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Covad Planning For Chapter 11 169

Logic writes: "According to their press release, Covad Communications Group, Inc. is preparing to file for Chapter 11 protection for restructuring. One of the most important points in the release is Covad Communications Group, Inc.'s operating companies, which provide DSL services to customers, are not expected to be included in the court-supervised proceeding and will continue to operate in the ordinary course of business without any court imposed restrictions,' meaning that the operating companies which deal with service providers (such as Speakeasy, who have endorsed Covad's action) will continue to operate unfettered by the court restrictions, and end-user services should be unaffected. Hopefully." As a Speakeasy customer (at home), I sincerely hope that my connection doesn't go away.
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Covad Planning For Chapter 11

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  • by Ulwarth ( 458420 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @04:02PM (#2110843) Homepage
    When Northpoint went under, my ISP sent me an email saying that it would be up for another 30 days so that they could switch us over to someone else. Two days later the connection died permenantly.

    I just got the email about Covad from my ISP yesterday. Hopefully this time I'll at least have time to swi
  • I was using Covad as my line provider. My ISP decided that they weren't going to do business with Covad any longer, and apparently, as part of resolving disputed charges between the two, Covad made them agree not to offer DSL to the transferred customers for 1 year. Covad gave 3 weeks notice that we had to transfer to Earthlink or be shut down. So, I will soon be without DSL for a couple days in the gap between Covad's shutting down my service and Verizon to my new provider. And I still don't have an arrangement I like (the new ISP offers multiple static IP's, but has a per-month bandwidth cap. The old one had routable blocks of 8, and no cap.) If they crater, maybe I'll end up with a chance to get back the DSL solution I really want.
    • So what you're saying is that because of your ISP's stupid decision to cut Covad and agree to not offer you DSL for a year... you hate Covad? What kind of crap was your ISP smoking that they thought that killing their already existing customer base would be a good idea? Damn, hate them, not Covad. Covad is just trying to keep a customer, which apparently up until your ISP made an idiot move, was a happy customer.
  • It's no wonder broadband ISP's are floundering - the "baby" Bells, or at least BellSouth, are obviously out to screw them. When I moved, I signed up for an alternate provider for my local phone service (other than BellSouth). I endeavored to sign up for Telocity (now DirecTV) DSL, and was informed that they couldn't hook anybody up unless they were with BellSouth.

    Never mind that I was on the SAME CO as I would have been for BellSouth, using ALL of the same circuits. Why? I was told that BellSouth did not currently contractually allow DSL companies to connect users of other local carriers!

    Deregulation? Right...

    • AHA!! I figured as much... I've had bellsouth ADSL for over 2 years, and it was GREAT until recently. Constant lost sync, etc. The scheduled a tech to come out, but he called (near the end of his allotted window) and said he wasn't coming. I called back last monday and was told point-blank that they "will not be able to help" me at all. Won't even try. A few supervisors later and another tech was promised. Missed a half-day of work only waiting on that tech, who never even called. So now I've ordered Telocity (I used to be a Telocity SDSL customer via Northpoint and was very very pleased) ADSL AND I'm planning to cancel all bellsouth service of all types. In a stroke of genious, I thought maybe I'd best not turn off any bellsouth stuff while they can still screw me out of my telocity. Funny how in expecting the worst intentions of an entity, I am not disappointed.
  • I am not surprised at all. Covad, had terrible customer service, identical pricing and no one knew about them.
  • With Covad filing for bankruptcy and Rhythms doing the same [slashdot.org], I'd like to put in a plug for DirectTV DSL [directvdsl.com] (formerly Telocity). They have resonable prices and are owned by Hughes Electronics so presumably they're a more stable...right? One more inportant advantage, they provide static IP addresses.

    • yes, but here in chicago (and i think in illinois in general) rhythms IS telocity. so i might be screwed.
    • Only if you could 100% certify that nobody from the old Telocity still works there. They were an under-priced, under-staffed, under-skilled provider who was hoping to catch a large % of the market by only working w/ people who didn't have any trouble w/ their DSL and dumping anyone who did. See DSL Reports [dslreports.com].
      • Yeah, I read the DSL Reports article before choosing Telocity. My decision was either them or Verizon or the local cable company, so I really only had two choices. Telocity won out because of the guarenteed static IP. The cable company was roughly the same price, was home to lots of script kiddies, and didn't promise any better service.

        Telocity did take several weeks to get up the connection, but I've had no complaints since then. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, I'll admit, but with so many companies folding, the choices these days are few.

    • I have had Telocity/DirectTV DSL since they started. They have had a few problems along the way but are okay.

      The only problem with switching to them is that DirectTV/DSL uses lines from Rhythms and Covad for many of there customers.

      In the Ameritech area(Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin) in particular almost all of their customers are provisioned through Rhythms and Ameritech doesn't want to deal with them. The current word is when Rhytm=hms goes belly up the customers in this area, of which I am one, are SOL.
      • Yes, most of the people I know, including myself, hate using Ameritech (SBC now) due to really crummy service, bullshit excuses, and price gouging. Ameritech is basically trying to screw all of the other telco companies for obvious reasons.
    • The Dish Network folks are trying to buy Hughes (for the DirecTV network)

      http://public.wsj.com/sn/y/SB99704058777829496.h tm l

      It would be premature to predict that their DSL oferring will remain an essential business offering as opposed to the Dish Satellite offering.


      You (DirecTV DSL users) could end up in the same position as Covad soon.

  • So that brings the score up to CLECs/Broadband co.s 3, RBOCs 3000.
    --G
  • a couple months ago
  • Looks like it's back to cable modem for me...
  • by hndrcks ( 39873 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:54PM (#2117557) Homepage
    I have provisioned DSL accounts for several offices and clients, and one thing I have experienced with EVERY vendor is some version of the following:

    1. Order service.
    2. Get DSL modem/router in mail.
    3. Tech comes to install, brings preconfigured modem with him.
    4. Tech leaves, but doesn't take other modem with him.
    5. Months go by, nobody ever asks for the extra modem.

    Currently, I have a tall stack of Flowpoint, 3com, Netopia and Lucent routers in my server room - 11 of them. How can anyone make money in this way? Northpoint, I know you are gone and don't want the routers - but Covad? NAS? Rythms? Do you want your hardware?

    I have a Qwest line ordered - maybe I'll get two Ciscos!
  • end users WANT high-speed access, but the majority do NOT WANT to pay extra for it.

    My parents love my high-speed access at home and the office, but they will be on 56K until the day they die because they can't justify spending more then $20/mo for dial-access.

    It's got to get a lot cheaper before the bandwagon really gets rolling.

    • $20 bux for an ISP plus $20 bux per month for the second phone line is roughly the same cost as a DSL line.


      That is unless you prefer having everyone that calls you get a busy signal while you surf your brains out

      • that's why god invented voice mail. so 20 bucks a month for dialup and 5 bucks a month for voice mail.

        that's still a heck of a lot cheaper than DSL.

        I wish I could afford it, but DSL is simply not in the budget.
    • Costs (Score:4, Insightful)

      by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:40PM (#2139574) Journal
      Dial up account is $20, second line is $20. If the high speed connection is $40, it's a wash. The reason it's not is the Baby Bells. They don't seem to want DSL, so they charge an arm and a leg for it. The future is probably cable modem.
      • Re:Costs (Score:2, Informative)

        by pci ( 13339 )
        actually the Baby Bells want DSL. They just don't want to sell it at a loss. It costs over $100/month to have a DSL customer with internet access and a decent level of support. (Reference: http://isp-lists.isp-planet.com/isp-dsl/0107/msg00 046.html)
      • Verizon charges only $20 a month for DSL in my area. But through arm twisting speakeasy is $60 a month because verizon wants more money. The fact that verizon only charges 20 a month shows me the cost of installation is not problem with the isp's but its due to price goughing by the babby bells. In my area I would rather pay for high unreliable dsl internet access then to pay AOL-Time/Warner for AOL cable modem. Shudder.
      • Re:Costs (Score:2, Insightful)

        by cetan ( 61150 )
        If you can find me DSL for $40/mo with the same start-up costs as dialup (i.e. zero) I'm your guy...point the way and I'll pay for DSL.

        There area lot of people that can't afford to drop $200+ on startup costs and pay the $60, 70, 80 a month. As was pointed out in the first reply to your post, they have one line and dial in on it.
        • You might want to look into Earthlink DSL [earthlink.net]

          At $49.95 per month, it's $10 more than what your looking for, but there's no setup or install costs.

          • I've had earthlink dsl for about a year now, and up until recently, it was great. 1.5Mb/384Kb for $50/month - qwest (my local phone company) can't compete with those speeds (you can get 640Kb down for $50 I think). But for the last 2 weeks or so, service has been pretty spotty (code red maybe?).

            But Earthlink uses Covad as the DSL provider (at least they did for me), so that doesnt solve to problem of Covad going under.
        • by wiredog ( 43288 )
          DSL isn't $40, and won't be. The people who can't afford the second line probably can't afford any high speed access. The Bells have no real competition in the DSL space. I pay around $50 for cable modem from Comcast@home. It's included in the cable tv bill.

          The Bells are screwing themselves. There's no reason those cable lines couldn't carry voice. Once cable has enough penetration that's what will happen. That's when you'll see lower prices ($40) for DSL, with good QoS. But not any time in the next year or two.

          • Some TelCos have seen this the other way around, and have even attempted offering cable service themselves. SNET (Connecticut) tried this a couple years back, though I think the project was ditched when they were bought out by SBC -- which I suppose just confirms your point -- the bigger baby bells are clueless about innovation.
        • I don't know about DSL for $40/month, but many (most?) cable companies offer cable-modem service for about $40/month.
          • Cable modem access would be great but it's not available in my one section of my other-wise completely covered city.

            Damn that AT&T.

      • yeah, except all the people that had a second line were into the internet a lot and realized this a long time ago... they all have dsl now! the people that CAN'T justify paying more than $20 are the ones that DON'T have a second line, or they would be able to justify it. Most people I know just have 1 line and dial-up.
      • Is impossible under the current conditions. Trust me, I used to work for a privately owned regional ISP attempting to succeed at selling DSL. They have you over a colossal barrel.

        At the rates telcos charge for access to the network, small ISPs are stuck. Our company made less money off a $49.95/month DSL package than we did off a $20/month dialup account. Meanwhile, the telcos eat a loss, sell twice the bandwidth at the same price. We won't even get into SBC (the ILEC in question here) showing up late for our customer's install dates (if at all) and showing up late for repair dates (also if at all). The whole time marketing the heck out of their own services. Conflict of interest? Never. We couldn't even get a price break from SBC despite being one of their largest customers in the state for PRIs. (for our dialup POPs)

        ILECs *hate* DSL. It eats into their fractional T1 market, which is much more profitiable. I don't buy the prices they charge to 3rd parties for DSL at all. A DSL line when done by a 3rd party looks just like a plain, unconditioned copper pair to the ILEC, with the exception that it is hooked up to a co-located DSLAM. If the ILECs charged nothing more than the cost of an alarm circuit, plus a modest co-lo fee, they would still make money off of 3rd party providers, but without being able to drive them out of town.

        -Wintermute
    • The big pipe is hard to leave once you've had it long enough. I'd like to see a provider offer 3 free months. Would people who have been using their connection want to get rid of it?

  • In a related story, after filing chapter 11 [wirelessweek.com] in July, wireless network provider Metricom [metricom.com] has finally decided to shut down [wirelessweek.com].

    Forget Aeron chairs, check out the stuff in their auction [metricom.com].

  • Covad DSL: Service should continue unaffected through the Chapter 11 proceedings.

    Qwest DSL: Service will continue indefinately, until two hours later when you must recycle power of your Cisco DSL router due to "Red Code scanning". Service may or may not be affected in a couple of months when you are silently switched to MSN IP services.
  • by smartin ( 942 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:48PM (#2123170)
    I don't know Covad's full story but I feel kind of bad for them because their problems may not entirely be their fault. I tried for 3 months last year to get a DSL line, Covad was always prepared to do it but were dependent on Verizon. Verizon never showed up for a single appointment and consistently reported that they did and had no access to the property. Turns out that was their standard approach to dealing with other companies customers. Pretty hard to survive in a market where you live under the thumb of the ruling monopoly.
    • That's what's happening to all the independent DSL providers. The Bells charge them for rental of the lines. Rent that the Bells don't have to pay. Therefore, the Bells can offer the same connection at a lower cost.
    • by alen ( 225700 )
      I work for a local phone company in the NYC area, and it's not Verizon. We do local, long distance, DSL, and T1's. By the end of this year or sometime next year we should turn a profit. We aren't laying of. We're hiring. I made 8 accounts in the last two days.

      Our secret, we have our own network. We only rent the lines from Verizon for a little while. Then we switch the customers onto our network. We tried it the other way and almost had to close the company. It's all how management runs the company.

    • I've got Covad behind my DSL service.

      My service costs around $50 per month and somewhere I read that $35 of that goes straight to Verizon. That leaves only $15 for Covad and my ISP.

      Talk about being screwed by a monopoly. Verizon's making out like a bandit whether they have you as a customer or not.

    • Yes, it is Verizon.

      I had Verizon fail to show up 9 times to do their part installing my Covad line. They are complete liars. One day, disgusted with being told I was not home when they continually failed to show up, I sat on my stoop the entire day, cordless phone in hand, calling Covad's executive office every hour to let them know Verizon was still not there.

      At 5 p.m., Verizon updated my status to "not home." I had numerous witnesses that I sat there the entire day and I was subsequently quoted in New York magazine about Verizon's malfeasance.

      The next time, they showed up.

  • I was a Northpoint subscriber (through Best/Verio). When Northpoint cratered, I decided to go with Speakeasy, one of the highest-rated DSL providers around. I knew that their supplier, Covad, was having trouble, but hoped that enough Northpoint orphans would switch over to Covad to help keep them afloat.

    Now it looks like Covad might crater, too. When that happens, what is my remaining choice? Pacific Bell.

    I will not get Pacific Bell DSL. I do not want PPPoE (which is a lame attempt to pretend that an always-on connection can be billed like POTS). I do not want ADSL, I want SDSL (I want to run servers, dammit). I do not want metered bandwidth. I do want static IP. I do want competent, responsive service personnel. And I do not want up "upgrade" to T1 (because I don't want to get soaked to the tune of $300/month for a lousy 128Kbits).

    *sigh* I guess I start exploring wireless options next...

    Schwab

  • How Does Covad Spell Relief? Chapter 11

    Some of you may have read Covad Communications' announcement today regarding its negotiations with bondholders and the subsequent "pre-packaged" Chapter 11 filing. The release clearly details Covad's plan to successfully restructure its business and continue with its long-term goal of providing premium DSL connectivity and choice in the broadband market space.

    The primary item of note in the release, and that which concerns many of you, is that the potential Chapter 11 filing will affect the parent company, Covad Communications Group, Inc., but will in no way affect any of its operating companies. Due to this essential distinction, ALL of the Covad operating companies (which include vendor relationships and the maintenance of DSL circuits) will continue to operate without any court-imposed restrictions. Basically, this announcement will not affect your Speakeasy DSL service in any way.

    We here at Speakeasy are thrilled by this decision and determined that we will continue our vendor relationship with Covad in all established service areas. We are in full support of Covad's efforts to restructure, and believe that this is exactly what the industry needs. We are all early-adopters of a technology that is under constant development, and, as many of you know, residing on the bleeding edge is not without its risks. Thankfully, this announcement will help ebb the speculation on the future of the broadband industry and contribute to revitalized growth.

    Certainly we intend to monitor the developments of this restructure, and will keep our press site (http://www.speakeasy.net/press) up to date with all breaking news regarding Covad's reorganization.
  • Rhythms filed for Chapter 11 last week


    http://www.rhythms.com/news/pr/bulletin_board.cf m

  • by Tim Macinta ( 1052 ) <twm@alum.mit.edu> on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:46PM (#2126774) Homepage
    If that's what it takes to stay in business, I hope that Covad raises their prices. I would gladly pay almost double what I am now for my Speakeasy service without a second thought considering my only other option is Verizon DSL (which I had previously and which was absolutely the worst customer service experience of my life). Please charge more, Covad - your service actually works (unlike Verizon which was frequently down for weeks on end).

    This is exactly what ticked me off about Kozmo. They actually had something (their service) that I would have paid a premium for and yet they still attempted to undercut tradional stores that sold the same products. If they had just charged I little more I could still rent videos in my underwear. So once again, please charge more Covad - Speakeasy is lightyears ahead of Verizon in terms of quality and I will pay a very large premium for that. Besides, I write my DSL off on my taxes anyway so it's not a big deal.

    • Double? I am paying $109 a month for 384k/384k SDSL. Now, my download speeds are capped at 40k/s, same with upload speeds. I, too, am a Speakeasy subscriber, and I would much rather use dial-up than pay double of what I am paying right now for this connection.

      "So once again, please charge more Covad - Speakeasy is lightyears ahead of Verizon in terms of quality and I will pay a very large premium for that."

      I agree that Speakeasy is better than Verizon in terms of it's quality, but I also must mention that you already are paying a hefty premium for the "superior" service. Yes, that's right. Read the speakeasy FAQ.
    • I use jump.net here in austin, and they provide excellent service, but they charge for it. I pay $150/month for a guaranteed 1500/384 connection w/ 10 static ip's. I trade stocks for a living(yes, still, and it is still a living), and I am more than happy to pay it. Jump.net is owned by Allegiance Telecom.
    • I hate to say it but Covad used verizon for their network backbone. This is why covard can take up to 6 months for installation. Its verizon fucking with everyone. Either way your screwed.
      • I hate to say it but Covad used verizon for their network backbone. This is why covard can take up to 6 months for installation. Its verizon fucking with everyone. Either way your screwed.

        Ah, but Verizon uses Verizon for everything. At least with Speakeasy/Covad I don't have to deal with Verizon technical support or Verizon customer support, both of which I have found entirely inadequate. I think with Covad, Verizon is only in charge of the actual DSL wire itself and nothing else, and there are so many other places that problems can arise (in fact, I don't think any of the numerous problems I had with Verizon DSL had to do with the wire itself). The other factors make a huge difference in quality of service.

        • The only reason Verizon is involved in any of Covad's business is because Verizon owns the local loop. Covad needs Verizon to switch the a pair at the CO from their equipment to Covad's DSLAM. Verizon takes 3-5 weeks to do this. Verizon also takes 3-5 weeks to tell you if you can get DSL. They also provide incorrect data for distances of customers from the CO. Covad has their own network behind that DSLAM in the CO. If there was a better way to get the data from your house to the DSLAM, trust me, there would be a lot of businesses making a lot of money, a lot of very happy customers, and one very pissed off Verizon.

          Everybody in the New England area that's doing telecommunications has to deal with Verizon. They even take up to 8 *MONTHS* to get a T1 loop installed, and good luck if you're actually using those idiots for more than the local loop. They overbooked their network to such an extreme that they were turning people down for service.

          www.verizoneatspoop.com

          I can't get DSL in my area (thank you Verizon for putting me on a CO 24000 feet away) even though it's a major metro area (Worcester, MA). It took them eight weeks to tell me that. My previous dealings with them had incorrect data being reported to the DSL companies, and false information being entered into logs that went back to the DSL companies.

          It certainly is your local loop providers that are forcing most of the DSL companies and network out of business.

          -Aaron
    • What is there to customer service? DSL is 1-2-3 online.

      1) Plug in the telephone filters to all of your telephones.
      2) Connect DSL Modem to ethernet card, and phone jack.
      3) Plugin DSL modem

      I have verizon DSL, and it is fast, never goes down. I have never needed to call customer service for any reason (Except to order the service).
      • I have verizon DSL, and it is fast, never goes down. I have never needed to call customer service for any reason (Except to order the service).

        I'm glad that you haven't had any problems yet. Just pray that you never do have to call customer service.

        What is there to customer service? DSL is 1-2-3 online.

        Here's a brief list of some of the problems I had with Verizon/BellAtlantic DSL:

        • They sent me the wrong type of DSL modem. I explicitly requested an ethernet modem and they sent me a USB modem.
        • They sent out a replacement relatively quickly when I brought the error to their attention. However, they billed my credit card 6 times for a DSL modem. I could see maybe being billed twice, but 6 times? And these charges were all over $100 a piece.
        • It took them a full half year and many hours on my part calling customer service to get them to take back the erronious modem and issue me a refund for the 5 erronious charges.
        • Upon installation, my DSL worked for 15 minutes and then went dead for the next 2 months!
        • I called customer support immediately after the service died and they told me it would be resolved within 72 hours. I called back 72 hours later and they said that there was no trouble tickets in the system from before, that they would put one in, and it would take another 72 hours. This went on for 2 months!
        • When I say that my line went dead, what I mean is that it would work for maybe 5-10 minutes per hour, drop so many packets so as to be unusable for about 20 minutes, and drop all packets for the rest of the time. I would call up their tech support and tell them that I knew my DSL wasn't working because when I pinged my gateway the majority of packets were being dropped. One of their tech support guys had absolutely no idea what "packets" were and what I was talking about.
        • When they finally did fix my line, the way that they did it was way less than ideal. The problem was with the tree at the central office that my line was connected to. They physically moved my line to another central office. That's great for me (the woman who did it was the only person with a clue I ever met at Verizon and she felt sorry for me at that point because it had been so long), but there were hundreds of other people on the same tree who were probably experiencing the same problem - they did not fix the source of the problem, at least not at that point.
        • This physical line switching messed up my normal phone service and lead to substantial double billing for long distance.
        • Every other month the service would go down again for periods of days to weeks.
        • Considering the cummulative number of hours I spent on hold with Verizon, they have wasted days of my life. I was on hold for roughly an hour each day for a long stretch of time.
        • Once I was on hould for several hours (3 or 4 I think) waiting for a "level 2" tech support (which you can only reliably get if you wait on hold) and then their system just hung up on me after this long wait period.
        • I frequently recieved promises of being called back within a certain time frame and these promises were almost never kept.
        • I called to cancel my service last August, but they continued to bill me for the next few months. It turned out that they hadn't actually cancelled my service when I requested. It took me a few more months to the charges taken off my account from that.
        • I refused to pay for the charges for the DSL service after I had cancelled it, and because the charges were billed to my phone bill this made my phone bill delinquent. Verizon refused to remove the charges from my phone bill and their excuse was that their DSL deparatment was separate and that they just acted as the billing service (but it's the same frickin company!). They said that I would have to wait for a refund authorization from the DSL department later on.

        That's what I remember off the top of my head and what I'm not repressing. I kept a log of my interactions with Verizon, so I could go on, but hopefully you get the picture.

        Since I switched to Speakeasy, my service has been down for about 3 ~ 4 hours out of the past year. Their tech support not only knows what "packets" and "gateways" are, but they actually offered to help me troubleshoot my Linux box before! I have had no billing problems with them whatsoever. As you can hopefully see, going back to Verizon is the last thing in the world that I want.

    • I'm a Speakeasy customer too, and I'd hate to lose my connection, but I'm not willing to pay more than I am now. $700 a year is plenty for the luxury of fast access & a vanity site I could put on a number of other boxes... I'd get a dialup account again if they raised their prices, or even go with Verizon, though I too had a nightmare with them before going with Speakeasy.

  • I only say this because I have seen a few posts regarding Covad pulling their weight, but Verizon falling short, therefore making Covad look bad. I am moving in to my new apartment next week, and I have to choose between Cable modem and DSL. Coincidently, when I went to check on the remodeling progress a Verizon van was parked in the lot, so I decided I would ask about DSL. He told me I could probably get DSL. Then I told him that "too be honest ... I'm not trying to be a jerk ... but I'm not a very big fan of Verizon"

    His response? 'off the record ... I don't blame you ... they jerk everone around and they suck.' (I'm paraphrasing here, but accurately ... e.g. he did say the word suck)
    Need anyone say more about the big floppy V?

    Now here is my question:

    If I am able to rule out Verizon in one easy investigative effort is it really anything less than incompetance to factor them into your business plan? I think it is incompetence unelss there really was no other choice, then the incompetence was starting the venture in the first place.
  • Wow...that's unfortunate. However, has anyone expected differently? How long until rates start going up now that the big competitors are all dying? Any guesses?
    • I love my Speakeasy/Covad DSL. I can't say enough about them. Thos on my local LUG list will tell you that I don't stop raving about them. Perhaps Speakeasy could afford to buy the lines from Covad. That would kick ass. Oh and on a side note, Speakeasy, is scheduled to be profitable in September. I still hope this is on track. -
    • I'm not at the point of worrying about rates. I need availability. Covad is the *only* DSL provider to serve me... because I'm too far from the CO for high speed DSL, and only Covad bothered to install equipment here to serve me with low-speed, expensive IDSL.

      But I'm not complaining about my low-speed, expensive IDSL, because it works. The alternative is dialup.

  • Lousy customer service + poor order processing + negative profit margins on every line = Chapter 11
  • My SDSL is through a Covad reseller... and I just finished moving web, email, etc over to my in-house server... I hope the bit about their operating companies being unafected plays out...

    And I've actually had great service through Covad and my operating company... 30 days from order to being online, and I got a free router out of the deal because the tech wasn't supposed to bring one (and before people bitch about me stealing, I called them and they said to just keep it...)

  • Having dealt with Covad on many occasions (each time resulted in lots of Tylenol and alcohol), I think they need to restructure things around.
  • ..by the sheer ineptitude of providers like Concentric/XO Communications ("new logo changes everything" etc).

    I had a T-1 installed. Worked beautifully. Moved DNS, mail servers, etc. Cancel Northpoint DSL service. Unplug DSL after a week or so. XO, the DSL provider, calls me to note that my service is down. Reply that I've cancelled my service, so please, don't worry about it. Covad calls the next day; we received a trouble ticket from XO regarding your DSL* no, really, I've cancelled it, please disregard. A week later, Verizon shows up for repairs; I send the tech off to lunch. Covad called me back three more times and Verizon called me once more.

    If either the DSL resellers or the telcos owning the local loops had their crap together, maybe companies like Covad and Northpoint wouldn't go south.

    -p
    • Of course, this probably meant that the disconnect didn't get processed and they continued to bill you for the service...

      What's sad is that the FCC and/or the state PUCs seem to be just sitting by watching the carnage from afar. When one CLEC goes under, you can say "they didn't manage their business properly". But when they ALL go under, the FCC should start smelling collusion.
  • by Robber Baron ( 112304 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:40PM (#2134976) Homepage
    ...and not have to pay most of it back! I'm beginning to believe that certain unscrupulous people are starting to take advantage of the talking-head spawned hype surrounding the "dot-com meltdown" in order to get out from under their financial responsibilities. It also illustrates a truism: No matter how much money is raised, a poorly led company will find some way to piss it all away quickly.
    • Actually, for the investors, it makes sense.

      All of the loans get converted to a penny-on-the-dollar payment and stocks. Covad has plenty of stock right now because nobody wants to buy it.

      It's a fair deal for the bondholders because, instead of loosing a good chunk of their money, they get some of it back right now, the rest in stock, and if Covad returns to profitability, they'll make quite a bit.

      It's a better bet than Covad declaring Chapter 11 the normal way, where you are not assured any money at all.

      I hope that some combination of Covad/Rythms/etc. manages to do some CLEC-level competition with the phone company. At the very least, I hope that Speakeasy stays up, because they are consistently rated well on the reviews and explicitly let you run servers and have multiple IP addresses.
    • You should really read the news before commenting. They are taking the debt notes and converting them to stock and paying about 20 cents cash on the dollar for each note. This will cut their interest payments and enable them to invest that money.

      The deal was already negotiated with their creditors before they announced today. The creditors agreed to the whole plan.

      • True, but the bondholders are getting stock that will likely decrease in value for thir bonds. The trouble with stock is, even though it's worth X now, it'll likely be worth Y later, and given the troubles in tech stocks Y is less than X.

        The bottom line: They're getting hosed in the long run.
      • I did read the article, sunshine. And I do understand that the creditors agreed to the conversion of debt notes to stock. That's just taking the lesser of two evils...the greater being having the company go tits-up and creditors losing everything. I also know (and have experience with) that from an IR guy's point of view, it's usually better to retire debt with "paper" than with actual cash...
  • by Derkec ( 463377 )
    At my former employer, I had the dubious distinction of being the "recommend our next DSL provider." I had this 'honor' a couple times, my choices explain this:

    1) Jato
    2) Northpoint
    3) Covad...

    I kinda feel bad for them, but life goes on. BTW, I wasn't fired despite my 'skill' at choosing. At least this time it looks like Covad will continue to provide service to their DSL folks.

  • I love my speakeasy account! They never go down, always on connection, and plenty of upload bandwidth. Sure, I spend $200 a month on the 1.1mbit SDSL service from them, but hey, what else is there, cable?? HA! Cable is a joke these days... you get ISDN upload speed and if you use that, it criples your download speed. ADSL is also a joke... it has the same upload speed as cable, but costs more and also less download speed. Broadband is fast upload and download in my book... if you can't give me a good upload with my download, I dont want you as my provider. Can you imagine a world after companies like Verizon run through it? Everyone will have these connections that can download faster than you could ever imagine, but where you gonna download from? Your friend?? Hell no, your friend has verizon and has a 128kbit upload cap. Your office?? No again, your office has a 256kbit upload cap. But wait... Verizon has a great upload limit for themselves, lets go download from them so they can censor our web experience all to hell and back. Maybe they can replace certain words in web pages you download with their own... "Verizon"="God" or vise versa. I used to think cable was gonna be the big answer to a lot of problems, but nope, they fixed that by capping all the cable companies, so now you not only have a shit connection in the evenings, you also have a limited connection during the rest of the day as well. Just the other day I was praying for fiber optic in my home, but you'd probably have to get it through verizon or something and you'd see the verizon guy out there every weekend rubbing mud into the optics. (only if you are not with verizon) I stick with my cell phone now instead of having a verizon home phone just because I hate all of the bell companies. And I would go with wireless over switching to verizon dsl.
    • I have RR (a Time-Warner cable modem for those who are unfamiliar), and it's great. I often hit download speeds in excess of 3mbit/s. Contrary to the common myth about shared bandwidth, I have never seen my connection slow to anywhere near that of a 56k.

      My typical upload speed ranges from 500kbit/s to 700kbit/s. Sure that's not 1mbit/s, but I'm not paying $200/mo either. I pay $40/mo. Also, I have a pseudo-static IP address. Technically, it's DHCP, but it hasn't changed in 3 months.
  • OK for once I want a federal bail-out. Farmer-subsidy style. Working with local PacBell DSL is the most horrendous experience of my life (well, you know, with a company). Seriously down for over 2 months. I had to show *thier* tech how to make DSL work on HIS laptop. That's right, I set up his own, work, laptop so it would work.

    Can I write my senator? Say what? Please pass laws to help people like Covad? If anyone knows what can be done pro-actively to avoid comeing back under the really ugly, warty, fungus-fingernailed thumb of PacBell (San Francisco) please respond...

  • What about small business that rely on DSL for there websites and connections (such as the one i work for). We had a hell of a time when Northpoint turned off the network with no warning.. Now what are we supposed to do if Covad and Rhythems go out of business?

    We can't afford T1 speed or anything close to it and cable modems dont normally offer Static IPs etc?

    Guess were SOL.
  • I'd like to take this moment to thank Verizon for using their existing revenue streams from voice telephony to undersell & frustrate all attempts to compete with them in the DSL space. All those hours of botched installations, refusal to access co-lo slots and intentional negligence really paid off. With the bankruptcy of Covad, and the ensuing "kick-em-while-they're-down" lawsuits from Verizon, we can look forward to a future with one clear choice for high speed access: Verizon or Verizon, @whatever-the-hell-they-charge/month or else!

    Thanks guys!
  • I'm a former BlueStar customer...former, as in "last week". I signed up with BlueStar back when they were making money, long before Covad bought them out. Of course, Covad scoops them up and subsequently shuts them down, with barely a month's notice (which left my company without DSL for several days).

    I never had a problem with BlueStar in the pre-Covad days, but a few months ago they were having network outages across the east coast. Ack! We were already shopping around for a new ISP when we got The Letter that says that BlueStar is being shut down. No mention of Covad DSL, transferring service, or any of that. TWO WEEKS LATER a Covad rep calls to try to transfer me over to Covad DSL. I say, "Thanks, but we've already made other arrangements. Besides, if I signed with you now, I'd have two weeks of internet downtime" (BellSouth takes a month to install a DSL line, and no, they won't use the old one).

    My question is, why did Covad shut down BlueStar the way that it did, and force out thousands of customers that they didn't need to? I'm sure that part of it was that there was overlap with existing Covad DSL services, but there were some areas of the country where BlueStar was the ONLY DSL provider; those businesses that relied on BlueStar are now back to dial-up for internet access.

    But, again...why didn't Covad try to transition BlueStar customers into the Covad network, and gradually shut down the redundant areas? Business 101: it's a whole heck of a lot cheaper to keep an existing customer than to find a new one.

    I just signed up with another DSL provider who has happily informed me that they have scooped up so many former BlueStar customers that their router supplier is having trouble cranking out the hardware fast enough.

    Frankly, I'm not surprised that Covad is going under, there seems to be a lot of deficiencies at the top. They buy a business that's making money and shut them down. They force out thousands of customers that their own sales people are scrambling to get back. My only advice to those considering Covad is to run away as fast as possible.

  • I remember reading here a few months ago about the major telephone companies going out and harrassing all the small isp's into paying up fee's. Basically under the ftc rules clecs( competing local exchange carriers) have to buy access only from the top 5 monopolies in the industries under price caps of course. Through corporate lobbying, isp's now fall under a competing local exchange carrier so AT&T, verizon adn all the baby bells are fucking these small isps including covard left and right and demanding high fee's and even sometimes bottlenecking their lines to make them look slow. I know someone who ordered coavrd dsl and waited 4 MOTNHS BECAUSE VERZION REFUSED TO CONNECT HIM!

    Thats right covard has to use verizon only in New York state thanks to some lobbying by verizon. Verizon is the anti-christ of all high speed connections here. Their serive has maybe a %80 uptime! no joke, its that bad! THey want to force this down our throats at any costs all in the name of bussiness.

    THis really pisses me off. If any of you reading this use's DLS speakeasy and noticed their rates go up, well thank good old baby bells for increasing the prices. Notice a baby bells dsl lines only cost maybe 20 a month while speakeasy is 60. Hmmm I wonder why.

    Usually the ftc makes sure these abuses never come but they are being bought by lobbiests left and right by oil companies, media companies, and now mega-telco companies.

    If we don't do something except high speed access to installations to stall to a halt and pay $150 a month for lousy service when they finally arrive to your area due to lack of competition. ITs the small guys like covard who are the ones laying cable and not verizon and yet verizon is winning by buying a government to squash the good guys. THis bothers me more then an abusive software company owning the operating system world. Without a network in 10 years a computer is nearly useless. I expect high speed internet accessing will be required by WIndows via .NT/hailstorm because most pc's will be smart terminals by then.

  • ..and Covad said not to worry, we'll pick up the slack. By this time I was back using a modem. Glad I didn't listen! So much for the Covad "safety net."
  • Late last week I got a letter in the mail from my SDSL provider, DSL.net stating that they were switching us over to Covad in the next few weeks. DSL.net has been having problems (according to FuckedCompany.com). Wonder if that is gonna happen now?

    Oh well, at least I am not the one that made the decision to use this outfit...
  • Well, DUH (Score:3, Insightful)

    by speedbump ( 11624 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @03:16PM (#2149027)
    Another one bites the dust. I've been in the Aerospace business, and I've been in the ISP business for almost ten years now, and I gotta say: rocket science is a lot easier than the Internet biz.

    I run a dinky little ISP in Colorado, since 1992. We were the first to provide commercial ISDN-speed internet access (even ahead of the local phone company!). When DSL hit the scene, and the telcos created all the insane and unrealistic expectations about the service, I stood up in front of the 200 or so members of the Rocky Mountain Internet User's Group, and I told them that DSL, as priced, was not a long-term winning strategy for businesses. Bandwidth has an actual market value, which is entirely being discounted in the business plans of these startups, amid the sheer lemming optimism of foolish shareholders.

    Simply put, you can't supply T1 (or 0.5 T1) speeds for $40/month. To say nothing of the capital investment requirements to build out the infrastructure, which are enormous. Or the tech support staff expenses. Or the marketing. Or the fact that the telcos STILL have a stranglehold on America's communications infrastructure, and internally sell their services to their own internet spin-offs at far lower cost than to their competitors.

    But now, the media and the general public are shocked, shocked I tell you, that these companies are falling away like so many body parts off a leper.

    Well, DUH.

    Result: the Baby Bells win again. The consumers will have to continue to put up with poor tech support, idiotic customer care, and diminishing bandwidth. Oh, and the price will go up.

    You got what you deserved, by not supporting your local ISP enough.

    • Re:Well, DUH (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This is partially true. You can sell it if you offer an asymetric pipe and throw QoS out the window. The home consumer is willing to do this. But for businesses which require high speed upstream bandwidth, high reliability and QoS gaurantees, $40.00 / month is way too low. All the companies which tried to sell Business class service at these prices did a huge disservice to the market by raising their expectations with unmaintainably low prices.
  • I read about this problem a few months ago. Covad has already taken over 100,000 accounts from Northpoint and couple more dead ISPs. They have partnerships with many ISPs. Covad provides over 40% of the xDSL lines in the US but can't turn things around? Yeah right! Now the Bells will win AGAIN and will offer you crappy plans for "home" use. If you want a GOOD plan you will have to get a business account that cost triple! Wallstreet pricks really piss me off!! It was a pain to get ADSL and it took a couple of weeks to have my account setup properly. But since then I havn't had ANY problems. The service works great 24hrs a day. When I had cable it was only a matter of time until the bandwidth usage would be maxed out and the service was USELESS after 7pm! I would go back to dial-up then they would call me back and say, "Sir please try our service again. We just completed the upgrade in your area". A couple months later same problem! Thanks for nothing you greedy bastards!!
  • Those of you who believe that telephone service should be a regulated monopoly, you are killing the independent DSL industry.

    The FCC should mandate that no local or state entity should be able to grant a monopoly telecommunications franchise, period.
  • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @02:33PM (#2149745)
    Who filed for Chapter 11 last Thursday (8/2) and are expected to make a decison as to whether to restructure or shutdown/sellout by 8/10. (from Yahoo [yahoo.com]

  • So how long will it take for Microsoft to come and gobble them up into MSN? Looks to me like they're ripe for the assimilating.
    • Not surprised at Covad's difficulties, as I know someone who does DSL for PacBell. What's amazed me day-to-day is still seeing their little white vans zipping down Highway 17, as if being driven by someone actually still employed by Covad, rather than someone who bought it at an auction.

      I think M$ style would be more like, "Here's a pile of money to bail^H^H^H^H begin innovating, also, here's a pile of Microsoft software and content product you will push, i.e. all your customers will get their service through Microsoft or a Microsoft Partner. Please upgrade all servers to IIS and all desktops to Win2000, and eradicate all individuals who defend the Cancer that is Open Source and/or Linux. Now just hand me your soul and I'll be on my way."

      ® Microsoft Corporation, 2001
      © Microsoft Corporation, 2001

  • I work for a small ISP in SE Kansas and I've seen firsthand how difficult it is to compete. In my market SWBell wanted to charge us $29 per head to sell DSL to customers in our area. After that I still have to pay normal ISP costs associated with bandwidth, customer support, in addition to end user equipment. We were prepared to do this a full year before SWBell was going to come in and offer DSL in our area because the equipment was already there waiting to be used. Our plan was to offer dynamic IP's at a base service and then sell static IP's for a few dollars more. We would have had a reasonable upload cap of 384 ot 768, somewherein that area. We really had a good service planned, but we found out through a few contacts that SWBell was going to have a special when they offered DSL. $35 per month plus free equipment. We did the math and realized there was no way we could compete with that, so we didn't bother.

    I don't see how they can justify charging us $29 per head for JUST the local loop and then selling the entire service for $35 themselves, but thats what they did.

    In January we found out that prices have risen to $49 a month and there are no longer deals on equipment.

    Now we see they have been doing this all over the country. The operating proceedure seems to be price the competition out of the market and then raise prices.

    In the end everybody loses but SWBell. I don't know what the deal is with this, but I wish someone would have done something.
    • 1) "Competition has no other choice than to buy product from Baby Bell."

      2) "Undercut the competition until it's gone, then raise prices."

      Number 1 sounds like a monopoly to me.

      Number 2 sounds like a monopoly violating anti-trust law.

      Contact your Better Business Bureau. Find some smart lawyers who want to make a buck. Does anyone else think it's time for a class-action suit?

      [Verizon just raised DSL prices in the Pittsburgh area too. I'm just lucky that CMU decided to raise their prices as well and keep running their private happy little DSL service for students & profs]
    • I don't see how they can justify charging us $29 per head for JUST the local loop and then selling the entire service for $35 themselves, but thats what they did.

      This is really a shame. I suppose the MaBells et al. could simply claim DSL is not the only way to connect to the 'net -- thus, they are not being monopolistic.
  • Yeah, so their service sucked (the technician was scheduled to do my install from "8am-12pm", but arrived at 1:30pm without apology), but I might just miss them. In the end, I did get DSL service with a static IP for about $50/month.

    Now, sure, there's still Verizon (bleh), but I don't think I'd want to use them due to their penchant for PPPoE. So, when I move, I might just have to sign up for cable-modem service (yeah, it may not offer a static IP, but at least I wouldn't have to suffer through PPPoE).
    • I've said it before, and I'll say it again:

      At least you can choose not to have PPPoE. Some of us are stuck. And will be for quite some time.

      If it weren't for Prozac, I'd probably take out a shotgun on the next Verizon truck I see.

    • "Yeah, so their service sucked"

      Not in my experience. I've had nothing but consistently excellent service from them. My install was scheduled for 1pm-5pm... the dude literally rang my doorbell just as the clock turned to 1:00pm. Several of my friends had the exact same, excellent, experience with Covad and Speakeasy.

      I don't doubt that you had a bad experience with them, but in my experience, you are by far in the minority.
  • I was a former northpoint customer. I thought Northpoints network/service was superior to covads but still covad has a good network.

    They have a ton of customers, why aren't they making money?

    It's extremely sad to see a product that is far superior to 56k dialup vanish relatively quickly.

    Is no one managing these companies? Instead of slowly going out of business, why don't they budget and create a plan that will put them in the green?

    To me it's simple, if you're not making enough at $40/customer to pay your employees and cover all the rest of the expenses, get rid of worthless employees and raise your prices to a profitable rate.

    I've upgraded to T1 but it costs a bundle! Had I not been forced to upgrade, I certainly would have kept using SDSL.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, to look on the bright side, I do get a lot of Code Red attempts in my logs from Covad customer's IPs... maybe they can't afford the extra bandwidth? Maybe this is MS's plan all along (because we all know they released Code Red)? It's a CONSPIRACY I tell you!!!

    (yes, for the sarcasm-impaired, this was a bad joke, brought to you by Miller Lite)

    If I only had a job, I'd have less time on my hands for these cheezy posts... Hm, better post this AC...
  • I moved and had to drop from adsl to idsl, 3x the cost, and 600 bux for the equipment. So, there are people paying BIG bucks for dsl type services. Even ISP's are raising their rates, the cant make money at 20 bux for a 768K connection. If the prices for T1's came down, I would switch over to that. My Frame Relay 56K connection costs 400 bux a month, and was never down. If Covad goes, my choice is back to ISDN and maybe satellite for download speed.

    People want bandwidth, they need bandwidth. The problems is the larger Phone companies want to strangle off the mom and pop isp's, then own the entire market. I ordered my DSL from Covad, Verizon came out and asked why I didnt order from them, and stated if I didn't switch, my order wouldn't go through. Totally illegal, but what could I do? I switched to verizon.

    Also, Speakeasy is my current idsl isp, they have the best customer support I have seen in a larger ISP. But I hear thier customer service had to restructure, they were pretty bad.
    They let me send email out through their SMTP servers, Verizon wouldn't. I even host my domain with a smaller hosting service, just because when I called and asked about getting SSH installed on the servers and telnet turned off, they forwarded me to the sys-admin, and she said somehow our server was skipped, and she installed it later that day.

    This whole thing has me pissed off, its not bad enough the Telcos wont provide the service, they can run the people who do out of business. All with our Federal Governments blessings.

I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. -- Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil

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