sub specie aeternitatis

Unreliable Broadband

July 29, 2005

I’m moving in 2 weeks, and my wife and I are going through the typical pre-move checklist. This involves packing, change of address forms, notifying friends and family of new address, and of course, finding new utility providers such a phone, cable, power, water, and internet provider. Although we will have to change to new providers for all these services, the only one I am worried about is the internet provider. Power, phone, water, and cable providers may change from city to city, but the services they provide are almost identical no matter which place you move. Not so with internet providers, specifically, broadband internet providers.

For the last 3 years, I have accessed the internet via cable modem through my city’s local utility company. The price is very affordable, $25/month since I own a modem, and I have seen my speeds increase literally about 6 times what I could get when I first signed on with them. Their service has been rock solid over the past years, and on the very few occasions I’ve needed to contact them, people were easily reached and the problem quickly solved. The city I’m moving to has a big name utility provider, and they charge $45/month if you own the modem. I can’t really afford $45 and I started looking at other options. And since DSL is the only other option, it looks as though I will have to sign on with either SBC, Earthlink, or Iquest. I know nothing of the quality of their speed or service, and they may well provide what I want. It is the fact that I may be paying more for slower service that has me worried.

Why is broadband service vastly different from area to area? Some friends have seriously fast connections for the same price as mine, and others are much slower yet pay more. I don’t care if your service is 72 times the speed of dial-up. I left dial-up 7 years ago. I’ve had fast, reliable broadband, and expect nothing less than I am currently getting. But alas, all of my bitching won’t do me any good when I move. I’ll be at the mercy of big internet providers who will no doubt direct my complaints to India and force me to sign a 12 month contract with a hefty early termination fee. Makes me wish my new town would start running fiber. After all, one can never have too much bandwidth.