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Dump Broadband, Dig Out Your Modem!

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the coal-heat-is-next dept.

The Internet 566

wilstephens writes: "Found this article on CNet about the latest trend of people dumping broadband in favour of their modems. Cheaper, and more reliable service, apparently! 'Katy Ling, a software consultant who had her home wired for high-speed Internet access last year, did what many technology analysts said would never happen: She bailed out of broadband...'"

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538474)


Re:fp (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538558)


Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538598)

you haired paki ass monkey you like to rape virgin hindu girls you monster

Re:fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538603)


WIPO troll... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538627) stuck in my ass, help!

-cyborg_monkey, 01/01/01

cause she is broke (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538483)

She did it cause she is broke so what. If I had no job and had to cut back that is one place I would look at too

Post first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538489)

Mesa like high speed races.

dslreports (4, Funny)

psychalgia (457201) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538491)

was running this as a story as well, basically most of their users came to the conclusion that the general populous would "sell their grandmas" before returning to a modem. Non-techies don't want to wait for their information, this is the only thing that brought them to the 'net. at least I _hope_ it wasn't for the ads...

No carrier? (1)

billybob2001 (234675) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538493)

I've got a flock available to rent at good rates for this [] if you really want to push low-tech a bit further. :)

Re:No carrier? (1)

Britney (264065) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538626)

RFC is here []

I'll never use a modem again. (2, Insightful)

CrazyJoel (146417) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538496)

I could tolerate the net at 56k. Plus, the phone lines in my area are so noisy that you'd hardly ever get 4800 baud on them.

Going back (3, Interesting)

Alomex (148003) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538497)

I'm seriously considering going back to telephone modem. I'm using cable modem here, and the service seems to go down every other day and be no faster than 100Kbps. Before that I had DSL and that worked like a charm, but there's none to be had around my new house.

Re:Going back (1)

DA_MAN_DA_MYTH (182037) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538638)

Please go back I beg you... Especially if we're sharing the same provider with cable modems. That's the problem with the cable modems, it's a shared line. So you'll notice different times of the day will be faster than others. Cable modems have peak times, which is equivelant to the old AOL busy signal. (Yuk) DSL on the other hand, you have good ole MA Bell switching bridges on you that will no longer work with you Alcatel modem. The world sucks, oh well at least Castle Wolfenstein is free (Well one map anyways).

Doesn't Suprise Me (2, Interesting)

LowellPorter (466257) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538498)

When broadband first came to my area, it was cable modems to a small section of town... only a few people had the access. This year the local cable company was working on doing the whole town, but excite@home stopped taking new customers, so that'll kill new cable access. DSL has been spotty with all the companies going out of business and there's a long wait when you call for them to set up the service (Ameritech). I called and they said they would be there in 4 weeks. 8 weeks later they still hadn't installed it. I cancelled it.

Long Live Dial up!!!!!!!

I'm not giving up _my_ DSL... (2)

b1t r0t (216468) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538501)

She obviously didn't know how to download stuff from Usenet. An ISP with a good feed and retention on alt.binaries.multimedia.* is enough to make DSL worth dropping cable TV for. And having a fixed IP so you can SSH back home is nice, too.

Re:I'm not giving up _my_ DSL... (1)

perp (114928) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538619)

b1tr0t said:
> And having a fixed IP so you can SSH back
> home is nice, too.

Yeah, it would be nice if it worked reliably. I came here to check out /. while I'm waiting (and waiting and waiting ...) for an ssh connection to my home box. The quality of service for @home is so inconsistent, it makes me crazy. I pay them C$40 per month for speeds that are no better than dial-up except in the middle of the night.

Still waiting ...

Not gonna do it (5, Funny)

well_jung (462688) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538504)

I can understand how someone could choose between, say, food or broadband. But So long as I have 50 bucks left over after the car and house are paid for, my ass ain't digging that goddamn modem out of the closet.

And frankly, I don't know anyone else that would, either. I supect the Author's sole anecdotel example is also their neighbor. There isn't a story here.

Re:Not gonna do it (1)

dgb2n (85206) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538587)


My wife is a total non-techie and I think she'd rather sell her engagement ring than give up the cable modem. And she just uses the computer for email and shopping.

Give me a break (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538506)

Please, how many people on /. would dump cable or Xdsl for a modem again? This is just stupid. Why are people bitching about reliability, I have DSL with 3 different telco's 3 ISPs in two states, and cable modem now and interruptions are extremely rare. Much more rare than how often my modem's used to drop carrier on me. People just need something to complain about this is pathetic.

So be a friendly webmaster...install mod_gzip (5, Informative)

baptiste (256004) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538510)

It still amazes me the # of users of my websites that still use modems. We are now planning to install mod_gzip [] for Apache to help modem users download our larger pages faster. It didn't seem worth it at first with folks moving to broadband, but we still found many of our users listing 'modem' as their primary access method when they register. Plus it'll reduce our bandwidth demand for users who have broadband - they'll get larger files faster too. Yeah, it adds overhead on teh server CPU, but for us its worth it since we have headroom to spare.

Re:So be a friendly webmaster...install mod_gzip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538548)

Maybe your users aren't too bright and don't realize that a cable modem isn't.

Misleading introduction (2, Insightful)

Stalemate (105992) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538511)

If was using DSL mostly to commute and I left my job and had less cash laying around, I'd probably cancel the DSL too.

Re:Misleading introduction (1)

GuyZero (303599) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538586)

If was using DSL mostly to commute and I left my job and had less cash laying around, I'd probably cancel the DSL too.

No kidding. If I had a car that I needed for work and I lost my job, I'd drop the car like a hot potato. Duh. Job-related items for a job you no longer have are kinda redundant.

In other news, most Candian broadband carriers have dropped lower intro rates for cable modems and DSL. I guess they're not that worried about attracting new customers anymore.

Extremely satisfied broadband customer (3, Informative)

DrySkin (521788) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538513)

We must be lucky where I live. I have had DSL for over 2 years now, and I have had almost no problems (well, one modem did die). Almost 100% uptime, on the DSL line and with the ISP (Open World Inc.) Course, now that I've said this, I'll probably get home and find it dead. Some basic info on where my DSL is coming from: Lexington, KY. DSL line provider: Verizon DSL service: 768 down, 256 up ISP: Open World Inc

Benefits of bad service (2, Interesting)

scriber (89211) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538515)

I've got a cable modem, and every night when the traffic starts to get high, service totally stops. This isn't too bad, because I live close enough to campus to run to a computer lab when I really need to, but it's annoying nonetheless. The solution: we called the cable company to complain about their horrible service, and they credited our bill for the month's worth of broadband. I won't argue with free broadband, even if it doesn't work from 6-12pm most nights.

If you're having trouble with your broadband service, try complaining. The worst that could happen is you'll have to leave a message, but you might be surprised what happens.

Re:Benefits of bad service (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538651)

I wish I had service to complain about. I still live in Bedrock, and there are no signs of Amerirock or AT&Pterydactle doing anything about it.

with free (illicit) wireless, there's no need (1)

Frothy Walrus (534163) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538519)

with all the unguarded wireless networks [] around the cities of the US, there's almost no need to pay for access anymore. just get a burly antenna ($70-ish) and move it around until you get a signal. it's free, and free is a good deal!

Some stats? (2, Interesting)

Debillitatus (532722) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538520)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the only positive evidence they present in this article that people are dumping broadband is Katy Ling. I feel sorry for Katy and all, but she hardly constitutes a trend. (?)

I mean, they also said a few things along the lines of "experts who have just as little evidence as us predict a downturn, etc.,etc.". Whatever.

Re:Some stats? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538640)

It doesn't even sound like real name to me. Katy Ling? K.D. Lang?

In Australia too... (1)

taffyd (316451) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538521)

I've been hearing quite a lot about this in Australia too. (Remember that place of beautiful beaches, Internet censorship and technophobe politicians? ;).

With the largest of the two main cable companies recently introducing a 3GB cap on data transfer as well as being plagued with downtime and network problems, customers have realised that they can download more on their old dialup accounts and have been ditching cable at a phenomenal rate.

I guess once again it relates to the fact that businesses just want to use the Internet to make money, whereas the people actually using Internet want to use it for porn. I mean 'infotainment'.


Wave of the Future (1)

hjmartin70 (250011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538522)

So those of us stuck in the 56K dark ages are really on the leading edge?

Quoth the article... (1)

dave-fu (86011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538523)

..."While many ISPs remain publicly adamant that broadband subscribers are rock-steady, some say privately that signs of cancellations are emerging. The impact is noticeable in the San Francisco Bay Area, where thousands of high-tech employees have lost their jobs."
And a paragraph or so later... "So far, cancellations haven't shown up in macro-level statistics such as earnings reports."
Hmm. So people who have lost their jos are trimming back on expenses in a tough job market? I'm not sure where the headlines are justified here. A bunch of laid-off workers representing a blip on the radar isn't exactly a trend that I'd bet my shirt on.
Slow news day in the tech market, I guess.

That's got to be the stupidest thing I've ever.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538524)

.. heard.

Why in God's name would you want to go back to a modem when most sites out there will crawl at modem speeds? I don't know who all these people are having problems with broadband, because I certainly don't know any of them. I have a feeling this is a case of more brainless "consultants" who in reality have NO real technical knowledge being unable to make even the simplest things work.

What a load... (2)

Archfeld (6757) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538527)

I think this is pure BS. I'd give up the net before going back to 56k modem. I was a lan party maniac until I got broadband, now I lan from home.
I have the net at work to surf, with out the sub 75 ping my sdsl gives me I'd just do without.

Re:What a load... (-1)

c_g_hills (110430) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538636)

75ms? Ouch! I'm getting 10ms to my ISP's game servers on CATV :D

reliable? (3, Informative)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538528)

I have AT&T Broadband and before that MediaOne, and I always had a rock solid connection, and my IP almost never changed.. No way I'm going back to dial-up

Cheaper? Maybe.. (2, Interesting)

torako (532270) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538529)

I think the main question (at least for me) is not how *fast* my connection is, but how much i have to pay. Here in Europe we don't usually have flat rates and have to pay about 1 us cent for every minute of online time. For browsing the web it doesn't really matter whether all those pages build up really quickly or rather slowly because I'll always need more time to read the stuff than I need to download it. Considering big downloads a faster connection is better, because it saves time and thereby money. But if I could get a flat rate like it is usual in North America I probably wouldn't care if my download takes a couple of hours or so. That's what a second phone line (or ISDN) is for. Just my 2p..

So I should be grateful to OfTel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538531)

well i guess [in the UK] oftel have done a lot of people a HUGE favour by not making BT get off its arse and give us a decent broadband product.... we were all better off with modems all along!

Hmmmmm.... Or was broadband service deliberateley fscked so that more ppl would stay on/return to dialup, thus meaning providers could still get the same revenue [i'm paying £25/month for 100 hours unmetered anytime. I'm on an NTL line.], but only pay out for a fraction of the backbone bandwidth, and use cheaper equipment...

Gee i wonder....


broadband is for lazy people (5, Funny)

GunFodder (208805) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538533)

With a dialup modem I used to get a lot more done around the house. I could go get coffee while waiting for pages to load, or do some cleaning. And I got a real sense of well-being when I left my machine on all night to download a 100MB game demo and it actually worked!

Re:broadband is for lazy people (1)

butch812 (529419) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538574)

So why dont you stick with dialup then?

I think it was sarcasm...(NT) (1)

chrome koran (177357) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538645)


Another major reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538534)

With the telco mergers of GTE/Bell/etc into Verizon, Verizon has completely screwed up their DSL circuit offerings and availability, made it extremely difficult to get DSL service with a third-party ISP, and has actually STOPPED adding DSL customers to known CO's which have more than ample equipment to handle more customers.

Cable modem service is of such poor quality in most locations that it really IS better to go back to dialup.

That's another reason as to why people have been (forced to) dump broadband.
Then again, Verizon's also terrible about keeping decent line quality, so even dialup is unreliable. anyways, enough ranting. If you want good service, get a T1. :)

Wow. I don't think I could ever go back. (2, Insightful)

yndrd (529288) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538535)

I've grown so accustomed to highspeed access that broadband is almost a "necessity" for me; I'd consider cutting the stream of crap on cable television before I'd dump my cable modem.

That said, I can imagine that for many users, high speed access is a frivolity. Let's face it: you need a high speed connection mainly for gaming, porn, and overwrought sites with lots of graphics.

You could probably get by with a regular modem (and, hell, a text browser), if you actually wanted the Internet just for information.

This isn't a techological problem though.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538536)

it is a problem of providers cutting corners.

Agreed. (1)

Mustang Matt (133426) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538617)

The technology is awesome, the business plans suck.

ummm, not cheaper per bit... (1)

Bahamuto (227466) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538537)

Now I guess it is cheaper, but lets look at my example. I have RoadRunner. Now that cost about 40 dollars a month. If I had a dialup service that would be about 15-20 dollars a month for a decent one. (I'm not even gonna go into the free ones, they just suck) Considering that a cable modem can be more then 10 times faster then a 56k modem, I think its a good buy. And if you have an extra phone line dedicated to the modem... well now its about the same price. Oh well just my 2 cents.

All your base, are Segmentation fault, dumping core...

You have to be stupid (0, Flamebait)

butch812 (529419) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538539)

Only an idiot would dump their cable/dsl connection to go back to 56k and lower.

Re:You have to be stupid (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538570)

Seems like there are a lot of stupid people out there - or at least a few for the cnet reporter with an axe to grind

Quebec, Canada as an Example (2, Insightful)

KosovoYankee (310988) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538541)

Look, if you want broadband to work, you need a company focussed on their customers, with a manageable customer base and no plans for massive expansion. Videotron, in Quebec, Canada, provides reliable, inexpensive cable internet to one province, and one province only, with a possible market of around 5 milions people. They have kept their operation small, their staff trained, and decided not to expand into other provinces. In this way, they are able to maintain a high level of service. Your mileage may vary, but I have only had 2 down days of service, living in 2 large metropolitan regions of Quebec, in 2 years.

This is in direct contrast to Bell Canada, who's attempt service all of Canada has led to an incrdibly bad DSL service and Rogers cable modem service collapsing under the immense wieght of their customers.
The moral: Don't bite off more than you can chew. Canada may not be as competitive, but there are lessons to be learned from staying in business long enough to make money off the customers you already have.

Broadband situation is generally deplorable (5, Insightful)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538545)

Most people still can't get cable modem or DSL.

Those who can face unreliable service, high prices, and shamefully bad customer service and support.

And its getting worse. Most of the start-ups that may have created competition in this market have gone under, leaving the cable and telephone monopolies in charge.

I don't know if the solution is more or less regulation and/or public involvement, but in the current atmosphere, things are going to suck for a very long time.

Re:Broadband situation is generally deplorable (1)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538611)

My cable modem has been rock solid. Easy installation works with linux, works with windows, works with my linksys box so my wife's computer can be on the net at the same time. Generally faster than my connection at work for a big communications company. I have no complaints at all.

Better for small towns (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538547)

It seems that broadband has become a better solution for small towns. I know of people switching away fro broadband in big cities because of instability and lack of service but in small towns (such as mine) people are more than happy with their broadband access and service/reliability is better than in most big cities.

what? (2, Funny)

gray code (323372) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538549)

K.D. Lang bailed out on her "broad" band? oh crap, now what will the girls listen to?

har har....

Another ripple in the pond... (1)

BigBir3d (454486) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538553)

...due to the dot-bomb!!

""I used it regularly in the beginning and then the use started rapidly declining, so I got rid of it," Ling said. "It was easier justifying a recreational DSL line when there was a lot of money around to burn.""


For those of us who earn money in a stable work environment, broadband is fine.

I would get rid of HBO before getting rid of the cable modem :-)

are they crazy? (1)

sroddy (216493) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538554)

I have a cable modem in Louisiana and I have had _0_ downtime since it was installed 8 months ago. It is a very necessary part of my job. I live an hour away from work and when something goes wrong, I do not have to drive up there to fix it since I have had broadband.

Perhaps I am just lucky, but my experience has been great!

Big suprise. (2, Insightful)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538556)

The truth is, most people don't need that much bandwidth(which is irrelevant in many cases because of limits put on broadband in many areas), people don't care if their computer is connected 24/7, and a lot of people just use their computers for sending E-mail and chatting. Broadband is nice, but why would people stick with something expensive and elabourate when a cheap and easy solution exists? Broadband is great for people who use computers for games, or downloads, or even for developers, but when all you are doing is checking your E-mail and chatting, 56k is more than enough -- especially for half the cost.

Re:Big suprise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538583)

uhhhh...gamers? pr0n addicts? mp3 downloaders? I think they all like/need cable/dsl/T1 or whatever.

Re:Big suprise. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538641)

"56k ought to be enough for anybody."

Modems are retro (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538560)

Ah... looks like modems will become "fashionable". Soon a 56k modem will be obscenely expensive...

The End Of The Bubble.. sad, ain't it? (2)

d.valued (150022) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538561)

Five years ago, those of us who knew the Mysteries of the Web Host were preparing for a mass conversion of people to the Ways of the Net. We were telling people (and ourselves) that Faster Is The Future(tm), More Is Better(tm), and Wait'll You See What We Have In Store For You(tm).

Then, most of those morons signed up for the Great Satans of AOL and MSN. :)

Seriously, though, this is hardly a shock. Firstly, modems have relatively minimal drain on bandwidth resources, and since there are infinitely more providers of modemic service than fatpipe, it's easier to conect (provided you have either a mom-n-pop shop or a few numbers to call).

Fatpipe is also expensive. Cable modems are somewhere near $40 a month for unreliable party-line bandwidth; DSL is more cash for less hash; and satellite two-way has bad lag (so would you after a 100k mile trip per packet).

In this economic dounturn, more people are looking to save money, and this is one easy way to do it. (Most people surf the web to find a few relatively important sites to them and then maybe putz around for other items of interest.)

I mean, $15/mo $40.

I'd hate to go back (1)

shreak (248275) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538562)

I managed to convince my (at the time) employer to cover the cost of DSL (Bell South FastAccess in NC). They had been paying $80/mo for my ISDN connection into the corperate switch and DSL only cost about $50/mo.

I quit and started working for a VoIP startup who promised to cover the DSL costs but it never materialized. I'm still on DSL and my wife and I talk about it on every budget review (quarterly at least) But it survives.

It's not so much the connection speed, which is nice. It's the "always on" aspect. The computer gets turned on during the day some time and stays on. When you need to check on something (news, weather, movies...) you just sit down and hit the URL. No dialup, no waiting, just info.

Going back to dialup would be awful.

Similar Experience (1)

C. Mattix (32747) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538564)

I've had similar experiences as the people mentioned in the article. I guess I've somewhat "grown out" of the need to be wired 24/7. I use high-speed at work. At home I want to do other things then sit in front of my computer like I do all day. Because of that, a 56K connection to slurp down email is fine. Dial in, start downloading the mail locally, make dinner, read it after dinner. For any big files, I burn a CD on my machine at work. I can't justify spending $50 bucks a month just for convience or to be elite. Broadband was cool in school, now there really isn't anything interesting to do with it that justifies the cost (well outside of network games).
I've never had any stability issues with any of the services I've used (Verizon DSL and @Home cable), but they charge WAY to much.
It would be worth it if they had a 128K up and down static IP for like $20 a month, then I would do it. As it is, it isn't.

Why would anyone go back? (1)

Michael O-P (31524) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538567)

I read this article yesterday, and found it long on anecdotes, short on facts. Sure, I'd probably dump my DSL if I lost my job and didn't have the money to pay for it, but high speed access has really been integrated into our daily routine. We can get current weather reports, snow conditions, etc. much faster than through any other source.

It's also great for other things. The other week we were on vacation, set the VCR to record "Buffy", but it didn't take. Hop on Kazaa, found the episode, downloaded it in 45 minutes (172 MB), watched it, deleted it. Voila! Time shifting. We wouldn't have had that backup without broadband.

The one part of the article I agree with, is the fact that providers have started to raise prices, but that's generally only for new customers. I still pay 40 bucks a month, which is quite worth it.

Never had a problem with broadband (3, Informative)

joshv (13017) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538568)

Once I actually found a reliable provider who could install it I have never had a problem with broadband.

I first got a cable modem about two years ago via RCN. Recently I moved to a new place which is not wired for RCN, so I switched to SBC (Ameritech) DSL. Surprisingly I really have had no major problems with the speed or reliability of their services (though I do take issue with the price).

I did have problems getting DSL service from a few providers, the standard DSL Hell - but they are both now in bakruptcy proceedings or already bankrupt - so go figure.

To go back to a regular modem is just unthinkable for me. Maybe my experience is atypical because I live in a large and competitive urban broadband market.


Not me I say! (4, Interesting)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538571)

After that time I got those 2MBp/s download speeds over my cable modem, there was no way that I was going back.

I reguarly get 300KBp/s per file transfer from, and even faster tranfers from other sites.

Being able to download a 5meg Shockwave Flash file in the time that it takes a companies logo to fade onto the screen also helps.


Ping times under 100ms are also great. So is that nice west coast backbone that @Home has for its users.

I originaly started out with TCI@Home then AT&T bought them up. Now I have AT&T Internet Access, Cable Television, and Cell Phone service.

And you know what? I am being treated great. The few times that I have had to call text support were great, hell, the tech guy and me were swapping anti-MS jokes back and forth. The uptime is incredible, especialy after AT&T took over from TCI, and I have not had a service interuption for, God, almost a year now! The few service interuptions that I did have in 1q01 all lasted less then 10 minutes except for one that had was 30 minutes. After that there has not been a single problem for ages now.

Hell, when my power went out my UPS kicked in and I was still able to surf the internet. Cable Modem service was still up. Now _THAT_ is what I call robust service.

It depends on the usage (2)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538575)

Broadband was almost like a "trend". Average people that browse the web maybe 1 hour a week and get their email everyday do not need their broadband; and, due to economic times, they'd rather go for a cheap alternative.

People that napster all day, play games all the time, are online a lot for something other than browsing and chatting will keep their broadband.

Its a sign of a trend, or of the economic times...

It's called "ditch the monopoly" (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538576)

Anyone who has access to broadband is lucky, and if you have your choice between DSL and Cable, you are even luckier. But whatever your "choice," you are lucky, and the provider treats you that way -- its as if they are doing us this big favor, and we shouldn't complain because we have no other choice.

I ordered digital cable tv, phone, and internet from the same (nameless) provider. It took two weeks, even though all the cables and hookups were already installed in the house. When they showed up, they said, "whoops - your phone didn't get put in the DB, so I'll hook it up now and all you have to do is call to activate. They shouldn't have to come out here again." After 2 hours on the phone trying to convince them to just activate it, they said, "Sorry, we have to send out another technician, and that will take another week."

"Can't you just try activating it from there and see if that works?" I begged.


So another week without phone service went by. The technician came and, guess what, it was already all hooked up. All he had to do was call some special number to have it activated.

Then, when I got home that evening, I went to check my email and guess what? My broadband Internet connection was gone. I called tech support again (and waited in the easy-listening queue) only to be told (after reboots and wire reconnecting) that they'd have to send out another technician, and that they didn't have any spots open until TWO WEEKS LATER.

I wanted to tell them to shove their connection and cancel all my services. I wanted nothing more. But I don't dare do it -- I live in a "low" aread where cell phone service is bad, TV reception is bad, and DSL isn't offered, plus I bought my own cable modem.

They know I'm stuck with them, no matter how crappy their service / prices are. Short of disconnecting myself from the world and going back to 56k, I'm there.

A lot of people don't have a choice! (2)

Mustang Matt (133426) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538577)

With Northpoint and Rhythms going under and Covad on the brink there isn't much left to choose from for xDSL.

That's what happens when you compete against the phone companies. The phone company should lay the line and not provide the service, then you wouldn't be directly competing against your provider.

We dropped our Broadband and switched to T1.

Blah, blah, blah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538579)

Hey, if you don't need it, you don't need it. But technology analyst without broadband access is like a stock analyst without a portfolio. And my cable modem keeps chugging along like a champ. The only problems I had were solved with a simple call to customer service. I should have called two weeks earlier since in a day's times my issue was completely resolved (and has not cropped up since). You just don't want to play UT, Quake, or Wolfenstein on a 56k, nor is downloading MP3's and p0rn as fun. Reliability is something to strive for. And if you are not getting it please do discontinue service to send the message that that is unacceptable. But don't come up with this false belief that 56k is an acceptable alternative to broadband. Busy signals and dropped connections are par for the course on 56k as well.

It'd be nice to have broadband to dump! (2, Informative)

Alrocket (191107) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538580)

I'm afraid we don't have this choice:

DUBLIN, IRELAND -- November 5, 2001 -- IrelandOffline, an independent organisation working to bring affordable Internet access services to Ireland, has announced the "IrelandOffline Blackout", a multipronged protest scheduled to take place on Friday, November the 16th, 2001. The protest has been organised to highlight the non-existence of flat-rate and broadband Internet access services in Ireland - services that make Internet access affordable and so promote the growth of Internet use, e-commerce, and competition. [] .

All part of the same cycle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538581)

1. Companies dump employees...
2. Laid off employees cut spending ...
3. Companies lose sales, so they dump employees ...
4. Goto 2.

Where does it end? I can't think of a better system, but sometimes Capitalism sucks.

Could live with it if... (1)

stud9920 (236753) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538585)

I could perfectly live with it if it were not for the phone bill (In Belgium we pay about 1.5$ an hour during night).

I can download anything i want from work (university) and at home I do little but /. [] and E2 [] . In fact, if I gave my 800 kbps ADSL modem to E2 and used my old modem for myself, I'd probably give myself and other noders a significant speedup.

Are they kidding me? (1)

KaiserSoze (154044) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538588)

"Particularly since Sept. 11, a lot of people are deciding which bills to cut out," said a spokesperson for one major California-based ISP, who asked not to be named. "People are freaked out."

This is laughably a non sequitur. Just what do people have to fear from their DSL line due to Sep. 11? Maybe, maybe, I'd see it as a result of the declining (according to the MS-CNBC-SI folks) economy, but to think that the first (or second, or hundredth) thing that people thought about after Terror Attacked Us, and then we declared War On Terror, was "Jesus Dianne! If they could do that to the World Trade Center with planes, just think of what they could do to us with.. with DSL!" This Unnamed Source is a damn retard, but its certainly not uncommon these days [] for companies to blame all of their short-sighted decisions on Sep. 11.

One of the Few (2)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538590)

I guess I'm one of the few that has actually had really, really good luck with broadband. I've got Verizon's DSL and it's reliability has been great, and they haven't raised prices like I thought they would. Unless they jack the price up or it starts dying all the time I'm sticking with it.

Re:One of the Few (2)

mikeage (119105) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538647)

Wow... that makes two of us. I guess we got lucky with Verizon... they had service hooked up early, runs great, the only time our DSL died was when the yutz from the phone company unplugged the wire in the terminal box by accident ;). Ten minutes later, worked again... only downtime I've had in almost a year of service.

AT&T cable rox (1)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538594)

I have seen many people complain about their cable service; seems like they are never on AT&T though. My experience with AT&T has been nothing short of miraculous. They installed it the day after I ordered it off the web. I get 1M-3M throughput and a near perfect uptime. I used to work at a major software firm and AT&T's reliability is much higher than the internal corporate service I got.


JustJoking (535170) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538595)

These people will all go back.

She really must have had sucky service :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538597)

I've got DSL here, from Qwest but with a different, local ISP. The actual DSL has been down, hmm, maybe a day, all told, in three years. Our ISP's had problems, sure, but during those problems even the phone modem couldn't get through.

Yeah, I know, not all DSL users are happy. Me, I'm very pleased. It's VERY fast, and VERY reliable. They even hooked it up fairly fast, too.

A neighbor has a cable-modem system, and his goes out frequently :( Might have something to do with other residents here trying to jack cable for free alla damn time :( I chose not to have a "party line" with every other idjit in the block, and one reason I haven't moved is because moving might mean no more DSL :(

bitter time (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538599)

Great. This is going to start some fucking trend, I'll bet. "Hey, anyone know how to get Trumpet Winsock to work with IE5? No, wait, I meant, uh, Mosaic."

Same codebase, anyway. Wheee.

Elsewhere, geeks flood Usenet with questions on how to backport their 3Dfx kernel modules to 1.x series kernels.

This bim and her careless discarding of the FUTURE! is going to touch off another wave of retrocomputing. Which, sadly, means more posts from ESR, because no one gives 2 shits about what he has to say, especially since he's not rich anymore.

Burp. More beer, please.

Selling Grandma.. (2, Funny)

Beowulfto (169354) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538605)

EarthLink spokesman Kurt Rahn says that high-speed subscribers would "rather sell their grandmothers" than go back to a pokey dial-up connection.

I wouldn't sell my Grandma.........but I might lease her.

This article is crap (5, Insightful)

pod (1103) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538606)

I read this article yesterday, and it was so painful. The very premise is bogus. You're paying about 2-3 times as much for a cable/dsl line as for dialup. While such a price may be a little hard to justify for people already on a very tight budget, chances are you can spare the dollar a day required to keep your line.

And the value in 'broadband' is not the speed really. We've heard many times now, it's the instant availability stupid. People hate to have to wait (through busy signals potentially) to get online witha modem to check their mail. They like to have ICQ/AIM running all the time to see when their friends are online and to chat. It's all about convinience.

Besides, the article is full of contradictions, for example take this bit:

[ISPs] are looking for high-speed subscriptions' profit margins to bolster their bottom line...

and later:

...operating margins excluding sales and marketing expenses for cable modem subscribers are as low as 5 percent, and they say DSL is break-even at best.

So which one is it? I work for an ISP that does DSL, and let me tell you, there are no margins on DSL. It can easily take a 2-3 years to start making money on a DSL client. Hosting (and dialup to a certain extent) and bandwidth reselling is where the margins are.

And as a later paragraph puts it, high-speed subscribers would "rather sell their grandmothers" than go back to a pokey dial-up connection. It'll be hard for anyone to convert back to a dialup connection.

broadband sucks? thank god! (1)

stickytar (96286) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538607)

Here in Montucky where I live we have been waiting for years and years to get some decent broadband here. And now I'm excited that I don't have to wait anymore. I have the real deal! My freaky modem!! Yahoo!

No way (1)

snoozerdss (303165) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538609)

With all the porno I download (not to mention Linux ISO's) I could NEVER go back to a Modem :)

Broadband Woes (1)

WebBug (178944) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538610)

It is the age old story. You can buy a car, but the manufacturer determines the quality of your experience. Consumer beware!

Cable or DSL or Modem, it's all one. Your quality of experience will depend upon the quality of your supplier.

In my area, my cable has been up and with the same IP without interruption for almost one year now.

On the otherhand, I still use my modem for one account that has a certain utility. However, since I live in a VERY rural setting, the telephone service is absolute . . .

Not bragging, just pointing out that quality varies. In modem connects and in broadband.

If consumers vote with their dollars and make sure that they are signing a contract that is favourable to them and not the provider, then things will get better. No-one is going to stand up for your rights except you. So get too it!

Canada (1)

Ionizor (175949) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538613)

The article mentioned that broadband access prices jumped by $5 to $10. That's just one more reason it's good to live in Canada, I guess - The CRTC (Like the FCC in the U.S.) capped broadband prices years ago.

Broadband? Nah (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538620)

First off, broadband is only available in urban and suburban areas in the US. Those of us who live in the country don't have any other options.

Secondly, 56K is fine for most things at home. Even if you're working at home, Terminal Services or Telnet work fine over dialup. Even basic streaming radio sounds good enough over a dialup connection.

Thirdly, most of us have broadband at work, so if there's something big we need to dl (like a full Linux distribution), we can do that at work.

Fourth, it's expensive! $50/month plus a few hundred for the equipment? No thank you. It's just not worth it.

So, I'm not planning to get broadband at home any time soon.

This is an American Thang (2, Informative)

Snafoo (38566) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538621)

How strange. Up here in Canada, where Ma Bell still has a sanctioned and legally-enforced local-service monopoly, ADSL is more popular than the Beatles. Simply put, there *is* no reliability problem -- my service has worked perfectly since the day I installed it (although there *was* a one-month waiting list, IIRC.) Cable-internet is popular too, but generally more expensive (on the order of 17%) and slower to boot. Many of my friends have it, even the nontechnicals. It's the new 'cable' -- a somewhat-premium service that everyone desires.

Price is $40CD/mo. , which is $30US.

Perhaps (and as a linux zealot I say this reluctantly) there's a place for limited (and legally enforced) monopolies in *some* markets (just not the OS market no thank you bob ;)

Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538624)

Katy finally downloaded enough pr0n to last for the rest of her life?

Big Net User! (1)

dimer0 (461593) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538629)

She also used it to rent movies from Kozmo, buy airline tickets and check movie show times. But when she left her job, she decided that she couldn't justify the $50 monthly DSL fee.

Well, of course you don't need broadband. Ugh. Maybe you check your stocks as well? Wow.

In my case, though, downloading 20G of p0rn of usenet each week - well, I need my broadband.

This can't be happening! (0)

7*6 (258602) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538630)

Come on, folks, is there really a loss of interest in broadband access?? I couldn't live without my DSL connection, and on the *two* occasions in which it was down, I went bonkers! (The latter occurance, I'll add, was remedied by my ISP in less than half an hour)

I can't even stand being on a slow server, or at peak times at my university. Speed is important, especially for research, because time is an asset.

Sure, some people don't see the benefit of broadband, but did they really see it in the beginning? To them it was merely a novelty, OR their lifestyle has changed since, and they don't need it anymore.

This is not the case for the public as a whole, and as prices lower, demand will rise even further, and we'll never understand why there was ever any doubt. In fact, I don't understand NOW why there's any doubt that broadband is "where it's at".

No way. Broadband is here to stay.

Maybe for her - not for me... (1)

wnknisely (51017) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538631)

I can understand someone ditching broadband if they only had one computer hanging on the connection - and if they have access to a fast connection somewhere (like the office) - and their connection was unreliable (like mine is).

But at my house, there's three of us in the family all sharing the same pipe. We got the broadband connection so I could load slashdot pages, the spousal unit could shop and browse and the daughter chat and play at the same time.

Before that there was too much shouting about other people hogging the bandwidth... Grin. So we put up with the timeouts and the waits to pull an IP from the DHCP server... and dream of the day when we go to 2-way.

It's going to be hard to convince me and other home LAN users to give up our broadband connections.

Quick summary (3, Funny)

Erasmus Darwin (183180) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538633)

For people with a short attention span, the article takes a long time just to say:
Economy bad. People out of work. Luxury spending allegedly curtailed.

What do people really need? (1)

ketilf (114215) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538635)

As a techie and a frequent kernel leecher, I want broadband, and I'm prepared to pay for it. But a lot of people out there hardly use their computers when they are at home, and then they might just find that it's just not worth it. Modem is ok for reading mail if you don't get a lot. Just like the latest P9 blabla 6THz, people don't really need this, they just think they do because of M$ bloat (both in mails and in CPU drainage) ;(

BUT, this is only because all the expected services for broadband haven't arrived yet. If TV-on-demand or whatever and other cool services started showing up, then maybe more people would be prepared to use this stuff.

I'm not a gamer, and my PII 450 is good enough today, so why shouldn't it be tomorrow as well? Maybe ISDN is good enough for most people today.

Uhhhh, can you picture this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#2538637)

Since my cell phone service is so spotty and expensive, I'm going back to wandering around until I find a pay phone! So much more reliable, no dropped calls, no locale issues, and all for $1!

I live in Vancouver, and my broadband rocks. (1)

meheler (193628) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538639)

On an average day, I can get much higher throughput than even the T1 we have wired at work. I have a saved page from a speed test I did a while ago, where it showed my outgoing and incoming to be much higher than a typical T1 line.

Couple that with the digital cable package that comes with it, I get 200 channels of high-quality (the picture/sound, not the programming -- stupid FOX) television, and fast-as-a-mofo internet for $100 CAD (that's like $25 USD, right?) per month. Not bad :)


downloading readme.txt .... 36 hours remaining (2, Interesting)

Cynikal (513328) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538644)

I really can't see that happening in the real world, unless of course your ISP has a 50% average uptime. i've had many HS ISPs, and even with even the worse of them, i would bitch and moan when it was down, but never would consider dialup. now i am forced to be on dialup because of my new location, and i can't understand anyone who would *choose* this..

Ok maybe if you're a tight-wad, and you use the internet maybe 2 or 3 times a week to check your mail, it wouldn't be a big deal, but i personally can't stand clicking on my inbox, and then having enough time to go make a coffee before i get to the next page. And with so many people on HS internet these days, i find the majority of sites are loaded with graphics and the like which make them almost impossible to view on dialup.

And forget about downloading the new Mandrake release iso or something, not on dialup, unless you have a few days of spare time to kill...

I can understand some people being "fine" with dialup, not seeing the need for speed, so to say. but that is akin to my father being "fine" with his pentium 166.. its all a matter of perspective; if you don't know better, then dialup is good enough for you.

i dont know, but in my oppinion, anyone who would choose dialup after tasting the speed of 1 megabit or more of bandwith, is the same type of person who probly has a few whips and chains in the bedroom, cause they like pain.

They can take my DSL modem.... (2)

soulsteal (104635) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538646)

after they pry it from my cold dead fingers.

Sure my DSL isn't the best, but it beats the hell out of a modem. I can get a constant minimum of 400kbps which ain't too shabby considering it's split with my roommate. Sure it's a hassle to reboot when the connection drops (discontinued 3Com DSL modem with driver issues) but it is not worth going back to dialup, especially when there are two web-heads in the house.

Yeah... (1)

EEEthan (41747) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538648)

Well, I just got my DSL at home (alright, sure, I sit in front of the 'net at work too) but I'm not about to dump it in favor of a modem again--I live with three other people and that means that if anyone is using the net(and I didn't have a linux modem, so I couldn't share it)no one could get phone calls(except on their cellphones). Basically, broadband is far, far, far, far, far better than modem and anyone who says otherwise is a huge complete jackass. Now sure, some people are dumping it; some people didn't get hooked at an internet2 college either.

I'm sure I'm not the first to say this, but the reports of broadband's demise are much exaggerated.

this is a trend? (1)

rebug (520669) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538650)

One day I missed the bus to work, so I rode my bike.

I didn't hear anything on the radio about the new riding your bike because you missed the bus trend.

Boycott Broadband (2, Insightful)

sabinm (447146) | more than 12 years ago | (#2538654)

This isn't surprising if you are not mission critical

Where I live, I waited for broadband for two years. During that two years, I've seen download caps, bandwidth restrictions, disallowing of multiple IP addresses as well as privacy intruding features of ISPs RIAA and the federal govt. People who actively seed back doors if you actually UTILIZE the bandwidth that you pay for. Plus the qos stinks. nothing out there is worth it. Sure you may be able to vid-conference, but with whom? Watch movies over the web? Not until the entertainment industry pulls out of their litigation. I only surf a total of about 10 websites. And I need broadband for this?

I always said that anyone is a fool to pay for dialup. not I extend that. Anyone is a fool to pay for internet service. Broadband is useless in any applicable sense these days, and dialup is not a premium. Maybe this whole lousy ISP dynamic will collapse and be replaced by community networks. That would be golden, and something that I would pay for. Instead of paying corporations to tell me how much and what I should download and what I should use my property for.
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