, I am sure that land lines still exist in nearly 100% of such homes.

      So, DSL remains useful for those that don't want to deal with cable companies, even if one has to tack on a land line, which is no great e

  • by MerlynEmrys67 (583469) on Friday June 16, 2006 @05:11PM (#15552150)
    And start shopping for service.

    Just got of the phone with FIOS (verizon) - for 34 dollars they can get me a nice fast completely non-functional DSL connection. Of course to get what this geek really REALLY wants (simple, static address - ToS that allow me to run services) will cost 99.95 a month for the same upload speed.

    Idiot on the phone line couldn't justify the 60 dollar cost difference, other than to say that is the price difference between static and dynamic IP (well, the download speed on the static was a little faster - They couldn't price out a static address on the slower speed).

    This was all started by Verizon sending a flunky to my door saying they were REQUIRING me to change to FIOS. Was a fun discussion with said flunky -
    "Will you allow me to run a service"
    "What do you want that for"
    "So I can run my e-mail server"
    "We provide an e-mail service"
    "No you don't"
    etc. etc. etc. Turns out they really were just looking for upgrade oportunities - wonder how many of my neighbors fell for it (I know one didn't because said flunky said the guy down the street was asking the same questions
    "The one with the Dogs?"
    "Yeah, how do you know"
    "Because he is a system admin - and he is smart"

  • ...the phone companies have launched an aggressive assault by dropping prices...

    Sad to see that folks are already assuming that RBOCs control everything that comes over their lines. I admit we're getting there, but there are still independent DSL providers. I'm a fan of Sonic.net, which is not only cheap and well-run, but reasonably geek-friendly. Or if you're a serious geek with semi-deep pockets, you can try Speakeasy, which doesn't even require that you have phone service.

  • They may have lowered their prices on some options, but they are raising them on others. I just got a notice a month or so ago that they were raising my DSL price by 50%, but offering me "no commitment" (I had previously had 1-year contracts for 2 years). I called to investigate, and to inquire about the advertised $12.99/month deal. It turns out that the advertised special is for a new service that isn't available in my area yet, and might not be for years. So that isn't an option. ANd the company has rais
  • Government clulessness has a large role to play.

    Under pressure of the telecom lobbies, the US government has made extensive non-moves, leaving the issues solely to the frea mahkit, which always translate in the companies gouging their clients with extremely poor service.

    In much saner countries where the government does not lick big companies arses, there have been positive measures and involvement so the broadband penetration is much higher.

    For instance, I am a member of a telecom co-op and pay around $

    • Not to defend the telco's, they can do that themselves.

      BUT, such service costs $55 where I live with 5 IP and no restrictions because it is a business account

      I can get the same service with 1 IP for about the same price. I don't know if they would limit a webserver or mail. I have run both using DYNdns for several years and no one has complained to me.
  • by xplenumx (703804) on Friday June 16, 2006 @05:41PM (#15552320)
    "A year-and-a-half ago, pricing of DSL and cable modem service was roughly the same. But over the past year, the phone companies have launched an aggressive assault by dropping prices... AT&T has twice lowered the price of its DSL service and now offers its 1.5Mbps service for $12.99 for the first year."

    Over the past three years I've received two letters from SBC notifying me that my DSL rates are increasing. Meanwhile I've noticed that the rates for the first year of service have steadily dropped. I used to think that I was just getting hammered because here in Dallas, my options were pretty much limited to SBC and Comcast (with a touch of Earthlink and a couple of more expensive options). Nope. My parents in Spokane suffered a rate increase in the past year. My sister in San Francisco had a rate increase in the past two years. My brother in New York has also experienced a rate increase recently. Meanwhile while (unsuccessfully) looking around for a new provider, I've noticed that the rates for the first year of service have steadily dropped (just as the article claimed). The ISPs are monopolistic crack dealers - and they know it. For being a free market, I don't feel so free.

    • You just don't know how to work the promo system so you, personally, pay more.

      When they announce things like this I call up and politely ask to be given the same deal as a new customer. I get a 1 year price for a one year commitment. Just remember what Jesus says when dealing with them: "Don't be a dick."

      My current rate is $21.99 for 1.5. I got about 4 or 5 months left and I can sign up with whatever the promo rate system.

      Sprint has my business for the same reason. Every 2 years I get a new phone practicall
    • Hm, my verizon DSL has gone down. In fact, the lowered it mid-contract and I didn't have to do anything. 768/128 14.99 a month. Taxes make it about 16 bucks.
  • I pay $15/month for 256kbit DSL (which mostly fits my needs, but I download Linux ISOs at work). 1.5MBit DSL runs $27. Both of these prices are for the line only (I spend another $17 for the ISP).

    3MBit cable from Comcast runs $60/month (although they're always sending me flyers advertising $25/month for three months but not listing the price after that anywhere... geez, are there really customers who are so irresponsibly myopic they won't even look three months into the future?)
  • As soon as wimax is ratified and in the wild, why pay anyone for net service? Somebody somewhere will be offering it for free within 5 miles. I'll probably be one of them. I do see this infrastructure as inevitably heading towards free. Our economy would be boosted even more if the government mandated a prgram now to foster this, like the way they built the freeways in the 50s. Not likely to happen though, given the awesomeness of our government these days. Regardless though, I do see broadband wimax
  • I have to agree that the aggressive pricing strategy of DSL service providers *is* having an impact. Just yesterday, I switched away from Comcast's residential high-speed Internet service to SBC-Yahoo's introductory DSL plan. After looking at both services, I simply couldn't ignore DSL's ultra-low $12.99 a month rate. To compare, Comcast cost me nearly $50 a month. In my case, it just didn't make any sense to keep paying a higher fee for bandwidth I don't use.

    Occasionally, I download an ISO, and then

  • I'd consider switching from my cable connection to ADSL if...

    a) My phone company wasn't evil (Telus - British Columbia, Canada)

    and

    b) If I hadn't cut my phone line this past September and switched to Vonage (see (a) above).

    At the moment here in BC, we pay about $40CDN/mo for 5Mbps/500Kbps. Telus has some agressive deals (including a 19" LCD monitor if you sign a 3 year contract), but I'm sticking with Shaw for the forseeable future).
  • Cable does suck more (Comcast vs. Qwest) According to the 'cable guy' we are the only house in the neighborhood on Comcast data service (which, I suppose is why they don't take care of our lines), anyway, if the price of Cable and DSL go down, my plan is: Get Both.

    I'm assuming a little linux box could take care of splitting the traffic between two connections, depending on which is 'shorter'/better for that traffic at that time, and with p2p/torrent type applications, ideally allowing both connections to be
  • I currently have comcast cable, and I began with one of those 6 months at 20per month deal. However when the time came, I made it clear I would cancel service if the rate went up, and if couldn't get the deal anymore, I'd shop for DSL, or something else. To my suprise, they agreed to let me keep the modem for 20 bucks. Apparently, you can still haggle in this day and age.

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