Today I drew the line. And then scribbled all over it. And then I drew a straighter line, and I like that line.
Warning: what follows is mostly rant material, but if you’re thinking about switching ISPs, you might want to read
The 1.5 Mbps DSL line that I have is amazingly awful. It’s constantly going up and down. PPPoE is the culprit. Instead of fixing problems however, Earthlink instead blames my Smoothwall. This is not new. Today’s record of service was the worst in a long time: every ten to twenty minutes the connection would be dropped and it would not come back for about five minutes. This went on for about twelve hours.
$ ping -i 5 google.com ... 64 bytes from 188.8.131.52: icmp_seq=1626 ttl=246 time=51.4 ms
Lucklily, it’s been roughly 2.5 hours since it last went down. Let’s see if I can make it through this post.
Committed to solving the problem, this evening I called Earthlink to switch from their DSL service to their cable service. They were offering the same thing Time Warner Cable (TWC) was offering: $30/mo for 6 months and $45/mo after that. I figured the switch would be pretty simple: keep the same account, just move to a different kind of line. At most it should take under a week for “the guy” to give me a cable modem. Aside from wanting a more reliable connection, upgrading to a 5.0Mbps line would be nice – and the uplink would also rock a lot more. Man, I was wrong!
Before calling however, I looked over their services page. The current DSL bill from them is about $50/mo for 1.5 Mbps. However, they now advertise a 1.5 Mbps DSL line for $40/mo and a 3.0 Mbps line for $45/mo. Shows how technology “changes” and they silently keep you locked into a higher rate for a slower connection. That alone should have set off bells in my head. Lovely. Their cable connection was also $45/mo, but 5.0 Mbps. Yes, I think I really want to stick with DSL – I enjoy paying more for less!
So back to the call… we almost had the switch completed, to the point of scheduling a time for the “installer” to drop off the modem, when the representative realizes (after I clearly said I already had DSL service, and had provided verified account information) that I have a DSL account with them (reeeally?), and that before proceeding, they would need to deactivate my DSL. Oh that’s nice! The earliest they could give me cable was around the 30th. I guess I really don’t need any connection for 1.5 weeks. Oh, the dialup should still work though. Glad I have that serial fallback modem.
I proceeded to tell her that I could just as easily call TWC and order their cable Internet service for the same price, and cancel the Earthlink account when the cable was active. She had a very hard time debating this fact, and offered to redirect me to the sales department (I swear that’s where I thought I was). After about 30 minutes of some lovely jazz-flute-over-a-cell-phone (in loud speaker mode, of course), I described the problem. The result: well, there was no result. The only way to activate the cable service was to deactivate the DSL. It’s a technical issue that no one has figured out how to overcome. Riiiighhht.
I let myself calm down a little, and called TWC. My were they friendly! I informed the sales woman that I currently have Earthlink DSL and am interested in switching to TWC Broadband. Immediately I could hear her voice raise an octave, full of excitement. She informed me that because of my current DSL situation, I was eligible for TWC Broadband for $30/mo for 12 months. Awesome. What came next was even better: after processing the order, she asked when I wanted it installed, to which I replied “as early as possible.” How does Friday sound? “Are you kidding me? This Friday? I could kiss you.”
Also, the TWC representative asked me “what Windows do you have?” I said I didn’t have any Windowseses but it didn’t matter. She then clearly explained that as long as the installation technician could verify that an IP address was being assigned, it did not matter. Rock on. I dig no bias.
So good-bye Earthlink, you lose. I sure can’t complain about 5.0 Mbps service for $360/yr. Sure beats $600/yr for 1.5 Mbps. Now let’s break this down a little bit:
Earthlink 1.5 Mbps DSL @ $50/mo = $33.3/1 Mbps/mo
TWC 5.0 Mbps Cable @ $30/mo = $6/1 Mbps/mo
Now of course, that’s just for the first year. After that:
DSL @ $50/mo = $33.3/1 Mbps/mo
Cable @ $45/mo = $9/1 Mbps/mo
Something tells me that’s still awesome.