Broadband in the U.S sucks. Really, really sucks. Internet providers (especially big name franchines) provide second rate customer service attached to third rate speeds and charge whatever prices they damn well please. And since you don’t really have any choice in providers, what can you do? Go back to dial-up? Your advertised speed may be 6mbps, but chances are you rarely get close to that number. No wonder the U.S consistenly ranks, what is it, 13th, 14th or worse in the world in broadband ratings? Absolutely pathetic. Sure, a tiny select number of places may get the option of fiber to the home, but even then it’s incredibly overpriced for the speeds you get. Stories told of 100mbps lines in Europe and Asia for the same price as what we pay only make the blood boil worse.
My problem, though, is with the only choice in cable internet where I live, Insight Broadband. Since I am a university student, I was offered their ‘broadband plus’ package, a 6mbps line for $30/month (normally $79.95/month! Jesus!). This being a better deal than DSL, I quickly accepted. The price/speed ratio was decent for what other get in this country, and although I hated only being able to upload at a mere 50kB/sec, other people I knew were paying more for the regular package, so I considered myself ‘lucky’. Yesterday, however, I get my monhtly Insight bill for $65. No warnings of an increase in price, nothing on the bill mentions why the price is increased. It just reads in big, bold, red letters: $65. So I call customer service, spend a few minutes scrambling around the phone menu to speak with a human being (and hoping it isn’t someone who has sub english fluency living in India). This lady (local person thankfully) informs me that my price increased because my initial student incentive package is over, and, although I do get a discount in price, the price for the broadband plus package is $65/month. Well, gee, thanks ever so much for informing me of this change in plans! Why does the customer have to do all the work these days? Why is it MY responsibility to call them and fix this? Why is it MY problem I have to sort out by calling them? Why can’t they do the sensible thing and take care of me instead of the other way around? Sheesh!
But getting back to the situation at hand. I can lower my monthly payment back to $30/month, but this price is for the regular Insight Broadband of 4mbps. My somewhat acceptable speed (again, for the U.S) is now going to be lowered, but, as the customer service misrepresentative with the overly, yet completey fake, voice informs me, “The speed difference between broadband plus and regular broadband is really miniscule. I have the regular broadband, and I can assure you, its very fast still”. Ummm, yeah, right. Now I can expect 300kB/sec vs. 500 and enjoy the blazingly fast upstream throughput that is 35kB/sec. Mmmmm. How delectable.
I think we should start an annual ‘We love our broadband monopoly day’. Forget fiber to the home. Let’s all just pretend that our monopolies love us and we love them, and as long as the big, fat monopolies get their money, err, I mean, we’re all in agreeance on our state of elevated happiness, all is well within the broadband world. Thank your comcast! Thank you Insight! Thank you for graciously giving me faster than dial-up speeds at exorbant prices to line your wallets. I, your unworhty paying customer, deserve the snail pace of dial-up, but, through your great goodness, I may enjoy ultra super fast 4 mbps lines at ultra super duper high prices!
So, yeah, I hate Insight Broadband.