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Broadband Bermuda Triangle 168

An anonymous coward sent in: "Mike from Techdirt has written an article in Salon.com about how he is the bermuda triangle of broadband, and how the government should kick him out of the country if they really want to save the broadband industry. Apparently, he's been kicked off 4 or 5 different broadband networks in the past year alone as each company went bankrupt or gave up the business."
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Broadband Bermuda Triangle

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  • by gandalf_grey ( 93942 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @08:18AM (#2664440) Homepage
    Move to Redmond and observe. Let's see if we can put the phenomenon to work for the greater good!

    • Move to Redmond and observe. Let's see if we can put the phenomenon to work for the greater good!

      Actually, he should see if MSN offers broadband. This might not hurt Microsoft, directly.

      But he could express an interest in .Net which apparently would need a high speed connection.

      Yes, there is hope in the world.

      • MSN took over QWEST DSL... which rules out the only other option besides my cable modem. Even the fliers which I get every week say Win98 or newer only... bah.
        • Generally you don't have to use QWest or MSN as the ISP for DSL. I use QWest DSL, and I have about a dozen ISPs to pick from, including MSN. I went with someone else that would just give me a static IP address and leave me alone. They could care less what operating system I use.
  • by Heem ( 448667 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @08:19AM (#2664445) Homepage Journal
    It's a shame broadband internet services cant seem to turn a profit. I'd like to see a cable provider provide me with an IP address, and thats it. I'll take care of my email and other services. Something like 'Broadband for Nerds. Simplicity Matters.' or.. something like that...

    • by plone ( 140417 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @08:34AM (#2664497) Homepage
      Steve Gibson(along with EasyspeakDSL) over at shacknews [shacknews.com] is starting to offer shackdsl, which is geared totally towards gamers. Static IP, SDSL connection (758k I think), direct access to dedicated game servers. However, it doesnt come cheap, i think it is around $90 per month.
      • A big internet provider in Denmark is doing something similar.. By providing 512/512 connections and premium gameservers for so called Boomtown customers.

        And thats not all, they are opening several Gamming "café's" that are connected directly to the Boomtown backbone.

        The last bit might be to much for Shugashack though :-)
      • If a company could offer me dsl at $90 per month I would sign up quicker than something that is really really quick. I'm in the UK and any sort of broadband in my area (except for ISDN at $60 per month for the line and ISP charges on top of that) is at least a year away. $60 for ISDN + $20 for the ISP (to get free internet phone calls) = $80 per month for 64k (no ISP offering free calls does 128k) OR $90 for 785k...what a decision to have to make, rotflmao.
        • wow, prices on the isdn aren't too bad there, comparitively. I looked into getting isdn at my apartment in the US, ISP was $30/month for unlimited 128k, not bad... phone company wanted about $300/month for unlimited 128k... very bad.
          --
    • With the market size, that wouldn't be even close to being near being profitable. Joe Schmoe wants an email address. I highly doubt that the cost of serving SMTP is what's making these companies go bankrupt anyway, and I highly doubt that giving everyone a static IP would help.

      Incidentally, I've had Roadrunner for almost 3 years now, and never any significant trouble. I wonder why Roadrunner continues while the others fail? Is Roadrunner profitable? Or is Time Warner just stubborn and rich?
      • It's not just the cost of the server, but the disk space, the bandwidth for the mail, and the tech support for when the person has a problem with their mail. If ~50% of all calls are non-connection issues, serving just a connection might cut down the calls by 50%.
        • Hear, hear! I say the ISPs just provide bandwidth, let another service handle your mail, any personal/commercial web storage, etc. Competition will go up in the market, and more job opportunites will come about, as well as some simplification. Too much expense and time is spent hand-holding the masses for every little thing involving their net experience.

          I say the services should be seperated until this industry gets it's shit together.
      • Roadrunner is probably financially OK for the same reason that Verizon, SBC, and Qwest are financially OK.

        They own the lines they're providing broadband over. Northpoint, Rhythms, Covad, etc... all had to get the lines FROM A COMPETITOR (no conflict of interest here, people, move along).
    • by The Paradox ( 470614 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @08:39AM (#2664517) Homepage Journal
      I'll take care of my email and other services.

      Buddy, I feel your pain. I'm with Verizon and they give you *four* 10-meg mailboxes, special 'news services', a 'portal'... And yet, they're too cheap to give me one single static IP. I can't even get it by paying extra, regardless of the propagandic lies on their site.

      But could they do that? Nah. I'm running my own mail server, but they're trying to become the AOHell of broadband. Get this - when you call to report a service outage, they ask if you put a *filter* on the *DSL MODEM*!

      Face it... most people haven't the technical expertise to go out and hunt for their own email server, or run one of their own (and yes, with a few nasty tricks with some dyndns services, I am indeed running one despite their lack of an IP). More's the pity that they don't, I agree...

      But as long as the geeks are outnumbered by the morons, that's the way it's gonna be, sad to say.

      • most people haven't the technical expertise to go out and hunt for their own email server,

        Sure they do [google.com]. It's not hard [google.com]. Running SMTP in your house isn't the only way to have email.

        On top of that, I'd guess at least 1/2 (probably 3/4) of regular internet users already have an email account through school and/or work. I have both of those plus some webmails; my @home email box is an untouched spam-filled wasteland.
        • Sure they do [google.com]. It's not hard [google.com].

          Did I say it was hard? No. But I still stand by the comment that they don't have the expertise.

          Again, at Verizon, once you get into tech support, they have three menus. "If you're having trouble getting your connection set up, press one. If you're having trouble with your email, press two. For any other problems, press three." These people can't even set up an account in Outlook or Messenger. What makes you think they'll be able to stagger through the signup process for wherever and get their external settings working?

          Running SMTP in your house isn't the only way to have email.

          No, it isn't. It's just the *BEST* way. :D

      • That is a valid question for 1st tier tech support to ask. Many times you need to put a filter on the phone lines to prevent interference between the low-freq signal (POTS) and high (High Speed Data). Unfortunately, Joe Sixpack who can't program his VCR will eventually put the filter between the modem and the wall, killing his connection. The filter is a little RJ-11F to RJ-11F connector about an inch long with a couple of resistors inside, nothing more and nothing less. Cable modems have them as well, look around sometime.
        • Many times you need to put a filter on the phone lines to prevent interference between the low-freq signal (POTS) and high (High Speed Data).

          Duhhhh... But my point was that it's pitiful they have to *ask* that question. Not that it's not a valid one. Fairly basic, wouldn't you think, that putting a filter on the signal going to the modem is a 'Bad Thing' (tm)?

          Personally, I like my setup. Dropped two lines off of the actual phone line, where it comes into the house, and built a little widget, then hooked the filter directly into the one line. That one then goes to all the phones. Then, the unfiltered one goes across to my modem.

          And as a side benefit, it impresses the techs that end up coming out here when the modem or line fucks up; they're used to people cramming the modem under the bed, as one told me. ;)

        • That is a valid question for a first time install, because the filter is REQUIRED to get the service to work in the first place.

          But if you've been up and running for months, and the service suddenly goes out, and the user changed nothing on his end, it's an absolutely brain-dead question to ask.

          That does not even require ANY technical knowledge to understand, it's BASIC TROUBLESHOOTING, which anyone hired as a phone rep or working in the tech industry should have a firm grasp of. These concepts step from logic, and apply to working with any system. Not just computers.

          Unfortunately, I've dealt with seasoned C++ programmers who don't have a clue about the basics of troubleshooting.
      • Get this - when you call to report a service outage, they ask if you put a *filter* on the *DSL MODEM*!

        Umm, maybe this is because it's an easy mistate to make, which would render the service unusable? Just because you understand what a filter does, and why you attach it to a phone and not the dsl modem, you can't expect everyone to know that. Customer care desks try to anticipate the most common problems. Not a bad thing in my view.

        • Just because you understand what a filter does, and why you attach it to a phone and not the dsl modem, you can't expect everyone to know that.

          Yea, I can. :D But then and again, I'm the one that thinks there should be a minimum IQ test to use a computer - if you can't understand something that simple, you shouldn't be using it. I'm not talking you have to be a rocket scientist here; just, a little more learning than "Okay, so I turn on this widget and click here, and everything's okay," would be nice.

          • But then and again, I'm the one that thinks there should be a minimum IQ test to use a computer

            Personally, I'm happy to have things like my cable modem and cheap hardware partially subsidized by idiots. If I were the only one on my cable node the speed would be nice, but the bill would be a wee bit higher.

            I really don't want to go back to the $3000 entry level computer and metered ISDN being my only "high speed" option.

            --saint

      • If you think that you are stuck with Verizon, try these guys: www.acedsl.com . They operate in Verizon's market.

        Static IP, supply your own modem, no setup or installation fees, $50/month, month-by-month contract.
        • AceDSL(TM) Subscription Sorry. * You have to have Verizon as your local service provider in order to receive AceDSL(TM) service

          said the acedsl.com website when I said I didn't have Verizon as my "local service provider."

      • There's another big problem with Verizon not only as your DSL prover, but as your CO. If you want/need them as your CO, you must have a voice line. Yes.. more money going to them just to have the line open regardless of who is maintaining the line for you, MCI, Sprint.. whatever. Verizon STILL gets another cut just for you having a voice line.

        Yes, this is technically fesable to have a DSL line without a voiceline. Verizon and its stupid policy. Meh.
    • I agree: $40 or $50/month for what many broadband providers were trying to offer is undercutting themselves too much and the number of people that have. Expenses are on the order of log(N) (the number of subscribes), revenues linear to that. At some N, revenues will exceed expenses, but N will vary and may be quite high. For dialup ISPs, $20/mth is undercutting themselves for small numbers, but in AOL numbers, that easily turns a profit. However, no broadband provider has yet to reach that N where they make a profit, or a least a large amount of profit.

      I would have no problem paying up to $100/month for at least 786 SDSL with at least a staic IP, no contract, and no server restriction (I have something similar now, but it's not SDSL, and it's only $50/month). However, I had this before through Telocity at $50/month (however, due to Rhythms going down and having to go ADSL, it's not as great anymore). Speakeasy and a few other isolated DSL carriers apparently understand that running high speed lines with servers and the like are necessarily equated with more expensive monthly fees. I expect that at some point I will have to switch, as $50/month now is not going to work for my current ISP.

    • by laetus ( 45131 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @08:58AM (#2664575)
      For the LECs (local exchange carriers like Verizon) that is. What you don't realize is that $30-$35 of your monthly $50-60 DSL fee you paid Northpoint, Rythms, or currently Covad went to the LECs. That's right, 50%+ goes to the Baby Bells because of their monopolies on the local loop. Get some competition on the local loop and the Baby Bells won't be able to squeeze out the profit margins from DSL providers.
      • This is a complete Slashdot fantasy....Cheap, fast, easy wireless acess will come any time before local loop competition....

        Steve
      • my crazy idea: (Score:5, Insightful)

        by poemofatic ( 322501 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @09:58AM (#2664790)
        Fuck local loops. The Bells will never open it up. IP laws will ease up around the same time this happens.

        Let's treat internet infrastructure as infrastructure (aka roads) and have the govt lay the lines. We can fully fund this with the 70+ billion ca$h from the War on Terrorism. Remember, the Interstate highway system was built from Defense dollars during the Cold War, and that's why their symbol is a little shield. If bush can justify handing IBM a check for 1.3 billion in the name of homeland defense, then this should be a congressional walkover.

        After that, let private ISP's bid to operate the lines (i.e. maintenance, routers, cacheing, etc.) and make money on service not bandwidth. Competing on the quality of service is more productive than getting into infrastructure wars -- suing who owes what to whom. You can then run your mail/web server and pay only the costs of administering your account, which should be billing you, electricity, and checking that no one cut the line to your house accidently. Shouldn't be too much. Those who want webmail and funky desktop icons which guide you through the internet search process can and should pay extra. Also, I think more people will sign up if there's a fiber optic line heading to just about every home in the major urban areas. As an extra plus, it'll give silicon valley a shot in the arm.

        For those whom just can't stand the thought of govt. spending on public infrastructure, you can always just privatize the thing once the lines are laid and enough cutomers have signed up to make it profitable.

        • Reminds me of Al Gore's talk about getting Internet access to everyone, which is not a bad idea (of course, Al Gore is still an idiot).

          The only issue I see is the same one the post office has. For 34 cents or whatever-the-heck first class mail costs these days, you can send a letter across the street or to some lonely shack 5 miles outside Scuffboot, Nebraska.

          If the government is going to lay the infrastructure (I think comparing it to the Interstate system is a valid analogy), then how much would it really cost to lay fiber to every little hamlet across millions of square miles of these great United States? After all, if public money pays for it, it should benefit everyone, if possible. (Forget that, that's too naive).

          I think it's a great idea, but it would just be too expensive, so I think we're stuck with the piecemeal development, which is of course hampered by monopolies and stupid regulations and general incompetance all around.
          • say "access to everyone". I used the roads analogy. Is there an I-xx near everyone? No. But in most places, yes. In the urban centers where 70% of us live it will be great. Think roads. Think the armies of construction and cable workers which are already employed laying stuff to your house or repatching the road that goes to your driveway. What if they laid some optic cable, the next time they reasphalted that road?

            But..yeah, it is wishful thinking. Problem is, almost all people I talk to think it's a good idea. Even a majority of fiscal conservatives think that this is a legitimate infrastructure expense. Also, I can't think of too many corporate entities who are opposed to it. Boggles my mind why it's not being done.

            • No, you didn't say "access to everyone".

              But I was also comparing this infrastructure with another infrastructure, the U.S. Postal system. People complain about the postal system, but let's face it, you can send something thousands of miles for pocket change, and they support everyone with a mailing address. Sure, FedEx and UPS can kick their behinds and deliver superior service, but they aren't required to do all the things the U.S.P.S. must do, like give equal first class delivery to every mailing address.

              In any event, I agree it's a worthy idea. It would be better and more helpful than any dozen goofy federal programs that just burn money.
        • You're talking about the manifestation of a principle I think gets overlooked a lot: if you want a competetive market, you don't let any one player own or control the delivery network. Whether it's electricity over a grid, communications over wires or airwaves, or operating systems on an manufactured computers.

          So what you're saying is absolutely true. If we're going to get to the point where markets are going to operate for the public as a whole, we're going to have to get this through to people who set policy.
        • For those whom just can't stand the thought of govt. spending on public infrastructure, you can always just privatize the thing once the lines are laid and enough cutomers have signed up to make it profitable.

          Who are all these customers? Sure, plenty of Slashdot readers will sign up, but Joe Sixpack is perfectly content with his 28.8K connection to AOL.
          • Who are they? (Score:2, Insightful)

            by El_Che ( 161286 )

            Sure, plenty of Slashdot readers will sign up, but Joe Sixpack is perfectly content with his 28.8K connection to AOL.

            Step into the way-back machine and swap 'broadband' for broadcast TV:

            Sure, plenty of Popular Mechanics readers will run out and buy a television, but John Q Public is perfectly content with his RCA and his Jack Benny.

            The customers will be there when the service is. Having the government install the infrastructure makes it affordable.

    • Here in Sweden, I have a static IP with DSL, 2,5 Mbps in, 0,75 Mbps out. No mail (it's available, but it's an extra charge). It comes at around $25 a month, and if you want, you can pay twice as much for twice the bitrate. In the future they will also provide more IP adresses at an extra charge.
    • you might look into broadslate sdsl although it's expensive, as it's technically for businesses only... i'm paying $230/month for 400Kb sdsl and I believe it tops out at like $650/month for 2.3Mbit, but it's very stable, the support people actually know what they're talking about. You can run your own mail, dns (including reverse dns on your IPs), http, ftp, whatever you want. Plus at the prices they charge for the lower speed stuff, I doubt they're going under anytime soon.
      --
    • economies of scale & all that.

      Only one state in Oz has electricity supply problems & that one's privatised
  • by nocent ( 71113 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @08:21AM (#2664451)
    hey, if this guy is the broadband bermuda triangle, i must be the dot com bermuda triangle.

    all the sites i use and visit have gone bust. webvan...etoys...pets.com....my favorite site now is slashdot. hey wait a minute....
  • Wow! Buzzwords! (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by jd ( 1658 )
    No sooner had I posted the rules, and some gaming cards, for Slashdot Buzzword Bingo, and a whole bunch of buzzwords turn up at once!


    (The rules & the first three cards are in the thread on Quantum Holography)


    I'll add a couple more cards here, in case anyone else wants to join in. (It's relevent, cos there's a whole bunch in the intro!)


    Card 4: Salon, Bermuda Triangle, Aliens, Black Holes, Conspiracy, Broadband, Kuro5hin, Sourceforge, Server51


    Card 5: Bankrupt, Depression, Afghanistan, Luddites, Identity Card, Homeland Security, Virus, Outlook, Keystroke Monitor

  • Is /. being paid to pass on their drivel?

    Its bad enough using Salon as some kind of fact filled reference behind a story, but now /. just plans on driving people to their site?
  • Dear Mr. Masnick:

    Please do not attempt to sign up for an ISP that uses Covad. I'd die without my DSL!

    Respectfully yours,

    nixon
  • It was hard to get the article once I began to read it. Written in first person, you begin to think it is a testimonial. Then just 4 or 5 lines after the beginning you realize it is another article, that could be written in thousand different ways.

    I like first-person point of views. But what they did is just too simple... 'Tell a story'. And what is the moral of the story? I think the writer tried to meant it is the consumers. Look at how absurd that is! 'I make broadband companies go bankrupt'.

    Well, and it asks for the governament to take care. This article is pretty much of a joke. A bad joke. It's a historical analisys of who went down on the broadband business, told in a bad way.

    Usuless article that could be resumed to:

    "Companies X,Y,Z doesn't exists anymore".

    Ha, the lost minutes.
  • by Erris ( 531066 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @08:36AM (#2664504) Homepage Journal
    PacBell and ATT, phone companies, are more likely coincidences in this man's trail of doom. You don't really think the phone companies want cheap unlimited digital comunications, do you? If that existed and could be used as people saw fit, the phone companies would lose their ability to extort connection fees by the second. Go figure!

    Other powerful interests opposed to the future are large publishers, governments, advertisers and all others want to tell you what to think. Free speech is not what these folks want. They want broadcast and money. If you don't consider propaganda and money equivalents, consider what a green piece of paper is really worth.

    • This is so true. I think to this day AT&T still thinks their "Intelligent Network" is their "Crown Jewels" (or whatever it was they called it when they really meant "Cash Cow").

      This mindset on their part (and a failure to understand it) also contributed to the collapse of Enron, IMHO...

      Just because you break them up doesn't mean you get rid of the monopoly or anti-competitive practices.

      Mark
    • >>>If you don't consider propaganda and money equivalents, consider what a green piece of paper is really worth.

      Or put on the glasses from "They Live"

      THIS IS YOUR GOD

      SLEEP
  • That's a pretty amusing article, but he has it easy. My own curse is with race car drivers... as soon as I start rooting for them, a freak accident is sure to follow.
    • Please don't root for Michael Schumacher!
      • I'm fairly certain that Schumacher's Samson like powers come from the animosity many of the F1 watching public feels for him: We empower him with negative energies.

        Hehe. Seriously though no matter how many times I've questioned his sportsmanship (or lack thereof) and questionable tactics, I have never questioned or doubted his immense abilities.

        Imagine if the US had a driver in F1: F1 would take off in the US. Already here in Canada F1 is large and has a good following, largely because people have a Canadian in Jacques Villeneuve to root for (yeah yeah...he lives in Monaco but he voluntarily calls himself a Canadian proudly). Cheers!

  • If anyone could be the cleaver of ISP's, it would be myself. Of course since I'm signed up with the local telecom monopoly, and the gov't is backing them up, I don't fear them going bottoms-up anytime soon. But I do suck down about 40 times the monthly bandwidth 'limit', which isn't really limited because these people don't know how to setup their uBR monitoring software. tsk tsk!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2001 @08:42AM (#2664526)
    I submitted an order with an ISP for DSL service 8 months ago and nothing came of it until one day a couple of techs from a business network provider came by my house and said, "Here's your IDSL router." After a quick hookup and entering the DNS variables provided by the ISP's homepage, I was on the Internet @ 144k both ways. I called the ISP and asked what I should do about payment and their response was, "Ummm... we cancelled your order so you're not in our computer." I called the busines network provider and they said, "Talk to your ISP." So I called the ISP a few more times and then they went bankrupt. Their DNS died, and so did my Internet access, for the 2 minutes it took for me to enter a DNS for a nearby college that now resolves all my queries. So the ISP no longer exists and I can't pay them, and the business internet provider that is my first hop says they don't do residential accounts so they won't take my money. Meanwhile, I have a Lucent router I've never paid for, an install I've never paid for, and continuing IDSL service that I've yet to pay for going on 2 months now. I'm wondering that if this could last indefinitely, perhaps I can turn it over as a feature when I sell the property...

    "3 bedrooms, 4 baths, 2 car garage, free Internet access for life..."
    • Goes to show you why most broadband ISP's don't last.


      They don't know how to charge.

      • by Masem ( 1171 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @10:17AM (#2664890)
        This is a very good and overlooked point. Follow threads at DSLReports, and you'll find more than enough examples of residental users that can easily navigate through the maze of tech support, but when it comes to dealing with billing, unsubscribing, or other bookkeeping issues, pull out their hair due to the ineptitude of the ISP. People cannot be found in the database, billing cannot keep track of when people were billing, and subscribed (aside from technical issues) needs 3 copies of your birth certificant and your firstborn son to complete it.

        I've seen more than enough people leave a otherwise technically competent ISP due to impossible service through their customer service department.

        Surprising, this doesn't seem to be as big an issue with the dialup ISPs.

        If you are *are* going to set up an ISP, get the bookkeeping down first before you buy any of the connectivity equipment. Getting technical help to your customers first is a priority, but knowning whom your customers are is more important than that!

        • Surprising, this doesn't seem to be as big an issue with the dialup ISPs.

          It happened to me with Qwest 56k dialup all the way back in 1998. I signed up online from a neighbor's house. My new account was activated immediately. The charge for the ISP service was supposed to appear on my monthly Qwest phone bill...

          It never did, though the dialup ISP service continued to work.

          Three months later (I originally thought maybe it was due to "bill lag"), I called them to see what was up. They asked for my login, and I gave it to them, and they said that no such login existed. Then they asked for my address and residential phone number, which I gave them, and they said that I had definitely not signed up for the service. I told them that I was using it every day, and the lady kindly explained to me that it "must be settings still left over from your old ISP" that were providing me net access...

          I got nervous and didn't use service... I didn't want to suddenly recieve a balloon bill years later or get sued or something. I signed up with a local alternative instead, and later, with @home (grrrr).

          However, I still used it as a kind of "test" account every now and then because it was so reliable and the phone number was easy to remember. Eventually, I moved from my apartment, my old phone bill and number became nonexistent. Qwest sold out their dialup ISP to a major national ISP. The account continued to work.

          The account was *finally* closed about three months ago, with nary a word from Qwest or the ISP which took over their dialup in my area.

          *shrug* just a dialup free 'Net story.
    • Ha - pretty much the same thing happened to me. Hell Atlantic came to do my wiring for DSL, and then claimed that they couldn't do it because I didn't have a free pair. The Covad installer came by and dropped off the router, which was all he could do without the line being in place. A while later BA came back and did their thing, and then Covad tried to come by a couple times (always without notifying me first) and then mysteriously cancelled my order, claiming alternately that there was a break in the line between the CO and me, and that I couldn't get the grade of service they'd had no problem signing me up for a couple months before! I said what the hell, BA said the line was good, and tried plugging the router in...and it worked.

      IME, the failure of broadband companies has more to do with their gross mismanagement than with the realities of the market. Usually if you try and walk out of a store without paying for something, the proprietor will stop you; the broadband companies are not just failing to notice, but are actually shoving equipment and service into your hands and then insisting it doesn't exist. (BTW, when I finally managed to get my order officially reinstated and another Covad guy visited (while I pretended it hadn't been already working for three months), he actually had the nerve to say "Yes, we're known for our speedy service." I stifled my laughter...)

      • I agree, it was insane expansion that bred mismanagement which is killing broadband. I tried to get dsl out here in the sticks of Ohio, and it turned out (after two weeks of calling everyone I could possibly call at Verizon) that I finally got ahold of the CO which told me I was on partial fiber and no way would DSL work. The ISP was completely unresponsive the whole time, and when I called to send the DSL Modem (free with sign-up!) back, the 9 year old tech support kid said he would have to have someone call me back. This went on for a week, and eventually I just shipped it via USPS (insured) and gave a follow-up call 3 or 4 days later to make sure they got it. The 9 year old said they would have to call back, and they didn't. I'm sure most people would've kept the modem and sold it on ebay...

        I don't know that broadband as we know it is going to stick around, I think it's going to be an all-in-one connection like cable but running voice, music, video (tv), and internet all in one new technology (if it was wireless that would be great...)
    • i got a free idsl line dropped, and 2 idsl modems, never paid for them too. no connection tho. ;(
    • "Meanwhile, I have a Lucent router I've never paid for, an install I've never paid for, and continuing IDSL service that I've yet to pay for going on 2 months now. I'm wondering that if this could last indefinitely, perhaps I can turn it over as a feature when I sell the property... "

      Ah yes ... this story makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside ;-) It's some lovely Christams cheer...especially for me because I live in a rural area and there are NO broadband options except the ultra-pathetic Bell Symcraptico Satellite-based internet (where you still need a modem to go upstream and there are monthly data transfer caps.)

    • Worth bearing in mind is keeping evidence that you tried in good faith to pay all the right people, in case someone suddenly realises that you've been getting a free ride - and demand x months of back payments...
    • See, it's people like you that are a drain on the internet, causing companies to go out of business because of the bandwidth that can't be accounted for, yet has to be paid for upstream.

      Turn off the modem, I say, and start paying for a slower connection with horrible customer service before you run another clueless company into the ground.

      It's all your fault! ;)

    • You are like Arthur Dent his power is cut off only when he pays his bill.
  • Please check out www.broadwing.net [broadwing.net]. I've heard they've got great broadband offerings, and have a backbone based on all fiber. Even if you don't buy service from them, please take at least the time to phone them and ask them about their service. Thanks ;-)

    Note to the audience: Broadwing is a nasty spam haven [google.com], and the world will be a much better place once they'll be out of business.

  • Stay
    Away
    From
    Connecticut
    Thank you.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    There is a good resource here [techcentralstation.com] that explains why all of these broadband providers are going out of business.
    • There is a good resource here [techcentralstation.com] that explains why all of these broadband providers are going out of business.

      It's not a good resource at all. That has got to be one of the biased websites I have every seen. It is funded by 'sponsoring organisations' and every article seems to be written with some alterior motive in mind. Here's a summary of the kind of stuff the site says:

      1) Global warming is rubbish. People who believe in it are hippies who don't like business and America, and don't understand science.

      2) There are no risks associated with genetically engineered food. People who believe this are hippies (see above).

      3) There are no risks associated Nanotechnology, you damn hippies.

      4) Europeans are all damn hippies. And Canadians.

      5) The government is interferring with Microsoft's right to innovate.

      6) Broadband is failing because of the government.

      If you think that a realiable source for news, the you've got to be nuts.
  • Every song I don't download gets dropped out of the charts...
    So I do my best to help the industry ;)
  • This is offtopic, but maybe someone can help. I was on the @home network, and my connection was down the last few days while I was switched to another network (@attbroadband??). Now my windows boxes can connect to the network fine, but my linux boxes won't connect. No matter what web page i visit, i get an ATT Broadband page saying my settings are not configured properly. I tried Konquerer, Netscape, and Mozilla. I am behind a Linksys router, and I know everything is configured properly. The linksys has access, the win boxes have access, and the linux boxes can traceroute and ping no problem, but no network app's can connect (browser, ftp). Anybody have this same problem?
  • Corporate Crap.
    Here is yet another example of technology creating corporate crap.
    There are a host of idiots driving technology based products and services that do not have a clue about what the market is really willing to pay for.
    I've seen things like consulting companies embracing eBusiness and eCommerce (gagging just typing these words) by hiring a bunch of consultants and then firing them and leaving the rotten heads to continue running the business into the ground.

    Broadband is still hype. Some butthead at Gartner or Meta or some other "stink tank" decided this is the market segment that comm companies should persue.


    Home broadband is still too expensive and flaky. I admire the folks who who are sigining up. They are brave. Anytime a company that resembles a phone company that gets into the broadband market its going to be a fiasco.

    Neighborhood organizations should just treat themselves like a comapny that wants internet access to the desktop. Recommend standard PC configurations, negotiate access and wire it with ethernet or go wireless.

  • If he is choosing the best deal each time he finds a new provider, then naturally he is choosing the provider who, at that time, is cutting their margins the most.

    Thus, each time he is choosing the one provider most likely to fail. Amusing, is it not?
    • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @10:10AM (#2664860)
      This argument doesn't hold for almost ANY other business, so if you could be so kind, explain in detail what is special about the economics of this one? Businesses generally don't price themselves out of existence even in perfect competition, they all ought to be making a normal profit. I've never heard of a "natural" industry pricing itself out of competitiveness and into bankruptcy - the only industry that approaches being that fucked up is the airline industry.


      The problem as I see it is the weird split between the monopolistic line owners and the purely competitive ISPs in the broadband arena. The traditional dial-up ISP business didn't have this problem since everyone had pretty much the same cost structure so profitability, even though relatively low, was pretty much the same across the board, and competetition could occur on features and the dreaded "ease of use" (AOL drool-proofing).


      DSL has monopolistic ILECs and generally monopolistic CLECs (you can use Covad or Rhythms, but it's fixed based on your choice of ISP and location usually). Cable has monopolistic line owners. Because ILECs (I'm thinking Verizon here) can be ISPs too, they will naturally take a price gouging on their ISP service to get business and avoid having to share profits with a seperate company. This allows them to drive ISPs out of business and become the "last man standing". At that point they can price service however they damn well feel. See: Microsoft, monopoly. Cable modem service is different in that you have no choices as the consumer, but because the ISP business is basically a commodity, the separation is farcical: the Cable companies own the pipe, and will abuse the ISP until the ISP leaves the business, realizing they can't make a buck, or just goes out of business. Now again the Cable modem company is the last man standing - or they just find some other drooling ISP to give them el cheapo contract, who they will slowly abuse and tighten a noose on until the same happens again.

      • Because ILECs (I'm thinking Verizon here) can be ISPs too, they will naturally take a price gouging on their ISP service to get business and avoid having to share profits with a seperate company.


        Then explain what happened at Qwest. They provided the local loop and also acted as an ISP, qwest.net. Starting in November of 2001 Qwest is exiting the ISP business and selling all of their customers to Microsoft (and yes, I am PISSED over this and I immediately went out and found a local ISP - I don't know which is worse MSN or AOL)

  • Don't kick him out of the country, stay where you are! Or at least don't come to the UK..

    We've only got one backbone ADSl provider and we've not had that very long! Stay away! :)

    Comical.
    • PLEASE signup to BTOpenwoe [btopenworld.com], we need better competition in this country, and I for one won't mourn the loss of a massively overcharging crap company with naff customer support. It's easier to find out what's wrong with the BT ADSL network by going to ADSLGuide [adslguide.org.uk] rather than calling BT directly.

      Latest quote (after they had admitted before to port throttling) to customer enquiring if pcAnywhere ports were disabled / throttled: "Erm, we believe that they are not throttled".
      They daren't admit it or they'd get hit with litigation, but do it all the same and lose you in the system and charge you £40 a month for the privilege.


      • Uhm, with BT, there is no ADSL in the UK. They're just started to unbundle the localloop now, if they ceased to exist that would get put into turmoil and it would be a _long_ time before anyone else managed to get it under control ;)

        Luckily I don't get mine from BT. I couldn't handle that :)
  • I just want to play with that cool absolute composer ad. I can just see my productivity going down the drain today...
  • better link (Score:3, Informative)

    by juju2112 ( 215107 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @10:37AM (#2664987)
    Junkbuster refused to show me the page at all. So for those with similar problems, this link gets you past the ad:

    http://www.salon.com/tech/feature/2001/12/06/broad band_bermuda/index.html?x [salon.com]
    • As much as everyone around here complains about spam and other sleazy advertising habits, how can anyone here not get annoyed by Salon's adverts?

      CNN, FOXnews, Wired, ect doesn't resort to such tasteless and pushy schemes.

      Why does Slashdot encourage this?
  • Cry me a river!
    At least you have the options of different Broadband companies. I had one, once. They offered iDSL, but they went bankrupt. I had the chance of getting WISP, but they liquidating the building for money reasons.
    I currently have only two options - PPP and CableModems. The CableModems are expensive, unreliable, inconsistent, and have the worst support imaginable.
    When you run out of DSL options and have a choice of ONE, then call me and I'll buy you a beer. But until then, you should be grateful that you have that option of any DSL.
    Personally, I would be willing to let the government run DSL networks if they could get it as ubiquitous as the Highways or Post Office.
  • then I must be in broadband limbo. I'm too far for normal DSL (not to mention that I'm on a slick), don't have all the way fiber have all the way to the house for VDSL, can't afford IDSL ($169 a month!?!) and the darn cable company serves the houses on the other side of the street but is not going to upgrade my cell (and subsequently the houses on my side of the street).Damn that last mile...
  • Do think this guy would help me pick some lottery numbers?
  • PRoblems. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @11:47AM (#2665372)
    The main problems I see are the marketing, and the definition of 'Internet'.

    Now.. I know, to us geeks.. when we think 'Internet Provider' we think, someone to provide us with a connection, and to route us some IP. Period. We also expect them to have (or delegate to us) proper reverse-DNS. ANd that's ALL we require. Now.. we sort of expect them to have DNS servers for us to use with our resolvers, because that's just traditional (not to mention easy to do), but that's only a convenience. As is the outgoing mail server, and incoming mail services.

    Now we have ISP's selling you on their 'content' or their 'portal'. WE have ISP's refusing to allow SMTP connections through anything but their own mail server... and the list goes on.

    So how do we get out of this mess? How do we make a clean separation between routing IP and all the other services they can provide? I know we geeks would love to see an ISP with modularized service. You get 1 IP with your connection, and that's it. No other services are provided by the ISP. Then the ISP could sell web space, email accounts, webmail, portals, high-speed local content, etc.

    Oh.. and regarding those 'useless' services many of us don't use (like your 10MB web space, or 5 email accounts). A friend of mine moved, and was looking for a new connection. He asked the Telus people (Alberta, Canada) "Hey, can I trade my 10MB web space for a static IP?" They said "Sure". THat's the kind of thing I'd like to see.
  • my DSL experience (Score:5, Informative)

    by renehollan ( 138013 ) <rhollan&clearwire,net> on Thursday December 06, 2001 @12:03PM (#2665487) Homepage Journal
    I'd always wanted an always-on connection...

    ...and not a bogus redial-on-carrier-drop that violated the TOS with my provider.

    Disclaimer: This may read like an ad for Internet America. While it is somewhat of a testemonial, I am just a satisfied customer, and receive no financial compensation for saying nice things about them.

    In days gone by, I'd dream of an ISDN connection, or even dedicated 56k. But the price/performance just wasn't there: around $100/month for the physical line and connectivity. DSL, of course started to look attractive. I'd never been a fan of cable modems, what with the shared media, dynamic IPs, and generally draconian TOS.

    When I moved to a Dallas suburb, I priced various offerings, and ended up with Internet America [airmail.net]. I stayed in a month-to-month apartment for about 6 weeks until I bought and closed on a house, and the following factors were important:

    I needed dial up access for a short time, month-to-month while I was at the apartment.

    I wanted to make sure that the TOS were reasonable. Some are downright insane: pinging remote hosts, even with consent, was considered "hacking" and could get your account suspended. Running any server, even an smtp sink (non-relaying, of course) was verbotten, and forget about a static IP. Often there were stingy traffic quotas.

    Naturally, I wanted to make sure that service was likely available in the area where I'd be buying a home.

    Internet America fit this bill nicely: dial-up and DSL, reasonable TOS ("Oh, things like SMTP are fine, even a Web server as long as you don't saturate the uplink -- we're geeks, we understand" from tech. support), and various access plans (fast, faster, and fastest, er, duh, I guess).

    I was a bit out of range from the CO (15.6 kft) so they couldn't piggyback on the existing POTS service. But, for an extra $15 a month, they'd lease a dry pair and add the cost to my bill. Bottom line is that I've got 768 kbps down by 384 kbps up on a dedicated pair for $74.99 a month, plus tax ($81.18). Not exactly cheap, but they don't appear to be going out of business.

    The big plus, though, is service. Static IP? No problem, I get one free. Their tech people admitted to having looked at PPPoE over ATM, and having held their noses, decided it wasn't the way to go. I had a few glitches with billing (like not dropping the dial up charges when I get DSL), and the odd 15 minute outage but these were resolved (actually we're still looking at the outage but as it happens so rarely it isn't a real problem and is hard to track down -- they suspect their DSL modem). They even back-credited me for 2 months of dialup charges while I had DSL -- many providers won't do that under any circumstances, being so eager to nickel and dime their customers.

    Now, like most slashdotters, I'm not your typical "one computer plugged into the DSL modem" guy: I've got a headend with the DSL modem, a 10/100 Mb/s 8 port Linksys firewall/router doing NAT, with wired drops to rooms all over the house. I run [GNU/]Linux, sink my own email, plan to provide SSH access, and might run a non-advertised web server (on other than port 80). In short, I use the DSL line as a shared connection for the whole house's traffic, eventually with 3 or 4 computers behind the firewall. As long as I don't excessively saturate the uplink, Internet America is "O.K." with this.

    Basically I get DNS delegation (for my domain) from register.com, DNS and secondary MX from iicinternet.com, and am very pleased.

    Compare this with my neighbor across the street is in Southwestern Bell Hell: he pays $49.95 a month for draconian TOS with PPPoE. He gets dropped at the strangest times (not just when idle), and his DSL modem requires frequent power cycles because it loses sync. His service is down so much that he retains a dial-up modem and needs it weekly. I'm over there about once every 2-3 weeks resetting his DSL modem, or reconfiguring his networking options. He isn't using a firewall (oops), and I hope his box does not get r()()73d, as they say ('course it's just running Windoze).

    Is the extra $25 a month that I pay worth it? Obviously I think so.

    Again, this is just a review of my experience with a particular provider. I've heard grumblings about them from others, but am satisfied myself. Naturally, YMMV.

    • Re:my DSL experience (Score:2, Informative)

      by filbo ( 147228 )
      Uh, you missed out on the whole @Home thing. It was pretty good while it lasted. For $40/month I got a static IP and a connection that was 3.7 down and 128 up. Non-commercial servers were okay (I ran a web server for 8 months) I never had a minute of outage until @Home pulled the plug last Friday.

      It was a way better deal than DSL. With attbi, well, I'm not so sure about that anymore. But once I buy my own $90 cable modem, it will be just $35 a month.
      • Did you have to subscribe to other cable services? I got off of cable and got DirectTV for TV programming.

        As for nice TOS, I hear that Speakeasy.net is cool, but have no experience with them

  • I'm sorry,
    The Tribe has spoken.
    You must leave immediately.
  • We wrote a science book of BASIC programs for the Coleco Adam.
    *Poof*
    We re-wrote it for the PC-Jr.
    *Double Poof*
    The standing joke around the office was we were going to write a million-dollar ransom note to Apple...

    Somehow Apple survived our publication. Guess we really weren't cursed after all.

    (Before you snicker about the Adam, it was the start of Steve Perlman's "lets-get-large-amounts-of-readble-text-on-a-tv-di splay" fetish, which led to some of the first decent video convolution filters at Apple, and contributed to WebTV's set-top abilities, etc. etc...)
    (OK - it also had a howitzer for a printer.)
    (OK they did just as well at selling computers as IBM would do selling Cabbage Patch Kids.)

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