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Journal Chacham's Journal: Chronicle: On an Internet connection. 12

I haven't had an Internet connection in a number of months, perhaps six, and decided its finally time to get it again. I dropped it because of the price. After taxes i was paying about sixty dollars. It would have been five dollars more, but by paying for basic cable ($10.75) i saved $15 on my bill. What a scam.

I called up to complain about the price as i finally decided that i was paying way too much and wanted to pay twenty a month. The rep agreed (there was a special going on) but noted there was still the modem rental, then $10.75, and taxes. The total was ~$35 now, at which point out of frustration i said to cancel my connection. Because of that, i stoppped playing WoW.

At first i tried playing by bringing a second computer to a friend's house. But the computer freezes up now and then when rendering graphics, and it doesn't seem to be the video card. It's a dual-AMD box that someone let me use, so it would've have been kewl, but oh well. The other nice thing is the 21" monitor. It won't work with my main computer, but will work with this other one. So when my 17" screen (connected to my main computer) finally died, i went to 14" (maybe it's 15"). Funnily enough, it doesn't seem to bother me even though when i went 17" (in 95 or so) i couldn't even dream of going back.

So, i called up for new service. SBC wants me to have a phone line with service from them to even be eligible, and the minimum for that is ~$15. However, if i accept their gracious offer to get all these other services for a packaged deal price of $25 i can get a $10 discount on the DSL. What a scam.

The service itself is ~$17 for the lower speed and ~$22 for the faster speed. Don't forget taxes. As if that probably half the phone bill is already taxes wasn't enough (when i used to have a phone for ~$21, it was split nearly evenly between charges and taxes, i remember one month when the taxes were higher by just a few pennies). IIRC, he told me taxes were about $8. So, 25 for the line, 17 for the DSL, 8 for taxes makes $50, or $55 for the faster one. No thanx. Too bad, because the guy on the phone was not only knowledgable and helpful, he was frank and kind too.

So, next came my erstwhile ISP Comcast. The lady i was speaking to on the phone seemed apathtic, but at least she got the answers to my questions. They are running a special for new customers (not connected for the past six months) which is $19.99/month for six months, or $29.99 for 12. Yes, i have the option to pay ten dollars more. Bascially, they won't "guarantee" a price, which means the price will double or so after the introductory price. $20 a month gets the price for six months before it goes up, $30 gets it for 12 months. I think the actual price is ~$45, which means that if i take the year, i pay an extra $60 (compared to the six month price) to save $90 over 12 months. What a scam.

Even here if i have basic cable (10.75) i can save ten dollars. She said i should probably take it anyway, and she seemed in disbelief when i told her i didn't have a TV (which i almost feel bad for saying because i do have a TV card in my computer, even if i never use it). So, because of the extra 75 cents, i didn't need the basic cable to lower my bill. Something a bit more normal. Though, it's still a scam.

So, this seemed pretty cheap, and i thought i'd take it. But wait, there's more. There's a three dollar modem "rental" fee and then taxes. So, 20 for the connection, 10 for the no-cable tax, 3 for the modem, and i was told (IIRC) "not even 4 in taxes" gives me 37 a month. That's bearable.

The connection speed is "6 meg" which is missing "a bit" of information, otherwise known as a lie, because its 6 megabit, or about 600k. I should sue them for false advertising. I think ten times what they actually offer is definitely a lie, then again, so is their version of "unlimited" or use. The special is on the 6, and the 8 costs more like $64 or something. So, i went for that "6 meg" option and asked for a setup.

OK, so now to i want to pick up the modem myself or have it hand delivered and installed for $15. No thanx, i'll get it myself. Did you hear the evil laugh? I "might as well" take it anyway, because i'm shown as "disconnected" which means they need to run a wire from the pole, so i need to pay a $30 connection fee. I contested that i was still connected (and even if i wasn't i could connect it myself, but i don't think i said that), but to no avail. Ms. Apathy suggested that i may have better luck at the pickup place. Fine, i bade her farewell, and on Thursday i went to the Comcast office.

The Comcast office is on Franklin "between 11 and 696." They close at six, so i went after work, during rush hour. Ugh, that took me like 40 minutes to get there due to the place, and my lack of a sense of direction. Even on the way back i went north instead of south.

I asked the lady (not apathetic and very straight forward, thank you) what the price would be. She mentioned the setup fee, and said i had to have it. I said i was just looking at prices, and left.

Now again, that's 20 for the service, 10 non-cable tax, 5 for the installation (30 over six months), 4 in taxes, 3 for the modem (2 for the show, 1 to get ready and...where was i again? oh yeah...), for a total of $42. Oh well, that went over my $40 dollar limit. They'll have to scam somebody else.

I think i'm going to try to find a modem from someone to skirt the rental fee and "prove" that i'm still connected (when they turn the service "off" all DNS requests resolve to the same ip, so only one page will load). That's would put it under $35, a more acceptable price.

I'd go dialup if i could but i don't have a phone line. I admit here though, that's my doing. The phone call does require a phone. Hmm.. i wonder if i could somehow make it on my cell phone after nine when the minutes are free. A dial-up is enough to check my email and the few things i'd like to keep up with.

For now, it looks as if i'll be headed (hmm...) with my computer to a friend's house to play WoW there once a week or something. It's just uncomfortable moving "my" computer somewhere else.

Oh well.

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Chronicle: On an Internet connection.

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  • In Seattle it is $45 per month without modem rental, or you can buy a modem and get it for $3 less, but the speed is very nice, it keeps increasing.

    Of course when it first came out, it was extremely nice, (back when it was still @Home), I remember getting 2MB/s one time. :)

    If you live in a major metropolitan area see if your cell phone company offers an unlimited data plan for $20 a month or so, and if they do, what speed their network operates at. Many metro areas have high speed cell phone data services
    • Thanx for the info.

      A friend of mine told me as well that it was better when it was @Home, because they knew what they were talking about.
      • Of course givin users unlimited bandwidth also did not help @Home's financial situation any....

        Giving away multi-T1 speeds at 2x dial-up prices was not the best business plan ever. :)
        • You really think that's why they went under?

          I thought they had limits based on common sense. Like being a server as long as you weren't a hog. Or just guaranteeing the lower limit to the cusotmer, but allowing anyone on the thread to use the full pipe (as long as not affecting anyone else's minimum.)

          • I thought they had limits based on common sense.

            Well lets just say that I was 14 or so and even then I realized that their business plan was not sound. :)

            Not that I helped any, that was when I first started getting into Anime and I was averaging around 10GB a week in transfers. Of course upload speed was limited to 16KB/s, bleck. VNN2000 rocked.
            • When i was on Covad (i think that's what it was) their router broadcast a tftp request once a week for a config file. I told them about it somehow, but it never stopped. I was *so* tempted to send back a dummy file, but oh well.
  • I'm using Verizon BroadbandAccess, their cell phone based system available in about 50 major markets. It is $50 per month with a voice plan, but at least you can take it anywhere with you.
    • Thanx for the info.

      50 a month is a bit steep though.
      • "50 a month is a bit steep though."

        You're paying more but you get more functionality too. That additional functionality may be worth it. For me, I don't need a subscription for WiFi hotspot access at Starbucks, I get to use the net consistently on a several hour mass transit commute, and I can efficiently get to my own corporate netwrok while on a client site. It definitely works out for me. If you have different needs, however, it may not for you...
  • I depise Comcast. I used to think I hated Charter, but since I moved and have been forced to use Comcast I really miss them. I'm supposed to be getting the basic cable discount, but I'm not, and no one seems to know what I'm talking about now (I have a TV, it's just always tuned to XBox).

    Their Tech Support is infamously untechnical and unsupportive. Basically the problem is always 1. Restarting your modem, 2. The fact that you have a router, or 3. Completely mysterious upgrades. A friend made two [] comics []

Economists can certainly disappoint you. One said that the economy would turn up by the last quarter. Well, I'm down to mine and it hasn't. -- Robert Orben