And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hey, ho, way to go Ohio

Well, as Dan knows, I'm a notorious cheapskate when it comes to paying for anything online. At my home, my local community can get cable modem access form the local little telecom. Except for my development. Apparently the cable the developed buried has too much noise to signal ratio and the local telecom is unwilling to replace it, or to install the signal repeaters where they have line extenders. About four years ago I was supposed to be a beta tester for their new DSL equipment. Never was. After it was installed (two years later), I asked how much per month.

$45, for DSL, from a 3rd tier provider (no, seriously, I've done the trace routes, 8 or more hops before getting to a backbone router, you aren't a 1st tier no matter what you want to tell me). Yeah. In 2008, $45 for DSL. So I said no to that.

Now I need to have broadband in the home so I can connect to my work servers. The local telecom is offering a bundle where adding broadband will get it to me for $30. Still highway robbery when DSL is $20-$25 elsewhere. And, again, not exactly sparkling service.

Then can install it on January 18th. You know, because we've had a big snow storm. Uh, yeah. Telecom FAIL!

So, you know, when I hear about letting business regulate themselves, or removing regulation blah blah blah. Yeah, not so much. A month plus time frame because of the "big snowstorm?" Really? Hello, roads are clear. I just went stomping through my yard with boat shoes on (I didn't want to take the time to lace up the boots). A month? You know, if I could actually get tech support from you all ("we don't know macs" - um, bits are bits), or I cared about the other crap you offer, I might be a little more agreeable, but basically over the ten years I've been here I've been reduced by to just needing the local telecom as a dial tone to the internet. Because I can't get anything else to work (yeah, I'm sure you've solved the problems by now, when I can't get your email to work for a month, sorry, don't need it anymore).

Really, 10 seconds away for ordering a Verizon MiFi device. It might cost me more, but it'll be faster, and I probably can get it tomorrow (if I had time to get to the store).


Anonymous said...

And we are blaming Ohio... why?

Do you have Roadrunner up there? My dad gets phone, cable and internet for about $100 per month.

Anonymous Cassie

Steve Buchheit said...

Hey Cassie, because under the Voinovich and Taft administrations the PUCO was gutted and changed from an organization that fought for the consumer, to one that mostly rubber stamps the utilities plans. Our local telecom was taken before PUCO twice for anti-competitive practices (basically keeping any competition out, including cellphone, which fortunately has now been reversed and we have a Verizon tower close enough for better coverage). Both times the PUCO declined to take any action. (And, to be fair, the Strickland administration barely changed it at all).

And nope, except for cellphone coverage, there is no competition for our local telecom (see earlier 30+ years of running them out of town). Even though we have invited them in, so far no interest (and that includes a company that received stimulus money to create a WiMax network, they have a tower they could use to cover us, and they are all around us, but no coverage planned for the VIllage, despite also being invited in).

PUCO is so toothless, the only real action they took to benefit the consumer in the past 12 years includes denying Dominion the right to charge consumers in Ohio more for natural gas that is only transversing the state (not being used here). The other thing they did was after such public outcry at First Energy for consumers being charged $45 for an $8 compact bulb (now $4 bulb) as their "reduce electrical consumption" plan. A plan, I'll point out, that the PUCO originally approved. And now, First Energy has no plans for reduction of energy use (as required by law, which they are also not being penalized for).

So, yeah, with the "business friendly" atmosphere of the Voinovich and Taft administrations, my local telecom has no fear of competition, or of real sanction if they continue to keep competition out of their area. COnsidering the incoming governor Kasich has signaled he'll continue that tradition (even advancing it faster), I doubt anything will change.

My only recourse is to move. And, yeah, this is actually 30% of my decision that I will eventually move (the poor service, having to wait a month to get something installed that will take about 30 minutes to do, and then also charging me outrageous fees, and they're not the only business like this in town, some of which charge a "not born here" fee to those of use who have moved into town, yeah, I've had quoted prices change once the business realizes I wasn't "born and bread" in town).

About the only good thing I can say about them, they include TCM as a part of the basic cable. Have I talked about how many times we have channels (35 some odd channels in the basic package) that aren't available?

Dr. Phil (Physics) said...

I haven't posted my review yet, but over Thanksgiving we bought one of the Verizon branded MiFi 2200 units. We bought it to use at my Mom's house in North Carolna and will do pay-as-you-go for when we are out of town and can't get free WiFi. But the unit is fast, slick, tiny and if we were in the market to dump our DSL, I'd probably pay the monthly fee and bundle it into our Verizon (formerly Alltel) cell phone bill.

The great thing is that if you DO get it for the home, you can still take it with you on the road, and the Verizon nationwide 3G map is pretty extensive.

Also... the salesman in NC said the MiFi 2200's SIM card can be changed for global use and also -- the unit is supposed to take a firmware update to make it a 4G hotspot in the spring as Verizon rolls out its 4G nationwide.

Something to consider.

Dr. Phil

summog -- L.A. in July

Dr. Phil (Physics) said...

I should add that Mrs. Dr. Phil and I both used our laptops at the same time and from many rooms away and got plenty of bars (both WiFi and 3G). The unit is suppose to support 5 WiFi users at a time.

For us, where we only need it a couple of weeks a year, paying full price plus say 4 × $30/week was still cheaper than the reduced price plus the monthly fee for 12 months. Crazy, huh.

Dr. Phil

Steve Buchheit said...

Hey Dr. Phil, thanks for the review. I'll be borrowing a dongle from work. The one thing I've heard against them is the addition of fees on top of the basic plan.

Oh, an update, they've upped our install date to Jan 14th. Great.