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DSL Woes 241

Covad is in the news this week for unplugging ISPs who didn't pay their bills. Covad, in a partly helpful, partly self-serving gesture, has attempted to get disconnected customers hooked up with other ISPs using Covad's service. Oddly enough, the submissions seem to blame Covad - it looks to me like the ISP was the one to blame, taking subscriber payments but not paying off Covad. Covad's financial situation is best described as precarious, with one-third of all its DSL customers not paying - Covad's trying to throw off the dead-weight. So what's the deal with CLEC [?] 's these days? Is there any hope of survival against the incumbent phone companies who will do anything to squash competition?
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DSL Woes

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  • Wouldn't that count as SLAMMING according to the FCC?
  • by docwhat ( 3582 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @11:32AM (#443102) Homepage

    I would be a bit more critical than Michael. Covad reciently bought Covad now competes with DSLnetworks and InternetExpress (among other ISPs). I don't think it's coincidence that they yanked the connections rather abruptly.

    Sending email to the end users (not the ISPs that were Covad's customers, but the ISP's customers) reeks of trying to scoop customers for their own partered and owned ISPs.

    It all looks rather suspicious to me.

  • by Faulty Dreamer ( 259659 ) <> on Friday February 09, 2001 @11:33AM (#443103) Homepage
    I won't comment on the sign-up drop and sign-up deal (other than to say that would be a gaint pain in the ass for those of us with something else to do). The problem for some of us on this one would be that we would have to keep on OS around that we don't ever use except for the day you have to take off of work to wait on the moron from @home to show up. At least, in this are, they refuse to let you set up the service yourself. They insist that you have to get their technicians to do it for you, and they also insist that you absolutely have to have Microsoft Windows in order to use their service. Now, I can make Linux or FreeBSD work fine with it (at a friend's house, I refuse to support @home myself because of thier absolutely abysmal customer service), but they will literally hang up on you if you try to talk them into letting you use one of those operating systems. In fact, the last time I called in they said, "Linux will not work with our service." I said, "Yes it will, I have a friend using it." They said, "We do not support renegade operating systems. Your friend is in violation of our policy and if we find out who it is his service agreement will be terminated." *CLICK*. Nice pleasant customer service people.

    Anyway, even if I had a windows machine ready to go (which I don't at my own home, and I won't install just to get the sometimes up @home service installed) the fact that they need to come and snoop around your system before they will install the service just sucks ass totally. Maybe it's different in other places, but I don't really like the idea of being told I'm too stupid to hook something up to my computer. Maybe some people don't like doing it themselves, but I do.

    But maybe I'm just a hard-ass. *SHRUG*

  • I've taken the liberty of compiling the emails that were sent to me from the President of Internet Express (one of the companies who was reselling Covad service). Click to read all of the emails from the month of December [] .

    Purveyors of fine baked Penguin. The Linux Pimp []

  • I suspect part of the trick is that they were a dial-up ISP before being a DSL provider. So they probably have both a loyal customer base (dial-up upgraders) and more customer service/technical experience than most others.
  • Excuse me? This is high tech? I'm supposed to rely my web business on "try it to see if it works" networking technology?


    After all, you "rely" your web business on the internet protocol, which uses "best effort" routing rather than reserved bandwidth.

    You throw your packets into the network cloud and hope they don't get dropped before the etherwind blows them to their desitnation. B-)

    What's hokey about not knowing if the wire quality is up to snuff until you hook up the equipment and TEST it? Different wires have different amounts of rot and different defects, whether they're cat-3 twisted pair, coax, fiber, or whatever. Modem users have been dealing with line quality issues since there were modems, and phone users ditto since there were phones.

    Heck - telegraph users before phones, too, and radio-link users have to deal with trees in the microwave beam and ionosphere disturbance. Ad infinitum.

    Communication links are part of the big, noisy, analog, real-world.

    So what's a KLUDGE about taking a wire design that was intended to take 4 KHz for miles and about 1.5 MHz for a fraction of that (due to frequency-selective attenuation) and take advantage of DSP technology to design a coding scheme that compensates for the attenuation well enough to get 3 miles out of it at about 1.5 MHz?
  • Yeah, that's an interesting idea all right. Let's set the clock back to 1998 to make the load on the internet lighter. Save the internet: Don't use it! Just get your mail and get off!

    Wait, even better idea: let's go back to 1938 when we only used electricity for light bulbs. That'll save the power companies! Save the power companies: Don't use electricity!!!

    Wait! best idea yet! Let's go back to the before we had plumbing. Just crap in a hole!!! Save the water supply: Crap in a hole!!!

  • it seems like they're hiring the (mentally) handicapped for their billing department If you want to talk to the mentally handicapped, you should call their tech support department.
  • For some strange reason, your car analogy reminds me of a certain company from Redmond. The road owner company can work on traffic monitoring technology to help drivers pick the fastest route, but this feature is only found in Microcars....

  • Moderators: Please browse at at least 0. You're missing a highly accurate post. View my parent.
  • I have thus taken off two days from work in the past month to wait for Ameritech to show up. They don't and aren't required to give an explanation for 48 hours after the missed appointment. They might be more punctual if I was buying service from them, but I'm getting Northpoint service via a reseller.
  • Let's not forget that Microsoft invented computers, not to mention everything to do with them, like networking, the Internet, and business manipulation, er um, sales of computer products. (I know this isn't true, but it is increasingly the attitude in my area. I'm kind of tired of being five years behind the times. South Dakota sucks ass. Oh, and the weather is good too;-)

    I realize this is flamebait, I don't care. Everyone needs to blow off some steam at some point. Either that or I'll just lock the door to my office and see if I can cause spontaneous human combustion purely from anger.

  • Since then, I've been charged for seven months of service that I haven't used because I no longer live where their DSL was available

    Are you a moron? Did your mother drop you down the stairs of a fifth floor walk-up? No service, no check. Paying by CC? Call the CC company and tell them that any and all charges from Flashcom are bogus, as the result of a billing mistake, and that you will not pay them for any such charges.

    Don't go blaming your own stupidity on Communists.
  • As a Network Administrator it really burns my ass when I come on Slashdot and read all of these comments about ISP's and what they are doing wrong. Most of you some clue about how this stuff works, but you take that clue and think it means you've got the whole picture, when you don't.

    In the case of ISP's reselling DSL service, although it is true that some of the ISP's are just resellers for DSL service from other ISP's, most of these so called 'resellers' are actually just reselling the DSL line to the point of the DSLAM, at that point this virtual circuit still has to make it's way to your ISP of choice (usually by way of Bell's ATM network, which your ISP will have an OC3 to or something like that), and from there it *gasp* actually uses your ISP to get Internet bandwidth.

    Changing that service from one ISP to the next is _NOT_ a simple case of just changing who you send your bill to, the network operations people actually have to setup your account, change your virtual circuit to point to them, and whatever else ISP's typically do when taking in new circuits.

    Of course you know it alls sitting at home
    complaining that "I already got DSL, just change the bill!", already knew that, right?

  • I've been in contact with two people who work for two different ISPs who deal with Covad. One works for Speakeasy, and the other for a small local "mom n pop" ISP. Both told me the same thing the guy above is telling you. Simply put, Covad sucks. Mod the parent up.
  • I happen to have a Covad-supplied line through a formerly-well-respected regional ISP, and have been pleased with QoS, etc., since the line was installed over a year ago. So I would be happy to pay for the service. Trouble is, I have never, in the last 12 months, received any invoice for this service. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.

    I do not know in which billing system I do not exist (Covad's or the ISP's). FWIW, I had a similar experience (no bill for several years for the then-state-of-the-art dialup account) from a now-defunct national ISP. (I keep telling my SO it's just clean living...)

  • In the US, we believe in free market systems. Let all the entreprenuers go at it and hopefully the best product (companies) will emerge. Once an oligopoly starts to emerge, government regulatory stuff kicks in usually leveling the playing field. Thus we get to work out most of the kinks before something becomes heavily deployed. Now compare this with the European way: standards from the get-go. Sure there's much greater interopability but if its fubar'd (which is almost always is); everyone gets screwed. Just look at Europe's backing of ISO and ISDN to get a picture.

    You obviously have no clue about the PSTN and NANP do you? North American Numbering Plan (NANP) affects not only the United States but also The American and Canadian phone system is one in the same (basically). Both use Mu-Law (so does Japan), interconnected primary CO's, area codes, etc. Thus there is nothing fundamentally flawed with the American DSL implementation, we just have more people and a higher demand than Canadians do. Therefore, more can go wrong.

    Please leave your Anti-American Canadian bigotry at the door.

  • I had my DSL line @ about 13k ft and got fairly decent speeds (~900 down/1.5 up), but the line was dropping a lot. The line wasn't even supposed to be installed it was so far away from the CO, but went ahead anyways. Eventually I got converted to MVL, which is more stable at large distances, it's symmatric but only 768k each way. Later I moved and now I'm getting 3.5M down/1.5M up, which is not nearly the top limit for regular DSL anyways... a co-worker is getting around 7M down @ less than 1000 feet distance.

    So there are different DSL technologies (like MVL) that will go longer distances at the cost of some speed.

  • Unfairly or not the reason they don't support
    Linux or *BSD is because users of these OSes
    are more likely to run servers which take up a
    lot of bandwidth.
  • ... if the slashdot connection poll were live and you could change your vote. That sudden drop in dsl usage ;>

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, 2001 @11:34AM (#443121)
    Face some facts: Number of error free DSL installations when ISP is the same as local Bell carrier : 93% Number of error free DSL installations when ISP differs from local Bell carrier: 16% These numbers are before the FCC right now and investigations are underway into the Bell's attempts to destroy the three major DSL companies. Why do you think Verizon dropped their long distance application in New England?
  • And yet, Verizon will still not provision any DSL circuit beyond 18,000 feet.

    So "GoLong" "GetsScrewed"
  • i'm also in columbus and must concur, the service is generally good.


    in the last few months, their deplorable peering agreements have started to rear their ugly heads...

    has anyone else noticed that their peering through AT&T is absolutely terrible?

    randomly at least 3 times a day at&t's infrastructure starts black-hole'ing packets...

    don't know why, and unfortunately, most AS'es i'm trying to route packets through choose at&t (and twc drops source-routed frames... :)


  • Why doesn't Covad just start their own ISP and trasfer the stranded folks over? Maybe they have a prior non-compete agreements with their ISPs. Does anybody know?
  • Having done this for over a year. It's not as cheap as you think. Even though the cost of the wire is cheap, you still have to run bandwidth that you're probably buying for up to $500/MB on a 10Meg circuit. Plus there's the cost of finding and renting space next to the CO (the only way to get a fairly good coverage area. Plus running some kind of circuit to your real office, plus the cost of the equipment, plus, plus, plus. The main advantage of this seems to be slightly more reliable service, since you're running everything yourself, and only depend on the ILEC for running unloaded, uninterrupted copper (which they're notoriously bad at)
  • The internet wasn't designed with the expectation of every single end user having a 1.5mbit connection.

    The internet wasn't designed for anyone other than the military and universities. I'm glad that its been able to change to keep up with events.

    In addition, few ISPs actually have the bandwidth necessary to fully support all the bandwidth their customers are paying for.

    True. Fortuantely users (the vast majority at least) are not paying to have full access all the time, they are paying to have very quick access perhaps 1% of the time.

  • To a certain degree, yes.

    A friend used to work in the DSL department of a local ISP. He'd often bitch about business they were losing because PacBell would drag its heels delivering the physical lines. Customers would tire of waiting after a month or two of missed appointments (often by PacBell, but occasionally Covad,) and cancel their order. Apparently, a cancellation at that stage still requires some payment to Covad from the ISP. The ISP likely doesn't have the funds since the cancelled customer refused to pay. (Go figure, it's not like they received any services, just inconvenience.)

    So why is Covad still demanding payment in this situation? Are they being greedy? Are the ILECs demanding payment from Covad for canceled physical lines they never delivered in the first place? I could believe both, but I'd be curious to learn where the truth lies...


  • Lucent contracted with DSL networks to provide DSL lines for their employees that were tunneled directly into the Lucent firewall. Covad de-activated all of these lines since DSL networks was one of the companies behind in paying them.

    If I were Lucent, I would be pissed that Covad never contacted them before disconnecting these lines. This is not a way to treat a large corporate customer if you want repeat business.
  • So what do you think a T1 runs off? It's 26 gauge twisted pair too.
  • I hope this isn't too offtopic, but I've had a lot of DSL woes with covad in the past month.

    Since may of last year I had ADSL with Ameritech. It was 768/128. It worked fine. No lag, zero PL in games. And DLing was fast. But then I saw speakeasy [] over at think geek [] offering 1.1/1.1 SDSL from covad. Oh man I was pysched. 1.1 upstream and almost no TOS restrictions (they allow you to do almost anything except run an IRC server, or a bussiness website). So I cancelled my ADSL with Ameritech (with a $100 penalty.. doh) and signed up with them; speakeasy said they had to have the line shutoff to work on it. fine. 2 Weeks later covad came out to run/test the line. Then...

    "We're sorry, you are too far out of the loop, your SDSL order is technically unfeasable. We suggest our 144/144 (kilo-bits here) IDSL for $80 a month".

    Well crap. I dont want to pay twice as much as I was paying with Ameritech for half the speed. So I came crawling back to Ameritech. But...

    "We're sorry, ADSL is not available in your area. You have been added to a list and will be informed when it becomes available." BTW- my friend across the street has Ameritech ADSL.

    So that's my story. I guess I got greedy. Ameritech is sending out a technician to see what the problem is (another 3 weeks). I tried talking with the sales represenitive, but it's no use. They can't help me. I asked speakeasy what they thought and they said the ADSL should have never been installed in the first play, and would have probably blown up (thats the word they used) within the next 6 months.

    So 2 days ago I called @home and am having that installed tomorrow. For $27 a month for the first 3 months. If only I could get that uncapped....

  • CapuNet is by far the best DSL ISP in the MD/DC/VA area period. They didn't take the low road and give away the service to get subscribers, they earned each one with a great product and have some competent people working for them who inturn work with Covad to get problems solved. Even at 4am!

    Anyone looking for DSL should avoid the large national carriers, should avoid the ILECS like the plague (with the exception of may one or two, can't remember them right off the bat), and support a smaller ISP that has been around for a while before the broadband hype.

    Check their reviews, and sign up.

    The DSL isn't as hard to get as it was say 3 years ago, when I first got it with BellAtlantic. Its much more prevelent and now that the first round of shake outs has begun, you can expect the situation to improve even more.

    And for those that live in an area where your entire community is having problems getting broadband, check you this link []. They put together their own wireless/wired broadband network for their community, all non-profit-like. 5$/mth for dialup, 20-30$/mth for 10MB/s wireless and for businesses T1/SDSL for 125$/mth... gotta admire love it...

  • It might be so,
    But they still had every right to do so since the customers did not pay.

    Why should they not do it?
  • Cable is not always the solution, here is the Akron area of ohio (an hour south of cleveland) the cable speeds in places really suck bad. My friend gets anywhere between 20k to 70k on transfers. He was excited the one day and emailed me saying he actually d/l'd something at 109k, the first time in a year or more. Another friend about 40 mins from him in another city gets over 300k most of the time. This all has to do with how many people in your area have the cable modems. This can be all solved if TWC would get more bandwidth but TWC isn't that smart, hell they merged with AOL. I had a cable modem for a month (it was a free trial). It started out pretty fast, pushing 200k but by the end of the month I was down to 45k. Conspiracy maybe? Who knows. I am just going to stick with my 128k isdn, dsl is far away from me (23,000 something ft). Besides with my isdn I have the ability to run servers and I like that. TWC doesn't let you at least they don't here.
  • that all of Covad's customers found this great new thing called DSLster. <SARCASM>What I can't figure out is why Slashdot is calling them slackers. Aren't they heroes for sticking it to Covad? I'm confused.</SARCASM>

  • by bconway ( 63464 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @11:38AM (#443152) Homepage
    It's really much more that the hardware and running costs far exceed the $40 a month that DSL companies are charging to make themselves competitive with the shared cable bandwidth. You really can't make money on DSL at the moment, plain and simple. On a personal note, I've been using SpeakEasy [], who does pay their Covad bill, and they're GREAT.
  • AT&T in D/FW does seem a bit more tolerant of "other operating systems" than the other horror stories I've been reading in this thread. In fact, I had prepared for @home installation by setting up the Win95 gaming machine as the "host" computer for the @home tech monkey to jack with, after which I would simply replace the Win machine with a Linux box. Well, it took only a couple of words with the tech -- "multi-node LAN" -- for here to drop off the paperwork, modem, and NIC and wish me a good day.

    I even got a static IP address out of the deal.

    For some reason, though, I think all of this is too good to be true, and I fear all of this will come crashing down on me once they figure out I'm actually using my own mail server instead of @home's lousy mail service.

    Then it will be time to set up one of those "community wireless" networks.

  • As much as I'd like to do that, there is one type of DSL available where I live (IDSL), so I don't know if it would be a solution. However, IDSL _IS_ a rip-off ($125/mo!), so maybe people would go for it. *shrug*
  • Tech support should learn that hardware routers are their friends, and support Linksys and Netgear systems. The homogeniety and simplicity of these systems put Windows to shame.

  • Well, I completely agree that dialup basically sucks. But it isn't completely useless: if you need to connect from multiple locations and use the same provider it's pretty much the only game in town (I'm thinking specifically of somebody who owns a laptop and has to travel hitehr and yon, not every motel 6 has a 10baseT port in every room...).

    But yeah, I too think that xDSL is probably the best broadband solution today, for technological as well as political reasons (i.e. opposing cable monopolies). Particular to the tech reasons, why are cable companies a) so unbelievably paranoid about people running their own servers? (hello, I like to be able to ssh home from work to check on stuff :-( ), and b) so finicky about static IP addresses? Grrr, Time Warner pisses me off...

    Fuck Censorship.
  • As an employee of an ISP (another Internet Express []) who has partnered with a CLEC to provide SDSL/IDSL to our customers, I'm amused by the thought of an ILEC 'squashing competition'. We're located on the border between Ameritech (now owned by SBC) territory and Qwest (USWest is now Qwest :) territory. To date, neither ILEC has been very competitive in terms of their DSL service. Ameritech is finally *beginning* to deploy DSL service (some two years late), but they're starting in Chicago and working their way out, so it looks they /still/ won't be in our home territory for another year.

    On the other side of the river we have Qwest, who is nominally an ILEC and and ISP; but they're still not able to provide the ISP portion of the service in our area, so any ADSL customers they sign up have to be referred to one of the regional ISPs, like us.

    So all in all, the ILECs really haven't posed much competition to us as of yet. I'm sure the situation is different elsewhere.

  • Yep, I've had a mega bit connection from Bell Sympatico here in Ontario for 14 months. I've been very impressed with the speed, reliability and consistency. At about USD$26/month, you can't beat the price, especially compared to what some people have said they pay.

    But, I should point out that Sympatico is part of Bell. If you go to other companies for your DSL, you are likely to get a run-around or unferior service. It's the same abuse of their market position that people are complaining about down in the US with the telco competing with ISPs. At least that's better than with cable, where there is only one ISP around here: Rogers@Home.
  • Folks, Chapter 11 (protection from creditors) is only a step towards bankruptcy. It allows the floundering company to gain some breathing room while they reorganize their finances and find a way to pay the bills.

    The reason why Covad has the policy of not changing your ISP while they are under Chapter 11 is because they LEGALLY CAN'T.

    Chapter 11 allows the ISP to keep operating while not paying their bills (although bills still accrue) that are required for the company to operate (power, water, rent, and in this case, Covad's services). Covad cannot turn them off yet, and cannot bump you to another ISP until the Chapter 11 protection runs out.

    Covad however IS turning off all of the ISPs that aren't paying, BEFORE they file Chap. 11. The fact that Covad is telling you means that they are looking out for their customer's customers, and that is VERY cool. Cut them some slack ... they just want to get paid. If you need someone to blame, blame the ISP for not managing their business properly.

    If you want to know how I know all of this (and, BTW, IANAL) ... my ISP just files Chap 11 about a month ago.

  • So what's the deal with CLEC[?]'s these days? Is there any hope of survival against the incumbent phone companies who will do anything to squash competition?
    IMHO, the problems started when the FCC said it was OK for telcos to be in the Internet connection business.

    The problems we are seeing now - horribly long times for DSL installs, poor service from EVERYONE, smaller ISPs being driven out of business, and even COVADS current financial troubles - are a direct result of allowing the Bells to compete against ISPs.

    Think about it. What if roads and cars worked the same way (I know, I know, it's stretching the analogy, but bear with me here), where there was only one company that built all the roads and then various companies that built cars to drive on those roads? Now, what happens if you let the road-building company make their own cars to sell to the public. Since they are now in control of BOTH cars and roadway, is there anything to stop them from accomodating their own cars at the expense of other car manufacturers?

    I have a friend who owns a smaller ISP and they were considering a class-action lawsuit against SBC for their unethical and downright criminal actions when it came to dealing with ISPs as customers.

    They would offer preferential treatment (in the form of lower prices, faster install dates, etc.) to their OWN subsidiary ISP and leave the others in the dust.

    Until they get the telcos OUT of the ISP market, we are going to continue seeing messes like PacBell, SBC, Covad, and others.

  • I know that FlashCom has been stiffing Covad, because I've been stiffing Flashcom. Not out of any desire to be cheap, but because their billing system was broken all last year, and when they finally did start billing me they did so by HTML e-mail with no address to which I could send a check!

    Of course when I called them to explain and ask how to pay they put me on eterna-hold and then promised that I'd get a call from someone real soon...

    So, I'm $500 in the hole to Flashcom, who obviously hasn't paid Covad for the service they're providing me. Now Flashcom's bankrupt and I'm sitting here using Covad's DSL for free.

    If they drop me, I'll just go back to Verizon, whose DSL I dropped when they went to PPPoE but wouldn't mind now that my access routers can log in for me.

    What a mess. This isn't Covad suckage, the DSL itself has been great - but the structure of the market makes it impossible for them to win.
  • by caino59 ( 313096 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @11:46AM (#443186) Homepage
    Seems that some ...DSL [] providers are proud to pay their bills...


    Don't touch my .sig there!

  • DSLReports [] has quite a bit of info on DSL providers especially customer reviews.
  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @11:46AM (#443188)
    Does this really find you a new DSL provider, as in transport layer, or ISP using one of the existing DSL providers like Covad or an existing LEC like the BabyBells?

    Changing DSL providers is more difficult than just switching ISPs who're reselling existing DSL infrastructure. Many, many of the ISPs just resell Covad or the existing BabyBell's DSL transport. Colocating DSLAMs in the zillion telco wire centers is a big, expensive infrastructure investment that most "ISPs" can't do or can't do with any real coverage. Your ISP is just a Covad reseller, BTW.

    It's kind of like switching long distance carriers -- there's a lot of them, but there aren't that many that actually own the fiber and switching facilities.
  • In my own experiences on the phone lines, the good phone monkeys never last long. They usually move up to jobs that don't involve direct contact with the customer fairly quickly. I'm sure you've seen what gets left at the bottom. If someone's been on phone support for 5 years, you do NOT want to talk to that person.

    Tech support really is the MacDonalds job of this industry.

  • Tis undoubtedly far too late to post this and receive any sort of decent response, but what the hell:

    What's needed is recognition of the advantages of a controlled monopoly. Monopolies have the advantage of scale; and if they're controlled by consumer advocacy, they're the perfect method of delivering "essential services."

    Up here in Canada, we had monopoly telephone service. Part of the consumer-dictated mandate was that (a) every damn corner of the country would have phone service; (b) when equipment was upgraded, it would be replaced with *new* equipment, not left-overs from someone other community's upgrade; (c) price controls; (d) service guarantees.

    Long-distance competition was opened up. Per-minute costs dropped, but the monthly service fees doubled and tripled, you have to pay for installation and repairs now, and the quality of service has declined.

    It's a bummer.

    Anyway, this is all a round-about way of saying that perhaps a monopoly ISP would be just peachy. It would have to be controlled, of course: you can't let wild monopolies loose, or you get the kind of shit we have with Microsoft. Gotta keep 'em tame, let them have reasonable profits, but also demand price controls, service guarantees and so on.

    Okay, so this is nearly incoherent. It's far too late for me to be up writing this, so it's probably a good thing that no one will be reading it...

  • I arranged to get IDSL service from Flashcom in Arlington, TX. They sent Covad out fairly quickly, who installed it.

    It worked for one hour. Then it stopped.

    I racked up over 40 hours of tech/customer support phone calls trying to convince them it was not a problem on my side. typical exchange:

    them: "wait! you're running Linux? linux can't do DSL."
    me: "uh ok, I'll just boot back into NT."
    them: "wait! you have multiple partitions. that's the problem"
    me: "please let me talk to your supervisor"
    them: "there are no supervisors here right now"

    They also sent out Covad (2x) who replaced a card in the phone box at my apt. complex. Nothing works. But I *do* have service tickets at Flashcom, Covad, and SWBell. So that's something.

    I decided to just give up on it, especially since I hadn't received a bill (3 months of wrangling). Then, on the day I start my move to AZ, I get a bill in the mail for $295 installation and 2 months x $51.85/mo. Fuck. Billed to my credit card. Double fuck.

    Move to AZ

    After hours on hold with Flashcom billing and 'customer service' I finally get them to close my account (even though it never worked, and was noted as such on my account history). Their 'equipment' had shown the link as working and active even though the router had not been plugged in for 3 months and the phone line had been disconnected for an entire month. They say they'll refund the money; no problem. 3 weeks later and no refund. More hours on hold. It's coming Real Soon Now. 2 more weeks. Receive another bill for monthly service at $51.85 (total is now $451. after I closed my account. again.) I file a dispute with my CC. Magically the full amount gets refunded. Receive letter from CC company (MBNA) saying dispute not necessary, cash refunded. I'm blissful. Next day, I check my CC statement, and the *entire fucking amount* has been recharged to my card. Call Flashcom (2 hours on hold for a long distance call that I keep being hung up on due to high caller volume. It's not even a FIFO system. It's a (Buffer full? Flush buffer.) system). After 4 hours, I get through. Oh, we didn't close your *billing* account; we just closed your internet account. Oh, and we re-charged you because the person who refunded the money last time only had this level of authority instead of this other one. Begin dispute process on new charges.

    Moral: Do not set up automatic charges to your credit/debit card. That, and if you think you're going to take it in the a$$, then at least buy some KY.

    If you have Flashcom now. I would highly recommend switching carriers as a preventive measure.

  • So (if I read the press release correctly), the decision makers at Internet Express took Covad's propaganda as gospel, failed to do their due dilligence, and mindlessly signed up. Then the company found out that the world wasn't as rosy as the propaganda claimed.

    Sorry, but the fault lies with Internet Express. If they pulled their heads out of their arse and acted liked true business people, they wouldn't be in this situation.

  • I had for a little less than a year, never was I sent a bill nor did I recieve a call. They went bust (aquired by Earthlink)

    Reference? I've seen no indication that Earthlink have bought Flashcom.

  • I agree completely -- check out the HomeBrew DSL page (google it, I can't be bothered).

    A netopia router and head unit per conection was out $800 US last time I looked. Around here, a T1 is about $1500 US per month, and an alarm circuit (unloaded copper pair) from the ILEC costs $15 US per month.

    So, for an $800 startup fee per customer, 100 customers on a T1 (not unrealistic, especially with no competition!), you can provide DSL for about $30 a month and break even. Oh, and spend $2000 on a Cisco Router -- a one-time expense.

    Sounds reasonable to me. You could probably do better pricewise on the hardware, too -- I chose that solution when DSL was relatively new.

    If you wanted to be a real-honest-to-God ISP, you could probably provide that hardware, and jack the price up to reasonable levels to allow you to recoup your hardware costs in 18 months or so. The best part is, you can probably get a $100 "sign up" fee, no problem-o.

  • by artistX ( 213795 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @12:59PM (#443207)

    I originally heard about this a few months ago as I had some co-location dealings with a company that also sold Covad DSL (Internet Express here in San Diego). My buddy happened to know people there and got kind of an inside scoop.

    Here's the gist of it, Covad would go to these local companies and show them how profitable it would be for them to resell DSL accounts. Of course the initial cost of setting everything up is astronomical, but hey the future is bright, don't worry about such things...
    Well Covad basically told these resellers not to worry and that everything would be fine, and that they had to purchase these huge contracts that they didn't have enough users to cover - but it would be fine in the long-run.
    I don't know if someone at Covad finally realized they weren't going to get paid any time in the near future or if they had this planned all the time - but one day they told everyone, hey you're in debt to us - give us all your subscribers and we'll give you a break on what's due.

    And somehow Covad ends up with all these subscribers after having paid out little to nothing or get them... Odd.

    The CEO of Internet Express went so far as to issue a press release [] on this. Pretty tame, I would have been a lot more blunt. Then again, I'll probablly never be a CEO :)

  • I could not agree more. Telcos should be prohibited from being ISPs. They're granted a monopoly, which I guess is OK because it's regulated, but they're leveraging that monopoly to boost their competetive ISP service, which is not OK.


  • Ask dope-boy for a Time-Delay Reflectometer. I know where they can be had for about $10,000US, that would have solved your problem by *easily* pinpointing the tap.

  • by WebCowboy ( 196209 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @11:47AM (#443211)
    Why does a country with a leading role in technology and the global economy have such a hard time deploying and marketing the latest innovations? DSL seems to be the latest in a long line of examples.

    Think about it. Television, video tape, transistors and microchips all came to being in the US, and non-US companies seem to grab it and run with it. How many TVs, VCRs and video cameras are actually MADE in the US? Next to none (I think there is maybe ONE picture-tube facility in the US--if they haven't already been shut down). A lot of semiconductor manufacturing occurs in the US, but a relatively HUGE amount occurs in Asia (an earthquake in tiny Taiwan didn't cause RAM prices to jump for nothing).

    Now we have DSL. The technology leader here is the US, but communications companies can't get their crap together to provide decent service. Even in Canada (which has even bigger problems exploiting home-grown innovation IMHO) we are doing it better. I've had DSL for over a year--I consistently get 1 to 2 Mbps inbound and nearly that outbound and have had less than ONE DAY of outage (in Alberta). In Ontario, some people are even contemplating switching from the horribly inconsistent Rogers@home cable service to DSL because of server outages. Ironically the problems with Cable internet in Canada have a lot to do with screw-ups by the US-based @Home network.

    What is Canada doing different than the US for there to be such a difference? I think the US has to be at least as capable (if not more) to provide the best of the best to it's consumers. If private companies can do it with DSL in Canada (despite its higher taxes and over-regulation which gets in the way sometimes), why can't the US? I've always had the impression that the US was much more free enterprise and that US consumers don't put up with the crap Canadians and others would take.

    Of course, the telecommnications industry in Canada was privatised and deregulated in a much different manner than in the US. Does anyone have an insight into how come the telephone companies and DSL ISPs are so screwed up in the US?
  • There's probably a tap somewhere on your line, or anything else creating 'line noise'. A friend moved the DSL pairs on his netbox to a different pair into his house when he had flakey service and all is good. Try different pairs?

    Ok, I responded, now my thoughts:
    DSL is awesome- solid performance and great tech. Wait til VoDSL comes out and the DSL users can totally drop their local phone company. Then video-ver-DSL and who needs cable?

    The DownSide to DSL is having to go through your local ILEC. I have service with Rhythms directly (not a partner) and the service is kick-ass. I've had it just under two years now, a solid 256k SDSL connection that NEVER under-performs and often gives me 28-30K connections. It is expensive though- $120 a month. But it's worth it cause it goes down so rarely. The past two years, been down a total of 15 days. Pretty good for new tech. AND each time that outage went more than 5 days, they took 30% off my monthly bill, no hassles (though I did have to request it).

    Look, this technology is still in its infancy. Cars sucked for a long time before they got to where they are today. Same with most everything else. Just because we live in a fast-paced society doesn't mean everything is gonna work out right from the start. Patience!

    DSL will be around for a while, and let's PRAY that at least one other provider remains. Verizon SUCKS for phone service, I'd hate to rely on them for my DSL service more than I already have to. And imagine the support/pricing hell we'll go through if you can only get DSL from your local ILEC!

    disclaimer: I own stock in RTHM, cause I really think they've done it right. Of course, it's so in the red...but someday! ;)
  • An even better place to look for new a DSL ISP [plug] is [] from the company I work for, gromco.
    You can submit a request for a proposal and see all the different ISPs offers. [/plug]
  • I have a friend in the same situation. I think this is why flashcom is going belly up. They were giving away their service for free. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that practice was a business no-no. The question is WHY did they make such a decision? It seems somewhat unlikely that that kind of detail would be overlooked. You almost have to go out of your way to not charge people for something like that.
  • For what it's worth... It still costs $100+ for a dedicated 28.8 connection. I was paying $150/month for my dedicated 33.6 connect and /28 subnet right up until the day I moved to Austin in November. (Now I'm blisfully happy with my $90/month 144kbps IDSL from
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 09, 2001 @12:06PM (#443219)
    Working for an ISP that was in this situation with Covad, let me explain how this is really going:
    1) Covad sucks. Bad. Their turn-around-time on trouble tickets is from 3 days to 3 months, sometimes longer.
    2) Covad does not know what they are doing as a collective whole. Their ordering department knows more about the install than the high-school dropout they send to do the install.
    3) Covad does not want to resolve these issues, and then expects payment.
    4) ISPs have been WITHHOLDING PAYMENT until Covad FIXES their problems.
    5) Covad disconnects them rather than fix their problems.
    6) Covad will file Chapter 11/13 due to this behaviour.

    And that is business with Covad. There are few "deadbeat" ISPs but they are NOT the norm. Bills are being suspended because of a customer service problem; nothing more.
  • Hey, I'm on flashcom, and haven't been shut off...

    [hurriedly checks connection home]

    Yup, still there.

    Though their service really sucks, and since Covad were the ones who originally installed the line, and since their service was great, I wish they would switch me.
  • In the grand scheme of things, DSL technology is FAR from dead. Where I'm at (Calgary, Canada) the situation is opposite. DSL from several providers matches and often exceeds Cable (provided by Shaw@home which has a monopoly on the Calgary cable market). My next door neighbour has Cable internet, I have DSL. I get THREE TIMES the transfer rate and significantly better ping times (Even when we ping other computers on Shaw's network!).

    I've also had better uptime than the typical Shaw customer--more than once in the past year, the @home servers crap out or Shaw decides to shut down service to perform some upgrade (usually starting on Friday so as to piss off the enitre neighbourhood for an entire weekend). This is a vicious cycle--Shaw slows down to less than 20 Kbyte/sec, the service goes out for the weekend and comes back at 50-150 Kbyte/sec then degrades slowly to under 20, rinse, repeat... This isn't a problem for "1%" of cable users here--I think it's more like 15% to 50%.

    I'm sure that living in the extremely fast growing suburban Calgary is a factor, and that in more established areas the service from Shaw is a bit more consistent. But the fact is, "massive growth in subcriber base" seems to have a HUGE effect on performance, and DSL is consistent, reliable and provides better service than cable(well--except maybe for Telus)--at least where I live. Therefore, I expect Cable and DSL to duke it out for awhile yet (Covad might have financial problems, but @Home and the cable companies also have many problems of their own).
  • I think the worst is yet to come in the "DSL Shakeout"

    I work at a small DSL-only ISP in the New York area. We don't have much for services, but we provide good performance at a decent price. (Our DS-3 is loaded at 3 percent for those complaining of over-subscription) I provide technical assistance, with never a waiting time.

    We could be profitable if we had more customers, but unfortunately it costs a lot of money to get customers. Advertising is a significant part of the equation. Consider that we need about 1000 users to be profitable. That would require about 2500 users to sign-up since more than half will cancel before they're ever installed.

    Unfortunately, last year cost everyone a ton of money. With everyone giving away routers and setups, and charging barely enough to cover their Covad bills, it's no wonder why so many are now failing.

    Those with the deep pockets are now playing a waiting game, hoping to be the last one standing.

    I don't blame Covad for doing what they can to become profitable, but I'm not sure that cutting off their ISP's is a wise choice. Read how many people here have found cable to be a more desirable alternative.

    If in the end, it is the one with the most money who wins, then it will likely be the ILEC who will be the last one standing. Then they will be free to raise rates, and provide even less service than they do today.

    I think the government is to blame for not going far enough in the Telecom Reform of '96. The ILEC has stretched that weakness to the furthest extent possible. They suck to the furthest extent of the law. Covad is to blame for not doing enough to help ailing ISP's. If we're to blame for not running our business well enough, we're in good company.

    I don't want to offend anyone, but you guys out there who didn't know you needed a NIC card to get DSL. Those of you who ordered from five companys, and then cancelled all but the first one installed. Those of you who ordered ADSL for your business with 50 users. You're part of the problem as well. I won't name names, you know who you are.
  • That the onle way DSL will really take off is if ddsl modems are as easy to obtain as 56k modems and as easy to install.

    Several companies make this technology, where you install a network card in your computer hook it up to the modem and attach filters to your phones, but they only sell it through them. What ends up happening is you end up waiting and waiting for the parts to come. Earthlink, Telocity and Radio Shack have this technology as wel I am sure there are others. This means you don't need covad or anyone else to install any new phone lines in your house.

    This also has the adcantage that if you move you don't have to get a new line in your new place, you just move your modem and filters with you.

    This of cource would mean that Covad would do less business, but so what who wants to deal with Covad there ISP and PacBell when something goes wrong with the line anyway???? (Yes some people do have to deal with this just look at

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • put the fear of Goddess into the DSL CLECs, the ILECs, the Cable companies, and all the rest of these players in this sorry game...


    It's coming, folks. Give it less than five years.

    ---- -- All your estrogen are belong to us!

  • I frankly think cable is the way to go. I live in Central Jersey and have CableVision's Optimum Online service. I live in a fairly well-to-do area (meaning most of my neighbors probably have cable) and I routinely get 100KB/sec transfer rates and I have hit as high as 350KB/sec and my HalfLife ping is normally 70 or less... All this while my father in the next town has DSL and _NEVER_ (not even at 3am) gets anything over 50KB/sec.
  • "We're shocked," said Melmed, who says his company was completely blindsided by Covad's action.

    "We are in a situation where we need to make smart business decisions that will get us to profitability. We're not here to fund other people's businesses."

    This is a perfect example of fast talking company representatives trying to manipulate the emotions of the public. The simple fact is that they aren't paying their bills. I can't imagine why they are shocked, possibly because their stalling techniques didn't work?

    If someone was renting a portion of your home and they weren't paying the bills, you would certainly want them out. That's what happened here.

  • No. Slamming is switching a customer without their permission. They can recommend you switch all they want, but it's ultimately the customer's decision. Look at it this way. Covad isn't disconnecting end users, it's disconnecting the ISPs. Big difference, and it's well within their rights to do so if the ISPs aren't paying. It'd be no different if an ISP's backbone provider or POP provider pulled the plug.
  • speakeasy rocks.... They even have a litte coffee shop/cafe in seattle. Know a couple of the guys you work there. The people who run the tech really know what they are doing.
  • by Weasel Boy ( 13855 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @12:14PM (#443256) Journal

    Is there any hope of survival against the incumbent phone companies who will do
    anything to squash competition?

    No. As long as the company that owns the wires also provides service to customers, in the end they will always win because they can control how much their competitors must pay to reach the same customers -- and that's profit, too. Even a home-run success by a CLEC will ultimately just bankroll the ILEC's effort to wipe out the competition.

    The only way we will ever see true competition in telephone service (or in electric or gas, for that matter) is to make sure that whoever owns the distribution infrastructure is not also competing to provide service to customers.

    And the best way to ensure that the monopoly company that owns the infrastructure doesn't ream everybody is public ownership. For a good example of healthy competition via public infrastructure, consider the shipping business: Private carriers travelling on public highways.

  • by ucblockhead ( 63650 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @12:15PM (#443259) Homepage Journal
    Be carefull. They went for months without billing me, then one day figured it out and dropped a bill for six month's service on me.

  • When we signed up for @Home in Seattle I had to train my wife never to say anything like Mac, Linux, or BSD to their staff. I found out later that they are "tolerant" of alternative OSes, but I didn't want to take any chances. I even got a static IP too, but they just started trying to take it away. No exemption for Linux was mentioned. I will mention that that is happening in D/FW if they bring it up again.

    The ToS don't let you run a server, but I am running a few Apache virtual hosts and getting sometimes 700+ unique visitors a day... If they do any kind of serious auditing, they'll find me sooner or later. Fingers crossed. I don't want the hassle or expense of switching to DSL.

    I am also running my own mail server, because as you said, theirs sucks. Running your own internet services on your own hardware is a great experience. Couldn't live without it now.

  • I think the reason is that the free Unix-alikes are complicated, and their monkeys can't handle the support. It would cost them more to train people, and develop documentation to support the non "mainstream" OS user. It is much easier and cheaper to blame every problem on the customer, pinning it on the OS choice.

    As to more likely to run a server -- probably true as well.
  • by ca1v1n ( 135902 ) <snook AT guanotronic DOT com> on Friday February 09, 2001 @11:22AM (#443271)
    Before anyone goes ripping on these folks for screwing the end user, keep in mind that they're working to keep the end user hooked up. Of course this is self-serving, but it's their duty as a business. They had 14 DSL providers default on them last year, and they've got another 4 filing for bankruptcy. If they didn't do this, they could face a shareholder lawsuit. As for what DSLnetworks said about it being an attempt to bring in more customers, I would say that it is a perfectly valid effort to bring in PAYING customers. A customer is only a burden if the middle-man doesn't pay up. Sucks that it had to happen, for all involved, but it sound to me like they were well prepared and kept the end user in mind.
  • Do you mind if I ask how in the world Covad would be liable for damages (assuming that their side of the story is true)?

    Let's say that I make notepads, I sell them to a re-seller who, in turn, sells them to the common folk and businesses that need notepads. This reseller stops paying me, so I stop giving him notepads, thus his customers stop getting notepads. Would I be liable for their not having notepads?

  • There is also the curious fact that people who get connections that don't work through Covad are not keen on paying their bills.

    I am one of those customers; I have a bill of over $300 for bad service (the service literally has not been up for 24 hours without some sort of problem), and my provider (UUNET) is telling me not to pay it, and is getting me on to Rhythms.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Covad still winds up billing UUNET for the "service" they gave me; it's just fortunate that UUNET is a company of exceptional financial strength (which also charges high fees so they can afford to eat them on occasion).


  • My argument has NOTHING TO DO with the actual technology. I am fully aware that we share the same phone system and took digital and analogue communications courses in University. I even pointed out that the technology even came into being in the US. The whole problem seems to be with management.

    What I am puzzled about is how come American ISP's are defaulting left and right and having their services shut down by suppliers. Why can't these comapnies remember to invoice their customers and pay their bills to their suppliers? Why does DSL cost twice as much and take three times as long to get in the US than it does just north of the border?

    This isn't meant as an anti-American statement. I even said that Canada is deploying high-speed internet (and specifically DSL) better than the US despite being higher taxed, over-regulated and less competitive than the US. Generally, Americans don't put up with the same kind of bull from government and corporations that Canadians do, and it's time that Canadians put their feet down (ever try to fly Air Canada (AKA Aeroflot of the West) lately, or deal with the CCRA when your internet purchase gets held up at the border because the customs agent wants to know 50 more pages of stuff about what's inside the box?).

    At the risk of offending fellow Canadians, maybe it's time for Americans to stop being so "Canadian" when it comes to high speed internet access (and some other high-tech areas)and take these companies to task. They've been quite successful in the past in other industries (Through a combination of consumers voting with dollars and government persuasion, domestic cars are of much better quality for example)...
  • by antis0c ( 133550 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @11:23AM (#443280)
    Thats funny, I have a friend who had his Internet service through Flashcom, and Flashcom just recently filed Chapter 11, my friend went to Covads site to investigate on how to get another ISP, however Covads reponse was, "It is Covads policy not to allow customers to switch ISPs while their current ISP is in the process of filing Chapter 11", so he's stuck using a free dialup temporarly...
  • by Seinfeld ( 243496 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @11:24AM (#443284)
    Anyone who has had people owe them money knows how to spot a deadbeat. Covad knows their customers. I would not be surprised if most of the customers that Covad turned off were just trying to stall with "payment plan" negotiations they mentioned in the article.

    If a customer is going to file bankruptcy in a few months, then if you wait to turn them off until then, you'll never see a dime. If you turn them off while they still need the service, then you stand a reasonable chance of collecting *something*. What Covad did is just good sense dealing with bad customers. Deadbeats in translucent-plastic, high-tech decor and stylish casualwear are still deadbeats. Cut 'em off.
  • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @04:04PM (#443286) Homepage
    No, we need DSL to stay, as an alternative to the other VERY SUCKY technologies currently available.

    1. Dialup is just plain useless.
    2. Cable is fast becoming a monopoly nightmare - I refuse to have anything to do with Cable companies because of the way they've handled my TV service in the past, obnoxious bundling, etc. that and the shared bandwidth, and security issues crap.
    3. Satelite - obnoxiously expensive, high latency.
    4. ISDN - astronomically expensive.

    DSL CAN be done, cheaply and well. It's probably more of a regulatory problem now, than technical. It is the future of internet access, as far as I'm concerned. Yes, the teeming masses need something like cable. It's gotta be there, and frankly, it's nice that there's something that keeps the DSL people at least attempting to be on their toes. Eventually, this will work out, and we'll have a variety of decent, mature technologies to choose from.

    The alternative was the nonsense we used to have, where it used to be cheaper to get a T1 than ISDN, and dialup was the only real alternative for people who weren't independently wealthy. And as I said before, dialup is completely useless. If there's a technology that NEEDS to go away, it's dialup. I can't believe I'm expected to pay $30 a month for the privilege of waiting 30-60 seconds to establish a connection that's slow and unstable as hell. Just fuck that.
  • When you know more about computers than the tech support reps of the company you're dealing with. Trying to convince some minimum wage phone monkey that the problem is in their kit is a complete waste of time. All you can do is ask to speak to their manager the moment they start to blow you off. Your only chance to get reasonable service is to make it clear you'll escallate to God Himself if they jerk you around.

    Of course, you pretty much know what you're getting in to when you sign on with one of those retail ISPs. I'm sure most of @home's clientele wouldn't know a router from a roach clip, so they can afford to steal PFYs from the local MacDonalds to support them. And ultimately what does it matter if they piss off a few power users, that's not really their demographic.

    That's why I did my research before I settled on Speakeasy. Sure I'm paying (a lot) more than your average @home user, but on the rare occasion that I've had questions, their guys have actually exhibited cluefulness. Their customer service has always been responsive, and they mostly leave me alone. That is worth the premium to me.

  • by BobGregg ( 89162 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @12:02PM (#443291) Homepage
    >>These numbers are before the FCC right now and
    >>investigations are underway into the Bell's
    >>attempts to destroy the three major DSL
    >>companies. Why do you think Verizon dropped
    >>their long distance application in New England?

    I used to work for Verizon (Bell Atlantic at the time). I was team lead for a software project team that implemented one of their gateway systems, i.e. the systems outside organizations - CLECs, whatever - have to call to access the ordering and preordering facilities. I can just about guarantee you that DSL has either marginal or no relationship with why VZ dropped their LD bid in New England.

    According to FCC whim, VZ has to pay huge - literally humungous - per day fines if they miss performance penalties on any of a couple dozen possible transactions they support. Those fines are per state. VZ has had serious internal problems meeting those requirements - and not due to anything sinister either, it's just very hard to meet the performance requirements in particular. God knows we all worked our asses off day and night trying to get our systems in shape to get LD in New York. Believe me, most of the folks there *want* to compete - in fact they're quite eager for it. But the requirements change so fast and are so stringent that it has been next to impossible to get it all done. In some cases, the requirements have just capriciously changed with next to no notice. You try meeting dot-com-style deadlines - court-imposed ones, no less - in a Baby-Bell-style bureaucracy. Good luck!

    Fortunately for them, those fines I mentioned don't get activated until the day the FCC gives final approval in that state. In some cases, that means that if their LD applications *had* been approved, they'd suddenly be liable for, oh, say a couple million per week in fines, regardless of whether they were actually in business there or not. Needless to say, they've yanked some of the applications. Gee, go figure. DSL does play into that, but it isn't just the provisioning that's the problem; the IT side of it, from where I sat, was even worse.

    Incidentally, LD applications are done by state, and "New England" isn't a state, so where are you referring to - Massachusetts, perhaps? VZ already has LD in one New England state, New York; the system I helped develop helped them meet the requirements to get that.
  • There are so many factors DSL performance depends on that generalizing all DSL users and saying DSL is bad because your father can't get over 50Kb/sec is an invalid comparison. DSL speed varies with each user. For example, I have DSL and I regularly get a sustained throughput of up to 110Kb/s. It also has a lot to do with how much you're paying and the quality of your ISP.


  • the problem with dsl is that it's hard to get going, and if something goes wronge it's hard to find someone to take responsibility.

    trying to get dsl in the UT area of austin is a so painfull that wardens in a turkish prison wouldn't use out of humanity for the prisoners.

    I spent 2 months on a dial up waiting for southwestern bell, covard, and speakeasy to hold hands. then called road runner and they set me up the next day!


    Streamripper []

  • by alteran ( 70039 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @12:19PM (#443300)
    I've noticed A LOT of folks here complaining about the RBOCs-- Verizon, USWest, etc. Several folks have commented about how the FCC does nothing.

    The FCC does not have enforcement authority for DSL! Call your state Utilities Commission!

    I've had a NIGHTMARE install here in North Carolina and finally called the FCC, which is how I found out they had no authority. They referred me to the Utilties Commission. Within one day I had an apologetic Verizon representative on the phone, after getting stonewalled for weeks. She called all sorts of people, got me the names of various people responsible for my local CO and followed up with them. FWIW, I still don't have DSL-- the DSL lines in my area are oversold and EVERYONE is waiting for new lines-- including Verizon. But I got the very clear impression that Verizon took complaints to the Utilities Commission very seriously.

  • YOu mentioned moving to arizona, I've lived in arizona for a while, and the only DSL provider in my town at the time I ordered it was Theriver as an ISP, and new edge networks as the DSL carrier. I recommend against them. I have so many stories i can tell you if you would like to hear them.

  • Is there any hope of survival against the incumbent phone companies who will do anything to squash competition?

    Is it really the incumbent phone companies fault that these new guys apparently don't know how to run a business?

  • by abischof ( 255 ) <alex.spamcop@net> on Friday February 09, 2001 @11:24AM (#443307) Homepage
    If you're looking for a new DSL provider, I'd highly recommend checking out DSL Reports []. In the DSL Finder [] section, you can even search for DSL providers by Zip Code.

    And, no, I don't work for them, but I did find my current DSL provider (CapuNet [], which I'm very pleased with) through this method.

    Alex Bischoff

  • IDSL isn't really DSL now, is it.

    It's some fucked-up ISDN hack designed to help DSL grab marketshare. But they can't charge DSL prices for it, because it's ISDN.
  • by UnifiedTechs ( 100743 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @11:25AM (#443310) Homepage
    Covad has been planning this for a few months, Last year they had around $179 million in accounts recievable, and over $11 million is uncollectable, I don't blame covad one bit for doing this, and they are trying to make it as painless for the customers involved as possible, kudos to covad, I don't blame them at all, if they had let this continue think about if they went out of buisness and the number of people that would be affected.
  • by jafac ( 1449 )
    heh - Pacific Bell treats me a bit more nicely. They freaked out when I told them I was connecting through a LinkSys router - and made me take it out of the equation, and I had to install PPPoE Enternet back on my machine, a Macintosh (another "hairy scary" deal) - and they also didn't like me running Mac OS X; but by the time I had set things up the way that made support happy, THEIR server problem mysteriously went away, and I was able to connect. I uninstalled Enternet, and reconnected the router, and had it connect to PPPoE again, and it worked, after 3 solid days of not working, tweaking, resetting, firmware updating, etc. So the problem was not on my end.

    I've done software phone support for 9 years, and I've learned that the first thing you do is figure out the technical level of the customer before you say or do ANYTHING. And if they're competent, don't fuck with them.
  • by dogas ( 312359 ) on Friday February 09, 2001 @11:30AM (#443319) Homepage
    For over a year I've been receiving free service from flashcom. Occasionally, they would give me a call stating how much I owe, and I continually said, "send me a bill and I'll pay it". They never send me a bill. They do send me newsletters, so they know where I live, and currently, I still have service as if nothing happened. Did I fall through a crack or what? How many others aren't paying a dime for flashcom's service? Is it any wonder they went bankrupt?

  • Is it possible the speeds you were quoted were for ADSL? SDSL has a greater range than ADSL. But at 16000 feet 384Kb SDSL is about the best you can get. So I can understand your situation. What I don't understand is how your neighbor is getting those speeds at 16000 feet. Maybe your neighbor is hooked to a CO that is closer and owned by the same company, but just not available to you (for whatever reason)? Either that or his line quality is insanely good.
  • By the same token you have some good ISP you have their shit together (like speakeasy in Seattle). Speaking of DSL we got our lines upgraded, and we know get a solid 160K/sec Kilobyte a second not kilobit.
  • I live in Mobile, AL and I have Comcast@home running through Linux. Customer support sucks if you need it, but they are tolerant of linux. In fact, their 888 number (which took me about 20 minutes to find and is 888-793-0800) has 3 selections on their menu.

    1) Windows
    2) Macintosh
    3) Other Operating System

    Not that pushing 3 was any help.

    In general, I have been pleased with my connection. I was regularly getting 500+kb/s down and 128kb/s up. Kicked ass.

    However, today the service is 80/16 - and I can't get anyone to explain why. I called customer service and they were clueless. I've run across a few more @home users in the southeast U.S. who have reported the same thing. Anyone know what is up? Tech support is 888-793-0800. They wouldn't support their line because I was running Linux. Pretty much, they told me to fsck off and hung up.
  • When the @Home tech came to my house to install my cable modem, he was quite friendly. While I watched him work, he did not poke at my files, explore anything out of the network settings, and that was it. He was quite helpful and friendly.

    HOWEVER, when I was having problems with my modem constantly dropping, I called @Home and had them send a tech over, who was, for lack of a better word, a complete prick. He came in, sat down at my computer, and proceeded to go through the "My documents" (yes, I use Windows on this box. No flames please.) folder. When he heard me go "ummm.." he clicked down to Control Panel, and went and started fucking around with my network configuration, even before he asked me what the problem was. It was attrocious -- I take my computer to LANs all the time, so I have a few extra protocols, etc installed. He, without asking me, proceeded to remove ALL of them, except the ones that are required for the service. Naturally, I lost all the settings.

    It was awful. Plain and simple. Anybody else have a similar experience?

  • I petitioned Pacific Bell in 1999 with tons of names of people in my town who all wanted DSL, and what have they done? Jack shit. The same thing goes for TCI (now AT&T Cable). 5000 people obviously isn't enough to warrant putting in a few DSLAMs or for TCI to upgrade their shitty cable system. And because I live behind a big old hill, I can't get Sprint's wireless broadband. I've given up on getting fast Internet access at a reasonable price.

Ya'll hear about the geometer who went to the beach to catch some rays and became a tangent ?