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Dangers in the DSL World 210

shanec writes "As a former NorthPoint subscriber, eagerly awaiting the conversion to Rhythms, this article about the potential of Rhythms, and Covad going down also scares the #$^* out of me!" I think the article is a little inflamatory, but it does underscore a disturbing situation.
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Dangers in the DSL World

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    The best way to define .NET is to think about what .NET is going to do. Microsoft believes a silent shift to distributed computing is happening. Over the last couple of years, people have been laying fat pipes to the point where bandwidth is a lot less limited than it has been in the past. Combined with the Moore's Law effect where the processing power doubles every eighteen months and the prices are halved, you now have the option to do really distributed computing for the first time: because bandwidth is less expensive, you can do the processing wherever it is most optimal.

    There are lots of examples of such distributed applications today. Napster is an application that uses a rich client talking to a directory service in the cloud, and uses all of the participating computers on the network as servers. Another example of a distributed application is instant messaging, where you have a rich client that talks to a buddy list in the cloud and communicates with other rich clients - Instant Messenger and Windows - in the network.

    So .NET is aimed at accelerating this next generation of distributed computing.

    (snipped from the Microsoft .Net homepage at [])
  • Here's another idea. If DSL providers actually policed their network, and culled all the script kiddies, nukers, DVD-downloaders, DDoSsers

    ... Napster users, Gnutella users, people running HTTP servers, people running SSH servers, people downloading pr0n...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Ehh, close enough.
  • Needless to say, I ordered a T1 a few days ago. It might cost me 3x - 4x more per month, but I know my connection won't suck and it won't go down. I'll also be able to get more than a /29 with out begging and screaming!

    Since when are T1's immune from going down? The place I used to work at had a T1 from Harvardnet that went down frequently (maybe once every other month which is frequently compared with my Speakeasy DSL line at home). In fact, the last time it went down Harvardnet refused to fix it and said that a new T1 line would need to be installed. They said it would only take a month for this to happen whereas it usually takes them 6 months, which was supposed to somehow make us feel better about our service being cut off after having been loyal customers for several years.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, if your DSL provider goes bankrupt, now might be the perfect time for the *Customers* to buy them out. If you can get enough people together, to do a customer buyout of a failing DSL provider, you'll now have a solid customer base that's not going anywhere, and stand a good chance of making a ton of money when the market climbs back out of the doldrums and DSL becomes a hot item again. Not only that, now that the customers own the company, the board of directors and CEO are directly responsible to YOU the customer.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You can buy exactly that from AT&T and other ISPs - it's multi-user SDSL service, usually under $200 per month.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    All succesful technologies make initial revenues from the sex industry. It happened with VHS, it happened with Pay internet, it happened with the printing press, even the telegraph. The need for sex has meant that people will spend a lot on this

    But DSL is aimed at the typical consumer - the family man with 2.6 children. He isn't going to pay a lot for a service like that.

    Until DSL is used primarily for this purpose it will make a loss. I guarentee

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The reason why DSL and Cable Companys are going out of business so quickly is the factthat they cant cope with the traffic costs of the users. I think the real issue here is the stranglehold on bandwidth price that the major telco's hold as well as the tight restrictions which governments place on communications startups by charging crazy prices for frequencies and skyspace for sattelites (note: the 3G bandwidth prices).

    Some of the blame also falls onto users who like to sap the system for everything they can get. I myself cost my ISP about $600 a month in data while i only pay $40. They have to rely on users who only use the service for picking up email and doing a bit of browsing every so often.

    Whether its good or bad, technology like P2P and Napster is quickly turning most home users into a bandwidth abusers. However I see this as the providers fault for not having stricter rules. Its fairly clear that we *need* more bandwidth, faster and cheaper access as we become more reliant on multi-media intensive applications.

    This is all good if governments and major Telco's would play the game too.

    Flames totally welcome, please reply with your economical analyses on this problem :)
  • but here's the thing, as soon as ISP's get picky about what goes on their network, they're accountable for the content on it. and then who is the riaa legally going to be going after? the isps.

    there's no chance this is going to happen.

    most of the congestion problems are on the internet anyway, not on isp's access networks. now it's a whole different story, however, with access methods that are shared - wireless and cable for example.
  • Surprisingly, it's not that they don't charge enough to cover costs (Which is what they actually charge the ISP to cover operating experience, leasing the copper from the baby bells, and making the small profit); it's that with all the smaller ISPs going out of business, disappear, or otherwise being deliquent in their payments that is hurting the DSL line people, rather than the actual consumers. Rhythms, which might run their own ISP business but are primarily into the line operations, rarely deal directly with the consumer save at install time; I, for example, cannot call up Rhythms for support if I know it's a line problem, I have to place the ticket through my ISP (it's part of the AUP).

  • Unlike Northpoint, which served customers over a large number of different ISPs (which themselves had different DSL providers depending on region), a majority of Rhythms users are with Telocity, and a majority of Telocity's users are on Rhythms network. If Rhythms should have to sell out, I would suspect that Telocity would be there immediately to buy them out, possibly getting other ISPs invovled to help out.
  • I have my DSL through Speakeasy and Covad and I also pay $90/mth. That's for a 384K SDSL connection ( meaning, for the non-clued, 384kbps up and down, a balanced connection ). That also gets me 2 static IP addresses and 2 email accounts. On that connection I am allowed ( encouraged even ) to run game and web servers. When you consider that the connection is a balanced one ( ideal for servers ) and that TOS allows you to run servers ( many others do not and will block ports / disconnect your service if you do ), that $90/mth doesn't seem that bad.
  • Microsoft partnered with Staq to provide doublespace, then broke the partnership, and Microsoft had to change the name to drivespace, but was still forced to pay Staq to implement the code.
  • Personally, I got so sick of Charter Cable's outages and price hikes, I dumped them, went for Satelite TV DISH Network (MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCHO better signal quality), and DSL for internet services. (PacBell).

    DSL was a pain in the ass to set up, 6 weeks of futzing back and forth, but once it was set up, I haven't had even a hiccup. Speeds are consistent, both down and up.

    Plus, I don't have to deal with the pain of sending money to a monopoly I hate.
  • No, Gore took California anyway, would have made no difference in the national outcome.
  • Here's another idea. If DSL providers actually policed their network, and culled all the script kiddies, nukers, DVD-downloaders, DDoSsers etc., they could save themself one hell of a lot of money on bandwidth charges to their upstream provider.

    Here's an easier way...why don't they just lower the amount of bandwidth everyone gets. Oh wait, then not as many people would want the service. Legalities aside, a fast connection that you can't download DVD's, MP3's, warez, porn, or whatever else you want is rather useless. And I suspect DVD downloading is actually the least popular of the above, and consumes the least bandwidth.

    There are two types of people who use their connections. The occasional browsers, and the heavy users. The ISPs love the occasional browsers, as they don't use their connections to anywhere near capacity. Unless DSL or cable is cheap (it is in many areas now, but far from all), not many of these people are going to get it, because they don't really need it. The heavy users on the other hand, are going to be the first ones in line for cheap bandwidth. They are the ones the ISPs hate, because they actually _use_ the the services provided to them. :)

    Script kiddies aren't that big of an issue here, they mainly cause problems for the receiver. A script kiddie on a modem attacking some user on x random DSL provider is more likely to consume their bandwidth, than one who is actually on their service attacking others. At least until they get attacked in return... I'm not saying they're not a problem, just that they are not a DSL-specific problem, and it's not really any worse there than it is anywhere else.

    OpenVerse Visual Chat: []
  • Can you explain how you came up with $600 a month in costs for your ISP? That sounds a bit high. Could you break down these figures?
  • The theory behind DSL wholesale providers goes something like this:

    There will be more ISPs than DSL wholesalers, and the geogrpahical distribution of their customer base will be different, too, so wholesale makes sense.

    DSL wholesalers will be able to rent more lines from the local telco, and do it cheaper.

    Being a DSL CLEC is a specialty, so is being an ISP.

    Some ISPs, like AOL, MSN, or Earthlink, will not become CLECs themselves. Wholesale is the only way for these ISPs to use DSL.

    So much for theory: Unless you are AT&T, Sprint, or Qwest (which is in part a baby Bell), you do not have the scale to build-out and compete. If you are smaller, you better be the ISP and keep all the margin to yourself, you better offer voice because there actually is a margin for voice, and you better concentrate on business customers, like XO, Network Telephone, MPOWER, etc., but even these will have some failures among them.

    The local telcos (ILECs) are not blameless, but there are many other factors, like EZ credit and then no credit for CLECs that can really screw things up. Some CLECs were badly run. And if you know which business model really works there is a Nobel Prize in economics in it for you. Even the ILECs and big IXCs are up to their ears in debt, and the CLECs providing voice lines are successfully cream-skimming the high-margin business customers from the ILECs even as the ILECs are inflicting pain on the DSL wholesalers and ISPs in residential DSL.

  • OTOH, I had Flashcom for 2 years, and only had one unplanned outage for about 24 hrs (and that was because someone had unscrewed the outside connection). The connection was perfect, fast and very, very stable.

    ...and not provided by Flashcom, if you're referring to the DSL circuit; Flashcom are an ISP, not a CLEC.

    I have (yes, have, present tense) DSL service with Flashcom as the ISP and Pac Bell as the circuit provider. (I first tried ordering DSL through Pac Bell Internet. They said "we'll get back to you in 5 business days" which, as I expected to be the case, they didn't. When I called them back, they gave me some crap about "you're too far from the central office" and "we don't have the facilities". I then tried Flashcom who managed to get me, within a few weeks, DSL service using Pac Bell as the provider of the DSL circuit, so Flashcom managed to do what Pacific Bell Internet hadn't managed to do - get me a circuit from, err, umm, Pacific Bell.)

    Until recently, the circuit (from Pac Bell) has worked with few glitches. Recently, the circuit has been less reliable - the modem has been having problems getting sync; power-cycling helps, but sometimes it had problems even after power-cycling, but picking up my phone and hanging up appeared to have cleared them up.

    My phone has also been somewhat noisy of late; I don't know if these are symptoms of the same underlying problem, but I'm loath to call Pac Bell because I'm afraid they'll "fix" it by, for example, noticing that my phone line gets hooked up to some weird device when it arrives at the central office, and disconnecting it - hey, guys, that weird device is called a DSL splitter, don't just disconnect it.

    The Internet part of the service has generally worked pretty well; there was a mail problem a while ago due to the mail system bogusly thinking I was over quota, but that was a screwup by Critical Path, to whom Flashcom outsourced their mail services, and it's pretty much Just Worked since then.

    Flashcom technical support, for a while, was slow about answering the phone, but recently they've been pretty good - I wonder whether somebody at the bankruptcy court came in and cracked the whip, especially because...

    ...the biggest Flashcom problem I've had is getting them to charge services to my credit card; they stopped charging me last July or so, and I've been calling them over and over again to get them to start charging me again (I don't want them cutting my service off because "I haven't been paying them"), and they finally manage to figure out how to change my account, which may also be the result of court-ordered cleanup.

    (At least Pac Bell bills me, not Flashcom, for the DSL circuit charges, which is, I suspect, good, as it means Pac Bell, unlike the CLECs that Flashcom were using, is actually getting paid for the circuit. I suspect the CLECs, unlike the Baby Bells, had little or no infrastructure for billing individual consumers, and relied on the ISP to do that, which meant that if the ISP didn't pay their bills, they were screwed - which is, as I understand it, one problem the CLECs were having.)

    So I'm reasonably happy with Pac Bell's DSL circuit, although, of late, I've been less happy, but, based both on general horror stories I've heard, and on a suspicion that the voice people may not have much of a clue about DSL, I'm somewhat loath to tell them about it.

    Others may have had less luck with their DSL circuit.

    The quality of their DSL circuit may have nothing to do with the quality of their Internet service; the ISP side of the house may, for example, have less of a clue than the DSL-circuit side of the house.

  • CDC built large mainframes in competition with IBM in the 60's. When they started, IBM didn't have anything near as powerful as the CDCs. So IBM announced the System 360, then tried to build it. The 360 hardware might have been on schedule, but the OS was several years late -- but still, many IBM customers waited for it instead of buying CDC. CDC filed an antitrust suit, claiming that selling vaporware was unfair competition. Long before the suit was settled, the full 360 line was out and delivering the promised power, and CDC was bankrupt.

    This sounds like a mangled version of what I've heard was the story of a specific model in the System/360 line, the Model 91 (or maybe it was first called the Model 92).

    The Model 91 (or 92) was announced as a number-crunching supercomputer model, perhaps before it was actually read; this note on another IBM supercomputer project [] says

    In August, 1961, IBM started planning for two high-performance projects to exceed the capabilities of Stretch. The first project, called "Project X", was assigned to the IBM Poughkeepsie plant, and in 1963 the design became a member of the S/360 family. This machine was announced as the IBM System/360 Model 92 in 1964 and was delivered as the Model 91 (with core memory) in late 1967 and the Model 95 (with thin film memory) in early 1968. Project X had a goal of 10 to 30 times the performance of Stretch, with an initial cycle time goal of 50 nsec (the Model 91 shipped at a 60 nsec cycle time). The Model 91's floating-point unit is famous for executing instructions out-of-order, according to an algorithm devised by Robert Tomasulo.

    This may have been a preemptive strike against the CDC 6600, which, according to this note [], was announced in 1964 and shipped in 1965.

    As far as I know:

    1. IBM's announcement of the S/360 wasn't timed to get in the way of CDC, although the announcement of the S/360 model 92 (later to be the 91) may have been;
    2. CDC wasn't bankrupted by that announcement - they eventually got out of the computer business, but that happened, as I remember, some time in the '90's.
  • They call it consolidation if the smaller are gobbled up by the larger ones.
    This doesn't seem to be one of those.

    Just hope AOL doesn't buy them!

    // yendor

    It could be coffe.... or it could just be some warm brown liquid containing lots of caffeen.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @07:34AM (#316372) Homepage Journal
    Actually, an ADSL line is asymmetric for technology reasons. While it's true that the LEC's don't like the idea of you running high-volume servers, the lower upstream rate is actually a pleasant side effect for them rather than a piece of the design.

    You see, when you have big bundles of copper coming back into the CO, there are issues with crosstalk that have to be dealt with due to the density of the bundle, combined with the fact that the upstream signals at that point are fairly weak (since they've already made the trip from your house to the CO). Such crosstalk is easier to avoid at lower line speeds (say, 90 kbps) than it is at higher line speeds (such as 640 kbps). When sending data downstream, crosstalk isn't an issue, because by the time the downstream signals have degraded, they're already at the subscribers' homes and businesses, on individual cables.

    ECI Telecom has an excellent presentation on the issues facing ADSL distribution [] which I highly recommend reading.
  • I can't see anybody making money off consumer broadband Internet access, where there's an atmosphere of commodity pricing.

    The real payoff will come when companies can successfully offer "bundled services" -- high-speed Internet, digital television, digital phone, all over the same wire, for one (not-so-low) monthly fee. That way, the provider can have their customer paying for TV while he surfs the Internet, paying for Internet while he's talking on the phone.

    The only companies that have a viable shot at making that a reality, though, are gigantic telecommunications conglomerates that have interests in all these disparate areas. Read: somebody like AOL Time Warner.

    I think what we're going to see is continued consolidation in the DSL market, with all the smaller providers and CLECs being either bought outright, or else going out of business and having their assets auctioned off to the larger players. The larger players will get larger and larger, until eventually we will be left with only a couple massive giants trying to offer every consumer in America the digital communications future we've all been dreaming of (cough).

    My votes: AOL Time Warner and our old telco friends, AT&T.

  • It's in their NorthPoint update page (, item number 3. I also got an e-mail from them about it last Friday, and a snail mail on Monday, along with a phone call at home as well. Their plan is to move Home Office users to Telocity, 640K/90K ADSL if we so choose.

    Home Office/NorthPoint service users are off-contract as of 4/27 (free dial-up until then if desired, woo-hoo), I'm not sure if they used other providers for that as well, but it's no longer a product offering in any form. I'd assume that if they offered it through Covad or their own network, those customers won't be dumped but they aren't adding any new ones.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • by jht ( 5006 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @05:02AM (#316375) Homepage Journal
    A large part of the problem is the structure that DSL is sold under. The DSL infrastructure CLECs all have to lease their unbundled copper from the ILEC, who is generally also in the DSL business as well and has a financial incentive to make the process as difficult as possible (eliminating the competition). Then the CLEC doesn't (except for Covad's even sell directly to the consumer - all they get to take is a middleman's bite without the retail markup. That retail markup, un turn, is very low because the ILEC is competing with a lower cost basis and driving the price down.

    Business-grade DSL (SDSL with speeds of 768K and up) could theoretically be sold at higher margins than consumer-grade DSL, since business DSL is a market the ILEC's are avoiding (they don't want to cannibalize the lucrative T-1 business). This would give the DSL CLECs a chance to make some actual profit per line - but the catch is that they all built out their networks in the pre-2000 funding market and need a higher volume than just small business DSL can readily provide. So they all have been trying to land consumers for the cash flow (though the margins are nonexistent), only to lose money on every one (but they make it up in VOLUME!).

    Covad may have a shot at survival just because they'll probably be the last national-scale DSL CLEC standing. A few smaller, regional-scale companies may be able to find niches as well, though it failed miserably for Vitts up here in New England. And through smart business (and/or deep pockets) some ISP's that offer DSL may be able to make a living - Telocity and Speakeasy have a pretty good chance (deep pockets for Telocity, and conservative growth plans at Speakeasy), as do companies like XO that have DSL as a single offering out of many.

    There are companies that can make a profit with DSL, but they can't do it by going up against the ILEC. ILECs are on a completely different scale, with comparatively unlimited funds to write off while they crush you.

    My own high-speed odyssey began with Flashcom/NorthPoint in mid 1999, and I stayed with them until it was obvious that Flashcom was on the way down (I had pretty good service and the price was decent). I switched to XO (for the deep pockets - Craig McCaw is their sugar daddy), and they provisioned a 768K SDSL line (for a little less than Flashcom was charging for 200K). It was also with NorthPoint, though - the Verizon merger fell through while the install was under way, ironically. I had no problems until NorthPoint went dark last Thursday evening, and XO announced they were getting out of the Home Office business.

    So last Friday morning I called AT&T Broadband to see about cable - I live in Salem MA where cable Internet has only been available for about a month. They had a better price, free installation, and could come install this past Monday, which they did. So I simply moved my DNS to Zoneedit (which supports DDNS), and was back on the Net before my inbound mail from the weekend timed out and bounced. AT&T Roadrunner (my service) has no particular restriction on what I do with my line or if I run servers - the only restrictions are that I not run any commercial services with my servers and that I not do anything illegal. No problem. They also block the NetBIOS ports by default, though you can have them unblocked if you really want. And they don't "support" NAT routers, but they don't restrict their use. In fact, when I read the MAC address to the fellow registering my router, he asked me which model router I had and how I liked it (he recognized the vendor ID). He also set up a host mapping for me as well.

    What this implies is that ultimately the more "progressive" cable ISP's (like RoadRunner) will get a lot of the business that would otherwise have gone to DSL providers when you have a choice as consumers become more informed (gradually) and home networking becomes more popular. Where there are no choices, you'll have to settle for an @Home-type ISP or whatever the market brings you, which is a pity. Your only other choice will be DSL from the ILEC unless you're a mid-sized business and therefore have SDSL for around $200 and up from a niche CLEC as an option.

    Or dialup. Isn't that encouraging?

    - -Josh Turiel
  • by TheSync ( 5291 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @06:48AM (#316376) Journal
    We're in the situation where ILECs are going to underprice CLECs out of the DSL business, and form an actual monopoly (together with poorer performance).

    This is thanks to everyone who believes in the concept of "natural monopoly," that lead to ILECs being granted monopoly franchises by local governments to wire up telephones.

    If you think the DSL debacle is bad, wait for the other "regulated monopolies" like power and cable...

  • "...power companies fall down and bleed about how much money they're losing, while their parent companies score record profits."

    A month or two ago Molly Ivans had a column about all this that told how the California utilities sold off all their generating facilities under this alleged de-regulation plan, so that now Pacific Gas & Electric --that is the company that actually sells the electricity to the consumer -- is paying out the wazoo for electricity that it buys wholesale and sells retail and crying to everybody that will listen about how it's suffering and loosing money, hoping for the state to bail them out, but meanwhile PG&E's parent company, which owns generating facilities, is raking it in hand over fist, charging their own subsidiary whatever they can get away with.

    I haven't seen any mention of this aspect of California's de-regulation problem mentioned or published anywhere else.

    Apparently the plan is to move all of the actual assets out of the publicly visible part of the company and get the taxpayers to bail it out while the PG&E stockholders watch their investment shrivel up to a worthless husk as the parent company uses those assets to keep on making money.

    She closed the column with a quote from someone whose name escapes me at the moment, but the essence of his remarks was that they were finding a way to socialize losses and privatize profits.

    Too bad Molly was out sick with breast cancer during George W.'s campaign. Having covered Texas politics for years, including his term as governor, she could have turned out some great columns about him last year that might even have made a difference in the outcome.

  • Wasn't that a law that PG&E lobbied for? Or at least the people who wound up owning the parent company lobbied for?
  • I use Speakeasy today and I am very happy with what they have done for me so far. I am unliekly to switch unless something severe happens. But Speakeasy serves through Covad, so I am thinking that the possibility is there...

    If things go south, I'll buy a T1. I am too used to good connectivity with SDSL and I refuse to use cable. I can get a decent T1 provisioning with an 8 IP subnet for $500.00/mo. I would most likely miss Speakeasy's excellent support. Such as how fast they are with making reverse DNS reflect my announcing DNS.

    But there are alternatives and T1's aren't so expensive anymore that an average guy like myself can't have one.

  • Well, my local telco is facing a class-action lawsuit [] because their service sucks so bad. So I don't think they're anyone's best bet.

  • Fortunately, there are some DSL services that will still be around.

    PacBell is not going away anytime soon, since DSL is essentially an extension of their lines used for voice telephone service. I believe that PacBell has agreements with Earthlink and Prodigy Internet that these ISP's are your provider but PacBell provides the DSL connection.
  • That's extremely expensive for a consumer level account. Also, at least in my area, you'll only get an RADSL line sharing connection from SpeakEasy for that price, which means slow upload speed and the connection drops out when my wife uses the speaker phone. Not a great deal IMHO.

  • I was paying $60/month for 768Kbps SDSL from Flashcom until they went belly up. Of course prices like this and not charging customers at all are one reason they died. Still, paying $90/month for 384Kbps after having 768Kbps for over two years seems bad to me.
  • And why in the world would an ILEC want to undercut their profitable T-1 etc. business by offering DSL? Never mind anti-competetive practices, the new FCC will be just fine looking the other way while "the market" shuts a huge number of us out of broadband (god knows I don't want to have to get a cable modem, the service here sucks from what my neighbors tell me).
  • It was cheap to install, the service hasn't gone down once

    Lucky You. Where I live, the Cable Modem service is as unreliable, or moreso, than my DSL. And I'm sure there are those with DSL who can say theirs hasn't gone down either.

    I really wonder how often my DSL would go down if Covad owned the premesis though....

  • Maybe this is true in your neck of the woods, but it's ridiculously untrue elsewhere. My ADSL product, *with* ISP, is $50 a month. NO way anyone is undercutting that by over $50 a month. Furthermore, my installation was less than 30 days after my order, and in fact only just over a week from when I actually moved into the house I ordered it for. Ameritech got their techs there 2 days before that, so PERHAPS they could have beaten Covad by 2 days, but that seems hardly worth arguing over.
  • by Outland Traveller ( 12138 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @05:38AM (#316387)
    As someone who was affected by the northpoint fiasco and recently re-signed with another DSL company despite the lower costs of cable solutions, I think I can shed some light on the subject.

    DSL is a tremendously important technology because it brings you greater than T1 performance (both download AND upload) at a fraction of the cost of a T1. This scares the sh*t out of incumbant telecoms- They have ZERO reason to spend money buying DSL equipment only so that they can make less money on data services.

    Local and national telecoms have, as far as I can see, done everything in their power to prevent DSL technology from taking hold. When independent startup (rhythms, northpoint, covad, etc) companies attempt to go around the stalling telecoms and provide the DSL service that customers demand, their job is made as difficult as possible due the local telco's control of CO's.

    At the same time that the incumbant telcos are sabotaging independent efforts to offer DSL service, they are telling their current and potential T1 customers how unreliable and poor DSL solutions are (First hand experience here). It's a brazen display of market power that should give anyone pause. There's a reason why AT&T on one hand declined to smoothly transition Northpoint's business DSL clients, and on the other hand sent out letters to @work businesses offering to "upgrade" them to a T1. AT&T sends the message of their own making loud an clear- DSL is "unstable", buy our expensive T1's like everyone else. It's a total racket.

    The only vision that incumbant telcos have for DSL is in a crippled ADSL form. Unsurprisingly, this is very similar to their vision for cable modems.

    ADSL, and asymetric cable modems, *by design* turn a generic internet connection into a consumer-only connection. Don't let the marketing fool you- This isn't a feature. Your ability to publish information is strongly and arbitrarily curtailed.

    Ever notice how you can pay more money for faster download speeds with cable modems, but your upstream stream is always the same? Haven't you ever wondered why *no* decent upstream bandwidth is advertised by cable companies? Most cable and ADSL providers even go further than this and explicitly forbid "servers" in their terms and conditions. Why is this? Certainly it's not a question of bandwidth, since they are handing bandwidth out left and right (so long as it's downstream).

    This effort to "consumerify" as many internet services as possible has far reaching affects besides simply protecting the inflated revenues of T1 sales. It effectively takes away your press. The harder Time Warner makes it for people to self-publish on the internet, the less competition will exist for their own offerings.

    I'm not saying that everyone would want to publish information on the internet, or that people who really want to publish on the internet won't be able to, but the "war on upstream bandwidth" does weigh the dice in the favour of media and telco interests.

    People don't demand one-way bandwidth- A feature that would truly be in the customer's interest would be a protocol where you could dynamically configure upstream and downstream bandwidth from a fixed pool. I find it highly suspicious that *no* cable company or telco-operated DSL service provides even an option for increased upstream bandwidth. It's certainly not a question of demand.

    Anyway, I've ranted long enough on this, and it's just going to be marked flamebait anyway. But I'm voting with my wallet, and I'm giving money to companies who are stepping up and offering SDSL because because I believe that it's important, and I'm not going to sell out to AT&T or Verizon or roadrunner or @home, who are manipulating the low end of the bandwidth market to turn us all into happy little consumers.

  • In Jan. & Feb. of this year Covad closed down 200+ CO's and laid of 900+ employees trying to stop the bleeding.
    I don't know if it worked or not.
    Covad & Rythms have been on the top of *many* burn-lists with burn-out scheduled for later this year.

    "Now, I hope and pray that I will, but, today I am still just a bill"

  • More expensive doesn't generally bother me, but $100+ is more than I'm willing to spend. That kind of money (well, maybe a tad more but not much more) buys a business-grade DSL line.

    In the consumer marketplace, I can get the same level of service (at lesser bandwidth) for the same money.

    It's not enough for the CATV people to offer a more expensive service that's friendly to users, they have to be cost-competitive, too.
  • In that case it would be tempting. I'm currently paying about $50 for 640k/256k DSL. 2 static IPs, 2 mailboxes, shell access w/SSH to provider boxen, reverse DNS, no service restrictions and outstanding customer service.

    Your price point buys the same service but 640k/640k.

    I agree that the current DSL market is going south from a business perspective, but that seems to be a CLEC problem not an ILEC problem. It's not ISPs using ILEC DSL having the problem its the CLEC DSL providers with too much debt being undermined by ISPs with bad financials.

    I've had several ISPs pitch me DSL, but in a downtown area it's simpler for them to put a small DSLAM in the building because our building has ILEC muxes (well, not muxes, but our T1s, etc originate in the basement not at the CO).

    DSL, especially SDSL over dedicated pairs, is a compelling technology because its capable of bypassing telco tarrifs on DS1-based transport. Same ISP is charging $430/mo for 1.2Mbit DSL and $1150/mo for 1.5Mbit T1. 80% of the speed of T1 for only 40% of the price. The ISP is strong and the CLEC ain't going out of business.

  • It's sad to see cable vs DSL degrade into a rather stupid bragging match about bandwidth per dollar. I don't see it as being about technology, it's all about terms of service. I seldom hear about a cablemodem provider that's static-IP and server friendly. Most are cold at best, and openly hostile at worst (DHCP-delivered RFC1918 addresses, NAT, port scanning, "registered" MAC addresses and so on).

    DSL on the other hand, generally has easy (albeit often more expensive) access to static IPs and I have yet to hear of a DSL provider with "no services" rules. Basically it's IP dialtone that you can do with what you like.

    Generally speaking, the DSL providers are interested in providing common-carrier style communications connectivity while the cable people seem more oriented towards their traditional business model -- providing a one-way conduit of entertainment. If the cable model fits you, then use it, but I suspect that most people with more than a web-centric interest in computers/internet would prefer a service that wasn't as rigid and one-dimensional as cablemodem seems to be.

    I don't have a gripe with the technology. Based upon what I've read, cablemodem users generally enjoy higher bandwidth than DSL and without as many of the tech limitations. If cablemodem could deliver the *service* I get from DSL -- static IP, no server limits, reverse DNS for my IPs -- at the usual cable bandwidths, I'd jump on it in a heartbeat.
  • imputting hndon yourchest STOP
    nowim stroking yourbreasts STOP
    im leaningover and sucking onyour nipples STOP
    youpant as ifree mymember andpressit against yourfemininity STOP
    ipenetrate and werhythmically thrust against eachother STOP
    myballs are slappingslapping on your ass andifinger your clit STOP
    we climx tgthr and you cry out in xtcy STOP
    i have togoto work early tomorrow STOP


  • Possibly, but pressure here doesn't just mean notes to slashdot. It also means letters to congress, the FCC, the President of the TelCo, and whoever else you think of that is relevant.

    If you collected a nice list of addresses, and budgeted $1 a day for postage, you could probably make an important difference. But until I learn more about locking down my system, I'll stick to my 56K modem, etc. (It's good enough for what I do, usually, and I'd rather buy a new system CD than download it anyway ... as long as the alternative is available.)

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • Amen, brother. We started with someone local here for our ISDN connection, since they were local, I could drive for 10 minutes and actually shake hands with their DNS admin, postmaster, etc. They set us up with a very good deal, were very easy to talk to, and were very fast. Last year they got bought by Venture, and started to slide downhill. Last fall they gave their beancounters the ability to modify their router's configuration. Some beancounter didn't understand exactly what our billing terms were, so it dropped our subnet from their routing tables, and disabled our account. Took most of the day to get them to fix it. And, of course, ol' Mr. Beancounter came in the next morning and fucked us again.

    Now Venture has been bought/merged/morphed into CoreComm, and they want us to sign a new contract at an over 200% rate increase. Because of this, we are going to snuggle up to the beast, and get a T-1 from AT&T (shudder).

  • I've been on hold in various queues for the last half hour - apparently their customer service department can't keep up.

    I was one of the people Northpoint pulled the plug on last week. I had a 208k SDSL line for which I was paying about $100 per month. This is actually the third time I've had my DSL service interrupted - I started with DSpeed, which went belly up and sold out to Flashcom. Had to change IP addrs at that point. Flashcom then went bankrupt, interrupting my service, then Northpoint went bankrupt, and I'm still off the air.

    PacBell DSL doesn't cover my neighborhood.

    A couple of other providers only offered ADSL with dynamic IP addresses.

    Earthlink was going to make me pay $129 per month for 144k symmetrical with a static IP - their normal $49.95 service only offers dynamic IPs.

    I just placed an order with Sprint Broadband Direct - and will have my microwave link installed on the 18th. Typically 512k to 1.5Mb down, 256k max up, $39.95 per month with Sprint Long Distance service, with a static IP. Not only that, I'm fed up with DSL providers going under. Sick of it.

    After writing this, I'm *still* on hold with Earthlink Customer Service waiting to cancel my DSL order.

    -Michael Peleltier.
  • Guess what? PG&E was REQUIRED BY LAW to sell off all their generating capacity!

    You keep your power, we'll keep our software, airplanes, produce, dairy products, and high-tech equipment.


    -Michael Pelletier.
  • by Surak ( 18578 ) <surak AT mailblocks DOT com> on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @02:23AM (#316398) Homepage Journal
    Speakeasy, and other companies like it, like my service provider, Telocity, do not actually provide the DSL service. Speakeasy goes through Covad, Telocity through Rythms. Basically, all the DSL service is provided by only a handful of companies. We had NorthPoint until recently, now there's only Covad and Rythms, not counting the ILECs (Ameritech, Verizon, whatever)...

    If Rythms and Covad fold, my only alternative would be to go through Ameritech. Cable modems just started being available in my area, by I don't like the idea of being behind a router with 30 of my closest neighbors.

  • When it comes to running servers/services, I called and asked, and after I explained what they were to the lady, she told me they had NO policy regarding anything like that, so go ahead. She may not have had any idea what she was talking about, but she did tell me it was OK

    Dude, if she doesn't even know what you're talking about, the likelihood that she actually knows what the policy is in the first place is pretty slim. I checked with MediaONE, Time Warner and ComCast, all have policies against running any sort of server.

    The main problem with sharing bandwidth, though, is that everyone in your neighborhood is behind a router with you... There's no security. Services and protocols that are normally not accessible via the Internet because they aren't routeable (Netbios, for one) are available to everyone in your neighborhood. This is particularly a problem if you run Windows and do not use a firewall (90+% of all cablemodem subscribers run Windows and have no firewall)

    I've also heard that with some cablemodem services, they put you behind NAT and don't give you a real IP. I don't know which ones do that, or really if they do that, but that's what a guy who used to install for Comcast told me they did.

  • > There is nothing in the article that even remotely points to Covad disappearing...

    I don't know anything first hand, but I saw this on comp.lang.ada last week:
    Subject: Re: is dead
    Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2001 05:14:58 GMT
    From: (Chip Richards)
    In article ..., Louis Granger wrote:
    >I have tried to send messages to, and there are no
    >answer from that server. Anyone from knows what going on.

    Yes. NiEstu got caught in the great Covad DSL purge of 2001. There are two things happening with regard to the OGLADA mailing list:

    1. NiEstu has a new connection on order. It was supposed to be installed this week, but the provider is new to our area and is running a little behind. We're hopeful for next week.

  • > So if the CA power companies were "properly" deregulated, I have no doubt that the normal residential customer would be taking in the rear with no lube. Of course I notice before these sorts of deregulation occur, that you see ads on TV and in your bill about "how competition through deregulation will cut costs to you..." Of course these ads are paid for by the regulated entity, so I am skeptical.

    That's exactly what happened in California. People who followed the legislation in the media thought they were being treated to a sure-fire 10% rate cut. Almost no one knew that the legislation included spending $28.5 billion in taxpayer's money to bail out invester-owned utility companies.

    Also, it's deceptive for the utilities to blame the problems on "incomplete" or "botched" deregulation, because the utilities were the ones who wanted the legislation. When part of the public found out where the shaft was headed, they set up a proposition to void the legislation between the time it was passed and the time it took effect, but the utilities spent something like $40 million (IIRC) on ads against the proposition. A spokesman for one of the groups pushing the proposition said that the utilities were outspending them by 10:1 in PR on the issue. It is perfectly obvious that the utilities wanted this legislation, and wanted it bad.

    I posted a longer summary of all this here, complete with links to sources, several months ago. Elsewhere in this thread, unitron mentions that he hasn't seen the subtext story anywhere except in one column, and he's correct that the media aren't telling anything useful. But if you spend 30 minutes or an hour with a search engine you can turn up some interesting facts. I found a study done after the legislation passed but before it went into effect, showing that none of the vendors were interested in competing in the residential power supply game, so it should have been apparent even back then that deregulation wasn't really going to magically lead to competition that would result in lower prices.

    This could have been averted, if the media had picked up on what some people knew even back then. Perhaps it could still be averted in Texas, if the citizens were informed and the politicians cared what the citizens think this long before the next election.

  • Well, here's my experiences:

    Dude, if she doesn't even know what you're talking about, the likelihood that she actually knows what the policy is in the first place is pretty slim. I checked with MediaONE, Time Warner and ComCast, all have policies against running any sort of server.

    My cable provider officially has policies against servers. In reality, they don't care. Although if any server started to pull a lot of bandwidth they'd probably care.

    The main problem with sharing bandwidth, though, is that everyone in your neighborhood is behind a router with you.

    Got news for you. At some point, you're always sharing bandwidth. There's a shared router somewhere. Cable just does it sooner. If the cable company is good about it, they will split nodes when they get congested. If not, they won't. But trust me, DSL companies can screw up DSL too.

    There's no security. Services and protocols that are normally not accessible via the Internet because they aren't routeable (Netbios, for one) are available to everyone in your neighborhood.

    Sorry, but this is just BS. Any cable company that has their hardware configured like this is run by a bunch of morons. Most sane companys configure the local switches to block broadcast and non IP traffic, which means I can't access my neighbors netbios shares anymore than you can.

    I've also heard that with some cablemodem services, they put you behind NAT and don't give you a real IP.

    Has nothing to do with cable. Around here at least, my cable service is a real IP and my DSL service is NAT.

    In the end, it all depends on the company. If it's a good cable company, you won't have to put up with overcommited bandwidth or NAT BS, or whatever. If it's a bad one, you will.
    Same with DSL.
  • by Redhawk ( 28794 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @08:03AM (#316412)
    "I've also heard that with some cablemodem services, they put you behind NAT and don't give you a real IP. I don't know which ones do that, or really if they do that, but that's what a guy who used to install for Comcast told me they did."

    I'm with Adelphia 2-Way Cable, and they do this. Drives me _nuts_. No IP addy, no DNS server numbers, no _nothing_.

    OTOH, the service works, and is reasonably speedy. I sure would be willing to drop another couple of bucks if it meant that I could have a static IP, with real DNS numbers to look stuff up against.


  • by uncleFester ( 29998 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @03:48AM (#316413) Homepage Journal
    I don't know firsthand, so I may be talking out of my ass.. but reading the comp.dcom.*.dsl group up to last year, it seemed the safest bet for DSL service was the telco themselves. As soon as you add more layers of providors, you add more layers of woe: fingerpointing of who drops the ball, who should do what service, etc etc.

    I'm currently cable modem, but the area I'm looking to buy a home is rural enough DSL will be my only real hope.* Given whatever options I have at the time, I'm betting I'll still stick with the local telco providor (BellSouth) and try to ride it out.

    * sorry, I don't count satellite yet. Think it's still kinda impractical
  • by ereuter ( 30764 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @05:27AM (#316414)
    I don't care how my service comes, but this is what I want:

    (1) minimum 384 kbps, both ways, 24 hours per day

    (2) static IP addresses with reverse DNS set to my domain name

    (3) permission to run (low-volume) servers

    I haven't found any cable provide that has that, but Speakeasy DSL and Telocity DSL do.

  • Even DSL is going to be a shared node, depending on the ISP you get. Say they have 50 DSL customers and only a T-1 Uplink? At the price they are selling DSL some of the companies can't even afford that. It's shared, it's just a matter of where.

    As far as servers go, who cares? AT&T has one server that scans for any unauthorized servers, and my portsentry firewalled that machine a long time ago. If they can't automatically test it, how will they know? And they do support Linux/Unix, although I am running FreeBSD without a hitch, and they understand that this stuff comes with servers already running.

    I'm not familiar with other cable companies, but I know roadrunner in Houston does not require cable TV, and AT&T in Dallas/Ft. Worth does not require cable TV either. In fact, they will you give the local channels and the preview guide channel free with the cable service when they install it. They are two different companies too you must realize, if you call one to complain about the other, they transfer you or give you anothe 1-800 number to call.

    DSL is not something as simple as sticking a DSLAM, and a DSLAM is actually a shared access node also. The phone wire itself must be update and in top condition, and IIRC DSLAMs can support about a T1 in total transfers at once, no matter how many people there are.

    Well I agree on same-speed upload/downloads, but I've never had the need to upload anything large and as long as I can download at speeds much faster than my brother could on DSL at peak hours, I'm content. =)
  • by drivers ( 45076 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @07:42AM (#316420)
    My DSL provider, Reflex, was a company that decided not to work through the phone company's lines or the cable company's lines like most broadband providers. Instead, it was setting up wireless links to apartment complexes, then running its own lines through the whole apartment block. Then, when it couldn't keep up with the wireless connections started using temporary land lines of some kind. But the temporary land lines for the most part never got converted to wireless. I'm not exactly sure why they went out of business, but they sure seemed to grow fast. My bandwidth was even faster than they guaranteed, mostly reliable (about what you'd expect with DSL), and I had my static IP without NAT which I just loved.
    Anyway, a couple of weeks ago they let go 250 employees (most of the them) then just recently filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In other words the company is going away forever. Too bad for all those apartment complexes advertising DSL, all that dark (unused) wiring, and those 10,000 customers like me suddenly without our ISP.
    I had to dig out my 56K (i.e. 40K) modem from my closet. I've been looking around for a good new DSL provider but I wonder if I'm better off just doing without the luxury. I think it would cost my at least $200 just to get hooked up and a ton of cash per month ($60 or more) if I want an ISP with a static ISP.
    Unlike Northpoint, when you had Reflex for DSL you also had Reflex as an ISP as part of the regular price which was about $30 for the whole package (the lowest price package).

    Article about Reflex going out of business here: html []
  • commitment to consumers

    You're joking, right? PacBell Internet Services has, by far, the worst customer service I have ever experienced. I've been trying to get them to fix a problem with my connection (it goes down for hours every night), and not only has it not been fixed yet, but they won't even call me back even though I've asked them to every time. Their customer support people are generally not rude, but are clueless beyond belief and are unable to handle anything that falls outside their script.

    I've given up on calling them about a week ago, but I did submit a complaint via the San Francisco/Oakland BBB. No response yet.

    If you think that my terrible customer service experience is an isolated incident, I encourage you to take a look at the review at [], and at their rating with the San Francisco/Oakland BBB [] (they claim that this company has an unsatisfactory record, and a pattern of ignoring customer complaints).

  • I thought so. I haven't been contacted by the original poster about my challenge. Therefore I declare his new status as "Big bag of wind."

  • by Old Wolf ( 56093 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @12:35AM (#316430)
    Here's another idea. If DSL providers actually policed their network, and culled all the script kiddies, nukers, DVD-downloaders, DDoSsers etc., they could save themself one hell of a lot of money on bandwidth charges to their upstream provider.

    Regarding your comment: people (around here anyway) are willing to pay more for good service, in the broadband department. My recommendation will also improve this service, by freeing up bandwidth.

    1) remove lamers
    2) actually charge a price that reflects the service's worth, not cut-price crap.

  • Neverrtfm> For that matter, can anyone help my clueless self with an idea why ppl would choose a DSL company(esp. one that has to go through another layer of ISP) over cable?

    Well, here the only cable modem provider that is available in my area is Time Warner's Road Runner service. Ever since I moved to my new residence, the service has been horrible. I have seen latencies of >4000ms in the evenings, with some timeouts as well. My wife plays an MMORPG, because of this and packet-loss (stand back! I've got traceroute and I know how to use it!) she sees 16 - 30 second delays during game play. I've seen downloads (my house friends house, 200 feet apart) range in speeds from 30kb/sec at the best (we have upload rate restrictions) to 30bytes/sec.

    Cable modem is horrible once you get enough subscribers hooked up to the system (IMOE, in my own experience.) Even more outrageous, we were told this area was only at 60% capacity. Heavens help us when it reaches 90%.

    Lastly, RR does *not* offer static IP's because they do not want people running servers. RR also runs weekly scans of their network, to catch the poeple who run servers and boot them from the network.

    So tell me why I shouldn't want DSL service from someone like Speakeasy who doesn't care if I run servers and will even give me SLA with a specified CIR?
  • It is rapidly appearing that, if you don't own the wire all the way to the end-point, you can't survive. If you own the wire (cable, or copper), you can leverage the cost of that connection over the OTHER service(s) you provide (or you've already bore the burden of that physical media cost, therefore you only need to fund the new service, and not the service and the wire).

    In DSL land, the ILECs, CLECs, and ISP's all have to have a markup, AND it has to fit within the 'Yeah,I'll pay that much per month' dollar amount; usually $40-$50/mo. At $13-$16 per user, per month, per service provider, that's not a lot of room for making money.

    It's the same for phone-line based ISPs. Most of the mom-and-pop ISPs are toast, cause they can't compete with the AT&T $7/month for unlimited internet access AND $.07/minute long distance. They just don't have the leverage from other ventures.

  • by pavo ( 70713 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @04:47AM (#316441) Homepage
    There are 3 companies (not Bells) that have their OWN dsl equipment. Covad and Rythms have been mentioned, but don't forget about Unlike Speakeasy or Telocity, is a DSL provider AND an ISP. I have a 1.5Mb SDSL line from them in Connecticut and have never had a problem with it (over a year now). They DO have a service level agreement that specifies exactly what I'll get and what they'll do. For markets that they don't have their own DSL equipment they partner with Covad. And I sleep easy, has one of the best balance sheets of anyone in the industry. They had some lay-offs last year, but now they look good (look at their SEC filings online).
  • This is one of the reasons I'm planning on switching to a regional ISP...

    I've been using USIT.NET, which got bought by ONEMAIN and then became part of EARTHLINK.

    For this reason I plan on switching to a different ISP, one that is based here in Tennessee and doesn't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. (I know people who work for them and the company seems very solid, even if relatively small.)

    My logic behind switching to these guys (ISDN.NET) is that by getting DSL through them (along with web hosting services and a few other things) I'm supporting a competitor of Bellsouth.Net.

    Even though Bellsouth is just reselling their lines to ISDN.NET, I like knowing that I didn't choose Bellsouth.NET directly. It's almost the only way I can stick my middle finger up to them.

    I would've already dropped USIT/EARTHLINK if it weren't for the fact that I won't be able to get the DSL line until JUNE!

    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • I've been running a large number of servers on a cable modem for well over a year now. Time Warner. No fuss.

    (DSL is not available at the location the servers are.)
  • Our Not-For-Profit ISP coop sells bandwidth to the members at cost, and it is not cheap- from 60-85 cents per kilobit.

    That is the true cost to get bandwidth to the core router at any Tier-3 ISP. Then there is the additional cost for the DS3 circuit and per-user payments to the DSL provider.

    Your ISP, your DSL provider, they all stay in business only because they oversell their bandwidth and their connectivity.

    They depend on customers who pay the full rate and use almost no services to subsidize the power users who cost the provider vastly more than they pay.

  • There is oversale on DSL connections, it's just hidden slightly better.

    You may have 1.5M/568K to the DSLAM at the local central office, but from there all the DSL customers on your carrier are aggragated on a single pipe (usually DS3 or better on a fiber ring) where the traffic is carried to the DSL provider's primary switch. This can be a choke point.

    From there, traffic for all of the DSL customers of a given ISP is consolidated into an ATM connection (one PVC per customer, or a single PVC for all customers) where it is delivered over DS1 or DS3 to the ISPs DSL edge router. This is another point where capacity can be oversold. The ISP can 'overcommit' this circuit, provisioning a dozen DSL customers on a single T1 circuit that can barely handle the full outbound bandwidth of just one customer.

    Lastly, the ISP can overload the CPU and bandwidth on their DSL edge router, their core routers, the segments that connect them, and the connection to their upstream providers.

    Every commercial ISP and every DSL provider oversells their available bandwidth- it's the only way to make a profit at the low rates they charge.

    If the oversale is reasonable (3-10x actual capacity) and most customers don't use their potential bandwidth, then nobody complains.

  • We're a Not-For-Profit ISP, I just got SDSL pricing from a local DSL provider that charges rates more in line with their actual cost to provision the service. It is _not_ cheap.

    These prices are strictly for delivery to an ISP, they do not include internet bandwidth, or the ATM DS3 circuit ($1K/month)

    ADSL: $75 per month per customer, down to around $40 with several thousand customers.

    SDSL at 1.5Mbps: $250 (down to $150 on volume) SDSL at 768: $200 (down to $100 on volume)

    Notice that they cheapest possible ADSL rate is $40/month, which means that even without including the cost of internet bandwidth this is more expensive than your average bargain basement DSL provider.

  • Is it even possible to run a technology based business anymore?

    Sure! Look at the adult industry. Who do you think is making money, and has been making money all through this dot-com revolution and shake out?


  • For those of you looking for a new DSL provider you can get offers quickly from many ISPs with our system at [].(end plug)
  • DSL is not something as simple as sticking a DSLAM, and a DSLAM is actually a shared access node also. The phone wire itself must be update and in top condition, and IIRC DSLAMs can support about a T1 in total transfers at once, no matter how many people there are.

    This is not correct. Yes, I'm being blunt.

    The REASON this isn't correct is because of the design of a DSLAM. DSLAMs are made up of card shelves. Each card has X number of customers - I think that Covad SDSL cards allow 6, but don't hold me to that - and there are multiple cards per shelf. There's at LEAST one ATM DS-3 running off of each DSLAM into the Covad networks - Covad is what I have the experience with - and they add more pipe based on the number of users.

    This CAN lead to problems, especially if 30 or so users decide to use their full bandwidth all of the time. DSL ISPs have ways of handling this, usually by warning them to stop doing it 24/7, or by shutting them down. Either way, with ATM circuits, you can have some five or six hundred people going over a single DS-3, and still only use about 20Mbit/sec worth of bandwidth on it.

    As for the phone pair, it does NOT need to be up to date and in top condition; - one of the first DSL providers to go under, and I think exclusive to the Northeast - was buying "dry" pairs with no conditioning done to it from Verizon. DSL will run over crufty old alarm pair for fire alarms and the like; just don't expect it to stay up and running all the time. A lot of the DSL providers out there are now getting conditioned pairs to use for lines, but it's by no means necessary.

    As for your brother's download speeds, that depends entirely on the ISP. If they've got an overloaded backhaul, or their transit to upstream providers is full, then peak times are going to suck. LOTS.

  • by Wolfstar ( 131012 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @01:04AM (#316481)
    The Great Covad DSL Purge of 2001 was actually the leftovers of 2000. This was not, will not be, and all-around has VERY little negative effect on Covad.

    The only purges that Covad has been doing are those where they're pulling gear out of thoroughly unprofitable COs - because, for instance, there aren't enough subscribers to afford the cage (we're talking two or three people in the CO here) - and the shutdown of service to those ISPs that are unwilling or unable to pay their bills to Covad. If anything, this made them MORE reliable as a long-term prospect. They dropped their dead weight, and their customer service at it's worst was light-years better than Northpoint's average - and still a bit better than Northpoint at it's best.

    If someone got caught in a purge, then they went with a dinky little ISP that didn't pay their bills and didn't let it be known that they were in danger of losing connectivity. These providers - ALL providers that sold Covad DSL for that matter - were notified of the impending shutdowns. Covad even had a project set up to help customers transfer to new ISPs. Speakeasy was one of them - and it's still going on. (Semi-Disclaimer: I work for RCN, but Speakeasy is my DSL Provider. There's reasons, but most of it boils down to cost.)

    Rule Number One of DSL: If your business relies on it's net connection, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES USE DSL AS A PRIMARY CONNECTION! I cannot stress that enough! DSL has absolutely NO service agreements, beyond a guaranteed 80% of rated line-speed for "business" class SDSL circuits. DSL is great for the home, and good for a backup circuit, but don't think it's a T-1 for cheap.

    Trust in the fact that, if ANYONE goes ANYWHERE anytime soon, it won't be Covad. They're running strong, they laid off a few people back about 6-8 months ago. After that, their support IMPROVED. They reorganized, and they're running better than ever. And their service is better, more reliable, and usually more intelligently-staffed than just about any of the local Telcos are. Do your homework on DSL, and you won't get burned.

  • by Wolfstar ( 131012 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @01:22AM (#316482)
    The problem isn't that DSL doesn't work. It's cut-rate pricing offered by myopic providers to feed myopic customers that leads to a sudden boom followed by a bust.

    This isn't necessarily true. The local telcos are legally only able to charge a minimal fee to CLECs - Competitive Local Exchange Carriers, which is technically what a DSL provider is - of around $7 for the local loop. The DSL providers then turn around and sell access to their network for X number of dollars, plus a fee per circuit of - I THINK - around $40 per line. (This is what it was about a year ago; whether or not that's changed since then, I don't know.) On top of that, you get whatever else the ISP charges. The rates aren't cut that much really; you're looking at an over 300% profit on the loop charge alone, and I know that most DSL ISPs that are worth looking at twice are charging around $60 for a 608/128 line, $90 for 1536/384 lines, and around $50 for a 192k SDSL line, working up. (Highest I've seen is $450/month for a 1.5Mbit SDSL line with some real nice side perks.)

    DSL is far from cut-rate; the companies involved just happened to jump in too early to gain the early ground on it. Support costs a lot for DSL, although that's changing with the new Rate Adaptive Error Correction software out there. My line had a hard short on it at one point about two months ago, that I found out about quite by accident. My DSL line was still up through it, and - having troubleshot for umpteen million DSL circuits - I know that a hard short on a SDSL line takes it down. (In case you're wondering, the reason it isn't applied is because it would break the guarantees of speed on an SDSL line. The error correction drops your speed to compensate for loss of signal strength.)

    I agree that DSL doesn't really work - currently - but I don't agree that it's because of cut-rate pricing. These companies are making up lost ground, but they're doing it slowly, because they can't afford to tinker with it to get it to work better.

    Semi-useless factoid for the day. Copper-based T-1s are usually HDSL, which is the oldest of the DSL types. It's the repeaters and switching equipment - along with the cost of the loop and REALLY strict Service Level Agreements - that make all the difference in the world.

  • by Wolfstar ( 131012 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @01:39AM (#316483)
    Sure, why not. I've been posting more tonight than I ever have since I first started reading Slashdot. =)

    For starters, there's the old saw about the shared node. With DSL, you don't need to wonder what's going to happen to your bandwidth when the rest of the neighborhood wakes up and smells the fat pipe. Another big one is, 99% of the cable providers out there throw a fairly big stink when you try and run a server over a cablemodem - once they get around to noticing it. My DSL ISP - Speakeasy - has two restrictions: No porn websites, and no IRC Servers. (And even that they can overlook if it's a single-node server and not part of a network, I think.)

    In addition to that, DSL is cheaper. How? What if I don't WANT cable TV? Most cable companies won't sell you cablemodem access without a TV subscription as well. (Rare, but true. One of my friends is stuck with this dilemma.) Also, DSL is available where many times cablemodem isn't. Reverse is also true, of course, but unlike cablemodem access, you don't need to upgrade the existing infrastructure to accomodate DSL. Just stick a DSLAM in a central office and start plugging in lines.

    Lastly, very few cable companies want to give you the same bandwidth upstream as you have downstream, without paying a LOT of money for it. DSL is comparatively cheap for synchronous speeds.

    Hope that answers some of your questions. Incidentally, line conditions for DSL and Cable both are much better than average in Seattle, since there isn't a couple hundred years of cruft in the way.

  • We are about the only northpoint customer still alive.

    Being that we're using them for business lines, I would GLADLY pay more money to have a stable service. I'm talking about SDSL not ADSL. ADSL is fine for the home user. Charge a bit more for SDSL and as long as it's bang for buck ratio is better than T1 I will buy it.
  • This is one of the reasons I'm planning on switching to a regional ISP...

    Enjoy it while you can. Sure, getting good service from someone local, having a network admin who's actually in your state, not having all your calls go to a "call center", and lots of other nice advantage of a local ISP will likely be as hard to find as a locally owned video store, now that Blockbuster and Hollywood have bought them all up.

  • by pjrc ( 134994 ) <> on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @04:45AM (#316487) Homepage Journal
    I though the printing press got its start print the bible. Of course, I could be wrong about that.
  • by HerrGlock ( 141750 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @12:08AM (#316493) Homepage
    As the other DSL providers go under I see the Speakeasy network grow. I had requests in for DSL from three providers for over a year, one folding, one just flat out ignoring all new requests and one not able to get the bell company around here to put in a line because you didn't go through the local bell company. I wonder how many of those smaller companies went under because of non-responsiveness of the bell companies?

    Speakeasy took less than a month and service has been outstanding for the three months that I've had service.

    Cav Pilot's Reference Page []
  • by don_carnage ( 145494 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @05:03AM (#316494) Homepage
    Good point. I think a lot of investors are nervous about tech because of the downfall of the "dot-com" industry. (If I hear that buzz-word one more time...)

    It won't be long before the companies that still exist as major internet players will be noticed again and everyone will be happy.

    So...when can they install the fiber to my house?


  • The problem isn't that DSL doesn't work. It's cut-rate pricing offered by myopic providers to feed myopic customers that leads to a sudden boom followed by a bust.

    Consolidation and streamlining will follow. The numerous competing technologies will eventually give way to a few popularly supported technology. (ADSL-G.lite and G.dmt standards.)

    Unless alternative technologies offer clear cost/performance benefits, the standard will eventually be entrenched. Prices will go up for a while, but so will the quality-of-service. Eventually, improvements in the technology will stabilize the price, and the threat of new entrants will (hopefully) bring the prices down.

    And, when the new technology is clearly superior, it then becomes the norm. The old (mature) technology dies away, or becomes relegated to lower price-points.

    It was true for transportation -- steam-ships gave way to locomotives which gave way to airplanes. The pony express gave way to telegraphs which gave way to telephones. It was true for private communication networks with Telex giving way to early national private networks (Tymnet, EasyLink, and others that I don't even remember) which are giving way to the Internet.

    In the long term, the free market will figure it out. In the meanwhile, sometimes, you're just stuck having bet on the losing technology.

  • I was with Reflex, too, for about three weeks. I loved the service - static IP, good price, synchronous up/down speeds, not too many hassles, etc.

    I installed a Linksys router/802.11b AP last Thursday. Everything was fine, but a few hours later, my link to the Internet went dead. I troubleshot for a couple of hours, thinking it was the router. Finally determined that the Reflex connection was dead. Called 1-877-FLEXNET. Number was disconnected. Called the local Portland office # (503-248-9366) and got a message saying to call back during business hours. They did have a number for customers to call for tech support (don't have it with me), which I did. All I got on the phone was a recording saying they had filed for Ch. 7 bankruptcy, and were out of business. I got no notification, or warning, or anything. They were up one day, then dark the next.

    The scary part is that because they own the DSLAMs and lines in the communities they service, and signed exclusive marketing agreements with many properites, many of the customers they screwed aren't able to switch to another ISP, because the lines and equipment are tied up in the bankruptcy proceedings... []

    I called Speakeasy, and they say they can still hook me up, regardless of the Reflex lines, but we'll see. The install will, of course, take weeks. Hopefully, my apartment complex isn't in that boat.

    You can see more of the bloody detail of what happened at f*' []

    (If the URL gets munged or dirty-word-filtered, just go to www.f*' and search for Reflex.)

    They're dropping like flies... Rhythms' CEO resigned the other day, and Covad still hasn't released financials, so who knows how they're doing. I just hope Covad stays around, if I end up going with Can't get cable, and I've heard too many horror stories about ILECs (Verizon, etc.) and big providers like Telocity...


  • I recently called up my DSL provider (Covad vice and asked about the whole situation since Northpoint was going under, and the whole nine yards. I had assurances from our DSL coordinator that Covad would at minimum, be around until late 2002 and is expected a rosier financial situation in early 2002. Granted, I only have 2 months left in my current apartment and don't have too much to worry about, but it's not like they're packing it up just yet, folks. Let's not get too freaked out yet.
  • by Fervent ( 178271 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @09:07AM (#316505)
    Speaking as someone who tried 3 DSL providers (Speakeasy, Bell Atlantic, and Covad directly) and 1 cable provider, I can honestly say that DSL isn't even in the same league as cable from a consumer performance standpoint.

    True, you cannot get strong upstreams, but if you're running a site you shouldn't even be bothering with DSL or Cable, you should just go for the T1 directly. That's an established technology that can handle many, many streams of data in a fat pipe. DSL and cable are relatively nacient. For anything but the most asinine web sites, most serious web hosters will use established technology.

    And from a consumer-support standpoint, cable has been everything I've wanted it to be. It was cheap to install, the service hasn't gone down once, and I'm consistently getting 2.5 Mbps to 3.0 Mbps transfers (perfect for splitting across my home network, which I did). DSL gave me nothing but frustration.

  • I think it is possible. The real problem is its improbable. There are at least two factors making it impossible to get anywhere with the DSL market. 1. The real promise of DSL is high quality, high speed internet connections, always on, always available. Unfortunately those that are rolling out DSL are not living up to the promise, in the way's that people expect. I have had both DSL and Cable Modem in the past year, actually I still do...infact my company has both, for different purposes. In general people expect DSL to live up to the promised speeds, with the reliability we expect from the Phone company(Say what you will, but I can remember at least 100 times the power has gone out at my house but the phone is still working, NO ONE lives up to the kind of service except the phone company). DSL is not POTS though, but we are told its a phone type tech so we expect that level of service from it. More so since its a phone tech for getting on the internet we expect it to cost the same as that 56K dialup we have been using for years. The more informed DSL might even recognize the technology shift, and resultant price increase for what it is(I do anyway) and expect to pay more for this kind of access, BUT not what the DSL companies want to charge, COVAD charging $359 for 1.5 Symetric is just way out of line.(I would pay up to $100, and think most others would too, $100 a month is well within the typical geek budget, $359 is alittle insane) Now hold on let me give you the reason I think this so, before you fly of the Flame handle at me. I have one of these $359 line from Covad, but I also have a AT&T/Mediaone(Whoever they are this week) cable modem at the same site(remember they are for different reasons, if your truely interested in the details I can fill them in later) for $39.99 a month a get 1.5 down, and a variable speed up which varies between 300-1.1 according to my monitors. The DSL is the rock soild connectivity to the site, the Cable modem serves other purposes really just an administrative connection that doesn't effect the datasteam of my customers. So basically what I can deduce from all this is a question of volume, and/or administrative costing being the problem. A good look at this reveals how to fit the situation. Any DSL company is reliant on the TELco(s) in the area to get that line to the users house/business(A fee that gets passed along to the customer, ever wonder why Verizon can give you virtually the same access as Covad at half the price, in the business market). Cable modem got around this it uses the Cable line thats been there for 20+ years now basically. They had to do some work on the backend, and on the poles to get Cable modem inplace, but it was almost seemless and required very little change in the last mile. DSL is all last mile. So this brings up the idea of volume. Draw your own conclusion here, but it seems to me that its alot easier for cable modem to scale up fast. DSL requires alot more changes to get up to that scale and costs alot more, all that cost has to be go someplace, the consumer. It doesn't have to though. Right now because DSL must pretty much be installed by the local Telco who if they are not your DSL provider are a competator with your DSL provider. This means higher costs all around. For install, for rackspace in the CO for DSlams, etc. How to fix this problem? The smae way the cable company did, they lay their own line(or at least contract for someone to do it), maintain their own facilities, and have their own backbone connections(more so with the Mediaone/AT&T merger, which BTW I think is a good thing, if they would take the cable modem networks to the next level, and offer enterprise level connections, which the technology is able to do, white papers on some of the cable modem models put them at 10 Symetric or higher) That leads to the other big problem for DSL not provided by the local telco(s) everyone around them competes with them. If they did the right thing and started building their own infrastructure, they would still have to buy bandwidth from somene who potentially competes with them either the DSL or Cable Modem market. How to solve this, take the backbone away from the big players, make it a common resource that all providers can get access to, for the same rates. And there you have it equal access for all, would make the maret flatten out, and then service would be king because everyone could fight fairly in the price war. DSL has way to many price barriers.
  • I don't care how my service comes, but this is what I want:

    (1) minimum 384 kbps, both ways, 24 hours per day

    (2) static IP addresses with reverse DNS set to my domain name

    (3) permission to run (low-volume) servers

    I haven't found any cable provide that has that, but Speakeasy DSL and Telocity DSL do.

    And what do you want to pay for it? $40 a month? $100 a month? What you want is equivalent (at least in the service provided) to frame relay... be prepared to pay for it. Also, remember that these services that you want are usually what businesses request. Did you notice that you can often get much better services if you look in their "Business Pricing" sections? That's because business want to run their own mail servers/websites/blah blah blah and they are willing to pay a premium to do so.

    Most of what I've seen is nerdy guys (like me) and gals who want a fat pipe for no dough. Unfortunately for you and me, there are people/companies willing to pay $200 a month for the services you want... so why would the DSL providers ever sell it to us for less?

    And that "well, then everyone will get DSL from them" is a retarded argument. Think about that... their network will be overtaxed, they won't be making money. There will be more demand than they can supply... so what do they do? Raise prices. That'll filter out the chaff...
  • And my guess is, the average nerd doesn't want to pay $179 a month. The point isn't whether the price per month is $200 or $2000. The consideration is how much are they paying now? $40 a month or so is reasonable for most, maybe even $70. But $179 is expensive, again, for most nerds. Some will have the money, and will get it.

    I am not considering those who can actually justify the expense. I'm talking about Joe User who wants to run a Quake server for his buddies and maybe a related website.
  • Although I agree with you wholeheartedly on being "turned into happy little consumers" I think there's more to the issue of restricted upstream bandwidth than companies not being willing to provide it. With cable the infrastructure was not designed to provide huge amounts of upstream bandwidth and what is available is limited to shortwave frequencies. I'm sure that cable companies would love to offer real business class services over their cable networks but the fact that they don't IMO speaks volumes about their infrastructure limitations. Here, RoadRunner offers "business" cable modem service but all you get is more email accounts, you're still stuck with DHCP, the speeds are the same and the TOS still prohibits servers.

    As for servers, I've had RoadRunner for a year and a half running a Linux box at home with Apache and SSH running. As far as I can tell only the email port is blocked; I've always been able to access my web server from work and I use SSH to access my home box from work and transfer files back and forth. The only problem I have is that about once a month I'm forced to take a new IP address at home and so sometimes I find myself locked out until I can get home and see what my new IP address is. The local Time Warner office's unofficial (verbally stated) policy is to look the other way at this sort of intermittent activity; they feel that DHCP prevents "real" servers from soaking up the upstream bandwidth.

    As for bandwidth, I'll post this from their faq:

    Southwestern Bell gives a bandwidth guarantee for their ADSL service. Does Road Runner offer the same?

    No we do not, although we provide substantially greater bandwidth than ADSL. You should experience faster speeds through Road Runner than through any form of ADSL or other DSL technologies. Because use and number of users varies, we cannot provide a guaranteed Internet connect speed. Unfortunately, no one can except to the first point of aggregation. For an ISP with dial in, the speed can be guaranteed only as far as the terminal server. For ISDN, only to the access server. For ADSL, only to the DSLAM. For T- I or T-3, only to the first router. Please examine any claim carefully. You will have full 10 mbps Ethernet connection between computer and the cable modem. The RF coax from the node to your home is the first aggregation point for the cable modem, providing substantially greater bandwidth than ADSL. We expect that downstream (from the internet to you) be over 20 mbps on the LAN section and the upstream (to the Internet) be in excess of 2 mbps, also on the LAN segment. Also, Road Runner is built to scale, so each person experiences their own up to 2000 kbps or more download and 384 upload, regardless of how many surf or download at the same time. Road Runner is secure, too.

    I can vouch for their speed claims; I've seen download speeds as high as 280 kilobytes/s while updating my box from I've never seen any slowdowns that I've been able to pin down as due to sharing bandwidth with other users (usually it's due to dropped packets resulting from RF ingress interfering with the upstream channel and TW has become really good at locating and fixing this over time; service has become progressively better over time in this regard and the problem is largely resolved. In fact, recently I thought the noise problem had returned so I called tech support and informed them of this. The front-line guy asked my for my IP address and after about two minutes he informed me that my cable modem was not dropping packets but that my Linux box was!! I rather meekly thanked him for the information and after some quick research found out that there was a packet drop issue with the 3com adapter I was using. I switched to another adapter and the problem was solved!) As for their "Road Runner is secure, too." statement all this means is that their cable modems are routers, meaning of course that you don't see your neighbor's packets unless they are addressed to you. Each user is of course responsible for securing their own box, just like with any other Internet service.


  • Services and protocols that are normally not accessible via the Internet because they aren't routeable (Netbios, for one) are available to everyone in your neighborhood.

    NetBEUI may not be routeable, but NetBIOS most certainly is. How do you think programs like Winnuke work over the internet? Or Windows file sharing on an Intranet that has more than one subnet ?

  • I personally am fed up with all the DSL problems, to a degree. It is unfortunate that these companies could not sustain themselves, but even more so AFTER they introduced the concept of fast home access to the end-user.

    I have been using Mindspring (Earthlink, whatever) for about three years as my dial-up service. When they released DSL about 8 months ago, I jumped on it, mainly because they offered free (DIY)installation, a free modem, and I could keep my existing email address, a big point for me.

    Then it turned out, after I got everything, that I would have to use a completely different email address, and the only way I could keep my existing Email address was to pay an addition 19.95 a month, on top of the DSL fee. But, in reading the service agreement, I found out that they don't start billing you until the first time you logon with their username and password.

    So I hooked it up, and logged it with my dial-up password. Worked like a charm. And I was only paying 19.95 a month (because technically I never 'activated' the service).

    But alas, I got my bill last night and they finally caught on and charged me 49.95. So now it's time to think about a fractional T1 or somethig similar. I've had cable, and couldn't stand the service given by Time Warner, so that's out.

    Oh how I miss the days of 2400...*sigh*

  • by deran9ed ( 300694 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @12:43AM (#316536) Homepage
    "The difficulty of taking on equipment, other than what your own network is designed for, is severe. There's almost no market for an arbitrary piece of equipment."

    Apparently this guy has never heard of eBay. This is as good of a time as any, for just one company to pick up the slack and firesale prices as well as customers of some of these companies. Sure the market is grim right now but as history shows it cannot stay there, and should a company jump up and purchase the equipment and accounts, they could actually make money.

    First off with the economy in a slow downturn, you'd save a heck of a lot more money buying surplus stuff from companies like these, at the fraction of a cost. Secondly you'd already have accounts from them as well, the question is whether or not DSL is actually a dead technology, and the answer is no.

    Given the monopolization of the Bells over phone lines, this is the only issue truly affecting these companies. If customers aren't paying, then its the company's own fault, not the Bells.

    All you need is one company to face the facts, sure the market is bullish, which also means no one is going to be spending an arm and a leg buying newer equipment and technologies for a while, so why not capitalize on whats in front of them right now. DSL isn't going anywhere, even if AT&T isn't buying any new DSL assets, who the hell said they were the definitive *anything* of DSL to begin with? So I truly believe there is money to be made as long as the company believes in long term growth as opposed to short term profits, which is one of the biggest problems that lead to most of the Venture Capital firms demise in funding. Everyone thought about making the fastest dollar, and shitty technologies messed things up for a lot of good business ideas, and companies.

    Now for those customers using the services such as Covad, or any other that may have gone under or are going under, I saw a judge forced a company to pick up the slack, and what I would do is re-check some of those legally bonding contracts you signed when you purchased the service, and make sure these companies no matter what hold up to their end of the bargain or refund the difference.

    Ghost in the Shell []
  • I've heard various versions of that ranging from the Staq copyright notice being discovered in the MS binaries, to MS merely reverse-engineering Staq. (If Staq had a valid patent, even independently written code could have been a violation.) I don't know the truth and I'm not going to spend time trying to find out what it is...
  • by markmoss ( 301064 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @07:17AM (#316539)
    The article left me wondering just what it is that the DSL companies were selling. They weren't selling services to the customer, ISP's did that. They can't run DSL lines to the customer -- only the local phone companies may do that, and quite often they can't (either don't know how, or the lines are too long or too patched-up). And finally, the local telcos are selling ADSL and T1 lines plus ISP service in competition with the DSL company & it's ISP's. So how in heck do you make a profit acting as a middleman when the company you depend on most to deliver the service you sell is also a competitor for the whole chain?

    There is one ray of hope for the stockholders (not the customers or employees). It is probably possible in many cases to convince a court that the telco deliberately fouled up delivery of DSL in order to sell much higher priced T1's, or fouled up third-party DSL the better to sell DSL directly. So they should be able to sue under antitrust laws. This is in the tradition of Staq and CDC, which were rescued from bankruptcy by lawsuits after losing their markets.

    For those who were born yesterday: Staq had a program which compressed data on the fly, so you could store twice as much on a small hard drive, if you didn't mind losing all those CPU cycles compressing and decompressing. This was briefly useful when Microsoft released Windows 3.x and made most existing drives too small, but MS-DOS 6.x included a program which looked suspiciously like Staq. Next year, much bigger hard drives were cheap and nobody cared about compression -- but Staq's lawsuit for patent or copyright infringement ground on and eventually won a big settlement. CDC built large mainframes in competition with IBM in the 60's. When they started, IBM didn't have anything near as powerful as the CDCs. So IBM announced the System 360, then tried to build it. The 360 hardware might have been on schedule, but the OS was several years late -- but still, many IBM customers waited for it instead of buying CDC. CDC filed an antitrust suit, claiming that selling vaporware was unfair competition. Long before the suit was settled, the full 360 line was out and delivering the promised power, and CDC was bankrupt. But finally IBM paid them to settle the suit -- and allegedly also to erase a database of IBM misdeeds that cost $16M to compile, before the Feds got interested...
  • That's true, it's not synchronous, I believe I get 256K upload speed, but if I'm wrong, it's higher. Also, they didn't even try to sell me cable TV(maybe because I told them, truthfully, that I don't own a TV, and have no intention of buying one).

    When it comes to running servers/services, I called and asked, and after I explained what they were to the lady, she told me they had NO policy regarding anything like that, so go ahead. She may not have had any idea what she was talking about, but she did tell me it was OK.

    And lucky me, I live in a poor-ass neighborhood, I'm convinced I'm one of about three people that can afford broadband here.

  • by Neverrtfm ( 303783 ) on Wednesday April 04, 2001 @12:41AM (#316542)
    Hmmm, I've never been happier w/ my cable modem then immediately after reading this. I got upgraded to 1.5mbps a few weeks ago, from about 800kbps normally, and it's made a huge difference. /. loads in about 2-3 seconds, and everything else is fast too.

    I wonder if the disintegrating DSL market has anything to do with the fact that(at least in Seattle area) cable service is better, cheaper, and faster? I've been much happier w/ my cable(Millenium Digital Media) than any of my buddies w/ DSL. For that matter, can anyone help my clueless self with an idea why ppl would choose a DSL company(esp. one that has to go through another layer of ISP) over cable? Not trying to be inflammatory, if anyone cares, just curious.

  • In the early days, Covad would partner with ANY ISP, and then they started setting unattainable minimum circuit counts, forcing contract rollups to the point where they were only working with "BIG" companies

    And with that they put their revenue risk into a few baskets instead of spreading it out.

    Covad deserves what its getting. They picked the wrong strategy and now they are paying the price.

    The notion that it was lack of capital on the investors side is just flat out wrong. That gear was purchased on Lease dollars and would have paid for itself if they could have collected.

    Compare this with QWEST/USWEST who made it open to any ISP who bought and paid for a minimum DS1 circuit. No minimum number of circuits, just pay your bills and you can play.

    In town, our largest ISP (Onvoy) cried "no money in DSL" when in fact they lost their Covad contract because they couldn't reach the minimum 10,000 circuits.

    What a joke.

    Goodbye Covad! I hope to buy out your CO's in Minneapolis soon


  • Current stock market is very scared of anything to do with online technology. The pendulum swung into irrational exuberance back in 99', and now it's swung far the other way to the extreme. Wait till the market wisens up and the economy picks up. There's definitely a bright future in DSL. If they die, I'll start one hehe.

    Did you just fart? Or do you always smell like that?
  • "Covad's bonds are now trading below 10 cents on the dollar, Rhythms' below 9 cents, and NorthPoint's at about 1.5 cents."

    So the financial markets give covad and rythms less than a 10% chance of surviving long enough to pay their corporate debt. With all due respect to the covad and rythms fans (*cough*stockholders*cough*) this article doesn't put forth a radical viewpoint... as far as the bond market is concerned, it's not if but when.

    ILEC pricing must have had a lot to due with their untimely demise. While the immediate problem these company face is insufficient capital to continue operating and no access to additional capital through the bond markets, who knows what the situation would be if these companies could have charged the 2x-3x their current prices for the last few years.

    I'm not sure what the situation was in other parts of the country, but here in the Bay Area the cheapest i could order DSL for before PacBell entered the market was somewhere north of $200. Then PacBell started offering 1500/128 for $50. Within months, northpoint and covad were offering consumer packages below $100. Now, I don't know a lot about the economics of offering copper wire DSL service, but I do know something about ISP service, and the $10 portion of the PacBell bill dedicated to ISP charges was obviously below their cost. It wouldn't surprise me if the copper portion was also below cost (now $30/mo)... perhaps if amortized over 20 years it looks OK.

    In my eyes this kind of pricing was always designed to drive the competing DSL providers out of business. And it seems like it's worked just fine. It wouldn't be too surprising to see ILEC's raise their prices for DSL service after the others go out of business. They will (rightly) be able to cite difficulties making these price points profitable, and the PUC will likely roll out the red carpet for them... Can you imagine the uproar there would be in california if the PUC stood their ground and PacBell (as the last remaining dsl provider) threatened to turn off DSL service? Surely they'd have to go along with whatever price hikes were suggested.

    It strikes me that the ILEC's may be able to benefit again by this behavior by doing like AT&T and buying equipment for a couple pennies on the dollar from their bankrupt competitors. After all, they'll need the equipment, they'll have a lot more business soon.

    Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

  • ...and so far everything is working gre^H^H^Hj4vgj4n#######
  • Lets face it, a CLEC providing DSL is not the best thing in the world. CLECs have to resell services they purchase from the ILEC, so the ILEC will always have the lowest cost. Having DSL through an ILEC (Verizon, Pacbell, etc), wouldn't be so bad, if they A. implimented a viable commercial DSL product (AFAIK the "commercial" Bell Atlantic DSL does not come with even *1* static IP, much less a block), and B. Stopped overselling bandwidth. Not to mention, all the other problems ILEC DSL have. If Verizon hired a reputable "consultant" to go over all of Verizon's DSL services (from provisioning to service, both technical and non technical aspects), made a list of what they need to improve, I think everyone would be happier. Well, at least until fiber to the home comes around.
  • What is needed is for the general public to be aware of the problems with Telco monopolies with DSL services. What should be done is to have a large outbreak of "striking" end users of Telephone and DSL services from the great Telcos. What I mean here is that have every end user of the services "not pay" for the services rendered in protest to release the grip that telcos have on the DSL market.

    With this protest, we can show the Telcos that the PEOPLE have the power and not the otehr way around. If everyone does not pay the Telcos, then the telcos would have to listen to their demands and eventually comply with it.

    However, to get the whole North American market to Yell this out to the general public would be like shouting your web address at a rock concert. You just would not be heard unless you got a MIC in your hand.

    If the power of the people show the Telcos we want independant providers, then they would have to comply. Otherwise, Telcos would end up being in so much debt, they might have to fold and I doubt they want to do that.
  • The reason why DSL companies are failing is because of the hardware manufacturers. They are overcharging for the hardware out there. As an example, the cost of a typical DSLAM ranges for 48 ports @ $35,000 to the 672 port models @ $250,000 level. The cost is between $400 to $1000 per port. Then you need the ATM OC links to hook up the units, which can run $50,000-100,000 per month plus each interchange to the COs and then you got hundreds of millions of dollars of expenses with minimal profits. Fiber costs have significantly dropped but the Telcos have not reduced these pricings off their regulated prices. Router and Switching manufacturers are now hurting cause they charge way too much for their equipment. If they slashed the cost of their hardware in half, then possibly everyone would benefit from it and eventually be able to push forward to offer DSL services at reasonable pricing. Resell pricing of High speed @ $20-30/month is hurting everyone and eventually the end user when they lose their service. High Speed resell connections should be priced at about $60-100/month to relate more appropriately the annual costs of serving DSL. This would mean $90-140/month to the end user.

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson